Monday, 14 January 2008

School: 1960 vs 2007

Have things improved? Make up your own mind...

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1960 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2007 - Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. Mobiles with video of fight confiscated as evidence. They are charged with assault, AVOs are taken out and both are suspended even though Johnny started it. Diversionary conferences and parent meetings conducted. Video shown on 6 internet sites.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.
1960 - Jeffrey is sent to the principal's office and given a good paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Counselled to death. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra funding because Jeffrey has a disability. Drops out of school.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1960 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mum has an affair with the psychologist. Psychologist gets a promotion.

Scenario: Mark, a college student, brings cigarettes to school.
1960 - Mark shares a smoke with the school principal out on the smoking area.
2007 - Police are called and Mark is expelled from School for drug possession. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Vinh fails high school English.
1960 - Vinh goes to Remedial English, passes and goes to college.
2007 - Vinh's cause is taken up by local human rights group. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that making English a requirement for graduation is racist. Civil Liberties Association files class action lawsuit against state school system and his English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Vinh is given his Y10 anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers, puts them in a model plane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.
1960 - Ants die.
2007 - Security and ASIO are called and Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. Teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.
1960 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.
2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy. Becomes gay.

So. Have things improved? I thought you'd say that...

Thursday, 10 January 2008

37 Ways To Live A Greener Life

I’m by no means an Eco-Warrior, and this list is by no mean exhaustive, but here are 37 ways that you can live a greener life.

Some of these methods may overlap into other areas of life, some of these methods are expensive, some of them are cheap, and some of them are free.

9 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in the Reprographics Room:

These tips are from this article – but I wrote it, so I’m allowed to copy it verbatim!

1. Use Recycled paper:
Don’t spend a fortune on HP or Xerox branded paper – buy recycled! The quality of recycled paper nowadays is excellent, and it obviously benefits the environment.

2. Do Copies ‘Back to Back’:
You know that ten page document that you are about to make ten copies of? Instead of using 100 sheets of paper, do it back to back, and you’ll only use 50. That’s HALF! Your paper stock will last much longer.

3. Make Sure Paperwork is Correct BEFORE Photocopying:
You rush to the photocopier with that urgent document, and punch in 50 copies. As you’re running back to your boss’ desk with it, you realise that the title is wrong. A few moments to check the document properly will prevent this type of waste – of time, money, and vital resources.

4. Any Paper that Gets Jammed – Dump It In The Recycle Box:
We all know that photocopiers jam from time to time – okay, okay, they’re jammed more often than when they’re working! But instead of furiously dumping the crumpled paper in the bin, furiously dump it in the RECYCLE bin. You know it makes sense.

5. Lighten the Contrast on the Photocopy:
Does the copy really need to be as dark as that? Lightening the copy by just a 25% will make your cartridges last longer – no, I don’t know how much longer, just longer. It’s obvious…

6. Recycle Your Toner Cartridges:
When you’re done with it, put it in a toner collection box. If you work in a big office, it will fill amazingly quickly. Then someone will come and collect it, and work magic with it so that it saves the environment…

7. Turn Off The Photocopier After Use:
What if you are the last person to use the photocopier today, and it’s only 2 o’clock? Are you going to leave it on for the next 3 or four hours, until the cleaners turn it off? Think of the energy that the machine is using up! Don’t be a muppet - Turn It Off!

8. Turn Off Lights When Leaving the Room:
If there’s no one else in the room, turn the lights off! Chances are there is enough light from the windows anyway, and if not, the next user will turn them back on… Let’s just hope that THEY remember to turn them off when they leave… Can you see the nice pattern developing here?

9. Do You REALLY Need to Photocopy???
You’ve already sent the email to everybody – they’ll bring a copy to the meeting – don’t photocopy it. You’re just not helping the environment…

12 Ways to Help the Environment At Work

1. Turn Your Monitor Off:
Okay, not during the day, dummy! When you finish work, do you remember to turn off your monitor before you leave? Or is it on standby during the night, using electricity?

