Sunday, June 24, 2007

Light(en) Up? ~ not any more!

The above Pdf is available for printing but must be at least A5 size before being displayed. There is a dotted guide line with the implication that scissors are to be used. Worryingly, because there is no advice which indicates that care should be taken with the use of sharp implements! If we are to become a total nanny state then these things need to be thought through. What follows is from an official government site. From which we learn, amongst other things, that 'smokefree' is now a word as is, 'nosmoking'. I have had tell my spell-checker to learn this, and eschew. 'smoke free' and 'smoke-free'; likewise ignore, 'no smoking' or 'non smoking' in favour of 'nosmoking'. It's a throw back to that old joke about a character called. 'Nosmo King'. I am mildly curious to know why 'herbal' concoctions cannot be indulged ~ they are non-carcinogenic but perhaps it paves the way for 'other substances' to be enjoyed. Enjoyment is the one thing that is to be prevented. Will any of this help the reduction of carbon emissions, or just raise the temperatureof those who are being nannied into a certain course of action? I know the arguments for this legislation but am constitutionally inclined to resist and resent being told what to do and what not to do; especially by politicians.


When will the new smokefree law start?
Sunday, 1 July 2007.

Who will enforce the new law?
Local councils and port health authorities will enforce the new law and will have the power to appoint enforcement officers, such as environmental health officers, trading standards or local community support officers.

Does the law just apply to cigarettes?
No, it covers all substances that a person can smoke. These include manufactured cigarettes, hand­rolled cigarettes, pipes, cigars, herbal cigarettes and water pipes (including shisha, hookah and hubble­bubble pipes).

Can I still have a staff smoking room?
No, but you can have an outdoor smoking shelter, although there is no requirement for you to do so. If you decide to, you will need to ensure it is not ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’.You may also need to consider other issues such as planning, licensing and building control, noise and litter.

Can I smoke in my own car?
Yes, the new law doesn’t cover vehicles used primarily for private purposes.

I share a work vehicle with another smoker. Can we still smoke?
No, the law is designed to protect smokers and non­smokers from secondhand smoke. Smoking will only be permitted in work vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by anyone else for work either as a driver or passenger.

I work from home. Will it be required to be smokefree?
If more than one person uses any part of a private dwelling solely as a place of work, then it will be required to be smokefree.

Does new smokefree law apply to premises and vehicles used for voluntary work?
Yes, the new law applies to all work, including voluntary work.

I occasionally use my private car for voluntary work, will it need to be smokefree?
No, vehicles used primarily for private purposes will not need to be smokefree.

Are no­smoking signs required in heritage buildings?
Any premises required to be smokefree will need to display no­smoking signs that meet the requirements of the new law prominently at entrances. The new law allows flexibility for signs to be designed and displayed in a way that fits the decor of premises.

Where can I get more information? For further information, visit or call the Smokefree England information line on 0800 169 169 7. You can also ask your local council for advice and support.


The new 'nosmoking' signs are available in eight different languages though the graphic would seem to be universally recognised. Still, it enables us to use yet more paper to clutter up our visual environment with tat and rubbish in addition to what we have already.

There's money to be made from these signs. Thirty four different versions can be ordered from:
"No Butts Bin Company"
If you are partially sighted fear not for:
"Additional formats, for example large print and braille, may also be made available on request."

If you really want to continue smoking then perhaps you should be committed to a Mental Health Unit where the legislation doesn't come into effect for another year exactly ~ don't ask! Alternatively, if you reside in a care home there may well be little havens of comfort reserved for you, apart from the bike sheds. Though if the bike shed in question is 'partially enclosed' then it will be deemed to be 'smokefree'. So, no excuses . . . Now for the penalties:

Penalties and fines for breaking the smokefree law
If you don't comply with the new smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence. The fixed penalty notices and maximum fine for each offence are:

Smoking in smokefree premises or work vehicles:

a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) imposed on the person smoking. Or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

Failure to display no-smoking signs:

a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle. Or a maximum fine of £1000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place:

a maximum fine of £2500 imposed on whoever manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle if prosecuted and convicted by a court. There is no fixed penalty notice for this offence.

