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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 07/08/2011 : 11:27
Stanley, thanks for writing such a succinct presentation of what amounts to my own views exactly. It's still the Old Boy's Club out there, protecting their own interests and we don't have to be Marxists to be able to recognise it. Their system is failing but they're going to stick with it and milk it for all it's worth.

The greed of senior managers in financial institutions has wrecked the economy and is destabilising the state. We can't even afford proper policing now and you've only got to look at last night's riots in Tottenham to see where that's leading. I don't condone rioting but we shouldn't be surprised by it under the present conditions. When you consider what the banking executives were allowed to get away with it's no wonder some people think it's OK for them to smash shop windows and steal TVs. The banks set a bad example.

EDIT: Something more I forgot to mention earlier but brought on by the riots. Ordinary folk are losing confidence in the police, whether it's justified or not. If the police stand by as riots go on then more confidence in them will be lost and the rioters will gain confidence and assume that they can do as they like. If we're not careful we'll get a `Hitler moment' in our history as the only people who exert control begin to emerge as the far right wing. Then it will be those people rioting and looting now who will be in uniform and brandishing batons...and they won't be holding back. Action is needed now if we are going to prevent this happening. It's no good saying "It'll never happen here".

Edited by - Tizer on 07/08/2011 12:45:29


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 08/08/2011 : 05:35
Thanks Tiz. I had much the same thoughts as you looking at the riots on TV last night. The racists will immediately note that many of them were what they call 'Non Ethnics' and latch on to immigration as the cause. The politicians will fulminate against criminal elements exploiting the situation for their own advantage. Meanwhile, ordinary people like the beautiful black lady who wasn't afraid to face the cameras and say that the community had lost faith in the police, that the ordinary people are being ignored and giving the example of a successful Youth Activitoes Centre shut because of the ConDem cuts are probably closer to the truth.

If we rear a generation in an atmosphere where greed is good and goes unpunished and consumption is the mark of worth in society  and then deprive them of education and opportunity we create a powder keg. There were more riots last night in London. I warned a while ago that I feared a reaction to the scale and the target of the cuts. I hope I am not being proved correct.

I woke this morning with this in my head:

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

       THE SECOND COMING

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

All right, I'm old and pessimistic but I've seen all this before and like you it makes me fearful. We are repeating the mistakes of the Inter War years and might reap a similar whirlwind.

 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 08/08/2011 : 05:37
PS. Just been announced that the bullet found in the police radio that was cited as evidence the man in the taxi had used a firearm has been identified as police issue. There are some questions to be answered there I think.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 08/08/2011 : 11:49
Only "initial forensic tests" at the moment, they are waiting for confirmation. If it is a police round then I suppose it could be a richochet, slowed down and therefore able to lodge in the radio rather than go through it. But that doesn't tell us whether or not Duggan shot at the police.

Interesting data from the High Pay Commission:
"Directors at the UK's top companies are retiring on pensions of about £175,000 a year, a survey has said. The High Pay Commission (HPC) said FTSE 100 directors received pensions of up to 29 times the rest of the workforce. It comes at a time when many employee pension schemes are being closed or becoming less generous. The HPC said about 97% of FTSE 350 firms have kept open company-sponsored schemes for directors, but only one-third have stayed open for workers. Many directors were now getting cash supplements in lieu of pension payments, HPC chairwoman Deborah Hargreaves told the BBC. "Employees are being called on to cut back as employers cut costs. What we are highlighting is that directors are looking after themselves," she said. "  (BBC web site)

I'm glad to hear Carol Vorderman stirring up some discussion about how we teach maths to kids, it's daft to teach trigonometry and algebra to kids who haven't even learnt how to handle fractions and percentages. Most of us don't have to cope with trig and algebra in everyday life but we do need to have a grasp of fractions and percentages; we encounter these all the time even though we might not realise it and today's children will need them even more. Fewer people might get trapped by ridiculous high interest rates on credit cards etc if they understood percentages. You also need them to understand the daily news of what's going on in the world and to make the judgements needed to play a part in a democratic society.

Edited by - Tizer on 08/08/2011 12:00:14


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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 08/08/2011 : 14:47


quote:
Tizer wrote:

I'm glad to hear Carol Vorderman stirring up some discussion about how we teach maths to kids, it's daft to teach trigonometry and algebra to kids who haven't even learnt how to handle fractions and percentages. Most of us don't have to cope with trig and algebra in everyday life but we do need to have a grasp of fractions and percentages; we encounter these all the time even though we might not realise it and today's children will need them even more. Fewer people might get trapped by ridiculous high interest rates on credit cards etc if they understood percentages. You also need them to understand the daily news of what's going on in the world and to make the judgements needed to play a part in a democratic society.


