The Thinker's Page

You came. You thought. You conquered.

You are someone who muses, internally pontificates, cogitates and wonders with all the careful thought of an octopus working out how to slip into a jam jar. Which all makes this section of the website ideal for you.

The Thinker's page is a new section in the vinceunlimited universe designed to collate all the relevant stuff off the site for a particular type of reader, in this case the considered, thinking sort.

In time this page will be fully populated with all the thought provoking content found within the vinceunlimited site. It has started but there is more to come, so please be patient and check back in due course.

These are the first of the articles originally written and published between 2003 and 2005 in the original versions of the vinceunlimited website and represent opinions at the time, based on contemporaneous knowledge. They are reproduced below updated and edited only where necessary.

If you feel moved enough to add anything, why not drop Vince a vMail and have your say. Just remember to think about your response first.




Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.110 1 May 2018
First Published: Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
Earliest articles: Dated from Version 1.00 in Oct 2003



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Animal Parts - The Big Issue - Concrete - The Millennium Dome - Escalator Etiquette - Face Transplant




This article was originally written and published in October 2003 in the original version of the vinceunlimited web site and represented an opinion at the time, based on contemporaneous knowledge. It is reproduced below updated and edited.

Animal Parts As Spares

A monkey sat on the shoulder of Vince
A monkey transplant

One of the big issues facing mankind today is the moral question of whether we should be allowed to grow animals purely for use as spare parts for humans. Technological advancement is reaching the point where soon we will be able to grow compatible human parts within live animals.

And in 2017 the UK issued plans to make organ donor presumed consent a thing. If we have to go to the trouble of opting out then so can the mammals. Unless they fill out a form on the internet.

Imagine, a man's spare spleen, if you can, grown by a dog. Or a newborn baby's amputated lower arm being re-grown by a monkey. Or an arse transplanted from a horse onto a woman (I'm sure I've seen her already).

The issue centres on whether it is moral to do this. I believe it may be immoral not to do it. I would argue that mankind is no more than a species, albeit a very successful one and one which we are lucky to be a part of. And like all other species humans have developed the best way to survive and prosper. Being able to harvest parts from other species is just another development in the clear superiority of humans. All species use the resources available to them and just as our food farming is a clever extension of this ability so is improving this to include repair of damaged or old body parts. It is a natural extension. Nature.

And who wouldn't choose to live longer, providing the quality of their life through use of renewable, healthier parts was assured.

The only concerns I would personally have is to impose controls on the supply. I couldn't accept that the system was open to be abused by undesirable people. And I'm not scaremongering about a dozen cloned dictators. That just couldn't occur. No, I would worry about persistent drunks using surrogates to grow banks of spare livers. And I would have concerns about stinking smokers using animals to constantly transplant their lungs. Transplanting their brains might be a better idea.

My own view is that I would be happy for a pig to grow a heart for me, then for me to have it transplanted when mine is worn out. And I could enjoy a good bacon sandwich afterwards. Long live technology.


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a Barbary Macaque monkey sat on the shoulders of the author in Gibraltar and was added along with minor text updates in Version m5.003 6 Oct 2017
The preheader was contained within the article body in Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017



The Big (Issue) Idea

You were begging for it

By some standards I am not an overtly charitable person.

I don't set fire to Oxfam shops or kick Labradors or anything like that but equally if a 'charitable' group deluges my post-box with empty envelopes hoping that they may be filled with silver and returned then they will be sadly disappointed.

And I'm not the first to dig deep in my pockets to give money to the needy on the streets.

It is not that I dislike charity I just believe that as a society we handle the situation wrongly. The more that individuals give the less the need for society to contribute.

I do not object to my taxes being used to help those less in need but do think that it should be a government or council body deciding on distribution to meet genuine needs rather than rely on the success or otherwise of money raising campaigns. Why should a charity with a cute mascot or one with a big budget get the healthiest return?

Inevitably, one set of losers from my stringent policy is street beggars. And there must be quite a few like me as begging has developed to become high tech to compete. Well, I mean high tech in the comparitive world of scruffy tramps.

Now, instead of asking for money in a menacing fashion homeless people can now sell a service, a magazine called The Big Issue. It even has its own website - I told you it was high tech.

