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Steven Unwin "Steve Unwin" (Preston, UK)
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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Intentionally Obscure - Made Visible, 31 July 2015
This is a fantastic telling of the truly hideous story of the financial meltdown.

The story is told through the eyes of a small number of protagonists, members of the very small group of people who saw the catastrophe approach, and were able to bet on the catastrophe, and walk away literally with millions.

However it’s not the story of their greed that you might first think. The protagonists presented are a fairly ramshackle group who each in their own way had a way of looking at issues differently. And each of them had the ability to look at the system overall, something no one on Wall Street had any interest or incentive in doing. Throughout the building of the story, the protagonists become increasingly dumbfounded that they’ve stumbled into a machine that almost literally turns lead into gold. How can this be happening?’, ‘Isn’t this fraud’, ‘How come really clever people can’t see this?’

Wall Street, in line with much of society, found itself less concerned with what it was doing to earn money, instead it was totally focussed on doing more and more of whatever it was.

At the bottom of an unholy pyramid the American man in the street was encouraged beyond all reason to take out loans that they could clearly never repay. Indeed as practices were relaxed in the drive to churn over more business, loans were given with cheap taster rates and even loans where there was no requirement to repay any interest at all. The thinking, if that’s an appropriate word to describe it, being that rising house prices would fuel a process of simply taking out even larger loans to cover the interest accrued.

Were it not so devastating to so many lives, the process would be comical. The stripper with 5 mortgages, the strawberry picker with no English given a three quarters of a million pound mortgage.

On top of this layer of madness, the Wall Street firms, their profits from selling shares eroded by internet share dealing, devised new more opaque and esoteric ways for people to gamble, and gambling is the only word to describe what was going on.

These opaque mechanisms allowed layer upon layer of complexity to be built into mortgage related bonds with the purpose of making them the exclusive preserve of Wall Street firms , with no chance that they could be understood, far less replicated elsewhere.

The increasingly bizarre and financially idiotic loans to ordinary people, were packaged up in opaque bonds in such a way that they disguised the appalling nature of their content. Within months these bonds became the primary business of Wall Street, which had only one concern, to maximise the number of deals from which they took their commission. The numbers of billions of dollars involved became truly mind-blowing.

So opaque did the bonds become, and so good did Wall Street become at disguising the hideous financial position they obscured, that Wall Street firms forgot they were packages of crap and found themselves buying billions of dollars worth which blew up in their faces when the market eventually could disguise the situation no longer.

It’s a story as much about lunacy as it is about greed, with a good helping of dysfunctional work environments, lack of compassion and an inability to even be aware that there is a bigger picture, far less comprehend it.

A brilliantly told story. It’s laced with acronyms, and is fairly complex. I took lots of notes and it took reading through them before I fully understood the shape of the story and the nature of what had happened, but it was well worth it.


Crenova® XPE350 GM-50 Portable Mini LED Projector 480x320 Multi-Media Cinema Theater 30W LED 150 Lux Home Theater Support PC Laptop AV HDMI VGA Input SD Slot USB & Micro USB (GM-50 Black/White)
Crenova® XPE350 GM-50 Portable Mini LED Projector 480x320 Multi-Media Cinema Theater 30W LED 150 Lux Home Theater Support PC Laptop AV HDMI VGA Input SD Slot USB & Micro USB (GM-50 Black/White)
Offered by Crenova
Price: £119.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Projector for Occasional Use, 31 July 2015
This is a neat mini LCD projector with some handy features and reasonably good image quality. If you’re looking for top quality images, then you’re probably going to pay a lot more money, but if you want a projector for occasional use, or are looking to try out living with a projector before taking the plunge with something more expensive, this might fit the bill.

Costing less than the price of a high end projector’s bulb, this projector delivers perfectly watchable images and has a range of features that let you view images and movies from SD cards and USB devices as well as HDMI and PC sources. Additionally it can optionally be powered from a standard USB power pack for mains-free operation, which is a nice feature.

