Fight stigma and discrimination – be human

27 06 2015

There’s a lot of mistrust and hatred in the world. Don’t be part of it.

Misinformation and “knowing” facts that are actually just plain wrong is the root of prejudice.

This project in Finland by broadcasting company Yle Kioski had a man who was HIV+ asking for the simple human act of being touched. It’s all in Finnish, but pretty much the only word spoken – repeatedly – is “kiitos”, meaning “thank-you”.

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

The best bit for me is that (more well-educated) mothers are happy to hug the complete stranger, or let their kids do the same. Where would we be, really, without the non-judgemental love that mothers offer?





Loblaws and dodgy paperwork

27 06 2015

A week or so ago, a Canadian supermarket chain – Loblaws – was in the news and being demonised by the media machine.

The gist of the story was that one of their Surrey supermarkets was being re-branded to one of their other lower-end shops. As a result the existing staff were offered a one-time deal to compensate them for the on-going lower package the cheaper brand would pay. The news story was around the fact that Loblaws had over-paid ~20 workers and was now asking them to repay the additional money.

Many of the affected people had already spent/invested the additional money… several thousand dollars on average.

Now, I regularly get my news from the CBC because, like their UK model the BBC, they tend to be more objective and use less hyperbole. That said, and despite the story running for a few days, it was never actually made plain whether the original offer was more than it should have been (in which case those affected would obviously make their decision as to whether to accept or not based on an inflated number) or whether the offer was correct but Loblaws had actually overpaid the stated amount (in which case one has to ask whether the recipients were actually immoral in spending/investing it without checking whether it was an error). Now the dust has settled, it seems the latter is the case, and these people, having agreed to some payment actually received more, spent it, and are now complaining that the company is asking for it back.

Am I missing something? Sure the company might have been a tad heavy-handed in asking for immediate repayment. But, I’m sorry, these employees knowingly cashed cheques for more money than they were expecting… and neglected to question whether, perhaps, possibly, some mistake had been made, and potentially this additional dosh wasn’t actually theirs to have. We’re not talking a rounding error here. I too might not blink if I received a dollar or two more than I’d been led to expect, but we’re talking THOUSANDS of dollars here! This feels more like wilful neglect bordering on knowing theft. Loblaws took the higher ground and backed right off. Hurray for media-led justice. Not.

OK, so enough in defence of Loblaws. One of their local brands is Canadian Superstore. We recently bought a packet of bread-buns. They are magical. They have an infinite best-before date! Miracle food indeed. It could solve world hunger.

Best before... WTF?!

Best before… WTF?!

If – as is more than likely – you’re not as anal and detail-oriented as QE, you may need a hint. Go look at the June page of your calendar. See any date missing? Aha, there you go.

Of course, it might be good until 15th June 2031 which, though not infinitely far away is still pretty good! (Canadian date formats are inconsistent at best due to British DDMMYY history, but US MMDDYY proximity. Japanese YYMMDD is not uncommon, as here, to try and avoid the issue altogether).

So – what have we learnt?

I reckon we’ve learnt that Loblaws are paying rock-bottom wages and as such employ people with only a tenuous grasp on the way time works and what morals are.

 

 





Did sexual equality fuel the evolution of human cooperation?

27 06 2015

So yesterday, my BBC History magazine arrived. I love reading this publication. Pop science magazines tempt you with the sheer breadth of subjects we are researching, with respect to ways to destroy the planet, or at the very least ourselves. Not on purpose, of course. No – we’re motivated by greed. The whole end of the world thing is just a potential by-product.

Pop history illustrates the ways we’ve already tried and what we learnt along the way. Some things are quite spectacular. Crusades; world war; slavery (black on white as well as the more recent and well known white on black)…

July’s edition bridges the gap and refers to a report in Science magazine that suggests that sexual equality may in fact be a prehistoric concept, and that like so many other things, we broke a perfectly good thing along the way. The article posits that later, with the rise of agriculture and its systems of property and inherited wealth, sexual inequality appeared.

Did sexual equality fuel the evolution of human cooperation? | Science/AAAS | News.

By coincidence, July’s edition also reminds the reader that July 1848 saw the world’s first ever Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Men were supposed to be excluded, but early #HeForShe advocates were eventually allowed in – as long as they sat quietly and didn’t take an active part in the meeting. No iPhones in those days either… must have been hard for them!





Funny Clothing Tags

27 06 2015

These web pages promising x of the funniest y you’ve ever seen are often disappointing, but I had to admit to sniggering at one or two of these supposedly genuine wash care labels from Bored Panda.

21+ Of The Funniest Clothing Tags Ever | Bored Panda.

Not at all sexist...

Not at all sexist…





Do we learn how to be mean?

27 06 2015

This is a neat little experiment from the Japanese Red Cross.

Adults drop their wallets next to kids to see what they will do. It’s a beautiful experiment.

Adults drop their wallets next to kids to see what they will do. It's a beautiful experiment.

It seems that perhaps we really do start out as little angels (one experiment showed a preference for “nice” behaviour as young as 3 months) and learn to be blue meanies later. At least it shows as a species we can learn. Some of us are really good at learning…





Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 4

26 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 01:28:01

Well, this week I was accompanied by both my son and younger daughter. They drove me to my best time of the season, but they did it by basically disappearing over the horizon and willing me up to join them. The trail seemed quieter than of late, and we only saw about 6 other people. It was incredibly humid, and I must have lost a few pounds in sweat and evaporation. (“Sweat is just the fat crying” as one placard read on the Sun Run). For a couple of minutes it reached 100% and there was some light drizzle on the last quarter.

The erosion continues to concern me and I do feel guilty for my part in it. The ground is so dry that each footfall kicks up and displaces a small cloud of peat dust and further exposes the already nude roots. One result of this erosion was clearly visible on the first climb of the hike where the trail leaves the BCMC trail and ascends a rocky rise. Here there was a newly fallen tree blocking the path and needing us to limbo underneath.

Well, that makes 35 officially timed ascents (several others were unofficialc). Only another 5 to go before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”.





Donna Lee Stevens – Idiot Box

26 06 2015

Amazing work by Donna Stevens that graphically illustrates what we all inherently know about TV… it sucks your soul out through your eyes!

Parents: beware the downside of “the easy option” for a bit of peace and quiet…

Idiot Box — Donna Lee Stevens.

Donna Stevens - Idiot Box








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