Online comments are another story

Hiding at the end of an article about Matt Groening and David X Cohen in the June 25 print edition of USA Today (and available online here) is this quote from Mr Groening:

The quality of comments in general on websites is pretty low. When you read an article you really like, and you…look at the comments, about five comments in, somebody hijacks it, and you want to kill yourself, so yeah, I try to avoid that.

So do I.

Bike stunt

Tel Aviv has a fleet of bikes available for its residents, just like London. Once you have an account setup, you can pick a bike up from any station, ride it, and leave it at any other station. It’s a popular scheme which helps reduces the number of cars on the crowded roads, even though the economics are not working out as anticipated.

On our office’s recent Yom Kef (Fun Day), I spotted this excellent example of the scheme in operation:

It’s also an excellent example of the “it will be ok” attitude towards health and safety that is far too prominently displayed in Israeli life. See the adult rider with no helmet. See the child passenger with no helmet. See a recipe for tragedy. I understand there is a law about cyclists having to wear helmets, but not in the city boundaries. In two words: bloody stupid.

Here begins the command of the future

Just back from Latrun (near Jerusalem) at a tekes (ceremony) for newly graduated sergeants and the like of the IDF. The ceremony is a pale shadow of anything the British Army would put on, almost completely free of spit and polish, and punctuated by the worst marching I am ever likely to see. (As they say here, marching is not important. And they mean it. They couldn’t keep in time for more than a couple of seconds.)

But though it’s different, that doesn’t make it inferior. There’s something refreshing about seeing families with picnics waving and greeting their enlisted loved ones, cameramen in denims recording the event, and shrieks of delight welcoming the announcement of individual prize winners. And when it was all over, as many family members rushed to get over the barriers and on to the huge stage, a flurry of hats was thrown in to the air, and some of the soldiers grabbed one another, hugged and started dancing with joy.

As the banner above says, here begins the command of the future. We are in good hands.

Social media in acion

This topic came up in conversation at social gathering last night, but there were differing versions. So, to be helpful, here’s the link to the Wired story about the Never Seconds (school meals) blog that was temporarily brought to a halt by the actions of the Local Authority. The blog – by schoolgirl Martha Payne – is here. (And there’s a cute contribution from an Israeli schoolkid there, which I was very pleased to see.)

It’s a heartwarming story which proves the value of social media – as well as solid parenting, smart thinking by a young kid, and good, old-fashioned journalism. But while the Local Authority took a kicking for their initial response, they deserve credit for reappraising the situation and doing the right thing.

(If you don’t know what any of this is about, I recommend you click on the link to the Wired story. It’s one of the best web adventures you will read.)