Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Paris

We went to a match,

but recall not the score,

Just the 3 bombs,

that started the war.

Others at restaurants,

eating with friends,

Many at a theatre

would die by the tens.

 

Filled with hate,

Ready to fight,

They arrived in dark cars,

Beneath the shadow of night:

“Forward soldiers!”

“There is your prey!”

Onward they marched,

Ready to slay,

 

Attack to the left, Attack to the right

Attack to the centre

Shoot whoever’s in sight,

This was no battle, against warriors great,

Instead against innocents,

who fell where they ate,

Women and children,

Babies and men,

People who would never,

see their loved ones again

 

Onto a theatre,

Where a concert played,

To continue the killing,

So many afraid.

Some escaped, too many did not,

A hand let go, another one shot.

 

Little time to react,

Less to run,

The cowards in front,

Their hate and a gun.

They say it’s for religion

But care not who they slay,

They wish only to die

and this is their day.

 

And after the bloodshed,

With defiance in our veins,

We overcame the anger,

And we sang La Marseillaise,

With our hearts and our voices,

our pride, and our pain

We left stade francais

disbelief at the insane

 

Later we would stop,

Unable to breath,

To pause and reflect,

And to cry and to grieve

All the world wondered,

What had we seen?

How could this happen

In twenty-fifteen?

 

It is still on your mind,

that it could happen again,

that out of the shadows,

could step evil men.

But we must go out,

Take a firm stance,

And in unity shout,

Vive la France!

 

 

 

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – UK teaser

 

The title needs little introduction – I haven’t been this excited about a movie since The Lord of the Rings. It feels like I’m 10 years old all over again.

 

Mood: anticipation

November 29, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Ocean Clean-up

Great ocean garbage patch  According to stats quoted on Boyan Slat’s website, http://www.theoceancleanup.com,

Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans (UNEP 2005)
Plastic concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres (Maximenko et al., 2012
1/3rd of all oceanic plastic is within the great Pacific Garbage Patch (Cózar et al, 2014)

This causes environmental damage (at least one million seabirds, and 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution), economic damage (to beaches, fishing vessels), and health damage (swallowed by fish, the plastic contaminates the food chain). Much of this is already known, so why write it about it here? Because Boyan Slat believes that he has the solution. And via crowd funding he has already raised over $2million. Not bad for a 20 year old – that’s right, Boyan is just 20 year’s old – he is another example of a motivated Gen Y’er with a belief and an atittude to do.

Whilst he acknowledges that the problem must be stopped at its source (preventing more plastic entering the oceans) there is an existing mess to clean up. The Ocean Cleanup works to develop the world’s first viable method to clean the gyres of plastic, using the currents to its advantage. As Boyan states: “Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? An array of floating barriers first catches and concentrates the debris, enabling a platform to efficiently extract the plastic afterwards. We have now proven the … concept is likely a feasible and viable method to remove almost half the plastic from the North Pacific Garbage patch in 10 years, while being … faster and … cheaper than conventional methods. The Ocean Cleanup now works towards a large-scale and operational pilot in 3-4 years’ time.”

Of course, had Boyan gone for an interview at a “normal” company, had he found a normal job and proposed something that others said was impossible or crazy, he might have been called obsessive, unrealistic. So he set a up a team of 100 volunteers and himself became the lead.

So the next time you interview or meet an enthusiastic 20-something with a crazy idea, don’t dismiss it or him/her. Boyan Slat wants to clean the world’s oceans – the person in front of you might be able to solve something must simpler in comparison.

For more information visit: www.theoceancleanup.com

Image from: http://www.techthefuture.com/recycling/plastic-munching-sea-bacteria/

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Street photographer photographs people on their Smartphones

death of conversation Smartphones are great – they keep us in touch with people, but not always the person we are with; they let us know what is going on in people’s lives, but not always to listen when they tell us; they allow us to interact with hundreds, thousands of people at a time, but can prevent us communicating with one single person who is in company with us.

Street photographer Babycakes Romero started to photograph people in company on their smartphones. Are smartphones really killing conversation, as this series of photos suggests? I wouldn’t personally go that far. Smartphones and tablets help us to interact differently, allowing us to build communities and form a part of them on a level that has not been possible before. However, I do struggle to comprehend a couple who go out to dinner, and barely utter a word, as each is on their phone.

Though when I meet up with a friend, I am more interested in them than my social networks. These I can check, update and review any time I want – but time is precious – I treasure and value the moments when I am with somebody. I guess time and place is the key here: I love my iPhone, as much as I do the iPad – I interact, blog, tweet, and upload, just not when I am in company, unless of course I want to share the moment with others, with my network.

