It's all over except the diets. Did you have fun...?
It's all over except the diets. Did you have fun...?
Well it's almost time to eat sprouts and avoid eggnog and do whatever it is you do to celebrate an event that the vast majority of people don't even believe in. How do you celebrate and what do you celebrate - let's compare notes.
I want to build a list of the best of 2008 across all the blogs. Nominate your favourite posts,the most significant posts and the oddest posts by leaving the post's URL (as opposed tot he blog home page link) in a comment in the next few days. That's all you have to do.
Tell me what made 2008 for you.
You know what time it is when Thanet Star starts with the Christmas animal images. Have a good one.
I am working on building a complete blog of Thanet complete with all the issues and blog posts of note within Thanet blogging. It's a work in progress obviously but so far I have a good collection of the recent fires, the China Gateway site and a few other places of note written up.
I am able to import other maps into this one so if you wish to create your own annotations and email the link to me I can create the grand map if Thanet blogging and news.
As you can probably guess I'm not especially impressed with Cllr Ezekiel. I've given up trying to put it into words and so to bring some holiday cheer here is a caption competition for you all.
The best answer will be added to the image and reposted after Christmas with full credits.
Enter as many times as you want.
Roughly £11.5 Million
(a tiny fraction of the £3 Billion pound overspend by TDC) is all it would cost to give an educational tool to every child in Thanet and the same number of third world children too. The result would be a potential blow to the cycle of poverty such as has never been dealt in the history of the United Kingdom.
Edit: The over spend is in fact £3M not £3B the entire budget being £20M which wouldmean TDC would need to pull down KCC funds...
The laptop in question is the XO and it has been created expressly as a learning tool. As of January 2008 it will be available in the UK under the Give One Get One offer whereby you can buy yourself an XO if you also buy one for a child in the third world. Sadly due the pound tanking quite hard of late the $399 price tag comes in at £275. Still not bad for something built and destruction tested to last at least five years in rugged conditions - per unit thats just £27.50 a year.
The astounding results of early years intervention demonstrated by educational nurseries like those in Millmead (Sure Start's Meadow Nursery) show that with the right tools the impact of poverty that sets the stage for future poverty can be undone. The price is a drop in the ocean for the area's education budgets and something the Council should easily be able to find.
To put this in perspective that's just £450 per councillor per day for a year. More than that is daily spent on lunches, fact finding trips to the US and China failed experimental builds for failed galleries.
I know the money for some of these things comes from different pots but what if inside of fifteen years we could start to see the trend of unemployment and unemployables reversed? Imagine what commerce, what business and what improvements we could make.
More than that imagine what all those young people might have to blog about. Imagine the impact on the political scene as these soon-to-be young adults start asking questions. Potentially this could set the stage for a year on year increase in the number of people voting.
I can see that our conservative overlords might not like that idea very much but those of us that still dream of things like justice, truth and the occasional bout of competence feel very differently.
Failing the council (TDC or KCC) actually doing something amazing and helping the area out you can make a difference on a child by child basis by taking up the offer on behalf of a child you know. You can order the XO from amazon.co.uk
In what passes for a consultation in these parts Cllr Sandy Ezekiel and friends held a meet and greet at Northdown House yesterday. Today Cllr Sandy Ezekiel announced that it will probably be given to a local college.
Judging by the reports on Tony Flaig's blog Sandy has no idea what to do with the building at all.
Where was the consultation?? I did go and at least we had the chance to walk round and look at the whole house, and there were a few people to talk to such as Sandy Ezekiel and Councillor Hart and Mr Friend but there were no outlines of any proposals, plans of the house or any question and answer sessions, just a postcard on which you could write your suggestions. I said there wasn't enough room on the postcard sais an anonymous commenter.
I would like to know how Sandy's team have managed to get to this conclusion just 24 hours after consulting the public without having already decided on this course of action. But as Sandy has also suggested a health centre instead I think the answer is that they are just guessing.
This smacks of desperation to get rid of a building that is going to cost a lot of money. Money being something that the Conservative council have been anything but wise with. With the debate between the Friends and the council over whether TDC can legally sell it off to developers not showing any sign of slowing it is likely that the Conservative Clique currently in power are planning to dump this building anyway. Even if that means forcing devolution of control to the community directly and shirking a council's traditional role as guardian of local heritage.
So the reason that the council could not answer Tony's freedom of Information requests is that they have no plan at all. I challenge any councillor to find a shred of evidence otherwise.
