Monday 31 August 2009
The particular provider supplied a setup disk. Mmmm, I thought, this will make life easy. Absolute Bollocks. It was a heap of shite. I should have set up the account manually and saved myself the trouble of running up the road, to get £15 of time for my PAYG broadband dongle, in order to log onto the ISP's forum.
The speed of my broadband has been slow of late (350k), due to the cat pissing on the telephone connection to the wireless router, so I decided to make a few changes.
I moved the router into the hall, next to the master socket, thus shortening the telephone line to the router. A dramatic increase was seen immediately (6M).
Next up was to change the router for a newer dual freqency type. Wow, now up to 12M.
I should have done this along time ago.
Thursday 27 August 2009
Scientists Examine ASH Smoking Claims
On its website, Action on Smoking and Health makes a number of claims regarding smoking, including that the very breath and smell of smokers, even when they are not smoking, can be extremely hazardous to people's health.
E Cigarette Direct asked three respected Professors of Medicine to examine these claims.
1. 30 minutes of exposure to drifting tobacco smoke can trigger a fatal heart attack.
ASH states that: "...someone else’s smoke can kill you if even if you can barely smell it, and even if you can’t smell it."
2. E Cigarettes pose dangers for both smokers and non-smokers.
According to ASH, electronic cigarettes are dangerous both for smokers and non-smokers.
3. Third hand smoke can pose serious risks for non-smokers.
Proven or not, this claim has been used to:
- ban smokers from hospital waiting rooms
- bar parents from seeing their children - even when the parents smoke outside. (See smokers not just smokers barred http://www.pr-inside.com/smokers-not-just-smoking-barred-at-r1140158.htm)
4. Smoker's breath can be harmful to health, especially to children, the elderly and those especially sensitive to many chemicals.
John Banzhaf says:
"We've always known that a smoker's breath stinks. Now we know that it also creates indoor air pollution which can harm children and perhaps some adults."
Scientist's Responses to ASH
Brad Rodu is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Louiseville, and holds an endowed chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research. He also runs the Tobacco Truth Blog.
Quite simply, these statements are either gross exaggeration or pure fiction.
With respect to exposure to second hand smoke, it is true that it can initiate some subtle changes in blood chemistry and other factors, but it is a specious exaggeration to claim that it causes heart attacks. There is a general consensus that the important risk factors for heart attacks are primary smoking, diet, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, low physical activity, hypertension and family history. Compared with these, brief exposure to secondhand smoke is insignificant.
The ASH statement about e-cigarettes is wishful thinking. With respect to smokers, there is substantial and compelling scientific research documenting that consuming the ingredients in e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, water and flavors) is vastly safer than burning tobacco and inhaling 3000+ toxic by-products. Claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous for non-smokers is about as credible as claiming that air travel is dangerous for people who never set foot in an airplane.
Third hand smoke is an invention by Harvard University anti-tobacco extremists; it consists of “breathing air today in a room or car where people smoked yesterday.” The Harvard extremists collected “evidence” for the dangers of third hand smoke, which were the survey responses from 1,500 non-scientists from the U.S. who believe that it can harm babies and children. Third hand smoke has as much scientific credibility, and carries about as much risk, as third hand rain.
John Banzhaf’s comments about the harm related to smokers’ breath has no medical rationale, but it is an excellent example of the increasing marginalization of smokers using pseudoscience. Extending Banzhaf’s logic, non-garlic eaters may be able to absorb the possible health benefits of garlic by moving into the vicinity of garlic aficionados.
Formerly a physician who specialised in preventative medicine, Professor Michael Siegel is now a Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health. Michael also has 20 years experience in Tobacco Control, primarily in the field of research, and runs the Tobacco Analysis Blog.
1. 30 minutes of exposure to drifting tobacco smoke can trigger a fatal heart attack.
It may be true, on theoretical grounds, that 30 minutes of tobacco smoke exposure could trigger a fatal heart attack, but this would only be the case for individuals with severe pre-existing heart disease. A healthy person is not going to die from a heart attack due to 30 minutes of secondhand smoke. ASH makes no attempt to qualify its statement. Even worse, ASH gets even more specific in its claim, asserting that the risk of a fatal heart attack in a nonsmoker exposed for 30 minutes is the same as that of an active smoker. This latter claim is factually inaccurate.
2. E Cigarettes pose dangers for both smokers and non-smokers.
There is no existing evidence that e-cigarettes pose a risk for nonsmokers. The nicotine exposure from the exhaled vapor produced the the vapor is likely to be extremely small and there is no reason to think that it poses a danger for nonsmokers. But there certainly is no evidence to suggest that it poses a hazard.
