and the truth shall set you free!

From teddy-bears to dumplings, from Toys r’Us to Mattel, the list of stories which condemn Chinese manufacturing firms, along with their attitude towards responsible production methods, grows longer every day. Even the Fed’s Drug AGency got involved three years ago when they realised that the Certification for the Chinese factory which produced half of all Heparin in use in America referred to a factory in another Chinese City.

When the Chinese Government woke up to the fact that there were lots more people who had cash to buy things, they tried, belatedly, to impose an ethical system setting standards for, amongst other things, powdered milk for baby foods. They imposed strict limits for minimum protein content for that milk powder, without unfortunately imposing equally strict limits upon the need for the powder to be made from milk alone! So the Chinese, always quick to spot an even easier way of making a buck, found that if the milk supplied to the factories was mixed with Melamine, a plastic resin, the protein content rocketed, and they got paid more money. Unfortunately, they believed that Melamine was an inert substance, but equally unfortunately for the thousands of babies and very young children, they were wrong. 300,000 babies were hospitalized, six died and many suffered kidney problems.

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese ‘artist’, won a commission for one of his creations to be set in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, opposite St. Pauls Cathedral. As his idea was to lay 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds on the Hall floor, and then have visitors walk over them, presumably all exclaiming “how wonderful!” as they did so, he went to China and arranged for the manufacture of the aforementioned 100,000,000 porcelain beads, each of which had then to be ‘hand-painted’ to represent a sunflower seed. ‘Picky’ might be the term for an artist such as Ai Weiwei, who leaves no detail too small, because everything must be just right, because after all, this is ‘Art’, this is ‘Culture’, and no expense must be spared! It is a pity that the Turbine Hall had been declared ‘off-limits’ to visitors’ feet within days of the exhibit opening in October, as there were fears that ‘ceramic dust’ created by enthusiastic visitors’ feet was a possible health hazard. Without going into too much detail about ceramic engineering and manufacture, I can state that the ‘Ceramic dust’ explanation was, quite simply ‘Bollocks’!

It now seems as though our Chinese artist had too been a little haphazard with his choice of ‘sunflower seed’ manufacturer, as the paint used for the “hand-painted” seeds was just a little heavy, heavy that is in the proportion of Lead used in the ‘careful’ decoration of those 100 million seeds!

Each imitation seed was sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen, we are told. Yep, and Blair never lied about IRAQ either!

I bet Will Gompertz is equally worried about the health hazards to all those Chinese ‘workers’ who allegedly individually made and ‘hand-painted’ those 100 million ceramic seeds.

X-posted from A Tangled Web

So it is true; Ye haven’t Gone Away, y’know!

Some bloggers and sites have picked up the strange and grotesque news about the Sinn Fein/IRA about-to-be-canonised leader Gerry Adams and his none-job as an M.P. at Westminster, others have not, but i thought I’d bring it out for an airing on my bandwidth, and see what, and if, anyone has anything to say. To say, that is, in the bounds of decent conversation and debate of course.

I have my own thoughts and opinions on the very existence of this person, but leaving those aside for a moment, I would share with you an e-mail letter I wrote yesterday to my M.P. :-

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Dear Roberta Blackman-Woods,

I write with reference to the alleged resignation of Gerry Adams M.P.
from the House of Commons. Despite the fact that he has never taken his
seat to represent his constituents, he was elected to be the Member of
Parliament for West Belfast.

Now I may have missed the announcement of the Constitutional Changes
which allow Members to resign, but I was always of the belief that the
only way that an M.P. could in fact be relieved of his seat by his own
volition was for the Member to apply for, and be granted, the Crown
Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds. This would ensure that the Member
was employed by the Crown, and was therefore disqualified of
Memebership of the Commons by this device.

The character and past history of this M.P. notwithstanding, and some
would aver that that past history gives some idea of the character of
the man, I was wondering if you could raise this point with the
relevant Parliamentary Authorities, so as to clarify the standing of
this M.P., and thus the Dail or Parliament of the Republic of Ireland
would also be advised as to this man’s standing and present employment.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Cunningham

Some gravy on your carrots?

The spokesman added: ‘South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust would like to reassure older people receiving care services that most domiciliary care workers are 100 per cent committed to providing a high standard of care as evidenced during the recent severe weather conditions.
‘There are stringent policies and procedures in place to protect vulnerable people and that domiciliary care providers are tightly regulated by the Regulation And Quality Improvement Authority.’

Well, I just bet that Ivy McCluskey’s relatives are really reassured by those words of comfort!

Aunty is talking; take heed, or else!

Good Morning, Kiddiewinkies.

Are we sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin!

We are going to be discussing numbers this morning, but you won’t need your pencils.

An approximation of the population numbers within the United Kingdom give a total of 62,000,000.

Subtract 2 million from that number; the 2 million being of the muslim persuasion, and therefore allegedly not partaking of booze.

Split up the remaining 60 million into component parts, these being the very young, children and young(er) adults, young adults, mature adults, the elderly and the old. Let us then assume that the numbers represented by Young Adults total some 15 million, again as an approximation. From that 15 million we should then subtract 14 million who either do not drink, or drink, shall we stipulate responsibly?

