Street Scenes

“BRIGHTON and Hove has been named as one of the most dangerous places in the country for pedestrians.

The city has been named as one of the ten worst local authority areas in the UK for serious injuries and deaths suffered by pedestrians.

Council officials suggested a high number of visitors and commuters lay behind the city’s ranking but the report’s author suggested this was unlikely to be a factor outside the capital.

Pedestrians were twice as likely to suffer serious injuries in Brighton and Hove according to accident figures for 2010 to 2014 as they were in the country as a whole.” (Anon n.d.)

Why? What might the reasons for this be? I understand there are critical problems about how and why we approach matters related to moving around and looking after where we work rest and play.

I attended two meetings recently, both of which were about street matters.

The Checklist Manifesto, begins on familiar ground, with his experiences as a surgeon. But before long it becomes clear that he is really interested in a problem that afflicts virtually every aspect of the modern world–and that is how professionals deal with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities. It has been years since I read a book so powerful and so thought-provoking.

Gawande begins by making a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don’t make proper use of what we know).

Failure in the modern world, he writes, is really about the second of these errors, and he walks us through a series of examples from medicine showing how the routine tasks of surgeons have now become so incredibly complicated that mistakes of one kind or another are virtually inevitable: it’s just too easy for an otherwise competent doctor to miss a step, or forget to ask a key question or, in the stress and pressure of the moment, to fail to plan properly for every eventuality.

Gawande then visits with pilots and the people who build skyscrapers and comes back with a solution. Experts need checklists–literally–written guides that walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure.”(Gawande n.d.)

I understand an identical issue is happening with how we look after streets. A friend is about to have a lead water main replaced. But why? Would this happen with an aircraft? What would an airline do with similar repairs?

Participants in both meetings I attended and the newspaper article above discuss “ksis”.

But the Health and Safety Executive states something very different,

“Near-miss reporting

A simple, and potentially anonymous, system for reporting near-miss incidents is a very important way of identifying problem areas. This will help you highlight some of the less obvious hazards in a workplace, or identify areas where a problem is developing.

Some models suggest that for every accident there are approximately ninety near-misses.

If there is a good reporting system in place, the hazard could be dealt with before someone is injured.”(Slips and trips team – HSE 2009)

It is my direct experience that a huge area of directly related issues are being comprehensively mismanaged and muddled through. A huge area of infrastructure management is incredibly institutionalized and works on a philosophy of disjointed incrementalism.

This might be because it is believed to be too complex and therefore must be nibbled away at, but my experience, for example of the CROW manual (CROW 2007), and of the arguments of Gawande, are that “too complex” is a myth that is allowing extremely poor and expensive habits to continue.

Have highways engineers heard of systems thinking, (Meadows 2008) ecosystems, energy flows?

Maybe if they did we would seriously tackle “ksi”s?

Anon, Brighton and Hove named as one of ten worst local authorities for pedestrian safety. Available at: [Accessed November 6, 2015].

CROW, 2007. Design manual for bicycle traffic – CROW. Available at: [Accessed November 6, 2015].

Gawande, A., The Checklist Manifesto | Atul Gawande. Available at: [Accessed November 6, 2015].

Meadows, D.H., 2008. Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Chelsea Green Publishing. Available at: [Accessed January 19, 2015].

Slips and trips team – HSE, H., 2009. More: Near-miss reporting. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Personal Submission to House of Lord’s Select Committee on Equality and Disability

1.        Executive Summary, Recommendations and Questions for the Select Committee

  • I welcome this opportunity to provide comments to the House of Lords Select Committee into the Equality Act 2010 and disability. This submission is focusing on transport and related issues. These are personal comments. Details of my background and experience are here.

Clive Durdle

4 Toronto Road

Ilford Essex IG1 4RB

2.        Any journey is only as good as its weakest link

  • I understand that “any journey is only as good as its weakest link.” A core concept of the disability world is the idea of barriers. These may be physical, institutional and attitudinal. The idea of an equality impact assessment is to think through clearly what issues someone might face and what physical, legal and behavioural changes may be appropriate.
  • Thinking carefully about someone over their life cycle and on a day to day basis, and looking carefully at what happens, how and why, and how it may be different is very valuable.
  • My experience is like the curate’s egg. There are parts of the movement and transport systems that are impressive; other parts are in a backwater. It is not obvious that all the players have even received the message that “Houston, we have a problem”.



3.          The Equality Act

  • The Equality Act uses “boxes” of protected groups and defined “places”.
  • What effects might liminal matters that don’t quite fit into neat and tidy boxes be having? The latter part of this submission looks at some of these extremely complex issues.
  • Is the idea of groups of people and objects helping or hindering resolving very complex issues of institutionalization and discrimination? What other tools may help?
  • Should the categories of the Equality Act be more around power relationships and equality impact?
  • It is a duty to ‘have due regard’, not to take steps or to achieve equality. Is this an attempt to incorporate a deliberative, reflexive approach to achieving equality, recognizing that a straightforward command and control approach might encounter unproductive resistance? Or does it reflect a fundamental ambivalence as to the importance of equality issues?”
  • I understand that the Equality Act, by not being accessible itself and sufficiently enabling of change, is at least indirectly institutionalized and discriminatory.


4.        Professional Practice

  • I understand that there are real continuing complexities and confusions introduced by professional and legal practice and education.
  • The Cabinet Office is looking at these issues from a built environment perspective.
  • It is unclear that the issues being discussed and resolved there are transferring equally to the worlds of getting around.
  • It is not obvious that the excellent possibilities of sustainability and inclusive design are being progressed that effectively.
  • The meaning of the term “access” is precisely about this. This seems to be causing various professionals to think they are meeting legal and professional standards when in fact and law they are not.
  • The two main ways seem to cohere around the concepts of “access for all” and “vehicular access”

5.        Participation

  • I formally ask that looking carefully at how things are done elsewhere, experimentation and participation become key ways of working.
  • The definitions of the common wealth and what is private are causing continuing complexities and discrimination.
  • The phrase “nothing about us without us” is precisely about this.
  • Should properly recorded and designed experimentation be understood as a key part of enabling relevant authorities to show they have properly consulted and enabled participation?
  • There does not seem generally enough willingness to search out possible solutions, discuss carefully matters, learn and implement in a timely way changes that do make very significant differences.
  • There is evidence of both extreme risk averseness and ignoring of risks. These types of behavior are well – defined symptoms of institutionalization.

6.        Statistics and measuring equality

  • I understand there is a critical general issue about the quality of statistics.
  • The numbers of issues and barriers faced daily by disabled and other people is not being recorded properly, although bodies are experiencing high levels of claims for slips trips and falls, but this is not being understood as key equality indicator.

7.        Commonwealth and Cooperation


  • I understand this principle of all the various parties working together to think through carefully all the issues and propose solutions is critical to actually implementing the Public Equality Duty.
  • This duty must explicitly apply to all contractors carrying out public services.