In the box you’ll find
• The projector
• Remote control (batteries not provided, 2 x AAA)
• Short connecting AV cable (4 way 2.5 mm jack to 3 x RCA, red, yellow, white).
• UK 3 pin power block.
• Short instruction booklet

The projector is small, measuring 17 x 13 x 5.5 cm approx., though the lens does protrude a little when extended. The lens is rotated manually to focus, and on the top surface of the projector is a 9 button control keypad

The projector has input connectors for AV (using the supplied adapter cable), SD Card (full-size), USB Storage Device, VGA (For connection to PC) and HDMI, plus a headphone socket. The projector includes a speaker which performed pretty well for personal use.

An Interesting feature I’ve not come across before is that in addition to powering the projector from the supplied 3 pin UK mains adapter the projector also has a micro USB power socket meaning that it can be powered from a USB power pack, making the projector portable away from the mains supply.

Note the projector includes a fan which appears to run all of the time. It's not overly intrusive, but it's not silent. For some people this may be irritating. Underneath the projector is a standard camera-mount thread which means the projector can be attached to a standard tripod. In use this appeared to work reasonably well and given that the projector has a single adjustable foot, provided an easier way of setting up the projector.

Happily the remote control was useable from both in front of and behind the projector and most of the functions available are duplicated on the keypad on the projector so it’s less of a heartache if the remote goes missing at a critical moment.

The comprehensive suite of connectors means it's possible to connect most things to the projector.

When using USB or SD cards the user interface by which you navigate and select files is rather basic but functional and with a little practice is easy to navigate.

Insert an SD card or USB device and choose the appropriate input and you’re able to access Text, Image, Music and Video files. I had no problem playing AVI files, JPEG images were displayed in a video show with a range of admittedly clunky transitions, but fine for the occasional slide show. Music played ok, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want to use the projector for purely music files, and perhaps even less likely that you’ll take advantage of the text file display format.

Image quality is reasonably good. With some of the cheapest LCD projectors it’s possible to see discreet pixels on close inspection of the image, but this was not evident with this projector. There is a keystone control at the rear of the projector which should allow compensation for the projector not being aligned with the screen surface. This didn’t seem totally effective and I was never able to totally eliminate a softening of the picture at the right hand edge.

Having said that, this is a projector for getting lost in the action of a movie, rather than for analysing paused frames to look for the wires 007 is dangling from in an action scene. If you’re an image buff then you’ll look elsewhere and pay more, but if you just like the idea of an occasional film with friends whilst you chat then the image quality isn’t half bad.

The projector uses an LED light source. LED's have come a long way, but compared to projectors with bulbs this is far from super-bright. As a result the projector is really only suitable for use in a darkened room, so night time or with thick curtains closed

The projector has no zoom function, (a zoom button on the remote does cycle through an assortment of screen formats, but not an effective zoom function) so a bigger picture requires more distance between projector and screen, which in turn means the image becomes less bright. At a distance of 1.7 metres between projector and screen the image measures around 1.3 metres across the diagonal.

The projector features the ability to flip the image both horizontally and vertically, so allows for the projector to be ceiling mounted, and even allows the image to be projected via a mirror which may be useful for increasing image size in a confined space. Bear in mind however that the larger the image, the less bright it will be.

Overall having tried other low end budget projectors I grew to like this one. For the price it has a reasonable image quality and lots of scope for connections to the different video sources you might wish to use.

Pros
* Wide range of AV connector types
* Small and low cost
* Easy to set up and operate
* Comprehensive set-up options
* Small, light and easy to transport
* Useful USB powered option to run from USB power pack
* Reasonable sound quality
* Reasonable image quality
* Remote control and duplicated keypad on the projector.

