Drowsy driving as dangerous as drinking and driving

Similar to the way drinking and driving emerged as a road safety issue, impairment by fatigue, or drowsy driving is fast becoming a major concern worldwide. It can be just as deadly as drinking and driving, or unsafe speed.

According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), sleep and fatigue often leave no clues for investigators to trace. Unlike alcohol-related crashes, no blood, breath, or other test is currently available to determine levels of sleepiness at the time of a crash. This leaves investigators with little hard data on which to base a conclusion of fatigue or sleep as a cause or contributing factor.

Despite the data limitations, the TSB estimates about 5% of fatal crashes are firmly established as being caused by drowsy driving. Experts suggest the actual number may be as high as 20% to 40%. And that makes drowsy driving as dangerous as drinking and driving, which accounts for approximately 24% of all victims in vehicle fatalities.
 

Characteristics of fatigue-related crashes
 
• Usually occur during late night/early morning or late afternoon.
• A single vehicle, driver is alone and drives off the road (but also a factor in rear-end and head-on crashes).
• No skid marks, brake lights, horn sounded, or other evidence the driver tried to avoid the crash.
• The crash occurs on a high-speed road, usually a highway in non-urban areas where more long distance night time driving occurs.
• The crash is likely to be serious, usually due to the high speeds involved combined with delayed (if any) reaction time.
Although no driver is immune, 3 groups are at highest risk:

1. Younger people ages 16-29 years, especially males. A combination of lifestyle factors such as schoolwork demands, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and late-night socialising.

2. Shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at night or working long or irregular hours.

3. People with untreated or unrecognised sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) or narcolepsy (sudden onset of brief attacks of daytime deep sleep, or micro-sleeps).

The Warning Signs

You’re becoming impaired by fatigue if you experience some of these characteristics:

 
• Yawning, daydreaming.
• Difficulty keeping your head up, eyes open, blurry vision.
• Feeling sluggish, hungry, thirsty.
• Droning or humming in the ears.
• Don’t notice a vehicle until it suddenly passes.
• Don’t recall driving the last few kilometres.
• Driving speed creeps up or down.
• Wandering over the centre-line, into another lane or shoulder.
What Drivers Can Do

The problem with fatigue is that it slowly develops and drivers often don’t realise they’re too tired to drive safely. Once fatigue sets in, there is little you can do about it except stop driving as soon as possible. Physical activity, loud music, opening a window or eating might provide a short boost of energy, but these really only mask fatigue. When drivers return to sit still and perform repetitive tasks such as driving, sleep returns quickly.

Plan to Drive Refreshed and Alert

 
• The only cure for sleepiness is sleep. Get enough sleep.
• Don’t drink even small amounts of alcohol when tired. Alcohol interacts with and adds to drowsiness.
• Avoid driving between midnight and 6am. Scheduling a trip at another time is a simple way to reduce risk, especially if the drive is long.
• As soon as you become sleepy, the key is to stop driving. Let a passenger drive or stop and get adequate sleep before continuing a trip.
• Take frequent breaks if driving for long periods.
• Medications may cause drowsiness. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking prescription or over-the­counter drugs.

 

Baking soda: a safe multipurpose cleaner

Many of us spend too much money and too much time on household cleaning. Is it really necessary to have one product for the kitchen tiles and another for the bath?

Baking soda is a readily available household product. It is also called Sodium Bicarbonate or Bicarbonate of Soda. It is a cheap yet very effective tool in your home for combating odours, cleaning and sanitising.

There are many reasons to use baking soda in your home, but the number one reason is because this is a natural substance that will not harm you, your family or the environment.

Baking soda is a safe product that you can even eat. Baking soda is used in a huge variety of foods that we eat everyday.
 

Clean a microwave oven
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, scrub, and rinse.

Remove tarnish from silver
Mix a thick paste of Bicarbonate of Soda with water; apply to the silver with a damp sponge, rub, rinse, and buff dry.

Clean a stainless steel sink
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, scrub the sink, and rinse clean.

