Thursday, May 27, 2010

Microchipped man gets virus

I saw this on Sky News yesterday.

Apparently he was fitted with a microchip and used it instead of a swipecard to get in and out of work. He could open the doors by passing his hand over the reader. He also used it with his mobile phone. Apparently his phone would only work if he held it in his left hand (the one with the chip fitted).
The chip now has a virus and he says that the virus can spread to all the other swipe cards that are used in his building.
I find this both funny and disturbing.
One- why would anyone willingly electronically tag themselves? Some Christian friends of mine say that this is the mark of the beast that is referred to in the Book Of Revelations. Maybe, all I know is that liberty is to be cherished, not given away. Having a chip fitted would mean that someone could track your every move, wherever you are in the world, 24/7. Would you want that?
Then there's the use of these chips in lieu of a credit or cashpoint card. The information on the chip would enable you to pay for your purchases, withdraw money, travel without having to buy a ticket (the cost is debited from your account automatically).
OK, all well and good. But what if someone somewhere decided that you were persona non grata? It might be a mistake, but in the meantime your assets are frozen, you can't buy anything, travel anywhere, and your every movement is tracked via the chip in your wrist.
Not so good.
The article says that Dr Gasson infected himself. Why? Is this another of those mad scientist tales where a doctor injects himself with a deadly disease in the search for the cure?
The risk here is not confined to one person. It's possible that a virus like this could be introduced into the world at large. One terrorist with a virus loaded microchip could infect the security systems of airports and banks around the world.

There are health risks as well. many pacemakers are fitted with these microchips and if they are infected with a virus then lives are at risk.

Whoever thought that fitting people with micro-chips hadn't thought it through. I'm a basically honest person with no wish to do harm to anyone, and if I can see the evil possibilities in this, then those who wish us evil will have as well.

One commenter on the Sky article wrote this, and I agree with him-
"Biometric passports have chips inside of them, so, technically, an aggressor, someone with a grudge or some nerdy guy out to prove how clever he is, could possibly infect the UK's, or indeed any other country with a similar system, passport control system with a malignant virus and cause absolute havoc!"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They still don't get it

The election is barely over and the new MPs are already at it. It seems that they still think they're entitled to spend our money as if it was a birthright.
Today's Mail has this story
"Parliament's new expenses watchdog last night caved in to pressure from MPs and agreed to hand them immediate cash payments worth £4,000 each.
In a bid to head off a growing backlash over the tough new regime, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority reversed its previous insistence that expenses would only be reimbursed after they have been paid out.
Instead, from today it will offer them cash advances of up to £4,000 each, at a total cost to the taxpayer of up to £2.6million."

And so it goes on.
When I worked in retail it was a condition of the job that I could get myself to work at my own expense. If I had to work in a different location my firm would reimburse the petrol costs only. After all, I had to have the car anyway.
This was hard but fair. The firm kept a tight rein on its finances and as a result was able to expand when others were contracting. It opened 100s of stores during the late 70s and early 80s,when times were bad.
They made money by keeping a rein on expenses. They never advertised, they never employed consultants or fancy head office staff. No frills. It worked.
We worked hard but we were paid well. We did everything. Our shop floor staff worked hard but we paid them well.
I always made sure that their wages were correct. You can get your staff to do the impossible as long as you don't mess up their pay.
We face tough times. Tough decisions must be made. We are all going to be poorer. The only way that the population will put up with the hardship is if they see their MPs are also playing their part.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hone sweet home

Just back from a week in Whitby. The sun shone every day and I feel much better for it. I've walked further in the last week than I have in the last six months in total. I'm struggling with my back and have to rest/sit down frequently but there's a world of difference between feeling ill and feeling tired.
I have an appointment to see the specialist on Monday and should get the all-clear with the CLL.
I've also received the "final" tour schedule for Nicki Gillis' summer tour. I may be able to take part in some of it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blogging break

I'm taking a few days off from blogging. I'm away to Whitby (I've packed a thick overcoat) to take the air and while I'm there I'm playing my first concert since last September (pre-CLL).
The North York Moors railway is holding its Spring Gala so I'll be taking the train and enjoying the unique smell and sound of steam.

