Archive for the ‘social behaviour’ Category

Dump WhatsApp

January 10, 2021

Time to ditch WhatsApp if you were foolish enough to use.

Yet another reason NOT to use WhatsApp. Data will be shared with Facebook.

WhatsApp and Instagram are owned by Facebook, the businesses model steal and abuse personal data, harvesting of data to manipulate people.

Trump did not happen by accident or in a vacuum. Trump was enabled by Facebook.

There is no excuse for using WhatsApp or Instagram when alternatives exist, Signal, Telegram, Skype, Twitter.

Telegram has the advantage of being open source.

Before you migrate, tell all your contacts where you have migrated to.

With Instagram, a link in your biography direct to twitter.

WhatsApp gives a take it or leave it.

Uninstall now, once you have warned all your contacts and told them where to find you.

Never direct into facebook, always direct out.

Facebook must be broken up, stripped of WhatsApp and Instagram.

Facebook and all Big Tech must be taxed at 5% of revenue where that revenue is generated.

The algorithms used by Big Tech must be open and transparent, subject to open peer review.

Happy New Year 2021

January 1, 2021

New Year 2021, firework display London was muted, spread over a wider area, fewer fireworks, a laser light show and what I assmed to be drones incredible display.

The past twenty years, massive firework display concentrated in the centre near London Eye, barges anchored in the Thames with fireworks, massive crowds.

This year no crowds, the fireworks fewer and spread over a wider area, reduces air pollution which exacerbates the risk of covid-19.

Racists go into overdrive the mention of Black Lives Matter.

Shocking the images from Wu Han where covid-19 originated. People packed in the streets, coronavirus has not gone away. Similar shocking scenes in New Zealand.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, it spreads through person-to person-contact. The only way to stay safe and stop its spread is to avoid other people, avoid crowded enclosed spaces, wear a mask.

Data presented Monday was sobering, the new more infectious strain of covid-19 the number of new cases rising rapidly. The last two days of 2020, the number of daily deaths in UK close to 1,000 deaths per day. On New Years Eve, the number of new cases exceeded 55,000. In the last two weeks, the number of new cases has doubled.

UK should have gone into tier 4 at least a week earlier. UK should now be in lockdown.

Two vaccines have received Emergency Approval, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca, to be rolled out in a mass vaccination programme. But we should be cautious and not relax our guard. Vaccinations are usually carried out in advance of a disease not during a global pandemic. The vaccine does not become effective for several weeks, in other words may sill catch covid-19 and fall ill. Little is known about transmission, you may be vaccinated but still pass covid-19 to others.

New Year’s Eve, coffee in a coffee shop, I learnt the barista who served me last week, now off sick with coronavirus.

I end with a short reflection from Paulo Coelho on what has been a very difficult year for everyone.

Please do not take reusable coffee cups to a coffee shop during coronavirus pandemic

December 23, 2020

Reusable coffee cups address symptoms takeaway cups not the underlying problem of grab it and go wanton consumerism.

Would treat a good red wine this way, then why coffee?

The only way to enjoy coffee is to slow down, sit and relax in a coffee shop drinking coffee served in glass or ceramic, coffee brewed by a skilled barista.

The world has been turned upside down by coronavirus, drinking in a coffee shop no longer possible, where open, often takeaway only, and if can find open, takeaway cups to reduce cross infection.

During coronavirus pandemic using a reusable coffee cup is an absolute no no. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk.

No reputable coffee shop should be accepting reusable cups.

Takeaway cappuccino from Coffee Aroma. A model of how it should be. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum,. Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

Thermal efficiency irrelevant. If I order a coffee, it is to drink, not save for some time in the future.

If I were to use a reusable cup it would be a glass KeepCup or Huskee cup. The glass KeepCup has the bad habit of smashing to smithereens if dropped. Huskee cup is a well designed cup, the lid an optional extra.

Huskee cup is an iconic design, with eco credentials of finding a use for the discarded husks from coffee beans, but and it is a very big but, it combines the husk which can be composted with plastic which can possibly be recycled and turns into a product which can be neither composted nor recycled and will at the end of its life end up in landfill or incineration.

I have never understood why anyone wishes to drink through a hole in a lid.

Not addressed, reusable cups must be barista friendly, that is clean and not too tall will not fit the espresso machine.

If we wish to reduce the number of throwaway takeaway cups the answer is simple, sit in a coffee shop and relax with a cup of coffee, but whilst that is not possible during coronavirus pandemic, please do not take your reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop and introduce an unnecessary disease vector.

