Just been listening to the radio where a reporter based in the far east commented on his home situation. It seems he and others who live in the industrial areas of some big cities need to take protection of their family health very seriously.

He keeps his windows closed and even tries to keep out the deadly PM2.5 particles famed for their air pollution with the help of Duck Tape which he puts around the edges of windows. He mentioned that the noise from Air Purifiers in every room may be disturbing to his family life but it is a small inconvenience.

It seems a air monitoring device was obtained a few years ago and this indicated that the amount of air pollution was rated in the high eighties. since even the suggested local recommended rate was about 25, he quickly did something to help the situation and this included the Air Purifiers and the duck tape. It seems others in the area also use the air pollution monitors in their homes and are proactive in trying to reduce the risks . Yet even with the procedures described the level maintain in the reporters home is still just at 25. He did not say if there were any trees around the area-trees help to oxygenate the atmosphere(fresh country air etc) and some types of trees help reduce some types of air pollution in certain circumstances.

For information-PM2.5 particles are less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Some occur via dust storms but most via industrial processes. The smallest cross the blood barrier and  are breathed in and enter the lungs and have been associated with respiratory disease and lung damage.

The World Health Organisation consider 85% of people in urban areas are exposed to these and other pollutants which are too small to see yet devastate   health.

 

Before the festive season I sent a submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport. Many of the Committees in Parliament both in the Commons and Lords often request submissions from the public, organisations and businesses on the various topics under discussion in regard to legislation which is going through the Houses of Parliament or may do so at a later date.

The methods of submission and how to do so are on the website http://www.parliament.uk with details of how to submit via online or written. It is a way of showing one is a citizen not just a consumer. In this day and age a vital thing to do is to show that the vote which was so keenly fought for and difficult to obtain is not wasted. Individuals from countries where the vote is not so free appreciate what this country has in regard to democracy.

Watched animated version of Dickens Scrooge the other week. It was quite good, but what really came across was some of the attitudes indicated in the script. The Script seemed to be keeping to the book and all the other versions of the story in that it portrayed the basic viewpoint we have all come to know that seemed to exist in the 19th century towards being poor-the poor were undeserving.

Dickens wrote some of his stories weekly in a magazine as Boz. Yet some of the story line in the animation seemed to come straight from the pages of recent newspapers here in the 21st century-so unbelievingly modern. Did Charles Dickens have ESP. The world over the poor are classed the same, to the rich there is no class system. Its a wonder no one put actors in modern clothes in a modern setting and called a play Scrooge.

“The Worlds a stage”. Shakespeare’s words, so true. The actors and there roles are seen every day via the media.

TV shows us the roles people play not just in drama productions but in everyday life.” The seven ages of man” another well known line from the Bard. The other week was the big anniversary and now there are productions everywhere of the plays which were put on at the Globe Theatre 400 years ago. The plays tell us of rage, love, hate, manipulation, but one just needs to look around to see all that. What has changed or is changing. There is a mountain of research going on, people are making money from it. The facts and figures of our life. But a question might also be, how is the development of humanity in all this. Is the human brain any different to what it was in Shakespeare’s time? The emotions seem the same, the reasons for behaviour illustrated by the plays seem the same.

Yet there is four hundred years between the plays and this age of technology, when we have a computer in our pockets and can reach the other side of the world in a second.

 

Just completed a MOOC course online which had some statistics in it.  Explaining what the terms are and their uses. I receive newsletters from the Office of National statistics and below is a summary of one survey  recently received. Thought it might be useful information in regard to productivity, The title is unusual but is used on the website. The term is used for the statistics concerned with the UK.

NUTS = Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.

London and Aberdeen had the highest labour productivity (gross value added (GVA) per hour worked) of UK city regions at 30% and 17% above the UK average respectively in 2014. Bristol also had productivity above the UK average. City regions in the North and Midlands of England had productivity between 9-14% below the UK average.

All NUTS1 3 areas in London had productivity above the UK average in 2014 with the highest in Tower Hamlets (93% above the UK average). In the rest of the South of England, Berkshire and East Surrey had the highest productivity levels at 28% and 27% above the UK average respectively while the lowest levels were to be found in Cornwall, Torbay and Southend-on-Sea.

The highest labour productivity levels in the North and Midlands of England in 2014 were in Cheshire East, Derby and Solihull at 14%, 8% and 6% above the UK average respectively. Blackpool, Nottingham and Blackburn with Darwin had the lowest levels.

In Scotland, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, and City of Edinburgh, had the highest labour productivity levels at 17% and 7% above the UK average with the lowest productivity levels found in Dumfries and Galloway.

Overall, 30 out of 147 NUTS 3 areas outside of London had labour productivity above the UK average in 2014, with 22 of these areas in the South of England, 5 in the North and Midlands and 3 in Scotland.

Of the 35 NUTS 3 areas with labour productivity more than 15% below the UK average in 2014, 3 were in the South of England, 5 in Scotland, 7 in Wales, 8 in the Midlands and 12 in the North of England. The lowest productivity levels were found in Powys in Wales and Blackpool in North West England.

The data in this report measure labour productivity. Labour productivity measures the amount of output produced by a unit of labour input. A higher level of productivity means that a higher level of output is being produced per unit of labour input.

Productivity matters because increasing productivity is critical to increasing economic growth in the long run. This follows from the fact that economic output can only be increased by either increasing the amount of inputs or by raising productivity. Increasing productivity is, therefore, an important aim for both national and local economies.  There is currently a wide spatial difference in levels of productivity between different subregions.

 

 

The other day I was reminded of a meeting at which I said to a friend  there would be cuts, tremendous cuts to public services in the not too distant future. It was the closing down of a community project which embraced many communities and where individuals of many areas of the urban sprawl and the world came together to talk and discuss the needs of society. A friend from an Asian group told me not to worry and things were not that bad. I got looks of displeasure from one or two politicians present, while other individuals just laughed. I think the reason at that time for the project was another restructuring. It seems that the idea of waste and the Lean philosophy go hand in hand with restructuring.

I looked up the term Lean and found its foundation was in car manufacturing. the term itself then being restructured to include ideas on cutting out waste and establishing like minded people in positions to push ideas on waste. This then being the business idea of the century and attached to mainstream economic policies everywhere. Put the term Lean in a search engine and it is associated with many aspects of modern life from Call Centres to hospitals.

Perhaps it would seem to anyone looking down from another planet, the truth is out there anything that costs a lot needs to have its costs reduced and if this means cuts to projects and services, well it is the waste which is the problem.  Lottery money can always give a grant to a good cause. Public services can go into the market place and old industries too.

seal sands painting

Seal Sands-?

 

I watched the documentary about Peter the Great and the Tsars the other day. To the surprise of those around me, I was telling the story before the historian on the screen. I had spent my youth reading about the history of Russia and the history of France and the Napoleonic Wars and lots more, I still do. Maybe it was because I don’t look the type to have such knowledge. Image is the thing.

I enjoyed reading about European History for O’ Level.GCSE, a topic few people liked, but I loved. You find out where we have been and where we are going via a sense of perspective-history is not bunk.

For instance, the TV production of “War and Peace” looks lovely, but the representation of Napoleon looked not quite what all the pictures and descriptions I have read indicated of that person. Here I am not being Lean. Perhaps history books written recently give more up to date descriptions?decmarch2010 292

Picture-Lighting the Roman Wall

Around here the great tourist attraction is the Roman Wall. History is making money nowadays everywhere. A big industry has grown where there were once, ships and factories.

The picture shows people dressed as Romans lighting the way along the Wall via  propane gas during the big “Lighting the Wall” event a few years ago.