Archive for May, 2007

Politicians, jet-setting celebrities, and Bono would have you believe that it’s OK to hop on a plane and fly halfway around the world on a regular basis if each time you do so you employ some dodgy foreign company to plant a few quid’s worth of trees for you in Africa somewhere.

The equation goes something like:

Plane burns fossil fuel: + carbon dioxide
New trees make oxygen: – carbon dioxide
= carbon neutral

It is, of course, a complete and total scam. It’s based on a statistical fudge which works by only looking at a very narrow time frame, whilst ignoring other factors.

Scientific fact zoneFor the purposes of these calculations, a tree can be though of as a carbon “store” – whilst alive, the net product is carbon dioxide is taken from the air and converted to oxygen, which is released back into the air, and carbon, from which the tree is made.

When a tree dies, it’ll likely either be burnt, or rot, each of which reverses the process and combines the stored carbon with oxygen to produce the unfriendly greenhouse gasses that we fear so much.

Fossilised trees retain their carbon in the form of oil, coal or gas, until such time as these are burnt.

In each case, the net effect can indeed be considered “carbon neutral”.

The problem with burning fossil fuels is that the equation acts over millions of years.

The carbon dioxide released from them has been stored over a huge period of time, but has all been re-released into the atmosphere in the past 200 years or so. That’s the problem.

Planting some trees won’t suck it all back away again.

So anyway, having debunked the idea of carbon offsetting, let’s go back to the political equation:

  flying + carbon offsetting = OK

Where we’ve already seen that carbon offsetting has no useful effect, so the equation can be re-written in the following form, which is what they’re actually telling you:

   Carbon offsetting = pointless,
   Flying = OK

So what was all the fuss about in the first place?

Read Full Post »


Making sense of the constant bombardment of scare stories and governmental interference in your life can be a tough old business. The nannying government would like to be in control of what you eat, what you drink, what you smoke, and even what you think.

What Would Johnny Do?The Nanny Coach advises you to learn to think for yourself. A great way to do this is to take a role model. A rational-thinking, enquiring, upstanding, intellectual genius. None other, in fact, than Johnny Ball. Host of Think of a Number, Think Again, and most other TV programmes with Think in the title. The brainiest person on TV in the pre-Vorderman era.

Next time you’re faced with a tricky environmental isuue, or potential health scare, simply repeat the following mantra to yourself:

What Would Johnny Do?

Read Full Post »

The results of ITV‘s latest phone poll programme, Britain’s Favourite Fear make interesting reading for our readers.

Myleene conducts important load stress testIn the show, hosted by celebrity scientist Myleene Klass, viewers were asked to text in the irrational fear which most consumed their lives. The Nanny Coach suggests that this list, though not exhaustive, would make a good “starter list” for anyone wishing to ruin their lives and frighten their children.

Cancer, only the 10th biggest fear, is the biggest faller in this year’s list, with a new entry, rigged TV phone-ins making the top 5. The fear of bird flu has decreased, since it’s been discovered that by far the biggest victims of bird flu are in fact birds.

The results, in reverse order of “fear factor”:

10. Cancer
9. Phone masts
8. Children not being able to phone home
7. Paediatrics
6. Bird flu
5. Rigged TV phone-ins
4. Wind farms
3. Robbie Williams
2. Paedophiles
1. Fear itself

Read Full Post »

Boffins at EMFields have come up with a novel solution for the dangers posed by phone masts and wifi hotspots to our young folk.

The “Headnet” is a mesh which protects the vital parts of the.. er.. head, against nasty microwaves and so-called radiation “clouds”

Scientific fact zoneA FARADAY CAGE is a metal cage which protects its occupants from electrostatic fields, electromagnetic radiation, and if strong enough, sharks.

The size of the holes in the mesh is an important factor which determines the type of radiation that is barred from passing through – explaining why the Headnet wearer is protected from nasty wifi clouds, but can still see where they’re going.

The makers claim the Headnet can be worn “in the garden, when travelling or when visiting places where microwave exposure is likely to be high e.g. shopping centres.”

We think that list extents to school classrooms and so have joined forces with GMTV to campaign for the government to supply a Headnet to every British child of school age.

WARNING: We would like to point out that Headnet remains, as yet, untested against shark attacks.

Read Full Post »

According to the  new “voluntary agreement” between ministers and the drinks industry will see alcoholic drinks in the UK carrying government health warnings by 2008.

BBC Story 

Naturally with such an anouncement, details were scarce while the government gauges public reaction and works out a spreadsheet to balance up all the potential Health Service savings,  alcohol duty implications, and vote losses – so in the absense of any statistics that prove otherwise, The Nanny Coach conducted our own tests over the Bank Holiday weekend (it was raining, so the pub seemed as good an idea as any).

As public health minister Caroline Flint put it herself – this is about helping people to make the right choices.

So here are the safe alcohol limits (per evening) for men and women:


Units Effects
0 Boring fart
1-2 Designated driver
3-4 Loosening up
5-6 Party animal
7-9 Beer goggles alert
10-14 Drunken twat
15- Risk of vomit


Units Effects
0 Nice girl
1-5 Ladette
6+ Tart

Read Full Post »

What Car?

A question which often crops up these days is that of car choice. With petrol prices soaring, cars taxed on engine size, and the green agenda pushed to the fore, just what is the best option?

So what are the issues affecting your choice?

1. Fuel tax  – the government raises some £23,000,000,000 per year from fuel taxation. It’s not going to give that up in a hurry, so high petrol prices are here to stay.

4×42. Of that, only a small portion is spent on maintaining the road network, and current projections suggest that the British road network will reach capacity by 2015

3. Congestion charging – the government is seriously thinking about charging you to use a road network that will by then already be full (see 2, above) and in part offset this new charge by lowering fuel charges

4. With roads at capacity, nobody will be moving very fast. Thus charging for road use by the mile will not be feasible. If nobody’s moving, they won’t make any money. Obviously, therefore, any road charging scheme will have to be based on charging by time spent on the road.

5. If that sounds silly, consider this – ITV makes most of its money by charging viewers to vote on such pointless topics as who is the greatest living Briton – the British public really is gullible to fall for this sort of scheme – charging people to sit in traffic jams on undermaintained roads will be a no-brainer for the government

6. The logical conclusion then, with roads clogged, is to get off the roads – buy an off-road capable 4×4. You might pay slightly higher vehicle tax, but fuel charges will be lower, and you can avoid road charging altogether.


Read Full Post »