When threats replace discussion.

When climate change activist Jo Abbess didn’t like the fact that a BBC story suggested that global temperatures this year would be lower than in 2007 (based on a statement from the World Meteorological Organization), she decided she wanted it changed. She didn’t discuss it, she just threatened the analyst that wrote it:

It would be better if you did not quote the skeptics. Their voice is heard everywhere, on every channel. They are deliberately obstructing the emergence of the truth.

I would ask : Please reserve the main BBC Online channel for emerging truth.

Otherwise, I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated. And that would make you an unreliable reporter.

I am about to send your comments to others for their contribution, unless you request I do not. They are likely to want to post your comments on forums/fora, so please indicate if you do not want this to happen. You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the skeptics.

I can almost hear Mugsy saying "We wouldn’t want to see you get hurt, because accidents happen."

The BBC changed the story, proving of course that simple threats beat science anyday.And I guess he proved that he actually was insufficiently educated to be able to know when he had been psychologically manipulated.

When I was a kid I was taught that part of science was questioning your conclusions. Doesn’t that make all good scientists skeptics by definition?

Powered by Bleezer

How did we survive as kids…

without politicians to protect us?

Ontario is facing a “serious problem” with overweight children and must do more to protect them by banning advertising directed at kids, NDP critic Rosario Marchese said.

He plans to introduce a bill Monday amending the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit commercial television advertising for food or drink that is directed at a child under the age of 13.

[...]

Research shows that one in four Canadian children between the ages of four and 17 is obese, and it’s no wonder when children are being bombarded by television ads promoting sugar-packed soft drinks and other products, Mr. Marchese said.

“What kids see on television is high in calories and low in nutrients,” he added. “That’s generally what kids watch on television.”

The same ads on television twenty years ago didn’t force me to buy food to make me obese.I had the willpower to not eat all of that stuff. And oddly enough, my parents had some say in what I ate too, given that when I was under 13 they pretty much told me what I could and couldn’t have. Of course we no longer trust parents to do that:

“The general point is that children are very vulnerable and it’s very difficult for them to make intellectual distinctions between… good and bad,” he said.

It used to be that parents taught kids to distinguish between good and bad, but now we need the government to do that for us.

We’ve let the government take care of us for so long that we’ve become a society of far too many rules. Time was kids would just go out to play. They used up all their energy and didn’t become obese in the first place. Now we have to protect them from everything, even advertising.

If we protect children from everything how will they learn to deal with the real world?

And speaking of protecting people, shouldn’t we be protecting adults from beer commercials so that they don’t become obese?

Powered by Bleezer

Exactly what I was thinking.

I mentioned the other day that I was reading 1984, and noticing disturbing parallels with the whole concept of Earth Hour, particularly when I’ve seen accounts of people walking by houses with lights on and assuming that they are not environmentally friendly, or worse.

I thought I might be the only one who saw that, until I read Peter Foster’s article in the National Post entitled Lightcrime:

On Saturday night, the awful possibility of "lightcrime" appeared on the deliberately dimmed horizon. Who among those who knew about Earth Hour did not feel an internal compulsion to turn down the lights for fear of public disapprobation, even if they believed that the whole thing was either a pointless or subversive stunt?

Among letters to the Toronto Star — which devoted hectares of newsprint to the event — was one from a woman miffed at a neighbour for leaving on his porch light. "Was he afraid of a break-in or was he just sticking it to Mother Nature?" she asked. "At least my son and I talked about the stupid selfishness that has brought the world to the state she is in — a subject not just for Earth Hour, but for a lifetime."

[...]

Meanwhile, the young and naive were trotted out on Saturday night to demonstrate that they were being terrified into conformity either at home or at school. "Earth Hour is important to me because my kids and grandkids will be living on this Earth," declared Morgan Baskin, aged 12, at an event at Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto. "I don’t want my kids to be around for the end of the Earth."

The end of the Earth. That’s what 12-year-olds are being taught. It sure beats monsters in the closet, since the prospect will terrify them by day as well as by night. This is child abuse. But this is also what environmental morality looks like. Nobody is safe from the pressure. Indeed, just as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, it is the young who are the first to be targeted, so that they can become "spies." Educators freely admit that they tell children to pressure their parents. Fortunately, they don’t yet have to report them.

Read the whole thing.And keep it in mind the next time you see this Powerwise commercial with Daviz Suzuki:

Technorati:

Powered by Bleezer

Why do newspaper search tools suck?

I wanted to reference an article that I had read in the print edition of yesterday’s National Post, so I entered the title – "Lightcrime" – into the search box on the main page. I got these results:

None of these stories are the one I was looking for, though I had to check every one because the title information was useless, and obviously not the actual title of the story. Only one of the articles even contained a link to the Lightcrime store at the bottom, though the article was no longer available.

Contrast that with my one word Google search for the word "lightcrime" that yielded the following:

Google finds the exact article I was looking for. In fact, the top five hits are the right article. And keep in mind, this is yesterday’s paper.

I really, really want to read the National Post, but what am I to do when they can’t even find the article on their own site? And the National Post has one of the better searches from what I’ve seen. I don’t even bother trying to search my local paper, The Record, because there is really no point.It’s actually easier to go to the public library and leaf through past print issues to find anything.

We all know by now that search isn’t that difficult. So why is this so hard?

Technorati:

Powered by Bleezer

Now that’s service!

My friend is starting an Interior Decoration company and I was helping her with her website. Based on what I’ve heard, I had recommended A Small Orange as a hosting provider for her.

Last Sunday we opened an account and paid the fee for the year by credit card. When 24 hours went by and we hadn’t received an email about the account setup, I apologized to my friend and opened a support ticket.

I’m used to getting the automatic email that says they have received my ticket, but I was astounded to get an email not even two minutes later from Amanda. I won’t mention her last name here, but the folks at A Small Orange should be very happy with her. She said that the email had been sent, but frequently they showed up as spam, so my friend should check her junk mail folder. She also resent the email.

Within a short time my friend forwarded the email to me and I continued setting up the web page.

Now that’s just about the best service I can recall receiving on the internet, or anywhere frankly. And you can bet I’ll be recommending A Small Orange for web hosting. In fact I have twice already.

Powered by Bleezer