Consultation on porn sites and age verification

A public consultation over plans to implement age checks on pornography websites has been launched by the UK government.

The proposals follow a Conservative Party manifesto commitment that “all sites containing pornographic material” must check that users are over 18.

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Church doesn’t welcome the working class

I’ve been chewing over an article that Chine McDonald,  the Director of Communications & Membership at the Evangelical Alliance, recently wrote on the way in which the church is overwhelmingly full of people from a middle class background:

Our society is vastly, scarily unequal. The opportunities that are assumed by some are beyond the realms of possibility for most others.

But sadly it seems fewer places are more unequal than the UK Church itself. Recent Talking Jesus research commissioned by the Evangelical Alliance, the Church of England and HOPE, shockingly revealed that 81 per cent of practising Christians have a university degree.

I found it a deeply concerning statistic when you take into account that most people in the UK do not go to university.

She goes on to write:

If we’re going to be a Church for all, we’ve got to rethink some of the church practices that are vestiges of culture rather than true expressions of our faith in Jesus. Encouragingly the Fresh Expressionsmovements springing up around the UK are doing just this.

We’ve got to be truly welcoming of people who are not like us. We’ve got to be prepared to be uncomfortable and not force people into the moulds that make them seem more palatable to us.

There’s a great quote in one of my favourite musicals My Fair Lady in which Professor Henry Higgins embarks on an experiment to turn “common flower girl” Eliza Dolittle into a lady fit for a king.

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl,” Eliza says, “is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”

The thing that will ultimately draw people of all backgrounds to faith in Jesus is treating them with a profound love that comes not from ourselves, but from God. That’s love: not exclusivity or judgment about whether we’re wearing the right clothes or pronouncing the words correctly. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Let’s love people into the Church and pray they’ll realise that because of the cross, they’re already fit for the King.

What if you only drank fizzy drinks?

AsapSCIENCE gives us the rundown of the detrimental effects too much fizzy and sugary drinks can have on you. Whether this kind of information will make any difference is unclear, as people who drink too much fizzy drinks have been told that it’s bad for them all their lives.

There is a challenge as to how much longer should youth club tuck shops still stock fizzy drinks.

Supermarkets donate food to charities

Supermarkets in France have been banned from throwing away or spoiling unsold food by law.  The stores are now required to donate unwanted food to charities and food banks.

To stop foragers, some supermarkets have poured bleach over the discarded food or storing binned food in locked warehouses.

Donation-box-webCourbevoie councillor Arash Derambarsh had started a petition to the French senate that the supermarkets should support their local food banks.  This law was voted unanimously by the French senate and will apply to any supermarket with a footprint of 400 square metres or larger.

I wish that this campaign would spread further afield.  If you’re in the UK, check out the brand new scheme FareShare FoodCloud to be piloted in Tesco stores to send unsold food that can be used to charities rather than be wasted.  We’ve been part of the pilot in the New Forest and it’s been great to be able to use some of the food that previously would have been thrown away with children and young people in our local community.

 

 

Google Street View tours the Guggenheim Museum

One of the museums I would love to revisit is the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  Unfortunately it isn’t the most affordable trip from the UK, which is why a new online tour of the museum will be a welcome addition to Google Street View.

gugtour

Captured using tripod-mounted cameras, Street View trolley cameras and even drones, anyone with Internet access can explore the museum’s well-known spiral staircase, which has been featured in scores of movies.

By navigating to a special Google-created site, users can virtually stroll through the museum’s halls and peer up through the structure’s Frank Lloyd Wright–designed circular skylight (known in the museum as the oculus).

A more realistic Barbie

Finally Mattel have announced that they are launching a new range of Barbie dolls with three different body shapes, seven skin tones and 24 hair colours. Finally, our children can play with Barbie dolls that look like real people!

Although she’s long been considered the universal ideal for a woman’s figure, an analysis of her doll-size shape in proportion to a fully grown woman shows Barbie is anatomically impossible and would be reduced to walking on all fours and incapable of lifting anything.

The shocking experiment by Rehabs.com was aimed at those with eating disorders who are “dying to be Barbie.”  Barbie is supposed to be 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 110 pounds, so underweight that she could not menstruate.  The average American woman is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 166 pounds.

Barbie infographic

I am hopeful that these new bodies – tall, petite and curvy – will go some way in reinforcing that all-important message that beauty comes in various shapes and sizes.  The different skin tones in the new dolls is a massively welcome change too.  Dora and Doc McStuffins aside, UK toy shops have, for too long, been filled with mostly white faces – something which just doesn’t reflect the world our kids live in.

Mattel say they recognised that ‘Millennial Moms’ were looking for diversity, I’m just amazed that they hadn’t seen that in Generation X.  This change has been a long time coming.  Mattel’s Imagine The Possibilities campaign which showed girls playing with their Barbie dolls as if they were scientists, vets, sports coaches and more was a step in the right direction, but this move goes so much further to reflect what parents actually want from a doll.