2. Turn Off Desktop Printers:
How many times a day do you print? Or, more to the point, is it necessary to have your printer on all day long? In some cases, yes it most certainly is, so fair enough. But if you only print a few documents a day, why not turn off your printer between prints?

3. Turn Down Your Monitor’s Brightness:
Changing the contrast on your monitor can reduce energy consumption by 25%.

4. Send Your Monitor to Sleep:
Change your computer settings to make your monitor sleep during periods that you may be away from your desk.

5. Turn Your PC Off:
Even more effective than the previous point, why not shut down your machine entirely when going to lunch and having meetings. Using no power is better than using reduced power!

Tips for the Summer:

6. Don’t Shut the Blinds!
Well, not completely anyway. Instead, angle them to use those bright sun rays to light your office, eliminating the need for electric lights.

7. Have An Open Door Policy:
By keeping your office door open, air can circulate throughout the building, minimising the work (and power consumption) of air conditioning units.

8. Leave Windows Open Overnight:
Heat is stored during the day in the building. If it’s safe and allowable to do so, open the windows when you leave. This will cool the office for the next day, again reducing the burden on the air con system.

Tips for the Winter:

9. Don’t Obstruct the Heat:
Make sure that your heating systems can heat the building properly – so don’t block heating vents with filing cabinets, and make sure that radiator’s aren’t obstructed.

10. Don’t Use Electric Fan Heaters:
These are expensive to run, they interfere with the building’s climate control, and can cause fires.

11. Don’t Open the Window!
If you feel it’s getting too hot, don’t open the window – turn the heating down. If you’re not in control of that, get someone who is to do so.

12. Dress Properly!
It’s Winter. Not a good time for short sleeved shirts! Jumpers, tights, vests, thermals. You know the score.

6 Ways to Save The Environment Through Transport

1. Drive Economically:
Changing gear at lower revs reduces emissions. It also reduces how much you spend on fuel, which can’t be bad! You need to aim to change gear between 2,000 and 2,500 rpms, depending on your engine size. More info here.

2. Convert to LPG:
Cars that run on Liquid Petroleum Gas produce less emissions. More details here.

3. Buy a Hybrid Car:
Hybrid Cards run on battery power, and therefore are more environmentally friendly than ‘normal cars. The most famous hybrid car is the Toyota Prius. Details on hybrid cars can be found here.

4. Blow Up Your Tyres:
Make sure that your car is running efficiently. Low tyre pressure means more drag on the road, the engine then needs to work harder to pull the car, increasing fuel consumption and emissions.

5. Car Share:
Four people. One car. Much better than 4 people, 4 cars. It makes sense.

6. Get the Bus!
Rather than using a car, use public transport, if you have a good enough system. It’s cheaper than running a car, and environmentally friendlier, too.

10 Ways to Save Help The Planet At Home

1. Turn Off the Lights:
You ever drive by someone’s house, and all the lights are on? Why? If a room isn’t occupied, turn the lights off. Otherwise, it’s like Blackpool Illuminations…

2. Turn Off the Taps:
Brushing your teeth? Washing your hair? Doing the dishes? Is it necessary to have the water running all the time? If not, turn off those taps.

3. Have a Shower…:
… Not a bath. Having a shower uses less hot water than a bath. Of course, sometimes nothing beats a nice long soak… but at other times, a quick shower will suffice.

4. Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs:
The save energy, they last for absolutely ages – saving you money, whilst you save the planet.

5. Recycle:
So much can be recycled – tin, paper, plastic, garden waste – so start doing your bit.

6. Power Down Your Appliances:
Is it really necessary to have your TV, VCR, DVD player, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 AND Nintendo Wii all on Standby? Not really. Get them turned off at the plug.

7. Don’t Recharge Your Phone Overnight:
A mobile only takes a couple of hours to charge. Don’t waste energy by leaving it plugged in overnight.

