Plastic Fantastic ..
During the Second World War, many of Britain’s toy factories were requisitioned for munitions work, and although toy making ceased, this war work indirectly led to a new product which would revolutionise the industry – plastic.. Although plastic was known before the war, various techniques were developed and refined in the factories, where it was used for numerous things including aircraft fittings.
When toy making recommenced, plastic was the obvious choice of material to develop, especially for dolls.. Plastic was light, robust, cheap and easy to mould, and it quickly replaced the traditional composition (plaster mix) or porcelain that was the norm before the war.
( Extract from an article by Susan Brewer, November 2015 )
UK MPs Accept Expensive Treats From Bookies ..
Bookies and sports organisations top the list of donors treating MPs to gifts and hospitality.. The revelation has fuelled claims that the gambling industry is trying to influence Parliament.. Ladbrokes Coral Group treated 15 MPs to trips to Ascot, Doncaster and Cheltenham races, football at Wembley and dinner at the Tory Party conference.
( Sunday Mirror, 03.09.2017 )
Are The Ministry Of Defence Covering Up Rape ?..
A rape is reported by female soldiers once every fortnight in the Army.
Ministry of Defence figures show there were 130 sexual assault claims by women against male colleagues in the past five years, including 31 in 2016.. Out of 55 allegations of rape in the past two years, 32 soldiers were prosecuted but just three were found guilty.
A serving Army lawyer fears the number of rapes may be higher as victims do not press charges due to low conviction rates.. Women Against Rape said there was a “concerted cover-up” by the Ministry of Defence.
( Sunday Mirror, 24.09.2017 )
Lowest Number Of Public Sector Workers Since 1947 ..
Nearly a million public sector jobs have been axed since 2010, official figures show.
Seven years ago 6.4 million people worked in the public sector.
Under Tory PMs David Cameron and Theresa May that number has fallen to 5.44 million.
Among the losses are 164,000 posts in education, 44,000 in the police force and 41,000 in the Armed Forces.. The NHS workforce has grown by 4%, but 134,000 posts have gone in other health and social work, and 186,000 in public admin.
Office for National Statistics figures show public sector workers now make up just 16.9% of the labour force.. That’s the lowest proportion since 1947, the year before the NHS was founded.
( Nicola Small, 17.09.2017 )
East-West Economy Change ..
In 1411, Western Europe was a backward periphery far from the fabulous riches of East Asia, the world’s centre of economic and cultural gravity.
Now fast-forward 500 years to 1911: Western Europe and its overseas colonies have humbled Asians and bestride the world like a Colossus.
Now go another 100 years or so: The West is staggering under a crushing burden of debt and is looking to the East to revive its flagging economy.
What has happened ?.. Is it because our leaders in business and in government have been greedy and selfish ?
A Strange Coincidence Of Fate ..
On December 5, 1660, a ship sank in the Strait of Dover.
The only survivor was noted to be Hugh Williams.
On December 5, 1767, another ship sank in the same waters.
127 lost their lives, and the only survivor was Hugh Williams.
On August 8, 1820, a picnic boat capsized on the River Thames.
There was one survivor, Hugh Williams.
And on July 10, 1940, a British trawler was destroyed by a German mine. Only two men survived, one man and his nephew – both were called Hugh Williams.
Black Holes Are Spinning Faster ..
Giant black holes in the centre of galaxies are spinning faster than at any other time in the history of the universe, research shows.
When the universe was half its present size, nearly all the super-massive black holes had very low spins.. But nowadays a fraction of them have very high spins.
Scientists still don’t have a clue as to the purpose of black holes.. In fact, they don’t have a clue about most things in the universe.
A black hole, and there are probably millions of them, is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, including light, can escape its pull.
The black hole has a one-way surface, into which objects can fall, but out of which nothing can come.
It is called ‘black’ because it absorbs all the light that hits it, reflecting nothing.
( Originally posted in May 2011 )
A Disgraceful Political Swindle ..
On 10 July 1958 in Grosvenor Square, London, the first 625 parking meters in the the UK commenced operations.. Charges were 6d for an hour and 1s for two hours.. Overstaying by less than two hours incurred a 10s penalty, rising to £2 for a four hour transgression.. Parking there today costs a minimum of £4 per hour, with a penalty of up to £120 for outlasting the welcome.. The first person to appear in court for a parking meter offence was 19 year-old Elizabeth O’Dwyer on 25 October 1958.. She couldn’t drive and did not own a car.. She was the secretary to a local businessman who had parked his car at a meter.. Realising that he was likely to overstay, he asked Elizabeth to put some more money into the meter for him.. This was not permitted by the by-laws, which forbade replenishment.. You had to vacate the space for at least an hour before bringing your car back.. Elizabeth was spotted putting her pennies in the slot by a meter attendant – not then known as traffic wardens.. The Westminster Council meter attendant had no powers to directly issue a summons and called for the police.. Two constables arrived and Elizabeth was arrested and subsequently summoned to appear in court.. The presiding magistrate thought the whole issue a waste of time and discharged her, but not without ordering her to pay 2s court costs.. Traffic wardens first appeared in September 1960.. There were 40 of them and 344 tickets were issued on day one.. The then chairman of the RAC was the volatile Wilfred Andrews, who loudly decried the whole practise as, “A disgraceful political swindle”.. Residents’ parking zones first appeared in Kensington and Chelsea in 1966.. The 1984 Road Traffic Act determined that henceforth parking offences were to be treated as civil, rather than criminal, cases.
( An extract from an article by Martin Handley, January 2016 )