John_O's blog

The Law Maker - Punish the Young!

More4's "Lawmaker" programme reaches it's handover stage this evening (Thursday 11th) when proposals for new laws, put forward by viewers, are put to the backbench MP's who win the Private Members Ballot.

Interestingly, two of the Proposals on Channel 4's website seem to share a common theme - making things harder for younger people. 

Karen Cholerton's Proposal suggests that driving tests should be much harder, including a compulsory attitude test (and "some sort of video that includes people who have been invoved in car crashes and fatal accidents...)

Clare Hanbury's Proposal demands that all young people complete a mandatory years paid work before they are allowed access to higher education...


Wine Monopoly

In Norway, the sale, distribution and promotion of alcohol products is controlled by a variety of legal strategies.  As I understand it the laws are as follows:

  • In grocery stores only beer can be sold (less than 4.75%), not wine or stronger beverage.
  • Wine and stronger beverages can only be sold through the “Vinmonopol” (“Wine monopoly”) which the state runs. The state decides how many of these shops there exists in Norway.
  • you must be 18 to purchase beer and wine and 20 for stronger spirits (over 22%)
  • The sale of alcohol in shops stops at 8pm every weekday and 6pm before holidays (including Sundays.)
  • Alcohol cannot be sold in shops on Sundays or public holidays
  • advertising alcohol is illegal in Norway

I think these laws offer some interesting counter arguements to those who would contest The Meat Licence Proposal on the grounds of infrastructure or logistics.

Controlling Substances

This is how they measure wine in a bar in Stavanger, Norway:

(More soon on Norways special laws for the control of alcohol.)

The Law is in Your Hands

More4 news have come up with an interesting television concept:

Should The Meat Licence Proposal enter into this project?  Why is a news programme attempting to influence the decision making of parliament makers?


(sent by Jenny P)

Life and Death

Bacteria are all around us - they are a single cell organism, with no nucleus.  The DNA of a bacteria is contained in it's cytoplasm and they reproduce asexually - quickly replicating and forming colonies.

Today we worked, as artists, with this lifeform - collecting it, incubating it and facilitating it's growth.  Tomorrow we will destroy it.

Oron Catts, an artist, posed the question:

Is there something intrinsically different about working with life?  (As opposed to any other matter on planet earth.)

In the context of The Meat Licence Proposal I would like to add:

Is there something intrinsically important about death, and the act of killing?  And, is the killing of a thousands of bacteria the same as the killing of thousands of cattle?

My DNA and that of a Strawberry

I am currently attending the Symbiotica Biotech Art Workshop, being held in Stavanger, Norway. 

Over the next couple of days I will upload the some descriptions of the kinds of biological art activity I am being involved in and invite comment and discussion.

Meat Fungus

I recently discovered this tasty looking fungus growing through the interior walls of a building.

Samosa Roulette

I was meeting some friends in a restaurant and I ordered my starter - 'vegetable samosas.'  The starter arrived and, only after eating several forkfulls, did I realise that I was in fact eating meat - there had been a mix up in the kitchen!

Under the proposed U.K. Meat Licencing Law could an individual be charged for eating meat without a licence?  What would the charge be?

On Killing

Bizarrely (or inevitably) whilst driving away from the Monro Pub, along the waterfront in Liverpool, my car collided with a baby seagull, killing it instantly.

Although this was an accidental killing, and not a controlled slaughter, it certainly brought home to me the seriousness of the act of killing an animal. 

Should The Meat Licence Proposal accept more arbitrary means of killing as sufficient?

Locally Caught Seagull Meat!

Yesterday evening in Liverpool I noticed this sign outside of the Monro Pub on Duke Street.

Seagulls are not an animal commonly eaten in the UK so they seem to be exempt from The Meat Licence Proposal.  It seems the Monro pub may offer a refuge for those meat-eaters wishing to sidestep the legislation!