Heaven’s call

If I could recall one moment in time,

That was more vital and more passionate.

Tempests have smoothed sandstone and lime

And new tenants now in short and long relate.

Where once our passion burned with deep intent,

Now wrinkled and dimmed with furrowed brow.

All sweet and youthful features then are spent,

As time erodes them even faster now.

Though your sharp wit may not diminish,

Nor cast out the power of thought,

Your enduring mind may see no finish;

When all is done, time can’t be bought.

I would welcome now the heaven’s call

And rest my weary head on you, before I fall.

 

 

Is poor teaching of languages causing communication breakdown?

On 14 July 2011 BBC News posted an article entitled –

Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales

Written by education correspondent Sean Coughlan the article raises concerns, which I have had for a long time, about how eroding language skills are leading to serious communication breakdown.

I wrote about my concerns in a post entitled –

Will loss of language skills lead to a breakdown in society?

My concerns go much deeper than a loss of revenue but Sean Coughlan’s observations, which contain the following, are important as they point to the root of the problems – education.

Children and their teacher at school in Chelse...
Children and their teacher at school in Chelsea, England, during a spelling lesson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses.

Charles Duncombe says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.

Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he has been “shocked at the poor quality of written English”.

Sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility, he says.

The concerns were echoed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), whose head of education and skills warned that too many employers had to invest in remedial literacy lessons for their staff.

Mr Duncombe, who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, says that poor spelling is a serious problem for the online economy.

Charles Duncombe says poor spelling is costing the economy millions

“Often these cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills,” says Mr Duncombe.

And he says that the struggle to recruit enough staff who can spell means that this sector of the economy is not as efficient as it might be.

“I know that industry bemoaning the education system is nothing new but it is becoming more and more of a problem with more companies going online.

Mr Duncombe says that it is possible to identify the specific impact of a spelling mistake on sales.

He says he measured the revenue per visitor to the tightsplease.co.uk website and found that the revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected.

“If you project this across the whole of internet retail, then millions of pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes,” says Mr Duncombe, director of the Just Say Please group.

Spelling is important to the credibility of a website, he says. When there are underlying concerns about fraud and safety, then getting the basics right is essential.

When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue

When recruiting school and university leavers, Mr Duncombe says too many applications have contained spelling mistakes or poor grammar.

“Some people even used text speak in their cover letter,” he says.

Even among those who appeared to be able to spell, he says that a written test, without access to a computer spellchecker, revealed further problems with spelling.

William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, says that in some informal parts of the internet, such as Facebook, there is greater tolerance towards spelling and grammar.

“However, there are other aspects, such as a home page or commercial offering that are not among friends and which raise concerns over trust and credibility,” said Professor Dutton.

“In these instances, when a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.”

James Fothergill, the CBI’s head of education and skills, said: “Our recent research shows that 42% of employers are not satisfied with the basic reading and writing skills of school and college leavers and almost half have had to invest in remedial training to get their staff’s skills up to scratch.

“This situation is a real concern and the government must make the improvement of basic literacy and numeracy skills of all school and college leavers a top priority.”

The Wrecking Machine

English: Protest against fossil fuels April
English: Protest against fossil fuels April (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s coming from all sides

But mainly from the right.

It’s cloaked in many guises,

In the shadows of the night.

It’s breaking up the Union,

It’ll soon break up the States.

It fears the enemy within,

At heart it’s full of hate.

It’s turned the truth upon its head

And placed a child upon the throne.

Cries wolf when it is challenged;

A massive rolling stone.

Watch how it cuts the funds,

Needed to save the world.

Boosting the use of fossil fuels,

It fracks the earth till all’s unfurled.

Watch, listen now, to the glaring truth.

It turns deaf ears when science cries,

As though it is mere whim,

And more discoveries then denies.

Filling government with corporate men

And then, dismantling regulations.

Fuelling avarice and greed,

It pockets billions in elation.

Consumed by thoughts of deeds so foul,

That even it can’t sleep at night.

Bent on destroying human life,

Well past the tipping point all right.

It plans to make the world one totalitarian state.

We’d better join together before it is too late.

Our Earth – a rubbish dump?

Those who live inland don’t to see what those of us who live on the coast do, every day, during the Sout West Monsoon. Less beach and more rubbish including tons of plastic. Caring volunteers with little help from government clean beaches everywhere.

We may be fighting a losing battle but there is no excuse not to fight.

By 2050, our oceans will have more plastic trash than fish.

It’s shameful. Half of the plastic made we use just once and throw out, choking our seas and all the animals in it.

But in days, our governments can stem this tide when they meet at a historic summit to outline their clean ocean commitments. Public pressure just got #2 polluter Indonesia to commit to a 70% reduction in plastic waste! Now we need to go after the other top polluters.

If one million of us get behind a global call the Head of the UN Environment Programme will announce our petition from the summit podium and work with us to push countries to ban single-use plastics and let our oceans breathe again.

Join AVAAZ in the fight if you care.

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/end_plastic_pollution_loc/?rc=fb&pv=132

Happy Birthday

Your birthday was a special day.

Your tiny body from this world did come.

Your mother smiled the pain away.

Your father shed a tear and some.

Each year another candle’s lit

In memory of that wondrous day.

With close friends you laugh and sit

And celebrate in many ways.

 As you grow the flame burns bright,

Then flickers in the winds of time.

Dimming in the fading light;

Sweet memories flashing through your mind.

So you don’t forget when you were born

Cakes get bigger one by one.

More candles the globe to warm

Till one day the fire is gone.

Life is short, the days are long

But you dear friend are going strong.

I’ll see you soon; till then so long.

But now please listen to this song.

Header image courtesy of https://www.rosiepope.com

 

 

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