Google+ and their “Tell us your real name, or else…” policy

•March 6, 2013 • 2 Comments

So I haven’t posted for a while. Been very busy with other stuff but I just had to share what arrived in my Gmail Inbox this morning (see email pasted below). I don’t know whether to laugh or be worried about this. Who the bloody hell do they think they are, dictating what name I (or anyone) use on the internet?

Dear Google, once upon a time, when I was on my own with a baby, I had a big problem with a stalker. That taught me that I should never use my real name publicly. So I don’t. I couldn’t give a rat’s arse whether you like it or not. And if you don’t like it, you can shove your Google+ where the sun don’t shine — just make sure to insert the sharp end first!

Hello,

Our system has determined that the name you provided on your Google+ profile Bev TheRaggedEdge may not actually be a name.

It may be that the name you provided is that of a business you represent. Or it may be that this is actually your name and our system made a mistake.

We have a few options for you:

  • if this is the name of a business, brand or other organisation, please sign in to your Google account and change the profile’s name to that of a representative of the organisation. You can then, while logged in to this profile, create a Google+ Page for the organisation. Pages are designed specifically with the needs of organisations in mind, while profiles are designed for individuals.
  • if this is your name, please sign in and follow the instructions to submit more information and help us fix our mistake.
  • if you want to change the name provided, please sign in and follow the instructions to edit your profile. You can also optionally add Bev TheRaggedEdge as a nickname, previous name or transliterated name in addition to your common name, if appropriate. Learn more
  • if none of the above options are appropriate and you use your Google+ identity on YouTube, you can unlink your Google+ profile from YouTube. This will ensure that regular YouTube access will continue but your Google+ profile will be suspended until you take one of the actions above. If you manage a brand channel, we will soon have a better option for creating a Google-wide identity.

If you don’t take one of these steps in the next 4 days, your Google+ profile will be suspended. While suspended, you will not be able to make full use of Google services that require an active profile, such as Google+, Reader, Picasa and YouTube (if you use your Google+ identity on YouTube). This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience,

The Google+ Team.

7th March 2013 Update: Upon viewing a Youtube video this morning, I was ‘invited’ to re-link my Google+ ID to my Youtube account. Checked Google+ and the message advising that I would be kicked off has disappeared. So that’s it… Google has officially named me as ‘Bev.theraggededge’. I have a few alternative names for Google an’ all.

Registering and monitoring home-based education @WAG

•November 20, 2012 • 1 Comment

This is our response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation document on the proposal to force home-educating families to register, submit to monitoring and reapply to do so on an annual basis.

Registering and monitoring home-based education

Responses should be returned by 23 November 2012 to:

Pupil Wellbeing Branch
Support for Learners Division
Department for Education and Skills
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ

or completed electronically and sent to:e-mail: WELLBEINGshare@wales.gsi.gov.uk (please enter elective home education consultation in the subject matter box).

Please tick the box that best describes you as a respondent

□ Home educated child x Home educating parent
□ Local authority □ Organisation representing home educating families
□ Other organisation □ Other
with responsibility for children

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views on the Welsh Government’s proposals for the introduction of a compulsory registration and monitoring system for home educated children. This document asks questions relating to specific aspects of the proposals.

Question 1 – Do you agree that a register should be kept and that it should be a requirement to register if a parent elects to home educate?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
No, I do not agree that a register should be kept. The right of a parent to educate a child at home is enshrined in British law: “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him toreceive efficient full-time education suitable ;
a) to his age, ability, and aptitude, and
b) to any special educational needs he may have,either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

It does not say that we have to hand over responsibility to government.

Additionally, as an adult citizen, I do not need to accept the authority of another human being in what, is already given to me as a legal right. My partner and I are the ones to decide what is, or is not a suitable education for our children – not some unknown person with no experience of our children or of home education in general.

