Not Really

This one is easy pickings really. Almost everything written in the Daily Express is rubbish and it has been amongst the leaders of our “free press” stoking the embers of racism and nationalism over the last few years. But, let’s stick with science:

Express Distress
Express Distress

I took this clip of the Daily Express two days ago. It’s a photo that was shared widely through the press and you’ve probably seen it.

It is a good photograph and quite stunning. Although we can’t see the right hand corner of the iceberg and I couldn’t see any other views of this iceberg so I wonder how rectangular it is and how many people’s brains will fill in another right angle.

I’m more interested in the words that the Express uses.

“Nature can do straight lines” – yep, knew that already. Pretty sure light travels in straight lines (at a basic level). Also, notice that the edges of the ice berg aren’t straight. There are bumps and lumps. So, it’s not straight. It just appears that way.

“Eerily perfect 90-degree angles” – hmm, have they measured that? Perfect 90-degrees is pushing it a bit. I mean they can be close to 90 but “perfect”. Bullshit. In the very NEXT paragraph they say the angles can be “about 90-degrees”. So they dismiss their own claim in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH.

“Perfect ice rectangle” – but it’s not perfect. What sort of person writes that word in a news article? We can’t see the rest of it. The picture is at an oblique angle so we can’t measure the sides. I doubt the Express have done anything like that.

So, let’s see what NASA said about their photographs:

“I was actually more interested in capturing the A68 iceberg that we were about to fly over, but I thought this rectangular iceberg was visually interesting and fairly photogenic, so on a lark, I just took a couple photos,” Harbeck said.

The photographer took the photos for a lark! Brilliant.

Tabular Iceberg Panorama

They aren’t all that rectangular:

Second Rectangular Iceberg

In fact pretty much all of them are irregular in shape and so the odd one that looks a little special to human brains isn’t that exciting:

Larsen C tabular icebergs 1

How do you get your kit to Antarctica? In a large plane of course. How do you land large plane? Make an ice runway:


Shooting Fish In A Barrel

OK, I’ll admit it. I have a nasty habit. I really should try and quit. I managed to stop writing about driving on this site, but, if I’m being honest, someone needs to be addicted to this stuff. I am slightly worried about my metaphorical blood pressure though.

Once again, it’s the BBC News that is being, quite frankly, shit.

shit - Not News

Holy mother of god. This is breaking news worth tweeting about? Not only that but the headline is about the crazy randomness that a young child is awake as his parents take him off the plane. This is shit. So, a baby who was possibly asleep or awake on a plane then becomes (or stays) awake as his parents lift him up and take him outside the plane. What utter shit.




Can you tell? I’m annoyed.

Spot The News

Can you spot the news in the following BBC Website clip?



Neither could I. This appears at first reading of the headline to indicate that they’ve found a signal from the airplane. Then you read the next bit and realise it isn’t. Maybe, just maybe the BBC should have waited for the Chinese to confirm something. The endless speculation about this airplane has driven me to indifference.

Here’s a crazy idea for the BBC News people:

How about you report something when it really is new and confirmed from two independent sources.

Can you believe that this organisation is the pinnacle of reporting in this country? No, once again neither can I. I have pretty much given up following the news. I get most of my information from the following sources:

  • The Today Programme on Radio 4
  • The New Quiz on BBC Radio 4
  • Private Eye

Here’s a recent tweet of mine to show I don’t hold The Today Programme in high esteem all the time:


Here’s a link to a recent rant about BBC News Reporting. I find that I get the general idea of what is going on in this country by listening to and reading satire. While listening to the radio I used to think that people were being a bit harsh in their picking on Ed Milliband’s voice, but that was until I heard him. Thank goodness for satire. Putting the stories in their place.

I am sure this isn’t the last of my rants and moans about news reporting. There’s plenty more to come in future communications. Happy weekend.


I don’t understand the logic or reason behind this:

BBC Rounding

My questions are:

  • What colour would 54.4% be?
  • What colour would 59.15% be?
  • What colour would 64.5% be?

Why are they coloured using whole numbers to differentiate the boundaries and then why tenths for the light blue-ish colour?

Ohhh, I think I get it. Because the national average is 59.2% that means it’s ok to have three colours below that and only two above it.

