Saturday, 26 November 2011

Big Dick serves hot air

Littlejohn's latest ill-informed ramblings range from moaning the police treat racism, homophobia and murder as a crime via a complete lack of awareness about the Arab spring to wind farms.

I'll not bother going into his own slow-witted attempt to be a jolly version of James (science is hard) Delingpole as it was one of the comments that made me laugh most (see below).

I like the gall of someone who bitterly complains about the noise and grotesque appearance of turbines and how their heart bleeds for anyone who lives near one when they see it through their car window on the M25.

Unless they were driving round another pretty, quiet and tranquil M25 that people clamour to live next to and I don't know about.
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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Flipping the bird

How offensive is it to be 'flipped the bird'? Personally I'm not too bothered, there's often no vigour associated with it, kind of a lazy "I just don't care; jog on". It's certainly not as offensive as someone giving you the rods, something a little more violent about those.

But then I would think that as I'm a fully paid up member of the thought police (Still awaiting my warrant card) if you want to find out what the honest to goodness tax payers think of flipping the bird you need to go to the arbiter of public standards  - Our Lady the Daily Mail. Amen.

Luckily today's Mail has two stories about giving folk the finger (Not in a good way you understand) so we've double the sample size to base our findings on. Let's jump in.

The first story involves a woman, a bus driver and a missing 20p. I don't think the details are that important needless to say it ends up with a shocked woman staring at a single middle finger.

Blimey that's not very nice is it? All she did was scream at him for the duration of the bus ride, he really should man-up and take it on the chin, after all he's got that plastic screen thing protecting him from her spittle. The tone of the piece makes it very obvious that we're not to be impressed by the driver's actions - it's not big and it's not clever. But more importantly what do the readers think? Let's have a look at the top 6 rated comments.

Oooh people aren't very happy with him, and bus drivers in general it seems. So 'Flipping the bird' seems to be nasty. Let's confirm this with digit disgust story number 2.

So this unhappy Russian newsreader seems to have developed manual Tourette's syndrome which means every time she says "Barrack Obama" she has to unfurl the third finger, on the news, in front of 120 million current affairs loving Russians. So does showing off and acting clever in front of twice the population of the UK anger the Mail's loyal readership as much as a pissed off bus driver?

Apparently not.

So there it is, inconclusive evidence on the offensiveness of the bird. Flip it to an angry woman on public transport and it's bad, flip it to a leader of the free world and it's funny. However please keep in mind if you ever meet David Cameron on the bus all bets are off we just don't know what the etiquette is.
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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Water prevents dehydration

Of course it does, we all know that. However - in yet another European scare story it appears common sense has been trumped by foreigners once again. It seem they just can't let it go can they? There always has to be some Belgium or Portuguese know-it-all telling us we're wrong.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are the people who made the ruling which was prompted by a submission from two Germans - Prof. Dr. Moritz Hagen Meyer and Prof. Dr. Andreas Hahn. The first is a lawyer specialising in food law & science and the second is a food scientist. They didn't make the submission because they're planning to launch a super-tasting extra-wet bottled water onto the market, they did it for political reasons.

In order to make a claim on a food product you have to obtain a positive opinion from EFSA. This is to stop you selling a block of second-hand chip lard and promising it'll make your feet stop smelling of cheese. obviously the food industry (in which I work) isn't too happy. This is because many companies make a lot of spurious claims about their products, and generally try and flog them through Holland & Barrett, but mainly because it takes forever to get an opinion published. Not a great situation when you're trying to rush a product to market.

The reason it takes so long is obvious, there's thousand of products in Europe and only a handful of scientists of looking at all the submissions made, digesting the information given, comparing with what's been said before and publishing an opinion. This can take years, and in the case of the submission made by our German friends it took three years. This is why they they did it, to highlight the delays this relatively new way of working causes. They also did this very cleverly as, knowing how the system works, they ensured the actual wording was technically ambiguous.

What they wanted to say is “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance” This seems pretty standard, but it does require some back-up information in the submission and this is where the difficulties begin. The way this is worded means the panel has to treat dehydration as a disease, however within the submission the Profs stated that the risk of the disease is increased by a lack of fluid in body tissues and this could be remedied by taking in water. (Full submission can be seen here) Unfortunately water loss in tissues is defined as the "disease" and not a risk factor in causation of the disease. Hmm, that doesn't make a lot of sense.

In essence the Profs wanted to claim that not having dehydration reduces the risk of being dehydrated, they probably knew this is what they were asking too.

It really is a word game, a law question, a technicality that means our German friends couldn't get a positive claim on their submission. This is still Manna from heaven for people wanting to show how mental all Europeans are (Except our mischievous Germanic academics) you can't say drinking water stops dehydration!

