Everything’s Amazing&8230; & Uniform Velocity


a fine end to the day. G’night.

Storm by Tim Minchin (with text)


thanks to Darque for pointing me at this one (in response to my comment on the Homeopathy story)

’twas about thirty years ago. Nowhere near as wittily as Tim, but I’ve been there, at exactly the same sort of dinner party with exactly the same sort of airheads and an even stronger instruction from the party host to button it.

But 5 Daily Mail reading couples ganged up on me and insisted on probing my anarchism. I did nothing but calmly answer dozens of their questions for about 2 hours. Was fascinating how the sexes split. All the guys gradually grokked what I was saying and, not wanting to find themselves arguing with their wives and girlfriends, one by one, left the room. It ended about half an hour later, when one of the remaining girls screamed (literally) that I was ramming my philosophy down their throats. The host’s found her a comfortable padded cell somewhere and they all left us alone…

Acidity and Alkalinity – Balancing Your PH


I’ve had to become something of an expert in this field as I have a tendency to gout which – I eventually figured out – was due to my pursuit of what I thought was a healthy diet. Low fat, low carbs, good oils, roughage, and, what turned out to be the culprits, too much high quality protein AND too many whole grains (- including my favourite: Porridge. And no, you don’t see the vegans warning you about that danger!) which do indeed acidify the blood.

However, although the general guidance provided here is reasonably accurate, it falls into the same trap that it warns you about when it tells you that the advisory sources you can find an “are not comprehensive nor are they in agreement.”

For example Citrus fruits are acidic, but they turn alkaline when digested. The same is true for tomatoes. Wrong. Or rather, wrong for some people. Tomatoes actually increase acidity in some people and reduce it in others. This seems to be genetically determined but no one has yet tracked down which genes matter. In the absence of that information the only way to find out the effect on your own body is – literally – “suck it and see”. i.e. using the ph strips recommended (I personally use these if anyone gives a damn) and having established your baseline ph, add a fixed quantity of tomatoes to your diet for a few days and measure the effect on your baseline. If it goes up that’s good news, they’re alkalising your blood. If it goes down, then limit consumption because, for you, they’re an acidifier.

The other problematic advice is on the question of what constitutes the “ideal” ph level and when to measure it. Again the sources disagree, quite seriously. I have found doctors raving against the advice to alkalise and warning that if your morning urine ph level is above 6.5, you’re not digesting your food properly. Others argue that if it’s below 7, you’re in imminent danger of acidosis. Both are bollocks. Like the tomato problem, what will be good for one will be bad for another and you have to find what works best for you. The bad news is that there ain’t no quick and easy path to that solution. It’s taken me about 9 years to gain control of my ph balance in a consistent manner and even now it is easy to become complacent. For example, having fended off the gout attacks for a couple of years, I allowed too much red meat back into my diet last May and was rewarded with a nasty attack just in time for the annual conference I attend in Brighton. Brilliant timing. Only myself to blame.

Jeremy Laurance: The three sentences that unleashed MMR scare – Health News, Health &Families – The Independent


and isn’t it fascinating how many of the same issues arise in this case? Do you want to be told “the truth” (as best as we can currently determine it) or “what you need to know”?

Homeopathic remedies: a real cure or a waste of NHS money? | Life and style | The Observer



whenever Homeopathy is discussed, you can guarantee that all parties will continue the tradition of asking the wrong question.

The easy question is “Does it work better than a placebo?” The answer is no and that’s been demonstrated by hundreds of reputable studies. NO reputable studies have ever answered that question differently.

However, the problem is that placebos DO work – occasionally – and, on intractable medical conditions they can be almost as effective as our best medicines. Or, to put that the right way round, there are some officially approved medicines whose performance is no better than Placebo (or Homeopathy).

In other words there are some medical situations where the best we can provide for the patient is no more than a Placebo. And the “Right Question” is – in such circumstances, when nothing better is available – “Can we justify lying to the patient?” – in order to give them the small extra chance of benefit which such lies can provide.

It is a profound ethical problem which doesn’t stop within Medicine. If your answer is a comfortable “Yes”, then you are also supporting the same logic which lies at the heart of a major strand of Authoritarian “philosophy” which can be traced back to Plato, though it peaked with Machiavelli and, latterly with Leo Strauss – the mind behind the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfovitz and the rest of the American Neocons.

They too believe that you should tell the patient/population what is “best for them” regardless of whether it is “the truth”. The Neocons are happy to take this logic to its conclusion and “invent truths” which they hope will persuade the population to adopt or tolerate their policies.