8. Solar Panels:
Install solar panels to power your house, using natural resources.

9. Block Drafts:
Hot air escapes through gaps in doors and windows. Blocking these up keeps the heat in, saving power consumption of your heating system.

10. Keep the Heating On:
Does your heating kick in in the morning, then kick in again on the evening? You’ve probably got your thermostat quite high then, to warm the house. Instead, try keeping the heating on all day, but at a lower temperature. Your house will be warm all day, but using less power.

Got any more tips? Leave them in the comments.

Like the article? The please Digg it.


Tuesday, 8 January 2008

10 Things You Must Do This Year

Okay, so we're into the second week of January already. I bet that those New Year's Resolutions you've made are flagging already, aren't they? Come on, I bet you had a cigarette at the weekend. Or some alcohol, but just a little bit. Stopped exercising already? Or reached for the crisps yet?

I thought as much.

Never mind. This is a list of things that, if you haven't yet done in your life, you need to do them. This year.

And you may need to start planning now...

Now before we start, I just want to reassure you that this is a unisex list, intended for males and females, but certain age restrictions may apply in your country. Or you could just break the law, but I'm not recommending that, and it isn't on the list.

So, in no particular order:

1. Break a Bone:
Come on, loads of people have broken bones, and they've always got fantastic stories to tell about them.

"Oh, that scar? Yeah, I fell out of a tree when I was nine. Landed in a cow pat. Then a pitchfork fell on me. Then got run over by a tractor. Yeah, broke my arm."

How cool! Me? I've never broken a bone. So no stories to tell. How boring. Break a bone? Painful but definitely on the list.

2. Go On A Plane:
Flying is great. Forget all the terrorist threats, it's not that likely that your plane will crash, burn, explode or be hijacked. It's highly likely that it will be delayed though, but that's life. Flying is dirt cheap nowadays, and you don't need to go far - just hop onto a flight from one part of your country to another.

3. Drive A Car:
Driving is fantastic. For those that drive everyday, to work and back, and think it's boring, you need to inject some life into your driving. Hire a Subaru Imprezza, take out maximum insurance, and take it rallying into the woods somewhere. Man, that'll inject life into your driving! If you've never driven before, book a lesson. If you can't afford that, ask a friend to let them drive your car around a supermarket car park late at night. And if you're too young to drive, try the next best thing: Karting. Yeah, you gotta drive something. Man, what a rush.

4. Watch the Sunrise:
Not much of an adrenaline rush, but certainly an awe-inspiring one. And I don't just mean get up early, open your curtains, and say, "Yay, sun, another day." I mean get up really early, go out into the country, and watch the beautiful birth of a day. Feel the coldness of the night disappear as the sun's warm rays touch your awe-filled body. Fantastic.

5. Stay Up 24 Hours:
You could tie this one in with watching the sunrise. Staying up 24 hours isn't that exciting, but it's great to say that you've done it. I did it once - I went on a 6 hour bus ride, toured London for about 14 hours, then had another 6 hour bus ride home, all without sleeping. I was wrecked, but I've got great stories from it. It just has to be done. So do it in 2008.

6. Buy a Hot Gadget:
So last year was all about the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and, what was the other one - oh yeah, the iPhone. Have you got any of those? Have you got all of those? What's going to be the hot, must have, totally unavailable gadget this year? I don't know yet, but you'd better make sure that you get one.

BONUS: If you have to camp outside a store overnight to be in the queue for said item – even better.

7. Throw A Sickie:
Try and do this one without combining it with something else on this list... You know when you wake up, and that overwhelming feeling of dread comes over you? Because you need to go to work. So you start doing a self examination, and realise, despairingly, that you are fine. Healthy. Great. Fit to go. But you don't want to. So lie on your bed, with your head hanging towards the floor, and phone your boss. You'll sound convincingly ill, and bingo! You've just thrown a sickie. Rock on. Now don't get caught shopping.

