Archive for the ‘social behaviour’ Category

Could the latte levy kill your local?

February 13, 2018

The latest issue of Caffeine, has a lead article Could the latte levy kill your local?  It is nonsense and shows a lack of understanding of either the proposed latte levy, its impact or why it is necessary.

The simple answer to the question posed is no.

We have a simple principle, the polluter shall pay.

It is not acceptable that coffee shops externalise their costs onto the rest of society, which is what they are doing with plastic-lined coffee cups.

The 25p latte levy is not to penalise coffee shops, it is to make them pay their externalised costs, but more importantly, to change behaviour.

In the UK we are throwing away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. These coffee cups cannot be recycled. Although they appear to be paper, they are plastic lined, and therein lies the problem, these plastic lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and are adding to the growing problem of waste.

The planet is being smothered in plastic, sea life is being destroyed by plastic.

Compostable paper cups are a step in the right direction, but they are not the answer. If I have a coffee in a compostable cup, I am on my way home, I can drop on the compost heap. But if not what then? Therein lies the dilemma. It will join the general waste stream.

How long to decompose? I dropped a couple on the compost heap a few weeks ago. Not a lot a happening. It is though winter.

I would like to see a few people carry out this experiment. After use, drop compostable cups on a compost heap, monitor what happens.

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer either. Bulky, expensive and a pain to carry around.

I have yet to see anyone buy a KeepCup or clones thereof, let alone see anyone walk in a coffee shop and use one.

Conversations in coffee shops bear this out. Even when substantial discounts are on offer, take up is low.  Though this may be about to change.

I was in a coffee shop, where Frank Green cups were on sale. Ugly,  inelegant and made of plastic. I asked how much did they cost, what discount if any if used? No one knew. They did not know because no one could ever recall one being sold let alone used. They could not even find it on the till.

Where reusable coffee cups come into their own, is if targeting office workers popping out for a coffee, and only then if coupled with a substantial discount.

Compostable cups, reusable cups, are addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem of grab it and go consumerist culture.

We have to encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in ceramic or glass, make takeaway coffee socially unacceptable.

Why do we not grant coffee the respect it deserves?

We wax lyrically about the terroir. We would not dream of swigging a good wine out of a plastic-lined coffee cup. Why therefore do we not treat a good coffee with the same respect?

Those who will lose out will be the chains, not the indie coffee shops. Their businesses model is built on grab it and go undrinkable coffee.

The 25p latte levy will not be absorbed any more than the 5p plastic bag charge is absorbed. To believe otherwise is to entirely miss the point of the levy. It is there as a deterrent to change behaviour, not to penalise coffee shops or coffee drinkers.

All the indie coffee shops I have spoken to welcome the 25p latte levy, they see it to their benefit, plus they see the environmental damage caused by disposable coffee cups.

Since the policy has been proposed, it appears to have focused minds.

One coffee shop I spoke to had had KeepCups on sale for a couple of weeks, more to see how they sold, than anything else. They sold like hot cakes. The day I was there, three had been sold that day.

Another coffee shop has already changed to compostable coffee cups and will have KeepCups on sale soon.

Other coffee shops have told me they are looking into both compostable cups and KeepCups.

Four Boroughs offer a substantial discount which is a good idea, more should follow their excellent example, though I prefer the elegance of KeepCup.

Or is it simply a clever PR gimmick rather like Pret a Manger offering organic filter coffee at 49p a cup, with no reusable  cups on sale? Four Boroughs are not offering a discount if you bring in a reusable cup for a refill.

Research has shown, need to both offer KeepCup or clone thereof and a substantial discount to make any impact on reducing use of disposable cups. Either one on its own has little impact.

I recommended to a coffee shop about to open, buy in KeepCup, sell at cost as a promotion during first week, offer a discount for a refill. They are an integral part of a new bus station. Bus passengers would have been tempted and intrigued by their fellow passengers. Sadly my recommendations fell on deaf ears. Even worse they stuck up a poster telling bus passengers the coffee shop was not a waiting room, in other words bus passengers not welcome.

No one will be paying a latte levy, not if they use a compostable cup, not if they bring a cup for a refill, not if they sit and relax with a coffee served in ceramic or glass.

What we need is dialogue between baristas and clientele, as to what we must do to get rid of disposable coffee cups.