What will I come back to? Will the government have taken any steps to reverse the worse of the last 13 years? The Lisbon Treaty comes back to Parliament. Will we have a chance to have a say? Will the government go ahead with the Great Repeal Bill?

They have 100 days to get it right. After that the crap will hit the fan.

Not so green

Install solar panels, and save the planet! Well, not so fast. Solar cells are high-tech electronic products that contain hazardous materials.
Read more here

Going to Mother Jones site we read more-
"How toxic are your solar panels? The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), a group that has done more than any other to clean up the electronics industry, attempted to answer that question today with the release of its Solar Scorecard. It didn't get very far. Of the 25 solar manufacturers that SVTC contacted, only 14, which together represent just 24 percent of the solar market, even responded. And their answers weren't always heartening. Among SVTC's findings:

* Six companies report that their products contain lead, a potent neurotoxin.
* Three companies report that their products contain cadmium, a known carcinogen.
* One company uses nitrogen triflouride, a potent greenhouse gas
* Only seven companies provide recycling free of charge
* Only eight companies said their would support "extended producer responsibility" laws that would require them to take back or recycle their products"

So they're pretty pollutant. So why install them?
Could it be that they attract a government subsidy?
read here-
"Until last week, there was very little reason to stick expensive electricity-producing solar panels on your roof unless you passionately believed in joining the crusade against global warming.
Now, however, there is a strong financial case to do so.
The Government has introduced new 'feed-in tariffs' for clean electricity, which means that a £12,500 investment in solar energy producing panels will pay a tax-free return of six to eight per cent per annum. That is more than double the best High Street savings accounts."

So, not only are they polluting, the poor taxpayer pays a dividend to anyone installing them. Another green fiasco that ranks with mercury filled energy saving lightbulbs that don't give off enough light to read by, and which can be dangerous to anyone who suffers from fits.

And all to make someone feel better?

Monday, May 10, 2010

What must we do to be rid of Mad Gordon?

Rasputin was repudedly stabbed in the abdomen. He recovered from that. He was then poisoned with cyanide in cakes, then shot in the back. This didn't kill him so they shot him three more times and beat him up,castrated him wrapped his body in a carpet and dumped him in the river. The stabbing, poisoning, gun shots and castration didn't kill him. He drowned in the frozen river.

Why do I think of Rasputin whenever Gordon Brown's name is mentioned?

Sunday, May 09, 2010



It's Sunday night and the horse trading goes on. This will end in tears for all of us. The electorate voted on Thursday and they have spoken. The politicians are sticking their fingers in their ears and going "Lalala can't hear you".

Just over 60% of the electorate voted and just over a quarter of them chose Labour. Whichever way you read it, that's hardly a vote of confidence.
In Brown's own constituency the turnout was among the lowest. True, he increased his majority, but that was because the majority of his constituents either voted against him or stayed at home. How clear a message does he need to be sent?

The Tories got some of the "Anyone but Brown" vote, as did the LibDems. Unfortunately neither party offers a real alternative to Labour.
It's the same old policies, the same old politicians, only they've got different coloured rosettes on.

The political system is in a mess. The three main parties all appeal to the centre ground. It's like daytime TV or commercial radio. They've studied the demographic and have tailored their programme to a mythical typical viewer/listener/voter.
Anyone who has the misfortune to watch daytime TV will soon notice that every channel offers the same programme mix at the same time.
A few years ago I used to record a one-minute "thought for the day" for our local radio station. I chatted to the staff about who they thought was listening and they said there were two "typical listeners".
One was a twenty something female who listened to the radio while getting ready for work. She typically listened for fifteen to twenty minutes. The other was also female, middle aged, at home during the day, etc etc. Every element of their programming was aimed at these mythical creatures.**
Daytime TV also seems to aim at a particular demographic. After the Breakfast news programmes, which basically repeat every fifteen minutes because that's how long their typical viewer is alleged to watch; you get makeover programmes, antiques programmes, house buying programmes. Or car crash TV like Jeremy Kyle.
If you switch TV channels to find something different you soon find that each channel is aimed at the same mythical demographic.
Choice? There's no choice. The people who make the programmes have chosen according to what they believe the viewing public wants.

