Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Out for the count...

I RECENTLY flagged up the rise of phonetic spelling, but it seems that everyone in Weymouth and Portland would do better concentrating on mathematics.

And the best aid to help children with their sums isn’t a calculator and it isn’t an abacus... it’s chocolate.

You can batter maths into youngsters until they are sick of the sight of it, yet many times it doesn’t stick. Substitute chocolate and young calculating minds become as sharp as razors.

This is probably just as well because I recently saw some chocolate being sold by an outlet which either couldn’t do maths to save its life or was banking on its customers being too backward to make the right choice.

I’ll try you all out now and see how you do.

Which would you rather buy? Two chocolate bars of 200gms for £3 or two bars of 400gms for £7.20?

Worked it out yet? Well if you haven’t then just stand a child in front of the two sets of chocolate bars and get them to choose. Chances are they’ll get it right... and eat the chocolate.

The sobering thought is that this scenario isn’t taking place as a game and it isn’t taking place in a classroom. It’s taking place in real life, right now, out on the High Street.

The answer to my question is that you get more for your money buying two 200gm bars for £3 than you do buying two 400gm bars for £7.20, yet the shop in question either hasn’t noticed, doesn’t care or is raking in enough money from customers who can’t count not to worry about those who can.

So here’s the real question: if I’ve found this example of a ‘bargain’, how many more have I missed? 

So be wary, brush up your maths and keep your wits about you before going shopping in Dorset.

Don’t let carnival fade to a sepia postcard memory

REMEMBER when Weymouth Carnival had more than a hundred motorised floats and seemed to stretch for miles?

Well, those days are gone, and carnival itself may be gone soon too unless there is a substantial community reaction to help save it.

The harsh modern reality is that organisers have swapped wondering how they can fit everything in to having nightmares about being sued for compensation over breaching organisation or safety rules.

The focus seems to have gone away from the joy of the event and switched more to its red tape no matter how necessary some of it may be.

For instance, you might think cheering crowds are a big plus but they are also a big headache in these days of litigation because organisers must now ensure not just that crowd stewards are provided but that they have been properly trained as well.

As I said, modern demands seem to have sucked a bit of life from carnival through no fault of the organisers who now have to fight on so many different fronts to put on such an event that it is no wonder they have warned that carnival may soon be consigned to history.

It only just broke even in 2014 and needs £10,000 pretty much now and at least another £25,000 on top of that actually to stage the 2015 event or carnival just won’t happen.

Some have said that there is always a carnival crisis somewhere along the line and that it takes such a cry for help to coax the community into action, but I think it is a bit more than that this year.

There is an old saying: ‘Use it or lose it’, and I genuinely think that, without major community input plus substantial organisation and funding changes, Weymouth’s giant snake of floats may be consigned to old postcards and yellowing newspaper reports.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should

FANCY your taxi or bus to Weymouth town centre collecting you without a driver?

Or how about your pub pint being served you via an intercom with a tap or the prospect of being measured for that new suit by an electronic eye with nary a human being in sight?

Well that scenario is not as far-fetched as it might seem because business leaders are predicting that half of all jobs will be taken over by machines by the year 2035.

I’ll be in what is laughingly called my “twilight years” by then and I certainly don’t fancy the prospect of my bedpan being changed by a robot nurse called Vernon.

More worryingly is that, if there is a grain of truth in this machines prediction then you have to ask where a constantly growing population is going to find work with more people and fewer jobs.

Yeah, but it just won’t happen, I hear you say... but think on this.

Barely a century ago we were still only just getting to grips with flight. It is only 46 years since man first stepped on the moon and it is only 34 years since the first laptop computer appeared weighing 23.6lbs (10.7kg).

So I wouldn’t be too dismissive about what mechanical advances might have appeared in Weymouth and Portland in 20 years time.

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