A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self

Don’t we all wish that what we now know about life we knew 20 years ago! With age comes wisdom and in most cases we become more sensible and able to cope with most of what life throws at us.

If only you could talk to yourself as a kid and give yourself advice on how best to grow up. Would it make us better adults? Probably not because that’s the point. We need to learn for ourselves.

However, one clever 32 year old American has managed to speak to himself as a kid ! Well, all is not quite as it seems because he interviewed himself as a 12 year old and then interviewed himself again 20 years later. It’s confusing I know. The best thing is to watch the video below and then you will understand !

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFGAQrEUaeU?rel=0]

What’s the biggest breakfast you can eat?

I love a cooked breakfast once in a while, but could I eat one of the largest breakfasts served in the UK which consists of 8 eggs, 12 rashers of bacon, 12 sausages, potatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, black pudding, beans and 12 slices of bread. The answer is a definate No! This breakfast, however, is on sale in a cafe in the UK for a cost of £15. If you can manage to eat it you get your money back.

You can watch the video about this enormous breakfast here.

This breakfast weighs a staggering 9 pounds, the same weight as a small child !

The video about this enormous breakfast is part of a BBC series about how Britain’s weigh on average 3 stones more than we did 50 years ago. It seems that the eating habits of some Americans, with their super sized portions has caught on over here.

The problem with TV programmes like this is that they can glamourise this type of eating behaviour. In fact there is a programme on one of the channels called Man vs Food where the presenter travels around trying to find super sized eating challenges. Having seen the programme once it made me feel ill just watching it.

If we are all going to get bigger it raises questions about the size of aircraft seats and other similar things as well as the most important things – our health so ….TV producers please do not make TV programmes about over eating glamourous!

Bored of listening to music? Listen to TED!

Quite a while ago I discovered TED. No, this is not some strange man that I found in a remote place! TED stands for Technolgy Entertainment and Design.The BBC in an article today describes TED as a cult. I wouldn’t quite go that far but there is no doubt that since videos of TED talks were put online they have become mainstream rather than just listened to by those willing to pay thousands of pounds for an annual membership.

TED talks, if you don’t know are lectures lasting about 20 minutes that are given on just about any subject you can imagine. The talks are given by experts in that field or by people with a passion for the subject. They can be inspiring, educational, informative, bewildering, bizzare and mind bogggling but the one thing they all have in common is that they are very thought provoking. TED talks are an outlet for ideas and there is something that will interest most people.

Some of the quotes and subjects you can see online range from -“The Secret to Happiness is Low Expectations” to “Lessons from Death Row Inmates”.They are educational and as the website says are “Ideas worth spreading”

I find TED talks so interesting that I have found myself listening to talks rather than listening to music. I have downlowded the TED app and I often lie in bed at night listening. I can understand why the talks have become cult listening material and if you haven’t tried listening I suggest you give it a go.

The top TED talks you can watch are:-

1. Ken Robinson on schools killing creativity – viewed nearly 11 million times

2. Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight – viewed 8.7 million times

3. Pranav Mistry on sixth sense technology – viewed 8.3 million times

4. Steve Jobs on how to live before you die – viewed 8.2 million times

5. David Gallow shows underwater astonishments – viewed 7.4 million times

6. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense – viewed 6.4 million times

7. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action – viewed 5.7 million times

8. Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability – viewed 5.1 million times

9. Arthur Benjamin does “Mathemagic” – viewed 4.2 million times

10. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen – viewed 4.1 million times

Viewing figures as of 20 June 2012 on TED website

Shocking state of 80% of school leavers in Scotland.

Shocking news in The Scotsman newspaper today about an employer who says that 80% of young people in Scotland are unemployable. Being involved in both business and further education myself I was both interested to read this story and it left me wondering whether the same could be said of young people in the rest of the UK.

The paper reports that –

The “recurring” problems identified among applicants included a poor attitude to others, no concept of citizenship, poor communication skills, a poor understanding of the standards expected and an “inability to make a decision based on anything other than ‘I want’.”