Does this chart say that no local authorities managed to get the average but some were below it and some were above it?

There are about 52 areas below average. There are way more (I got bored of counting) above that. Does this mean there is positive skew?

Do you know what?



How You Know

The picture shows the window from a local “osteopathy” practice. One day I will go into the shop to ask them about their various practices. However, for now, I shall rely upon the scientific evidence for the following treatments.


This shop purveys:

  • Osteopathy
  • Homoeopathy
  • Allergy Testing
  • Chiropody
  • Beauty Therapy
  • Massage
  • Sports Injury
  • Ultra Sound Therapy

So, beauty therapy is fine. I don’t care what you slap on your face I’m pretty sure that, as long as they make no health claims, I couldn’t care what they do. Beauty advertising is beset with rubbish [the “n” signs of aging etc where “n” is a value between 3 and 11 and preferably an odd number]  so any claims should be substantiated but these are unlikely to be detrimental to the health of anyone, just their wallets.

Chiropody is a proper thing and I will not take issue with this.

Massage is ok as long as they make no claims to any health effects of massage apart from it making you feel nice. The potential benefits arise from being relaxed and calm, not from any particular aspect of the massage itself.

And now we head into more dangerous territory.

From looking around the web and critically assessing the evidence for therapeutic ultra sound I have to say I am extremely sceptical that it does anything. It is widely accepted as a form of therapy but there is remarkably little evidence that it works or does anything good. I think this is the first form of “woo” from this little shop. I doubt there are any good, documented benefits from this therapy.

Homoeopathy is rubbish. There is no good scientific evidence that it does anything or even contains anything. It is essentially water. I can’t reinforce just how much this stuff doesn’t work. If you have an establishment that is happy to dose people up with homoeopathy then you should be very wary of everything else that they do. It is utter and complete rubbish.

Finally, osteopathy. This mode of dealing with health problems is the most contentious here. The area I live in is blighted by the existence of the European School of Osteopathy nearby. My local doctors surgery even allows osteopathy to take place in its confines. I find this distressing. Osteopathy is an “alternative” medical treatment. This means it is not a treatment nor is it medical. It is based on a completely wrong understanding of how our bodies work. Scientifically osteopathy has been shown to be good for lower back pain and NOTHING else. The very best osteopaths practise what is more commonly known as physio-therapy. Much like chiropractic osteopathy has its roots in bullshit and has tried to change with a greater scientific understanding of medicine but can’t shoe horn itself in to the establishment. If you are suffering then you are best advised to see a physio-therapist, they at least have been taught the proper causes and effects of their work.

The problem with this shop frontage is that it has some [almost] legitimate services to offer and then it also offers utter bullshit.

You can tell osteopathy is rubbish by the company it keeps in these premises.

Just Rubbish

Bought a toy rubbish truck for #1 and he loves it. He played with it for two hours straight yesterday. It makes some noise and flashes lights, the rear door opens to retrieve the recycling and best part of all is the motorised bin arm that takes the yellow bin and deposits its contents into the truck. He woke at 530 this morning and the first thing he said was “can I play with my rubbish truck”.


Prometheus aaarrrgghh

I have some serious issues with Prometheus! About two months ago I saw a trailer and knew nothing else about it. Wow, space stuff with Ridley Scott! That’ll be a really interesting film then. Put head into “protect” mode and don’t look at anything connected to ensure the pure film experience. Persuade wife that it’ll be a great film to see on one of the three times a year we get out to the cinema. Booked the tickets online and as far in advance as I could, even coughed up for gallery seats at Bluewater cinema. Now I could say I’m not grumbling but about GBP45 for two cinema tickets is a bit steep, even for a double leather sofa and as much coffee as you can drink. I even booked a 3D viewing and I think that is mostly a con.

The actual day came along and I was still persuading WW that it’ll be ok and not that scary or gory as it’s only a 15. Little did I know how horrified I was going to be.

Glasses – got
Free nachos – got
Free celebrations – got
Free coffee – got

Adverts and trailers – over.