The ethical question is simple: “Do the Ends Ever Justify The Means?” Tony Blair obviously thinks so. The fact that Iraq is now rid of Saddam Hussein and, after a bloody massacre of around half a million people is at last showing signs of becoming a normal violent middle eastern state is – in his mind – enough to justify his support for an illegal invasion on the basis of lies told, at the time, about the extent of the threat posed by the Iraqi dictator. Those lies were necessary for our benefit. Just like the lies which must accompany the medical administration of a Placebo.

Clearly I oppose the political deceit and it’s patronising self justification that the elite somehow know better than I do what is good for me. What I can’t do, though, is justify “forcing the truth” on to someone dying of cancer that there is nothing more we can do for them, if the one thing that might work for them is “faith” (the same reason we could never “ban” religion – it “works” for some people). So how do we square this circle?

The only answer I’ve so far come up with is “informed consent”. Which implies that, at some stage in your late teens or whenever you feel ready to grapple with it, you place on record your preference either to be given the unvarnished truth or to permit the medical authorities to feed you whatever they think is in your best interests. You could even nominate close and trusted friends, family or lawyers whom the authorities could approach for consultation on really serious issues (like whether to give a placebo cancer treatment in otherwise terminal cases). This is similar to the “Living Will” concept and, like a living will, can be changed by the person at any time.

That works for medicine. Might even work for politics – if ever you can be persuaded to trust a politician as much as you are prepared to trust a doctor. Certainly won’t be my choice!

& The Results of the 2008 Elections


After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsdays Web Site | The New York Observer


excellent failure…

BBC News – Why do people vote against their own interests?


I suppose we should take comfort that questions like this can be asked anywhere in the mainstream media. But if they were serious , they’d already understand their own part in the Manufacuring of Consent, not to mention their paramount role in supporting the Authoritarians and suppressing dissent. What stories like this might be indicating is that the power of this medium (the web) is beginning to change the agenda…

Elevated brain levels of magnesium enhance learning and memory (1/29/2010)


I’m always on the lookout for credible brain boosters. I’ve recently, ferinstance, discovered Modafynyl (Sp?) and found it to be dangerously effective. So much so that it is tempting to use it continuously. I have had to consciously discipline myself to use it only when really necessary. (Excellent, for example, for pulling an allnighter when running the security software at one of the festivals).

So I know these things exist and I’m prepared to try them and endorse them.

But I won’t be worrying too much about grabbing any new supplement they create to achieve what we should be able to achieve just by adding magnesium rich sources to our diets. Couple of bananas a day, almonds, avocados, leafy greens and you’re sorted.

Trouble is, I hate the leafy greens. Dammit, pass me the supplement…

Index of /banned books


there is some good stuff here. I strongly recommend the Chomsky for a start, although I don’t believe it’s “banned” outside possibly China and North Korea.

But there is also some turgid crap which, frankly I wish had been more effectively “banned”. In fact I can’t believe even authoritarians would be stupid enough to think David Icke’s ramblings could ever warrant banning – the one thing which would give them a shred of credibility which they would otherwise sail on without.

Mind you, if you want a one stop shop for conspiracy theories, this place is a goldmine…

Windows 7 upgrades Vista laptops to lower battery life • The Register


damn. I hate to speak up in defense of Microsoft (spit) but I have to say that this does not mirror my experience. I was getting 8-9 hours on XP with my netbook, and I seem to be getting more or less the same under windoze 7. I even have to admit that I like windoze 7 and am likely to migrate all my machines and my customers to it over the next 12 months. Just as soon as Autopatcher for Windows 7 is up and running so I don’t have to leave my flock at the mercy of windoze autoupdating…

BPI rejects scareletter approach to possible pirates • The Register


wouldn’t you just love an elderly relative of your choice, preferably without even so much as an internet connection, to get one of these ACS:Law scare letters, so you could draft the “See you in court fuckwits” response and watch what happened!

Oracle sues support firm over massive theft • Channel Register


for Oracle, of all people, to complain about a theft of its own software under these circumstances is utterly bizarre. It amounts to an admission that they haven’t got a ‘king clue about how to protect themselves and that doesn’t bode well for their customers. I would be ashamed if I my own software repository allowed people to download anything they weren’t entitled to. That’s a relatively trivial authentication and permissions issue. It’s their own fault for allowing unrestricted access (which they do). As for the automated crawl causing their database to “freeze”, that’s a major admission of “fail to scale”…


wish I could afford this. ‘twould make an excellent surprise gift for my wife who has actually taught herself to create daguerrotypes from scratch, although, to date, only by using a contact process rather than an original photograph. This would be a brilliant addition to her kit…

Silicone implants that generate leccy invented for US spooks • The Register


the mind boggles. Not only could this result in a new and erotic form of power generation, but switch directions and we could have some entirely novel forms of sexplay…