Now I have often passed these one product newsstands and seen the vendor struggle to sell their magazine, despite some high profile guests and modern looks. The problem is image and the thought that it is cover to cover with dreary stories of despair, which it isn't.

But being me, I had an answer.

Once, when a scruffy lad asked if I wanted to swap one of my hard earned pounds for his magazines I initially politely declined and started to pass by, when an idea dawned on me.

I stopped and suggested he could either take the price of one magazine in exchange for said article or I could give him an idea to sell hundreds more.

Being a thoughtful, considerate man he mused over the offer for a second or two then demanded his pound.

Then announced in a slur "You're my best friend, you".

Alas, he had missed the opportunity of his lifetime.

In a charitable manner I am now going to give out the advice I had to anyone reading this article.

You see, it occurs to me that the street magazine sellers are missing out on one of the most populous parts of city society - the tourists. And my idea will make the magazine appealing to all of them.


Add a map of the city


Simple.

Now, when you have recovered from the shock of such a simple idea and wondered why you hadn't thought of it you might start to consider the pitfalls.

Copyright is the major downside. Some companies make quite a profit out of selling 'disposable' maps of cities to tourists so they are hardly likely to allow their map to be used. And our national map supplier is not known for it's charitable work.

But this is where the idea still holds ground. Why not draw the city from scratch?

I know that would be a labour consuming process but hey, isn't that what these people do? Walk the streets all day?

The only other pitfall I can see is the image issue.

Do our town mayors want all the tourists approached by a scruffy urchin offering a rain sodden map and a promise that "You're my best mate, you"?

But to deny the scheme for this reason alone would be uncharitable, wouldn't it?


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.063 31 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The Big Issue magazine scheme was launched in London in 1991 to help rough sleepers move from street begging to selling a service and now costs £2.50 per copy with 50% of that price going directly to the vendor. Their website is www.bigissue.com



Concrete

By Vince

From an idea by my father, written in 1994


A concrete stairway lit in red

In a decade or two,
Everyone knew,
That there would be no more fossil fuel.

In a decade or three,
Everyone agreed,
There'd be no more wood left from the trees.

In a decade or four,
Everyone saw,
Total destruction from nuclear war.

But no-one 'cept me,
Could ever forsee,
The day we ran out of concrete.

The day we run out of concrete,
Is a day that we should grieve.
No more building up our lifestyle.
No more repairing what we see.
Jobs are lost.
No road repairs.
No shelter for our kids.
The day we run out of concrete,
The day we run out of concrete,
No fabric for society.

Ten years go by,
How right was I.
Concrete's in such short supply.

A decade's passed,
Science at last,
Is hunting for a replacement fast.

The day we run out of concrete,
Is a day that we should grieve.
No more building up our lifestyle.
No more repairing what we see.
Jobs are lost.
No road repairs.
No shelter for our kids.
The day we run out of concrete,
The day we run out of concrete,
No fabric for society.

Another ten on,
Everyone's gone.
No-one listened to the words of my song.

A decade goes.
Nobody knows.
Nobody here to listen to me.
Nobody here to listen to me.
Nobody here to listen to me.
I feel so alone...

I recall,
The day we ran out of concrete,
Was a day that we all grieved.
We couldn't build upon our lifestyle,
Or repair society.
Jobs were lost.
No road repairs.
No shelter for our kids.
The day we ran out of concrete,
The day we ran out of concrete,
A day I hope I never see.


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.010 20 Oct 2017
Lyrics written in 1994
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a concrete staircase, part of the South Bank in London and was added, along with the tag in Version m5.010 20 Oct 2017



The Millennium Dome

A tribute to the Greenwich blister

A landscape image depicting the East London Thames skyline including The Millennium Dome

An enormous carbuncle or visionary monument? That is the question

Many say that the cash should have been spent on the NHS instead? They questioned the extravagance of a structure built of a seemingly temporary design and only there for a year. And no one can see where the £800m and counting went. So why am I a supporter of this apparently whitest of elephants?