3. Third hand smoke can pose serious risks for non-smokers.
While there is evidence that there are detectable levels of tobacco smoke constituents in exhaled tobacco smoke of smokers after they have finished smoking and on surfaces in rooms after smoking has been completed, there is no evidence that the levels are high enough to cause demonstrable harm to most individuals. The only potential side effect is likely an adverse response among individuals who are exquisitely sensitive to tobacco smoke.
4. Smoker's breath can be harmful to health, especially to children, the elderly and those especially sensitive to many chemicals: "We've always known that a smoker's breath stinks. Now we know that it also creates indoor air pollution which can harm children and perhaps some adults."
As above: There is no evidence that the levels of exposure to tobacco smoke constituents are high enough to cause any problem. The only potential problem could be an adverse response among individuals who are exquisitely sensitive to tobacco smoke.
Note - You can also read our interview with Professor Michael Siegel.
First, as an overview, all four of these statements are clear examples of a phenomenon that we have documented in several of our studies: Most major anti-tobacco (and now also anti-e-cig) political actors, including those who are (mistakenly) trusted by the public, demonstrate a willingness to make whatever pseudo-scientific claims they think will further their worldly goals, regardless of the whether they are true, apparently unconcerned with the damage that such claims do to people and to science itself. I have written about this.
1,3,4 on the list are out-and-out scientifically false in the sense that there is no evidence to support them. That is, these are epidemiological claims (claims about actual human health effects) but there is absolutely no epidemiological evidence that supports the claim.
If they had made claims about "detectable levels of chemicals that are known to cause...." or something like that, as many others have, it would be a different kind of lie -- an attempt to take advantage of scientific ignorance to be dishonest without actually making an explicitly false statement.
But given that purely speculative epidemiologic claims were stated as if they were facts, this has to be seen as explicit falsehood. Keep in mind that a scientific hypothesis about a phenomenon needs to be supported before it can be claimed as true; simply finding some reason to propose a particular hypothesis (e.g., a particular exposure might be harmful because there are tiny quantities of some chemical) and then declaring it to be true without evidence is not just unethical - it also damages the public's ability to make sense of science.
Again, these people try to take advantage of scientific ignorance to claim whatever strikes them as expedient without regard to the science. Points 3 and 4 are particularly absurd since the "study" that gets cited as the basis for saying "third hand smoke" is harmful was actually an unethical push-poll that manipulated lay people into saying they feared the effects. This obviously offers no useful information at all.
Point 2 is a bit more complicated of a lie.
Since the claim is juxtaposed with discussions of ETS, it is a clear attempt to imply that the spillover from e-cigs is just as bad as people think ETS is. This is obviously false, since ETS is not even as bad as people think ETS is, and e-cig vapor is, beyond much doubt at all, less harmful still.
It is conceivable that e-cig vapor poses some small risk, but this is speculative since there is no epidemiology and not even any chemistry/physiology to support it.
The claim that the trivial amount of nicotine in the vapor would be much of a risk seems ridiculously far-fetched. That said, the headline statement is literally true if we consider the risk to children of certain e-cig products that are contact poison or swallowing risks.
Of course, referring to such risks (which should be reduced through product engineering!) to try to trick readers into thinking that there is a substantial externality from the vapor is clearly a lie.
What do you think?
H/T to "Freedom to choose"
Wednesday 26 August 2009
Watch it here
Pity is that he is only an MEP in the conservative party. He comes across as very Libertarian.
Call me Dave will need to watch his back.
UPDATE According to Guido it's been in the public domain for some time.
Read his take on it here
Tuesday 25 August 2009
I read your piece in the Oldie and I was a bit sympathetic. Of course, I know a lot was exaggerated, and of course it's all nothing compared to the boys of Brussels (and the girls). I think most people thought that as well and had a little snicker about it.
The thing is Austin, that people can be very ungrateful about some things and after all they don't always know about your work to clean up things, clear the air so to speak.
Read the rest here.
From Watt's up with That, comes this
The LA Times story:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming
By Jim Tankersley
August 25, 2009
Reporting from Washington
The nation’s largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.
Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” — complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.
“It would be evolution versus creationism,” said William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “It would be the science of climate change on trial.”
The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court.
The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a “waste of time” and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be “frivolous.”
EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency based its proposed finding that global warming is a danger to public health “on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare.”
The chamber proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials, based on myth,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist for the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists. “In this case, it would be ignoring decades of publicly accessible evidence.”
The proposed finding has drawn more than 300,000 public comments. Many of them question scientists’ projections that rising temperatures will lead to increased mortality rates, harmful pollution and extreme weather events such as hurricanes.
In light of those comments, the chamber will tell the EPA in a filing today that a trial-style public hearing, which is allowed under the law but nearly unprecedented on this scale, is the only way to “make a fully informed, transparent decision with scientific integrity based on the actual record of the science.”
Read the complete LA Times story here
Website of the US Chamber of Commerce here
Lets see what the general public think.
He has fathered seven children by seven women in just seven years and abandoned each and every one. Dressed in a tracksuit, jobless 24-year-old Keith MacDonald is enough to put women off men for life.Doesn't look like it to me. He's just about to marry the eighth.
Please can any government pass a law for compulsory sterilisation?
The binman's son, who lives on £44 a week income support, has never paid a penny towards the upbringing of his children.
Nor does he see them. Apparently it is 'too much of a hassle'. But bride-to-be Clare Bryant, 20, is convinced he has changed and says they plan to have two children together.
The couple have since moved in together in a two bedroom council house in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, and are applying for joint benefits of around £100 a week - leaving the taxpayer to pick up the £60,000 bill for his seven children.
Friday 21 August 2009
Thursday 20 August 2009
Will The BBC show it? I think not.
Not an autocue in sight.
H/T to Theo
Wednesday 19 August 2009
The birthplace of political liberties, the home of the Magna Carta, is now one of the most intrusive democracies in the world. Labour governments have introduced surveillance and monitoring systems of which the communists could only dream.An interesting fact is that most of the commentators on the article in the Times agree with him.
Read it here.
Mr Guard, who makes documentaries about crime and the homeless, was filming squatters entering a disused building through an open window at 10pm on August 1.
A security sensor inside detected the movement and the alarm was triggered.
The squatters fled but Mr Guard, a former electrician, decided to stay behind and turn off the alarm to save neighbouring families from the noise.
To do so he had to turn on the electricity in the building for a few seconds, to give him light, and then turn it off.
Nine police then arrived in response to the alarm. When Mr Guard told them what he had done, he was arrested and held in a cell for six hours before being charged.
Film maker is taken to court for stealing 0.003p - at a cost of over £5,000 to the taxpayer
It beggars belief. Especially as they used 9 plods to arrest him.
Tuesday 18 August 2009
Police cannot be trusted to hand out summary justice and will act as “judge and jury” if given powers to issue more on-the-spot fines, magistrates have warned.
More and more offences are being dealt with by these iniquitous on-the spot fines.
Before the Labour government came to power I seem to remember that here was a premise in law, that " You were innocent until proved guilty". Oh how it's changed. Even if you contest the charge, and are proven innocent, costs can be awarded against you, and are more than the fine in the first place. Justice, (or lack of it), seems a one way street now.
“This is a proposal that places the convenience of the police above what is right in principle, may coerce innocent drivers into accepting a fixed penalty, and is certain generally to downgrade careless driving in terms of offence seriousness.”
The trouble with this one is that those who have committed a serious motoring offence will be treated the same in law, as one who has just made a minor error of judgement. Magistrate's courts are there to assess the seriousness of the offence and punish accordingly.
Of course here is the crunch.
However, Mick Giannasi, Gwent Chief Constable who is in charge of roads policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “By dealing with offences in this way, it can result in a reduction in the amount of time that police officers spend completing paperwork and attending court, while also reducing the burden on the courts and the taxpayer.”They don't care about justice, just crime reduction figures, targets, and costs.
That's why I have no faith in the Police.
Monday 17 August 2009
It would appear that ASH and the DoH have been slightly economical with the truth when it comes to the cost of under the counter sales of Tobacco products.
This document was obtained under the FOI act. Many thanks to Christopher Snowden, it's an interesting read.
It would seem That ASH and DoH will go to any lengths to continue their campaign of sheer spite and bigotry.
Read it here.
Farmers who cleared huge swathes of forests to grow crops thousands of years ago could have increased carbon dioxide levels enough to change the climate, researchers claimed todayMy theory differs to theirs in that it is probably the herds of flying pigs farting that has caused it.
There was far less arable land in those days as the population was far smaller. Kent, for instance, was mainly forest until the Napoleonic wars. Why didn't the carbon dioxide levels really not leap up in the 18th and 19th century? Slash and burn was far more prevalent then.
They never give up do they?
Sunday 16 August 2009
Today's Telegraph carries an article by Dan Hannan, stating why he said these things, and by the comments pouring in, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that maybe the NHS is not the sacred cow that is made out to be.
Those politicians who have jumped onto the bandwagon to condemn the broadcast may actually have woken up the sleeping public at long last.