So it is with the current political landscape. Somewhere deep in the bunkers the strategists have identified the person they are appealing to. The floating voter. They have tried to second guess what he believes and what he wants.
Every five years the electorate get a chance to choose between the different varieties of political window dressing that they have selected for us.
It's like the TV Soap of the Year poll. The organisers select six programmes and you choose which one you like. If you don't like what's been chosen for you but would rather choose your own, tough. That's not how it works.
The electorate is given three very similar choices which are then advertised to death and various spin and polish added to make each one look more attractive than it is.
That's how it is supposed to work. Those who rule us have decreed it.
Only this time the electorate have in essence rejected all three.
Gordon Brown is so unpopular even his own MPs hate him.
Cameron is all style and no substance and is in thrall to his advisors. He is too scared to be a Conservative in case he alienates the mythical floating voter.
Clegg is good on TV. Full stop.

By failing to elect any party by a clear majority the electorate said that they are disattisfied. They're being ignored by virtue of living in a safe constituency, are ignored because their concerns about immigration, debt, corruption and the economy are not being adressed, and are fed up by being pandered to by tailor's dummies fronting huge spin operations. The electorate wanted honesty and transparency, leadership and openness.

So, three days on and what have they got?
The same old horse trading behind closed doors. The prospect of the parties that came second and third forming a government. The reality that their view have once again been dismissed.It will end in tears.

**(There were only a handful of staff at the radio station, mostly sellers of advertising space, with a couple of "presenters" recording links on to a computer. They could record a two hour show in about 20 minutes and the computer would play the tracks and the adverts and the links in the correct order. It sounded real, but was all an illusion. Btw, our local radio station is now broadcast from Peterborough. The studios are shut down. The signal is sent down the telephone line to a transmitter. That's the only local element)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Is it me or...?

I can't help noticing similarities between these two. One is a self deluded individual with an over-inflated belief in his own popularity and importance.
The other is just dangerous.
But which is which?

So which is which?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's a lottery

About fifteen years ago I was involved in a local Community Transport scheme. Some well meaning individual from the local Volunteer Bureau had written to a TV charity and was given a Transit minibus, which came with strings attached. It had to have a management committee and a business plan, and I somehow found myself co-opted on to the committee as chairman.
We found someone who was willing to work on the day to day organisation and we soon came up against the problem of funding. Everyone thinks that having a community minibus is a great idea, but won't pay the true cost when hiring it.
We looked around for funding and our co-ordinator contacted the National Lottery. We received a pack the size of a telephone directory.

One thing soon became clear.
Grants are not given out according to need, but are granted according to one's ability to fill in the paperwork correctly. This I believe to be a universal truth.

I've been off work since last Autumn. I'm having treatment for CLL, a form of Leukaemia. I'm still employed but my firm have now stopped paying SSP, so I had to look for some benefits somewhere.
I'm not going to bore you about the phone calls, answering a questionnaire over the phone, getting a copy in the post and sending it to the local Benefit Office (Which is in Wellingborough, but the post goes to Birmingham and no, I don't understand why either).
After I'd sent my certificate and paperwork to Birmingham I received another letter asking for more paperwork. Another week went by when I received yet another letter containing a questionnaire.
I hate questionnaires. Which is why I spoke to someone in Natalie in Paisley when I first heard I wasn't getting SSP any more.
This time the questionnaire is about whether I need to go and have an assessment. Based on this box ticking, I may or may not receive benefits. I finally managed to fill it in without getting too stressed.
The post arrived as I finished filling in this booklet. I have a letter telling me that they will be paying me £65 a week.
But I may still have to go for an assessment.

Why is everything so complicated? Why the duplication of effort? Why is everything dependent on one's ability to fill in forms?

Benefits are not given out according to need, but are granted according to one's ability to fill in the paperwork correctly. This I believe to be a universal truth.
It really is a lottery

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Computer says no.

Two recent newspapare articles caught my eye today.
The first is in the Daily Mail. Apparently they are paying an IT consultant upwards of 500k a year.
You can read it here-
"Mr Grinnell joined the UK Border Agency in September 2007 as an IT consultant and was given responsibility in leading projects including Labour's notorious plans for national identity cards.