Should Big Brother govern life choices?
November 25, 2011barriehol
There was something worryingly Orwellian about reading the Sunday paper this week. It started with an apparently serious front page article about the Mandometer (after mandible I guess) an ingenious talking plate that measures the amount of food you eat and issues terse warnings if you eat too much or too quickly. It even has a screen showing graphics of the food on the plate and shows it disappearing as one eats. Surely observing the actual plate would be equally effective in spotting this. The idea of course is meant to cure all us common folk of obesity by “training” us to eat responsibly. Mad! Mad! Mad! This kind of intuitive talking safety device is not new. Our intelligent Cigarette Smoke Detector can not only detect a lighter flame at 6 metres but also issues a verbal “No smoking allowed” warning. In this case at least it is a necessary safeguard to meet sensible HSE and fire safety legislation.
Then the BMA publishes its annual crackpot scientific review on the dangers of cigarette smoking calling for smoking to be banned in (private) cars. The report asserted children in cars were subjected to 23 times the level of toxins from cigarettes than they would compared to a smoke filled bar. As we quite rightly no longer have smoked filled bars this assertion seemed based on dubious science. When challenged, the BMA had to quickly backtrack reducing its figure to “nearer 11” before admitting the measurements were taken in cars with windows closed and the air-conditioning in recirculation mode. I think more lives could be saved by urging drivers to carry emergency safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, a travel first aid kit and a lifehammer to break a window and let the kids escape if the doors are jammed in an accident.
Next I read a story that shows the rise in CCTV cameras monitoring our kids in school has reached epidemic proportions with several schools boasting a camera to pupil ratio approaching 1 for every 6 kids. Even the school toilets that last bastion of privacy have succumbed to the official pupil snooper. The Heads at these schools defend their blanket surveillance strategy as essential to prevent misbehaviour and vandalism. They may need reminding that due to EU human rights excesses the day has long gone when our children held the slightest fear of retribution for doing anything wrong.
To cap it all another article reported that atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels have “shot up” by 2.5 ppm to 390 or so. The climate change doom mongers are never that hot on detail or margins of error but how convenient are the findings with the Kyoto climate change conference just weeks away. Smoking a cigarette creates carbon dioxide as does a car but not I suspect as much as manufacturing CCTV cameras.