Archive for June 2010
The Daily Mail journalist Richard Ashmore is certainly feeling a bit of a plonker after having one of his stories published.
He was probably browsing t’internet looking for something to write about and came across Steve Jobs’ twitter account. In it Steve Jobs admitted that the new iPhone 4 might have to be recalled due to problems. To Richard who was probably under a tight deadline from his editors had to come with a fantastic story which would grab peoples attention, the message seemed like mana from heaven. So without much thought, research, or even reading, Richard wrote down a story about Apple. It probably took him about 10 minutes from reading the tweet to having it in front of his editor.
If Richard had read a few more of Steve’s tweets he might have found more stories. Steve had also said “People who live in houses shouldn’t throw glass phones” and “The unshaven unemployed population is starting to line up at Apple stores. Ugh, go stand outside a FedEx sort facility”. A very quick read of a number of these tweets would have made it obvious to anyone with half a brain that the twitter account is a parody one. In fact it actually says so in the bio bit. Richard didn’t see this.
Or maybe he did realise it was a parody twitter account and like all good journalists he did his job and wrote a story which attracts readers to his newspaper whilst ignoring minor issues like the truth. The whole point being to get readers to your newspaper in the hope that they stay around and read some more.
Even if that is the case for Richard Ashmore he is still a plonker. If there is one thing journalists should have realised by now it is that techy people can be quite pedantic. So writing a technological story with hardly a grain of truth in it and expecting no one to notice shows either complete naivety or total stupidity. Possibly with Richard’s editors too. If he had written a fake story about some EU regulation he would have gotten away with it scot-free as no one checks such stories.
Ronnie Lee Gardner has just been murdered by the state of Utah in America. The following is some of my thoughts about the death penalty, and why would anyone volunteer to do it.
First off I am totally against the Death Penalty.
So though I wouldn’t do any shooting, I do understand that to make the volunteers have some doubt as to whether or not they actually shot the person that dummy bullets are used for one or more of the guns. This is supposed to help some of the volunteers cope with the aftermath of their task.
As to actually volunteering, you do have people volunterring to join the army. The army’s main purpose is killing, though in reality it doesn’t do it very much during peacetime. It probably isn’t very different to the police officers who volunteer for the execution job. After a period of time and through training and experiencing it day in day out people can become desensitized to just about anything.
Now on to the actual task. I would have thought that a bullet to the head is a lot quicker and more instant than by lethal injection which has been shown to not be 100% effective straight away. The only reason a bullet is not shot into the brain is that society is weird about death. Why should death by lethal injection be any different to death by bullet? Something to do about blood? Why connotations of the wild west? I thought Americans reveled in their frontier history? And why should they think they have to be humane to a criminal as he is being executed? You’re already executing the criminal because you’re trying to be vengeful so why not go all the way and give them painful death – they probably deserve it.
As to the reoffending rate being 0% with the DP. The reason why we currently have reoffending is because people are released. If life did mean life then the reoffending rate would be 0% as well. It’s because some people seem to think that criminals are put off by prison and would never reoffend haven been through the process. Yes, for some, but a small minority.
The majority see it as something to factor into their jobs. A bit like racing car drivers accept that they might die, but its worth it for the fun they have driving. The same with criminals. They accept that there is a downside to their chosen career but they seriously believe that they are only being unlucky if they are caught. The really serious criminal will factor in the DP into their criminal activities. In some they might go further because “in for a penny in for a pound”.
As to why I’m against the DP. Rather than an innocent locked up for a long time than an innocent murdered by the state. In the former compensation can be paid, in the later it’s too late to say sorry. Note that I did not say rather a criminal on the streets than an innocent executed. Not having the DP should be tied in with whole life sentences. Execution is just a pretty word for state sanctioned murder. A bit like “collateral damage” for the deaths of civilians during war.
Murder is murder and is wrong no matter who is doing it.
The latest health scare news is out today. Its that you can catch legionnaire’s disease from the windscreen wash in cars. The explanation being that the windscreen wash water is a nice warm temperature next to the engine and that it is stagnant. However when you look into the figures it’s another scare which has no foundations.
The scare says that if you catch legionnaire it is 20% likely to have come from a windscreen wash bottle and that 10% of such infected people die. This sounds like a extremely high risk and gives the impression that everyone MUST start adding windscreen cleaner with extra anti-bacterial products to the water in their wash bottles otherwise people will start dropping like flies on the motorways.