If wish to take ones own cup to a coffee shop to drink out of, then take an enamel mug.

Lincoln Eco Pantry

December 20, 2020

Passing through Lincoln Central Market I learnt of a zero waste shop uphill, ‘competition’. As I was en route to the Lincoln Christmas farmers market on Castle Hill, I decided to try and find it and check it out.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market a very sad and sorry affair.

Lincoln Eco Pantry in Bailgate opposite Redhill farm shop, not difficult to find. A queue outside, though everywhere had a queue outside.

Lincoln Eco Pantry a long time in opening. There was rumour of opening in the town at least two years ago, but a bad location, then at St Marks, another bad location. The current location, should have opened early November, finally opened on Friday.

Letting agents Banks and Co which means will be paying high rent or a surprise if not, Bailgate location would also be high rent, though in current dire circumstances maybe rents are starting to fall,

The location, apart from the high rent, excellent as compliments butcher, baker and greengrocer. All we now need is a specialty coffee shop, currently lacking in Bailgate.

Sympathetic restoration of an old building. How it has been fitted out creates a pleasant environment.

Ground floor, bulk refill for shampoo and laundry liquid. No names I recognised. For shampoo, Faith in Nature from the health food shop opposite Mary le Wigford Church just off the High Street, laundry liquid the zero waste shop in the Central Market.

The point was made, choose suppliers to compliment not compete with what already exists in Lincoln.

All the more baffling therefore a large amount of prime shelf space by the counter which encounter as enter the shop devoted to poor quality chocolate laced with additives, chocolate that can buy in any Oxfam shop and in most supermarkets, with not very environmentally friendly package. A definite negative.

Helpful young lady manning the till fed me nonsense additives were because vegan chocolate. Er no, emulsifiers substitute for cocoa butter because the emulsifiers are cheaper. Dark chocolate cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, occasionally vanilla, nothing else. Only milk chocolate and white chocolate are not vegan due to addition of milk.

For quality chocolate visit Imperial Teas on Steep Hill. Excellent selection and knowledgeable about chocolate. The only place in Lincoln for quality chocolate.

Limits on numbers in the shop, limits on numbers on the first floor, a notice on the door, not that anyone took any notice of the notice on the door, nor was it enforced.

Upstairs on the first floor, loose nuts, cereals, dried fruits, tins of tea and coffee. All bagged and weighed by a helpful young lady.

But, this is not how to handle coffee beans, loose in the tins the beans will oxidise, they will already have oxidised in the plastic boxes shipped in, no information on the coffee beans, their provenance, where roasted when roasted roasted, their origin, country not sufficient.

I have recently been in discussion with a coffee shop and roastery, shipping of green beans, roasting, then supply to the coffee shop. I did consider supply in boxes, but dismissed, not good for the beans, they will oxidise.

DT Coffee Roastery supply roasted beans to Coffee Lab Academy and to The Square by Coffee Lab. The beans are supplied in bags even though located near each other in Winchester. Also true of coffee shops where the roastery is located within the coffee shop, the beans are bagged.

Beans popped in bags after roasted will outgas CO2 which creates a positive pressure in the bag, keeps out the air and stops the beans from oxidising. Roast, leave to rest for a week, then at their optimum for three weeks. Once the bags are opened, coffee beans go stale very quickly.

Coffee should have a wonderful aroma, a hint of things to come. I lifted the lid of the Brazil beans. Instead of a pleasant enticing aroma, I saw burnt over roasted beans with accompanying smell of burnt stale beans. Not pleasant.

And even if by happenchance bagged freshly roasted beans as they arrived in a brown paper bags, by the time arrived home, the beans would have oxidised,  not unless arrived prepared with vacuum storage jars.

If wish for coffee beans,  visit a reputable coffee shop where they care about coffee, Madame Waffle or Coffee Aroma, or try the zero waste shop in Lincoln Central Market.

Tea is fine in the tins, but for tea I would visit nearby Imperial Teas on Steep Hill.

Indy coffee shops and roasteries are always ahead of the game. Much work is being done on closing the loop with sustainable coffee bags. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes, packaging for shipping coffee beans keeping the beans fresh whilst at the same time reducing waste. [see Horsham Coffee Roaster – Recycling our coffee bags]

On sale reusable coffee cups during a coronavirus pandemic when coronavirus is out of control and a new strain is spreading like wildfire is an absolute no no. No responsible coffee shop will accept reusable cups for the simple reason it is to introduce an unnecessary  disease vector. They care about staff and customers and do not wish to place them at risk of infection.

