31 May 2006

Why Do Germans Get Consistently Accidentally Pregnant

Since I've been in Germany now for four years, I have noticed something about the Germans. They only ever seem to get pregnant accidentally.

It's probably a relief for the German government that they do, or Germany's already low birth rate would be hitting rock bottom. But still i find it strange that in a well educated first world country like Germany, they seem to have ignored what they have learned about contraception (and trust me, Germany ain't shy about it, with condom ads everywhere). It makes me wonder if the government are paying the condom industry to make them faulty.

I don't know too many Germans with kids, but of the seven families of people my wife and I know (who are younger than approx. 35), not a single one of them planned their first kid. How does this happen? To me it seems like it's completely against the German mentality. Normally everything has to be planned down to the last detail, or has to be perfect. But in this case, when it comes to probably the biggest life changing decision imaginable, they leave it up to chance.

Why does it happen? Is it because the welfare system here is so good, that a lot of the costs of bringing up a kid is subsidised by the government, so they don't worry too much about the financial burden of it? I'm certain it's not because of sexual promiscuity, I don't know any Germans who have ended up in this 'situation' after a one night stand.

Anyone any ideas about why this may be?

30 May 2006

A Convenient Denial

As said yesterday, the topic today (sounds like a Uni lecture) is Al Gores new Film 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Having not seen it yet, I'm in no position to comment on the facts or information on show in the movie (actually more like a documentary as far as I can tell).

But after checking out the user comments on Internet Movie Database (IMDB), it seems clear that Al Gore is up against some pretty stubborn opposition. Typically for something like this, extremes views were very much in evidence, with the Global Warming deniers giving it the lowest possible rating, and the believers giving 9 or 10 out of 10. I'd certainly place my hat in the ring with the believers, and, like most believers, find some peoples absolute denial a little hard to understand.

I don't deny that some of their claims may be true, like the earth's climate being cyclical (although we seem to be speeding up the cycle logarithmically), but the complete weight of scientific evidence in favour of warming actually happening seems to conveniently escape these people. To me, I think most of these deniers enjoy life comfortably as it is (with a good chance they have interests in 'certain' businesses), and simply don't want to be the ones making the necessary sacrifices to safeguard the future of our planet. It makes me wonder if the CEI (see yesterdays post) haven't been spamming IMDB with bogus user comments.

From what I've read about the film (using the ever trusty wikipedia among other sources), it seems to me a genuine enough attempt by a politician to get across an important message, that everyone needs to try to play their part in reducing the effect of global warming. Do people really need that gas-guzzling SUV (normally with only a driver in them as well) or to be so lazy as to leave all appliances on stand-by (some stand-by modes use half the energy that the 'on' mode uses) or to switch on lights if not necessary? I'm not saying I'm Mr energy efficient, but I try when I can.

OK, there was much actually about the film, but I'd be interested to hear your comments on it (whether you've seen it or not)

29 May 2006

Unashamed Ads

My first proper blog entry. And the main rational for starting this blog.

A couple of days ago I was reading an article in the Economist about climate control. It happened to mention a "think tank" (an association to be taken with a pinch of salt) called the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) who have made a couple of ads glamorising carbon dioxide. Being curious, I checked it out, only to find the most rotting, disgusting piece of advertising propaganda imaginable. It left me feeling sick to the core that some people are willing to push an agenda like this, forsaking the well-being of our planet for a quick buck. You can view the ads here

http://streams.cei.org/ (it's the first two)

This is a Non-Governmental Organisation (supposedly) supported by the usual motley-crew of big-business, such as oil producers, car manufacturers and tobacco companies. What's its ads try to portray is the fact that carbon dioxide is good for us, using lots of soft music and positive images (not a single smoke bellowing factory chimney in sight). We all know that CO2 is necessary for life on earth, but not at the rate we are producing it, yet this campaign is trying to tell us that more is better.

Also they've decided to have a pop at Al Gore (I'm not saying i like politicians too much either), 'cause he's now promoting an environmentally aware film called 'An Inconvenient Truth' (see the third clip).

Since I want to keep these entries relatively short, i might continue with the Al Gore stuff tomorrow, but I'll leave it at that for now. Any comments would be very welcome

Welcome, first test post

Welcome to the blog that hopes to keep track of things that should concern any intelligent and right minded thinking person. This is my first (attempt at a) blog, so hopefully i can get quite a few articles under my belt in the next few weeks, and a few views, to get a bit of momentum going, and not go the way of many other blogs.

I want to keep this initial entry reasonably short, as I've a more pressing entry that i need to make as soon as i get this up and running properly.

The aim of this blog is to highlight problems in our world, problems created by people (generally businesses, big ones at that) that should be solvable by the people (either by letting relevant organisations know how they feel or by non-participation). These topics could range from environmental issues to salary caps for footballers

About me: I'm a concerned 26 year old software programmer living in Munich. Like most bloggers (I assume), I don't claim to be an expert in most of the areas i might comment on, but am interested in them. Plus, I'm no man of words.Stephen O'Kane