The Unpost

Or the “Social Media Super Political Text Vortex” if you prefer. Inspired by Mick’s unconference, I am having an unpost.

No doubt you, like me, get through about a zillion articles that you either forget about a bit later, aren’t entirely relevant to the remit of the site, or you don’t have time to dig into. Well, this is the place for all that stuff. Highlight interesting things that people may have missed. This isn’t an open topic; don’t post comments here as I will nuke them to keep the thread clean. If you want to debate an issue thrown up by this thread, send me an email requesting a topic opened on it. If I get enough requests, or you do a suitable guest post, I’ll put up a full topic on the subject.

  • Kensei

    And I’ll get it started. Neat piece form GQ on Donald Rumsfeld’s role in the Bush White House:

    http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_9217&pageNum=1

    Plus fairly astonishing Intelligence cover sheets:

    http://men.style.com/gq/features/topsecret

  • alan56

    Kensei

    Great idea.
    I was edited out on Pete’s thread for going off message. Will try here.
    Just visited the new website of Jimmy Spratt MLA.
    There is a section where you can vote on a particular issue. Today the question was..
    ‘Do you support Health Minister Michael McGimpsey in cutting nursing posts? ‘.
    Any guesses what the result will be?

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/may/19/heatwave-public-health-advice
    “Paint your home white and stay in the shade this summer”

    Other advice given is plant shrubs to give shade, and stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.

    Obviously don’t paint the house white, or plant shrubs during the hours between 11 am and 3pm.
    And where did Jack get those magic beans, cos those shrubs that ye will all be planting will need to grow exceptionally fast.
    And obviously there will be hosepipe ban so you can’t water them.

    I would love to hear other examples of daft “official” advice

  • Ovaltine

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1184319/Why-lying-GPs-allowed-cover-sons-death.

    “Mr Powell’s investigation also unravelled a truly horrifying fact. For the story of the boy who never grew up has exposed British doctors’ best-kept secret – that they are under no legal obligation to tell the truth to a patient’s family about the circumstances surrounding a death.

    Indeed, it is not even clear whether doctors can be prosecuted for falsifying patients’ records”

  • Brian Walker

    I was going to blog this myself as relief from MPs’ expenses, but here seems a good idea. Here’s a terrific lateral thought to make streets safer, being launched in my borough of Ealing and promoted in the Evening Standard by Simon Jenkins. Get rid of red traffic lights! I’d be nursing this one ever since I heard of the Dutch experiment and often wondered how it went…

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23694514-details/Come+on,+Boris,+free+our+streets+of+this+clutter/article.do

    “The solid suburban burghers of Ealing are putting to shame the Camdens and the Islingtons. They will be the first in Britain to do what half the rest of Europe has been doing for years. They are banning red lights.London’s 6,000 traffic lights are a costly, timewasting, polluting, infuriating, anti-technological emblem of a dead religion, that of pre-war traffic engineering…

    Its acolytes are morbid priests, obsessed with street clutter and persecuting (indeed killing) pedestrians.

    They have not even caught up with New York’s “rolling greens”, queue-sensitive phasing or the digital countdowns on red, familiar in cities such as Islamabad, which allow drivers to relax and save petrol while waiting.

    Ealing is following the “shared space” ideas of the Dutch Hans Monderman, dubbed everywhere but in Britain the “world’s most famous traffic engineer”.

    Monderman’s trick was to conduct interviews walking backwards through the uncontrolled traffic at intersections in his village of Oudeshaske. Only at major intersections did his roundabouts operate a rough-and-ready discipline.

    Hundreds of municipalities across Europe have adopted his methods, and seen a fall both in accidents and, paradoxically, in journey times.”

  • The Raven

    Brian – nice one – this is something I would to love to piloted here. But DRD is too scared. They told me so. In those words.

    For my tuppence worth, I’d just like to post a wikipedia article and let readers’ mice do the follow up. I’m currently trying to get some government departments to start thinking like this for some of their consultation exercises… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing

    Kensei – keep this going – once a month?

  • deirdre

    Brian-#5. totally agree with you. I try to mutter about this idea every so often when I’m in meetings with Roads Service but they all start twitching. I think all they see is a rash of compensation claims. However, I shall keep muttering about this as I think Ballymena is a good place to try it out.

  • Rory Carr

    This from CBC News, 23/03/09, which demonstrates some of the harmful side-effects of internet social networking:

    “The poor guy in the room is feeling pretty embarrassed and somewhat stupid, of course,” hotel manager David Goold told reporters at Edgewater Hotel in Whitehorse, near Toronto, “but we’re not going to hold him liable or anything. After all he can’t really be blamed for what he did when he was half-awake, and under the front desk’s instructions, which he thought he was at the time.

    “He was asleep in his room last night when he was woken by a phone call, just after 11pm. The caller identified himself as the front desk, said there was a gas leak in the building, and told the guest it was essential to urgently increase the air flow in the room. He then told him to pick up the room’s television and throw it through the plate-glass window, then do the same thing with the mini-refrigerator and the other window. The man did as he’d been told, and was then instructed to pull the fire alarm. This woke the hotel’s other guests and brought the staff up to his room, at which point the guest realised that he had been the victim of a pretty ingenious but cruel hoax call.

    “I understand that the people responsible for the hoax have been bragging about it today, in an online chat room. The police are investigating. We do not think that it is very funny.”

    I, on the other hand, found it extremely funny, but then it didn’t happen to me and so is really only an image in my head.

    p.s. It is not advised that you try this at home.

  • New Blue

    Excellent idea Kensei

    on the back of #6
    http://www.ippr.org/articles/?id=3501

    Anyone fancy giving it a go?

  • Lovely story from the North Coast

    “I’m legal to drive,” said Mr Watson.
    “You won’t be in about two minutes from now,” retorted Mr Wilson.[magistrate]

    Are all ‘lunatics’ treated the same way by our justice system for the same offence – or are there exemptions?

  • kensei

    Interview on the history nuclear power in Wired:

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/dr-book-club-a-cautionary-history-of-the-nuclear-age/

    Interesting little tidbit:

    The most depressing thing I ever saw was the Sellafield plutonium plant in Britain, which has turned the Irish Sea into the world’s most radioactive salt water body — I devote a section of a chapter to it.

    Wonder if anyone could get hold of the book.

  • Dublin voter

    The idea of getting rid of the red lights is probably a runner in NI. If only we could get rid of the orange and green…

    Different topic. I read in today’s IT that a meeting of the Policing Board in Derry was held primarily through the medium of Irish. I had to do a double take but it is true. Worth a thread of its own I would have thought. And the helpful police spokesperson said that future meetings in other minority languages could be held… Polish presumably, Latvian, Mandarin and of course, Ullans.