8.        Lenin

  • Paraphrasing Lenin, there is a job to be done.
  • A major issue is that there seems to be a general ignorance of the poor state of infrastructure from the perspective of access for all, and that this is also institutionalized discrimination.
  • The costs of change are probably not that significant if tools of high quality design, thought and participation are used that create sustainable and inclusive long lasting infrastructure.
  • But first the detailed issues must be defined clearly.

9.        Conclusion of Executive Summary

  • This submission discusses the general issues and then illustrates them. There are specific issues in various areas that are highlighted in the main body of this evidence.

10.    Barriers

  • A core concept of the disability world is the idea of barriers.
  • These may be physical, institutional and attitudinal.
  • Comprehensive Equality Impact Assessments aim to think through clearly what issues someone might face and what physical, legal and behavioural changes may be appropriate.
  • Thinking carefully about someone over their life cycle and on a day to day basis, and looking carefully at what happens, how and why, and how it may be different is very valuable.
  • My experience is like the curate’s egg. There are parts that are impressive; other parts are in a backwater. It is not obvious that all the players have even received the message that “Houston, we have a problem”.

12.    Institutional Barriers

12.1.           I understand there may be two interrelated issues that may be due to the wording of the Equality Act, and that make implementation of its objectives extremely complex.

12.2.           The first is the list of “protected groups”. Is this a complete list? Should for example, pedestrians, cyclists, rowers, sailors and cyclists (users of human powered vehicles?) be protected groups?

12.3.           Secondly, is there a complete list of “places”, are ‘work, school, transport and housing’ complete?

12.4.           Where do roads, footpaths, cycleways, bridalways fit? Is “transport” the correct legal term? Where does the concept of the transport hierarchy fit with ideas of and law about equality?

12.5.           What effects might liminal matters that don’t quite fit into neat and tidy boxes be having?

12.6.           Is the idea of groups of people and objects helping or hindering resolving very complex issues of direct and indirect discrimination, what other tools may help?

12.7.           Should the questions to resolve these issues be more around power relationships and equality impact assessments?

12.8.           There is in East London a footbridge over the River Roding that is currently closed for repairs. No one can work out whose responsibility it is! Options include the City of London, London Borough of Redbridge, London Borough of Newham and probably other parties. There is then a question about which department of these organisations has responsibility – parks, highways….

12.9.           This is obviously a barrier but it is not clear what actions anyone should take to resolve it! The Equality Act looks like it is relevant, but how would it be used, where?


13.    The Public Sector Equality Duty

  1. Sandra Fredman Oxford University, has written:

14.1.           A key advance of the Equality Act 2010 is its introduction of a single equality duty. The new ‘public sector equality duty’ harmonises the earlier duties and extends its coverage to include other protected characteristics.

14.2.          In addition, the statutory aims have been deepened to reflect a substantive conception of equality. However, the core of the duty is unchanged. It is a duty to ‘have due regard’, not to take steps or to achieve equality.

14.3.           Is this an attempt to incorporate a deliberative, reflexive approach to achieving equality, recognising that a straightforward command and control approach might encounter unproductive resistance?

14.4.           Or does it reflect a fundamental ambivalence as to the importance of equality issues? (Is) the statutory provision is an example of reflexive law(?)

14.5.           Particular attention is paid to the spate of judicial review cases relying on the equality duty to challenge a range of budget cuts. It is argued that courts have struggled to deal with the regulatory challenges presented by the equality duties.

14.6.           Nor is it clear that a reflexive approach is appropriate to achieve substantive equality.”

15.    The European Transport Ministers

  • The European Transport Ministers have written:
  • “Obvious though it may seem, it is worthwhile stressing that any journey is only as good as its weakest link. There should, therefore, be a conscious effort on the part of government, local and central, to ensure that accessible transport services link together.
  • The physical process of making a journey should mirror the “chaine signalétique” approach advocated by COLIAC (formerly COLITRAH)6 for information; a carefully planned sequence without breaks or interruptions.
  • Until comparatively recently such an approach would have seemed unrealistic, even irrelevant, because so much needed to be done to make any single link in the transport chain accessible. This is changing, rapidly so in some countries, but the full value of accessible links will not be realized unless journeys are considered as a whole, rather than as a series of discrete movements. …..
  • In other words, the physical chain of accessible transport has to be paralleled by an administrative chain.
  • In further developing their policies for improving access to all modes of transport, government should not lose sight of the over- arching need to provide seamless transport for disabled travellers, and to achieve it by a combination of appropriate regulations and encouragement for collaboration between all the organisations concerned. (International Transport Forum n.d.)
  1. It is not obvious to me that accessible tools are available to resolve these complexities quickly. The Equality Act, by not being accessible, is, I understand, at least indirectly discriminatory.
  2. A related issue is possibly the history of Transport, Railway and related Acts. It is not obvious that these assist enabling equality and the view of the European Transport Ministers that “any journey is only as good as its weakest link.”
  3. The 1949 Transport Act, as well as establishing the legal basis of motorways, also formalized the road split between national and local authorities, with local authorities becoming responsible for footpaths, cycleways and local roads.
  4. This means that there is in existing transport and highways law basic assumptions that contradict completely the concept of the road hierarchy.
  5. Similar issues exist in the Highway Code, which contains discriminatory philosophies dating back to the 1930’s. There is a continual assumption that powered vehicles have priority, when actually the concept of the Queens Highway is the converse, that everyone is free to use it. America, with the pejorative term “jay walker” is the classic example of this. Should there not be a right to roam everywhere, including roads? Should 30 be the normal speed in built up areas?
  6. There is a classic science fiction novel that I strongly recommend that illustrates this, The Revolt of the Pedestrians (Keller 1928).
  7. 1n 1959 there were nine million cyclists on Britain’s roads.
  8. We do not now have public and private realms that achieve “any journey is only as good as its weakest link.”. To do this includes all parts of all journeys, including getting out of bed, going to and using bathrooms and toilets, getting around a home including up and down various levels, getting out of a front or back door, and using pavements. It includes all public transport being fully accessible and able to carry all types of mobility equipment, including cargo trikes and mobility scooters.
  9. The Equality Act has not enabled the full review and reassessment of all practices and professional thinking that I understand to be basic to taking equality seriously. There are not only physical and administrative barriers but also historical, legal, professional and intellectual barriers.
  10. The following sections illustrate some of these issues.

26.    Access

  • As well as these real complexities of who is responsible, I understand there are real continuing complexities and confusions introduced by professional and legal practice.
  • The meaning of the term “access” is precisely about this. This seems to be causing various professionals to think they are meeting legal and professional standards when in fact they are not.
  • The two main ways seem to cohere around “access for all” and “vehicular access”
  • The term “design and access statement” may have different meanings to various professionals, leading to further inadvertent indirect discrimination.
  • A mission to Mars failed catastrophically because different contractors were using different measurement languages.