Have you tried the Fix Our Car Park special? It can be used to nag the council about the reduction of the cost of town centre parking in line with the new rate of VAT.
When you have tried it out why not let us know how you got on. Cheers.
Thanet District Council are in the news again for supporting the over zealous street warden who fined Grandfather Lazarus Michael £60 the moment his cigarette was knocked his out of his hand. The events took place in Margate high-street while two police officers were attempting to arrest shoplifters. In the confusion and bustle a full cigarette was knocked away from Lazarus Michael but before he could reach to retrieve it he was pounced upon and fined.
Lazarus Michael says
I wasnít littering as it was a full cigarette. But before I had a chance to pick it up, the warden had come up to me and asked me to come with him. I didnít know what he wanted so I went to talk to him. This is apparently a mistake so the warning seems to be do not talk to wardens as explains
He gave me the fine and didnít give me a chance to explain, if he hadnít come over to talk to me I would have bent down and picked it up without giving it another thought.
TDC have indicated that they are happy with the actions of the warden and Cllr Shirley Tomlinson has announced that there will be no exceptions under any circumstances. This is dangerously Soviet in attitude and opens the way for abusive fine practices from target staved wardens. Short of the ability to prove innocence there is no possible defence against random fines.
(Very compassionate and insightful Shirly (not))
TDC it seems have suspended the right to a fair trail or to be considered innocent until proven to be otherwise in favour of trying to get the man on the street to dish up towards the £3 Billion that the Conservative lead council are so badly hurting for. This I feel is the true reason why TDC are getting tough.
Culture Note for newer blog fans: The world of blogging can be divided into pre Huffington and post Huffington because it completely redefined what was possible whereas pownce is has been shut down by new owners Six Apart for being massively unpopular and a massive cost drain.
Kent TV has going for it £1.4 million in backing and has had "one million visitors" that's a cost per person of £1.40. While this is not unreasonable that's not exactly value for money when you consider Google sells traffic in the form of the AdWords program for as little as 1p a click (after you convert from dollars). Assuming that they are not counting hits but something crude but more indicative (say video stream requests given videos auto play the moment I allow flash to be enabled) at an unspecified audience quality I could supply that same level of traffic for around 0.75 million
It has provided 1,400 giving an average cost of £714.29 per video. A straw poll of videos shows the length to fall between 4.5 and 12 minutes with the average being about 7. That means that each video cost £100 a minute to make meaning if they were feature length they would cost around £90,000 each. Yet what value are each of these videos?
If that one was a bit on the geeky side what about this. Kent TV is there is create discussion but a debate in a media to which we the people are not invited. We are expected to listen only but not contribute. The blogging revolution, the Web 2.0 culture, the rise of social media has been about breaking old one way communication methods and making them two way. But by locking out opposing discussion they are saying "you are too dumb to contribute" we the old media are in control.
Frankly I don't much care for that. If the world would go back to that way of playing then China Gate, the Sericol leak and a number of other vital stories would never have seen the light of day. Instead we can ask the hard questions and expect to get answers. Kent TV is, in my opinion, an attempt to jump on a band wagon that is not so well understood with unclear aims beyond taking control of an unoccupied niche.
In short Kent TV appears to reinvent the wheel and has not done the best job possible. Where it a start up it would be laughed at by the big boys. Consider that only recently has Kent TV with it's million pound budget over taken Thanet Star's alexa rank (an indicator of the rate of visitation) and only then by a negligible 50,000 places in the world ranking of sites with 19.2% of it's traffic coming from outside the UK (compared to our 14%).
That has both of us beating TDC's website by the way.
Do you recall that niche I spoke of just moments ago. That Local TV niche. It would be a simple mater for a group with substantially less money to do better than Kent TV with little more than a digital video camera and some passion for their home area. Thanet springs to mind as having that passion and that group identity.
It falls once more to us to take the lead in social and online media and show the world that we the people control the news and do not stand for hijacked or personal agendas. We will communicate and we will have answers.
Something new for Thanet blogs. Guest posting.
A guest post is where one blogger writes a post but for someone else's blog. This might sound like an odd idea at first. Yet it is to the benefit of both writers and the readers.
The readers get a change of pace and to find out about a reader that they might not read otherwise. The guest writer get's to address someone else's audience while pointing back to their own work (most often in a short bio at the end). This can often let the guest writer talk about a topic that does not fit their own blog.
The blog owner benefits by having a post written by someone else.