BBC are doing a part in raising the awareness of mathematics in the real world with their current program "The Code". Is anyone else watching this?

Last episode this week. Fascinating stuff, program contains a treasure hunt for a unique prize that followers of the program can compete for with the mathematical challenges that are within the series and on the supporting website. There are a couple of Facebook groups that have been set up for the collaborative challenges that are part of the hunt as well. First one was to provide photographic evidence in the real world of all the prime numbers between 2 and 2011. This task has now been completed revealing 3 clues along the way towards completing the weekly codebreakers for the treasure hunt. Innovative TV with mass audience participation.

I am currently up to date with all the maths problems that have been set and am fairly confident that I have the correct answers. One more week to go then the password outputs can be inputted into the "ultimate challenge", finalists from this will get to compete for the trophy which has been custom designed and produced as a "one off" using 3D printing and wax casting methods. The trophy up for grabs is a solid silver and bronze representation of the 5 Platonic Solids nested inside each other and as such is unique and priceless.

Still time to get involved if it takes your fancy, maybe this should have been in the Good TV thread but it was the maths angle in your post that puts it here.

Program is on Wednesdays at 9.00pm

BBC The Code Website

Facebook Page - BBC Code

Facebook Page - Crack the Code - collaborative page for followers of series and challenges

 

 


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 08/08/2011 : 19:42
Thanks, Ian. We've recorded the programmes and will be watching them eventually. There certainly seems to be some good TV at the moment.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/08/2011 : 04:32
All good and pertinent posts. My island of sanity is the shed and I can't function in there without basic maths. Try working out dividing and gear-cutting without basic maths. I have said for over 40 years that the tragedy of our education has been under investment in the early years. All the studies show that if nothing else, it pays off in future crime figures. It's a sad commentary that we had a more level playing field in education 60 years ago than we have now. Far to much attention is paid to higher ed, it's the early years that make the most difference.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 09/08/2011 : 10:30
Agreed. Instead of "education, education, education" the mantra should be "early years, early years, early years". In general terms, and especially for health, the future is set during the infant stage - some of it is already set during pregancy and even leading up to conception.

As for maths, it would be interesting if one of the TV companies were to make a programme comparing the abilities of children in Britain and India. It might highlight the problem and the way we are sliding behind other nations.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 10/08/2011 : 05:47
I think it's been done Tiz. The downside is that there is a high suicide rate amongst Asian students, including those at UK universities. Failure isn't seen as an option.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 15/08/2011 : 08:42
I had to come back on the site to comment on my trepidation as I listen to commentators and politicians talking about 'gang culture'. The thing that strikes me is that they are all talking about the criminal activities of street gangs. The decision has evidently been taken in the higher echelons that this is where the problem is. I disagree. If they are going to look at gangs why don't we start with the financial gangs who combine to fall on an ailing economy and extract profit from it. The gangs of energy providers who manipulate the market for gain. What are the BNP and the EDL but street gangs. There is even the gang culture of the advertising industry who feed off each other in their efforts to convince us that consumption is good and 'We are worth it'.

Punishment of all young people is not the answer. This isn't to say that criminal behaviour should be ignored but that all 'gang members' are not tarred with the same brush.

Did you hear Boris Johnson getting nailed in a radio interview yesterday when he was asked how the punishment being meted out in the courts compared with an incident where a pub in Oxford was wrecked and the miscreants were let off with an £80 fixed penalty and restitution for the damage? Turned out that the researchers had turned up an incident where Boris and other members of the Bullingdon Club were involved. Boris skated rapidly round that one but the damage had been done.

Where are these young pepople getting their examples? Could it be that seeing what is happening in society and being deprived of good education, opportunity and jobs triggers off alternative routes to the 'good life'. Is this the root of our vapid celebrity culture? Are Jordan and Peter Andre the modern aspirational goal?

In my youth we got a good but sometimes limited basic education on the grounds we needed to be useful workers, we had to be able to do mantal arithmetic, read and comprehend and  be able to write clearly. We all knew that the day we left school we went into work, badly paid and not always a career path but at leasst we learned about punctuality, discipline in the work place and eventually found avenues that suited us which we could pursue. There was no gap year, no break, we just got up earlier and worked. I am convinced that this seamless transition from childhood to the adult world was good for us. We were exposed to older mentors and serious social learning. This ethos is long gone and I sincerely believe that the combination of the loss of this transition into work and the bombardment from all sides of dubious examples is at the root of the probems we face in society. It may not have been celebrity and entrance to a consumer society but it served most of us well. 