27.    Campaign for Better Transport

  • Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport has commented to me personally in an email correspondence:
  • “There are two main uses of the term “access” among transport professionals:
  • Access for people with disabilities. Access strategies here involve making transport networks and infrastructure accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities. This has involved, for example, a programme of dropped kerbs, of step free buses, and of moves towards making railways accessible through an “access for all” programme.
  • Access to key facilities and services, which involves mapping people’s travel patterns and needs and seeking to provide services to meet those needs.
  • This kind of access came to prominence with a report by the Government’s Social Exclusion Unit in 2003 which suggested accessibility strategies by local authorities, and resulted in these being required through Local Transport Plans.
  • Access in this context is sometime contrasted with “mobility” – in other words, trying to move the focus from simply promoting movement – more miles by more people and vehicles – to promoting access to key facilities and people, as the main aim of transport.
  • As Campaign for Better Transport, we’ve been involved in both these forms of access strategies.
  • On the first, we’ve worked with disability groups like Transport for All to promote disability access to transport.

28.    Vehicular Access and Access for All

  • The website of a major transport consultancy comments below about “access” to a site that includes a school and a retirement home, using a clear vehicular access model, which is arguably discriminatory as there is no evidence at all of any consideration of issues of access for all.
  • This is only one example of a probably very common discriminatory practice and leads to asking basic questions about do professionals understand their legal responsibilities, and why are they thinking in these ways?
  • “PJA was appointed to provide transportation and highways advice for the development, and to prepare a Transport Assessment to accompany a planning application. Barteak Developments entered into an agreement with the Malvern Preparatory School to redevelop a large part of their site for housing, including a retirement home. Forming a suitable access into the new site that would meet the approval of the local highway authority was difficult and a number of options were considered. Visibility splay requirements were assessed in detail using vehicle speed surveys. The final option selected involved the partial demolition of the boundary wall to the site, which was considered by the planning authority to be of local importance. Nevertheless, it was accepted as the least intrusive access solution.(Jones n.d.)
  • Similar limited use of the term “access” also occurs here:
  • “The designation of the new city of Craigavon in 1965 envisaged the development of a substantial new commercial area between the existing town centres of Portadown and Lurgan. This was to be the principal focus for the new city of 180,000 inhabitants but its failure to grow to anything like its projected population has meant that the new town centre at Rushmere is relatively small in floorspace terms. However, its ability to meet modern retailer requirements in terms of unconstrained greenfield sites, floorplates, mall type environment, convenient car based access and parking together with its role as a shared place has made it much more successful in attracting investment from the high street multiples. PJA was appointed as subconsultant to Tribal Urban Studio to develop a Commercially-led vision for the three centres, with each developing a distinct role. Central to this was the identification of redevelopment sites, mainly in the ownership of the public sector. PJA was required to establish an overall transport vision for the town centres and to specify access requirements” (Jones n.d.)

29.    Experimentation, modeling and participation

  • There is a related issue here that must also be tackled. Many professionals now use very powerful computer models and have rules that have evolved possibly over decades (more than a century in the case of the railways, since the 1930’s for the Highway Code) that may be leading to ways of working that do not actually enable solutions and may be indirectly and directly discriminatory.
  • I formally ask that looking carefully at how things are done elsewhere, experimentation and participation become key ways of working.
  • This has immediate effects, the models have something to test against, if something doesn’t work, it can be removed quickly, if it does work it can be honed and implemented generally quickly.
  • There does not seem generally enough willingness to search out possible solutions, discuss carefully matters, learn and implement changes that do make very significant differences. The transport professions feel as if they are fashion led.
  • For example, road closures and road changes can be trialed with plastic and wooden equipment to see what happens to road use patterns, instead of what tends to happen currently is that something is extensively modeled and then implemented permanently.
  • Should properly recorded and designed experimentation be understood as a key part of enabling relevant authorities to show they have properly consulted and met their Public Equality Duties?
  • There are bits of this in law, but something happens in the implementation. It may be related to misunderstanding hazard and risk.
  • I am aware of extensive transport changes happening near me in Waltham Forest but I am unclear of how equality issues have impacted these proposals.

30.    Risks, Hazards and Near Misses

  • A major guide by TFL about cycling “International Cycling Infrastructure Best Practice Study” (Dales & Jones 2014) writes:
  • “As regards concerns about possible ‘dooring’, where cars are parked facing the direction of travel on that side of the street, it is only the passenger doors that would open into a nearside cycle lane/track.
  • Passenger doors usually open less often than the driver’s door, because every car has a driver. Additionally, if a dooring does occur, cyclists would be thrown into the adjacent footway, not the carriageway. “
  • This comment is of note compared with the attitude of the Health and Safety Executive about workplaces, and I must formally ask why are there different standards for workplaces and streets and might this be discriminatory?
  • The Health and Safety Executive (Slips and trips team – HSE 2009) writes:

More: Near-miss reporting

A simple, and potentially anonymous, system for reporting near-miss incidents is a very important way of identifying problem areas. This will help you highlight some of the less obvious hazards in a workplace, or identify areas where a problem is developing.

Some models suggest that for every accident there are approximately ninety near-misses.

If there is a good reporting system in place, the hazard could be dealt with before someone is injured.

It can be difficult to get staff to report near-misses or minor slip accidents, as they are often seen as funny or embarrassing occurrences (until someone is hurt).

It is important to create a culture which encourages reporting of these accidents.

  1. I understand the type of attitude reflected above (about dooring being part of the street scene) by transport professionals is symptomatic of a general issue about the quality of statistics, specifically the numbers of issues and barriers faced daily is not being recorded properly, although bodies are experiencing high levels of claims for slips trips and falls, but this is not being understood as a key equality indicator. Transport generally records deaths and serious injuries, when the reality is all incidents and near misses matter. There are excellent examples of how to do things from Denmark and the Netherlands, but somehow in Britain I feel we do not quite get to the crux of issues. Is “good enough” or “that will do” actually discriminatory?

32.    Commonwealth

  • I do not have the legal expertise to define this, but understands this is about duties to co-operate and learn together for the common wealth. There is a very extensive literature about this, including the legal concept of ecocide, and the authors Elenor Ostrom and Lewis Hyde.
  • The idea of nothing about us without us is precisely about this.
  • Citizen’s Advice writes: (Advice 2015) “The Equality Act tells some public bodies that they will have to think about what they can do to make their services more helpful to poorer people.

How this might work

A local council in charge of a town’s bus services checks to find out if buses meet the needs of local people. It finds that people in a poor part of town have more trouble than other people getting to the local hospital. The council finds this was because of 3 things.

  1. There are only a few buses to the hospital each day
  2. Most people do not have a car
  3. It costs a lot to park cars at the hospital.

The council works with the hospital to find ways to make it easier for people from the poorer parts of town to get to the hospital. They decide to pay for a free bus service from the town to the hospital.