8. Recycle Something:
Okay, now in this age of carbon footprints and global warming, what are you doing to do your bit? Well, how about you start with recycling. Don't chuck that paper in a bin - put it in a recycling bin. Paper, cans, tins, glass, plastic, grass, whatever it is - just recycle something. More tips here...

9. Go Incommunicado:
How many times a day do you check your email? Check your phone for missed calls or texts? MSN? Reddit? Digg? Come on, you know it - you're a communication freak. So what you need to do - for a full 24 hours - is turn off your phone(s), your computer, your TV - in fact, you may even need to seal up your (physical) mailbox. Of course, real life communication is fine - this is a ban on electronic comms. Try it. See how you feel. See if you survive.

10. Go Commando:
Ah, now I bet some of you thought that this was what I meant by the previous item. I didn't then. I do now. So try. It's exhilarating. Or so I'm told...

Anything to add?

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The New Year. The New Diet

Alrighty There People!

So. How you feeling? Full and fat? Well, join the club. I’m totally bloated, stuffed full of good food, junk food, pleasure food, seasonal food, food food, food food food food. Oh, and did I mention food? Not to mention the occasional glass of wine…

So it was with fear and great trembling that I mounted the scales last night, heaving my immense form onto the small block of plastic beneath my mammoth toes, scales that almost shrieked out in pain under the pressure of the behemoth that I am. The dial spun dizzily, and I wondered if it would ever stop. But stop it did – just shy of 14 stone. Ooof. That’s heavy – far too heavy.

So there and then, without removing my grossly overweight mass from the scales, I made a resolve. It wasn’t silly, it wasn’t over the top, it wasn’t crazy. Rather, it was doable, realistic, attainable. Here’s the plan:

Drinks: The only drink that I will consume is water. I will stop drinking hot chocolate and black coffee, both laden with two spoons of sugar. I will most certainly stop drinking Yazoo, that chocolate drink that is basically cow fat turned brown. I will stop drinking orange juice, which is no doubt heavily peppered with sugars and other weight-adding additives.

Food: I will reduce my portions of breakfast cereal. I will not go back onto the ‘Special K 2 Week Diet’ – I tried it, it didn’t work for me. But it may work for you – I’m not knocking it, as I said, it just wasn’t for me. Chocolate and junk food are forbidden. Totally. Not allowed at the weekend, as previously – totally forbidden. No chocolate, no dry biscuits, nothing. I will attempt to eat five portions of fruit a day – they may be the same fruit, because I’m not really that adventurous, but it will be fruit none the less. Smaller portions, healthier food. And I’ll probably break out that smoothie maker, and make some of those really nice recipes that I downloaded free that I’ve got lying around…

Exercise: I will exercise daily. This actually started yesterday – twenty minutes on the exercise bike. That’s twenty minutes, at a leisurely pace, covering 4.11 miles, and burning a measly 15.3 calories. But it’s a start. Once I’ve managed to shed a few pounds, I’ll see if I can manage a few press-ups every day. I’ll no doubt get back on the Wii, and do the daily fitness training on that – I may even pre-order Wii Fit. BTW, if you haven’t got a Wii, grab one, get on Wii Sports (it comes with it), and give the boxing, tennis, baseball and bowling a shot. It’s a hoot, it’ll get you hot and sweaty, and you may, just may, lose some weight, and enjoy it. I’m up for that.

Basically, then, it’s a new regime. It’s a combined fitness/healthy style of living, to reduce my weight and increase my healthiness.

I got a good tip yesterday. “Take a picture of yourself, with minimal clothes on (boxer shorts only). Print it out, put it on the fridge.”

I did that. The picture is, in a word, grotesque.

If you want to join with me, post your reason in the comments. If you’ve successfully shed a few pounds in the past, post your success tips in the comments. If you want to encourage me, post your encouragement in the comments. If you want to lay into me about having got myself into this state… get lost.

I am The Dieting Man. This year, I will succeed.


The Dieting Man.

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