Life Neutral: like carbon neutral, but for kids killed by arms dealers' products


54 Responses to “Life Neutral: like carbon neutral, but for kids killed by arms dealers' products”

  1. Cloud Buster says:

    Wow, that’s great the’re so big on helping kids, but helping children not becoming soldiers with AK’s in their hand in the rest of the world would be a bit more helpful,yes?
    Bad for business I guess.

  2. Rhodeguy says:

     Yah maaannnnn, like, you can’t hug kids with nuclear arms maaaannn.

    WAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE UNPLEASANT. THATS WHY THEY ARE A LAST RESORT.  We lose something, buildings, soldiers and, yes, sometimes innocent civilians including children. Why do we beleive that we can somehow make war more palatable by decrying the deaths of civilians or doing something like this piece suggests?

    • Deidzoeb says:

      “THAT’S WHY THEY should be A LAST RESORT.” There, I fixed that for you.

      “Why do we believe that we can somehow make war more palatable by decrying the deaths of civilians or doing something like this piece suggests?”
      For one thing, “What do ya mean ‘we’, kemo sabe?” For another thing, the pranksters are trying to make war less palatable, so that they might actually be last resorts instead of profitable ventures to help monied interests, often called “our national interest”.

    • IamInnocent says:

      If only it were truly a last resort but it never is, not really. It is almost always just another geopolitical tool. Hence the point of ridiculing it.

    • Yeah you sound like someone who has really felt the unpleasantness of a war.

      Try living in a war zone with your family for 5 years, then consider yourself qualified to comment on the ‘unpleasantness of war’.

  3. Aron Briggs says:

    this program misses the big picture.  I find it incredibly offensive. We don’t need to support bringing more lives in to first world countries to make up for the children dying in war torn third world countries. Do you know how many children are starving in those war-zones? A lot probably.  Life neutral should focus more on the equalization of life in the war-zone.  Those children who are unfortunately losing their lives as a result of weapons do no need to die in vain.  In most instances the meat left on their bones is still 70% palatable, and with today’s advances in hyper accurate weapons systems we are looking at a possible increase to 87% good meat left on these civilian deaths.  There is absolutely no reason any child should go starving on the battlefield when so many plentiful resources are provided.  But until programs like Life Neutral start rethinking casualties loss management strategies there is going to be a lot of opportunities for good going to waste.

    • Daniel Sinnott says:

      Yet another who has an epic fail whilst reading the article … it is a hoax – a prank to make people think about the innocent lives lost through the use of weapons.

      Now read the article again!

    • Life Neutral says:

      Aron, fancy a job at Life Neutral as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager? @lifeneutral:twitter  @spacehijackers:twitter 

  4. 1) Good on the BBC for picking up the obvious prank (if only the AP could be so non-credulous)
    2) Will they also buy carbon credits, etc. to offset the increased resource utilization by a first-world child?

  5. csforstall says:

    This group is attempting the impossible, they are straining in desperation to hold back the tide of human history. Conflict isn’t by itself a good thing, but we as a species have been at it since the beginning of time and that unfortunate truth shows no signs of abatement.

    This group has a good and very pertinant policy point, yet the way they are spending their money doesn’t seem like it is truly aimed at addressing the problems they claim they want addressed. In other words rather then buying a tank, or playing a prank they probably could have spent those substantial sums on a demining operation or through a Humanitarian NGO.

    You don’t win people over with pranks, showmanship, and a desperate beg for attention. I think it would be easy for them to win followers, but it would require them to commit those funds to those conflict zones and not spend them as side-show dollars at their local arms show (no matter how big it might be).  

    Also, as a side note, if you are going to go after arms dealers, the most common weapon that is used in all those conflicts is the AK-47, and not all the wiz-bang gagetry stuff.   

    • Life Neutral says:

      Goblin, you raise some good points. The facts are, however, that there’s very many NGOs out there doing just what you suggest. Our group (Space Hijackers) fit into a different, er, space. Diversity of tactics. We have some small funds to do our projects – not 1000s as you seem to think but we scrape enough to get interesting projects going. We’re not a charity, we don’t accept sponsors or dodgy donations, and none of us are trust-funded rich kids. We figure the small sums we do have are better used doing what we do best, rather than being swallowed up by all the baggage that goes with big NGO operations – paying for health and safety training,  bodyguards, flights(!) 4x4s etc.etc.

      Diversity of tactics, a broad spectrum is needed. 