  • I understand this principle of all the various parties working together to think through carefully all the issues and propose solutions is critical to actually implementing the Public Equality Duty.
  • This duty must explicitly apply to all contractors carrying out public services, who must not be allowed to use confidentiality clauses.

33.    Parking

  1. About parking, thinking here may be indirectly and directly discriminatory.
  1. ITDP writes “In the last few decades a growing number of European cities have led the world in changing the direction of parking policy. European citizens grew tired of having public spaces and footpaths occupied by surface parking. Each parking space consumes from 15 m2 to 30 m2, and the average motorist uses two to five different parking spaces every day. In dense European cities, a growing number of citizens began to question whether dedicating scarce public space to car parking was wise social policy, and whether encouraging new buildings to build parking spaces was a good idea. No matter how many new parking garages and motorways they built, the traffic congestion only grew worse, and as much as 50% of traffic congestion was caused by drivers cruising around in search of a cheaper parking space.
  2. In the cities reviewed here, parking policy has been reoriented around alternative social goals. Some recent parking reforms are driven by the need to comply with EU ambient air quality or national greenhouse gas targets. Other new parking policies are part of broader mobility targets encouraging reductions in the use of private motor vehicles. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging to reduce motor vehicle use, more are turning to parking.

Every car trip begins and ends in a parking space, so parking regulation is one of the best ways to regulate car use. Vehicles cruising for parking often make up a significant share of total traffic. Other reasons for changing parking policies were driven by the desire to revitalize city centers and repurpose scarce road space for bike lanes or bike parking. (Kodransky & Hermann 2011)

37.    Street Scene

  • Henshaw (Henshaw 2011) has fascinating commentary about what happens when footpaths are poorly designed. Although writing primarily about cycling, the issues are identical for disabled people with mobility issues and are therefore a key example of what an Equality Act should be able to achieve. The numbers of slip trip and fall hazards and barriers illustrated is impressive, and these are actually very common street scenes. The changes of level, cambers and kerbs illustrated below are all extremely serious barriers for the “wobblies” and “stickies” of the world.
  • “One of the many excuses used by people who oppose protected cycling infrastructure is the ‘but we have driveways’ excuse. There are people who believe that cycling infrastructure, especially a separate protected cycle path, does not go together well with driveways.
  • But of course the two can be combined: as long as the design of both the cycle path and the driveways are well done and follow strict rules.
39.     1. Driveways may not interrupt the sidewalk or cycle path.
2. Driveways may not influence the level of the sidewalk or cycle path.
3. Driveways may not have priority over pedestrians or cyclists.
  • When a drive way does not interrupt the sidewalk or the cycle path, when it does not change the level of either of those and when it is clear it has no priority over pedestrians or cyclists then such a driveway is no problem at all to separated cycling infrastructure.


44.     Driveways that do not interrupt cycle path nor sidewalk, have no influence on the level of either of those and clearly have no priority.


45.    Patient transport

  • Patient Transport is another example of a whole system transport problem, albeit moving complex, fragile subjects.
  • The agenda includes someone getting out of bed and moving them to an operating theatre or MRI scanner possibly in another hospital, transfers and admission processes to other hospitals and journeys to and from home at admission and discharge and for outpatients and all the stops, handovers and waiting in between.
  • It isn’t really only a health problem, nor a transport problem, and requires very careful thought and planning of all stages and issues.
  • Hospital trusts, care quality commissioners may be looking at the issues too simply and incorrectly using examples from other systems, like “departure lounges”. The term “medical model” possibly applies.
  • A major hospital trust has recently purchased patient wheelchairs that are commonly used by pulling patients backwards, not exactly a dignified way! This trust was not also able to manage a patient who was able to walk but had been instructed not to sit – ie either lie or stand.
  • Comments were made about how these types of issues are seen as marginal, cinderella services, when actually any look at systems theory shows they are critical.
  • This is a further example that the very complex problems actually need to be tackled.

46.    Wheelchair services

  • The recent launch of a campaign to improve wheelchair services is a further example of how interconnected and detailed issues are. The existing legal structures are discriminatory as they are not enabling matters like these to be resolved quickly and effectively. (Gani 2015)
  • “It is estimated that 2% of our population use wheelchairs to get to work, go to school, buy their groceries, look after their children, contribute to our society and achieve their goals. Sadly many of them don’t fulfil their aspirations because the current wheelchair services fail to meet their needs.
  • Currently we see great variation in ability to access assessment and obtain service provision, delays in repairs and equipment, poorly thought through provision plans and patient pathways, confusing information, restrictive and inflexible funding and minimal integration of services.
  • And throughout all of this are the service users struggling to carve out the kind of lives they would wish to lead.
  • As a group, the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance has committed to make the kind of changes that will truly improve the lives of these service users and their families.” (Wheelchair 2015)

47.    Autism

  • There are many conditions that are not obvious, but all of these require equal consideration. Transport for all writes:
  • I plan all my journeys very carefully. Because of my autism, any changes, no matter how small, causes anxiety and stress. The world is a very unpredictable and confusing place and so I prefer to have a fixed daily routine so that I know what is going to happen. This routine extends to always wanting to travel the same way to and from places. When there are diversions or journey restrictions or cancellations, it doesn’t just irritate me; it can feel like the end of the world. The London Bridge closure has caused me massive amounts of stress.
  • People with Autism may experience some form of sensory sensitivity which affects one of the five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. I have hypersensitivity to things such as noises (I am unable to cut out background noise), breezes, lights, movements and odours. I also have balance and vestibular difficulties, so I am unable to stand on moving things such as escalators and lifts without being supported, because of dizziness and disorientation. I am too scared to use night buses because of how fast they go. They make me feel very ill and anxious, I can’t use escalators, lifts, tunnels, stairs especially spiral staircases on my own.
  • I can’t just turn up and use any station, it may take up to twenty visits to a station before I can use it. Starting from just going to see the outside of the station to then walking inside, then another visit to go onto the platform. (Lindsay 2015)


Advice, C., 2015. Equality Act 2010 – spotting discrimination – chart – Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Dales, J. & Jones, P., 2014. International Cycling Infrastructure. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Gani, A., 2015. Wheelchair users to launch challenge to improve NHS service | Society | The Guardian. Guardian. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Henshaw, D., 2011. A view from the cycle path: But we have driveways. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

International Transport Forum, Improving Transport Accessibility for All. Available at: [Accessed July 20, 2015].

Jones, P., Projects – Phil Jones. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Keller, D., 1928. Amazing Stories Volume 02 Number 11 : Gernsback, Hugo, 1884-1967 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive. Amazing Stories Vol 2 no 11. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Kodransky, M. & Hermann, G., 2011. Europe’s Parking U-Turn. ITDP. Available at: [Accessed June 28, 2015].

Lindsay, C., 2015. Using the Tube as an autistic person › Transport for all › Accessible Transport in London. Transport for All. Available at: [Accessed August 1, 2015].

Slips and trips team – HSE, H., 2009. More: Near-miss reporting. Available at: [Accessed September 2, 2015].

Wheelchair, R., 2015. Wheelchair Charter. Available at: [Accessed August 2, 2015].

Cargo trikes

From slow bikes on Facebook conversation I started

Clive Durdle
25 May at 13:33
I am thinking of getting a Christiania cargo trike, I am in East London and would be a very early adopter. I have balance issues and have been researching extensively. I would love some first hand views! I understand there is a risk of toppling and hip fractures. I would get electric assist. Is this a boldly go or Houston we have a problem issue?

Matti Kinnunen With some careful training and care, it is not that easy to topple a Christiania bike. One only needs to ride a bit slower when turning.

Matti Koistinen I’ve some experience of Christiania Light and on downhill it might be a bit unstable, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a person with balance issues. Especially with electric assist.
The bigger and heavier Christiania is the more stable it is. Trio Bike would be maybe more stable, so I’d recommend you to check out their options too.

Clive Durdle I hired this for a day but would prob go for 26
Clive Durdle’s photo.

Clive Durdle steel not alu?

Adam Edwards Pashley trike eg Tri1 with rear cage boot is good. No balance issues and lockable storage

Clive Durdle I thought tadpoles were stabler than two wheels at the back

Rowan Goodfellow DeBonaire

A few years ago, you could have popped over to Fitzrovia and bought one from Andrea at Velorution, but now I recommend Practical Cycles, which Simon Thornton linked to above. I’m currently stuck in the Blackpool area awaiting my escape to civilisation, so it’s my ‘local’, but if you want to try some trikes, DO arrange beforehand, as their shop is not often open, being an online business for the most part.

Gary Cummins

Clive, contact my friends at Tower Hamlets Wheelers, the local lobby group, they will let you try one out: Tell them I suggested you contact them, I used to run Wheelers and the person who now runs Carry Me Cargo Bikes was also a member of Wheelers

Rowan Goodfellow DeBonaire

When I hit the mainland, I’m going for a Christiania longbox with door, for the dogs!

Clive Durdle

Maybe I have been looking too much at google scholar, and I know this is about motorised types, but are there basic question marksabout rollover, yaw and shimmy?…/the_three_wheeler__adult…

The Three Wheeler (Adult Tricycle): An Unstable, Dangerous M… : Journal of…

Clive Durdle Isn’t London green cycles some of the people from velorution?

Rowan Goodfellow DeBonaire
That article is irrelevant to the Christiania trike. For starters it was published in 1986 based on statistics in Alabama. The article doesn’t even specify the type or configuration of trike they are referring to.

Since 1984, Hundreds and thousands of them are carrying kids to school every day all over the more advanced nations, with no catastrophies. People believing nonsense like this, then perpetuating it in an irrelevant context is how the plague of misinformed ‘Elf & safety’ garbage permeates into the mass (un)conciousness, and is part of why Britain is so backward.

Rowan Goodfellow DeBonaire A true history lesson, not written by an idiot….

About christiania bikes

I visited christiania bikes a day in september 2012. I interviewed Lars and Annie. With their background in…

Clive Durdle

I did say the problem in Alabama was about motorised trikes – you know those all terrain big tired things! And why has a Danish physiotherapist specialising in brain injuries commented to me about broken hips? There is an issue of trikes being dynamically unstable. When I tried one I was surprised how easy it is to lift a wheel off the ground. The engineering issues are all well known, what I have not found is how the real issues of rollover have been solved in particular cases Like with Christianiatrikes, for example what the steering damping does.

Clive Durdle oh, and shimmy and yaw

Rowan Goodfellow DeBonaire

The steering damper has been fitted since the first Christiania trike in 1984. Having owned a nasty undamped ‘tadpole’ cargo trike, a damped one, and three Christianias, I definitely contend that the damper and the 2 degree negative camber transform the handling. You can ride a Chris on level ground with no hands. In corners of course it’s possible to lift a wheel – it’s often done deliberately to bump up kerbs, and I’ve ridden 2-wheel fashion just for the fun of it! (I used to do that in cars for a living but that’s another group!) unless the rider makes a mistake, there are no safety issues with a Chris. If you’re really that convinced that there are, don’t buy one! It is possible to crash one just as it is possible to crash anything.

Clive Durdle Is it hard to ride?

Not at all – once you get the hang of it. I would recommend some practice before taking on passengers. It can be tricky going round corners at speed, just because you have to lean into the corner to avoid flipping over (I’ve never flipped, but I’ve come close!)

Clive Durdle…/our-christiania…

Bikes, ‘Bones, and Boston: Our Christiania trike
I’m afraid not. It was built by hand in Denmark by a…
23 hrs · Like · Remove Preview

Clive Durdle

The Christiania, however, is a bit of a beast. When you go around a corner the entire front box – to which the handlebars are attached – rotates, which causes the saddle to weave under you and pulls your arms off to one side. I felt more like a buckaroo breaking a stallion than a father out with his children at the weekend.

“To make matters worse, it is prone to tipping. This adds to the excitement of the thing – how the children whooped – but is not ideal from the perspective of head injuries (use helmets. We did, but not when being photographed). ”…/Cargo-bikes-and-tricycles…

Cargo bikes and tricycles for the school run
In a bid to cut down his car usage, Jake Wallis Simons…

Clive Durdle

Although : “We have used a Christiania-bike for 3 years in hilly Stockholm for our kids and for deliveries. It was great and safe! Never tipped over, its a matter of getting to know the bike. I would say that tipping on a 2-wheeler is a lot easier, especielly when parked.

Clive Durdle

“The Christiania is no way proned to tipping, just don’t treat it like a standard bike, like you would not treat a van like a mini, everyone who I have sold a Christiania to, all say that it takes a week to get used to, and then it is as easy as any other bike, wonder how a standard bike would be rated fist time you rode on that.
The 2wheeled cargobikes are great too, but very unstable at 5 km/h so no chance to ride on foot paths or school grounds…
All the bikes mentioned above are great bikes and have their strong and weak points, but to say the Christiania is prone to tipping is like saying a standard bike is unstable..”

“Must agree with Peter Santos on this one. The Christiania, or any three-wheeler for that matter, does not ride like a standard bike and therefore shouldn’t be compared to its two-wheeled counterparts until you have had the chance to learn how it handles. Then, the discussion should revolve around things like carrying capacity, durability, gearing, accessories, etc…
After riding a three wheeler for only a day, I found it almost impossible to tip — the learning curve is quite steep. I would, in a way, compare this to the experience of riding a standard, two-wheeled bike — except most of us learned that when we were little kids. And this, for some, creates a fall sense of how difficult riding a two-wheeler actually is when compared to riding a three-wheeler.
When we first leaned to ride a two-wheeled bike, we were (likely) all over the place because we didn’t understand how it handled. Once we learned how to control it, it then became almost impossible to fall off of because you have a handle on how far you can push it and your instincts keep you from crossing that line. Same goes for the trikes.
All of this said, the trike takes some time to learn, but once you have figured it out, I believe the advantages that come with them (carrying capacity, stability at slow speeds, etc..) more than compensate for the slight learning curve at the outset.”
“As a result of the above, I would propose that the “golden rule” might be better replaced with the following three “rules of thumb” as guidance for tricycle design:1. The centre of gravity should be mounted as close to the two-wheel axle as possible to…See More
11 hrs · Like

Clive Durdle…/on_the…

Clive Durdle Above posts are quotes!




Isn’t Antikythera Celtic? … 7.html#B10

‪The Antikythera Mechanism is a unique Greek geared device, constructed around the end of the second century bc. It is known1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 that it calculated and displayed celestial information, particularly cycles such as the phases of the moon and a luni-solar calendar. Calendars were important to ancient societies10 for timing agricultural activity and fixing religious festivals. Eclipses and planetary motions were often interpreted as omens, while the calm regularity of the astronomical cycles must have been philosophically attractive in an uncertain and violent world. Named after its place of discovery in 1901 in a Roman shipwreck, the Antikythera Mechanism is technically more complex than any known device for at least a millennium afterwards. Its specific functions have remained controversial11, 12, 13, 14 because its gears and the inscriptions upon its faces are only fragmentary. Here we report surface imaging and high-resolution X-ray tomography of the surviving fragments, enabling us to reconstruct the gear function and double the number of deciphered inscriptions. The mechanism predicted lunar and solar eclipses on the basis of Babylonian arithmetic-progression cycles. The inscriptions support suggestions of mechanical display of planetary positions9, 14, 15, now lost. In the second century bc, Hipparchos developed a theory to explain the irregularities of the Moon’s motion across the sky caused by its elliptic orbit. We find a mechanical realization of this theory in the gearing of the mechanism, revealing an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period.

The Gaulish Coligny calendar was found in Coligny, Ain, France (46°23′N 5°21′E) near Lyon in 1897, along with the head of a bronze statue of a youthful male figure. It is a lunisolar calendar. It is now held at the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon.

It was engraved on a bronze tablet, preserved in 73 fragments, that originally was 1.48 m wide and 0.9 m high (Lambert p. 111) or approximately 5 feet (1.5 m) wide by 3½ feet in height.[1] Based on the style of lettering and the accompanying objects, it probably dates to the end of the 2nd century AD.[2][3] It is written in Latin inscriptional capitals and is in the Gaulish language (Duval & Pinault). The restored tablet contains sixteen vertical columns, with 62 months distributed over five years.

The French archaeologist, J. Monard, speculated that it was recorded by druids wishing to preserve their tradition of timekeeping in a time when the Julian calendar was being imposed throughout the Roman Empire. However, the general form of the calendar suggests the public peg calendars (or parapegmata) found throughout the Greek and Roman world (Lehoux pp. 63–65).

‪A similar calendar found nearby at Villards d’Heria (46°25′N 5°44′E) is only preserved in eight small fragments. It is now preserved in the Musée d’Archéologie du Jura at Lons-le-Saunier.

I am puzzled why two lunar solar based artefacts are thought to have different origins, especially as there is very clear evidence of huge continuing centuries long propaganda efforts following a never forgotten fall of Rome….

‪The Celts, according to Rome, were a warring and illiterate people. Yet Terry Jones discovers that these people had mathematical know-how beyond Rome’s. It was a society built on an advanced and complex trading network that spread way beyond the borders of the Celtic world. So why was Caesar so hell-bent on the destruction of these civilised people?

You foolish Galatians with your GPS.

Is God mad?

It seems Jung agreed

“Dionysus is the god who is mad. The visage of every true god is the visage of a world. There can be a god who is mad only if there is a mad world which reveals itself through him. We know him as the wild spirit of antithesis and paradox, of immediate presence and complete remoteness, of bliss and horror, of infinite vitality and the cruelest destruction. The primal mystery is itself mad- death lives cheek by jowl with life. The elemental depths gape open and out of them a monstrous creature raises it’s head before which all the limits that the normal day have set must disappear. There man stands on the threshold of madness- in fact, he is already part of it even if his wildness which wishes to pass on into destructiveness still remains mercifully hidden. But the God himself is not merely touched and seized by the ghostly spirit of the abyss. He, himself is the monstrous creature which lives in the depths. From it’s mask it looks out at man and sends him reeling with the ambiguity of nearness and remoteness, of life and death in one. It’s divine intelligence holds the contradictions together. For it is the spirit of excitation and wildness, and everything alive, which seethes and glows, resolves the schism between itself and it’s opposite and has already absorbed this spirit in it’s desire. Thus all earthly powers are united in the god: the the generating, nourishing, intoxicating rapture; the life giving inexhaustibly; and the tearing pain, the deathly pallor, the speechless night of having been. He is the mad ecstasy which hovers over every conception and birth and whose wildness is always ready to move on to destruction and death.”

I felt the presence of this reality when I was mad and do this second as I am typing.”

Terror Management Theory

It seems we are well aware of our mortality and the meaninglessness of life, but expend huge amounts of energy that things are otherwise.

One of the key mechanisms are religious beliefs and the world views constructed by adherents.

Maybe we should cut to the chase, and stop criticising individual religions and the actions of their adherents?

But is that too threatening to us?

In social psychology, terror management theory (TMT) proposes a basic psychological conflict that results from having a desire to live but realizing that death is inevitable. This conflict produces terror, and is believed to be unique to human beings. Moreover, the solution to the conflict is also generally unique to humans: culture. According to TMT, cultures are symbolic systems that act to provide life with meaning and value. Cultural values therefore serve to manage the terror of death by providing life with meaning.[1][2] The theory was originally proposed by Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski.[1]

The simplest examples of cultural values which manage the terror of death are those that purport to offer literal immortality (e.g. belief in afterlife, religion).[3] However, TMT also argues that other cultural values – including those that are seemingly unrelated to death – offer symbolic immortality. For example, value of national identity,[4] posterity,[5] cultural perspectives on sex,[6] and human superiority over animals[6] have all been linked to death concerns in some manner. In many cases these values are thought to offer symbolic immortality by providing the sense that one is part of something greater that will ultimately outlive the individual (e.g. country, lineage, species).


Because cultural values determine that which is meaningful, they are also the basis for self-esteem. TMT describes self-esteem as being the personal, subjective measure of how well an individual is living up to their cultural values.[2] Like cultural values, self-esteem acts to protect one against the terror of death. However, it functions to provide one’s personal life with meaning, while cultural values provide meaning to life in general.


