Daily archives: September 6, 2010

links for 2010-09-06

  • One of the criticisms I often get from homeopathy supporters is that I don't really understand it. I'm not an expert in the mystical art, so how on Earth can I pass judgement on it? So in an effort to prove them wrong, I took this online homeopathy test that's been doing the rounds on Twitter (tip of the hat to @zeno001 and @david_colquhoun). Here's how I got on with each of the multiple choice questions… (and feel free to take a look and let me know how you get on in the comments!)

    Q1. The word "Homeopathic" is correctly used interchangeably with the word:

    "Bogus"? Strangely this isn't listed as an option, and neither is "watery", "sham" or "made up bollocks", so I plump for "none of the above".

    (tags: homeopathy)
  • Bus passengers face higher fares and fewer routes as the Department for Transport (DfT) prepares to reduce a £500m subsidy for the industry.

    The secretary of state for transport, Philip Hammond, views the bus service operators' grant (BSOG) as one of the most vulnerable items in his department's £15.9bn budget ahead of the comprehensive spending review, according to informed sources. The subsidy pays for about 80% of operators' fuel duty and its removal would increase fares by 6.5%, with a similar reduction in services. The impact would be disproportionately felt outside London.

    "BSOG is one of the places where the DfT is unable to guarantee that there will be no cuts," said a government source. However, the scale of the reduction is dependent on the outcome of negotiations with the Treasury ahead of the review next month.

    (tags: transport)
  • (more…)

Scotland’s creationists are devolving 6

Wannabe Scottish holy warrior Stewart Cowan has started what may be an ongoing series on “The Myths and Hoaxes of the 20th Century”. That he’s started with a weak swing at evolution should come as no surprise, neither should the fact that he fails to put forward a coherent argument.

Cowan bases his argument on a wilfull or genuine failure to understand an 18th century theory called uniformitarianism. (It’s doubly amusing that he links to the wikipedia page about it because whenever he or his cronies are presented with a wikipedia page which proves them wrong or shows up a weakness in their arguments they fall over themselves to claim the site is a liberal conspiracy.) He then ignores centuries of research, discoveries and advances and implies that this one theory is the only thing scientists have ever used to figure anything out. From this nonsensical conceit he wanders off into a bunch of Creationist talking points and fails to prove anything. He cites research with blind cavefish which he thinks proves his point, completely failing to see that it does the opposite.

Stewart Cowan’s never presented a coherent or convincing argument against evolution, but this one’s even weaker than normal. As the only people who can be bothered to continually comment on his blog are equally uninformed and blinkered he has no need to improve his arguments, so they seem to be devolving.

Let Christian Voice shout themselves hoarse 1

Manchester councillor Pat Karney, who’s responsible for the city centre, wants to ban the Christian Voice demo from chanting vainly at future Pride parades. The tiny band of narrow minded protesters have been a fixture of the parade for a few years. Last year I filmed an interview with one of them before the parade started. Annoyingly I have yet to get the footage onto a computer to do anything with it. They’re something of a sad bunch- except in their own heads where they’re no doubt fighting bravely against a tidal wave of sin and perversion- but they definitely shouldn’t be banned.

Twenty or so homophobes with banners get lost amongst the thousands of people who’ve come out to see the spectacle, spot friends and enjoy themselves. It’s almost symbolic- a tiny minority calling for a return to bigotry and oppression surrounded by the mass of open minded and joyful humanity. They shouldn’t be banned, that just feeds into their self righteousness and imagined martyrdom, they should be allowed to come back every year and humiliate themselves. Perhaps the realisation will filter through to some of them that they’re missing out on the joys of being a decent caring human being and find a nicer denomination or (even better) none at all.

As pointed out by some of the commenters on the report, Karney’s call, if not outright hypocritical, does show a lack of joined up thinking. If hate laws must be used to silence a few delusional god-botherers why weren’t they used last year to keep the English Defence League out of Manchester? The EDL’s values are just as wrong, if not moreso, and they’re a far nastier bunch to have to deal with. If you try to stop evangelicals showing their ignorance in public then you’re giving the Catholic church room to call for protesters with valid questions about clerical child abuse to be hidden away when the Pope visits.

Let Christian Voice protest all they want. The crowd will prove how wrong they are.

Tiger- Part sixteen

The helicopter flew beyond the City of Manchester stadium and turned to survey the surrounding area. It went as far east as the grand, run down Philips Park cemetery then came back to study the traffic on the wide Hulme Hall Lane and Alan Turing Way. With no clues from the ground it was going to be a hard time finding the white van they sought. There were several, heading in multiple directions, any of which could be the one they should be following. They called in vans as they spotted them and waited for some plod on the pavement to spot the target.

The call came from an officer on a bicycle, who had just popped up from patrolling nearby canal towpaths to have a look around. The van was heading southeast, toward the junction by the City ground. The eye in the sky acknowledged the call and took up a viewing position.

The van turned right, heading down another side of the football stadium and toward the city centre again. The helicopter dipped its nose and headed in roughly the same direction.

Other fiction by Ian Pattinson

Ruby Red– available as an ebook through Lulu.com or for the Kindle.

So Much to Answer For– available as print on demand or ebook from Lulu.com or for the Kindle as part of the Post and Publish collection.

Global Weirding– available as print on demand or ebook from Lulu.com or for the Kindle as part of the Post and Publish collection.

Sounds of Soldiers– available as print on demand or ebook from Lulu.com or for the Kindle as part of the Post and Publish collection.

New Spinneyworld product – Graffiti transfers

Love it or hate it, graffiti is everywhere. So any modern image layout would be incomplete without some.

Stencil art is a recent innovation in graffiti, using templates cut out of card to give sharp edges and repeatable icons. This set contains 13 stencil designs, each one repeated 12 times so the taggers can leave them all over town. They’re printed on clear transfer paper so they can be laid over any background. They will suit OO gauge as large stencils or O as smaller ones.

Can’t Get Out Of Bed- naughty dollhouse furniture

For anyone who thinks that their dollhouse is a little too clean comes this subtle but dirty bed. Slip it into the main bedroom of your 1:12th scale dollhouse to hint at the rude goings on when the full size folks aren’t watching or put it on a shelf somewhere as a sign of what you’d like to do.

There may be more naughty dollhouse furniture in the future, and it will probably be less subtle.