Rather than writing nonsense and showing lack of understanding of the issues, even worse asking readers to lobby Members of Parliament to oppose the latte levy, Caffeine should be urging its readers to lobby hard for the latte levy to be brought in at the next Budget.

By calling for no latte levy, Caffeine is not helping either indie coffee shops or the planet, they are working hand in glove with the chains who behind the scenes are lobbying hard to block the latte levy.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

Advertisements

The Westminster Collection

February 7, 2018

Latest scam from The Westminster Collection is the RAF 100 commemorative coin.

Delivered in an official looking envelope, with accompanying sob story of two WWII aircrew, and what better way to commemorate these brave aircrew than buying a worthless commemorative coin.

Not only that, you have even been specially selected for a discounted special offer, you and every other mug who has received the letter, fools and their money easily parted.

Veterans appear to have been targeted. Has a veteran organisation handed over details? Worrying and depressing if that be the case. But equally could be on a scam list.

The Princess Di coin scam, Falkland War coin scam and many others form what is known as the mint scam.

These are not the only scams. Vital Nature and associated companies pills and potions scam.

These worthless commemorative coins forms only part of the commemorative mint scam. The next part, if foolishly part with money, will be supplied unsolicited coins, billed if not send them back at your expense.

Send a polite letter, have not ordered unsolicited goods, will be kept for ten days then disposed of, onus on the mint to arrange collection at their expense.

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 state that unsolicited goods which have not been ordered and are sent ‘out of the blue’ can be treated as an unconditional gift; in other words, you can keep them or dispose of them as you wish. The Regulations make it a criminal offence to demand payment or threaten legal action to obtain payment for unsolicited goods or services.

If as has been reported RAF Association has endorsed this coin, the trustees should resign for legitimising a scam.

If wish to commemorate aircrew from WWII, visit International Bomber Command Centre, give them a donation.

Please warn veterans of this scam.

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer

January 16, 2018

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer to the growing waste problem of plastic pollution.

It seems to be that [reusable cups] are the best solution if we can get to that. — Caroline Lucas

In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year.

These coffee cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper lined with plastic and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

 

Contrary to what Caroline Lucas has claimed, reusable coffee cups are not the answer.

I have yet to be in a coffee shop and seen a reusable cup sold, let alone used. When I have inquired, I have been told take up is minimal, even when a substantial discount is on offer.

There is also as James Hoffman has drawn attention to, a hygiene problem if people bring in their own cups to be washed.

Compostable coffee cups of little use, unless a compost heap on which to deposit.

Resusable cups are expensive, bulky, inconvenient to carry around. With the exception of office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office and even then only if coupled with a discount, unlikely to have any impact.

Pret a Manger started the New Year with filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of any in-store information, lack of reusable cups on sale, will make little difference. Little more than a PR stunt.

Why are we not seeing any statistics published? I would expect to see a weekly report, to see what impact, if any, in reducing the use of plastic-lined takeaway cups.

Without seeing any results from Pret a Manger SumofUs have launched a petition asking that Costa follow suit.

This is tinkering at the edges, addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem.

The underlying problem is the grab it and go consumerist culture, encouraged by chains like Costa and Pret a Manger, it is what their businesses model is built on.

What we should be doing is encouraging relax with a cup of speciality coffee served from glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. Only then are we gong to reduce the plastic pollution.

We should also be pushing for the introduction of a 25p latte levy at the next Budget.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

Why is the Mail targeting Naomi Wu?

November 26, 2017

I put up with constant abuse and endless shit, I wake up to DMs and emails full of rape and more rape every day. I’d just like to share my builds and tech stuff without the constant condescending nitpicking. It’s very little to ask why not just show that small measure of respect? — Naomi Wu

Very strange that the Mail appears to be running a smear campaign against Naomi Wu.

Naomi Wu has wisely launched a preemptive strike, as did Charlotte Church when gutter press tried to dig up dirt from her neighbours

But why Naom Wu?

Smear campaigns have been launched against Charlotte Church, Russell Brand, Jeremy Corbyn for having the audacity to attack the tax-dodging oligarchs who own and control the media, even worse for daring to propose an alternative to neoliberalism and a fairer society.