Question 2 – Do you agree that if a parent fails to register or provides inadequate or false information then the child being home educated should be required to attend school?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
Of course not. Why should the provision of information by the parent be a deciding factor in whether a child attends school? It is no business of anyone else but the parents and child. You fail to understand that the state has no authority in these matters unless it is given by the parent. As a parent I do not offer this authority to anyone, except my children when they reach the age of majority.

Question 3 – Do you agree that home educating parents should engage with their local authority to enable them to assess the suitability of their home education provision?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
No, only if they want to.

Question 4 – Do you agree that the initial meeting between the local authority and home educating parent and child should take place in the main location where the education is being provided?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no initial meeting unless the parent requests it. Then it is up to the parent/family where the meeting should take place.

Question 5 – How often should the annual monitoring meetings with both the home educator and the home educated child take place at the main location of education?

Always
Every two years
Every three years
Up to five years
Never X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no ‘monitoring’ unless the parent requests it. We have been home-educating two children for eight years – there is no way I will accept ‘monitoring’ by someone who does not know my children, or understands how home-educating works for us. The WAG’s assumption that they have a right to disrupt our family in this way is beyond comprehension. 

Question 6 – Do you agree that registration should be denied or revoked in the limited set of circumstances set out in the consultation document?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
Since when did the word ‘registration’ come to mean ‘licence? I have a licence to drive, i.e. I fulfilled a certain set of guidelines and follow a certain set of rules to allow me to take a vehicle on to the public highway. When did being a parent require a licence?

Question 7 – Do you agree the amount of time taken between receipt of application to register and notification of registration outcome should be no more than 12 weeks?

Agree
Disagree X
Not sure

Comments:
There should be no requirement to register or become ‘licenced’ in the first place. Parents do not need permission from a faceless bureaucrat in order to educate and take care of their children.

Question 8 – We have asked a number of specific questions. If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them:

Comments:
Under current law, a Local Authority is allowed to make informal enquiries as to whether a parent is educating a child at home, and if the parent is confident that they are able to discharge their duties to provide suitable education. That’s all.

The recommendations that came from the recent review in England conducted by Graham Badman, which was proven to contain unsubstantiated information, was thrown out of parliament. The same should happen to this one.

By all means, the WAG, together with LAs should offer support to home-educating families should they require it (after all, a home-educated child saves the LA over £5,000 pa), but the WAG has no right to instigate a system of compulsory registration. This goes against family law, education law and human rights.

It seems that WAG confuses home-education with NEETs. It is highly unlikely that parents who decide to electively home-educate will allow their child to become a ‘NEET’. It is, by now, a well-established fact that home-educated children do better, educationally, than their schooled counterparts. You are targeting the wrong section of society. Parents have created their own support system within the home-education community, and are free to participate in this as much or as little as they want to. New home-educating parents are welcome and given as much information and support as they need. Additionally they are able to access more information from the internet and libraries.

Your registration consultancy document mentions “children missing education’ covers a wide spectrum of learners and in some instances will include a child who is being home educated but who is receiving little or no education.” You see, had you come to ‘monitor’ our two children, six years ago, you may have concluded that little or no education was taking place. Yet our 14 year old has completed one OCN, partially completed three others and is currently studying GCSE science with four other HE children under the guidance of the Head of Chemistry from one of your schools.

Our 11 year old receives almost no formal education other than maths, but is able to write 2000 word stories and scripts, complete with correct spelling and punctuation. I wholeheartedly believe that if we tried to ‘teach’ her, instead of allowing her to discover her own path, she would have been put off creative writing for life – as happens in schools worldwide. People achieve despite formal education, not because of it. She does not need to know what an adverb is if she already knows how to use them correctly. Later on, when she will require GCSEs, or their equivalent, for college, then she can learn what she needs to know.

These children are not constricted by the current education system and its extremely narrow curriculum. They are free to investigate a subject to any depth they want to without being forced to move on to the next topic on the NC because there are targets to be met.

My partner and I are completely against any form of registration for home-educating families because of the reasons I have stated above and also because it is likely that national government and the WAG, will use their self-given authority to extend their ‘monitoring’ to families across the board. Pretty soon you will require access to families with children under school age to ensure developmental targets are being reached and to make sure they are not being abused. And then there are the school holidays – perhaps parents will also need to be monitored then?

