Mar 122010
 

DC’s Improbable Science has an article http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2829 titled “A handy list of dimwitted members of parliament” which starts:

An‘early day motion1 (EDM 908) has been tabled in parliament which opposes the conclusions of the science and technology committee report on the evidence for homeopathy. After two weeks it has been signed by an amazing 55 MPs. That is 8.5% of all 646 MPs.  Nothing shows more clearly the scientific illiteracy that prevails in the House of Commons (and, perhaps, the results of the mass mailing of MPs by homeopaths, who are clutching at straws)..

These MPs are all people who have difficulty with the idea that pills which contain nothing can have no effect above placebo.  It isn’t rocket science.

Are these MPs displaying their ignorance of the scientific process by supporting a demonstrable pseudoscience? You decide.

Here’s the current list of these MPs (republished from DC’s Improbable Science):

Tredinnick, David

Con

Simpson, Alan

Lab

Russell, Bob

LibDem

Pound, Stephen

Lab

Dismore, Andrew

Lab

Simpson, David

Democratic unionist

McDonnell, John

Lab

Campbell, Gregory

Democratic unionist

Cohen, Harry

Lab

Corbyn, Jeremy

Lab

Drew, David

Lab

Gray, James

Con

Hancock, Mike

LibDem

Hermon, Lady

Ulster unionist

Key, Robert

Con

Hemming, John

LibDem

Bone, Peter

Con

Davies, Dai

Independent

Mates, Michael

Con

Dodds, Nigel

Democratic unionist

Wyatt, Derek

Lab

Sarwar, Mohammad

Lab

Hamilton, Fabian

Lab

Winterton, Nicholas

Con

Davies, Philip

Con

Leigh, Edward

Con

Barlow, Celia

Lab

Ellwood, Tobias

Con

Leech, John

Lib Dem

Main, Anne

Lab

Robinson, Peter

Democratic unionist

McCrea, Dr William

Democratic unionist

Paisley, Ian

Democratic unionist

Brady, Graham

Con

Cook, Frank

Lab

Hall, Patrick

Lab

Binley, Brian

Con

Pugh, John

Lib dem

Davey, Edward

Lib dem

Weir, Mike

Scottish Nationalist

Sharma, Virendra Kumar

Lab

Abbott, Diane

Lab

Williams, Mark

Lib dem

Horam, John

Con

Widdecombe, Ann

Con

Browne, Jeremy

Lib dem

Spicer, Michael

Con

Maclean, David

Con

McCafferty, Chris

Lab

Buck, Karen

Lab

George, Andrew

Lib Dem

Vis, Rudi

Lab

Walter, Robert

Lab

Whittingdale, John

Con

Farron, Timothy

Lib Dem

 

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

The Hurt Locker

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Mar 072010
 

I saw this film the other day. It was OK. Not brilliant but not bad…well, except that the military tactics employed by all sides did not make any sense to me. But then, what do I know, I’ve not been in the military.

However, I couldn’t empathise or believe any of the characters. The story line was not credible. But as something to watch at home for a couple of hours it was OK if you’re expectations were not high to begin with.

I was therefore most bemused to hear on the news that this film was nominated for 9 Oscars. What? Really? What on earth did I miss?

Confused at first, and it’s been a long time coming, it’s now clear to me that the Oscar award process relies on criteria not related to the quality of the films being reviewed.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Mar 052010
 

Seems that the Digital Economy Bill rides roughshod over photographer’s concerns and leaves open massive holes that can be exploited and abused with the result that one’s copywritten  photographs can can be effectively stolen.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/05/mandybill_orphan_works/

So the music and film industry have been given stronger weapons to fight those whom they see as “stealing” their work, but that us poor photographers have had our weapons confiscated.

I’ve already had one large magazine steal one of my photographs…they took one of my online photos that had a visible Copyright watermark which they remove from the photo and use it one of their articles…with no links or attribution to the photographer. So my photograph now appears to be “orphaned”. Some on else sees that article and photograph online and decides to take it. And others do the same. That’s it, my photograph is stolen and widely distributed…perhaps someone is even making out of it. But not me. Even if I do find out about someone making money from it, I probably will not be able to recover all those monies.

This quote from http://copyrightaction.com/forum/uk-gov-nationalises-orphans-and-bans-non-consensual-photography-in-public makes a good point:

The quaint notion that the author alone has prime and inalienable rights over his/her own work, must be able to restrict usage, negotiate a fee, prevent usage they consider immoral or distasteful, or assert their moral right to attribution, is about to pass into history.

 

This is the biggest change in UK copyright law in 150 years. It also punches holes through the Berne agreement, international copyright law and TRIPS.

More here:

  1. UK Gov nationalises orphans and bans non-consensual photography in public
    http://copyrightaction.com/forum/uk-gov-nationalises-orphans-and-bans-non-consensual-photography-in-public
  2. IPO meeting stalemate
    http://copyrightaction.com/ipo-meeting-stalemate
  3. Orphan works
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-types/pro-copy/c-policy/c-policy-orphanworks.htm

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Mar 052010
 

I use xbmc as the hub of my media centre, and one particular xbmc plugin that I loved was for accessing the BBC’s iPlayer content. However, the BBC has decided to break this; the sad story can be read at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2010/03/bbc_iplayer_content_protection.html

As as a British citizen, living in the UK, paying taxes and paying the TV license fee (which goes to the BBC) I certainly feel fully entitled to access the BBC iPlayer content using whatever front-end software I feel like using. It is so much easier using a remote control to navigate/select/play iPlayer content from the comfort of one’s couch and watch it on the TV (connected to the xmbc media centre).

I don’t use a PS3 or wii so cannot use them to watch iPlayer content. I do have a Microsoft xbox 360 with a gold online account but the BBC have refused to allow Microsoft access to iPlayer content (stating that iPlayer content should be available to all and not just to those with gold accounts). So I’m well and truly stuffed; I have to resort to using my PC and mouse with a web browser at my computer desk…a wonderful experience! I think the BBC has made a mistake.

Thank you BBC. Thanks a bunch.

Related content:

  1. BBC claims angry iPlayer plugin mob ‘conflated’ open source term
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/05/bbc_iplayer_rtmp_open_source_response/
  2. BBC iPlayer rejects open source plugins, takes Flash-only path
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/24/iplayer_xbmc_adobe_swf_verification/

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Mar 032010
 

It seems that the BBC is much like any other large news organisation; perhaps better than some and perhaps worse than others. It has time pressures to produce something that is current and topical. And this can lead to poor research, poor quality assurance and poor implementation with biased reporting and inaccurate information. I certainly don’t buy into any romantic notions or myths that the BBC is impartial and infallible.

DC’s Improbable Science has an article describing “some truly appalling reporting of science by the BBC” at http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2813. We definitely do need to be on the guard against nonsense and DC’s Improbable Science blog is one of those places to allows us to do that.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Mar 032010
 

The Guardian has a very good article describing the sorry state that chiropractors have gotten into for making unsubstantiated and unsupportable medical claims; claims that Simon Singh rightly called “bogus”. The Guardian article is available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/01/simon-singh-libel-case-chiropractors

Related articles:

  1. Beware the spinal trap
    http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2009/07/29/324.html
  2. Chiropractors on the run?
    http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2009/06/10/316.html
  3. Chiropractic – Bogus!
    http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2009/06/04/314.html
  4. The shaky foundations of Chiropractic
    http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2009/02/01/133.html
  5. Unsupported claims
    http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2008/01/15/37.html

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010