Click on the link to view the photos:

http://www.boredpanda.com/the-death-of-conversation/

November 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Dutch girl fakes 5 week holiday

Social-Media-Real-Life-iStock_000019971227XSmall  You’re doing the 21st century version of zapping – thumbing through facebook and social media with increasing envy, perhaps admiration, looking at hundreds, and without realising it, thousands of photos, status updates, newsfeeds of your friends (a concept that has itself changed and evolved with the advent of social media), their lives and their holidays.

 

We all have them: the friends that live the life that we envy – they seem to travel more than they work. One such person was Dutch student, Zilla van den Born. For 5 weeks Zilla subjected her friends to endless pictures of restaurants, strange food, swimming with exotic multicoloured fish, sitting with a Buddhist monk, as she travelled through South East Asia, when in reality she never left her home in Amsterdam. It was an illusion, a fake, a (very successful) attempt to show how social media does not necessarily reflect real life. It was a University project to show how people use social media to manipulate what they want to show. In her own words, “…we create an online world which reality can no longer meet.”

 

Zilla’s goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality.

 

This got me thinking – we all know that pictures of the famous are manipulated with Photoshop – blemishes are removed, wrinkles are ironed out, just as the lives of reality TV stars are manipulated into something that people will watch. However, have we considered just how pathetically easy it is to manipulate reality in our own lives? A photo, a status, a newsfeed – social media allows us all to distort real life into whatever version of cyber reality we wish to show.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

There’s nothing worse than being an expert at something obsolete

Self_checkout   Some years ago I accompanied a friend of mine to the INEM (the Spanish unemployment office) to register as unemployed – it was 2010, the Government had finally acknowledged there was a crisis (too late), and my friend was the latest victim of company cutbacks. We took a ticket akin to being at the meat counter at the local supermarket, and some 20 minutes later were served (I mean, attended). The half interested, state employed worker on the other side of the meat counter continued her conversation with a colleague, and then looked at us, giving my friend a look that said, “What the hell do you want?!”, rather than “How can I help you?”. My friend gave her the ticket with the number – she was asked for her ID card, and that was that… or so I thought. My friend was given another ticket for another queue, on the same floor of the 1970’s quick-build aesthetically ugly office. We waited just over an hour, before being attended by a woman who looked as though the mere sound of my friend’s voice was causing her physical pain. There were two people attending this counter. She checked my friend’s ID card, tapped a few times at a keyboard, and then sent my friend upstairs to a third, equally long queue. An hour and a bit later, a man in a 1960’s suit, reeking of tobacco, checked the papers that my friend had from the company that had laid her off. He tapped a few times at a keyboard, then handed the papers back – all the time managing to speak to her without once looking up – excellent customer skills. He finally slammed an official looking stamp on a piece of paper, handing it to my friend – she was now officially unemployed.

 

Why am I recounting the painful experience of public sector workers at the Spanish unemployment office? Spain, as with many European countries, is faced with bulging and increasing debt levels, with outdated social benefits systems based on equally outdated social models, and an even more outdated public sector employment system that guarantees a job for life. At some point, something is going to have to change. However, like it or not, accept it or not, this entire administrative process will eventually be automated down to a fraction of the time it takes today, eliminating the need for three agents to at the most one, or perhaps none at all. Unskilled people, with a job for life, will find themselves unable to work in the new environment, the public sector will pick up the bill, and the tax payer will fund it.

 

An ex-work colleague told me some time ago that those planning the education system of our children are faced with a challenge: 60% of future jobs do not exist today. How can education planners prepare our children for jobs that right now do not even exist? And for those of us already working, how can we make sure that we are prepared in case our job is one of those that disappears? At the very least, our jobs will radically change – we cannot be so naive to assume that the job we do is immune to future change.

 

As individuals, what can we do to ensure our future? We should always be learning something new, whether personal or professional. Learning a language, a new piece of software, a new skill, or at least actively seeking to improve something, become better. If not, you’ll find yourself an expert at a company, the employee who has been there 20 years, who has witnessed 3 office moves, who remembers employees past and present, the anecdotes, the urban-legends, and who one day, finds themselves unemployed, griping that the company never gave them a chance, never trained them, that their job has been given to somebody younger and cheaper.

 

There’s nothing worse than being an expert at something obsolete.

 

 

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-checkout

 

September 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Personal Project – my year in Selfies

About a month ago, I started a new personal project: “My year told via selfies” – it’s simple, every day I take a selfie, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied, maybe in a bar, a restaurant, at work, at an airport, on holiday. And at the end of the year, I’ll have my year in selfies – what I did, who I was with, where I was.

 

I haven’t decided yet how I’ll share the shots: FB, or my blog. What I can guarantee, is that I won’t be taking the lead of the secretary who tweeted nude selfies taken in the Swiss parliament. If you don’t know about the story, the images are no doubt available via a Google search.

