For ladies who drive alone…

I had a flat tire on I-495 yesterday; so, I pulled over, got out of the car and opened my trunk.

I took out my cardboard men, unfolded them and stood them at the rear of my car facing oncoming traffic. They look so lifelike you wouldn’t believe it!

emergency flashers f

Just as I had hoped, cars started slowing down looking at the men which made it much safer for me to work on the side of the road.

People honked and waved, and it wasn’t long before a police car pulled up behind me..

He wanted to know what the heck I was doing, so I calmly explained that I was changing my flat. He told me he could see that, but demanded to know what the heck my cardboard men were doing standing at the rear of my car.

I couldn’t believe he didn’t know! So I told him …. “Well, I explained to the angry Policeman ….

They’re my Emergency Flashers!!!!”

I go to court in April. (Damn Police. No sense of humor

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Angry viewers demand that NBC cancel “Shark Hunters”

shark fins
Shark fins drying — click to enlarge

With the advent of the second season of NBC Sports’ terrible show about killing threatened species, “Shark Hunters,” the internet is starting to erupt. Over 16,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the network to cancel the show, and countless others have taken to Twitter to express their outrage.

The show follows a group of fishers as they compete in a tournament to win money for bringing in the biggest shark. Among other disturbing things about the show, the hunters target only species that are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List for the contest — Mako, thresher and porbeagle sharks. In a world where shark finning and loss of apex predators is a major concern, the glorification of killing these animals seems incredibly backwards.

The petition, hosted by Change.org, is addressed to Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Sports Group, and several other executives in the company. It reads:

Programs like this not only glamorize shark hunting and killing but also make the whole action “OK”. Sharks play an important role in our oceans and if we continue to hunt them, our ocean’s health will continue to decline. Change.org petitions have successfully convinced other channels, like National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, to cancel other violent hunting shows. I’m sure with enough signatures, we can get NBC to listen.

I’m not so sure. I’d also suggest you send an email or otherwise complain to Comcast – who owns NBC-Universal.

Even killing sharks “for food” is a load of crap when often all that’s taken is the fins for soup and seasoning. That’s like the last Sun King of France killing thousands of song birds to have a pate made from their tongues.

Thanks, Mike

The Pope thinks kids are wasting time online — he should think about why

Pope Francis has taken aim at today’s youth by urging them not to waste their time on “futile things” such as “chatting on the internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas”.

He argued that the “products of technological progress” are distracting attention away from what is important in life rather than improving us. But even as he made his comments, UK communications regulator Ofcom released its latest figures, giving the opposite message. It celebrated the rise of a “tech-savvy” generation born at the turn of the millennium and now able to navigate the digital world with ease.

So what’s it to be for youth and the internet? Time-wasting and futile? Or the first to benefit from the wonders of the digital age?

This debate has been raging since children first picked up comic books and went to Saturday morning cinema. The media, it has long been said, makes kids stupid, inattentive, violent, passive, disrespectful, grow up too early or stay irresponsible too long. Whatever it is that society worries about in relation to children and young people, it seems that we love to blame it on the latest and most visible technology. Anything rather than looking more closely at the society we have created for them to grow up in.

Fifteen years ago, when children were being criticised for watching too much television (remember those days?), I asked children to describe what happened on a good day when they got home from school and what happened on a boring day. From six year olds to seventeen year olds, the answers were the same: on a good day, they could go out and see their friends; on a boring day they were stuck at home watching television.

And why couldn’t they go out and see their friends every day? Far from reflecting the appeal of television, the answer lies in parental anxieties about children going out. As a 2013 report noted, children are far less able to move around independently than in the past. This is particularly true of primary school children, who are often no longer allowed to walk to school or play unsupervised as they once were. Their developing independence, their time to play, their opportunities to socialise are all vastly curtailed compared with the childhoods of previous generations.

And yet the number of children who have accidents on the road has fallen over the years and there has been little change to the rate of child abductions, which remain very rare.

There is little evidence that children are choosing to stay home with digital technology instead of going out. Indeed, it seems more likely that an increasingly anxious world – fuelled by moral panics about childhood – is making parents keep their kids at home and online. And then, to pile on the irony, the same society that produces, promotes and provides technologies for kids also blames them for spending time with them…

Sonia Livingstone asks useful questions. Questions – in my own experience – not asked often enough. Certainly not asked or answered in conversations with folks in charge of funds for education, funds for recreation, even those in charge of whether or not there will be funds for education or recreation.

Much less what comprises useful education and what roles recreation, sport, fitness and challenge should play in the lives of young people. What to do with communication and a view of the whole world?

FCC is requiring text-to-911 on all carriers – most 911 centers can’t receive them!

By the end of the year, carriers will be required to route all of your emergency texts to 911. The problem is most emergency services agencies aren’t yet equipped to receive them.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to require all mobile carriers to route text messages sent to 911 to local emergency response centers — just like phone calls — by the end of the year. The decision might not have much of an impact though.

The big four operators have already implemented text-to-911 voluntarily, though many smaller operators have not. But the big issues is that only about 2 percent of 911 response centers are capable of receiving SMS, so most emergency messages just get sent into the ether (though carriers are required to notify such texters that their messages weren’t received).

The FCC also now requires over-the-top messaging apps linked to phone numbers must all support 911. That means an app that works within the phone’s SMS client such as iMessage must be able to send 911 texts, but a social messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp does not.

Always heartwarming to realize that a government agency chartered to deal with modern communications handles its tasks about as well as Congress.