Cons
* Fan noise
* Relatively low light output

Summary
I found the image quality perfectly acceptable, but if image quality is your bugbear then you’ll not be happy with anything other than a top end projector. However if you find yourself and those around you rarely sit down to watch a movie or the TV, without thumbs tapping phone keypads or games being played on tablets whilst the movie competes in the background then, image quality isn't so critically important. You will need a darkened room and sufficient space to project a reasonably large image, which in turn requires a screen or more likely a white or light-coloured piece of wall. If you have these then this little projector will take most of the connectors you're likely to want to throw at it and give you a pretty good image with sound.

I was happy to receive this projector for an unbiased review.
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DBPOWER®White LCD Rechargeable Alarm Clock Battery Smart Backlight with Auto Intelligent light Set, Three Alarm Modes, Snooze Mode, Indoor Temperature/Date Display
DBPOWER®White LCD Rechargeable Alarm Clock Battery Smart Backlight with Auto Intelligent light Set, Three Alarm Modes, Snooze Mode, Indoor Temperature/Date Display
Offered by MyStore365
Price: £16.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Functional but not very intelligent., 31 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to confess that I was rather disappointed by this alarm clock. Alarm clocks are ten a penny, but this claims to be something different – a 'Multi-functional Intelligent Clock', so it seems only fair to test not only its alarm clock credentials, and also its claims to intelligence.

The result is that as a basic alarm clock it’s ok, but beyond that it is sadly rather dim-witted.

In the box you’ll find
• The clock, a white plastic block measuring 16 x 6.5 x 4.5 cm approx. with a monochrome display measuring 11 x 4.5 cm.
• A USB to jack plug power cable.
• A short instruction manual.

The Good Points
As an alarm clock there are some good plus points. There’s a ‘snooze/light’ touch area on the top which will snooze an alarm for around 4 minutes or brightly illuminate the display for a few seconds. (Incidentally I found no limit to the number of snoozes (I became bored after 40 minutes) and the only way to fully stop an alarm is via the slider switch at the back.)

Designed for the bedroom, at night there’s a back light, (controlled by an ambient light sensor), that is dim enough not to disturb you but bright enough to allow the display to be read in a dark room without you having to do anything. I find this useful for those moments in the middle of the night when you want to check the time without quite opening your eyes.

Setting up is a little fiddly and you’ll curse when you go past the required value and have to go all the way around again, but beyond that pretty straight forward.

The time display is large, easy to read and also displays the date, temperature and one of the three alarm times.

The alarm is loud, irritating and persistent enough to wake most people. (There are no options for alternate alarm sounds).

The clock has an internal rechargeable battery which is claimed to last a year on a single charge. I’m unable to comment on whether that’s the case, but make sure you put the charging cable somewhere safe – it isn’t a standard USB cable, so you probably can’t use one you have to hand in an emergency.

Is it Intelligent? I fear not. The first really dim feature is that it has three identical slider switches on the back – one of which will turn off the clock, completely off, so that it loses all of its settings – time, date, everything. Amazingly it’s positioned right between two near identical slider switches for setting up the clock and switching on/off the alarms. This is just what you don’t need in the middle of the night when you’re making last minute settings before you drop off. I suggest you tape over this switch to avoid the problem as I can’t think of a time I’d want to switch off the clock.

Incidentally having turned off the alarm, you also have to remember to return the slider to its previous selected position (5 or 7 day) or there’ll be no alarms tomorrow!

The alarm on/off slider switch features 7 day / 5 day alarm positions. I’ve an internet Radio which allows me to set as many alarms as I like, choosing which days I want for each alarm, but it’s too bulky to carry around in a suitcase. I was hoping that this ‘intelligent’ clock would offer similar alarm features but in a more compact package. Unfortunately no such luck.

The clock has three alarms, however you have very little control over these beyond setting the time of day. The clock is intelligent enough to know when it’s a weekend, but that’s all. Set the switch to 5 day alarm and all of the alarms will sound through the week, with silence at the weekend. Set to 7 day and all alarms will sound every day. So there’s no option to set a different alarm for the weekend, and if you work a shift pattern that doesn’t match standard weekends, then this feature is of little use to you.