Boost the strength of liquid laundry detergent
Add 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda with the usual amount of detergent in your regular wash cycle.

Clean a fibreglass bathtub or shower
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, scrub, and rinse clean.

Clean bathroom tile
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, scrub, and rinse clean.

Maintain your septic tank
Flush 1 cup Bicarbonate of Soda down the toilet once a week. Bicarbonate of Soda helps maintain proper pH and alkalinity, controlling sulphide odours.

Deodorise cloth diapers
Mix 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda in 2 quarts of water, and soak diapers in the solution.

Clean a refrigerator
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda onto a damp sponge, scrub, and rinse clean.

Deodorise a dishwasher
Sprinkle 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda on the bottom of the dishwasher between loads.

Boost the strength of dishwashing liquid
Add 2 full tablespoons Bicarbonate of Soda to the usual amount of detergent you use.

Remove burnt-on food from cookware
Dampen area, sprinkle with Bicarbonate of Soda, let soak overnight, then scrub with a sponge, rinse, and dry.

Clean and deodorise a cutting board
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, rub the cutting board, and rinse clean.

Deodorise food containers
Mix 1/4 cup Bicarbonate of Soda with 1 quart water, swish food containers in solution, soak overnight, and then rinse clean.

Clean coffee and teapots
Wash in a solution of 1/4 cup Bicarbonate of Soda and 1 quart warm water, then rinse clean.

Deodorise kitchen garbage
Sprinkle a handful of Bicarbonate of Soda in the garbage pail each time you add garbage.

Deodorise carpet
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda lightly over the dry carpet, let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up.

Deodorise a cat litter box
Cover the bottom of the litter box with 1/4 inch Bicarbonate of Soda then add the litter.

Soothe poison ivy rash or insect bites
Make a paste of Bicarbonate of Soda and water, and apply to the affected area.

Soothe sunburn, windburn, and prickly heat
Dissolve 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda in a tepid bath. Soak in the bath for 15 minutes.

Take a refreshing bath
Dissolve 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda in a tub of warm water for soft, smooth-feeling skin and a relaxing bath.

Brush your teeth
Plain baking soda is a gentle abrasive that cleans like the strongest toothpaste. Apply Bicarbonate of Soda to a damp toothbrush, brush as usual, and rinse.

Wash your mouth
Add 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda to 1/2 glass warm water, and swish through teeth for a refreshing mouthwash.

Neutralise vomit odour
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda generously to cover the stained area, let sit for an hour, then vacuum up.

Soothe tired feet
Add 3 tablespoons Bicarbonate of Soda to a basin of warm water and soak feet in the solution.

Use as a deodorant
Dust Bicarbonate of Soda under arms.

Clean dirt, grime, and scuffmarks from doors, stoves, laminated tabletops, linoleum floors, and tile
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, wipe clean, and dry.

Remove coffee or tea stains from china
Dip a damp cloth in Bicarbonate of Soda, gently rub the china, and rinse clean.

Minimise the smell of dirty laundry
Sprinkle some Bicarbonate of Soda into your hamper or laundry bag.

Deodorise a closet
Place an open box of Bicarbonate of Soda on a shelf.

Deodorise garment storage bags
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda into the bottom of the bag.

Deodorise shoes or training shoes
In the evening, sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda inside shoes to eliminate odours. Shake out in the morning.

Remove crayon marks from walls or wallpaper
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, scrub gently to avoid mussing the paint or wallpaper, then wipe clean.

Clean dirt and grime from hands
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on to wet hands; with liquid soap, rub vigorously, rinse, and dry.

Remove conditioner and styling gel build-up from hair
Wash hair once a week with 1 tablespoon of Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with your regular shampoo; rinse thoroughly, then condition and style as usual.

Refresh stuffed animals
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on the stuffed animal, let sit for 15 minutes, then brush off.

Clean high chairs, car seats, strollers, and plastic mattress protectors
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, wipe clean, and dry.

