"Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality." Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957)

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

‘I have as much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl’ Princess Margaret

Information in itself is benign and like any tool it can be used for good and bad.  It is the use of information that requires protection not the tool. Want an example that backs up what I just said?

Let’s talk about Facebook pictures (at this point 2 out of 5 readers will go on their Facebook profile, I’m guessing, but please come back).

What you should't post on your Facebook

What you should’t post on your Facebook

Everyone is talking about how someone’s Facebook profile can weigh more than a CV or recommendation, when applying for a job. So, FB users who like to portray themselves as party animals on Facebook will not be perceived as employable no matter their academic or work background.

Let me tell you a little story. In my second year in Uni,
I’ve been told that the fact that I don’t socialise as much, I don’t go out
with my fellow students on nights out and that’s pretty obvious on my FB
profile. Besides the absolute shock I had that the person I was talking to was
aware of what pictures I have and don’t have on my FB profile, my first thoughts
were: shouldn’t knowledge and ability to deliver best quality academic work
outweigh that? Would a future employer’s opinion be the same on this matter?
Well, apparently not, cause if you tend to have wall posts about nights out,
hundreds of pictures clubbing, etc. you are no longer employable.

So, my question is, what should someone chose? Maintaining a
professional image and being perceived as an unapproachable person and unable
to get the best grades for group work or having over 100 tags in common with
people from the course at ‘social’ nights out, clubbing and getting better
grades at group work, but becoming less employable? Think this it’s a weird and
irrelevant association? Ask someone who was ever in university and they will be
in one or the other situation.

But would this really be an issue if pictures and posts you
have on a social media platform would just remain at that and it would remain a
social media website, so a way to keep in contact with friends and other
unprofessional activities… If a real distinction between personal and
professional profiles would be done?

When Mark Zuckenberg claimed that privacy is no longer de riguer and ‘no longer a social norm’
my first thought was, yeah, not entirely wrong, but then again, texting and
driving became a standard behaviour lately. Facebook is doing to privacy what
Nokia was trying to do driving carefully (the steering-wheel input device for

Following this rational path that people are doing it anyway
so why not enable them and do things easier, murderers could viably argue:
‘Well, people die anyway, so why not lend a hand in the process?”

Information in itself is benign and like any tool it can be used for good and bad.  It is the use of information that requires protection not the tool. What an example that backs up what I just said?Let’s talk about Facebook pictures (at this point 2 out

Flower Power in the modern Era

What is the occupy movement all about? To me, it’s another reason to sell newspapers, waste gas on media trucks going to the so-called camps where protesters are. They want the ‘Robin Hood tax’ back. But Robin Hood wasn’t wasting natural resources to come up with ‘witty messages’ on billboards, he stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

“Ms. Frakes is now unemployed, living on $330 a week of unemployment benefits and odd jobs,” the Journal wrote.” is the one quote that attracted my attention from an article on the occupy movement. The activists in the Occupy movement proclaimed themselves the 99% of the population, the poor ones that have been hit by the economic downturn in an imaginable way.2.8 billion people earn under $2 a day, that’s almost half of the world population, and people in front of St. Paul Cathedral in London argue against capitalism and claim equality. Equality they say, but would they like to be equal with the ones mentioned previously who earn under $2 a day, or has equality gained another meaning since I first learned it means fairness, similarity, equivalence?

I can’t say I see eye-to-eye with the prime-minister David Cameron on a variety of affairs (remember the Big Society?) but as far as this

Tents in front of St. Paul's Cathedral

matter is concerned we are in total agreement. In a recent confession to the Commons liaison committee he said: people shouldn’t be able to erect tents all over the place. Protesting you should do on two feet, rather than lying down in some cases in a fairly comatose state. Going back to the 99% issue, in order to be in the top half of the globe on the distribution order, you need to earn around £1000 a year. Yes, that is 3 zeros, one thousand and I did say per year. Don’t take my word for it, take World Bank economist Branko Milanovic’s word, author of The Haves and the Have-Nots (link to the .pdf version of the book). Would the real 99%, the ones who would be entitled to call themselves poor, afford to buy or rent a tent? Not for the purpose of occupying the London Stock Exchange, but to live in it.

What made me write this article and why am I against this movement? Because my earnings last year were under £2000, so I am more entitled to saying I am part of the poor ones, but I would never stay in front of St Paul’s cathedral with big brightly coloured banners hoping this would make things right. Instead of that, I’m working hard towards getting my degree and making contacts so I can earn the money I want and deserve.

So, can someone tell me what the whole point of the movement is, other than a gathering similar to the ones in the Flower Power era?

Smoking is one of the leading causes of … statistics

A new campaign initiated by Fresh with the support of British Lung Foundation is yet another campaign aimed at stopping people from smoking. They are using the long-term effects of smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as the tool of choice this time. And the examples they offer are people in their sixties who are suffering from shortness of breath and really damaging effects caused by smoking.

COPD is currently the 4th leading cause of death in the United States for those between the ages of 65-84.

One of the solutions proposed in a discussion in class today to decrease the risk of COPD was banning cigarettes on the market. Would that help? Smoking doesn’t have any beneficial effects on a person’s health, it only has negative effects, and we all know that. Especially the smokers I would say, who can feel a shortness of breath when they are going up the stairs to their office after having a cigarette break in the smoking area or that terrible taste in their mouth when they wake up in the morning. But they still smoke, don’t they? I would argue that illegalising cigarettes would only shift the profit that companies make from selling them from which they pay high taxes to the government to individuals who would find a way around producing cigarettes and selling them to the consumers.

The issue here is not the effect of smoking on the person who smokes but on the society as a whole. And the costs that incur for the care of people suffering from COPD are supported by the health services, ultimately by the tax payers.  COPD occurs after the age of 50, but as a result of people smoking until then. So there would still be a high number of COPD patients that have the disease as the result of companies like British American Tobacco providing them with the gear.

Some may argue that, thinking in the long run, illegalising cigarettes would make a difference.

I would argue it wouldn’t. The main issue at the moment is that, out of the 300 people who take up smoking every day, nearly every one of them is a child under the age of 18, which is illegal and they are not going to care about the Campaign initiated by Fresh telling them what will happen after they are over 50 with their lungs. All they care about is belonging to a group, popularity and the feeling that they are doing something rebellious. Would making cigarettes illegal diminish that? I think it would only emphasise the coolness of it, because the forbidden fruit is always tempting.

The best approach I have seen so far is the ‘Smoking is cool’  initiative of British American Tobacco. Decades of ‘Smoking is bad’ have not influenced young people’s opinion on taking up smoking and it will not change, no matter how many horrifying pictures or strong messages will be displayed on the packages.

‘Smoking can kill’ will not impress a young person, because young people think they are invincible and immortal anyway. But young people do respond to sarcasm and their greatest fear is being laughed at. I’ve been a smoker for 6 years, but I would not, in a million years walk around with a packet of cigarettes that says ‘Smoking makes me cool’, but this campaign is not targeted at me, an addict, is aimed at people who are thinking about taking up smoking.

I want to find out what you think, should cigarettes be illegalised or should they change the way they are trying to influence people’s opinion on smoking?


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