The only reusable cup worth considering is a glass KeepCup, but if dropped, smashed to smithereens or consider a huskee cup. But why use reusable cups, why takeaway coffee, reusable cups addresses a symptom, not the underlying problem, stop using grab and go takeaway coffee.  During covid-19 crisis takeaway cups a necessary evil to reduce cross contamination.

Walk in Coffee Aroma, only one person at a time, strictly enforced a sign No Reusable Cups, and they will refuse to serve anyone who insists on using their reusable cup. Safety of staff and customers paramount.

Post-pandemic, relax and enjoy coffee in glass or ceramic served in an indy coffee shop.

In the natural world the concept of waste does not exist in space or time, the output of one process is the input to the next. Therefore we either use natural materials or we emulate a closed loop system with our manmade materials,  as we do with glass, steel or aluminium.

In Athens it is the norm, loose nuts and dried fruits, loose bars of chocolate, shops, stalls outside Athens Central Market, no special name as this is the norm.

Cashew takes it to another level, loose nuts, dried fruits, bars of chocolate jars of honey and peanut butter combined with a coffee shop serving speciality coffee. Coffee beans on sale are in bags.

The big difference to UK, far wider choice far higher quality. For example, more than one grade of dried apricots, pistachio nuts, peanuts.

I picked up muesli and chocolate-coated coffee beans, bagged, weighed and down to the till downstairs to pay. I may have lingered longer and bought more but it became unsafe, too many people allowed in.

The muesli, soft muesli, more like a muesli base, could have done with added fruits, but nevertheless excellent with the raw unpasteurised milk off the Christmas farmers market.  The chocolate-coated coffee beans reasonable but very poor quality when compared with chocolate-coated Brazil nuts from Athens or chocolate-coated coffee beans from Colombia.

The name Eco Pantry always wise to check if already in use. I found myself wondering why looked different to the shop I visited. I was looking at Eco Pantry in Sevenoaks.

Covid-19 biosecurity poor if not very poor. Ground floor door open thus ventilated, tiny crack window open first floor not sufficient ventilation, a girl on the first floor handled all the goods and bagged, but there were too many people in the store, this when we have a mutant highly infectious strain of covid-19  spreading like wildfire and Lincoln  recording double the national average of new covid-19 cases. Sale of reusable cups highly irresponsible. No one should be taking reusable cups to a coffee shop and no coffee shop should accept. The lax covid-19 biosecurity so poor Lincoln Eco Pantry should close until further notice until they address these issues.

DiEM TV: Another Now with Yanis Varoufakis

December 4, 2020

Putting one of the ideas in Another Now into action, last week Black Friday, one day of action against Amazon, buy nothing from Amazon,  do not visit their website, Make Amazon Pay.

During the pandemic Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by $85 billion. Wealth begets wealth. Jeff Bezos can afford to take risks, have a long range vison, fund loss making projects, within Amazon can leverage projects to benefit all aspects of the business, we see this with artificial intelligence, when Amazon recommends a book it will be possible worth reading.

Facebook abuses its position, as we saw with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook knows more about us than we know ourselves, we are commodities to be used and abused and sold, it can target and manipulate us.

On reading Another Now I thought when do we fight back, when do we start the guerrilla tech war against the tech giants, against the banks, against dirty industries?

We need financial engineers, software engineers, leading researchers in artificial intelligence, who know where to hit vulnerable fragile systems with coordinated attacks.

The fight has begun with Make Amazon Pay, one day of targeted action against Amazon, buy nothing on Black Friday do not even visit their website on that day.

One week on from Black Friday, over 400 parliamentarians from across the world including Yanis Varoufakis and Jeremy Corbyn join in the call to Make Amazon Pay.

A tweet by Mark Dodds suggests a target for the UK, pubcos, a day when we do not drink in any tied pub or corporate pub chains.

Pubcos are zombie companies mired in debt. When they tire of relieving fools of their money they sell off their pubs for redevelopment.

There is action we can all take.

Support local indy businesses, buy coffee from a speciality coffee shop where they care about coffee, you will quite literally taste the difference.

During the first lockdown, I visited little independent shops, the local butcher, baker, fishmonger, fruit and vegetable market stall,  not once did I visit a supermarket. And it was safer to shop in these  little shops, limited numbers, I was in and out within a couple of minutes.

We do not have to use WhatsApp or Instagram, there are alternatives, post pictures to twitter not Instagram, use Skype not WhatsApp.

Facebook must be broken up, stripped of WhatsApp and Instagram.