Clean baby bottles, nipples, and bottle brushes
Soak in a solution of warm water and Bicarbonate of Soda, then sterilise before use.

Whiten socks and dirty clothes
Add 1/2 cup Bicarbonate of Soda to regular liquid laundry detergent.

Clean chrome bumpers and hubcaps
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, rub surface, and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Remove dead insects from a car or truck windshield
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge, clean glass, and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Deodorise carpeting in a car
Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda on the carpet,let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up.

De-grease and clean barbecue grills
Make a paste by mixing equal parts Bicarbonate of Soda and water, apply with a wire brush, wipe clean, and dry with a cloth.

 

The many uses of vinegar

From killing bacteria, dissolving warts, growing plants, killing weeds, cleaning lime deposits and stained pots, unclogging your drains, to relieving coughs … vinegar can be used.
Kill bacteria in meats
Marinating meat in vinegar kills bacteria and tenderises the meat. Use 1/4 cup vinegar for a 2-3 pound roast, marinate overnight, and then cook without draining or rinsing the meat. Add herbs to the vinegar when marinating as desired.

Dissolve warts
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part glycerine into a lotion and apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

Remove stubborn stains from furniture upholstery and clothes
Apply white vinegar directly to the stain, and then wash as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Grow beautiful azaleas
Occasionally water plants with a mixture of 2 quarts white vinegar to 1 quart water. Azaleas love acidic soil.

Relieve arthritis
Before each meal, drink a glass of water containing 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Give this folk remedy at least 3 weeks to start working.

Kill unwanted grass
Pour white vinegar in crevices and between bricks.

Remove corns
Make a poultice of 1 crumbled piece of bread soaked in 1/4 cup vinegar. Let poultice sit for 1/2 hour, then apply to the corn and tape in place overnight. If corn does not peel off by morning, reapply the poultice for several consecutive nights.

Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine
Once a month pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes.

Cure an upset stomach
Drink 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water to soothe an upset stomach.

Kill germs on bathroom fixtures
Use 1 part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom fixtures and floor, then wipe clean.

Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains
Simply wipe the surface with vinegar and rinse with water.

Deodorise the air
Vinegar is a natural air freshener when sprayed in a room.

Relieve itching
Use a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with vinegar straight from the bottle.

Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker
Once a month fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with 2 cycles of cold water.

Soothe sunburn pain
Apply undiluted vinegar to the burn.

Clean food-stained pots and pans
Fill the pots and pans with white vinegar and let stand for 30 minutes. Then rinse in hot, soapy water.

Prevent bright-coloured clothes from fading
Before putting the article in the washing machine, soak it in white vinegar for 10 minutes.

Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh
Mix 1 cup of vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

Clean a toilet bowl
Pour in 1 cup of white vinegar, let it stand for 5 minutes, and flush.

Clean dentures
Soak dentures overnight in white vinegar, and then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

Remove perspiration stains from clothes
Apply 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water, then rinse.

Deodorise a room filled with cigarette smoke or paint fumes
Place a small bowl of white vinegar in the room.

Cure the hiccups
Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water, and drink.

Eliminate odours from used jars
Rinse peanut butter and mayonnaise jars with white vinegar.

Condition dry hair
Shampoo, then rinse hair with a mixture of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups water. Vinegar restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil from hair.

Clean mineral deposits from a steam iron
Fill the water tank with white vinegar. Turn the iron to the steam setting and steam iron a soft utility rag to clean the steam ports. Repeat the process with water, then thoroughly rinse out the inside of your iron.

Remove light scorch marks from fabrics
Rub lightly with white vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Keep drains open
Pour 1/2 box of old baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup white vinegar. When the bubbling stops, run the hot water.

Remove decals or bumper stickers
Soak a cloth in vinegar and cover the decal or bumper sticker for several minutes until the vinegar soaks in. The decals and bumper stickers should peel off easily.

Deodorise a wool sweater
Wash sweater, then rinse in equal parts vinegar and water to remove odour.

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes
Add 1 cup vinegar to each wash load.

Prevent ice from forming on a car windshield overnight
Coat the window with a solution of 3 parts white or apple cider vinegar to 1 part water.

Prolong the life of flowers in a vase
Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar plus 3 tablespoons of sugar per quart of warm water. Stems should be in 3-4 inches of water.

Prevent cracked hard-boiled eggs
Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water before boiling to prevent the eggs from cracking. The eggshells will also peel off faster and easier.

Clean windows
Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry with a soft cloth.

Eliminate unpleasant cooking odours in the kitchen
Boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of water.

Eliminate animal urine stains from carpet
Blot up urine, flush several times with lukewarm water, then apply a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse, and let dry.

Relieve a cold
Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup honey. Take 1 tablespoon 6-8 times daily.

Deodorize a stale lunch box
Soak a paper napkin in vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

Prevent soapy film on glassware
Place a cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, run for 5 minutes, then run though the full cycle. A cup of white vinegar run through the entire cycle once a month will also reduce soap scum on the inner workings.

Unclog a showerhead
Unscrew the shower head, remove the rubber washer, place the head in a pot filled with equal parts vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Relieve a cough
Mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 4 teaspoons honey. Take 1 tablespoon when cough acts up. Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

Kill bacteria in meats
Marinating meat in vinegar kills bacteria and tenderises the meat. Use 1/4 cup vinegar for a 2-3 pound roast, marinate overnight, and then cook without draining or rinsing the meat. Add herbs to the vinegar when marinating as desired.

Dissolve warts
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part glycerine into a lotion and apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

Remove stubborn stains from furniture upholstery and clothes
Apply white vinegar directly to the stain, and then wash as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Grow beautiful azaleas
Occasionally water plants with a mixture of 2 quarts white vinegar to 1 quart water. Azaleas love acidic soil.

Relieve arthritis
Before each meal, drink a glass of water containing 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Give this folk remedy at least 3 weeks to start working.

Kill unwanted grass
Pour white vinegar in crevices and between bricks.

Remove corns
Make a poultice of 1 crumbled piece of bread soaked in 1/4 cup vinegar. Let poultice sit for 1/2 hour, then apply to the corn and tape in place overnight. If corn does not peel off by morning, reapply the poultice for several consecutive nights.

Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine
Once a month pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes.

Cure an upset stomach
Drink 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water to soothe an upset stomach.

Kill germs on bathroom fixtures
Use 1 part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom fixtures and floor, then wipe clean.

Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains
Simply wipe the surface with vinegar and rinse with water.

Deodorise the air
Vinegar is a natural air freshener when sprayed in a room.

Relieve itching
Use a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with vinegar straight from the bottle.

Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker
Once a month fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with 2 cycles of cold water.

Soothe sunburn pain
Apply undiluted vinegar to the burn.

Clean food-stained pots and pans
Fill the pots and pans with white vinegar and let stand for 30 minutes. Then rinse in hot, soapy water.

Prevent bright-coloured clothes from fading
Before putting the article in the washing machine, soak it in white vinegar for 10 minutes.

Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh
Mix 1 cup of vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

Clean a toilet bowl
Pour in 1 cup of white vinegar, let it stand for 5 minutes, and flush.

Clean dentures
Soak dentures overnight in white vinegar, and then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

Remove perspiration stains from clothes
Apply 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water, then rinse.

Deodorise a room filled with cigarette smoke or paint fumes
Place a small bowl of white vinegar in the room.

Cure the hiccups
Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water, and drink.

Eliminate odours from used jars
Rinse peanut butter and mayonnaise jars with white vinegar.

Condition dry hair
Shampoo, then rinse hair with a mixture of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups water. Vinegar restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil from hair.

Clean mineral deposits from a steam iron
Fill the water tank with white vinegar. Turn the iron to the steam setting and steam iron a soft utility rag to clean the steam ports. Repeat the process with water, then thoroughly rinse out the inside of your iron.

