Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In The News

In an effort not to talk about the same things every time I post, here’s a news roundup of some issues that have caught my eye recently:
There are 25 Common Programming Errors which make life easier for hackers. Sadly, the article doesn’t go into detail about the errors.
Primark and TNS Knitwear are exploiting workers in sweatshops in the UK. The thing which I find most incredible about this is that it’s happening in Manchester, not in the outer reaches of India or China. The people in the sweatshops seem only to be there because they can’t get work anywhere else (usually due to a lack of papers). It is a bad thing that while awaiting asylum applications people aren’t allowed to do any work – some kind of temporary permit would at least mean that they could be kept track of. Worse than that, though, is the illegal immigrant and overstayed visa workers. In any case, though, minimum working standards should apply. We should not have factories in the UK which are in such a state. And the wages are shocking. So, if you ever wondered (and you knitters may well have) how Primark were managing to make knitted garments (sweaters) for less than £10 each, or the gloves which were so popular at just £3 a pair, now you know. The only way the prices get that low is through illegal and immoral labour being used. It’s despicable!
The 1911 Census is now online (and if you’re interested, it’s Here, at 1911census.co.uk) – my grandparents were all born later than 1911, but there should be families in the right areas with the right names available for my family history research. The most difficult part is making sure you get the right branches as you go back. The other great thing about this census is that the householder filled it in themselves, so you can get a glimpse of the handwriting of your ancestors. How amazing is that? Sadly, the 1921 census is unlikely to be made available any time soon, the 1931 was destroyed in a fire, there was no census in 1941 because of the war, so the next one, 1951 will be available no sooner than 2051. That’s a long time to wait!

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