Although you can set three different alarm times it’s difficult to see why you’d use them. If only it allowed one alarm for week-days, one for Saturdays and one for Sundays, it would be so much more useful.

So overall it’s a basic alarm clock with the addition that you can disable alarms at the week-end. The claimed battery life is a plus point, but if you want intelligence and flexibility I think you’d better look elsewhere.

I was happy to be invited to provide an unbiased review of this alarm clock.
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DBPOWER Bluetooth Aux 3.5mm Black Stereo Music Transmitter & Receiver Sender-2 In 1 Solution
DBPOWER Bluetooth Aux 3.5mm Black Stereo Music Transmitter & Receiver Sender-2 In 1 Solution
Offered by MyStore365
Price: £18.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Add Bluetooth with Ease, 31 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great little gadget (7 x 4.5 x 1 cm) for adding Bluetooth receiving or sending capability to any of your devices. It’s easy to set up and use and performs really well.

In the box you’ll find
• The Bluetooth Transmitter / Receiver
• Audio cable with two 3.5 mm jacks.
• A USB to power jack cable to charge up the device.
• A poorly printed instruction sheet with very small writing – happily you won’t need it.

Before use you’ll need to charge the device using the supplied cable. It takes a couple of hours to charge and there’s an LED to tell you when all is well. Once charged you simply need to select the device to be a receiver or transmitter using the small slider switch, plug in your receiving device (e.g. wired headphones) or transmitting device (e.g. a non-Bluetooth computer or audio source) press the single button on the device to pair with your Bluetooth device, and away you go.

I first plugged in a pair of wired headphones and set the device to ‘receive’. Pressed the pair button and within a minute was listening to music from my Nokia phone. Quality is great and the device slips easily into a pocket having converted my headphones to ‘wireless’ use.

Using it as a transmitter is just as easy. I connected the audio out from my computer to the device, set it to transmit and pressed the pair button and within a minute was listening to music from the PC on a wireless pair of Bluetooth earphones.

It really couldn’t be easier to use. It’s a pleasure to find a device that does its job so well with so little fuss.

Note you can use this as either a transmitter to a Bluetooth device, or a receiver from a Blue Tooth device and switch between these uses with ease, but it can’t transmit and receive at the same time.

I was delighted to be invited to write an impartial review of this Bluetooth Receiver / Transmitter.
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JollySports Swim Goggles with Anti Fog, Best for Adult Men, Women and Older Kids - Nose Clip, Ear Plugs and Case Included (Black, One Size)
JollySports Swim Goggles with Anti Fog, Best for Adult Men, Women and Older Kids - Nose Clip, Ear Plugs and Case Included (Black, One Size)
Offered by Grabbits
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Mirror Lens Goggles, 28 July 2015
These are a well-made pair of quality swimming goggles supplied complete with nose clip and ear plugs.

They are delivered in a strong protective case that’s ideal for keeping the goggles protected in the bottom of your swim bag.

From the photos it wasn’t immediately obvious to me that these had highly reflective lenses, the silvered effect type where no one can see your eyes, just their own reflection. I’m guessing that this is what provides the UV protection. It’s a question of personal taste as to whether you like this type of lens. Personally for taking on holiday in the sun it feels great, I’m not so sure about the local swimming bath where I prefer see through lenses, as I say it’s a personal choice.

The goggles appear very well designed and manufactured. The strap is easily adjustable, though the nose section doesn’t allow for adjustment of the distance between the lenses. As a result the goggles are suitable for older children, say around 14, through to adults and will fit pretty much any sized head in that range.

Overall the silicon material used appears of good quality and the goggles fit around the eyes really well. You can feel the slight suction when you take them off that reveals just how good a seal they make around the eyes.

The straps are stretchy, and once adjusted to my size, I tend to stretch the strap as I put the goggles on and in place. I didn’t immediately notice that there is a push-button clasp which joins the two straps, allowing the strap to be split and joined when the goggles are in place. My daughter revealed that this would be handy for ladies with a pony tail for example. I didn’t use this feature, though she did, and my only concern is that the ring on the clasp looks quite thin, so might prove a weak point, so personally I’ll stick to the ‘stretching over my head’ method.