I've been thinking about engaging in this practice and was wondering if anyone was interested in guest blogging at the Thanet Star? The offer is open to all regardless of party or the past exchange of words (with the exception of Sandy Ezekiel whom I just plain don't like).
I believe that within every one of the 125,000 or so people that live in Thanet is that spark of genius sufficient to radically redefine our very ideas about what Thanet is and just what it can do. It's not just the territory of a few famous names. Each of us has the gift but we all regularly do not use it.
We, the people of Thanet, have talent enough to spare - if only we'd realise it. Some of us write blogs. A few more of us read them but mostly we carefully and studiously follow patterns of behaviour that mean that the likes of Sandy Ezekiel will always be in power. It is this that lets us down.
We are careful to never be wrong. We are careful to never say the wrong thing, to never make a mistake and to never risk even the slightest loss of face. As such we are largely insignificant and our impact, if it exists at all, is negligible because we are set to consistently fail to do anything new or invigorating.
If you are not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything original.
» Continue Reading: Why you might fail to change Thanet
Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath was schooled at Chatham House Grammar School. He was Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. The wikipedia says that
Heath's accession represented a change in the leadership of the Conservative party, from aristocratic figures such as Harold Macmillan and Lord Home to the self-consciously meritocratic Heath, and later, Margaret Thatcher. I'm sure Rick will have something to say about that. Old Heathy is probably best remembered as the Prime Minister that took Britain into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 (before my time - honest).
The actor Peter Barkworth was born in Margate. Soon after being born on our fair isle his family moved to Bramhall in Cheshire and so Peter Barkworth was educated at Stockport School. But he started out here in Thanet. A note for Sci Fi fans Peter Barkworth had a part in the Doctor Who story line "The Ice Warriors" as Leader Clent.
Moses Montefiore had a key conenction to Thanet. This Prominent British Jewish campaigner and philanthropist (not to mention stockbroker too) was heavily involved in the affairs of Ramsgate and owned East Cliff Lodge. His tomb is adjacent to the synagogue in Ramsgate by the way Richard.
Mathematician Alfred North Whitehead was born in Ramsgate thus proving that good can come from the place (joke). Alfred North Whitehead, OM He was born during February 1861 and passed away during the end of December 1947 having escaped to Cambridge (no not that one, the one in Massachusetts, USA). The Wikipedia tells us that he
was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. He wrote on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education. He co-authored the epochal Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell.
Iain Aitch is a writer and journalist who was born in Margate. This author of the travel book A Fete Worse Than Death, is much loved by a certain blogger (hello Tony) mainly for writing "We're British, Innit", which, according to gthe all knowing wikipedia is
a humorous lexicon about Britain. When not soaking in Thanet blogger's adoration (or lack thereof) he also writes articles for the mainstream press (The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph mostly).
Who is your favourite famous Thanet person and why? (living or otherwise).
Fire up your printer it's time to save some serious cash.
vouchercodes.co.uk have a huge wedge of UK vouchers for money off stuff like W H Smiths, Blockbuster and others. All you have to do is print them off and hand them over. Money saved.
Found via: Lady Banana
Given that 95% (or there about) of Thanet Bloggers are BlogSpot users and Thanet Star is not this has been the cause of a few conflicts of ease of use vs ease of control.
Hopefully this is not one such case. Using your Google account (that you have signed into Blogger with) or any OpenID (or even a yahoo id) you can nominally "join" Thanet Star. This is much like "following" on blogger although a number of advanced options should be available due to the advanced geekery of the Google crew.
If you have added yourself and I've not got a link going to your blog feel free to message me and prompt me.
A new and alarming study from the US suggests that children from low-income families have significantly different brain patterns. Thanet has more than it's fair share of poverty at over twice the national average in some areas.
This difference could place children at a significant disadvantage in competing for jobs later in life.
The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience study was described as a "wake-up call" about the impact of deprivation. says the BBC. It seems that the brains of children from low-income families process information differently to those of their wealthier counterparts, the study suggests.
Christine Chen, Study: Background Affects Brain Activity, dailycal.org
Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds exhibit less prefrontal cortex activity than their peers of higher socioeconomic status, according to recent UC Berkeley research that provides insight into how children in impoverished conditions can reach their academic potential.
Hopefully we can put behind us the dangerous myth that all benefits claimants are just lazy scroungers and start to recognise that through inaction we are setting into motion something that will effect us, our children and their children. Studies have already shown that the effects of poverty can still be seen socially and medically over one hundred years later.
