Anti-Smoking People fuming over Britain’s Failure to enforce Plain Cigarette Packaging

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 14th, 2013

Week in Review

I was talking to a woman I knew who was in her 40s.  She took out a cigarette and lit up.  I asked her why she started smoking.  Was it the pretty cigarette packages?  The cigarette advertisements in her youth?  For back then the Joe Camel ads were still out.  As well as a slew of other cigarette ads.  Including cars painted up with Kool cigarette advertisements driving around town.  And the Virginia Slim ads were telling women they’ve “come a long way.”  Smoking advertisements were everywhere.  So did these things prove so attractive and irresistible that she could no longer withstand the lure of cigarette advertising?  No.  She started smoking because all her friends were smoking.

Kids want two things in life more than anything else.  To be grown-up.  And to be cool.  That’s why they start smoking.  Because smoking is only for grownups.  By law.  Which makes them look grown-up when they smoke.  Because only grownups smoke.

Then there is the cool thing.  Boys worship their rock heroes.  The guys who play their low-slung guitars with a cigarette dangling out of their mouth.  It’s just so cool looking.  Keith Richards.  Jimmy Page.  Eddie Van Halen.  Slash.  You name a guitar superstar and odds are there is a poster selling somewhere of him with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The stars in the movies they watch seem to all smoke.  For there is nothing cooler than a grizzled actor suffering through a stressful scene lighting up a cigarette afterwards to enjoy some soothing relaxation.  And few things are sexier than a femme fatale that seductively smokes a cigarette.  Our girls see this.  And they, too, want to be grown-up and sexy.  Which is why so many of them start smoking.  And when all of their friends are smoking, too, it just doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with it.  And because all their friends are having sex that, too, seems okay.  It’s the softer side of peer pressure.  Well it can’t be bad if EVERYONE is doing it.

This is why this 40 something mother of 3 started smoking.  And she continues to smoke because she now enjoys it.  Like those grizzled actors in Hollywood movies.  There’s nothing like lighting up after a stressful work shift.  Even though today she is bombarded with warnings of what smoking will do to her health.  Despite anti-smoking legislation.  And the high taxes placed on cigarettes.  She still smokes.  Because she started smoking young to be cool and grown-up.  And now that she is a smoker her government attacks her with high taxes.  And legislation that ostracizes her like a leper.  Measures now coming to India (see Smoking bans, tax could save 9 million Indians: study by AFP posted 7/10/2013 on France 24).

Banning smoking in the workplace and levying a tobacco tax could prevent more than nine million deaths from cardiovascular disease in India over the next decade, according to a US study…

They found that smoke-free laws and increased tobacco taxes were the single two most effective measures, according to the study in PLoS Medicine on Tuesday.

These two measures alone would reduce heart attack deaths by six million and stroke deaths by 3.7 million, for a total of 9.7 million, over the next decade, the paper said.

The study compared five different tobacco control measures: smoke-free legislation, tobacco taxation, provision of brief cessation advice by health care providers, mass media campaigns, and advertising bans.

Interestingly, one measure is conspicuous by its absence.  This (see Delay on plain cigarette pack decision ‘sad day for child health’ by Sarah Boseley and Andrew Sparrow posted 7/12/2013 on The Guardian).

Lives will be lost as a result of the government’s decision to kick the notion of plain packaging for cigarettes into the long grass, say scientists and campaigners who accuse ministers of bowing to tobacco industry lobbying…

More than 200,000 young people under 16 start smoking every year. With advertising banned, cigarette packets are the only vehicle that companies are able to use to recruit children to the habit. The review said unadorned packs were less attractive to young people, improved the effectiveness of health warnings and reduced the numbers who mistakenly believed that some brands were safer than others.

Kids don’t start smoking because of pretty cigarette packages.  Or cigarette ads.  There are a lot of ads for kids to eat their vegetables yet many kids still resist those ads and refuse to eat their vegetables.  This has got to be the most asinine measure to get kids to stop smoking.  For if they really want to see who is at fault for getting kids to start smoking all they need to do is look into a mirror.

Liberal policies that attack traditional values and the traditional family have far more to do with kids starting smoking than Big Tobacco.  We’re giving high school kids free birth control.  Access to abortion.  And the morning-after pill.  Traditional values are ridiculed on television and in the movies.  Telling these kids that they’re not kids but grownups.  Who can make responsible decisions for themselves.  So they do.  They choose to be sexually active.  And we say we must respect their decision and not try to instill our morals on them.  Yet when they decide to start smoking we say that is wrong and blame Big Tobacco.  So much for our ‘grown-up’ children making responsible decisions.

