The CCTV Myth

CCTV prevents crime.

That’s the justification. After all, if you’re being watched you’ll behave, won’t you? And if you know all the bad guys are being watched, you know you’re safe, don’t you?

But it’s a myth. It’s simply nonsense.

Want my evidence? How many times have you heard on the news “The police are examining CCTV footage for clues,” or “The [criminal] was caught with the help of CCTV,” Or something similar? Think of all that footage on Crimewatch, Police Camera Action! or YouTube of people robbing shops, mugging people or driving too fast.┬áThe truth is that CCTV has become so ubiquitous that it’s either ignored or assumed to be a dummy camera. Criminals will still commit crime right in front of a real camera for us all to see. That’s just what happened every time you see the footage, or the police are examining the footage. Every time. What was preventative about that?

So does CCTV achieve anything?

What CCTV does do very effectively is give people a false sense of security. I wonder how many times people have said something like: “Of course it’s okay to take that shortcut at 1am, theres a CCTV camera covering the car park, no one will attack/mug/rape me in front of that.” Shortly before the police have to examine the footage?

Famously, we have more CCTV in the UK than any other country except China. What is its outcome? A detective force that is reliant upon it for their work, rather than on traditional detective work. We have a traffic police focussed primarily on speeding, because that’s what GATSO’s detect, rather than on the greater problem of bad driving. We have a population wandering around in a fog of false security.

But we still have crime. Right before our (electric) eyes.

cctv

[Originally posted on Fifth Donkey]

Sweetie Review: Refreshers Revisited

In June last year, I reviewed Refreshers. Having rediscovered them, they’ve made regular (if infrequent) appearances in my desk’s sweetie dish. They don’t last long.

But today, having not had them for a couple of weeks, I made a frightful discovery on the shelves of Mr McNobby’s shop: The little sugar temptresses have changed. The first clue is the packet. It’s no longer a paper roll around a foil wrap. It’s all paper, folded over at the ends. Boo Hiss. What’s worse – and this is the real shocker – the tube is narrower. Imperceptibly narrower, but narrower all the same. Yes, the little sweeties are slightly smaller. Massive Boo Hiss.

On closer inspection, this is because they’re now made by a company called ‘Candy Land’. Have the Americans bought out refreshers?

Will I stop buying them? Of course not, they taste exactly the same.

All Sweetie Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

 

Thunder

Thunder. Don’t you just love a good thunderstorm?
Thunder is amazing, though. It’s one of nature’s great phenomena. What causes it? Lighting. It’s the sound of lightning, right? Well, sort of. As your six inch thick bolt of lightning sears from cloud to cloud, or cloud to ground, it’s hotter than the surface of the sun. So the air it passes through gets pretty hot, too. So hot in fact, that it changes its state. It breaks apart the molecules of gas into atoms, and breaks the bonds within them to form a plasma.
Just as when you boil a kettle and change water into steam and it expands, so the plasma expands, too. But it has nowhere to go, there’s all that pesky air in the way. But so dramatic are the heat and expansion, that it pushes the billions of molecules of air out if the way faster than the speed of sound.

And that’s thunder: the sonic boom of the atmosphere as it gets pushed out of the way at supersonic speed.

Awesome.

Eulogy For A Centenarian

At over 100 years old, consider the lifetime of my Great Aunt Audrey who died this evening.

She married Bill, the Reverend William Dodd, after he turned her head delivering a sermon in the convent hospital that was her work and home. They were happily married for many years as he ran his parish in Gloucestershire. He died some twenty-five to thirty years ago, as part of that five year spell in my late teens that I look back on as the great purge of their generation. Somehow she survive the purge. And survived and survived. Sadly she survived with a diminishing amount of memory.

Dementia is a cruel disease. Your personality, your life, slips away, yet life itself goes on.

What memories Auntie Audrey must have lost. The personal ones, Me, Bill, the many parishioners she cared for in lieu of the children she never had. But what of the others, the century of incredible change and history?

The Great War, the rise of communism, Spanish ‘flu, Irish partition, the rise of Nazism, the Second World War, the holocaust, the establishment of the NHS,the Abdication of a King, the death of a King, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, The Beatles, JFK… You get the idea. If you don’t get the idea, try listening to the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (a bit US orientated, but it gives a long list).

The last century has seen so much change Great Auntie Audrey left a world that bore no similarity to the one in which she was born. Tonight my family lost her, but our world has lost so much in the time she lived. Valuable things. We ought to hold on to the things we value. They may not just happen, we have to make the effort to retain them.

Remember.