WHO NEEDS COMMON SENSE?

July 22, 2012

 

Sometimes you hear a story and you wonder if all common sense has been lost. Organisations and individuals who stick by the rules even though there is no valid reason for doing so. It takes a certain stupidity to be that pedantic.

Well, I recently heard a story, but decided to check out the facts. I discovered that some people really CAN be that stupid.

This happened to a young man called “Gazza” (He’s not the stupid one in this tale, just so you know.) While driving to Edinburgh Gazza saw what he thought was a group of kids roughhousing. But as he drew closer he realised it was actually a real fight, and a cyclist was being beaten by two men.

Gazza pulled up beside them and tooted his horn. One of the assailants legged it up the road, while the other jumped into his van and took off at speed.

Once the cyclist had been attended to by passing motorists, Gazza headed off to meet some friends, and discovered that he was parked right next to the van that had earlier fled the scene.

Being a resourceful sort of bloke, Gazza searched around and found a pen. The only scrap of paper he could find was a packet of Strepsils. He noted down the registration number of the van on the cardboard lid and drove back to the scene where the police were now in attendance.

He gave them a statement, handed over his “evidence” and headed home.

Two months later – out of the blue – he received a letter from Fettes Police Station, informing him that they had a box that belonged to him. He phoned Fettes to find out what it was, but they were not allowed to reveal what was in the box; he had to go in person and collect it. Which he did.

He took time off work, and travelled all the way into the police station. There, he presented the letter to the desk sergeant, and was duly presented with the mystery box – the old Strepsils wrapper, with two lozenges still in it.

“Do you have a bin?” Gazza asked.

“Yes”

“Good,” he said. “Put that in it, will you?”

Daft, huh? But more to the point, you can actually be charged and arrested for wasting police time. But what can you do when they waste your time? Not very much, I reckon.

Once again, it’s a case of “We don’t need common sense. We have rules.”

It’s enough to drive you mad.

Drew McAdam

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ALL IN THE MIND

July 15, 2012

 

The human mind is capable of far more than we give it credit. My full time job involves proving that to business people and theatre audiences on an almost daily basis. I combine science, psychology and a smidgen of chicanery to produce what looks like mind reading.

Well, here’s a little secret. Much of what I do utilises memory systems.

Last week I was invited to teach the system to some children. Not for the first time; a BBC series I did entitled “School for Genius” took youngsters and boosted their brain power to help them pass exams.

A further series “Brain Smart” took that even further. Teachers could not believe the extraordinary results.

Kids aged between seven and eleven demonstrated that they could easily memorise lists of 30 random objects – forwards and backwards – within just a few minutes of being taught the system. And they could still recite the list a week later!

I have no better memory than the next person – probably worse. But part of my show involves audience members calling out page numbers from a selected magazine. I can recite the headlines, the photographs, captions, and even the telephone numbers of the adverts. It’s all down to the system.

But it’s not a new system. Around 500 BC Simonedes devised a technique called the Loci System, making it possible to memorise huge amounts of information by mentally placing images that represent the data into imaginary locations.

It really does work like magic. Simply using the brain in a different way boosts the brainpower tenfold.

My question is this: with this system being around for over 2500 years, how come it’s not being taught in schools on a regular basis? Surely something so powerful should be part of the curriculum?

I find it shocking that the education authorities would ignore something like this. Of course, if normal kids start using these techniques then those “clever” students – who soak up information with little effort – are going to get left behind.

So, if the schools are going to ignore such a powerful technique, you can do something about it. If you want to help your kids remember vast amounts of information and easily pass their exams, you can do them a huge favour by carrying out a little research on these impressive memory systems.

You’ll be astonished to discover just how powerful their little brains are.

Drew McAdam


EXPERIENCE NOT EXPERIMENTS

July 8, 2012

 

Wasn’t that the most thrilling thing you’ve ever heard? Congratulations to the army of scientists who – it looks like – have found the Higgs boson. Yay!

The applied hours of 7,000 physicists, working for 14 years, at an estimated cost of £2.6 billion so far (and nobody can tell me if that’s a US billion or a UK billion) – with the financially crippled UK taxpayer contributing £70 million – will no doubt have a remarkable and positive effect on all our lives.

And don’t forget that the next generation of scientists will be able to claim billions in research money and grants for experiments to prove the theory wrong. Still, it keeps them in a job, eh?

Mind you, if science is the new religion – and it seems that’s what’s happened – then if you dare suggest that the Large Hadron Collider is a colossal waste of money and resources, you’ll be howled down by the high priests of the New Religion. You will be branded a heretic (or more likely, an idiot) because you dare apply common sense, and question what possible practical use all this can be; to peer back to the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Which is why, I ask, in the spirit of the heretic… How’s the cure for that cancer thing coming along, fella’s?

I’m talking about lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, prostate cancer. And that’s without looking at malaria, MS, alzheimer’s, AIDS, muscular dystrophy and so on. Feel free to add to the list.

While children’s hospitals are being closed and care homes are crumbling, I offer my congratulations to those involved in the most expensive science experiment ever to take place in the history of the World. Feel free to celebrate step one in solving the mystery of the origin of mass, and the affect on the theory of supersymmetry.

However, it would be a more remarkable achievement if those involved took a trip to a children’s hospice to see how the billions of pounds spent on some pointless – and it IS pointless – massive, resource-shriveling, money-burning experiment could be put to better use; like saving little lives.

Be honest. As an ordinary West Lothian citizen, where would you rather see your money go? On an egotistical experiment, or to help alleviate suffering and pain?

My own (inexpensive) experiment demonstrates that excessive schooling and a lack of real world experience leads to “All brains but no common sense.” Sound familiar?


HORSE MANURE TO YOU

July 2, 2012

A council from Somewhere Doon Sooth recently wrote to a number of livery stables and riding schools, reminding riders of their “duty of care to clean up after your horses.”

What an outcry ensued!

One recipient said that she was unaware that it was her responsibility, saying that “Horse muck usually just disappears when there’s rainfall.”

Really? That gives some insight into her mental process, doesn’t it? She was unaware that it was her responsibility… Whose responsibility did she think it was?

And, of course, horse dung doesn’t “just disappear”. It spreads itself around and goes into the water course. The big pile of poo turns it into something that no motorcyclist wants to find himself slithering sideways through.

Another horsy person asked: “Are we supposed to come home from a ride, then go back out in the car to pick up the mess?”

Eh, yes. You made the mess, why should somebody else clear it up for you?

Remember, this isn’t a little bit of litter we’re talking about. The average horse produces approximately fifty pounds of manure each day. That’s an average of nine tons of manure per year – a pile so big that if you fell into it you might never find your way out again.

A dog leaves only a little package of poo, yet owners are breaking the law if they don’t clear up after the animal. A horse leaves a pile of poo the size of a Volkswagen, and there is no onus on the owner to do anything about it. Odd that.

Another horsy lady said she was “disgruntled” at receiving the letter, and had gone out to examine the contentious dung. (I can just see her now, with a magnifying glass and a stick.) She proclaimed that it definitely wasn’t from her horses.

I wonder if horses leave little name tags in their droppings.

As you may have guessed, it’s not an offence for a horse rider to leave the mess – though it should be. It may not be an offence, but it is certainly offensive. Disabled in wheelchairs, motorcyclists and cyclists, all dodging steaming piles of poo.

It’s also incredibly arrogant, to think that you can just leave a mess and trot off into the distance because somebody else will clean it up for you.

The solution is simple: if you have a horse, then carry a suitably sized plastic bag with you – as dog owners have learned to do… Oh, and a big shovel.

Drew McAdam