In fact the chance of catching legionnaire’s disease is miniscule. There were 345 cases last year in the UK. Out of a population of say 60m, thats a 0.0000575% chance of getting it. Out of the 345 cases, about 30 died. So an even smaller chance of dying. Those with medical problems are more likely to die than healthy people who’s symptoms are spotted early. Out of the 345 cases about 70 probably caught the disease through driving.
And even then its only a theory. They haven’t actually tested washer bottles for legionnaire’s disease. They are only theorising that it is the cause because a number of people who caught the disease are drivers. They says these drivers are professionals, such as bus drivers and truck drivers. But many people drive. Salesman drive. Are they profressional drivers too? People commute to work, are they classified as professional drivers. Sometimes they drive more than bus drivers.
A classic case of lets make a news story out of nothing to get some publicity for our organisation. If it makes people more scared of the world, then all the better because we can then sell them more pills.
Finally, just to make sure you understand basic scientific principles…..
Correlation does not imply causation
It seems that the figures in the study are only for the South West of England and not for the whole of England and Wales. The figures from the study are 164 cases in 2009, where 22 where from outbreaks which leaves 142 where the disease was aquired in the commuity of which 28 might have been prevented.
The old New Labour government spent some £2.8m on an efficiency drive when they were in power. This was not across a number of departments. No. This was at the Department for Communities and Local Government. One single department.
In the twisted logic of the left, they decided that spending £2.8m was worthwhile in making efficiencies. Maybe it was if they saved £3m or more. However from reports it doesn’t seem like they mad good use of the money. One of the things they spent the £2.8m on was sofas. Bright red sofas. With high backs. Posh ones at that. Designer ones. Ones which have “I saw you coming” type prices. £4120 each. They bought 28 of them at an overall cost of £115K. They must have been very special sofas for the department to think that it would make the department “more practical” and save money.
This waste was announced by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who said: “As sure as day turns to night, Labour Governments waste your money.
“Struggling families and pensioners will be outraged that their hard-earned cash has been used to pay for luxury designer sofas to create a ‘peaceful oasis’ for council tax officials.
“This shows the total disregard the last Labour government had for the public purse.”
More waste identified here – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7149080.ece
The Food Standards Agency is probably feeling a bit left out of all the publicity surrounding the election, thinks it needs to raise it’s profile so that it campaign to show that it needs to keep it’s budget, and as usual believes that it knows best and has a job in teaching the public how to suck eggs.
They have published advice on how to have a healthy Football World Cup 2010 party. It includes advice that providing a vegtable curry is a very healthy option, or you can provide fruit instead of crisps. Though if do want to provide crips who should really use the low salt/low fat versions. They even give advice on which type of takeway to get in saying such things as buying a smaller portion of fish & chips or to ask for extra veg on your pizza to top up your five a day*. In regards the obvious drinking, they say “But if you do drink, have no more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and don’t get drunk.” Errrr. Whats the point in drinking except to get drunk. To ensure you don’t drink too much they also say “try a sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime?”. Yeeeessss. I can see macho men cheering on the football will be having that kind of drink.
More “advice” at http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthydiet/foodforsport/worldcup2010/
* Five a day is another one fo my bug bears, but thats for another day.
Plans have recently been approved for a load of poly-tunnels at a farm near Faversham in Kent. Surprisingly the residents and local council blocked the planning applications. Possibly on the basis that poly-tunnels are ugly looking things and the “townies” who live, sorry sleep, in the area would much rather prefer to look at pretty lambs gambolling around.
Well sorry folks, but farms are food factories. They are industrial places not picturesque places like you might find in some BBC costume drama. They use huge machinery. Sorry, but all farms look ugly. Put up with it.
Oh. And farms smell and make a lot of noise too. So put up with that as well.
If someone moves to the country from a town, then they must expect to adapt to the environment, not the other way around.
See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/8721019.stm for the source of my bile.
From http://www.annaraccoon.com/politics/the-money-tree/ in comment by specky.
It’s a slow day in a little English town. The sun is beating down, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich tourist from down south is driving through town. He stops at the motel and lays a £50 note on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.
As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
The butcher takes the £50 and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.
The pig farmer takes the £50 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.
The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the £50 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.
The prozza rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.
The hotel proprietor then places the £50 back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.
At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the £50 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything.
However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the British Government was conducting business.