Professor Robert Knight, says:
This is a wake-up call - it's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socio-economic status.
If we do not act - who will?
The blog author of Thanet Observer recently asked
Where might one obtain "A Mole"? It seems every other blogger has one, and I feel quite left out.
This is a good question. Why do some blogs in Thanet appear to have their finger on the pulse with secret informants, TV and YouTube interviews and citations in the newspapers. What makes some bloggers more attractive when it comes time to leak that all important photograph of a councillor with his pants down?
I could have called this post "Get Your Mole Here" but I wanted to communicate fully what it is I'm going to be talking about. We are talking about the ability to break the news first. To be one of the "go to" blogs for what is fresh and happening in the area.
I will attempt to be as in depth as is possible as we look at how you can rise to fame as a source of news in Thanet. How you, like Michael Child, Tony Flaig and many others can make Thanet's leaders shiver with fear.
» Continue Reading: Do You Want To Break the News in Thanet?
Local MP Roger Gale has gotten a bit closer to the action in Thailand after his Son and new Daughter-in-law were among the Britons trapped by the protests. Thailand might have been many lifetimes removed from Thanet but the times there are a changing and the world, she is getting smaller, sir.
This story looks like it will have a happy ending but now more than ever it is going to be vital to asses the political climate of an area before you visit.
I've been doing a little research into the state of all things dental in Thanet.
You may recall that Thanet Star at the start of the year published a list of dentists in Thanet in an article called Dentists and Thanet - Things You Should Know". Well in a follow up I phones a few practices to see what they offered.
In all cases there were no openings for NHS patients (don't even get me started on that). One was "private only" and gave me the impression I was something to be scraped off the bottom of their shoe for even asking (*cough* Dalby Dental *cough*). The remainder were "too busy" to take on any more under NHS.
It seems that if you want teeth left in your head then you had better start saving now.
I've been looking around the other blogs today (or it tomorrow, I can never tell when I work late) and I noticed that VAT reduction on Town Parking is unlikely according to Eastcliff Richard.
This got me thinking. It's a bit of a cheek really. Thanet District Council put a lot of talk behind "regenerating" our town centres and yet the free parking at West Wood Cross has our towns at a competitive disadvantage with their rather pricey parking fees.
What we need, I figure, is a way to let TDC know exactly what we think of parking fees and to ask and keep on asking for the VAT savings to be passed on to us. (In other words nag them to death over it). To that end I have created a small application that will email TDC to let them know that you want to see some action.
All you have to do is pop your email address and (real) name into the form so that they know who to get back to.
Psst... pass it on.
One or more people are attempting to gain access to council housing claiming to be from the owners. Gas and Electric supplier. If you challenge them they will say they wish to talk to the bill payer but be unable to name him/her.
They may be able to tell you who your supplier is but unable to tell you what you customer number is. In short they are not telling you the whole story.
When you answer they may say some like "gas and electricity" or "electricity man" or some other not-quite-a-lie designed to mislead you. They are targeting people on low incomes as users of prepayment meters seems to be a favoured target.
If your energy supplier wish to contact you they will write or phone. The only reason they will need property access is carry out repairs or inspection to your meter. To do this they will always make an appointment first.
Why would an agent visit you but not know essential details (such as your name or customer number Thanet Star do not know if this is fraud, burglary or an underhand sales attempt but you should on no conditions allow these people anywhere near the inside of your home. Any one prepared to mislead to make a sale (best case scenario) is probably not worth trusting to buy from.
They were last reported active in the Dane Valley area. Be safe. Shut the door. If you feel worried dial 999.
In this Friday's Extra comes the story that your average tag:Thanet citizen earns a whopping £30,000 a year (or so says the Halifax). ("Typical Thanet Salary £30,000!", Martin Jefferies, The Isle of Thanet Extra (KM Group), Friday December 5. 2008, (DE) page 3).
While this might seem outlandish and is clearly unrepresentative it requires interpretation to be understood. It seems that Martin Jefferies did at least get some one to talk to but that Dave Kinnear of the Margate Town Partnership was clearly not experienced with interpreting data.
So it leaves Thanet Star to explain exactly what the numbers mean while attempting not to send you to sleep. Read on to find out just how badly you are being misled by Halifax and others who cite these figures and why they want to mislead us. It's an old slight-of-hand and today it gets exposed.
(hint: it's all about getting you money from you).
» Continue Reading: How they came up with the £30,000 a year lie
For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.General
There has been a Police probe allegation of electoral fraud in Thanet South.General
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