Remove light scorch marks from fabrics
Rub lightly with white vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Keep drains open
Pour 1/2 box of old baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup white vinegar. When the bubbling stops, run the hot water.

Remove decals or bumper stickers
Soak a cloth in vinegar and cover the decal or bumper sticker for several minutes until the vinegar soaks in. The decals and bumper stickers should peel off easily.

Deodorise a wool sweater
Wash sweater, then rinse in equal parts vinegar and water to remove odour.

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes
Add 1 cup vinegar to each wash load.

Prevent ice from forming on a car windshield overnight
Coat the window with a solution of 3 parts white or apple cider vinegar to 1 part water.

Prolong the life of flowers in a vase
Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar plus 3 tablespoons of sugar per quart of warm water. Stems should be in 3-4 inches of water.

Prevent cracked hard-boiled eggs
Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water before boiling to prevent the eggs from cracking. The eggshells will also peel off faster and easier.

Clean windows
Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry with a soft cloth.

Eliminate unpleasant cooking odours in the kitchen
Boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of water.

Eliminate animal urine stains from carpet
Blot up urine, flush several times with lukewarm water, then apply a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse, and let dry.

Relieve a cold
Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup honey. Take 1 tablespoon 6-8 times daily.

Deodorize a stale lunch box
Soak a paper napkin in vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

Prevent soapy film on glassware
Place a cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, run for 5 minutes, then run though the full cycle. A cup of white vinegar run through the entire cycle once a month will also reduce soap scum on the inner workings.

Unclog a showerhead
Unscrew the shower head, remove the rubber washer, place the head in a pot filled with equal parts vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Relieve a cough
Mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 4 teaspoons honey. Take 1 tablespoon when cough acts up. Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

 

What happens when our main source of knowledge is ads?

By Ed Ayres

Recently I recalled a TV commercial I had seen, in which it was suggested to us that eating fast food while watching solitary TV is a good way to “get on with your life”. I thought that ad was “criminal”.
 

In retrospect, I think maybe my use of that term was too impulsive. The commercial I described probably didn’t break any laws. When you’re paying US$2 million for 30 seconds (the price of advertising on that broadcast), you make sure to have your lawyers check out what you’re saying.

But as I think about it, that’s just the problem: that legalistically speaking, an ad like this is not criminal — yet it really ought to be.
 

To encourage 90 million people to do something that could make them even more sedentary, fat, and socially isolated than they already are, is to grease the way for even more obesity, heart failure, and hostility than we already have.

But what really is not the fast food itself, so much as the implied message that goes with it — the message that to “get on with your life” is something you can accomplish through passive consumption. That message, if not exactly criminal, is pathologically disingenuous.

Ironically, our assurance that lawyers check every detail these days may actually make us more vulnerable to being deceived by ads than we once were. We can be fairly confident now that major advertisers won’t actually lie the way they did a century ago.

Most of us have seen those antique medicine-bottle labels that claimed to cure everything from malaise to malaria, and we can laugh at how gullible people must have been then.

But that may lull us into overlooking the newer ways advertisers have learned to manipulate us. Lies are only one kind of deception, perhaps the easiest kind to legislate against. But other kinds of dishonest messages are now all around us, in every medium and I think getting worse.

One way to see it is to recognize that perception is a form of physiological intake, just as is eating, drinking, or breathing. Like food, water, or air, the information we take in can be polluted.

In the past few decades, the forms of pollution that have crept into our food, water, and air have proliferated — ranging from organic chemicals to invasive species to rogue genes from GMOs.