Oh but of course you can. EFSA had previously assessed health claims around water in April 2011 (Lookie here) where they stated (In their legalise):

Maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions
The claimed effects are “hydration, e.g. body function, physical and cognitive performance”, “adds to fluid intake and supports hydration”, and “hydration”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions is a beneficial physiological effect.
Loss of body water of about 1 % is normally compensated within 24 hours. Without compensation and with further increase of body water loss, physical and cognitive functions are impaired.
The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions.
The Panel considers that, in order to obtain the claimed effect, at least 2.0 L of water should be consumed per day. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet. The target population is the general population.
Dehydration in a bottle
So you can claim that drinking water hydrates you, and with a clever commercial and regulatory people you can word that so it states that drinking water stops dehydration.
Of course that's not what will ever be reported - but every time you now see some overpaid, fat, racist columnist (Can you guess who it is yet?) use this as another example of the meddling Luxembourgers you'll know it's just not true and is in fact the mischievous doings of food industry insiders trying to stir up controversy.  
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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Save money

Top Tip. Save the cost of the Daily Mail by finding the angriest tramp you can and asking them what they think of the darkies. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Consult the lists

We've all joked about the Mail's obsession with differentiating the world into "Cures-cancer" and "Causes-cancer" to the extent that there's numerous websites and a facebook group dedicated to documenting the newspaper's findings and Russell Howard has even written a song about it.

Thankfully after years of research the Mail themselves have finally gathered enough evidence to publish their definitive list.

This expert thinks he's in with
a chance with that expert.
Lists are brilliant. You know where you stand with a list, can't argue when it's there in black and white, it is what it is and you can base your opinions and actions on whereabouts in a list any issue sits. I imagine the newsroom walls are papered with flipchart sheets full of lists.

"Where do we stand on Leylandii trees in Hampshire?" 
"According to the suburbia list, they're better than 'Lithuanian bricklayers' but worse than 'Unseasonal showers'. They're tied for fourteenth place with 'Gary Lineker'.

It seems they were making full use of the "Horrific Events" list when reviewing a new episode of Family Guy. In the episode Stewie and Brian travel back and stop the horrible events of 9/11 only to find that this causes a nuclear apocalypse in the present. Horrified they duly use their time machine to go back and ensure that the terrorist atrocities occur and then, after averting a 'When the wind blows' future, they high five in a manner popular with happy Americans.

So let's take this to the list wall. Where does a Martini drinking dog and an evil baby high-fiving, after using their time travel machine to avert a nuclear winter by ensuring 9/11 happens, sit on the 'Horrific Events' list? Well the evidence put forward by the article seems to suggest it's worse than drink driving, abortion and the holocaust.

Thank god for lists helping us keep everything in perspective.

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Glutton for punishment

Sometimes, when I've exhausted poring over the Daily Mail for things that annoy me enough to bang on about them here, I like to see what other crazies in the world have to say.

I like to look at the BiasedBBC blog - they seem to think that as it's license payers money paying for Radio 4's Today programme it really should be a propaganda instrument for the Israeli army. I've no idea why a blog that should be angry about the wrong coloured ties being worn when monarchs drop dead is actually more concerned with god bothering nutters blowing each other up at the other end of the Mediterranean, but whatever makes them happy. It's good to get it off your chest.

However the gold medal for mentalness is reserved for Fox Nation. This is a chance to worship at the altar of Sarah Palin, complain that the Occupy protesters smell and kill puppies and prove how un-racist you are by liking Herman Caine. Aside from politics and justice and media and campus (Includes a story about Wisconsin Uni professors being banned from carrying concealed weapons) they have a section set aside for culture.

So what passes for culture in the Fox Nation?

Why bare naked ladies of course, and I've been paying no attention to culture previously as I thought it was all about dusty paintings, classical music not good enough for adverts and un-rhyming poetry.
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Remarkable new scientific method

The Mail's Science section is a kaleidoscope of wonder and nonsense that prove both how amazing the natural world can be and how little attention many wannabe journalists paid to science lessons at school.

Wednesdays are often a good day for misunderstood science stories as it's the day before New Scientist is published and the sneak previews offered to the press lead to many exaggerated claims about the health benefits or dangers of many a household object or how in just six months time we'll all be flying to the moon in a biscuit tin.

However it seems a new dawn is approaching. No longer content with nibbling at the scraps the scientific press throws from its table once a week it seems the Mail's leading a charge in expounding the merits of the new scientific method for the 21st century: Cartoonism.

This breakthrough, hinted at by Einstein in his twilight years and heralded by Stephen Hawkings as a god-send, opens the doors to a new century of discovery; a new renaissance; a better world for us all.

The method itself is so simple a journalist could grasp it. By visualising and then committing to paper  your hypothesis you bring it to life and thus prove it to be true.

A fine example in today's DM demonstrates that yes indeed the good people at Pixar know their archaeology and their nut chasing mammal Scrat really did exist. Look there's a cartoon!
Yes, proof indeed
Bolstered by this amazing piece of Crayola based research The Mail has undertaken more studies. The following discoveries are yet to be fully published in peer reviewed literature but their importance to mankind cannot be kept waiting.

Is this proof 
of cat loving 
aliens in our midst?

Using your car
does not cause
Global Warming 
evidence shows

New GPS system
will tell you where
your loved ones
are at any time.

Dolly the Sheep's
cloned offspring evolve
into her worst nightmare.

Humans can survive
with fewer than six
organs medicine

Nearest stars closer
than scientists originally

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