America - its all a bit odd...

Guns

ADC
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We have a new alert system in Canada which works through the cell phones. The web site for it says that Canadians travelling in the US may get the test of the new system there, so I gather that it uses the same underlying software as the US does. We already had a test of it here, and parts of the system failed to function. The system operates over the cell phone system, plus also television and broadcast radio.

Right at the top of the home page on their website, they have the question "why am I not allowed to opt-out?". They give a non-answer answer which amounts to "because we won't let you". That should tell you everything you need to know about how it has been received by the public.

Overall, the software and system were poorly thought out with little thought as to whether or not people can actually make use of this information. I happen to be fortunate enough that my phone is old enough to have been purchased before this system was put in place, so I don't get them. However, the main complaint seems to be that people don't want to be woken up from their sleep to be told things that don't matter to them, and don't want to be forced to turn their phones off and therefore not be able to get phone calls about genuine personal emergencies. They also are not going to drop whatever they are doing at the moment (e.g. pull over to the side of the road when driving) every time the alarm goes off. This is an actual example: "It is important to take action safely, especially if the emergency alert is received while operating a vehicle. If you are driving, it is important to remain calm and pull over at your earliest opportunity to view the emergency alert." You can imagine the chaos that would ensue on a busy highway if everyone followed that advice at once.

What might have been better is to have provided a basic emergency alert app, but then also provided a means to let people install alternate commercial apps which provide them with more control over what they are alerted about and when they receive them.

As I said, my phone doesn't support the emergency alert system, so I haven't seen them. However, one of the examples of the types of message given on the web site is the following: "Environment Canada has issued tornado warnings for Central Ontario. Take cover immediately." Anyone with experience of tornadoes in Ontario can tell you that this is completely useless. Environment Canada issues tornado warnings routinely during hot, humid weather (without the advice to take cover). Any hot humid weather can spawn thunderstorms, which in turn can spawn tornadoes in a matter of a few minutes. All Environment Canada predicts (and all they can predict) is that the conditions for creating tornadoes are present. They make no claims that any will actually occur, and it simply isn't possible to boil a complex question like this down to a yes or no answer. This sort of weather can last for days, and even when a tornado does happen it is almost always something that is discovered retrospectively rather than predicted. The province does not and cannot shut down shut down for days on end each summer for what is realistically a very tiny risk to any individual.

This is one example, but the same principles can be applied to many others.

The better way to have done it is to provide a means of issuing alerts, and then let people write apps to filter and prioritize the alerts to suit individual circumstances. I don't need to be woken from my sleep to be told about a missing child 1,000 km away (this was an actual complaint that many people had). Let the alert apps put these types of messages in the regular message queue along with email, SMS, and social messaging notifications, and people can read about it when they wake up normally.

The problem with deciding that everybody needs to drop everything to read your emergency message right now is that for the overwhelming majority of people it isn't a genuine emergency and they will simply ignore it, like the boy who cried wolf.
And yet the recent tornados in Ottawa saw people saying the system saved their lives. They got the alert, headed to the basement and minutes later the tornado ripped through. We got the alert driving home and immediately rang home to get our daughter down to the basement.
 
I'm mystified. The books on the list that I have read, I read when I was at school - except for Mockingbird which was my son's GCE book. Who is doing the banning? (Tweet wouldn't come on). Steinbeck? Huxley? Madness.
I imagine (although the link doesn't clarify) that a lot of the books on the list are banned from religious school libraries and the like.
 
I imagine (although the link doesn't clarify) that a lot of the books on the list are banned from religious school libraries and the like.
Yes the private religious schools will restrict quite a bit. Harry Potter is the devil etc etc. Sometimes going to public school is a blessing in disguise, the private school kids tend to look like a fish out of water when they are thrown into the real world!
 
Yes the private religious schools will restrict quite a bit. Harry Potter is the devil etc etc. Sometimes going to public school is a blessing in disguise, the private school kids tend to look like a fish out of water when they are thrown into the real world!
Also banned in some English religious schools as well.
St Mary's in Chatham, Kent and :
Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that "The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God's people are told to have nothing to do with them."
So not just one sky fairy they believe in, then.
 
Also banned in some English religious schools as well.
St Mary's in Chatham, Kent and :
Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that "The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God's people are told to have nothing to do with them."
So not just one sky fairy they believe in, then.
I can understand teaching that the practice of witchcraft is not ok. But reading a series of fecking books about the subject is a bit over the top. I mean for FFS, you one has to be able to teach the youth that eventually when you are released into the wild, you are going to deal with folks from all walks of life. You don't have to agree with everybody else's ideas but you still have to be able to work with them to accomplish things.
 
Also banned in some English religious schools as well.
St Mary's in Chatham, Kent and :
Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that "The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God's people are told to have nothing to do with them."
So not just one sky fairy they believe in, then.
When I was 16, I attended a Catholic-run school in the UK. One of my classmates told me and a friend off for reading the horoscopes in a teen magazine as they were "the devil's work".
 

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