Thursday, May 31, 2007

David Bain

I'm very happy for David Bain, his convictions quashed, released from prison after nearly thirteen years there (Josiah's lifetime). Joe Karam's two books convinced me that there is no evidence that David committed the murders. I have only just read Karam's second book, Bain and Beyond: Cops, Courts and Criminal Justice, which makes for worrying reading. Detailing the Bain case and several others, some of which involve convictions later overturned, Karam espouses two views:

  • that some police, frustrated from watching recognised offenders getting off on technicalities, come to see manipulating evidence (or hiding it) as a "noble cause", and

  • that the police sometimes jump to a conclusion early in an investigation and stick to that conclusion doggedly, carrying out not a neutral and thorough investigation of the crime but a hunt for evidence that supports their idea of what occurred.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Conservation

I have enjoyed Corenne's recent posts in her blog A Label Resistant Life about what she is doing to live a more environmentally friendly life. I seem to need to be regularly re-inspired to live more environmentally soundly. I get all fired up after reading an article on the issue or discussing it with a friend but my good intentions fade after a while.

At the moment I am trying to get into the habit of turning appliances off at the wall after I use them. Even though that's not a big energy saver, it seems to me that any saving that is easy to make should be taken advantage of however small it is: why not? The only problems so far are that I often forget and that I am driving my husband insane turning off the microwave. Our microwave clock gains a minute or two every day and I wear a watch so I never look at that clock to find out the time, but Geoff does not wear a watch and he does refer to the microwave clock even though it can only tell him approximately what the time is.

I would like to find a trustworthy source of comparisons of the amounts of damage to the environment caused by different activities. I spent some time today searching the Net for information on the effects of air travel. I was aware that long haul flights are a major source of pollution but wasn't sure about how short haul flights compare to alternative forms of transport. Every site I looked at agreed that flying causes more environmental damage than travelling by train or car, though they all disagreed on how much worse flying is. I was surprised and interested in a statistic mentioned in one article - that only 5% of the world's population has ever travelled by plane.

Another comparison I'd like to find out about has to do with showering. In the summer, I have short showers to conserve water and energy. When the weather started getting cold about a month ago, I noticed my showers becoming longer. I started wondering if installing a bathroom heater would be more environmentally friendly than increasing our hot water use in winter. Warming (sorry about the pun) to the idea of a snug bathroom, I put this theory to Geoff. Sadly he scoffed at it - he thinks there's no question that using a bit more hot water is less harmful than heating the bathroom every time someone has a shower. I suspect he's right :( I also suspect that I should make the effort to keep my showers short even on the coldest days.

(Just in case a reader from a different part of the world is wondering what sort of a climate I live in, I can tell you that we don't get snow in winter but do get frequent frosts and some cold southerly storms. In our house, when it is cold, we heat the room we are in, i.e. during the day we heat the living room, and in the evening when the children play in their rooms, they turn a heater on until they go to bed. I think most people in Wellington do the same, though some do heat their whole house and sadly I imagine some cannot afford to heat even one room.)




By the way, Greenpeace didn't like that Genesis Energy used a pukeko in a television ad, giving an impression of being green and sustainable, so they made their own version of the add.