So we are left with 1 million who are presumed to drink heavily, get legless or binge on the booze. One million young adults, all of whom abuse their bodily systems to a point where they lose control of their faculties, get drunk on an extremely regular basis every week, and just do not seem even to care!

That number is shocking, but not unexpected, as we have all seen the pictures of the stupid and the silly, partially legless young men and women vomiting in the gutters of our towns and cities, or gracing (if that is the correct term) the Casualty and A&E departments of our hospitals.

But would anyone accept that a rise in the number of young people admitted to hospital from 230 in 2001, to 351 in 2010 is a disaster in the making?
Not too many, but the BBC Today programme did, joyously linking it with the proposed minimum price for booze in shops and supermarkets which was discussed earlier this month.

That is a figure to conjure with; a huge total of 121 idiots this year alone extra admitted to hospital suffering from symptoms of alcohol abuse. My word, the tsunami is almost upon us!

‘Only in England!’

We are advised, courtesy of the Beeb Website, that a park in Luton had been cordoned off, as policemen are wanting to speak to a man who is believed to be armed.

As a commentary, below the actual facts being given, are the words “It’s a popular area and dog walkers are complaining about the situation.”

In other words, forget about the poor bugger seated on the ground surrounded by Heckler & Koch machine pistol-toting policemen dressed of course in black, with personnel numbers obscured, forget about the possibility of either a suicide-bent terrorist, or even some poor lost soul who is confused and mentally-ill; as long as we get the dogs exercised, and be allowed to crap all over the grass (the dogs that is!). We have to get our priorities correct!

I would have thought that the most remarkable statement in the news piece is that there is a Park in Luton!

Big Brother Danny has spoken!

I have always been vaguely envious of James Delingpole. He writes for both the Telegraph and the Spectator, he is published in a wide strata of endeavour, and his prose, when he is commenting upon the vagaries of man, is nothing short of undiluted suphuric acid. But he even surpassed my standards of acidic comment this morning on the BBC Today programme.

He was part of a discussion where warm regard was being ladled over the words of the new BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, whose stated aim was to bring out ‘working class’ comedy, as the ‘middle classes had dominated BBC airwaves for too long. Now one might argue about Mr. Cohen’s thesis, in that the comedy previously broadcast had been ‘working’ or ‘middle’ or even ‘upper’; mainly because I always thought the aim of comedy was to be funny.

But Delingpole’s attack started much higher up the totem pole, as he commented that the words of Cohen reminded him of the need to do away with the licence fee altogether. ‘Here we had,’ he stated, ‘the Stalinist policies of the BBC writ large’. The Controller has spoken, and therefore all will be changed immediately. The Stalinist policies have spoken, and from this moment, no more ‘middle class tractors will be made, or middle class comedies produced. The word had come down from the North London eyries that all must change, and becasue he has spoken, all will and must change’!

Of course I paraphrase Mr. Delingpole’s comments, but the gist was truly wonderful, true and heaven to listen to. Oh, for a magic wand, to transpose someone of his character and belief into a commanding position in Government, who would casually state to the ‘Impartial BBC’, “Change your ways, or you yourselves shall indeed be changed!” Alas, that day is indeed a long, long way away!

Of such are wars won.

We are reminded today of the passing of one of the many unsung heroes of Britain, one of those who fought without ever spilling blood; but without whom it is said that the war would have lasted another two years at least. He was John Herivel, a mathematician, cypher and coding expert, Belfast-born and founder member of Bletchley Park’s Hut 6.
He was the one man who, because he put himself into the minds and ways of the enemy, realised that they were, for the most part, just ordinary people; and because they were so ordinary, could therefore be relied upon to act like ordinary people do. In other words, most of us are set in our habits, and because we are lazy, try to do the minimum neccessary to achieve the desired result.

Herivel’s team’s task was to decipher the Enigma ‘Red’ cipher by hand, before the formidable mechanical-electronic ‘bombes’ invented by the genius of Alan Turing made the cracking of any cipher a little easier. Herivel, as I said, tried to think like an German signals operator who was setting up his machine first thing in the morning, and imagined the tired man, possibly hung-over or sleep-deprived in his first movements. The manner in which the Enigma cypher machine made its initial settings known to the recipient was dependent upon a three-letter combination, and the operator had to move the rotor and key settings according to the initial choice. He reasoned that a lazy or tired man might move the combination as little as possible, to gain some time before he could complete the rest of the setting tasks, and he then realised that, if the three letter combination was little different to the settings from the previous day, the possibilities came down from 17,576 to a couple of dozen combinations.

The speed with which the Enigma ‘Red’ cypher was broken was proven during the invasion of France, when it was guessed that the German operators were under continual pressure, and prone to making, not mistakes but moves which could more easily be guessed, and so the ‘Herivel Tip’ was proven, and history was changed forever.

He married Elizabeth Maude Jones in 1947, who died in 2005, and is survived by two daughters. Herivel; now that is a name to be remembered, as with so many of his compatriots; a story of simple genius and devotion to one’s Country; not a politician, not a consultant, but an unarmed warrior and patriot.

X-posted from A Tangled Web