Kathleen McMullen

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You will not be Watched

In the film Jason Bourne (2016) tech big shot Aaron Kalloor has created Deep Dream, a sinister social media platform with the capacity to capture data from millions of citizens. After announcing to a media audience ‘you will not be watched’ in response to a query about the security of personal data Kalloor meets up with CIA director Robert Dewey in a dingy restaurant. The two argue over the merits of internet freedom versus surveillance and agree to hold a debate about privacy rights. Dodgy Dewey’s real aim though is to acquire data from Deep Dream for his global surveillance…

During the second lock-down I had an unusual dream. I was aboard a luxury spaceship travelling to a new home in a distant galaxy. It was going to take over five years to reach a planet that was similar to earth only better. The were vast fern forests, turquoise oceans, glittering mountain peaks and caverns packed with exotic minerals.

The spaceship had every amenity. Cinemas, gyms, saunas, tennis courts and a golf course. There were nurseries, schools, green houses and a zoo. It was huge. Almost as large as a small planet. In my dream I was in charge of…

To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub. Hamlet

What I don’t understand is why she can’t sleep in the Church hall or the church cafe next door? Instead she sleeps on a wooden bench behind the hollyhocks and rose bushes in all weathers. It is so beyond unsafe. The church garden is used by junkies, weed smokers, pooch owners from the smart villas who can’t be bothered to walk to the park.

The other evening there was torrential rain. I stopped by on my way home to see if the social workers had found her suitable accommodation. No…

But a Storm is blowing in from Paradise

Tony Blair has written an article spelling out what the UK’s Labour party must do to gain power after enduring major losses in recent UK council elections. In Without total change Labour will die lofty declarations team up with political rhetoric to imagine the party in a ‘new progressive movement’ with other ‘progressive’ political players. Although the word ‘progressive’ is repeated like an incantation Blair is no shaman invoking the powers of the spirit world and casting spells. His message is clear: the Labour Party is doomed if it continues to alienate…

In a world where Capital confronts Labour?

Sacha Garben has written an interesting article about how the status of EU online workers can be recognised in terms of ‘employed’ workers so they can access health and safety protections and improved working conditions instead of being described as ‘self employed’. In the ‘new world of work’, Garben writes, ‘the old rules and existing protections are usually the best tools.

I am not convinced that tweaking the legal definition of ‘worker’ to include online platform workers will change the precarity of many online jobs, especially where online work is undertaken in the…

The UK government’s Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy has been presented to Parliament but what does it mean? First, it is assertive in style and does not elaborate precisely why Russia, Iran and North Korea are threats to UK national security. Second, while the defence industrial strategy is to build more ships, aircraft and armoured vehicles, and fund research into ‘battle winning technologies’, there’s no mention of whether the use of such technologies should be limited by international agreements.

Compare these two sentences:

Through our investment in priority equipment and technologies to meet national security requirements, we…

Goodbye to Gasoline and Diesel. Hurrah!

Drove my Chevy to the levee. But the levee was dry. Words by Don Mclean.

Traffic lights and a long queue of cars with their rear lights on contrast with the dim murky background. Buffalo, Niagara.

The Passion and the Power

The age of the internal combustion engine vehicle is ending. It lasted more than 150 years with ICE vehicles driven by millions who knew little about pistons and crankshafts or the physics of combustion and air pollution. How to atone for all that pollution? Should the film industry recognise its legacy? It has been celebrating these vehicles since 1927 and shows no sign of waving goodbye and welcoming the new era any time soon…

Marine Pollution caused by Oil Spills, Radioactive Waste and Plastic Litter

And the very deep did rot;

An ocean tanker under dark clouds and sunlit vapour trails

Not far from my childhood home in the village of Mousehole (West Cornwall) you will find the Bird Hospital and Sanctuary founded in 1928 by the sisters Dorothy and Phyllis Yglesisas. Long before marine pollution was researched by scientists the sisters embarked on a mission to rescue and heal wild birds; and what better place for a bird hospital than a site overlooking the beautiful Mount’s Bay! On a cloudless day blue waves glitter and herring gulls circle fishing boats, but this view misleads. For decades governments and companies discharged, sluiced, spilled and dumped…

Why sustainable Climate Finance has to increase

This year from November 9 for 12 days the UN Global Climate Conference (GOP26), hosted by the UK with Italy hosting the pre COP26, will take place in Scotland. Over 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event in Glasgow including the climate campaigner Greta Thunberg. They will be discussing climate finance, carbon markets and the Paris Agreement pledges to reduce carbon emissions (Green House Gases) by 1.5%. (It should have been 2%). …

The high cost to women of expensive short term loans.

Money Saving expert Martin Lewis writes:

“The payday loan industry was built on the back of marketing, not need. They sold people the concept of a need to create a demand, then pushed products. Payday loans are for most a flawed concept. How many in dire need this payday would see such an improvement within a month that they not only not need to borrow again, but could repay last month’s loan plus the huge interest?”

Despite Lewis’s concerns the high cost short term loan industry (which includes payday loan services) continues to expand in the UK having grown rapidly…

Kathleen McMullen

Citizen, Voter, Reader. Critic of social exclusion practices and unequal justice.

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