These are the sorts of things our leaders should be concentrating on, the problems are society's fault for neglecting the young for many years. As my mate Bob Smith once said,"We've plaited sawdust for too long and now the pigeons are coming home to roost!"


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 16/08/2011 : 10:12
I too heard Boris nailed and I got a lot of satisfaction from it. When we lived for a while in a small Oxfordshire town we were shocked when the local restaurant was trashed by a visiting group of young student toffs on a night out from Oxford University, either Bullingdon Club members again or very similar types. No excuse, they just assume it's alright for them to do it. I agree about the other `gangs' and the bad example they set. We're losing confidence in the large organisations whether they be private companies like banks and insurance firms or organisations such as the police, not to mention the MPs.


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handlamp
Senior Member


1100 Posts
Posted - 16/08/2011 : 15:05
I hope `Our Dave' visits this site - your penultimate paragraph in Stanley's post above should be showing him where to go in his efforts to sort things out.   


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 17/08/2011 : 05:38
I'm glad you agree, thanks. We may be forming a Gang Of Three!

The basic problem in government is that the 'toffs' are in control in all the parties. They know nothing about the grass roots of society, that's why Cameron employed Coulson in the first place, he needed someone who understood the 85% and what influenced them. I go back to my suggestion of graded stipends for MPs decided by a Means Test. The more personal wealth they have, the less pay and vice versa. We are back in the 18th century where a personal fortune and connections are the route to power.  The consquence is that policy is directed to appeal to the establishment not the workers in the engine room which actually drives the economy and society.

If you want an indication of the way things are going look at the draconian sentences being handed out in the corts. 4 years in gaol for Facebook messages which were not responded to, 18 months for having a stolen TV in the boot of your car. Many of these will go to appeal and be reduced whan calm prevails because they are so obviously out of kilter with normal sentencing which is admittedly too light. The Hang 'em and Flog 'em Brigade will be popping up shortly. We've already seen a demand to bring back National Service. It all reminds me of the way the politicians buggered up council housing whan they made them the sink for 'difficult families' instead of a reward for the best candidates for tenancies. Do they see the army as some sort of Foreign Legion? What effect will this view have on serving soldiers?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 29/09/2011 : 09:41

SITREP SEPTEMBER 28 2011

It's 05:00 and I have been forced out of my routine by the fact that I have no internet connection. Not a reason for panic, we have known for a long time that a major upgrade was imminent in our local exchange to improve connection speeds and of late there have been intermittent drop outs, until I hear anything different, I assume this is one of them.

I suspect that most people wouldn't regard this as disruption because they are all snoring gently in their beds but as many of you know, after a life time of early rising I have what some might see as a slightly eccentric sleep pattern, I am in bed by 22:00, sleep like a log for six hours and am usually up at 04:00. I make up for it by almost always having two hours sleep in the afternoon after my mid-day four mile walk and lunch. I find that the early morning is an ideal time for attending to my mail, maintenance work on the website and posting any contributions I have. By 06:00 I am ready for the first walk of the day as soon as it gets light enough and then on with the day which at the moment is not sitting writing but making two steam engines in the shed. But, as I said, this morning is different so how to fill the time? I decided that it was a good opportunity to write a NOP that has been floating round in my head for a few days.

It's the Economy Stupid! I have been watching the chaos and trying to make sense of it, I suspect I am not alone. Over sixty years ago I can remember riding on the tram from Stockport to Manchester, about 7 miles of city streets, and wondering where all the money had come from to build the rows of shops and houses that lined the main road. I knew that behind what I could see from the top deck of the tram there was a vast expanse of factories and residential housing. I also knew that we had just bought a house for almost £1000 so I had a tenuous idea of the scale of the investment I was looking at. How could so much money exist? Where had it come from? Who decided how it was distributed?

As I got older I noticed the slum properties in Stockport, saw children running round in the street almost naked, wearing just a vest. I also noticed the shops full of goods at what seemed to me to be enormous prices. Later I became aware of the big houses in the more affluent areas of the district and slowly began to realise that there were some very poor people and some extremely rich ones. We used to visit Lyme Park, a large estate which Stockport Corporation had bought and ran as a leisure facility and it was a bit of a shock when I first realised that the enormous house, bigger than Stockport Town Hall, was originally a family home! One family had a 3,000 acre garden complete with a deer herd and more bedrooms than you could poke a stick at. My education was advancing but this distribution of wealth was still a mystery to me.