The nose clip and ear plugs are handy additions for those who like them.

If you like the mirrored lens effect, then all in all these are a great pair of goggles that should last, particularly if you take care when using the clasp.

I was happy to be invited to review these goggles and provide an impartial review.
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OMNI UNIVERSAL BOUNCE DIFFUSER by Visionaer ®: Professional Soft Flash Softbox
OMNI UNIVERSAL BOUNCE DIFFUSER by Visionaer ®: Professional Soft Flash Softbox
Offered by Allégoria
Price: £6.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Addition to any Camera Bag, 23 July 2015
The flash diffuser is a simple but handy item which provides additional control and flexibility when using a flash gun to soften the effects of the flash.

In effect the diffuser is like a sock with an elasticated opening which is placed over the flash head. The diffuser has a translucent cover to three sides and the top, and a black lightproof surface with an internal silvered coating to the fourth side. This allows the diffused light to be directed in the desired direction. The overall effect is to turn the harsh lines of the flash’s light, into a more evenly distributed diffused light.

In use the diffuser is simple to use. Simply slip it over the flash gun, with the silvered side away from the required direction of light, and operate the flash gun as normal. When not in use it squashes flat so can fit into the smallest space in your camera bag until needed.

Overall a handy enhancement to your flash gun and well worth its place in your camera kit bag.

I was happy to receive this item for an unbiased review.
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K&F Concept 58mm 12pcs Round Filter Set Include Full Color Filter Kit (Orange Blue Red Green Yelow Purple) + Graduated Filter Kit (Orange Blue Red Green Yelow Purple) for Canon 600D EOS M M2 700D 100D 1100D 1200D 650D DSLR Cameras + Filter Pouch
K&F Concept 58mm 12pcs Round Filter Set Include Full Color Filter Kit (Orange Blue Red Green Yelow Purple) + Graduated Filter Kit (Orange Blue Red Green Yelow Purple) for Canon 600D EOS M M2 700D 100D 1100D 1200D 650D DSLR Cameras + Filter Pouch
Offered by dcmall
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Set of Colour Filters, 23 July 2015
This is a comprehensive set of colour filters which can be used to create a variety of effects. In effect it is two sets in one: a set of six colour filters and a set of graduated filters in the same colours.

The set comprises the following items
2 large pouches (195 x 95 mm – closed) containing the following items:-
• 1 pouch containing 6 graduated filters (Orange, Green, Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple)
• 1 pouch containing 6 solid colour filters (Orange, Green, Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple)

The pouches offer good protection with a padded outer layer and internal mesh pockets to hold lenses individually. The look and finish of the pouches feels to be of good quality. Each lens is also packed in a sealed cellophane wallet which can be resealed to help keep the filter clean when not in use. The pouches are held closed by a Velcro strip.

The filters are all clearly marked in white ink on black, with full details of the filter, e.g.G-Purple 58 mm. The filters have dual standard screw threads allowing the filters to be attached to the camera and/or stacked to create additional effects and to allow fitting of a Lens hood. The graduated filters can be turned to any angle allowing easy control of the orientation of the graduation effect.

Combining the filters allows for example the solid orange filter and graduated purple filter to be combined to create an orange cast which deepens with the graduation. Graduated or full colour filters can be combined to produce endless effects.

Of course you can achieve some of these effects in Photoshop or your favourite editing software, but there’s something quite different about playing with the filters with the subject in front of you that helps stimulate your imagination and have some fun.

All items are marked with the K&F Concept logo and on each filter package is printed a commitment to customer satisfaction and a promise to take back anything you are not completely satisfied with, with no questions or hassles. Other than this there is no documentation provided with the set, so no description of the materials used. It seems to me that the filters are manufactured from a polycarbonate material, rather than glass, though for the same price you would probably only expect to buy one or two glass filters.

