Smoking Stephenson

I came across two very interesting and very different links today. The first was about Liverpool Council’s decision to ban smoking in public places, punishable by a £1000 fine. Now, I grew up near Liverpool (I usually say that I come from Liverpool, because it scares people more) and apart from it’s admittedly decent nightlife, it has no redeeming features. However, ever since they started making a real effort at regenerating the city centre – which still looks terrible, but looked even worse before – and of course won the European Capital of Culture for 2008, I’ve softened on the place. Banning smoking in public places is a brave decision and I’m proud that they went through with it, even if Parliament doesn’t approve it.

The second link is an interview with Neal Stephenson at Slashdot. Stephenson has long been one of my top flight ‘always buy in hardback’ authors ever since reading Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age. His interview is characteristically long and wordy, thus being wonderful, and in particular his recounting of his duels with William Gibson are reason alone to read the interview.

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2 Replies to “Smoking Stephenson”

  1. Banning smoking in public may be ‘brave’, but it is also a spineless caving in to “Nanny”.

    Without wanting to start a smoking debate by mentioning that passive smoking has yet to be proved as a statistically significant health risk full stop, let me mention that some time ago, in an online debate on smoking in public places, I commented that the logical extension of a smoking ban (for reasons of health and pleasantness) was that perfume would also require a ban. Some perfumes cause coughing and skin irritation in some people, and some particularly pungent perfumes worn in excess can be rather offensive to some too. I was told that this suggestion, the banning of perfume, was ridiculous – and indeed it was intended to be.

    However, I was reading recently that a town in the US has, for a trial period, done just that – banned perfume, for those reasons.

    If we start bannning everything that some people don’t like very much, where will it end?

    See http://nannyknowsbest.blogspot.com/ for a variety of examples of Nanny’s interference.

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