Let us consider some facts. The Dome was built in the UK, not a third world country riddled with debt and plagued by civil war. We are a first world power so shouldn't we be able to afford a bit of luxury? The money is better spent on this plaything for a few than on another weapon of mass destruction.

And I do not believe that one hospital or nurse has been cancelled because of the project. I agree the National Health Service is currently under funded and would be happy to pay additional taxes if I could guarantee an efficient service but I do not confuse this issue with the Dome. That is the job of the British Press.

As for the contents I am not a believer of criticism without seeing things first hand. So I visited this monument in it's heyday in early March 2000 and enjoyed the whole day. The content was generally of an excellent nature and there was more to see than I could in the day's visit. In particular I noted that the Journey Zone was top draw stuff (Incidently, I could not find the actual top shelf stuff).

The only disappointment was the main show. Set on too grand a scale with things happening everywhere and a pretentious story line too far up its own tent-pole to make any sense.

I predict that the Dome will eventually be fondly remembered. The media in this country is controlling how we perceive the image of this stunning structure and up to now the press has been slagging it off. Its image is at a low point so the media-mongrels [deliberate misspelling] will soon decide it is time to re-launch it as a success story.

And as for the slogan 'Only open for a year'. It will still be up and running in some form in 20 years - Mark my words.

Think about the publicity that we could get for our country if we had all got behind it - I believe it is big enough.


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts the East London Thames skyline including The Millennium Dome and was taken by the author in August 2003. It was added in Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017



Escalator Etiquette Idea

Mounting Excitement

It's a nice idea to be able to set a trend but I'm having a little difficulty getting this one going all on my own. After all my influence on thousands is fairly limited so maybe all readers could help here.

I say all readers but in truth this only really applies to those in busy metropolii[*]. My personal experience is of the metropolis called London but I guess that this could be a worldwide idea. Though not so much use in the Outer Hebrides.

On escalators it is now normal for those that are too fat, unfit or even have too much time on their hands to stand still and let the moving stairs do the work.

This is appallingly lazy and frankly a hindrance to all those who are too stressed to stand still for thirty seconds.

This lacklustre attitude causes mayhem in many places and as such it has become commonplace in big cities for those that stand to occupy just one side of the travellator allowing others to rush up the other side. This system works quite well so I can't express improvement here.

However, what I do find though is that the escalators are just not quite wide enough for this difference in speed.

Maybe we have all become wider? I know quite a few that would fit that category and some so wide they would have to fit in the next category up.

And the problem is exasperated in winter when everyone dresses like they are in Siberia. Big people in big coats mean a big problem.

But I have a little solution.

I thought of the idea whilst trying to hare up one of the escalators in London. I had travelled halfway up and realised I was adopting a contorted angular shape with my torso. Not easy in public, I assure you. I had this strange forty-five degree gait to avoid crashing into every stationary pedestrian. After all, crashing past with impunity is not only sometimes painful but so terribly rude.

And there is a simple solution that doesn't involve shutting down the underground systems for years on end - sorry Unison.

Why don't the stationary people stand at a jaunty angle?

Simple eh?

This would aide all parties with very little effort. The hares could charge up and get to their heart attack with ease and the tortoises would not have their left shoulders dislocated.

This could be reinforced with signs such as 'Stand on the left, at an angle'.

As an inventor of ideas I am of course duty bound to look at the pitfalls as well as the benefits but I am at a loss as to think of them.

There are even added benefits for the businesses that provide these escalators. All those stood at an angle will be turned toward all the revenue giving advertising. And those that stand still on rising escalators will not have to have their face buried in the bottom of the person in front.

I'm sold, I'll be doing it from now, will you?

After all, as I said at the beginning - I can't do this all by myself.


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.064 2 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
* Question: What is the plural of Metropolis? It is a Greek word so it should be metropoleis. However the word comes to English via the Latin so perhaps should be metropoles. Google cites a common spelling as metropolises. This is why I am not correcting my own spelling as Metropolii. Let's see who wins here



Looking Through Gary Gilmore's Eyelashes

Face On


The History

During mid September 2005 a surgical team made an announcement that they were to become the first to carry out a human face transplant and it unleashed a whole raft of press comment about the morals of such a procedure.