And we’re never allowed to complain about the non-traditional behavior on television and in the movies.  Where getting stoned and having casual and consequence-free sex is now the norm.  And okay.  Our kids are seeing this.  As well as these people smoking.  They see this and want to imitate it.  Because if everyone is doing it just can’t be that bad.

If you really want to get kids NOT to start smoking then we need their heroes to stop influencing them into smoking.  We need them to be positive role models.  Not the ‘rebel against everything your parents and teachers tell you to do’ people that they are.  The bad boys.  And the naughty girls.  Who practice their art for the kids of the world to see.  And when life imitates art these stars say, “Don’t look at me.  Where are these kids’ parents?”

Not only does government endorse this behavior they facilitate it.  The liberal side of government.  The cool side of government.  Who want these kids to see how cool they are by not being like their parents or their teachers.  So they will vote for them.  And not those stuffy conservatives who don’t want them to have any fun.  Because they won’t vote for them once they wise up with some real education and real-world experience.  So they sacrifice our kids on the altar of politics.  By encouraging all kinds of bad behavior.  Like smoking.  Which they then blame on pretty cigarette packaging.  And not the societal decay they created.

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Celestial Navigation, Insurance and the Joint Stock Company

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 10th, 2013

Technology 101

(Originally published November 30th, 2011)

Despite Precise Celestial Navigation a lot of Ships and Valuable Cargoes still got Lost at Sea

Open sea navigation was once very perilous.  It took a long time before ships ventured from sight of the shoreline.  And a lot of technology.  Boats used to go the long way across the Mediterranean Sea.  Because being in open water at night without any visible landmarks was very dangerous.  So they hugged the coastline.  Adding days to every voyage.  And more danger.  Because the longer at sea the greater the risk there was of sinking.  Especially when you were skirting the rock-infested shallows of the shoreline.

The Sumerians charted the stars.  The Greeks continued this work, producing charts that could tell you what latitude (north/south position) you were at by looking at the stars and planets.  By measuring the angle of the stars and planets above the horizon.  The Arabs created one of the first tools to measure these angles.  The kamal.  Knowing this angle you could do a little math and look at a pre-calculated table of values.  And get your latitude.  Better instruments followed.  The cross-staff.  The astrolabe.   And then the sextant.  The gold standard of angle measuring until the advent of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS).  Calculating longitude (east/west position) was a bit more complicated.  Because the earth rotated.  Which required some more skillful measuring and more calculations.  And/or a reliable and accurate clock.  To adjust your results by the time of day.  As the time as well as the stars moved from east to west as the planet rotated.

The Chinese developed the magnetic compass.  A helmsman steered his ship by the compass.  The navigator checked the angles of celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars and planets), checked time and the ship’s speed to fix the ship’s position.  By determining latitude and longitude.  The navigator fed course headings and course corrections to the helmsman.  Armed with these skills, tools, celestial charts and tables, the navigator could do a little math and navigate a ship across a vast ocean day or night to any port in the world.  Transporting valuable cargoes safely and timely across the globe.  Pretty impressive for the time.  But despite this precise celestial navigation, a lot of ships still got lost at sea.  As well as their valuable cargoes.

The Joint-Stock Company and Insurance Reduced the High Risks of Transoceanic Shipping

No matter how well a navigator could fix a ship’s position there were some things he just couldn’t do.  Such as avoid an uncharted reef.  Prevent a mutiny.  Fend off pirates.  Fend off enemy warships.  Make storms go away.  Or even see through dense fog.  Simply put being on a small wooden ship in the middle of an ocean was very dangerous.  Which poised quite the problem for early global trade.

It was a huge investment to put a ship to sea.  It took another huge investment to fill a ship with valuable cargo.  And if that ship didn’t make it back to sell that cargo it was very bad news for the investor.  A lost ship could financially ruin them.  So not only could you get rich in this new global trade you could become impoverished.  Which made rich people reluctant to finance this early trade.  Because it was so risky.  Two things helped to reduce this risk to manageable levels.  Insurance.  And the joint-stock company.

A group of investors could buy stock into a company that was going to make numerous voyages on various ships.  In exchange for a share of the profits from this trade each investor paid a share of its cost.  Thus the joint-stock company spread the risk to multiple investors, reducing the risk to any one person.  So one lost ship would not cause financial ruin to any one investor.  Thus encouraging investment into this lucrative new trade of transoceanic shipping.  And with the advent of insurance, shippers could insure each voyage for a small affordable fee.  By collecting this small fee on every voyage the insurer could pay for the few ships and cargoes lost at sea.  Not the investors.  Thus further encouraging investment into this very risky endeavor.