We should overwrite all personal information on Facebook with false information, allow a couple of days to propagate through the system then delete. Never ever quiz, game or survey on Facebook,  these are scams to harvest your data, as Cambridge Analytica used very effectively. Never tag friends.

There are alternatives to using Amazon if wish to buy books on-line. But better still, pay a visit to your local bookshop.

Amazon provides a platform for third party vendors and these account for around half the sales through Amazon. A somewhat crappy website Bookshop.org does the same, except demands a larger discount from indie publishers than they give Amazon and for bookshops they make less on a book sale than if you walked through their door and bought a book and the sale is not fulfilled by the bookshop.

Writers can do their bit, stop directing to Amazon, support local bookshops, ask your publisher to offer Amazon discounts to local bookshops, at the very least as special offer when books are published.

Tech giants should be taxed on revenue where that revenue is generated. The same should also apply to tax dodging corporations for example Starbucks.

Our lives are controlled by algorithms, Big Tech owns the algorithms. The world of We, a world controlled by numbers.

Amazons suggests what I may wish to read, YouTube what I may wish to watch.

Big Tech has monopolised research on AI. To whose benefit, who has oversight?

Those who speak out are fired.

The treatment of employees by Big Tech who dare challenge their lack of ethics is not restricted to Amazon, as we see with the treatment of Timnit Gebru by Google.

Google fired the technical co-lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team Timnit Gebru for raising issues of ethics.

Please sign the statement in support of Timnit Gebru.

A day of action against Google in support of Timnit Gebru. What form should it take? For example a coordinated walk out by Google staff on the same day of no use of Google Chrome or YouTube.

Support and use open source software.

Download and install Brave, a faster alternative to Chrome that cuts out the crap.

Brave is a free open-source web browser.  It blocks ads and website trackers, and provides a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions in the form of Basic Attention Tokens to websites and content creators.

Accosted by strange woman in the street

November 26, 2020

Three weeks ago Wednesday accosted by a strange woman in the street.

I had visited a Police Station to report a theft the previous evening, as I left and was walking down the street I was pestered by a woman. She was most insistent but I have no idea what she wanted.

She did not appear to be asking for money. Offering sex, or maybe robbery.

She tried to drag me away. Two other women nearby appeared to be with her.

Eventually I managed to shake her off.

I was in the vicinity a few days later, Athens now in lockdown, no sign of the woman.

I asked a witness to the incident, but they could shed no light on what took place. They concluded maybe sex, maybe robbery. Warned me to be careful.

How to reply to spam e-mail

July 26, 2020

The nuisance of spam e-mail.

My standard response is don’t reply, don’t even open, mark as spam or better still phishing, then delete.

But sometimes, if feeling mean, may wish to gave fun.

Racist comments on local media

June 10, 2020

Racists wallow in their social media cesspits, reinforce and normalise their racist views then spew it out across social media platforms.

An example of this was a few months ago when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a detention centre for migrants, the abuse she received in person when she visited was a mere glimpse behind the curtain of what was happening in closed facebook groups, where pictures were being posted calling for her to be raped. Closed facebook groups for past and serving Border Force officials, federal agents, government employees.

In Clear Bright Future Paul Mason touches upon these closed facebook groups where fascists and racists fester.

Black Lives Matter and the racist troll farms are now on steroids. Seeing young black and white march on the streets is fanning their hatred.

Black Members of Parliament have received a torrent of abuse. Dawn Butter has thanked her staff for filtering it out and having to read it.

What is shocking, is what is appearing in local media comments, and I am not suggesting it is the local media, it is the racists commenting on the local media reports of Black Lives Matter protests.

Surrey Live had to issue a warning following its coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest in Guildford. Not that the warning has been heeded. But it is as nothing, the rabid racist comments  on The Lincolnite coverage of Black Lives Matter protests in Lincoln. And just when think cannot get any worse it did when a student had the audacity to speak out about the racism he has suffered.

Local media has to do more to root out this racism. Every single racist comment logged, reported to police and facebook, then those posting the racist comments blocked.

And why does it matter?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells of landlords in the Bronx who set fire to buildings with families inside in order that they could collect on the insurance, then blame the local community for burning down the buildings.

Fire Dominic Cummings

May 23, 2020

Dominic Cummings malignant cancer at the heart of government.

Lockdown rules were clear. Lockdown means lockdown, means Stay at Home.

Only allowed  out for exercise, to buy essentials, visit doctor or other medical needs.

People have been heartbroken at not being able to visit dying close family and friends, not attend their funerals.

People, have been fined for breach of lockdown.