But the submission added: “The single biggest issue causing difficulties for the transition from school to employment is the discrepancy in working hours. Our apprentice intakes consistently describe a maximum of 18 hours in class per week, extended holidays and little or no access to extracurricular activities.” Youngsters who go on to college come into the workplace a year or more year later with a “further deterioration in concept of ―working week”, the submission added.

I suspect that in England the figures will not be as high as those in Scotland but other employers in England have also said similar things in the past.

The employer concerned, in Scotland, said the firm had 2,280 applications for apprenticeships in 2011 – but found that 1,850 were simply not fit for the workplace. It took on 121 youngsters, although 430 were employable. If these numbers are indeed mirrored throughout the UK then educational establishments really do have to try harder to supply the skills needed for employment.

Read the full article in The Scotsman here

Coffee Shop Owner Bans Mobile Phones

On the phoneThere is an interesting news story on the BBC website about a coffee stall owner banning customers who are on their mobile phones. He has taken a dislike to customers who try to order whilst they are on their mobile phones to someone else!

Well, I have to agree with this guy and well done to him for putting a sign up about it. Mobile phones have taken over a lot of peoples lives and they can’t live without either speaking to someone or texting someone every few minutes. Next time you walk into a bar or restaurant take  a look to see how many people are using their phones rather than actually speaking face to face with someone. You will be amazed how many people seem to be losing the art of conversation !

Watch the BBC video about this news story here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17687054

England lose 2018 World Cup

It would have been great if England had won the right to stage the 2018 World Cup but instead it has been awarded to Russia. Does this mean that the so called “Iron Curtain” has lost its final piece ? I watched the England bid live on TV and it was very impressive. Prince William, David Cameron and the rest of the team did a superb presentation. It was very slick and the argument they put forward was very convincing. Maybe it came too late but in the vote England were eliminated in the first round of FIFA voting.

I’m really pleased though that Russia is to host the 2018 World Cup. The World Cup has never been hosted in eastern Europe and this decision will help open up Russia and develop it as a footballing nation. Russia is a country that should be closer to the West as it has the same values. Hosting the 2018 World Cup will hopefully make Russia more open and democratic.

As far as England are concerned it will be at least 20 years before we have a chance to host the World Cup again. Maybe in the meantime England should organise its own mini tournament. After all it is the home of football.

MP’s must be sacked if found guilty.

The expressions on the faces of the MP’s who were brave enough to appear on BBC Question Time on Thursday night said it all ! They all looked highly embarrassed apart from Margaret Beckett who decided she would try and defend herself. She failed miserably, however, to convince the outraged audience.

What is becoming clear is that there are two types of MP’s in this saga. Firstly, there are those MP’s who submitted expense claims for items they had purchased for their so called second homes. Many of these MP’s had sought guidance on whether they could claim and many claims were passed by the people charged with administering the scheme. Secondly, there are those MP’s who seem to have been deceitful. For example, several MP’s have claimed for alleged mortgage payments made on houses that had actually no mortgage.

Whilst the first scenario is milking the system the second scenario is the most serious and is probably fraud. It’s the MP’s that have perpetuated fraud that I think should feel the force of the law against them.

There is no doubt that our political system has been badly damaged. It’s not going to be easy for MP’s to regain trust from us, but a start would be for all those found to have committed a fraud to either resign or be sacked as MP’s and secondly for the whole expenses system to be re-written and administered properly.

What we also need to know are the details of all the MP’s who have played within the spirit of the rules. It’s easy to think that our whole political system is corrupt but so far we have only been told about those MP’s that have made outrageous claims and it may well be that the vast majority have not played the system.

The UK’s Population Problem

I have been looking at a very interesting website called Optimum Population Trust. The website is full of very interesting facts about the UK’s and the World’s population and in particular about what they feel is an over populated planet Earth.