Film start. So excited.
Big white man, ok. Ancient drawings point to a star system, yeah, bullshit but ok. Man, that looks good. The whole thing just looks so bloody sexy. Oh, he’s a robot, others sleeping, seen it before but it still looks good. Everyone wakes up and ok. Still looking good.
Let’s go and land, and just drop the ship down without circling around and scanning for a little while – now I’m starting to hurt a bit. I’m not sure it would happen like that.
Hold on. You wouldn’t do that. Film looks gorgeous. Oh dear, I think they are losing it a bit. Why don’t you map the building before going in. Why take your helmet off? Why try to pet an alien worm creature? Oh shit. I think this is causing cognitive dissonance. Wait until end of film, try to cope and tally the expectation with the experience.

I have spent the last two weeks reading reviews of this film. I have tried to find out why it was causing me so much pain and I think it comes down to the fact that it was shit. Ridley Scott has made a gorgeous looking film but the script and story line we probably just ideas on post-its that were thrown in the air and those that landed upwards were kept. It was shit.

So, so very disappointing. For a film that looks so lovely it stank. I would recommend you go and watch – Moon. It’s far better and greater in terms of everything.

I want to thank George Hrab for his thirty one minutes of PrometheusBoo on his podcast. He managed to say everything I couldn’t because I’m still in shock. I would also like to point out that this review here is a crock of shit. Man, I could link any film you care to mention to Jesus and the message of Christianity.

Oh, it still hurts. I still can’t juxtapose the gorgeousnous of the film with just how much it stank.

BBC Headline #9

Headline from the BBC website.

Bogus PPI Complaints “Hit 6000”

My issue with this as a headline is that it is plain wrong. I know that they put the hit 6000 in quotes and therefore can pretty much say whatever they want because nobody believes anything in quotes, but quite clearly the text in the article states that it is 5661 bogus complaints. I’d argue that this is not 6000.
Perhaps I’m being petty but I always assumed the BBC had particular standards but it is clear they do not and are quite willing to “lie” to make a headline. In reality the real story is that there has been such huge miss-selling of PPI and that the banks are now making massive losses to cover paying people back thier own money. There were just more that 157,000 complaints last year (from the article) and so the bogus claim level is running at 4%. Whether that is a lot or not I’m not sure. There are probably people out there who don’t understand finance and also some people out there are complete blaggers.
I think the BBC should campain and help people understand the real story of our capitalist banks rather than sensationalise such a small part of the PPI scandal.

BBC Headline #8

Headline from the BBC website.

Scientists create “Dr Who sonic screwdriver”

This fails on the following levels:

Quotation in Headline

Quotation in Headline
I’m pretty sure they used the quotation marks here to show that they “just made it up”. Having looked at the article the reference to Dr Who was made by one of the researchers who is obviously trying to get into the news cycle so he can keep his research grant. In reality it’s an ultrasound device that can turn objects under specific conditions not just make them move backwards and forwards as sound waves would normally do. Now this is very clever but I’m pretty sure that Dr Who doesn’t use an ultrasonic screwdriver. All the references in the shows are to a sonic screwdriver that is the biggest deus ex machina device I have seen and turned me off the show.

The BBC writers researchers obviously got a little excited and decided that if they followed the technological line for a few thousand iterations then we could link this current device to the Doctor’s sonic screw driver. This is rubbish. It’s like saying that because cars have improved their fuel efficiency over the last decade we should be able to travel miles on a thimble of fuel some time in the future.

It’s just rubbish to suggest that this device is anywhere near a sonic screwdriver.

BBC Headline #7

BBC headline from the iPhone app from a while ago (18 March 2012).

Neutrinos “slow down” in new test

This headline suffers the following issues:

Quotation in Headline

Quotation in Headline
As I have demonstrated many times you can get any old crank to say any old shit and then put it in a headline. Heck, you could even ask the desk jockey next to you to say something and then include their quotation. “He has a double direction reversible torch to see daylight, he’s that far up his own arse” says industry insider!

Science and the method of science doesn’t follow a simple narrative or allow for simplification of its ideas. The original neutrino results were released because the scientists wanted criticism of their experiment, not because they believed the results to be true. Now, after nearly a year, they are closer to understanding the problems with the original experiment and are ready to try again. One scientific result does not a whole new paradigm make.

The neutrinos NEVER went faster than the speed of light and so they can’t have slowed down!