      Don’t forget the type of operations you describe such as demining are picking up the pieces after conflict. We’re playing the long game, a long slow process of changing attitudes. You do win people over with pranks. Yesterday 1000s of people heard for the first time about the world’s biggest arms fair, DSEi, and what goes on there. Thanks to a prank. That’s a good start.Oh, and AK47s are on sale at DSEi.

      • csforstall says:

        not 1000s

        Then how did you afford a “tank” as you claim on your website? Surely you can understand why I would think you had lots of cash as a “tank” is a very large and expensive piece of hardware.

        We’re playing the long game, a long slow process of changing attitudes.

        This in a way relates to a  deeper point that I was trying to make in my orginal post. You are focusing on a narrow sector, UK/ Western World and specifically an arms show, with a broad self-imposed mandate, as listed on the Life Neutral website, offset deaths in third world conflict zones. I am just interjecting the concern that the problem is very broad and exists outside of the scope for which you have defined your actions. There are more black market activities and arms dealers whom feed the problem in a much more oblique way then does any single arms/technology show. At the heart you are chosing to address one of the many symptoms of the problem and not the root cause.  I think it is fair to say that most of the western world, the people anyway, if not always its leaders, naturally eschews conflict. This is noted  when you look at the western world’s policies regarding their own militaries: no draft, all volunteer, comparable pay to civilian sector.So to get to my point, I think the western world has already more or less agreed to your message, and thats why you don’t get much play with media pranking. You are essentially preaching to the choir. The broader aspects, and strategies of this arguably world wide problem are ignored. One size doesn’t fit all, and one government can’t fix all the problems in the world. Local problems require local solutions.Thanks for your willingness to exchange ideas.

  6. gaisgach says:

     Faced with the prospect of having to offset the unfortunate side effects of cluster bombs in the 3rd world by bumping off large quantities of first world offspiring, the organizers of the DSEi today instead decided to ban two Pakistani purveyors of canister munitions:
    “They have been widely condemned because they have killed and injured
    hundreds of civilians long after conflicts have ended. One third of all
    such casualties are thought to have been children.”

  7. Event_Horizon says:

    Is this another one of those “so sick it has to be a prank but ‘no one’ notices” from The Yes Men? That was my 10 second impression.

  8. SedanChair says:

    Fantastic. That is the creepiest logo In History.

  9. tmcsweeney says:

    Whilst I realise this is a joke, the joke could work the other way: Want to raise a child in the west? Fund guns in 3rd world conflict zones in order to kill enough poor children that it offsets your own offspring.

  10. digi_owl says:

    Sad thing is that war is the perfect market in the eyes of capitalism, as anything sold gets destroyed or in some other way used up. End result is that there is always a sellers market.

  11. mahlsdorferami says:

    Am I the only one who’s intrigued by the asterisk in “for every* life lost”? I wonder what was in the fine print.

  12. Kerouac says:

    Well played, Life Neutral.  I’m looking forward to more of your “activities” in the future.  If you ever hooked up with The Yes Men, it could really get nuts!

  13. Karen Eliot says:

    “Yesterday 1000s of people heard for the first time about the world’s biggest arms fair, DSEi, and what goes on there.”

    That’s just conjecture, you’ve really no idea how many people heard about it for the 1st time. Seems you’re trying to make good PR out of a failed hoax. Failing still.

    • Life Neutral says:

      Karen, try checking out the listening figures for BBC World Service World Update (And the global reach). Then, add the listeners of BBC London drivetime. Next, add (admittedly an estimate) 100s of tweets going out to 1000s of people. Next, add the readership of Boing Boing, and other sites. Then add the 1000s of people on our mail list. Then add a few hundred people walking past the billboards.Of course you’re right you can’t come up with an exact figure. Even the lowest guesstimate, taking into account people who already knew about the fair, would be in the 1000s. Marketing companies make these kind of educated guesses all the time. What makes you think we can’t?You’re right, we are making good PR. In some ways, that’s exactly what we do, and we’re not too shabby at it. Not perfect, but not bad for a rag-tag bunch of anarchitects. Difficult to see where the fail is, but perhaps you can explain further.

    • teapot says:

      Uh, did you ever consider how many daily hits BB gets?

      If you did you would realise that the estimate is not conjecture. Try employing logic in your comments before proudly declaring who has failed. You’ll appear less foolish that way.