And now, it seems, the various forms of information pollution, too, have proliferated. Advertising is transmogrifying into forms not always recognizable as advertising:

 
• First, there’s that seemingly innocuous form of industrial diplomacy known as public relations, a fascinating history of which is recounted by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton in their book, Trust Us, We’re Experts. Stauber, who now heads the nonprofit group PR Watch, notes that at least since the 1930s, American businesses have been systematically — and very successfully – shaping public perceptions about everything, from Coca-Cola to war.
• Then, there’s what we euphemistically call “product placement.” For example, the movie Chicago, which won a lion’s share of Oscars in 2002, contains numerous scenes (including the opening one) in which the camera moves in on a woman seductively smoking a brand of cigarette whose manufacturer has presumably paid a hefty fee to be so featured.
• A third form, particularly of concern to environmentalists, is the spread of disinformation about climate change and other impacts of oil or coal pollution, by “research institutes” that are out to be creatures of the fossil fuel industry.

More recently, some advertisers have begun acquiring entire radio stations or publications of their own, in which they can pose as objective journalists. The National Rifle Association (NRA), for example, will soon be able to disseminate its anti-gun-control propaganda disguised as straight news.

A big worry may be that as more and more media are aimed at manipulating consumer appetites or beliefs, using more and more sophisticated forms of disguise, the public will be increasingly unable to discriminate between responsible information services and propaganda and will gradually lose its freedom of independent thought and decision.

If the ad comes disguised as a news report, scientific study, expert analysis, or neighbor’s candid opinion, it may deceive even those who try to be vigilant.

Traditionally, news media have maintained a “wall” between reporters and advertisers, ostensibly to protect reporters from conflicts of interest.

But I suspect the real reason is that it allows publishers and editors (whose salaries are paid for by the ads) to distance themselves from any responsibility for the deceptions those ads perpetrate.

Now that the ads do at least as much to shape public worldviews, opinions, and lifestyles as does the reporting, however, it’s time to stop that “see no evil” game the media play.

Publishers, editors, and producers, as long as their papers or channels have not actually been bought up and taken over by their advertisers, should be the ones who hold those advertisers accountable.

Ed Ayres is the editor of World-Watch magazine

 

Bicycle safety tips

Join the league of the environment-conscious, and save your petrol money, by using pedal power (i.e. bicycle) instead of a four-wheeler.

But don't forget to take precautions before you start your journey. First of all, make sure your bicycle is structurally sound and in good condition.

Are the brakes working properly? Check too that the reflectors are clean and are not warped, and adequately reflect light. Is the handlebar grip secure? Is the seat of proper height and secure?

Having done this, keep the following rules of the road in mind:

• Obey all traffic instructions, traffic lights, stop signs, one-way street signs, etc.
• Keep right and ride single file. Don't weave in and out. Never hitch a ride onto another vehicle.
• For dusk or night riding and when atmospheric conditions warrant it, the bicycle should be equipped with a white light in front and a reflector in the rear.
• Take special precaution at all intersections. Look all ways; be sure to use proper hand signals to indicate stopping and turning.
• Always give pedestrians the right of way.
• Watch for cars pulling into traffic, and for doors opening on parked cars.
• Don't carry passengers.
• Use the carrier for carrying packages. Never carry packages that obstruct vision or interfere with the proper control of the bicycle.
• Rider error can lead to accidents and unnecessary injuries. So always ride with care — and remember the above rules.

Proper maintenance of your bicycle is just as important for safety. Have you done the following:

• Inspect and lubricate your bicycle frequently.
• Promptly repair and replace damaged reflector and lights. (They should be visible at dusk and at night.)
• Check the tyres and their pressure from time to time.
• Wheels should rotate smoothly without wobbling from side to side. If necessary, they should be realigned. Axle nuts should be kept tight.
• Handlebars should be adjusted frequently for comfort, and for the growth of the rider. At least 65 mm of handlebar stem and seat post should be kept down in the frame. They should be securely tightened. • Handlebar grips should fit snugley, and worn ones should be replaced.
• Periodically inspect and maintain the brakes. The coaster brake arm must be securely fastened to the frame.
• It is imperative that the shoulder of the pedal axle be securely tightened against the crank arm. Worn or damaged pedals should be replaced.
• Chains should be checked frequently for damage or stretch, and adjustments or replacements made if necessary. They should be kept clean and lubricated frequently with light oil.
• Have your bicycle inspected twice a year by a competent person.