The Budget has estate agents rubbing their hands with glee at abolition of Stamp Duty, which will lead to a hike in house prices in a stagnant housing market, no attempt to deal with tax dodging, tax hand outs to oil companies, the poorest third of society will be poorer, the richest third richer.

The media oligarchs are losing their grip. They smeared Jeremy Corbtyn, nevertheless he manged to win the Labour leadership twice, has turned Labour into the largest social movement in Europe, almost won the last General Election, and has had the government on the defensive ever since.

Where though does Naomi Wu fit into all of this?

Maybe she was confused with Naomi Klein?

We are now postcapitalism.

Do we have a future of low wages, zero hours, part time, temporary, soul destroying McShit Jobs? Deliveroo and Uber are but two examples of serfs working for apps, old fashioned exploitation by any other name.

Or do we have a future of open source, open coops, collaborative commons?

Naomi Wu is an innovator, designer, a passionate and articulate advocate of open source, sino:bit in addition to being a coding project for kids is to introduce at an early age the concept of open source, the first official certified open source hardware project in China.

is this why she is seen as a threat?

Every day Naomi Wu wakes to a torrent of abuse, threats of rape.

The last thing she needs, a smear campaign by the Mail.

It could of course be a journalist collecting background, prior to writing an article on the work of Naomi Wu, two side panels, one highlighting the abuse she receives, the other on how to deal with on-line abuse and cyber bullying. Plus a supplement on projects people can build.

But until that happens, until we start to see quality journalism, retailers will continue to pull their advertising from the Mail, Paperchase being but the latest to do so.

Media has a vital role to play, challenging corruption, informing democracy, and holding government to account. But less and less does it play that role, it acts as a megaphone for the corrupt, smears anyone who does expose corruption. 

To be a journalist is a dangerous profession, we see that with the number of journalists put in prison, killed. 

Journalists are put in danger when Donald Trump attacks the media. 

But we need to question when vile trolls like Katie Hopkins are granted a media platform, as the hate they espouse then becomes the norm, by granting her the oxygen of publicity all attention seeking trolls crave, it acts to normalise and encourage their behaviour.
 

Sino:bit

November 19, 2017

Open Source coding project for children. CN000001, the first certified open source hardware in China.

Sino:bit designed by Naomi Wu with the help of David, built by Elecrow, is an Open Source coding project for children, the first Open Source Hardware Association  #oshwa certified board in China.

Sino:bit is CN000001, the first certified open source hardware in China.

Naomi Wu is a passionate and articulate advocate of Open Source.

Sino:bit is designed to introduce children at an early age to the concept of Open Source.

Open Source can be taken a step further, as part of the collaborate commons, self-organise events and conferences, do not rely upon Make and Maker Fayre.

Naomi Wu has come under a lot of stick, attacked by men, she cannot be real, she did not design the stuff. Sad as it is pathetic.

The same mindset that thinks women are there to be abused.

She gets attacked for looking sexy, for how she dresses.

One sad pathetic example of humanity attacked her for wearing a pink dress.

She is intelligent, articulate, and that really pisses off the trolls. How dare she, a mere slip of a girl, challenge them in their own world.

Then it is a state of denial, she must be a toy or a robot, someone else is telling her what to do.

She has to prove she is real.

Editor of Make magazine Dale Dougherty made the astounding claim:

I am questioning who she [Naomi Wu] really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.

But, after a lot of soul searching, Dale Dougherty has admitted he was wrong, furthermore, offered to put things right.

Yes, the action is good, and needs to be monitored.

One aspect of all these clever designers, and Naomi Wu is a passionate and eloquent advocate, is Open Source.

Sino:bit, designed by Naomi Wu, with help from friends, is an Open Source coding project for children. But is is also designed to introduce children to the concept of Open Source at an early age.

Open Source should though be seen within the context of collaborative commons, open coops, sharing economy.

We are now postcapitalism.

We should be asking how does Open Source, within the wider context, with the help of Make and Maker Fayre move forward.

One suggestion I will make, and I hope it gets taken forward, is self-organising conferences.

Look to Barcelona and Catalonia. There is not only extensive open coops, but a network of cooperating open coops.

With the help of Naomi Wu and friends, let us see the first truly collaborative commons Maker Fayre in China, ideally in Shenzhen, then if a viable model established, help to replicate it worldwide.

Domino Pizza classic case study how not to conduct a management meeting

November 14, 2017

Shopping in Sainsbury’s, relax in Sainsbury’s Cafe, maybe have a coffee.

Not today.

Four Domino Pizza employees choose Sainsbury’s Cafe to hold a management or staff meeting.

Two loud mouth bullying male management types shouting at the top of their voices disturbing everyone around them, people wishing to relax, shouting at a young Eastern European female, repeatedly telling her what she was doing wrong, entering her personal space and waving arms around in an aggressive manner.

No, this is not how you conduct a meeting.

No, you do not shout your mouth off.

No, you do not shout at female member of staff.

No, you do not conduct the meeting in an open public place or shout at a junior member of staff in an open public place.

But at least you have demonstrated how bad the management is at Domino Pizza, another McShit job to avoid.

Classic management case study in how not to conduct a meeting.

Naomi Wu

November 12, 2017

Didn’t get here by meekly doing what I was told. — Naomi Wu

Who is Naomi Wu?

A talented Chinese designer, a hacker, a coder, life imitating art, a Chinese real life Lisbeth Salander straight off the pages of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a punk, a cyberpunk.

Shades of Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Culture series.  Strong hint of steampunk.

In the 1960s, there used to be magazines with projects you could build, pop down to Johny Birkett in The Strait and he would have all the parts you need. He is still there by the way but nobody makes anything anymore.

In the 1970s, Wireless World would have designs for state-of-the-art amplifiers, loud speakers, FM tuners, record decks, short wave radios, all of which you could build yourself.

Naomi Wu aka Real Sexy Cyborg designs and builds the stuff herself, even better shows how she does it, how she puts what she builds into practice.

In the second or third in the series of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a phone inserted in a prison cell, used as a relay, somewhere along the way, hack into a telecom system.

Need information on  a company. Build a drone, drop off a payload that intercepts wifi, download data, retrieve at a later date.

In the Culture world of Iain M Banks, have tiny drones that can deliver munitions, act as spies.

Neoromancer enter into the heart of the digital world.

Her designs span a wide range, dropping a payload on a building, unusual clothes, a battle vehicle.

And the range of design techniques, software, hardware, electronics, 3D printing, mechanical design.

Imagine a network of talented girls like Naomi Wu, with access to technology, access to the internet, access to 3D printing.

Instead of patenting what you design, you share, but have intellectual property rights that cannot be used by Big Business.  The actual development shared, others can suggest ideas for improvement, build prototypes, experiment.

The marginal cost of information stuff is tending to zero.

Her explanation of Open Source to the boss of a 3D printer manufacturers is one of the best explanations I have seen of Open Source. 

Pitched to the private sector, an invitation to join the Open Source community. 
You have a 3D printer, you need a part to fix it, use the 3D priner to fabricate the part. 

In Barcelona, the plan is to build FabLabs in every neighbourhood. Not only 3D printers, state-of-the-art machinery, and expertise on hand to help you use it.

We are now postcapitalism.

We  can have a world of Uber and Deleveroo, technology used for exploitation, a world of low paid, zero hours, temporary McShit jobs.

Or we can have a world of open coops, collaborative commons, sharing economy.

Uber has been kicked out of London. They way to kill Uber and Deliveroo  is through regulation and through the creation of open coop platforms, the taxi drivers and riders own the platform, share in its design and wealth creation, set the fares, open source, the community can help shape and design, the design can be shared and adopted and adapted by other cities.

Naomi Wu has come under a lot of stick, attacked by men, she cannot be real, she did not design the stuff.  Sad as it is pathetic.

The same mindset that thinks women are there to be abused.

She gets attacked for looking sexy, for how she dresses.

One sad pathetic example of humanity attacked her for wearing a pink dress.

She does though an excellent job of taking down the people who attack her and making them look the pathetic specimens of humanity that they are.

She is intelligent, articulate, and that really pisses off the trolls. How dare she, a mere slip of a girl, challenge them in their own world.

Then it is a state of denial, she must be a toy or a robot, someone else is telling her what to do.

She has to prove she is real.

Editor of Make magazine Dale Dougherty made the astounding claim

I am questioning who she [Naomi Wu] really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.

Which he was then forced to withdraw and issue a grudging apology.

But the damage had been done. It legitimised the attacks on her.

Shenzhen is the tech capital of China, which means it is the tech capital of the world.

In Istanul is the Spice Market. Shenzhen has the tech version of the Spice Market.

Shenzhen exists at the intersection of technology and art, a cyber punk world where anything goes. Naomi Wu can walk the streets scantily clad, wearing bizarre outfits, even visit a company HQ, she attracts attention but does not get attacked.  On the other hand if she is seen as a competent designer, pushing the bounds, all hell breaks loose.

The attacks on her are not on the street, they are on-line.

End of Capitalism and future of work

November 9, 2017

The State could provide everything.

In Ancient Mesopotamia, the Temple Complex had gardens, farms, workshops, foundries.

In Classical Greece, the State controlled the gold and silver mines, minted the coinage. The coinage used to pay the military who used to pay for provisions. The traders and merchants and farmers used the coinage to pay taxes to the State.

In Medieval Europe the State created and regulated markets through the issue of Charters.

Post-2008, we are now post-capitalism.

We see capitalism has failed, the signs are everywhere, offshore tax havens, food banks, skewed wealth distribution, beggars on the street, wages have flat-lined workers have not shared in the growing economy, pollution, loss of natural habitat, global warming, break up of EU, increasing risk of wars for raw resources, all kept afloat on a sea of debt through quantitative easing.

The market has failed to function.

The market self-regulates and yet it failed to regulate the banks, the banks had to be bailed out by the State.

Price is a signal in the market. If marginal cost of information goods tends to zero, the market cannot function.

Robots can replace most jobs. The only reason they have not so far is because wages have been driven so low.

Classic example is the automated car wash replaced by a bunch of immigrants with dirty rags and a bucket of dirty water.

Worse still, as Paul Mason describes, workers being turned into human robots.

A month ago I met somebody who organizes trade unions at a warehouse. She was getting the minimum wage and worked on a zero-hour contract. The company could call her at any time on a very short notice, or not call her at all. One time they called her by accident. She arrived and they paid her for the exact amount of time it took to get there and then go home. She quit but not because of that, but because they asked her to wear a Go-Pro camera and a GPS unit on her arm to better manage her movements. This use of automation is crazy and it seems obvious that this warehouse could be entirely automated. People don’t need to do this work. They do because wage levels and trade union rights are so minimal in this country it is cheaper to employ a person rather than a machine.

Post-capitalism we could go one of two ways.

A world of Uber, Deliveroo, soul-destroying, temporary, zero-hours McShit jobs.

Or we could have open coops, collaborative commons, a sharing economy.

Companies like Uber and Deliveroo can easily be put out of business. Create properly regulated open coop platforms. If these are developed as open source, they can be replicated, adopted, adapted across other cities.

There is for example a black cab app for London. If open source, other cities can use, if an open coop platform, the taxi drivers have a say in how it is used, share the wealth it produces, if an open coop, those who hail the taxi have a say and share the wealth created, as does the community in which it is embedded.

Collaborative commons should not be restricted to the provision of goods and services, it has to be extended to social and political space. Ordinary citizens have to seize control of Town Halls, open up to public participation, network with other citizen-controlled Town Halls.

Grinding poverty

October 30, 2017

To the casual observer, the grinding poverty on the streets of Athens is not immediately obvious.

Yes, there are beggars on the streets but I have seen more in Brighton.

After the end of Wold War I solders returned to a Land For for Heroes, only they did not, they returned to no work, no future, The Great Depression, which led to a  rise of Fascism across Europe and World War II.

One way for those soldiers to eke out a living was to sell matches on the streets.

In Athens I see men selling tiny packets of tissues. As today in the square outside Monastiraki Metro Station.

I see fairly well dressed people going through the bins.

Today, sitting inside a coffee shop, I watch a man walks past the tables outside picking up the packets of sugar. He then made a second pass with hand outstretched for money.

On the streets, gypsy kids that do not go to school.

This is not a Third World Country, this is a modern European country destroyed by the European Union.

The EU is leading to a rise of Fascism across Europe.

The EU is about to implode. The end game could be ugly.

The look on Trump’s face

July 6, 2017

The look on Trump’s face is brilliant.