  14. blehtastic says:

    It’s unfortunate that progressives, being highly correlated with those holding atheistic, humanist, and feminist views see the limiting of offspring as a positive result of a developed society.  Since science is the closest thing to worship that atheism allows, and since science (with its unremovable sidekick technology) is the only thing that can both maximize the productive agricultural use of this planet, and allow us to colonize other planets, and mine less than planet resources in space such as asteroids and comets to make human habitable structures in the next frontier; and since liberals are apparently unwilling to believe that these advances will happen and will solve the current issues affecting our planet, as shown by there self limiting anti-reproductive tendencies, liberalism therefore admits itself as nothing more than negativity and self doubt.  If you can’t even believe in your chosen viewpoints, beliefs; and their methods, to provide an essentially unlimited set of resources and possibilities in what is, from our understanding an infinite universe at our present time, then why should anyone else?

    In short, quit being so fucking negative, make some babies, and trust that space elevators, biospheres, and other scientific advances will solve all these problems we worry so much about today.  Why are progressives only willing to heed the negative teachings of sci-fi, and scientific theory, never realizing how hopeful things are if you only look at it from a different angle?

    And it would be nice if you realized that a belief in the teachings and miracles of Jesus didn’t make a person a drone to the obviously anti-Christish republican/tea party hate speech, but I’m not expecting miracles here.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      In short, quit being so fucking negative, make some babies, and trust that space elevators, biospheres, and other scientific advances will solve all these problems we worry so much about today.

      I don’t find that much more realistic than trusting that angels will make us some extra dimensions to live in. And then destroy.

    • Daniel Smith says:

      Because people who believe in reason and science realize that we have no great sky daddy that will save us if we fuck up, that species go extinct all the time and there is nothing special about us in that regard, and that not dealing with the very real threats that face us both in the universe at large and our internal cognitive deficiencies can render all of our hopes as no more than the lost dreams of another dead species. Having hope does not mean ignoring reality.

  15. backyardfoundry says:

    Space Hijackers is confused; it doesn’t matter if arms dealers are stopped from making modern weapons. Whole civilizations were destroyed in times past by pokey metal stuff and people are murdered to this day en masse with the same devices:

  16. Lobster says:

    I don’t see any harm in asking people at a gun show to donate to children.  It’s not like people who are pro-gun are anti-child…  which is where this all breaks down.  That’s the implication.  By tying the two together so overtly, Life Neutral is basically accusing gun owners of killing children.  That’s not a good way to get someone feeling generous.

    Even if you believe that in your heart of hearts, there’s nothing to be gained by telling anyone about it, and there’s plenty to be lost.

  17. sagodjur says:

    We’re already doing that. For every person who intelligently decides that they couldn’t conscionably bring a child into the world, there’s some idiocratic mouth-breather shagging away without condoms because the Lord told him they’re bad (or he just doesn’t think about the big picture).

  18. sugarsails says:

    cheers to you sagodjur

  19. Well I’m Ivy & MIT educated and have 4 kids. Sue me.I apply Gate’s CO2 formula (CO2 = P x S x E x C) to sustainability in general. I lost a bit on the P, but work hard on the E (energy per service) and C (CO2 per energy).My kids are happy, loved, and taught to be kind and helpful to others. But, I guess I’m the a-hole.

  20. TooGoodToCheck says:

    I believe XKCD has rebutted idiocracy more effectively than I am ever likely to

  21. backyardfoundry says:


    The U.S. Census collects lifetime fertility data. You should know that BY FAR the most procreant Americans are Hispanic, who tend to be in origin: Mexican, Amerindian, and Catholic. 

    If you read the top section and chart you’ll see what I’m talking about:

    Do you really want to go on about Lord-loving mouth-breathers?

  22. sagodjur says:

    I didn’t say anyone who has kids is an idiot. Being well educated, intelligent, and/or a good parent likely eliminates you from the pool of “idiocratic mouth-breather(s)” to whom I was referring. You shouldn’t take offense at comments of which you are not the target.

  23. Life Neutral says:

    Brian, thanks for Gate’s formula. Shame we didn’t have you on board to create a believable algorithm for Life Neutral’s offsetting. We coulda gone all Sokal with a bit of academic help!

    A hoax, designed to get people talking about the world’s largest arms fair, DSEi, which happens in London every two years. This year, once again, cluster bombs were on sale to people from such democratic regimes as Bahrain and Saudi.

