Why blowing up a parking meter is a stupid thing to do

Yes, parking meters are annoying, I agree, but blowing them up is a very stupid idea.

Fourteen parking meters have been victim to explosives in Lewes in East Sussex, and it has cost East Sussex County Council around £20,000 to replace and repair them.

Furthermore, blowing up a parking meter could result in an innocent passer by suffering severe injuries.

The East Sussex council, Lewes council and Sussex Police have offered a £1,250 for anyone who comes forward with information relating to the criminal activity.

It really makes no sense causing costly damage to parking meters.

The thing is, parking meters collect money for the council so vandalising them will make the council out of pocket:
One – because it’s not getting any money from those meters anymore;
Two – because it now has to pay to fix or replace them.

Now, here’s the important part. The council keeps public services such as road-cleaning and maintenance going. So, if you blow up parking meters, angered by the fact that the council is ‘taking’ your money, the council will be out of pocket and you’ll find that not as much money can be spent on making services in your area run smoothly.

Basically these parking meter vandals have shot themselves in the foot.

Photo © Nahh via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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The overlord of all 30mph signs

Do you get sick and tired of people speeding past you on the road?

Then you might like to the applaud the efforts of one man who lives in the village of Bow in Devon, who has painted a huge 30mph sign on the side of his home.

It’s 4.5 metres high, cost him £100 in red, white and black paint, and took him five hours to complete!

The man’s aim is to remind motorists of the speed limit as they enter the village during Road Safety Week.

I think it’s a great idea and should be a permanent fixture and potentially copied all over the UK, but sadly the Department for Transport has said that the sign is in fact illegal.

However, before you go and camp next to it in protest – neither the Department for Transport or Devon County Council plan to take action against the giant 30mph sign because it’s painted on a private property and the owner plans on painting over it himself on the 5th of December anyway.

It’s a shame really…maybe they could change the legislation against over-sized speed limit signs?

Photo © bengrey via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Illegal tyre-dumper sentenced

A man who was illegally dumping tyres in remote locations around the UK to escape having to pay disposal costs at official waste sites has been jailed for 15 months.

The man had dumped more than one million tyres in Essex, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Lincolnshire in total!

He’d been sneakily disposing of tyres in this way since October 2009.

An estimated 55 million waste tyres are got rid of legally every year in the UK, but it seems this man didn’t want to follow suit even though it only costs an average of 80p per tyre.

Skipping out on paying this small amount doesn’t really seem worth it when there’s a potential prison sentence, unlimited fines, and confiscation of profits awaiting illegal tyre-dumpers.

Not only was this man avoiding fees, but, as the head of waste and illegals as the Environment Agency stated, "Huge tyre dumps are not only an eyesore, but also present a serious risk to the environment and human health.

“Stockpiles are a significant fire risk, as they can burn for several years, releasing dangerous gases such as hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen cyanide and sulphur dioxide.”

At a hearing in 2012 the illegal tyre-dumper will get to know whether he will have the profits of his crime taken and have a fine imposed upon him on top of his prison sentence.

Photo © Adam_Dowty via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Will private cars become a public place?

Apparently The British Medical Association is asking ministers to extend the smoking in public places ban to the inside of people’s private vehicles.

Now, although this may sounds outrageous, the potential ban has research backing it which can’t really be ignored.

Reportedly, people in a car with a smoker are exposed to 23 times more toxic fumes than they would have been when in a smoky bar or pub before the smoking ban was put in place in 2007.

Personally I think that there should be a ban on people smoking in their cars when they have passengers, especially children. I know from first hand experience that having someone’s smoke fly at you from the front seat for 10 minutes every 15 to 20 minutes of a long journey is not pleasant.

However, I can also see things from the smokers’ group Forest’s perspective. One of its members has stated, “Legislation is a gross over-reaction. What next, a ban on smoking in the home?”

True…and how would we set about policing smoking in cars when people are constantly speeding on the motorway without so much as a warning?

It’s a tough one.

Photo © Mykl Roventine via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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New walkway in China is not for the faint-hearted

Driving on roads which wind their way around cliffs can be a bit scary, but motorists are usually reassured by wide roads and crash barriers which mean that they can focus on driving and enjoy the views from their car.

However, walkers hoping to venture across a sheer cliff face in China are unlikely to take luxury in the same kind of reassurance. A 3ft wide walkway has been created for keen travellers who want to venture across the mountainside.

Although to a lot of people that sounds scary enough on its own, the walkway also sports a 2.5in thick pathway made of glass! So, just in case a traveller was to forget about the 400ft drop below them, they would only need to look at their feet for a swift reminder.

People who choose to brave the path are required to put on shoe covers, presumably so that the terrifying view isn’t ruined by a steady flow of muddy footprints.

Hmm... thrilling as the walk sounds, no one here at duck2water will be venturing to China to experience it for themselves anytime soon!

Photo © bsterling via flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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You won’t make new friends by showing off your wheels

When you take the plunge and invest in a new car – whether it be brand new or second hand – it may be tempting to take a quick snap of your new pride and joy and upload the image onto Facebook so all your friends and family can see it.

However, a new study carried out by an online reputation management firm has revealed that this kind of behaviour won’t help you to make new friends. Instead, it is more likely to do the complete opposite!

The study shows that it takes an average of five-and-a-half minutes for a person viewing an online profile to form an opinion of owner, and photos are a vital part of individual profiles.

Shots which reportedly create a positive affect include wedding photos, pictures of children and beach snaps as well as images in which the subject is smiling.

Images which attract a negative reaction include photos of cars, which indicate a “boy racer” personality, bikini snaps, which suggest arrogance, and photos which display rude gestures and general anger.

So, when you do make that big purchase, it might be a good idea to refrain from splashing it all over your Facebook page and upload a nice picture of you smiling on the beach instead – but only if you’re wearing more than just a bikini of course!

Photo © Philip Pessar via flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Getting out of the Google car

When you use Google maps you’re probably used to landing in the middle of the road you’ve typed into the search bar and strolling up and down right in the path of the frozen traffic.

But now, Google are adding a new service to their Street View map.

Users will now be able to have a look inside selected shops and restaurants instead of squinting at the building from half-way across the road.

Google explains to companies who elect to have their premises viewable, “We ask that you notify customers and employees of the photo shoot by putting up signs and making announcements about the scheduled photo shoot.

“We ask also that during the photo shoot you inform all persons in the area that a photo shoot is in progress and request that they move out of view.

“We’ll either run the 360-degree imagery through our state-of-the-art blurring technology to blur out faces of any employees and customers who appear in the imagery, or we won’t publish the still photos if people are in view.”

It will be interesting to see how many businesses open their doors to Google and it will be nice to have the ability to finally get off the Google map road.

Now we’d quite like Google to let us walk down some of the enticing little side-streets, alleyways and country-side paths which are still currently out of bounds.

Photo © sanchom via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Jeeves, there’s a commoner towing away the carriage!

Having your car towed – if you’ve been unlucky enough to experience this you’ll know – is quite embarrassing.

So the owner of one Rolls Royce Phantom must have been hiding their red face in their hands when the very fancy £300,000 vehicle was dragged away from its parking space in Knightsbridge, London.

But wait! Before you start feeling sorry for them – if you could after reading ‘Rolls Royce Phantom’ – the car was towed because it had no tax disc and no insurance.

Now the owner will probably wish they’d followed the letter of the law instead of trying not to pay the money that they could – let’s admit it – probably afford to spend without any financial hardship.

The Phantom has a 26-speaker sound system, heated leather seats, a refrigerator, heated and cooled cup holders, and a button that retracts the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament from the hands of thieves when necessary.

If we could afford this car – we’d have paid the tax and insurance to make absolutely sure that we didn’t lose the vehicle under such avoidable circumstances.

Moral of the story: Tax discs and insurance aren’t just for the commoners.

Photo © The Car Spy via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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