Local councils will be responsible for enforcing the new law in England.
A telephone line (0800 587 166 7) will also be in operation from 1 July 2007 to enable members of the public to report possible breaches of the law. This information will be passed to local councils to follow-up as appropriate.

Just like parking offences, if you pay up early it is cheaper. Interestingly, those who have to enforce the law suffer heavier penalties than the smoker who has broken the law! Acts of ommission carry heavier penalties than acts of commission. To help everyone become more friendly and sociable, in this new world order, there is help line where you can report to the authorities those who are breaking the law, by smoking; by failing to stop others smoking; by failing to post 'nosmoking' signs .

The Venetians too, had this kind of 'grassing' system to report malefactors, and enemies of the state, however, that was ended a few hundred years ago.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Secret of Political Success

I read today, as a teaser to a Times magazine article that is to appear on Saturday, that the departing prime-minister, Tony Blair had a pair of hand-made, brogue shoes. He wore these, to every parliamentary question time, since 1997.
No harm in that I guess, good to know that these Church's shoes lasted so well and had only to be resoled once in all that time.

What is slightly disturbing is that the leader of our country is on record as declaring them to be his "lucky" shoes.
Forget statesmanship, forget informed wise leadership ~ what we seem to rely upon is a pair of "lucky" shoes.

Tonight at work in the Criterion restaurant, I was chatting to some American tourists who volunteered that they not angry with George Bush, because you cannot be angry with someone who is so palpably stupid and lacking in any brain. Perhaps, he too, would benefit from lucky footwear!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Olympic Standards

Well there it is . . . a lot of money spent, a team of 'creative' people working to a brief, and many meetings and many hours, to achieve this.

I guess that, as part of the design requirement it had to be able to be animated, so it probably does what it says on the packet.

Many folk think it's not very good and have come up with their own variations ~

Other designers have created some really good, colourful designs that could easily be animated too.

My favourite has to be:

I think that we could do much better than the official logo which, however much hard work went into it, is no substitute for talent!

Monday, June 04, 2007

PR for Eurostar

Train travel gets on board the ‘horse-drawn’ bandwagon?

From: Eurostar advertising

"Tread Lightly. Two words. One commitment.
A whole new approach to European travel.

Global warming is a scientific fact. No one can afford to ignore it. Travellers are worried about it. And the industry is talking about it. But actions speak louder than words.

You may already be aware that a Eurostar journey is 10 times less polluting than flying. But we believe that everyone can do more. So, from November 14th 2007, the day we open at St. Pancras International, we are changing the way we operate as a business. We have now launched Tread Lightly, an initiative designed to further reduce our impact on the environment (what scientists call our ‘footprint’) and to help our travellers do the same.

As part of this initiative, we have made a commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a further 25% per traveller journey by 2012. Consequently, we will be making changes across all areas of our business, from the big things like energy efficiency, paperless ticketing and waste management, through supply chain selection to smaller cultural changes like recycling in our offices.

Any remaining emissions will be offset, at no cost to the traveller, meaning that from November 14th 2007, Eurostar is proud to offer carbon neutral journeys.

We’re on a journey. A very important one. And, as ever we’re delighted to have you with us."

My slight confusion arises in trying to reconcile these two statements:

“Any remaining emissions will be offset, at no cost to the traveller, meaning that from November 14th 2007, Eurostar is proud to offer carbon neutral journeys.”

So carbon neutral by 2007 ~ Splendid.

“we have made a commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a further 25% per traveller journey by 2012.”

Does this mean that they go from Carbon Neutral journeys (2007) to Carbon Negative travel (2012) as they reduce emmissions by a further 25% ?

Is it me, or does this lack ‘joined up thinking’?

Perhaps the "Tread Lightly" quotation needs to finished as intended by W.B.Yeats; " Tread lightly because you tread on my dreams."

Dream on Eurostar!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Seeing is Believing!

Here is a collection of visual illusions that exceed in interest many that I have previously seen; together with explanations as to what is happening.

Credit to Michael Bach for assembling 71 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena
(Visual Illusion · Optische Täuschung)