Celestial Navigation, Insurance and the Joint-Stock Company made Transoceanic Shipping Possible

The smartphone you can’t live without today most likely came to you via a large container ship from a port across some ocean.  It made a long and perilous voyage to get to you.  Which wouldn’t have been possible without celestial navigation, insurance and the joint-stock company.  The things that made transoceanic shipping possible.  Most of which are still in use today.  As they were when brave mariners took to the open seas in those small wooden ships of yesteryear.

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Celestial Navigation, Insurance and the Joint Stock Company

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 30th, 2011

Technology 101

Despite Precise Celestial Navigation a lot of Ships and Valuable Cargoes still got Lost at Sea

Open sea navigation was once very perilous.  It took a long time before ships ventured from sight of the shoreline.  And a lot of technology.  Boats used to go the long way across the Mediterranean Sea.  Because being in open water at night without any visible landmarks was very dangerous.  So they hugged the coastline.  Adding days to every voyage.  And more danger.  Because the longer at sea the greater the risk there was of sinking.  Especially when you were skirting the rock-infested shallows of the shoreline.

The Sumerians charted the stars.  The Greeks continued this work, producing charts that could tell you what latitude (north/south position) you were at by looking at the stars and planets.  By measuring the angle of the stars and planets above the horizon.  The Arabs created one of the first tools to measure these angles.  The kamal.  Knowing this angle you could do a little math and look at a pre-calculated table of values.  And get your latitude.  Better instruments followed.  The cross-staff.  The astrolabe.   And then the sextant.  The gold standard of angle measuring until the advent of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS).  Calculating longitude (east/west position) was a bit more complicated.  Because the earth rotated.  Which required some more skillful measuring and more calculations.  And/or a reliable and accurate clock.  To adjust your results by the time of day.  As the time as well as the stars moved from east to west as the planet rotated.

The Chinese developed the magnetic compass.  A helmsman steered his ship by the compass.  The navigator checked the angles of celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars and planets), checked time and the ship’s speed to fix the ship’s position.  By determining latitude and longitude.  The navigator fed course headings and course corrections to the helmsman.  Armed with these skills, tools, celestial charts and tables, the navigator could do a little math and navigate a ship across a vast ocean day or night to any port in the world.  Transporting valuable cargoes safely and timely across the globe.  Pretty impressive for the time.  But despite this precise celestial navigation, a lot of ships still got lost at sea.  As well as their valuable cargoes.

The Joint-Stock Company and Insurance Reduced the High Risks of Transoceanic Shipping

No matter how well a navigator could fix a ship’s position there were some things he just couldn’t do.  Such as avoid an uncharted reef.  Prevent a mutiny.  Fend off pirates.  Fend off enemy warships.  Make storms go away.  Or even see through dense fog.  Simply put being on a small wooden ship in the middle of an ocean was very dangerous.  Which poised quite the problem for early global trade.

It was a huge investment to put a ship to sea.  It took another huge investment to fill a ship with valuable cargo.  And if that ship didn’t make it back to sell that cargo it was very bad news for the investor.  A lost ship could financially ruin them.  So not only could you get rich in this new global trade you could become impoverished.  Which made rich people reluctant to finance this early trade.  Because it was so risky.  Two things helped to reduce this risk to manageable levels.  Insurance.  And the joint-stock company.

A group of investors could buy stock into a company that was going to make numerous voyages on various ships.  In exchange for a share of the profits from this trade each investor paid a share of its cost.  Thus the joint-stock company spread the risk to multiple investors, reducing the risk to any one person.  So one lost ship would not cause financial ruin to any one investor.  Thus encouraging investment into this lucrative new trade of transoceanic shipping.  And with the advent of insurance, shippers could insure each voyage for a small affordable fee.  By collecting this small fee on every voyage the insurer could pay for the few ships and cargoes lost at sea.  Not the investors.  Thus further encouraging investment into this very risky endeavor.

Celestial Navigation, Insurance and the Joint-Stock Company made Transoceanic Shipping Possible

The smartphone you can’t live without today most likely came to you via a large container ship from a port across some ocean.  It made a long and perilous voyage to get to you.  Which wouldn’t have been possible without celestial navigation, insurance and the joint-stock company.  The things that made transoceanic shipping possible.  Most of which are still in use today.  As they were when brave mariners took to the open seas in those small wooden ships of yesteryear.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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