Lets look at the UK facts. In 2008 the population of the UK reached 61 million people. That’s a six fold increase since 1800. The projected population of the UK is expected to be over 69 million people by the year 2050. In 2007 the UK population increased by an amazing  434,700 people, and that is the equivalent of a city the size of Cardiff in just one year ! If this trend continues then the UK population will reach a staggering 100 million people by the end of the century.

The amount of land available to each inhabitant of the UK – to provide for our ecological needs and to absorb the waste products of our consumption – has shrunk to nearly a tenth of that available in 1750. The UK is slightly smaller than Oregon, a single state of the USA. We have a surface area of 24 million hectares of land and inland water to absorb the environmental impacts of all our consumption – that’s less than half a hectare (one acre) each – and this environmental space is shrinking every year.

Clearly, we need enough land and resources to sustain a population of this size but the UK doesn’t have the resources, which means that we have to take resources from other parts of the world. Very soon the UK will have an environmentally unsustainable population.

What’s causing the population explosion?

The Uk’s rise in population is caused by two main factors. Firstly, there are more births than deaths and secondly net migration (more immigrants than emigrants). As medical science advances at a rapid rate we are all going to live longer and also in 2007 there were 237,000 more people entering this country than leaving, and this is just one year as an example.

On the face of things the UK has a lot of open spaces, but it’s not spare land that is the problem it’s our  needs for additional housing, energy and power supplies, reservoirs, schools, hospitals, transport, shops, waste disposal, prisons – and all its impacts in the form of waste and emissions.

What is the government’s attitude to over population ?

Up until very recently no government has tried to tackle the problem, but a government minister did say, in 2008, that the UK population would not be allowed to rise above 70 million.

After reading about the facts of over population I am firmly of the opinion that something needs to be done to limit the number of people in the country. It needs to be done in such a way that the population decreases over a period of time. I don’t know what the solution to the problem is but it must involve limiting the number of people who come into this country in one way or another.

If you want to read more information about this very interesting subject take a look at this website Optimum Population Trust

Is a Cash For Cars Scheme a Good Idea ?

In Germany new car sales have increased it is reported by 40% in the month of March. As part of their economic stimulus package the German government is paying old car owners 2,500 euros towards the purchase of a new car and about 1 million car owners have taken advantage of the scheme so far.

This is obviously good news for German car manufacturers but it is not so good news for car repairers, used car dealers and scrap metal dealers who have all seen a dramatic downturn in business.  So, whilst the car makers are feeling pretty smug about things other trades have been hit.

My opinion is that the car scheme is a good idea. It makes more sense to pump money direct into the economy rather than give it to banks who are still not lending money like they should. So, why choose the car makers to throw money at rather than other industries ? Well, I’m no expert but it’s probably because the car industry employs a huge number of people and if car manufacturing was to disappear then it would be very difficult to get it back.

I like the idea of incentives to buy cars but why can’t it be extended to other products. How about £50 for an old fridge towards the purchase of a greener new model ? Or how about £300 towards a new combination boiler or £100 for a new oven ? The list is endless but at least it gets trade going again and also it helps reduce co2 emissions !

I say lets have a cash for cars, boilers, fridges and ovens scheme here in the UK !

Somali Pirates Must be Stupid or Very Brave

I last posted about Somali pirates back in November 2008 but the problem is still going on. Hopefully now though, they  may have bitten off more than they can chew as they are up against the US navy. Ship captain Richard Phillips is being held hostage in a boat along 4 Somali pirates and there is a US warship close by and several others are on their way.

These Somali pirates must either be very brave or very stupid. If I was afloat in a small boat surrounded by US warships with guns trained on me from all sides I think I would be just glad to get out alive and back to dry land. It’s reported though that the pirates are demanding a ransom for their hostage so it will be interesting how the whole episode pans out.

Knowing the Americans and how trigger happy they can be if would be good if the US navy just blasts them out of the water once the hostage is freed !