It appears to us that it is government and LAs that are failing families, not the other way around. The recent highlighting of abuse of children in the care of Local Authorities in Wales, surely gives us good reason to avoid their interference and influence in family life? Why would we invite potential disaster by complying with such rules and regulations when it is clear that ‘authority’ is detrimental not positive, ruinous not supporting.

The fundamentals of this movement towards greater control of people, rely on the false premise that ‘authority’ actually cares. Of course, this cannot be true, ‘authority’ only seeks to control, direct and impose. You may have individuals who are caring and who are good at their jobs, but ultimately, the aim is to complete the paperwork and meet the targets. There is no actual ‘engagement’, no actual ‘concern’, despite the mealy-mouthed introduction in the consultancy document.

Any system of registration should be completely voluntary, should not impose restrictions, should not be ‘revokeable’ and should not dictate how a family leads their lives or educates their children. Any Local Authority intervention should be supportive only. Anything else is overstepping the mark

Zentangle Zendoodle Articles & Resources

•November 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

No-one could have predicted how Zentangle would grab the imagination of artists, doodlers, bloggers, art journalers and those who have never done art of any kind. It’s grown into… well, a movement, for want of a better term. People are creating zendoodles like crazy. It’s fantastic, and I have to give kudos to the creators of zentangle.com  There is, however, a lot of dissent in the ranks. Many think that the popularity of Zentangle has been built on a shaky patent application. That the insistence that ‘Zentangle’ and ‘doodle’ are not the same thing at all. That certain Certified Zentangle Teachers are guilty of a somewhat less-than-encouraging attitude to students. If you don’t believe that, have a look at the comments on this post: Zentangles… or Doodles

I note that Rick and Maria, of Zentangle, have gently suggested that anyone who makes money off the back of Zentangle might consider making a donation to say thank you. Yes, I have made some money (and so have several charities), via my Squidoo and Hubpage articles. However, I calculate that I have sent thousands of searchers straight to their website, many of whom had never heard of the Z ‘method and artform’, so I don’t feel an overwhelming need to donate to the cause. Just checked – one article, just one, has sent 546 visitors to Z.com in the last 30 days. Multiply that by 10 and you’ll be close to the real figure. I think that R & M should make a donation to me – ha ha.

So what about these articles? Here you go…

(Please note that all these articles are illustrated with my own artwork, pieces shared under the Creative Commons license and others kindly given to me to use with permission.)

Squidoo:

Zentangle
Zentangles: Examples, Ideas an…
Zentangle Patterns
Zentangle Workshop
Best Zentangle Books
The Doodle
Zentangle Blogs
Zentangle Templates
Zentangle with Color
Zentangle Links
Zen and Ink
Zentangle Zendoodle Gifts
Totally Tangled – Zentangle an…
Zentangle Shading

Hubpages:

Zendoodle, Zentangle How-To
How to Find Tangle Patterns for Zentangle and ZIA
Zentangle, Zendoodle Techniques: Shading
Zendoodle
Zentangle, Zendoodles – What Are They?

Have fun!

BBC Contradictions

•January 11, 2012 • 4 Comments

Watching BBC News this morning (no, I don’t know why either). Had a good laugh as they did a piece on the abundance of flowering wild plants in and around Cardiff, UK, this January. No frost to kill ‘em off yet, you see.  So they are interviewing some ‘experts’ and both of them trot out the old global warming theme, conveniently forgetting that last winter was absolutely freezing. Of course, last winter was a ‘weather system’ but this winter it’s ‘climate change’.  Anyway, it’s set to freeze this weekend as the wind swings round to come from the north-west, so bye-bye sweet flowers… see you in spring.

The very next item on the news was the huge snowfall in Alaska. Not a mention of the probable cause, of course – errant weather systems at work again, no doubt.