    Go to lifeneutralsolutions dot com or spacehijackers dot org or tweet: @spacehijackers @lifeneutral:disqus  for more…  

  24. ocker3 says:

    Except for the fact that there Is a negative correlation between IQ and birth rates (… and it’s not just coming from one study (… this data is based on stuff from the US Census Bureau, who are apperently keeping data on the entire world, not just the USA). I haven’t seen Idiocracy, so I have no idea as to the veracity of their claims about the intelligent upper classes having more children in the past, but does anyone Really think the average farmer 100/200/500/1000 years ago had fewer kids than the average nobleman? Cost-of-living vs a child’s utility ratios for the varying social classes will always be higher for people who have low education/medical costs and a need for lots of hands to get manual labor done. If you’re really worried about birth rates, educate people, they’ll soon have more things to do with their time and be increasingly interested in pursuits other than staying at home and boning. Hey Presto, world birth rates drop.

  25. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Really think the average farmer 100/200/500/1000 years ago had fewer kids than the average nobleman

    Unlike Mrs. Noble, Mrs. Farmer would have to nurse her own children, which tends to suppress fertility. And she probably didn’t live nearly as long.  A dozen children would have been quite normal in a noble family, but only a couple would have lived to adulthood. I do know that the Spanish Habsburgs had a higher rate of child mortality than Spanish peasants of the time, due to inbreeding.  So, yes, quite possible.

  26. Hmm, well argued.  Except for the point in human biology that is classless, breeding.  There isn’t a class-limit on breeding, even a monetary one.  It’s what evolution did, made the genitals sexy, made them work, made us produce children.  It really is nothing to do with education per se, it’s what we humans do.  We fuck.  A lot.  War, plague, famine, threat of thermonuclear war, we don’t give a shit, but we give a fuck. Every time.  

    I’ll take your Malthus and raise you a Darwin.

  27. E T says:

    IQ ≠ education

  28. IamInnocent says:

    If we limit our examples to farmers/nobles…

    What if cleverer people were also wealthier in general and could offer better survival chances to their offspring ? I’m no expert but Googling it seems to confirm that supposition.

    More recently:

    As an aside.  Doesn’t Prince Harry look like his father? 

  30. My English ancestors, shepherds, apparently lived into their 80s, according to church records. That’s when average life span was much lower. It’s possible that from the 1700s, it has been healthier to live in a small village than in an urban environment.

  31. Citations please!  Seriously Margaret, I’m not taking the piss/being sarcastic.  There are and have been populations who have weathered the Plague, movement to America, finding a place to live there.  I’d be really interested to read about that if any papers exist and you could do something with them.  Every American is from somewhere else.  

    Also any stories from African and other European Americans who have found their history, one way or another.

    In the UK we have a TV program called ‘Who do you think you are?”.  Most folks are Eastern European, Sub-saharan African or just here from the outset.  With very few exceptions, most folks are mongrels.  Not a bad thing. The whole concept of “pure blood” reminds me of the medical (psychological and physical) deformities we had to pu up with in Europe, but you Americans got away from.  Until Palin and Bachmann.  Darwin Awards await them.  Not you, THEM.

  32. sagodjur says:

    That’s a nice strawman you killed with numbers. Can you point out where I said that the wildly spawning idiots would belong to a single and most statistically significant group? Why do they have to belong to a particular group at all? Idiots who have too many kids can come in any demographic.

  33. backyardfoundry says:

    I want you to be clear who most of these “condom-eschewing, mouth-breathing, wildly spawning idiots” are. The facts are clear from MSNBC:

    “Johnson explained there are now more Hispanic women of prime childbearing age who tend to have more children than women of other races.”More white women are waiting until they are older to have children, but it is not yet known whether that will have a noticeable effect on the current trend of increasing minority newborns.”

    I just don’t believe you know who it is that you’re hating on.

  34. sagodjur says:

    That’s funny. I just don’t believe you know who it is that I’m hating on. You keep trying to say that my comments must be about a particular group. Just because some minorities are having more kids than the majority, doesn’t mean that I’m attacking those minorities specifically.

    To be clear, the target of my “hate” (and I would know because I’m the one “hating”) are people who, regardless of their gender or ethnicity or supposed membership in any cultural identifiable or arbitrarily-determined statistical group who choose to have children without regard for whether or not they can afford them, or feed them, or educate them well, or if they can be good parents. Bad parenting, including the decision to become a parent when circumstances aren’t good, is an equal opportunity flaw amongst all human beings.

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