TMT is derived from anthropologist Ernest Becker’s 1973 Pulitzer Prize-winning work of nonfiction The Denial of Death, in which Becker argues most human action is taken to ignore or avoid the inevitability of death. The terror of absolute annihilation creates such a profound – albeit subconscious – anxiety in people that they spend their lives attempting to make sense of it. On large scales, societies build symbols: laws, religious meaning systems, cultures, and belief systems to explain the significance of life, define what makes certain characteristics, skills, and talents extraordinary, reward others whom they find exemplify certain attributes, and punish or kill others who do not adhere to their cultural worldview. On an individual level, self-esteem provides a buffer against death-related anxiety.

The Denial of Death and the Practice of Dying

“The denial of death” is a phrase from Ernest Becker, and the title of his most famous book, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. Becker’s book focuses on how we human beings develop strategies to fend off awareness of our mortality and vulnerability and to escape into the feeling that we’re immortal. “The practice of dying” is a phrase used by Socrates, as recorded by Plato, for describing one aspect of how a person becomes morally mature. Socrates is urging us to face into our mortality and to let an awareness of death purify our motives.


I think that Becker and Socrates are both on the money. Denying death/or practicing dying are well juxtaposed as two basic responses to our awareness of mortality. So I want here to investigate these two responses and follow out some of their consequences.

Two Contrasting Orientations

I’ll begin by recapping Becker’s main thesis in The Denial of Death.


As a cultural anthropologist, Becker was searching for explanations of why human society develops in the way that it does, and he was particularly interested in why human society is so violent, why different social groups are so intolerant and hateful of each other. By the time of writing The Denial of Death, his ninth book, he had reached the conclusion that he had found a very important explanatory principle for understanding human behavior and human culture. This principle, summarized with extreme brevity, is as follows. Human beings are mortal, and we know it. Our sense of vulnerability and mortality gives rise to a basic anxiety, even a terror, about our situation. So we devise all sorts of strategies to escape awareness of our mortality and vulnerability, as well as our anxious awareness of it. This psychological denial of death, Becker claims, is one of the most basic drives in individual behavior, and is reflected throughout human culture. Indeed, one of the main functions of culture, according to Becker, is to help us successfully avoid awareness of our mortality. That suppression of awareness plays a crucial role in keeping people functioning–if we were constantly aware of our fragility, of the nothingness we are a split second away from at all times, we’d go nuts. And how does culture perform this crucial function? By making us feel certain that we, or realities we are part of, are permanent, invulnerable, eternal. And in Becker’s view, some of the personal and social consequences of this are disastrous.


First, at the personal level, by ignoring our mortality and vulnerability we build up an unreal sense of self, and we act out of a false sense of who and what we are. Second, as members of society, we tend to identify with one or another “immortality system” (as Becker calls it). That is, we identify with a religious group, or a political group, or engage in some kind of cultural activity, or adopt a certain culturally sanctioned viewpoint, that we invest with ultimate meaning, and to which we ascribe absolute and permanent truth. This inflates us with a sense of invulnerable righteousness. And then, we have to protect ourselves against the exposure of our absolute truth being just one more mortality-denying system among others, which we can only do by insisting that all other absolute truths are false. So we attack and degrade–preferably kill–the adherents of different mortality- denying-absolute-truth systems. So the Protestants kill the Catholics; the Muslims vilify the Christians and vice versa; upholders of the American way of life denounce Communists; the Communist Khmer Rouge slaughters all the intellectuals in Cambodia; the Spanish Inquisition tortures heretics; and all good students of the Enlightenment demonize religion as the source of all evil. The list could go on and on.


In my view, Ernest Becker was right about this core thesis. I think it is accurate to say that a denial of death pervades human culture, and that it is one of the deepest sources of intolerance, aggression, and human evil. The notion of immortality systems is an especially useful diagnostic tool. It is easy to spot people (including oneself, of course) clinging to absolute truths in the way he describe–and it is not hard to understand why they do. It is not just anxiety over physical vulnerability. It goes deeper than that. We all want out lives to have meaning, and death suggests that life adds up to nothing. People want desperately for their lives to really count, to be finally real. If you think about it, most all of us try to found our identities on something whose meaning seems permanent or enduring: the nation, the race, the revolutionary vision; the timelessness of art, the truths of science, immutable philosophical verities, the law of self-interest, the pursuit of happiness, the law of survival; cosmic energy, the rhythms of nature, the gods, Gaia, the Tao, Brahman, Krishna, Buddha-consciousness, the Torah, Jesus. And all of these, Becker says, function as “immortality systems,” because they all promise to connect our lives with what endures, with a meaning that does not perish. So let’s accept Becker’s thesis: that fear of death and meaninglessness, and a self–deluding denial of mortality, leads many people to these “immortality systems.”


But then again: is this true for every person with a passionate commitment to a meaning that endures? Are there Buddhists or Christians, for example, whose convictions and commitments do not constitute an evasion of mortality–who on the contrary face up to and embrace their mortality? In The Denial of Death, Becker tells us that there certainly are such people. In the fifth chapter, titled “The Psychoanalyst Kierkegaard,” Becker applauds Kierkegaard’s portrayal of the person who does not lie about the human condition, who breaks away from the cultural network of lies that ward off the awareness of mortality, and who faces the precariousness and fragility of existence–with inevitable anxiety. Becker praises these people for their courageous “destruction of…emotional character armor.” Such a courageous and frightening passage to honesty is symbolized in the literary figure of King Lear: through the terror of being stripped of all his illusions of invulnerability, he comes finally to a profound if tragic reconciliation with reality. As for actual cultural representatives, he mentions Zen Buddhists, but “in fact,” he writes, it is a process undergone by “self-realized men in any epoch (88-9).”


Becker affirms, then, that it is possible to face up to the human situation. The denial of death is not inevitable. But what must be done, how must one proceed, to engage in this process of courageous self-realization?


Above all, Becker says, adopting a phrase from Luther, you must be able to “…taste death with the lips of your living body [so] that you can know emotionally that you are a creature who will die (88).” Then quoting William James (who is himself quoting the mystic Jacob Boehme), Becker further describes this “tasting” of death as a “passage into nothing, [a passage in which] a critical point must usually be passed, a corner turned within one (88).” Thus in this process of self-realization, Becker writes, the self is “brought down to nothing.” For what purpose? So that the process of what Becker calls “self-transcendence” may begin. And he describes the process of self-transcendence this way:


Man breaks through the bounds of merely cultural heroism; he destroys the character lie that had him perform as a hero in the everyday social scheme of things; and by doing so he opens himself up to infinity, to the possibility of cosmic heroism …. He links his secret inner self, his authentic talent, his deepest feelings of uniqueness … to the very ground of creation. Out of the ruins of the broken cultural self there remains the mystery of the private, invisible, inner self which yearned for ultimate significance. …This invisible mystery at the heart of [the] creature now attains cosmic significance by affirming its connection with the invisible mystery at the heart of creation.


“This,” he concludes, “is the meaning of faith.” Faith is the belief that despite one’s “insignificance, weakness, death, one’s existence has meaning in some ultimate sense because it exists within an eternal and infinite scheme of things brought about and maintained to some kind of design by some creative force (90, 9 1).”