Nature – They Call Themselves Scientists

•October 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

From the scientific journal, Nature, this made me chortle:

Results confirming climate change are welcome, even when released before peer review.”

was the strapline of an article following on from BEST’s premature release of data supporting global temperature increase. Really? The results confirming global warming are welcome? You people aren’t biased in any way then. The article goes on with more jubilation,

“Global warming is really happening — really. There was no conspiracy or cover-up. Peer review did not fail and the scientists who have spent decades working out the best way to handle and process data turned out to know how to handle and process data after all. Thank you Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study.”

In fact, the figures are somewhat suspect, as Dr Fred Singer (professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project) points out in the article comments section. The data covers less than 30% of total land area and the weather stations are predominately clustered in North America and western Europe. Significantly, the data shows no atmospheric warming when we have been told for years that the atmosphere is affected by temperature changes before the land. The data has not been peer-reviewed, therefore there are likely to be corrections and adjustments made before it can be taken as concrete evidence. Even more significantly, in the research papers produced by the peeps at Berkeley and submitted for peer review, the conclusion they reach is, “The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.”

Somewhat, indeed. Doesn’t that make some journalists look very, very silly? Not to mention Mr Gore and his ilk.

So nuh, nuh, nuh, Nature, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine!

 

 

Oh Al…

•October 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Al Gore a couple of weeks ago on his blog:

How Deniers Work – September 23, 2011 : 3:11 PM

A report Saturday demonstrates how the climate denial movement manipulates the political process, laundering their money, influence and phony science through think tanks, advocacy groups and event academic institutions.

Yeah, Al, overused maybe, but pot, kettle, black. You are the master of all those things, especially manipulation and phony science.

Who are these “climate denial” people? What is a “climate denier” anyway. Do you deny the climate? I certainly don’t. Looking out of the window and, yep, there’s definitely some kind of climate out there. Sort of damp, cold and, well, autumnal. Keep up the name calling, Al; it’s your main line of attack, is it not? Trouble is, we’re all so used to you by now, that your continuing emissions of hot air are simply wafting up to the big carbon cloud in the sky, eliciting no more than an occasional snigger from the slaving classes.

By the way, your grammar and spelling is rubbish. Do you mean “A report published last Saturday, demonstrates…” and “even” rather than “event”? Dear me. Write 100 times, “I must proofread my blog posts.”

A later entry made me LOL all over my laptop:

“Companies Working to Solve the Climate Crisis October 7, 2011 : 5:26 PM

The Climate Reality blog points to companies that have discovered solving the climate crisis makes good business sense.”

Of course. Absolutely. It certainly does in the UK where, this morning, we heard that energy companies have increased their profits per customer from £15 per year to £125 in the last four months. Good business sense indeed. Yay for them.

Oh Al, have you ever, ever suggested that we simply plant more trees?

Royal Mail Revenge

•October 6, 2011 • 4 Comments

Freepost Royal Mail
Customer Services
Plymouth
PL9 7YB

6th October 2011

Dear Sir,

I enclose a birthday card and envelope sent to my son. You will see that I was obliged to pay £1.12 in order to have it delivered. The envelope is 13.5 x 19mm, and the card and envelope are approximately 4mm thick. The person who sent it had already bought, and applied a 46p First Class stamp to the envelope.

It is absolutely ridiculous that this card was deemed to be too large for regular letter post and I feel that this is simply another way to grab as much money from the public as possible. I checked your website and the price for a large letter is 75p, so I have no idea how the extra 12p was calculated, as there is no 58p postal tariff listed. It appears that we all need psychic abilities when working out postage costs.

Not only that, the sorting office had to have someone add a sticker and note to the envelope, fill in an excess postage charge card and then have it delivered to me. Incidentally, that excess postage card is much larger than the birthday card. They might as well have delivered the birthday card in the first place!

Please arrange to refund the cost of the extra postage and the handling charge.

Yours faithfully

XXXXXX XXXXXXX

PS Ironically, this complaint is being sent Freepost in a very large envelope. Hope you are happy to stand the cost of the excess charge!

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers