TGTSE: First Journey

August 27th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Part of the series: The Great Travel-Sickness Experiment

I tried my new wristbands today.

It’s was only a short journey of about 9 miles each way. I only had mild motion sickness, but I think that was due to the short journey rather than the wristbands.

They are quite tight on the wrist and even after only 10-15 minutes of wearing there was quite a mark left around my arms, the sort you get round your leg when your sock are too tight, and I wondered if the mark where the nylon bobble was, was actually going to leave a bruise. After 10 minutes or so the marks had disappeared.

When I put the bands on, they felt very tight, as I mentioned previously, and I thought it would annoy and start to itch and stuff, but they didn’t. I think they could on a long journey, though.

Getting the bands in the correct position may be a struggle and will need a bit of trial and error to get right.
You’re supposed to have the bobble three finger widths up your arm from the first wrist crease, and then in between the the tendons. The distance up from my wrist is fairly obvious, but I can only find one tendon. I don’t know if I’m a freak with just one tendon, although everything seems to work ok, it’s hidden behind other stuff or I just don’t know what I’m looking for, but I could only find one.

I think that may be the biggest stumbling block to getting the bands to work correctly, if they do indeed work, is the positioning of them. They need to be in a certain position and you’re trying to get an untrained person to get them in the right place with a basic diagram and short description.

Well, that’s my initial thoughts on them: comfy enough on short distances, not sure if they’re postioned correctly, but they didn’t work. I am not put off though, in my quest to have my head screwed by a cheap bit of woo I shall carry on and try them on a longer journey. Although when that’ll be, I don’t know yet.

The Great Travel-Sickness Experiment

August 27th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

I have never been troubled by travel sickness. Well, I may have puked in the car on the way to Skegness when I was five years old, but if I did i) i can’t remember it and ii) who hasn’t?

I’m fine in aeroplanes, even better when I’ve had a few beers. I’m good in cars, I’m not troubled by trains and when everyone is emptying their guts out the wrong end on a ferry, I’m out on deck laughing as the waves crash over the side of the boat.

That is until we bought our latest car.

That car is a Mazda 5. It’s a great car. It seats more than five people. It goes quite well, has loads of cubby holes for storing stuff, has six gears so cruising at 70mph is at about 2k rpm and the bit the kids love the best: sliding rear doors.

The problem I have with it is that everytime I’m a passenger, in the front or back, I need to puke. Or sleep. Or puke then sleep.

How do I know it’s the car that’s the problem? Well, as I mentioned at the start of this post I have never suffered travel sickness before. I have never suffered it previously on any other form of transport, in any vehicle with any driver. The closest I’ve come to it is a condition of the inner ear called ‘benign paroxysmal positional vertigo‘. This involved getting out of bed and instead of walking down the bed to the end of the room, I walked diagonally across the room and nearly through the window. I felt sick just bending over to put my socks on.

Now. I could resort to travel sickness tablets, which I have been using. They work, too. Presumably they contain the same substance doctors give you before a general anaesthetic to stop you puking whilst unconscious flat out on your back. The trouble with that is that travel sickness pills ain’t cheap and the cost soon adds up. I’m looking for an alternative.

I’m gonna give these babies a go…

(the one on the left is inside out)

The blurb on back of box says…

Using the ancient Chinese principles of acupressure, many people find wearing the bands on both wrists can help control nausea including all forms of motion sickness.

Acupressure is believed to work by restoring the balance of negative (Yin) and positive (Yan) ions in the body as imbalances are believed to affect health.

What do you reckon? Will they work? Yin and Yan? Acupressure? They’ve been known about for centuries. Of course they work.

Don’t they?

Boots, whose own brand product this is but made by Sea-Band, don’t seem quite so sure. No mention of trials or percentages of people that find these work. Using words like ‘believe’ in the blurb, too. Using “many people believe” is the same as “lots of unqualified peoples’ opinion”.

Not being an actual scientist chap I could be wrong, but I didn’t realise that Yin and Yan were ions. I thought that ions were ions. After a quick look at the all-knowing Wikipedia, there is in fact positive and negative ions, but they’re not called Yin and Yan and whether they are positive or negative ions depends on how many electrons they have compared to how many protons.

So, if I follow these directions…

A band must be worn on each wrist with the button placed over the Nei Kuan point.

To find this point place your middle three fingers on the inside of each wrist with the edge of the third finger on the first wrist crease.

The correct point is just under the edge of your index finger and between the two central tendons. Position the button face downwards over the Nei Kuan point.
Can be worn while sleeping.

These elasticated bands with a nylon nobble on them will alter how many electrons my ions have and bring me back to balance and stop my travel sickness in our Mazda 5.

I’m not so sure it’s gonna work. But for a one-time payment of £7.99, I’ll give it a go. I’m willing to have my skeptic head turned inside out with a result that may not be quite what I expect.

I’ll keep you updated.

*if you have any other suggestions, apart from those rubber things that you dangle from the back of the car, then let me know in the comments

For the record:

Fibre content:
Acrylic: 64.2%
Nylon: 24.2%
Elastane: 11.6%

being denied the right to ‘self-association’

August 24th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Dear Fellow Patriot,

Uh-oh. Here we go.

Imagine a country where high-handed police chiefs abuse their powers to stop the native people celebrating their own culture and traditions.

OK. I’m imagining, but it’s quite hard to imagine that when the last time I went morris dancing, in the street no less, the police rather enjoyed the show. It’s quite hard to imagine when up and down the country there are folk events going on all over the place, with the police not even bothering to turn up. I wonder what traditions and what part of our culture Fat Nick thinks he can’t do that anybody else can?

Imagine a country where busybody local council bureaucrats use petty regulations to harass campaigners for the rights of the indigenous people and prevent them holding perfectly peaceful festivals at which the older generation seek to transmit knowledge of their culture and heritage to youngsters.

Those petty regulations aren’t used because of the festival per se, but because of the crowds of demonstrators that turn up as well. Creating chaos in the local area and annoying the local population even more than having wankers get lagered up in a field.

Imagine a country where it is ‘illegal’ for a band to perform a live song

Have they never talked to a landlord of a pub in a residential area that’s tried to get a live music licence? Obviously not.

or for a Punch and Judy Man to put on a show without a licence – a licence that is refused to opponents of the ruling regime.

Why would the Punch & Judy man be granted a license to perform, and that is what it is and not specific a Punch & Judy license, at an event that hasn’t been granted a license itself?

Imagine a country where the ruling elite uses taxpayers’ money to try to force a political party that stands for the survival of the native people to change its rules and policies with the intention of swamping it with hostile members of ethnic minorities who boast of their intentions to destroy that party and to deny its members the right to self-association.

Oh dear. Poor little racists. Having to change their rules to comply with the law. Boo-fucking-hoo.

And “self-association”? Surely they mean free association? ‘Self association’ sounds like a rather grubby thing to do at a supposedly family event. No wonder the BNP weren’t granted a license for their Red White & Blue festival of hate.

removing responsibility from the junkie

August 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

People should stop calling heroin users “junkies” or “addicts”, an influential think tank on drugs has said.

The UK Drug Policy Commission said such names stigmatised users and made it more difficult to get off drugs.

…says a page on the BBC website.

What a crock of shit.

Heroin users are called ‘junkies’ because heroin is also called Junk – by drug users. Junkies are also called ‘addicts’ because they are addicted to a substance.

Authors of the six-month report said the terms “junkie” and “addict” were distrustful and judgmental and led to feelings of low self-worth among drug users.

The feelings of low self-worth are caused by the drug. Any term used to describe a junkieis going to have negative connatations because of how junkies behave.

They said these hostile attitudes only added to the stigma of drug addiction and made it harder for users to give up.

I would argue that these hostile attitudes also prevent a fair number of people from taking heroin in the first place.

Colin Blakemore of Oxford University, one of the report’s authors, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme drug addicts faced stigma “as damaging as similar attitudes to gay people, and people with mental health issues, were 30 years ago”.

And that’s a bad thing how? There may be many factors determining whether someone take drugs or not, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual. It is a choice. People don’t choose to be gay, and you’d have to be mantal to actually want a mental health issue of any sort. Gay and people with mental health problems don’t have to spunk a great wodge of cash they don’t have on being gay or being er, mental. They can be for free.

He added that hostility towards drug addicts failed to recognise how difficult it was for them to quit, describing what they faced as “chemical bondage”.

No it doesn’t. It recognises that the vast majority of mainliners are untrustworthy to some degree or other. Don’t give an addict an ultimatum between you and the drugs. The drugs will win.

“The crux of this problem, I’m afraid, is the persistent view that drug addiction is the problem of the addict,” he said.

For fucks sake. Who’s fucking problem is it then, if it’s not the addicts’ problem? Society at large, I suppose.

I’m all for liberalising drug laws and spending money rehab rather than prison, treating drug addiction from a public heath direction rather than criminal, but lets not remove responsibility from the user for getting hooked in the first place or try and hide what a fucking awful life being a heroin addict is.

Yes, I know there are always exceptions to the dirty skank junkie, and prostitues that get hooked because of their pimps etc.

Oi! Dave! You wanna have a word with this guy

August 4th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink


Not sure what to make of this…

The world of philanthropy got a huge financial boost today as more than 30 American billionaires pledged to give away at least half of their fortunes to charitable causes, signing up to a campaign launched by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

As the article states, Buffett alone is worth $47 billion.

What, though, has prompted this? Have they finally realised that their children will have a secure future without having to worry about a thing with a fraction of that? Did these guys get out a calculator and realise that they could never spend it all?

Of course, not to put a dampener on the gesture, the pledge isn’t binding, but well, it’s a start. Maybe the next step is to make people realise they don’t need to amass these large fortunes in the first place.

I tell you what though, if Warren Buffett can persuade these guys to give away half their fortunes, maybe David Cameron should have word with him to get some of our rich people to help out with his Big Society plans.

Crap tag lines

August 4th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

What sort of tag line is that…?

Living Our Values & Ethics

I’m guessing it’s supposed to be all corporate responsibility but it’s a bit rubbish. After all, who doesn’t live according to their values and ethics?

It doesn’t even give you a clue as to what those ethics and values are, although it’s probably a big list that doesn’t fit on a shipping bag.

It’ll be about recycling and paying a fair price to their suppliers. You know, the things that are all the rage at the moment, that they didn’t give a shit about a few years ago and, like most companies, wouldn’t care again if they thought the public didn’t.

If you’re not ‘living your ethics and values’ you’re either lying or living a lie.

Paul Dacre: Annual Report of Editors Code of Practice Committee 2009-10

August 1st, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Is this supposed to be an annual report?

THE Press lives by disclosure. And so, as an industry, we can’t complain when caught in the headlights of public scrutiny. Nor do we. It is healthy, and we welcome it.


What seems to have upset them are ads that the Indy has been running along the lines of “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will.” Brooks apparently rang Simon Kelner, the editor-in-chief and now chief executive of the Indy to complain that dog does not eat dog in Fleet Street.

That means that editors and owners do not attack each other in person – not their politics, their finances or their private lives. Remember the running battle, later patched up, between the Daily Mail and the once-mighty Daily Express over the former’s habit of referring (correctly) to Express owner Richard Desmond as a pornographer? That sort of thing.)

Indeed, in a particularly onerous year for searching examinations of press self regulation, the beam has not been shone solely externally – via a lengthy inquiry by the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee – but also from within.

As well as the Code Committee’s annual review of the Code of Practice, a Governance Review panel has been looking at the work of the Press Complaints Commission – both processes in which the public was encouraged to engage.

A particularly onerous year? A PPC code review, a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry and a governance review.

One happens annually so it’s not like it snuck up and surprised them, another was brought on by themselves but shouldn’t have caused too much bother if those involved had turned up and answered the questions truthfully and the third was going happen sooner or later. Excuse me if I don’t really give a shit.

We learn a lot from the public and other responses to such exercises. Much of it is constructive and helpful. But, alarmingly, many of the submissions expose a huge ignorance about how self-regulation works – often from those who should know better, in Parliament, in self-appointed media accountability groups and, more generally, in the blogosphere.

Myths abound and occasionally prejudice, too. Many mindsets remain firmly locked. Our mission is not just to improve the Code and the system of self-regulation, but to transform people’s understanding – or misunderstanding – of how it works.

For example, a doctor wrote to the Code Committee with a potential remedy for what he saw, quite sincerely, as the ills of Press self-regulation. He wondered politely if it might be a good idea if the PCC recruited lay members on to its adjudicating panel, as does the General Medical Council. When we explained that PCC lay commissioners outnumbered editors by ten to seven, he was genuinely surprised; not least, perhaps, because the GMC has only 50% lay membership.

Any chance of a quote, even an anonymous quote, from an MP, a blogger or from one of the ‘self appointed media-accountability groups’? Anthing? No?

And what’s the difference between a ‘self appointed media accountability group’ and the PCC? Oh, yes. One has no vested interest within the press itself.

But the myth persists that the Press is the sole judge in its own court and that editors sit in on hearings about their own or sister newspapers. They don’t. They leave the room and take no part.

Just because an editor has no official part in an adjudication, doesn’t mean he has no influence. The others doing the adjudicating will be well aware of how they might also be harshly treated too.

Another fable is that the Code Committee Chairman also runs the PCC. In fact, the Code Committee is an industry body that writes, reviews and revises the Code, which the PCC – as an entirely separate and independent entity within the self-regulatory system, with its own eminent Chairman – administers. As Code Committee Chairman, I have no role in the PCC or its deliberations, nor would I wish to have.


But I remain more committed than ever to the belief that if Britain’s magazine and newspaper editors are to be locked into self-regulation, both in spirit and practice, then they must set their own code. The shame of censure by their peers is far greater for editors than that resulting from any penalty imposed by an outside body – which most papers would devote considerable ingenuity into trying to circumvent.

The shame of censure by their peers? Is that really as bad as Dacre makes out? If so why did these two have to go to court?

Regarding the Commission, it is worth pointing out that the lay representation within the UK press system is the highest of any European press council. But then, the Editors’ Code itself is widely copied internationally and a European Commissioner has praised The Editors’ Codebook, which acts as a public guide to how the system works in practice, as a leading exemplar of its kind.

Just because something is being copied doesn’t make it good. It usually just means what is being copied is the least worst.

As for the Select Committee, its report itself made some very positive and useful points, especially in relation to defamation law and legal costs, but it didn’t do itself justice by suggesting that newspapers guilty of breaching the Code should be suspended for a day and that fines should be imposed. The first suggestion would bring joy to Robert Mugabe. The second would have Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne rubbing their greedy hands with glee. It cannot be said too often that the imposition of sizable fines would result in complainants and particularly the press having to use lawyers to defend their interests – signalling the death of a FREE fast system of complaints adjudication.

Well, what about that? Dacre invoking the modern day version of Godwins’ Law in the spirit of Mugabe. If a independent regulatory body was able to impose a sanction of suspending publication for a day or two then it would be after investigation and have to be independent from government and also the press themselves. This is a little different from someone in power imposing a ban on a publication because of taking a dislike to the previous days headline.

The current system may be free but that doesn’t make it any good. Don’t the lawyers already get involved when anything more than an insincere apology is required or deserved? And what sort of regulatory organisation negotiates it’s sanctions?
As for fast? I put it that the average case time is months, not weeks, which is appalling when it is peoples reputations and lives affected by what is written by the press. How can that be an effective form of justice when the apology and/or correction appears so long after the article appears that no one connects the two.

As I’ve noted, many of the submissions to the Code Review, to the PCC Governance Panel or indeed, some parts of the Select Committee’s Report sadly perpetuate opinions founded more in prejudice and preconception than fact.

The sadness is that much of this criticism simply misses the point, for it is an ineluctable truth that many provincial newspapers and some nationals are now in a near-terminal economic condition.

If our critics spent as much zeal trying to help reverse this tragic situation and work out how good journalism – which is, by its nature, expensive – is going to survive financially in an internet age, then democracy and the public’s right to know would be much better served.

What has the decline of local and some national papers got to do with how they are regulated? Why should anything apart from a private company put effort into making sure that that private company survive? Why should customers tell a company how to make a profit?

There is also no logic in Dacres argument here: We shouldn’t fine papers for reporting lies and falsehoods, smear and libel, because it would hurt the industry that has failed to get a grip of the internet. Maybe, it would be better to report the truth and not make things up as a way of avoiding fines? That way there would be more money in the kitty to pay for this expensive journalism.

Certainly, the critics of self-regulation are entitled to expect more of us and we must continue to develop the Code and explain better how it works. But, by the same test, we are also entitled to expect more of many of our detractors in Parliament and in these self-appointed media accountability groups.

What right does Dacre think he has to expect anything of these groups?

They will probably never concede the truth, which is that the PCC has over the years been a great success story. Britain’s newspapers are infinitely better behaved than they were two decades ago. Yes, the industry can do more to improve standards. We will rise to our challenge. If our critics will rise to theirs, today’s often-corrosive debate could become instead tomorrow’s constructive way forward.

The truth is that the papers behaviour has improved. What is conjecture is whether the PCC has had a hand in this or not. What is the challenge of the critics? The critics aren’t mandated to anyone.

THREE changes to clarify and strengthen the Code were introduced in 2009, covering Privacy, Harassment and the Public Interest.

The Privacy Clause (3) was expanded to make clear that the PCC will take into account relevant previous disclosures by the complainant, which codifies the Commission’s existing practice.

The Harassment Clause (4) introduced a requirement for journalists in situations where harassment could become an issue to identify themselves, if requested to do so. This followed an external submission to the Code Review, which accorded with most current custom and practice.

The Public Interest exceptions were amended so that the test would be whether the editor had a reasonable belief at the time that his or her action was in the public interest. This modification, taken in accordance with recent legal developments, means editors must now demonstrate that they had good reason to believe their intrusion was justified. We believe these changes will further consolidate existing good practice into the Code.

FINALLY, the Code Committee has undergone a sea change in the last 12 months. Six members stepped down, some after many years’ service. They were: Adrian Faber, of the Express and Star, Wolverhampton; Mike Gilson, then of The Scotsman; Doug Melloy, of the Rotherham and South Yorkshire Advertiser; David Pollington of the Sunday Post; Alan Rusbridger, of The Guardian, and Neil Wallis, of the News of the World. I thank them all for their commitment and wisdom, which has been invaluable.

We welcomed in their place: Damian Bates, Evening Express, Aberdeen (Scottish Newspaper Society); Colin Grant, Iliffe News and Media East (Newspaper Society); Geordie Greig, Evening Standard (Newspaper Publishers Association); Mike Sassi, Staffordshire Sentinel News and Media (NS); Hannah Walker, South London Press (NS); and Richard Wallace, Daily Mirror (NPA). They join Neil Benson, Trinity Mirror Regional Newspapers (Newspaper Society); Jonathan Grun, Press Association (NPA); Ian Murray, Southern Evening Echo (NS);June Smith-Sheppard, Pick Me Up magazine (Periodical Publishers Association); Harriet Wilson, Conde-Nast Publications (PPA); and John Witherow, Sunday Times (NPA).

It is a team of great experience in every reach of print journalism and I’m very pleased to have them on board to help face the many challenges ahead.

Paul Dacre
July 2010

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