Category: General

Better Safe Than Better Off

November 18, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

Kids in Pram

I’m in my mid thirties and still have a scar on the palm of my hand where it got caught in the workings of a pram when my mother was folding it up. My mother blamed herself for not teaching me to keep my little figgies out of the moving parts of machinery when in use. I haven’t confronted her with it recently but I’m sure she’s still sorry.

Apparently it wasn’t her fault at all but the fault of the manufacturer who didn’t make it clear that putting your children’s digits in scissoring metal parts might in some way damage them, at least that’s the impression I got from the recent product recall first in the US then in the UK by a buggy manufacturer. It appears that more than 40 children deserve injury compensation in the UK after suffering severe injury, even losing fingers thanks to the poor design and lack of notice of the strollers. The claims came in the UK after more than a million buggies were recalled in the US following reports of similar injuries there.

The company insisted that the buggies distributed in the UK weren’t affected by any flaw, hence no product recall over here but reports of similar accidents soon started coming through concerning damage inflicted by the folding hinge system. Hinge covers are now available on request.

Not surprisingly the company hasn’t admitted liability for the damage caused by pitting flesh against cold steel they have agreed personal injury compensation and with the assistance of their insurers have made full compensation damages awards.

While the descriptions of the injuries sustained by the children are rather gory, amputated fingers, deep lacerations, permanent disfigurement and loss of feeling I can’t help feeling less than sympathetic to parents who would litigate against a company who made a substantial piece of equipment rather than pay better attention to where the child had their hands in the first place. The prosecution’s solicitor, Richard Langton disagrees: “We are delighted to get the agreement within three months of being instructed to act, and it proves the adult opening the buggy is not in any way at fault but compensation does not turn the clock back for the traumatised children or their parents”

Now, I’m not saying “My mother never looked for compensation when she scarred me for life so why should they” but I am suggesting that this kind of compensation is rewarding bad parenting. I know that’s a very bold statement but if parents can sue every time their little Jenny or Johnny gets hurt when they are supposed to be the responsible adult operating a piece of machinery then ultimately they will be getting paid for their own negligence.

Milk Matters

August 2, 2010 | By | 6 Comments

The Food Standards Agency in Britain has received an anonymous tip that milk from cloned cows is being sold to the public.

Muscular Cow

Apparently the FSA was quoted as saying that they thought that selling milk from cloned cows or their offspring was illegal. So even the FSA aren’t sure on the exact details of the law! The FSA are now investigating the claim made by a dairy farmer who wishes to remain anonymous.

It was only recently that the European Parliament decided to ban selling meat and diary produce that has come from clones. Although the decision has yet to become an actual law, hence the confusion as to what exactly the FSA should be investigating.

While no one is quite sure on the effect of produce made from cloned cows there are health concerns for the cloned animals themselves. Research has shown that animals born by way of the cloning process have slightly higher rates of deformities and premature births. But not to worry because an FSA spokesman was quoted as saying: “Based on the best available evidence, there are no food safety concerns surrounding consumption of products from healthy clones or their offspring.”

To be honest I never knew that food from cloned cows was being produced. I had always been under the impression that cloning was a one off test that everyone made a big fuss about when dolly the sheep was cloned way back. The fact that food from cloned animals wasn’t even considered by law until recently makes me think we’re all going to be ok.

So I’m going to keep drinking milk, eating beef and wearing urban clothing.

2009 Looks Set to be a Miserable Year

January 8, 2009 | By | 8 Comments

atomic_bomb_end_of_world.jpgI’ve been told that I must make some predictions for 2009 and put them on my blog – so here goes:

  1. Home repossessions are set to skyrocket in the UK. Although interest rates are being kept low, helping to reduce monthly mortgage repayments, for many this will still be too much as other bills are on the increase and many are losing their jobs.
  2. Unemployment in the UK will rise significantly. If we aren’t already above the 2 million mark we soon will be – and it’s going to get a lot worse as more businesses, big and small, bite the dust.
  3. Our focus on the economy will draw attention away from imperative climatic issues. There’s no denying that our climate is changing – rapidly. This is not the time to be taking our eye off the environment.
  4. Gordon Brown is set for the most miserable year of his life. His popularity will continue to dwindle but he’s likely to resist calls for a general election.
  5. There’s likely to be an awful, senseless terrorist attack somewhere in the world. This one is almost a’given’ these days. It really is a sad and dangerous world we have made for ourselves and somewhere some poor, innocent people will find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  6. There’s also a good chance of a major natural disaster somewhere. Maybe a landslide in the Canary Islands, a massive earthquake or volcanic eruption. In many parts of the world people are living on borrowed time. Too many in geographically vulnerable locations that are basically time bombs waiting to go off.
  7. A religious leader, political leader or well known personality will be attacked. While it can be argued that there are a few people in positions of responsibility or prominence who could do with a kick up the backside, nobody deserves to be attacked.
  8. World climate will be found to be changing more quickly than had been estimated. There is no denying the climate change that is taking place but it will become clear that the rate of change is accelerating and that disaster is just around the corner.
  9. Economic problems will encourage many to look at communism as an alternative. Failure of world economies will result in lots of people questioning the systems that they have grown up with. Alternatives like communism are likely to become popular.
  10. Civil unrest and riots will fill the news. Whenever you turn on the TV news or listen to the radio there will be a new report of riots, looting and upheaval somewhere in the world. Poverty and hunger will spread and vast numbers of people will die due to malnutrition.

So there you are. Ten miserable predictions for this forthcoming year. Maybe these are not too optimistic but I think we’re going to find that they are painfully accurate. Many will need to find a second income just to make ends meet and lots of people will lose their houses and their livelihoods in as our economic crisis bites ever deeper.

What is the single most effective thing I can do for the environment?

November 14, 2008 | By | 2 Comments

The Nurse has done her bit to save the environmentEven though The Nurse is banged up, she’s still environmentally aware.

Tapping away on her keyboard late into the night, The Nurse has been trying to identify the single most effective thing she can do to help the environment.

OK, so she can’t do much from in here. HMP XXX isn’t exactly stuffed with consumer goods and packaging ripe for recycling. She isn’t given enough food to dream of wasting any. She has no lightbulbs. Her carbon footprint – stuck as she is in a cold, dank eight by four foot cell -must be tiny.

Several weeks into her research The Nurse came across this week’s edition of New Scientist magazine. Always a good way to get to the crux of any scientific, economic, cultural or social matter.

The Nurse would be hard pressed to express things better than New Scientists’s journalists. So she won’t bother. Here it is verbatim, straight from the horse’s mouth:

Q: What is the single most effective thing I can do for the environment?

A: Over a 75 year lifespan, the average European will be responsible for about 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions. For Americans and Australians, the figure is more like 1500 tonnes. Add to that all of humanity’s other environmentally damaging activities and, draconian as it may sound, the answer must surely be to avoid reproducing.

It will come as no surprise that The Nurse seldom has occasion to be smug. No chance of parole, surrounded by nutters, forgotten most of the time, half starved and constantly fighting chronic boredom. Her life’s hardly a picnic.

But, unwittingly, she has found herself rocketed to dizzying heights of morality. The Nurse doesn’t have children. She is child free and, as such, has managed to achieve the single most effective way to help the environment known to man.

The Nurse has given the world a precious gift. She wonders whether, if they knew, they’d forgive her and let her out.