Friday, August 29, 2014

Ice, Ice Baby - Part 2

OK ladies and gents, I've finally decided what I'm going to do with the Ice Bucket challenges I've received and if you are so inclined please give me 4 minutes of your time to find out by watching my Ice Bucket challenge video (yes Neil, we've got a video!)
Please share on social media if you like the message in this video

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ice, ice baby!

A little while ago I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge by an old friend, which I have to say annoyed me a little. This is because I am a very grumpy old git. Although I do have reservations about people being pressured to be charitable or even pressured into freezing their tits off just because "everybody else is doing it", I can honestly say my main objection was more to do with me being just a miserable twat. Now having been nominated a second time, I felt the need to think about things a little further since, as well as being Mr Grumpy, I wanted to make sure I'd thought a few things through rationally, as various issues have been raised by this phenomena of late.
The question has been raised that is it ethically right to be 'wasting' water in this way when 3.4 million people die for lack of clean drinking water each year compared to the few thousand that ALS claim? Matt Damon raised much awareness of this issue by accepting the challenge but using toilet water rather than clean water on the grounds that our toilet water in the west is cleaner that a lot of the world's drinking water ( Link to article on Matt Damon's challenge ). Well done Matt, for managing to balance things here as he has managed to bring awareness that ice bucket challenge was causing controversy but in a positive way that raises awareness of a bigger issue without necessarily 'having a go' at those who have done this challenge with good motive. I found it somewhat ironic to see the above death stats quoted on pictures of people doing the challenge with comments like 'sick humanity' when if fact the person drenching themselves in freezing water is doing so in some small way for what is best in humanity - the act of charity. I have yet to see a video of anyone doing the challenge whilst yelling "ha ha, you Ethiopian peasants! Feeling thirsty?"
No, I think it's a worse part of humanity that is cynical about people's desire to give, than it is of a charitable person who might unintentionally be sending a wrong message.
If I do choose to pour a bucket of clean water over my head or not, here in Britain it is not going to make one iota of difference to anyone without access to drinking water elsewhere in the world. We are lucky in this country as plenty of water falls from the sky, and whereas we do waste that resource, this challenge is in no way a significant factor in that waste, so I honestly believe there is no call to be disparaging about those that do the challenge....just don't nominate anyone in the Sahara.
Peer Pressure.
One of my first gut reactions was that I object to feeling pressured into doing anything as then it ceases to be an act of charity, but more one of trying to fit in. Well, gut reactions cannot always be trusted, as after much thought I've reached the following conclusions:
if it helps save lives does it really matter if I am giving for a sense of charity or a sense of sociability?
Do I really hold my friends in such little regard that I think I will lose then if I just said 'no'? I have a hunch my friends are truer than that
At base emotional level, is there really any difference between the pressure of a nomination and the 'guilt' giving induced by the telly on each Red Nose Day?
Without that nomination, would any charitable giving increase? I.e. If I were not nominated, would I ignore that charity - answer - probably.
Is the challenge itself safe or sensible?
There are a few issues here. Firstly there are numerous cases of injury (metal bucket thrown I people's faces, dustbin's full of water being dropped on top of people rather than the contents tipped, etc.) and at least one death cause by doing this challenge, so is it right to perpetuate a potentially dangerous practice? Secondly, this follows a trend of challenges on social media, many of which have nothing to do with charity, and some are very dangerous (e.g. Salt and ice challenge!), so should we encourage this type of practice by adding the additional pressure of the 'it's for charity' guilt trip?
To answer the first point, well people do stupid things all the time, injure themselves and even kill themselves - no, we shouldn't encourage stupid reckless behaviour, but to be honest pouring a bucket of ice water over the head is really of very little actual risk. Those that try to go one better by having there friend upend a full wheelie bin from a first floor window on to them are likely to be due a Darwin Award at some point in their life anyway, so like everything in life, if you use a modicum of common sense, then I think the risks are minimal.
For the second point, these social media challenges are a fact of life now, and whereas I think everyone should not have to feel obligated to do dumb ass crap to feel accepted, at least the ice bucket challenge has overshadowed some of the more dangerous ones for a time. 
Only 27% of ALS donation actually go to research
Hmmm, this is a biggie for me as it's always hard to give money to charities that spend 6 figure salaries on their chairman (source not confirmed, it's just another of the comments circulating on Facebook), but 27%, does seem to be a very low figure to actually go to the intended cause.
OK, so I don't want to waste 73% of my donation, but just because I've been nominated for the ALS ice bucket does not mean I have to accept that charity? Will I feel like I've failed if I make it a MacMillan ice bucket challenge, or one for Oxfam or the North East Air Ambulance ? (NB currently I've no idea on donation percentages for these either at the moment). I see no issue at all with accepting the challenge but picking on a different charity to benefit - perhaps one that does work to provide clean water for people to drink?
So what am I going to do about my nominations? At the moment I am undecided, but I feel I have a little time yet to make a decision, as being holed up with flu at present, I'm certainly not going to be pouring ice cold water over myself in the very short term. But once I'm back to health, well, watch this space and find out how all this introspection panned out :)
Perhaps you might like to add comments  and two pennies worth on Facebook to help my decision - please keep them calm and polite :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spread the Word

It seems with the rise of social media we have an inevitable rise in the propagation of Daily Mail style intelectuallism that at times amuses me and at other times irritates me. Why is it that people just believe everything they read as if the mere presence of it as written word confers factual status.
So anyway, someone I know re-shared this load of bollocks about margarine the other day and I just thought for once I'd write my own response, which please do not take as gospel, as it's mainly of the top of my head and so just as suspect as the original writers comments, but hopefully it is enough of a discourse to make a few people query what they read rather than just accept it.
So the original article went as follows and the blue text is my responses to the various statements made.
(NB - none of this in anyway is intended to suggest margarine is in any way healthy or indeed that butter isn't much much better for you, merely that that arguments used to try to make this point are….well…rubbish)

Pass The Butter ... Please.