Too many commentators have taken the weak journalistic option of trying to stir up outdated, backward and religious prejudices by suggesting that there will be a moral outcry. As usual this counters the brilliant scientific advancements heralded in these new procedures.

The additional twist this time is identity and the allegedly dubious grounds that taking someone's face will mean adopting their identity and perhaps personality. This is despite the surgeon's assurances that the face is shaped by the bones, not the skin.

However, this does not deter those who think that the procedures could lead to cosmetic demands.

My personal belief is that if it did so what? If someone is prepared to fund research through vanity then let them carry on.

And so what if it changes the way someone looks or raises questions about identity? What rule says that identity has to be fixed? If they bring out such a law I'll grow a beard. And so will my wife.


Famous Faces

Taking the arguments about altering identity a little further I note that one interesting thought that hasn't yet been raised until now is the spectre that one day a celebrity may offer their face after their demise. Think about the consequences for a while.

Currently playing on some sub-standard channel on my Freeview box is a programme called 'I Want a Famous Face'. This is the latest in the current trend of titillating, voyeuristic cosmetic surgery programmes that follows desperate wannabes sadly seeking to look like a celebrity because their own self-esteem is too low.

A natural extension to this idea is having the actual face they so desire. And bidding wars could send the value of deceased celebrity faces sky high. After all their fiscal worth in life is elevated, why not in death?


Been There Done That

These concepts are not particularly new. 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' was a song was released following the real life transplantation of a dead killer's donated eyes.

This spawned a fictionalised Hollywood film called 'The Eyes of Laura Mars' suggesting that the transplanted eyes held secrets about how Laura met her demise.

'Face Off' was a grand Hollywood blockbuster featuring Nicholas Cage and John Travolta who as goodies and baddies respectively routinely swapped identities during the movie to maintain a high level of thriller element and not a small amount of confusion.

Even before that, in the grand old days when everyone was in black and white a film was released called 'The Hands Of Orlac' which featured a talented concert pianist who having lost his hands in an accident had a pair transplanted from a deceased killer. The twist this time was that the hands were more concerned with stabbing than tinkering with the ivories.


The Future

So what of the future?

I predict that this will become commonplace.

I'll further suggest that there will be routine face swapping. Maybe a business face for the day and a party face for the evening. Presently women change their hair colour, length and shape and tint their eyes with contact lenses so changing faces is a logical extension.

Maybe friends will have fun swapping faces to confuse their parents.

Of course, society will gradually learn to distrust external features and we will eventually be judged on who we are and not what we look like.

And me personally? I have never wanted to alter my face, my desire is technically easier but way more complex. I don't want to look like Brad Pitt, I want everyone to think that my look is as good as Brad's.

Oh, and I'm thinking about putting in a bid for Jennifer Aniston's face.

Not that I want to wear it - just sit on it.


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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.110 1 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
The world's first partial face transplant with parts from a stranger was claimed to be carried out on Isabelle Dinoire in Sep 2005 who had her face mauled by her dog. The work was carried out by Dr Bernard Devauchelle, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Benoit Lengelé, a Belgian plastic surgeon, and Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. The operation was successful but her immune system's response was difficult and she eventually died in 2016 following a long illness.
An earlier transplant was reported by The Guardian on a 9 year old Indian boy, Sandeep Kaur, who had his face ripped off by a thresher machine in 1994. His mother's quick reactions allowed reconstruction of his own face by Dr Abraham Thomas, one of India's top microsurgeons. This is recognised as the first face transplant. The Guardian reported that in 2004 Sandeep was training to be a nurse.
'I Want A Famous Face' is an American documentary reality TV programme first shown on MTV which originally ran between 2004 and 2005
Gary Gilmore was an American double murderer who was successfully prosecuted and eventually executed in Utah in 1977. Within hours two people had received transplants of his corneas
'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' by songwriter T.V. Smith is a single performed by punk band The Adverts produced in 1977
'The Eyes of Laura Mars' is a 1978 film written by John Carpenter and David Zelag Goodman
'Face Off' is a 1997 film written by Mike Webb and Michael Colleary
'The Hands of Orlac' is a 1924 film written by Maurice Renard
Jennifer Aniston is lovely