 

In the meantime, if we meet up, I’d be happy to include you in my project 🙂

 

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Travel Revolution – the Millenials have arrived

20130815_Millennial_Traveller  By the end of the decade, millenials (those who are, in very broad terms, between 18 and 30 years of age) will be the travel market’s biggest sector.

 

I have been living the Up in the Air life the last few months, since starting in a new, exciting job. I’ve seemingly slept in hotels more than in my own bed since April, so much so that several times I have woken up in the night, not knowing where I am.

 

Despite being tired after each of my early starts (I wake up before the birds begin their song) I always ask for the wi-fi code (in reality, I no longer need to – they know me at the hotel, greet me by name, and hand me the wifi code even before my room key). It doesn’t matter where I am, or how tired I am, it seems that a prerequisite for the 21st century traveller is that hotels offers free wi-fi – why should we pay for a basic right? (the right to stay connected). It’s as much a way to save on expensive roaming charges, as it is the sense of community, to stay connected, wherever we are, and at whatever hour.

 

Wifi allows me to sit in a bar or a cafe, with views of the street, the sea, the park, to chill out late at night, or early in the evening or morning, scanning the news, answering emails, or posting photos of my travels, opinions, where I am in life, how I am, what I’m drinking, whether it’s an orange juice to start my day, or the beer or Prosecco at the end of it.

 

CNN did a great little series of short documentaries on millenial’s travel preferentials, from hotels to airports and bars.

 

When on travels, (business or pleasure, or a mixture of the two), what do you look for in twenty-first century hotels?

 

 

 

See the video, Fussy millennials redefine travel:

http://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/international/2013/11/14/spc-business-traveller-millennials-a.cnn&c=/SPECIALS/business.traveller/index.html&video_referrer=

 

Image from: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/article/11031/Hoteliers-seek-loyalty-among-millennials

 

August 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Selfie culture

  There was a time, when if a group of Friends, on holiday, held a camera up to take a self-portrait, a passer-by would have stopped and asked if they wanted a group photo, to which the friends would have gladly accepted. That was before the “selfie” became fashionable – although I have selfies from the pre-digital age, when one had to wait for the film to be developed, to view the image!!).

 

There are those who don’t like them (I personally love them), but in the social media age there is something quite personal about taking a selfie, and something quite satisfying about immediately sharing it on facebook for friends to see.

 

The selfie has become something almost cultural, standing alone in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Whether an individual wanting to share their experience atop the world’s highest peak, actors at the Oscars, the President of the United States, the Mars rover, work colleagues or friends, anybody can take part and define their individual moment, share it and post-it. The selfie is spontaneous, not perfectly framed – people gather in close, creating the emotion on the close-ups of their faces. They are our pop art. If we want a photo of the Statue of Liberty, most of us have the small lady in the distance taken from the Staten Island Ferry; many of us have the group shot taken by a fellow tourist slightly miffed that we are ruining his moment by asking him to take our photo – now we can take the photo, and then a selfie – this one is the Statue of Liberty, and that’s me with my friends, in the moment, freezing our asses off as a cold wind wraps itself around the ferry! And ever since the camera became an integral part of the cellphone, we can take a selfie and share it anytime, anywhere (which of course is not always a good thing, despite how funny we believe it is to drink and selfie: once posted, that image may go viral).

 

So the next time you see between one and twelve people (is there a world record for most number of people in a selfie?) take a self-portrait, don’t be too keen to offer to take a group shot for them.

As a side note, Google “selfie” and look for images 🙂

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

CIA joins Twitter

cia-twitter-tweet I read with interest recently that the CIA has just joined Twitter (and no doubt is now monitoring my blog because I used the term “CIA” – which means I need to be careful not to include the “T” word (terr0r1sm) in this blog, for fear of having my emails monitored too.

 

It’s refreshing to know that the CIA has a sense of humour though. Its first tweet read: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet”, followed up by, “Thank you for the @Twitter welcome! We look forward to sharing great #unclassified content with you.”

 

It is interesting to learn why the CIA should wish to start tweeting, an organisation that takes very careful control of what, if anything, is communicated to the general public. Normally it is angry ex-employees (#Snowdon, or as he may soon become known internally, he-who-must-not-be-named) who go public with CIA communications. Which may be precisely why they have decided to hit social media themselves, not so much driven by he-who-must-not-be-named, but because public opinion, whether they like it or not, is as important to them as it is to most organisations or companies. One slip-up can lead to bad press that can last weeks or months, and take even longer to fix.

 

If you care to take a look at their tweets, you’ll see that before drones and satellites taking photos, we had pigeons!!

 

I’ve had conversations with Directors, experienced of course, who do not see the need, or who cannot justify the return on investment, the time involved, or the expense of social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. My answer?: if the CIA is on twitter…..

 

Or as the CIA puts it: “The world is grappling with a new breed of challenges enabled by advancing technology”

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment