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Not Allowed To Commit Suicide [May. 4th, 2011|06:50 pm]
Workers in Chinese iPad factories forced to sign pledges: Not allowed to commit suicide.

The Daily Mail, May 1, 2011

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed. At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen. After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers. And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages. An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.They claimed that:

• Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month, the Observer reported.

• During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.

• Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.

• Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts.

The 'anti-suicide pledge' was brought in after sociologists wrote an open letter to the media calling for an end to restrictive working practices.But the investigation revealed many of the workers still lived in dismal conditions, with some only going home to see family once a year.

One worker told the newspaper: 'Sometimes my roommates cry when they arrive in the dormitory after a long day.' She said they were made to work illegally long hours for a basic daily wage, as little as £5.20 ($8.58), and that workers were housed in dormitories of up to 24 people a room.

In Chengdu, working between 60 and 80 hours overtime a month was normal, with many breaching Apple's own code of conduct with the length of their shifts. And the investigation found that employees claimed they were not allowed to speak to each other.

Foxconn admits that it breaks overtime laws, but claims all the overtime is voluntary. Some officials within the company even accused workers of committing suicide to secure large compensation payments for their families.

Anti-suicide nets were put up around the dormitory buildings on the advice of psychologists. Foxconn said it had faced 'some very challenging months for everyone associated with the Foxconn family and the loss of a number of colleagues to tragic suicides'.

Spokesman Louis Woo, responding to allegations that staff were humiliated, said: 'It is not something we endorse or encourage. However, I would not exclude that this might happen given the diverse and large population of our workforce. 'But we are working to change it.'

He added that employees were 'encouraged not to engage in conversations that may distract them from the attention needed to ensure accuracy and their own safety'.

Sacom said the company initially responded to the spate of suicides by bringing in monks to exorcise evil spirits.

Leontien Aarnoudse, a Sacom official, told The People: 'They work excessive overtime for a salary they can hardly live on and are inhumanely treated. 'Conditions are harsh and they don't have a social life. Their life is just working in a factory and that is it.'

Demand for iPads and iPhones has soared, resulting in tough targets for workers in Apple factories. Apple's supplier code of conduct demands that employees are treated with respect and dignity, but its own audit reports suggest suppliers in China may not meet up to these standards. The global high-tech product manufacturer made profits of $6 billion in the first quarter of 2011.
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"King's Funeral"/Mean Little Kids [Apr. 18th, 2011|10:52 am]
I must have been about eight or nine when we went down to Corning AK to see my Grandmother and Grandfather (my Dad's parents). This is my oldest memory of my Grandpa's farm. I think my two uncles [Bob and Skip] must have been told by my grandparents that they had to keep me occupied. Why else would two teenage boys put up with a couple of young boys and their sisters?

So anyway, one of the uncles asked us if we wanted to see "King's funeral?" Now "King" I understood from school storybooks. However, "funeral" went right over my head at the time, but I was interested, of course. You can imagine my confusion when they took us over to big pile of earth. What was this? I didn't say anything. It was one of the first things about the farm visit which seemed to be curious to me.

Now the terrible thing that has haunted me for ages. Again, remember I was only nine or so.

My father wouldn't let us have pet animals, if he could help it. He didn't look at animals as pets. Being raised on a farm, he looked at animals as chores. So this was my first encounter with small animals that roamed free on the grounds.

A few days before our visit, my mother had been watching an old Basil Rathbone "Sherlock Holmes" movie so I joined her. Naturally in an attempt show London atmosphere, the thick London fog/ smoke effects drifted over the characters. Hey, how would some of these farm animals respond to a thick London fog?

I talked my little brother Jerry into helping me to find out. There were dozens of small barn kittens roaming all over the driveway. But how do you make fog/smog? Oh right! Kick up the driveway dust and they won't be able to see.

So that's what we proceeded to do, not realizing that the reason they couldn't see was because the dirt and dust would scatter and wash over their eyes and would irritate and blind them. The poor kittens yowled and cried and my mom and a few other people came out and yelled at the mean little kids who were kicking sand into the eyes of the kitties. We stopped, but by then the eyes of the kitties were caked with dirt and looked horrible.

Finally, we'd gotten into our thick skulls that we'd really messed up terribly.

That particular incident has haunted me since then. Not to mention that if I ever forgot, Uncle Bob would remind me.
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Selected Doctor Who ROLF Razzis [Jan. 19th, 2011|12:34 pm]
Matt Smith
see more Lol Celebs

funny celebrity pictures - Out of service
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Matt Smith
see more Lol Celebs
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Other Opinions on "The Walking Dead" [Jan. 2nd, 2011|02:28 pm]
From Media Critic Paula R. Stiles: an unabashed horror and science-fiction fan from back when girls weren’t supposed to be horror and sf fans. She’s also written a few zombie stories, herself, one of which has appeared in John Joseph Adams’ anthology, The Living Dead II.

"The idea of the virus having infected the entire world is simply stupid. It’s only been a month. That is not enough time even for a large region of a large country like the U.S. to get infected. Also, it’s summer, but soon, it will be winter. Even if the zombies don’t rot by fall (and the show is really testing my stretchy suspenders of disbelief on that score), they’ll freeze in large sections of the Northern Hemisphere come winter. Frozen zombies are no threat and I’m guessing that if the idea is that their “revival” is a sort of life, they won’t be any threat come spring, either. Yes, you’d have issues with staying warm through the winter, but so did our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years (prehistorically-speaking, Homo sapiens evolved under Ice Age conditions and we’ve spent most of our species’ existence on a cold planet. Probably the real reason why Global Warming freaks us out). It’s called “wood”, people. You burn it. It make fire. Fire hot. And that big old campfire from a few episodes ago demonstrates that these survivors do know how to make one.

"Don’t get me started on how stupid it is that [the CDC scientist] Jenner is the only one left at the CDC (even after that long spiel about people bailing or committing suicide, I didn’t buy it. And where are all the bodies?). Or how everyone is convinced that it’s the end of the world and they are doomed. As I said above, the zombies are not going to last forever and this group already knows about other survivors. And the little advanced slideshow that Jenner does for them shows the scientific inanity of zombies that do anything but shamble around. Previous episodes have shown zombies sensing survivors, tracking survivors, turning locks…yet, the slideshow makes very clear that none of that is possible because nothing whatsoever of the cerebrum (or, for that matter, the cerebellum) functions after death. Jenner even emphasizes that. It’s questionable whether The Walking Dead's zombies can even see, let alone have any other senses. And they certainly wouldn’t have any cognitive powers."

Okay, in the words of the great philosopher, "'Nuff said."
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Aging Rock Stars Comedian Tim Hawkins [Nov. 23rd, 2010|09:22 am]
[Current Location |Dubuque Iowa]

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Dalek MacBeth [Aug. 16th, 2010|10:59 am]
Well, I thought I'd let some of you know that I recently experienced the Dalek Shakespearean Festival's production of The Tragedy of Macbeth. It had a lot of charm, although quite frankly I couldn't point out any performer as being superior to any other performer. Much of the performance was predictably grating and mechanical to the ears, although their enthusiasm for the more bloodthirsty aspects of Shakespeare was certainly compelling.

Here are some of the highlights of Macbeth as performed by the Daleks:

Act One Scene III. A heath. Enter Dalek Witches.

Dalek Witch 1: Where hast thou been, sister?

Dalek Witch 2: Killing swine.

All: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Dalek Witch 3: A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come.

All: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Dalek Banquo: What are these so withered and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth and yet are on 't?

Dalek Macbeth: Speak if you can. What are you?

Dalek Soldiers: You will obey! Exterminate!

Scene IV. Forres. The Palace. Enter Daleks Duncan, Malcom, Donalbain, and Attendants.

Dalek Duncan: Is the execution done on Cawdor?

Dalek Malcom and Donalbain: Execute! Execute! Exterminate!

Dalek Duncan: Are not those in commission yet returned?

Dalek Attendants: You will obey! Exterminate!

Scene VII. Inverness Macbeth's Castle. Enter Dalek Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Dalek Macbeth: Bring forth men children only, for thy undaunted mettle should compose nothing but males.

Dalek Lady Macbeth: I will obey!

Act Two Scene I. Inverness. Enter Monty Python soldiers chorus.

Python chorus: Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee.

Dalek Chorus rushes in: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Scene II The Same. Enter Dalek Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Dalek Macbeth: I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

Dalek Lady Macbeth: I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry...

Both: Exterminate! Exterminate!

Dalek Macbeth: This is a sorry sight.

Dalek Lady Macbeth: A foolish thought to say sorry sight!

Dalek Macbeth: There's one did laugh in his sleep and one cried "Murder!"

Both: Exterminate! Murder! Exterminate!

Dalek Lady Macbeth: What do you mean?

Dalek Macbeth: Sleep no more! Glamis has murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more! Exterminate!

Dalek Lady Macbeth: Resistence is futile! Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures.
You will obey! You will obey!

Okay you get the picture. All in all it was a very difficult play done with great screeching vigor. I'd recommend it to anyone who mght be either a Doctor Who fan or rather masochistic.

Tongue firmly in cheek,
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(no subject) [Nov. 20th, 2009|03:46 pm]
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
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Fly Monkeys, Fly! [Sep. 27th, 2009|09:16 am]
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
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A Lovecraftian Tribute To Mars [Sep. 25th, 2009|09:59 am]
At the beginning I thought this video was strictly an animated homage to Lovecraft's Deep Ones. However as the scene progressed, I could see the incidental nods toward the Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Gustav Holst.

This is delightful:

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Contagion's Shadow Contracted [Sep. 10th, 2009|02:46 pm]
Aspen Mountain Press has contracted my new horror novella Contagion’s Shadow.

If our bacteria killed the “Martians,” what did their contagion microbes leave behind for us?

One hundred and fifteen years after H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds a deadly contagion, the walking sickness, [from Wells' Shapes of Things To Come] has returned to infect the countryside with a terrible blight.

This also comes at a time when the September Fast Draft goes into effect. Soon we'll be off and running.
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