Read it here
Saturday 15 August 2009
The BBC is another case in point. They might look to their own record over the last few years.
They should be another Monolith that should be up for intense scrutiny
Thursday 13 August 2009
I feel strongly about the lack of equipment that the services get.
All the time the politicians (small p) are using the Defense procurement agency as a tool to safeguard jobs in the party homelands, this is going to continue.
Why are we buying the new Lynx helicopter for double(or more), when we could buy american Blackhawks, now? A tried and tested Helo that can hold more troops and is better armed and protected.
Why have we continued with Eurofighter Typhoon (A cold war throwback), when we could have the american F18, IMO a superior aircraft? At far less cost
I could go on but you know the story, politicians aren't in the real world.
My answer is to send them to Helmand province,all 646 of them, as "The First battalion of the UK despoilers", and see how they whine then.
Hopefully we'll need a lot of Hercs to bring the bodies back.
Then again, that would be a waste of fuel.
It would be interesting if the owners of facebook actually came out with a statement of why they removed the group in the first place. I wonder who lent on them?
Here is the link. Go on, join, you know you want to.
Can we have our anti-smoking ban group back please?
Wednesday 12 August 2009
Tuesday 11 August 2009
Beggars cant be choosers. Or can they?
The sight of a person in tatty clothes begging on the street is enough to elicit money from many well-meaning passers-by.
But, it was claimed last night, some 'beggars' could be office workers with homes who are topping up their salaries by earning £200 a night from donations.
Plenty of helpfull hints in the comments on how to spot a well off beggar.
Monday 10 August 2009
Sunday 9 August 2009
"Can you paint the new fence at the bottom of the garden?"
Off I go down to B&Q and spend 30 mins looking at all the fence paints, of all colours, textures and manufacturers. (maybe we can hold a fence painting olympics).
Anyway I choose Antique pine silk, and rush home to begin this labour of love.
3 hours later I have finished. (It's a long fence at chateau filthy engineer)
The question I'm asking is: Why did she wait till after I'd finished, to tell me she wasn't happy with the colour?
Saturday 8 August 2009
• The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tyre.
• It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbour's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
• Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
• No one is listening until you fart.
• Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.
• Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
• It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a bad example.
• It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
• If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.
• Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile way and you have their shoes.
• If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
• Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
• If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
• If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
• Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windscreen.
• Good judgement comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.
• The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your pocket.
• Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
• A closed mouth gathers no foot.
• Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.
• There are two theories about how to argue with a woman. Neither works.
• Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.
• Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
• Never miss a good chance to shut up.
• We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.
That's enough of the hiliarity for today.
'I can't help it', 'I get it from my mother', 'I've got the fat gene', 'you're being cruel', 'what if it was your own family'.
'The Government doesn't do enough,'
'There's nothing for kids to do, that's why they eat all the time,' says Kayleigh. 'We need help. I can't afford to go to something like WeightWatchers. They charge you £1 just to get weighed. A pound is a lot of money to me.'
It's the downright denial of their condition that worries me, and the attitude that it must be someone else's fault. Someone should tell them in no certain terms that it's their life and they, and only they, are responsible for it.
Thursday 6 August 2009
Wednesday 5 August 2009
Scores of angry viewers complained to the BBC, media regulator Ofcom and on online message boards after it was shown on Sunday night's Top Gear show, watched by 6.7million.
The spoof advert, for the Volkswagen Scirocco TDI, contained a clip of people in Warsaw panicking and rushing to board trains and buses to escape the city.
Well to me "SCORES" of viewers complaining out of 6.7 million who watched it, is a minute number of complainants. Say it was four score that complained, then the percentage would be so miniscule as to be irrelevent. Who are these people that have absolutely no sense of humour and do not see that it was supposed to be a lighthearted piece of tomfoolery?
Tuesday 4 August 2009
Saturday 1 August 2009
(1) Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely.
(2) A person may also semi-retire and keep some sort of retirement job, out of choice rather than necessity. This usually happens upon reaching a determined age, when physical conditions don't allow the person to work any more (by illness or accident), or even for personal choice (usually in the presence of an adequate pension or personal savings). The retirement with a pension is considered a right of the worker in many societies, and hard ideological, social, cultural and political battles have been fought over whether this is a right. In many western countries this right is mentioned in national constitutions.
To be honest, I haven't a clue what to do with the rest of my life. I was brought up with the work ethic and have followed it for 44 years, so to stop now will be like losing a loved one.
On the other hand should I make use of the time to spend my life getting pissed every day in the pub, and run the risk of the pub closing down as I drive the other customers away with my boring sea stories.
The decision is yours!