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you got to love people.
you have to want to look after customers like a traditional outfitters. like they are your family.
you have got to love sport, art, photography, the world, words, design.
you need to know what howies is and what we are doing.
you need to care about the little stuff.
and let's be honest, you have got to want to work in a shop.

our brand and our shops are built by the people. they are the most important thing for it to work.

bristol is an important step for us to do more stores, so the staff must just be brilliant.

if it ain't you maybe you know somebody.

cv's to ade@howies.co.uk

tonight the fairies bring the new stuff

  • Posted by ade
  • 10 September 2008

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Lisa, Anna, Mark and me are taking down all the sale clothing and putting in the new range.

Last time we did it we were here till 12, but tonight it looks like we could have it ready by 9pm.

Testament to Anna's planning, and Carnaby's preparation.

You live and you learn.

Lost in the Post

  • Posted by tim
  • 10 September 2008

Martin Wainwright meets Kevin Boniface, whose book Lost in the Post is a whimsical 'Postman's eye view', of everyday life in an English town, with photography by the award-winning Shaw and Shaw team. Contains strong language. Martin Wainwright of the Guardian. here's the link to the video. i love england.

How it could have turned out for Ade.

  • Posted by tomos
  • 10 September 2008

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Monday night cycled home. Felt good swerving down the hill. Back end stepped out and this the damage done.
I'm fed up of falling now.
Right going out on my bike.
Have a nice night.

180 on a road bike

  • Posted by ade
  • 10 September 2008

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On my ride to work i have a lovely downhill into a very steep 180 hairpin bend to negotiate.

And it's always peppered with mud, stones, oil, water, slurry, leaves...

Every day i go round it i worry about crashing cause i've seen it done.

Today on the road bike the back wheel stepped out. Right out.
I unclipped and got my foot down before i hit the tarmac.
Then the back wheel continued right round and the front wheel slid out and i ended up facing up hill.

Heart in mouth with all skin intact.

Sly and the Family Stone

  • Posted by tim
  • 10 September 2008

We are everyday people..............................

The Hadron update

  • Posted by tim
  • 10 September 2008

No one died, at least not in Wimborne anyway. The mail have a good bit of info up here.

Will the world end Today?

Be a bit of a pain if it did, wouldn't it? And the most frustrating thing is that we won't know for sure either way until the European laboratory for particle physics (Cern) in Geneva switches on its Large Hadron Collider today.

If you think it's unlikely that we will all be sucked into a giant black hole that will swallow the world, as German chemistry professor Otto Rssler of the University of Tbingen posits, and so carry on with your life as normal, only to find out that it's true, you'll be a bit miffed, won't you?

If, on the other hand, you disagree with theoretical physicist Prof Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith of the UK Atomic Energy Agency, who argues that fears of possible global self-ingestion have been exaggerated, and decide to live the next two days as if they were your last, and then nothing whatsoever happens, you'd feel a bit of a fool too.

Rssler apparently thinks it "quite plausible" that the "mini black holes" the Cern atom-smasher creates "will survive and grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside". So convinced is he that he has lodged an EU court lawsuit alleging that the project violates the right to life guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Prof Llewellyn Smith, however, has assured Radio 4's Today programme that the LHC - designed to help solve fundamental questions about the structure of matter and, hopefully, arrive at a "theory of everything" - is completely safe and will not be doing anything that has not happened "100,000 times over" in nature since the earth has existed. "The chances of us producing a black hole are minuscule," he said, "and even if we do, it can't swallow up the earth." So, folks, who do you believe?

Jon Henley for the Guardian.

Babies and Bathwater

  • Posted by tim
  • 9 September 2008

Environment, Climate change
'Enjoy life while you can'

Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do? By Decca Aitkenhead The Guardian.

In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and "all sorts of fanciful technological stuff". When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. "It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business," he said.

"And of course," Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, "that's almost exactly what's happened."

Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists. Working alone since the age of 40, he invented a device that detected CFCs, which helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer, and introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.

For decades, his advocacy of nuclear power appalled fellow environmentalists - but recently increasing numbers of them have come around to his way of thinking. His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, predicts that by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report deploys less dramatic language - but its calculations aren't a million miles away from his.

As with most people, my panic about climate change is equalled only by my confusion over what I ought to do about it. A meeting with Lovelock therefore feels a little like an audience with a prophet. Buried down a winding track through wild woodland, in an office full of books and papers and contraptions involving dials and wires, the 88-year-old presents his thoughts with a quiet, unshakable conviction that can be unnerving. More alarming even than his apocalyptic climate predictions is his utter certainty that almost everything we're trying to do about it is wrong.

On the day we meet, the Daily Mail has launched a campaign to rid Britain of plastic shopping bags. The initiative sits comfortably within the current canon of eco ideas, next to ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so on - all of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.

"It's just too late for it," he says. "Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can't say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do."

He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. "Carbon offsetting? I wouldn't dream of it. It's just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you're offsetting the carbon? You're probably making matters worse. You're far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests."

Do he and his wife try to limit the number of flights they take? "No we don't. Because we can't." And recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures". He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. "Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam ... or if it wasn't one in the beginning, it becomes one."

Somewhat unexpectedly, Lovelock concedes that the Mail's plastic bag campaign seems, "on the face of it, a good thing". But it transpires that this is largely a tactical response; he regards it as merely more rearrangement of Titanic deckchairs, "but I've learnt there's no point in causing a quarrel over everything". He saves his thunder for what he considers the emptiest false promise of all - renewable energy.

"You're never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours," he says. "Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time."

This is all delivered with an air of benign wonder at the intractable stupidity of people. "I see it with everybody. People just want to go on doing what they're doing. They want business as usual. They say, 'Oh yes, there's going to be a problem up ahead,' but they don't want to change anything."

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem - the bigger challenge will be food. "Maybe they'll synthesise food. I don't know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco's, in the form of Quorn. It's not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it." But he fears we won't invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects "about 80%" of the world's population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. "But this is the real thing."

Faced with two versions of the future - Kyoto's preventative action and Lovelock's apocalypse - who are we to believe? Some critics have suggested Lovelock's readiness to concede the fight against climate change owes more to old age than science: "People who say that about me haven't reached my age," he says laughing.

But when I ask if he attributes the conflicting predictions to differences in scientific understanding or personality, he says: "Personality."

There's more than a hint of the controversialist in his work, and it seems an unlikely coincidence that Lovelock became convinced of the irreversibility of climate change in 2004, at the very point when the international consensus was coming round to the need for urgent action. Aren't his theories at least partly driven by a fondness for heresy?

"Not a bit! Not a bit! All I want is a quiet life! But I can't help noticing when things happen, when you go out and find something. People don't like it because it upsets their ideas."

But the suspicion seems confirmed when I ask if he's found it rewarding to see many of his climate change warnings endorsed by the IPCC. "Oh no! In fact, I'm writing another book now, I'm about a third of the way into it, to try and take the next steps ahead."

Interviewers often remark upon the discrepancy between Lovelock's predictions of doom, and his good humour. "Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."

Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."

At moments I wonder about Lovelock's credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favours market forces, and it's not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth - or Gaia - it is in the purest scientific terms all.

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

There's more stuff on Lovelock here on the Guardians site.

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