This, then, is what we might call good faith, not a flight into some immortality system. And clearly, some Christians, some Buddhists–at least the Zen Buddhists Becker himself mentions!–have faith in this sense, a faith that Becker characterizes as growing out of tasting one’s own death, embracing one’s own nothingness, and affirming–not a known ultimate meaningful–but an “invisible mystery” of ultimate meaning.


So Becker is suggesting a difference between (1) inauthentic clinging to the supposed absolute truth of an immortality system; and (2) authentic faith in a mystery of enduring meaning. Psychologically the distinction here is between (1) turning away from the awareness of death, and possessively claiming certain knowledge of eternal meaning; or (2) tasting one’s own mortality, and placing one’s trust in a mystery of eternal meaning.


Now Becker doesn’t always emphasize this second possibility of authentic faith. One can get the impression from much of his work that any affirmation of enduring meaning is simply a denial of death and the embrace of a lie. But I believe the view expressed in the fifth chapter of The Denial of Death is his more nuanced and genuine position. And I think it will be worthwhile to develop his idea of a courageous breaking away from culturally-supported immortality systems by looking back in history to a character who many people have thought of as an epitome of a self-realized person, someone who neither accepts his culture’s standardized hero-systems, nor fears death: the philosopher Socrates. … dying.html

Some atheist authors are discussing the relationship of religion and atheism – De Botton,

There is emotional power in these ideas, but that only be my yearning after my pentecostal background.

But I have always thought there is a clarity and honesty in Sartre, Fromm at al that is much needed. Discussions often feel to dry, somehow inauthentic, dishonest.

People have expressed this over the millennia – the myth of Adam and Eve, the story of Achilles, the psalmist what is man, the creed fully god fully man.

We are worm food that contemplates the birth of the universe. We are paradoxical. Let’s try living with what we are!


Evil is the toll of the pretence of sanity.


Reports that Islamic militants have trapped up to 40,000 members of Iraq’s minority communities have spurred the US into considering a military-led humanitarian action.


Most of the trapped people are members of the Yazidi religion, one of Iraq’s oldest minorities. They were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar in the Iraqi north-west region, or face slaughter by an encircling group of Islamic State (Isis) jihadists. The UN has said that roughly 40,000 people – many women and children – have taken refuge in nine locations on the mountain, “a craggy, mile-high ridge identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark”.


Gruesome images of brutally slain people have emerged in the past week, as local officials say that at least 500 Yazidis, including 40 children, have been killed, and many more have been threatened with death. Roughly 130,000 residents of the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar have fled to Dohuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan to the north, or to Irbil.


Reports of violence, repression and murder by Isis and other extremist groups have become increasingly prevalent in Iraq. Christians have also been targeted for their faith. The country’s largest Christian city was all but abandoned on Thursday, as Isis advanced through minority communities in the north-west.


On Thursday, the UNSC condemned the Isis attacks on the Yazidi community, saying those responsible could face trial for crimes against humanity.

Who are the Yazidis?

Estimates put the global number of Yazidis at around 700,000 people, with the vast majority of them concentrated in northern Iraq, in and around Sinjar.


A historically misunderstood group, the Yazidis are predominantly ethnically Kurdish, and have kept alive their syncretic religion for centuries, despite many years of oppression and threatened extermination.


The ancient religion is rumoured to have been founded by an 11th century Ummayyad sheikh, and is derived from Zoroastrianism (an ancient Persian faith founded by a philosopher), Christianity and Islam. The religion has taken elements from each, ranging from baptism (Christianity) to circumcision (Islam) to reverence of fire as a manifestation from God (derived from Zoroastrianism) and yet remains distinctly non-Abrahamic. This derivative quality has often led the Yazidis to be referred to as a sect.


At the core of the Yazidis’ marginalization is their worship of a fallen angel, Melek Tawwus, or Peacock Angel, one of the seven angels that take primacy in their beliefs. Unlike the fall from grace of Satan, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Melek Tawwus was forgiven and returned to heaven by God. The importance of Melek Tawwus to the Yazidis has given them an undeserved reputation for being devil-worshippers – a notoriety that, in the climate of extremism gripping Iraq, has turned life-threatening.


Under Ottoman rule in the 18th and 19th centuries alone, the Yazidis were subject to 72 genocidal massacres. More recently in 2007, hundreds of Yazidis were killed as a spate of car bombs ripped through their stronghold in northern Iraq. With numbers of dead as close to 800, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent, this was one of the single deadliest events to take place during the American-led invasion.


The Yazidis had been denounced as infidels by Al-Qaida in Iraq, a predecessor of Isis, which sanctioned their indiscriminate killing.


Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi MP in Iraq, broke down in tears on Wednesday, as she called on the parliament and the international community to “Save us! Save us!” from Isis. … -mountains


Credit Creation


The most important feature of banks: credit creation
(Extracted from: New Paradigm in Macroeconomics, Richard Werner*, Palgrave Macmillan,2005; pp. 174-180)

Many economics textbooks that mention banks still acknowledge that they can ‘create credit’. However, it appears that the original meaning of this expression has been lost.Those textbooks and authors that mention the words credit creation now give it quite adifferent meaning. Proponents of the present-day ‘credit view’ define credit creation as ‘theprocess by which saving is channeled to alternative uses’ (Bernanke, 1993, p.50).

To Bernanke, ‘credit creation’ is therefore the ‘diversion’ or transfer of already existingpurchasing power. This is also the understanding of the concept by economists from other persuasions, including monetarists like Meltzer (1995). They all therefore agree in classifying banks as mere financial intermediaries, providing services similar to and in parallel with non-banks and capital markets. [21]

Clearly, thus defined, credit creation would not be a unique feature of banking. proponents of the credit view consequently also argue that credit aggregates are not to be considered an ‘independent casual factor affecting the economy’; rather,credit conditions – best measured, by the way, by the external finance premium and not the aggregate quantity of credit – are an endogenous factor that help shape the dynamic response of the economy to shifts in monetary policy.

Thus the theory has no particular implications about the relative forecasting power of credit aggregates. (Bernanke andGertler, 1995, pp. 43ff.)

The representation of banks as mere intermediaries is perpetuated by the explanation of credit creation in textbooks, which depict it as a process of successive lending of already existing purchasing power by intermediating banks. Figure 12.1 reproduces the textbook representation of credit creation: Bank A receives a new deposit of US$100. If the reserve requirement is 1%, textbooks say that the bank will lend out US$99, and deposit US$1 withthe central bank as reserve.

The US$99 will, however, be deposited with another bank,Bank B, which will also be able to lend out 99% of that amount (US$98.01) . and keep 1% as reserve. This process continues until in the end a total of US$9900 has been lent out.

Textbooks represent credit creation as successive financial intermediation. According to this description, a single bank is unable to create credit…