Dominic Cummings broke lockdown to travel halfway across the country. He did so whilst he and his wife were infected with covid-19, accompanied by a small child.

Rules on infections quite clear, if infected with covid-19, self-isolate within house from other family members, they in turn can’t come into contact with others. Child was put at risk for duration of the journey. Or maybe they put the child in the boot with its own air supply.

But Cummings did not break lockdown once. Whilst Up North, he went on a little outing maybe more than one, we as yet only know of one. He returned to London, then went Up North again. That is three breaches of lockdown. A QC has forensically dissected his actions come to the conclusion,  a clear breach of the rules.

He should be fined maximum amount. He should be fired.

Looking forward to all those cabinet ministers who excused Cummings first trip to Durham trying to explain his second one. Minsters who lack any integrity who spout what they are told to say.

On his first trip Up North, his car an incubator of covid-19, did the car stop, toilet breaks, fill up with petrol, get a  bite to eat? How many did they infect en route?

UK has more covid-19 deaths than any country in Europe. Second only to USA.

China bought us time, we squandered it.

We saw what was happening in Italy, then Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Too late to enter lockdown, peddling of bogus science, too late to ban mass gatherings and sporting events, close schools, close pubs bars clubs, implement mass testing, lockdown London, an app to track and trace, failure to close airports, quarantine for all arrivals.

Germany has placed source code of its app in the public domain. Why do we not adapt, open source?

And to the catalogue, add the insanity of Stay Alert, which has led to the breakdown of lockdown.

The arrogance of these people is they think they can do as they wish, show contempt for ordinary people.

Please follow the advice of Paul Mason, share, tweet, like on social media, that Dominic Cummings must go.

If Boris Johnson refuses to fire Dominic Cummings there must be a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson. These are mass murderers with blood on their hands.

Think what the death toll would be if everyone behaved like Dominic Cummings. Thanks to the insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown breaking down, we are all about to find out.

Reclaim the Streets

May 16, 2020

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

The first businesses to reopen coffee shops, tables outside, social distancing maintained,  dwell time relatively short.

To achieve this, coffee shops need to be able to spread out into the streets, out into the squares, the norm in Athens, indeed the norm across Europe, when one coffee shop in Lincoln requested this they received an emphatic no from Lincolnshire County Council, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Kick starting the local economy, improving the ambience, worthless council jobsworths don’t give a damn.

Our High Streets were dying before the covid-19 pandemic. The loss of Big Business, corporate chains, from the High Street is no great loss, it was destroying the High Street. If we are to recover it will be through small local independent businesses.  That is why we must allow indie coffee shops, and only indie coffee shops not chains, next restaurants, to expand into the streets. Not pubs and bars as we do not want drunks on the streets.

Local businesses spreading into public space helps everyone, safeguarding staff and clientele through social distancing, improves the ambience of the locality, especially if No Smoking, and for many local businesses it will mean life or death, the difference whether they survive or not.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised people are going to be reluctant to use public transport  therefore we have to encourage walking and cycling if we do not wish traffic levels to rise. But if wishes to improve cycling and walking, must also make our city centres more attractive by encouraging local councils to facilitate indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread out into our streets.

Deliveries to the pedestrianised areas,  park on the periphery and deliver by handcart or trolley.

Sheffield, an unusual city in that prior to the covid-19 pandemic a city on the up, a marked contrast to most decaying cities. And why? Independent businesses everywhere.

BBC Radio 4 The Food Programme recently featured Sheffield, the focus on how indie food businesses were bringing life back to Sheffield. With the exception of Marmadukes I would not agree with their choice of examples, but the gist yes. I could list several examples, South Street Kitchen, Marmadukes, Steam YardSheffield Cheese Masters, Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate, ShuJu Taiwanese pop-up kitchen at Union St.

Mention also needs to be made of Now Then, an indie magazine that features local culture and indie businesses, interesting articles and art, well worth seeking out.

Through reclaiming the streets, we are operating at the interface between business, environment and society, a component part of Doughnut Economics, where the local economy is designed to be regenerative and distributive, with people and the environment at its heart.  We kick cars out of our town centres, we plant trees, we improve the ambience, we create a space where local businesses and communities can thrive, breathe clean air, or simply relax with a  good coffee, read a book, sit and watch the world go by.

One of my favourite places to sit and relax, Little Tree, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, not far from The Acropolis.

In Exarchia, an anarchist district of Athens, they set up road blocks, boxes with plants,  created traffic free zones. The city authorities also act, they are extending the pedestrianised areas around The Acropolis.


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