This is interesting . .. .
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.
Dog food is bad for Cat’s health but obviously fine when eaten by dogs. A koala can ONLY eat eucalyptus leaves and certainly would have some problems with butter, so just because the turkeys don’t like it has no bearing on it’s effect on humans
It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavourings....
Carrots were originally purple, Oranges originally green, look at 98% of every packaged food stuff and you will see colouring and flavouring in the ingredients list. Some food colourings are natural, some are artificial. Some are harmless, some are not so harmless. To mention margarine has been coloured is just to say it is in common with the vast majority of other food we eat.
DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?
Read on to the end...gets very interesting!
Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
As does Alcohol over water…. is anybody reading this thinking of switching from alcohol to water? I thought not! Plus if you are going to quote stats please quote the source – “a recent Harvard Medical Study” sounds convincing and official, but actually amounts to as much evidence as “They Say” J
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!
“Only because they were added” ?!? Are you seriously suggesting that a nutritional benefit is somehow a “better” one if it wasn’t “added”?
Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.
Just plain idiotic – taste is a completely subjective quality. Some people like the taste of celery…. I think it’s the food of Satan.
Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .
Paper has been around for centuries but the iPad or PC you typed this up on has been around for less than 50 years. Obviously you are as bad as Margarine for not using said paper instead.
And now, for Margarine…
  • ·     Very High in Trans fatty acids.
  • ·     Triples risk of coronary heart disease.
  • ·     Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
  • ·     Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..
  • ·     Lowers quality of breast milk
  • ·     Decreases immune response.
  • ·     Decreases insulin response. 

Now the list of bad stuff about Margarine here might be convincing if
a) It was substantiated by the sources of the information (is it another Harvard Medical Study?)
b) There was any frame of reference for the comments – i.e. triple the risk of heart disease/x5 risk of cancers…. Compared to what? Just not eating it? Eating butter instead? What quantity are we talking about consuming?
And here's the most disturbing fact... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC... and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.
OK – this is where I virtually fell off my chair laughing! Margarine is one molecule away from being plastic. In the same vein Water is one molecule away from being Hydrogen Gas, one of which I will drink quite happily, the other, probably not good to fill my stomach on. Or Sodium Chloride (salt, to you and me) I will have a little in my food, indeed I need a little in my diet, but I think I’ll steer clear of eating any amount of Sodium on it’s own as it would kill me.
My point is one molecule can make an enormous difference. Your DNA shares 98% of the same “ingredients” as that of a potato, but perhaps you might be upset if I draw further comparison?
These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).
“facts” – titter, guffaw, wheeze!
Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
It suggests to me that it doesn’t rot…. Ah sorry you’re going on to explain that anyway….So actually you want me to notice one thing stated twice rather than “a couple of things” J
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.
This is pure speculation on the part of the writer with no explanation to the supposed link between rotting and smell with nutritional value. There has been rice found in the pyramids of Egypt from 5000 years ago that would still have been good to eat. It had not rotted, but are we therefore going to deduce that rice has no nutritional value?
Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?
See above – it is NOT nearly plastic. It shares some molecules with plastic and….oh I can’t be bothered to explain it again!
Share This With Your Friends.....(If you want to butter them up')!
Chinese Proverb:
When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.
GreedyGreen’s Proverb:
When someone shares something they’ve not bothered to think about or research with you and you cringe at it, you have a moral obligation to take the piss out of them and share that with others.

Pass the Beers and Twinkys please (check out the ingredients list on those puppies if margarine scares you! – lol)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Will you stop with the complaints!

Last night, yet again, on the telly was a programme all about the woes of parents that have to pay more for holidays in the school holidays! For goodness sake, do you not understand the laws of supply and demand? This is not holiday companies fleecing you, - its how economics work! More people want to go on holiday at those times so the prices are higher. In the same way, less brussel sprouts are available in summer, and the price of them goes up in this period. Should I start a petition with the government to freeze the price of brussel sprouts throughout the year because I don't want those profit grabbing farmers to fleece me when I feel like a sprout in July?
"But we can't afford to take out kids on holiday at those prices!" - NO - you can't - it's as simple as that. You can't afford it, so you can't have it. My family holidays as a kid were a trip to a farm owned by my aunt and uncle. I didn't get a holiday abroad until I could pay for it myself aged 18. We couldn't afford it before that, so we didn't go. For some reason parents seem to think it's a god given right to be able to go wherever they like with their whole family and the travel industry should make it cheap enough for them to do so - well wake up and smell the coffee! It's arguable that you have a right to feed, clothe, educate and house a family at an affordable cost, but a holiday IS A LUXURY! And luxuries you can have if and when you can afford them.