See the attached photos of the kit, including photos taken with the red graduated and the blue solid filters and sky shots using the purple and yellow graduated filters.

Overall for the keen amateur the set provides a very useful suite of colour filters of good quality and the storage pouches provide a safe environment for the filters to live at the bottom of your camera bag waiting for the time when inspiration strikes.

I was happy to be offered these filters for an unbiased review.
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K&F Concept 58mm 7pcs Lens Accessory Filter Kit Neutral Density Filter for Canon 600D EOS M M2 700D 100D 1100D 1200D 650D DSLR Cameras - Includes Filter Kit( ND2+ND4+ND8, Close-up+1+2+4+10) + Cleaning Pen + Petal Lens Hood + Center Pinch Lens Cap + Filter Bag Pouch
K&F Concept 58mm 7pcs Lens Accessory Filter Kit Neutral Density Filter for Canon 600D EOS M M2 700D 100D 1100D 1200D 650D DSLR Cameras - Includes Filter Kit( ND2+ND4+ND8, Close-up+1+2+4+10) + Cleaning Pen + Petal Lens Hood + Center Pinch Lens Cap + Filter Bag Pouch
Offered by dcmall
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality Comprehensive Filter and Accessory Set, 23 July 2015
This is a useful set of filters that provide enhanced versatility to the range of pictures possible with your camera. In effect it’s two sets in one, plus some handy accessories:

• a range of neutral density filters to reduce the light entering your camera in any situation, for example to allow slower shutter speeds to enhance the effect of movement
• a range of close-up lenses that are useful for macro photography and other effects.
• a lens cover, lens hood and useful cleaning brush.

The set comprises the following items
• large pouch (195 x 95 mm – closed) containing 4 close-up lenses, (+1, +2, +4, +10)
• small pouch (95 x 95 mm – closed) containing 3 neutral density filters (ND2, ND4, ND8)
• Centre-pinch lens cap
• Petal Lens hood
• Cleaning pen withb retractable brush

First impressions are that this is a nicely produced set. The pouches offer good protection with a padded outer layer and internal mesh pockets to hold lenses individually and Velcro strip to hold them closed. The look and finish of the pouches feels to be of good quality.

Each filter/lens is also packed in a sealed cellophane wallet which can be resealed to hold the filter when not in use. This is useful in keeping the filters clean.

The filters are all clearly marked in white ink on black, with full details of the filter, e.g. ND4 58 mm. The filters have standard dual screw threads allowing the filters to be attached to the camera and/or stacked to create additional effects and to allow fitting of the Lens hood.

The petal lens hood features a locking ring which allows the hood to be held in place at any chosen orientation, a useful feature.

The centre-pinch lens cap didn’t fit as well as my original, but does come with an attachment cord to ensure it isn’t lost if dislodged.

Completing the set is a handy lens cleaning pen with a retractable soft brush.

All items are marked with the K&F Concept logo and on each filter package is printed a commitment to customer satisfaction and a promise to take back anything you are not completely satisfied with, with no questions or hassles. Other than this there is no documentation provided with the set, so no description of the materials used. It seems to me that the filters are manufactured from a polycarbonate material, rather than glass, but if you compare the price to the price of glass filters you may find that for the same money you would only get one or two glass filters.

See the attached photos of the kit including a close up taken with the +10 lens.

Clearly these aren’t aimed at the professional market. If you want professional quality, or only need one or two items from the pack, you’re probably better looking elsewhere. However for a comprehensive set of accessories that are packaged well enough that they can live in the bottom of your camera bag waiting for the moment you need them, this looks like a decent kit and a great way for the keen amateur to enhance the range of photographs possible with your camera.

I was happy to be sent this filter set for an impartial review.
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Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Ruthlessly Targets Children
Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Ruthlessly Targets Children
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing exposé of how business targets children., 16 July 2015
This is a well researched examination of a very disturbing subject.

