All entries for August 2006

August 30, 2006

Greenpeace and Purchasing decisions

Writing about web page http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics/electronics/how-the-companies-line-up

Greenpeace have released a survey of how environmentally friendly different technology companies are. It uses nice, bold colours such as green and red and certainly makes it easy to comprehend the conclusions that greenpeace have come to – even if you have the IQ of a goldfish. I wonder if people will really take note of this when making their purchasing decisions.

But there are question marks for me about the whole thing. For example when comparing the HP and Apple we find that HP scores well and apple badly on takeback policy, but when reading the web page that greenpeace cite as evidence for this the situation is a lot more confusing. Neither Apple nor HP provide takeback for all products in all regions, but in HP's case this is described as:

"Voluntary takeback – not for all products and not in every region of the world"

But in Apple's:

"No voluntary takeback for every country where Apple has sales of its products and not for every type of product"

The reason that I chose these two is because Apple was heavily criticised for the use of PVC in its Monitors. Now I own an HP 2335 which uses the same display panel (manufactured by LG–Philips) as the 23" Apple Cinema display. Why is HP excused from the criticism, but Apple is focussed upon? Both of them are using the same underlying product in this instance, and neither of them have found solutions to the use of PVC within their display technology, despite both of them having programs in place to attempt this.

So I'm really unsure as to how HP scores better than Apple in many categories. The whole thing seemed a little arbitrary – despite them listing their criterion. Still I hope they clear up things like this, since they idea of providing independant judgements on the environmental suitability of purchases is very helpful from a consumer point of view.


August 16, 2006

Built to Last…

Writing about web page http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=party.builttolast.page

Today a quite interesting thing happened… The Conservatives released a policy document. Well, lets rephrase that, it wasn't quite policy. But its closer than anything we've seen from the party under Mr. Cameron, and thats a good thing for the conservatives, and a good thing for anyone who wants a serious election in 2009, not the bad jokes that we've had on the last three occasions.

You see, I would really like to vote Conservative – I really do agree with a lot of their agenda. Seriously – privatise, de–regulate, personal responsibility over collectivism, lower taxes, free trade – I'm for all of it. But theres been huge problems for me over the last few years with the Conservatives. And I mean huge problems, things that would want to make me actively campaign against them if I wasn't confident that my local seat hadn't been safely out of their reach at each of the last two elections.

If you recall the good Mr. Hague in 2001 ran an appauling campaign based primarily around save the pound, and secondarily around a 'send the buggers back' style immigration policy. At the runnup to the last election we had a tabloid style mud slinging match where Mr. Howard slated asylum seekers, gypsies… It got to the point where I was actively awaiting for him to go on TV, beat up an asylum seeking midget and tell me this is what his parents told him make Britain the best country in the world. I was generally pretty sickened. Bottom line is that singing the national anthem at the top of your voice whilst beating up on people whose lives are so bad in their own country that they choose to leave it does not appeal to me one little bit.

So here we are, we now have a Mr. Cameron in charge, who is very likeable, and talks a good talk. The real question that he has to answer to me is whether his 'quiet revolution' is actually an attempt or merely a corporate branding activity. Well we have some evidence today in terms of the 'Built to Last' agenda, and it requires analysis. The majority of the document is spent reciting bland, smile inducing, rhetoric about Conservative values, but there are some points of interest.

Firstly the opening page acknowledges that political views change over time, this is a massive contrast to Mr. Howard's repeatedly asserted dislike of Moral Relativism. They also accept that the previous administration has had some positive impact. This is a far easier pill to swallow, firstly the majority of the electorate believe it to be the case, secondly because being so nice sounds good in a 'mini–manifesto' situation like this. There's nothing to loose politically or in terms of one's convictions.

Mr. Cameron's new calling card of the environment also pops up throughout the document, as one would expect. I am glad he is really pushing the idea that environmental and economic sustainability are not mutually exclusive goals. Perhaps this is something that American and Australian conservatives could also learn. Unfortunately it is here that he really lets me down. He has been talking non–stop about the environment since he was elected leader and I really want some ideas, not proper policy, just ideas that show he is on the right track about it.

You see with things like the environment there are intelligent solutions to be found. Hybrid cars are obvious example from the states, but there are lots of other areas of interest. For example on the recent energy debate a lot of discussion has concentrated on generation, nuclear vs renewable vs fossil fuel. There are a wide range of options to be considered on the front of distribution, however, that haven't even got a mention in the debate. What is notable is that only about 30% of the energy used in generation ever gets to the consumer. Most of the remaining 70% gets let loose as heat. In Scandinavia there are currently trials underway testing underground heat pipes that can delivery the generated heat to the consumer. This not only increases efficiency of generation, since the previously excess heat is now utilised, but also decreases demand, since less electricity is used in heating homes, since they can use the heat from generation.

It is this kind of efficient thinking around problems that needs to be pushed rather than the brute force, 'lets build shitloads of nuclear plants, Gordy' thinking that prevails within the mind of the current government. Ultimately the test of the modernising conservatives should be the extent to which they can come up with, or back, intelligent and potentially workable ideas like the heat pipes or hybrid cars. If nothing original arises out of the new Conservative think tanks then I shall be taking it for granted that this is merely a branding exercise rather than a deep period of self reflection. I expect that in this instance Mr. Cameron will rely on the traditional tool of tabloid racism that proved such a poor fallback for bald erstwhile modernisers past.


August 14, 2006

Walken 2008

Writing about web page http://www.walken2008.com/index.html

One of the Actors I left out of my prevous blog entry was Christopher Walken, he is awesome in the same vein as Rutger Hauer. Even his trivia is awesome – IMDB claim that he, "Worked briefly as a lion tamer in a circus at age 15." He is also standing for President! Thats right – he intends to stand in 2008, probably as an independant. Even though he has no platform his website says some sensible things. The FAQ also claims that he will be making some supporter clothing availible in the future. Even though I have doubt that he will loose the election running as an independant I intend to try to obtain some of this promotional clothing in the future. Its also a bit of a shame that they don't mention the film McBain – thats got to be a vote winner. I also like some of the quotes, though I am not sure how they win votes, eg:

"I've made movies nobody will ever see,
I've made movies that even I have never seen


August 02, 2006

Yet Another Blog Entry

Well I've only posted one sentence in the last month, I could argue that this is because I have done nothing in the last month, but my blog has never been about me anyhow. So here it is, my amusing make–up–for–not–posting entry:

Awesome Film Stars

So, if you were making a movie – who would you put in it? Most directors tend to have preferred actors, some even recurring characters – who would you put in? Eagerly awaiting for some AFAS members to complain. (AFAS = All Films Are Shit) Here's my list of general awesomeness:

1. Dennis Hopper

Do I even need to justify this? He's a good actor, been a part of some classic films, has a great look.

2. Rutger Hauer

The first of the Verhoeven pair– wonderfully stylised look, always seems a bit though he is about to kill someone. A cult figure – the kind of person to get excited about when you see him on screen.

3. Michael Ironside

He is the classic 80s action film bad guy, just listen to the titles of some of the films he's been in: Extreme Prejudice, Probable Cause, Major Payne, Killer Image, Mindfield, Dead Awake, Captive. These are the kind of titles that make you want to watch a film, even though you know its awful. And this is before we account for his being in both Starship Troppers and Total Recall … and his ringtone in Desperate Housewives is the theme to the Blue's Brothers. My God – its popular culture mayhem! Anyhow – if he just kills people and shouts names like 'Hauser' it makes me happy.

4. Brian Blessed

Just look at him! His face is amazing – it can fit like three normal faces inside of it. He could eat babies and the court would give the task of massing models as community service. He's a national treasure worth preserving. If anyone ever plays me in a film (It'll never happen, I know) it MUST be him.

I might post some more later, the list is potentially very long…


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