Happy Valentines!

From this week’s Schnews:

Anyway, if you’re thinking of saying it with flowers, be careful what it is that you say. Flowers are the most pesticide-intensive
crop and flower workers pay a heavy price.

A study published by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment reports that Dutch floral workers are exposed topesticide concentrations of up to 60 times the amount considered safe. The Netherlands, long famous as the global “flower capital,” has heavily contaminated water and air in its flower-growing regions. Some European countries are already setting up
cooperatives, with growers concerned about pesticide use and workers’ health.

Floriculture is big business, bringing in five times as much cash per acre than fruit, never mind organic veg. Consumers demand
perfection from cut flowers – nobody wants to send their sweetheart a manky bunch of wilting blooms, but the price of this
perfection is high. Flowers are dipped in a noxious brew of chemicals to ensure that they look authentically fresh and natural
when they are delivered.

Several years ago, there was a crisis in the U.S. involving the use of a fungicide marketed by DuPont as Benlate. “It was a known
carcinogen, widely used in greenhouses,” explains Dr Hantworth, “People working with plants sprayed with this substance were
getting sick. The flowers were going into people’s homes.”

In 1996, a U.S. jury awarded US$4 million to a couple whose child was born without eyes after the mother was sprayed with Benlate while pregnant; however, on appeal, the award was reversed. The case is now awaiting a hearing by the Florida Supreme Court. There have been hundreds of other cases of Benlate poisoning humans and wildlife. Total litigation costs associated with Benlate have so far cost DuPont an estimated US$1 billion dollars, causing them to
withdraw it from the market in 2001.

There are hundreds of pesticides in use, legal and illegal, around the world. The hazards posed by these chemicals most directly
affect the people working with them at a production level, but they also screw up the environment, those living in flower-growing
areas, and, in all likelihood, anyone who carries home a bouquet in their arms. So if your purchase gets a good reception and he or
she is swooning and breathless, it doesn’t mean you’re onto a winner. Symptoms of Organophosphate or Carbamate Poisoning can include contracted pupils, slow heartbeat, confusion, loss of coordination, sweating, tears, salivating, swooning or coma.
Sounds like your average love-struck teen to us.

The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and carbamates, affect the
nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogenic. Others may affect the hormone or
endocrine system in the body. The Toxic Trail website claims there are some 25 million cases of pesticide poisoning a year, mostly in developing countries.

If we’ve put you off buying imported minging toxic flowers, well, good. But if you still need to affirm your feelings with a
purchase, what could you send instead? Well you could try buying locally grown organic flowers. Or herbs to stick in the garden for a year-round supply of tasty green stuff.”

Indian Road

I know I said Indian road journeys where terrifying, well this tongue-in-cheek Indian Highway code goes some way to explaining how the rules of the road work there.

February is a month of not-drinking any alcohol. Detoxing in a month that only has 28 days isn’t too difficult. (With 3 amnesty days included!) Quite a bizarre evening at a local pub on Friday where a mate organised a “club night” (evening). Place a group of “older” people (+ buffet) celebrating someone’s retirement in one area of the pub, and then in the other place a group of slightly “alternative” 20-something people playing electronica versions of the Beach boys coupled with a bit of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. This combination will result in one group of people trying to get you to turn your music down, and crowding around the juke-box to put Westlife on. It will also result in the landlord telling you to finish at 10.30pm (even though they filled the otherwise quiet pub with people spending lots of money on beer….) Well, ok, I had a pint of lime cordial – maybe that took him over the edge.

In other news, put quite a few more photos up on my flickr account. You might see yourself there somewhere…. But to see “friends” photos, you will have to register and I’ll add you as a friend so there’s an extra incentive!

Also been playing a lot with last.fm which looks at the music you’ve been listening to on iTunes and builds up a personal profile. Then you can listen to a stream which will just play stuff that you might like. So over time it looks at what your contacts have been playing and also recommends music you might like. It’s excellent…

And once I’ve MP3ed up my 200 or so CDs it may have a better idea of what I actually like playing! That is a mammouth task and not at all interesting (Insert one CD, wait 5 minutes, repeat 200 times). I’m sure I’ll get it sorted over time. Yawn.,

Watched Bus 174 last night, a documentary about a Brazilian hostage incident on a bus; the outcome and why it happened in the first place. Pretty shocking, but what was more shocking was the complete uselessness of the Rio Police force (they didn’t have radio equipment, there were 3 negociators and as for the sniper well you’ll just have to watch the film)

Finally we have started to update the Transmission website (remember a week on Saturday all you Sheffield heads). Coming soon, some mp3 mixes and dj profiles…