The book exposes how big business ruthlessly targets children. The incentive for big business is that it is estimated that there is 1 trillion dollars of buying power in the hands of children, directly or through their influence on parents and their carers. In pursuit of this prize, food and drink industries spend billions each year marketing junk food to children whilst pharmaceutical companies have driven the prescription of psychotropic drugs from a base level of virtually zero to tens of millions of children under prescription today.

This is a well written and carefully researched book, it includes over 80 pages of notes and references to further information.
Whilst the focus of the book is directed at the impact on children, and the impact this has on parents and others with direct responsibility for their care, the book is of relevance to everyone.

The book comprises ten chapters which examine:-
• The reverse since 1980 of eighty years of child protection advances.
• How social media is being shaped to foster consumption
• The cynical undermining of parental control orchestrated by marketing to children.
• The immoral and illegal activities of pharmaceutical companies in the promotion of drugs.
• Environmental damage and its impact on children.
• The lack of regulation and the burden of proof requiring harm to be proven before restriction on chemical use is imposed.
• Child exploitation in the labour market.
• Abuses of the education system driven to meet the needs of corporations.

What I found particularly alarming about picture painted by this book was the underlying cynical approach of government and big-business. Purporting to support parents by emphasizing parental responsibility for child care under the guise of rolling back of the 'Nanny State', whilst at the same time implementing policies that make it increasingly impossible for parents to make informed decisions or to implement appropriate actions to ensure children are safeguarded.

The picture painted is of the effects of a society where economic growth is valued above all else.

This is a well written book that will be of interest to anyone concerned about children and the society they will inherit.


Mpow bluetooth headset
Mpow bluetooth headset

5.0 out of 5 stars Great headphones for exercising., 13 July 2015
These are a handy, well made pair of blue tooth headphones that are great for use whilst exercising and I grew to really like them.
The headphones arrived well packed in a sturdy cardboard box suitable for giving as a gift.

The box contains
• the headphones,
• a short USB lead used for battery charging,
• two sets of ear buds (large and small) in addition to the set already fitted (medium)
• a small user guide that is thankfully clear, concise and well written (not often the case with consumer gadgets).

Before use the headphones need charging via the supplied USB cable. There’s a handy tiny LED which shows red whilst charging and turns green when charging is completed.

Once charged blue tooth connecting them is a doddle following the simple instructions supplied. I liked the messages ‘Power on’, ‘Power off’ ‘Your headset is connected’ that made it easy to use the headphones without having to interpret codes of flashing LED’s which so often seems the case with techy items.

I connected them to Nokia Lumia 520 and 530 phones, the main user being my daughter who is a keen runner and finds music helps her run. Previously the best headphones for this were a pair of wired sports headphones with a memory wire clip that attaches around the ear. These worked well, but the dangling cord sometimes caused problems whilst running, leading to the headphones being yanked from the head.

The lack of a cable is a big plus with these headphones and the behind-the-head design seems to hold them securely. Operation was very simple though we concentrated on the media player functions, as we like to shut out phone calls when exercising. I found the sound quality to be very good with reasonable bass reproduction, given their small size.

With regard to comfort, I found the headphones a little uncomfortable at first. Indeed I first found them more comfortable when worn upside-down, though not having then clipped around my ears made them rather less secure. I persevered with them for a while and they felt better. Now I’ve reached the point that I almost forget I’m wearing them. They do have alternate ear bud covers in three sizes and these offer some scope to tailor the fit, so if they’re not comfortable at first, give them a little time.

With regard to battery life, I tried not to let them deplete fully by to placing them on charge when not in use. They seem to take a couple of hours to charge from empty, and it’s irritating to find they die on you half way through a run. Topped up they kept going as long as I did.

Overall the styling is a matter of personal taste. If you’re happy with the behind the head approach and find these comfortable to wear you have what appears a well-made good quality headphone. Operation is simple, sound quality good and the small user guide seems to explain all you need to know to get the most from them.

I was delighted to be offered the invitation to impartially review these headphones.


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