Here I get into difficulty because I have no way of knowing whether the questions that nattered me were common to my peers. We certainly never talked about them and I secretly wondered whether I was out of step with my world and kept quiet in case I was found out and ridiculed. I can remember walking home from school aged about eight years wondering how the cake was sliced up, who decided on the shares and why some seemed to get far more than others. Even at that age, in the middle of a war and no stranger to nights in the Anderson Shelter listening to bombs falling all round, these thoughts were troubling me. I leave it to you to decide if I was 'normal'.

The war ended, my working life began and I was soon engaged in my own economic struggle to house, feed and care for a family. This was mainly as a long distance trucker and one thing that is often missed about life in the cab is that it is a paradox, whilst being totally free in that I was in control it was also perfect imprisonment in solitary confinement. I soon gained the facility to drive efficiently on automatic pilot and allow my mind to wander in thought. This was how I spent about twenty years of my life. In later years my old mentor David Moore said that what he couldn't understand was why the top of my head didn't blow off. He understood what I was talking about and was the first person to reassure me that I was not 'strange' just intelligent and inquisitive. He also warned me to keep quiet about it because it might frighten the horses!

One of the advantages about driving large vehicles is that you are sat high up and have a much better view of the surrounding country. I spent hours wondering who built the roads and bridges, not the new motorways when they eventually appeared in the 1960s but the old winding roads and infrastructure. What was the mechanism that governed where settlements grew and why did some develop into major cities while others still remain as sleepy backwaters? I didn't realise it at the time but I was starting to recognise history all around me. Late on in the 1960s I had a serious accident and was off work for about six weeks and somehow learned about an author called Samuel Smiles, I put a request in to the library and soon had hold of a five volume set of 'Lives of the Engineers'. Talk about a significant moment! This was the start of the change in my life which led to divorce, further education, travel and some very interesting jobs.

So here I am, retired, reasonably well read, recognised in some quarters as an authority on obscure branches of industrial history and with access to the world via the magic of tinternetwebthingy. Guess what happens, as soon as I take my hands off the steering wheel and leave it to the others they manufacture a train wreck in slow motion! So, I have been thinking and readjusting my mind to what seems to be the new reality.

One thing I have learned over the last 75 years is that it's a good thing to identify the rabbit before you start chasing it. Get the question right before you seek the answer. If you don't you may end up in the same position as Deep Thought and come up with the answer 42! (If you haven't read Adams' Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy you are deficient!) Over the last five years I have watched the chaos rooted in greed and incompetence enabled by technologies that the Lords of the Universe in the financial institutions didn't fully understand and the parallel total inability of the world's political and economic systems to recognise the problem or do anything about it. In an effort to understand I even went back to reading history books! I looked again at the 19th century laisser faire capitalist systems, soaked up biographies and as a last resort read Marx, Das Kapital. I have to tell you that my conclusion at the moment is that the small boy riding on the tram to Manchester was on the right track. The last question Steve Constantine asked me in 1982 at the end of our marathon tour of the inter-war years was the right one. He asked us to boil down everything we had learned into one short answer. It wasn't 42! We had been chasing the correct rabbit. My answer was Distribution of Wealth.

It's very easy, when faced with a problem that seems so complex as the global economy, to get blown this way and that by the theories, the biased opinions and the complicated political agendas that result in an orgy of buck-passing and concentration on the latest manifestation of the problem. At the moment it is the inability of the EU to manage sovereign default. It is metamorphosing into questions about the concept of capitalism, questioning Friedman and his Nobel Prize and the whole can of worms of regulation of the financial Lords of the Universe. I have come to the conclusion that the root problem is the reluctance of our Lords and Masters to admit that the Western economic model of growth based on what we used to call Economic Imperialism has failed. We were not the Elect. Our economic success was not a divine gift triggered by the Protestant Work Ethic. We exploited the world's resources and gathered in wealth from all over the world with little regard for those who were left behind in the race for 'progress'. As Bob Smith once said in a meeting at Nelson and Colne College; “We've plaited sawdust for too long and now the pigeons are coming home to roost”. The funny thing was that everybody understood exactly what he meant.

Our economic model has hit the buffers. Greed is not good. The ability to consume is not the measure of worth. Our standard of living has to fall and it may be that this will mean an improvement in quality of life. The political challenge is to accept this and manage the transition to a more equitable world.

When I was a lad my mother sent me to Wycliffe Sunday School which was one of the original foundations and taught by Bible and Parable. Seventy years later one quotation rings in my ears and it's where I want to leave this piece. It may be that the meek will indeed inherit the earth.

SCG/28/09/11


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 29/09/2011 : 11:27
"It may well be that the meek will indeed inherit the earth"

Well do you think  "whoever's in charge"  could get a bit of a wiggle on please......!! ....Soooooon would be nice .
(Excellent logic Stanley , could not agree more.)



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