The Anonymous Widower

You Are A Rude Terrible President!

Yesterday, Trump showed his bullying side as he dealt with a CNN reporter.

This report on CNN gives their side of the story.

I always remember at a meeting in Cambridge with John Major, where he dealt with press criticism in a polished, barbed and very funny way, such that everybody laughed.

But then Trump is the sort of person, who ignores the general courtesies of life, the freedom of the press and scientific correctness!

But then there are too many Trumps in this world!

November 8, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

Katrina Pierson

Katrina Pierson is Trump’s spokeswoman.

This article on The Intercept, which is entitled Donald Trump’s Spokeswman says a lot of things that are not true,  gives more idea about her competence and how she does her job.

The article starts with these two paragraphs.

Let this news, and the fact that it is news, sink in: Katrina Pierson, the former Tea Party activist who is now Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, admitted on Wednesday that Barack Obama was not the president of the United States in 2004.

The reason it was considered necessary to extract this concession to reality from Pierson is that she had insisted, during an interview with CNN the night before, that President Obama was responsible for the death of Capt. Humayun Khan, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq five years before he became commander-in-chief.

She obviously didn’t get the job with Trump because of her brains and scientific correctness.

Perhaps, as she came from The Tea Party, she should go back to what she does best and serve tea in the Texan equivalent of Betty’s.

 

August 4, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

I Like This Advert

The London Underground has more many decades been famed for its posters, graphics and art.

I Like This Advert

I Like This Advert

Their own adverts are usual better than companies and organisations that pay for them. I do feel too that some shouldn’t be allowed to advertise.

I Don't Like This Advert

I Don’t Like This Advert

I don’t think any religious or quasi-religious adverts should be allowed, with the possible exception of charities that do good work, like the Salvation Army or Christian Aid. But Scientology should definitely not be allowed.

Apparently, they are having a media blitz according to this article in Wired magazine. Here’s the first paragraph.

The Church of Scientology is in the midst of a multi-million dollar media campaign that includes running ads on news sites, satellite dish networks, 37 cable stations, and even Wired.com — a blitz that seems to have not so much won new friends or influenced people as stir up more animosity towards the group many consider nothing more than a greedy cult.

I was pleased to read this, as the last bit is my view of this scientifically-incorrect movement.

I certainly won’t be watching a Tom Cruise film. In fact, I don’t think I ever have. Nicole Kidman is another matter though!

January 13, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political Correctness Runs Amok

Not my words but a headline in the Daily Mail for this article. It’s all about New York City banning the use of a list of fifty words in tests.   One was dinosaur because it might upset creationists.

Who cares upsetting them, as they are a ragbag collection of religious idiots who deny the truth and logic of science.

Read David Attenborough on the subject of creationism here.

April 12, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Scientifically-Correct – David Aaronovitch

Sometimes you wait for months for good scientific articles to come along and then you get two in one day in the same newspaper.  David Aaronovitch has written this piece in The Times entitled “Climate campaigners reap what GM sowed”.

He ranges through global warming, homeopathy and GM crops, an puts a healthy plea for proper research and not to ban something just because you think it is wrong.  Think of all the things in our modern society; scientific as well as moral, that were once subject of a prison sentence or even worse.

The last three paragraphs are ones that we should all heed.

But there is a rich irony here, which it has taken me some time to appreciate and that I want to share. Back in the crop-burning days of the late 1990s, when green activists prevented even trials taking place to discover more about GM produce, they rode shotgun on the denialist wagon. They didn’t care that they didn’t have the evidence, or that much of their support was mystical.

“The war against nature has to end,” Lord Melchett, the executive director of Greenpeace, told Specter, “and we are going to stop it.”

And now the green movement is in the camp of the governments and scientists, bitterly fighting the new denialists who must surely, in the words of John Wayne, remind them of them. Reaping, not sowing.

If you have time, then read his full article.  But sadly, if you are in favour of Mr. Aaronovitch you will, but the various flat-earthers and deniers wouldn’t go near his well-reasoned arguments.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Scientifically-Correct – Raymond Tallis

I have used the term scientifically correct several times in this blog and you’ll find out a bit more about the history of the use of this term here.

Today, Raymond Tallis in The Times has written a comment entitled, “Test medicine in the lab, not the court”.  Here’s the first two paragraphs.

A while back, I wrote a piece arguing that the retired, such as myself, had a responsibility to speak fearlessly about what we saw to be the truth and to take unpopular stands on difficult issues. After all, we no longer had any hope of advancement and the execration of ill-informed, unthinking or self-interested opponents could not touch us. Recent events have awoken my dormant cowardice to question this bravado. Speaking out on some things might mean that Mrs Tallis and I could end our days on the parish, cleaned out by a ruinous court battle with individuals or institutions with deeper pockets than us. The libel case brought against Simon Singh is one such event.

Singh is one of the most brilliant, accurate and thoughtful science writers of his generation. In 2008 he wrote a piece in The Guardian to coincide with Chiropractic Awareness Week challenging claims that spinal manipulation could be useful for treating childhood conditions such as asthma and ear infections. (Yes, ear infections — I kid you not!) The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) protested that he had defamed its reputation and threatened to sue for libel. The Guardian offered the BCA a 500-word response and an entry in its “Corrections and Clarifications” column. This was rejected, The Guardian chose not to engage in a potentially costly battle, and Singh was on his own. He courageously decided to fight on, because of the principles at stake.

Now I was married to a barrister, who did one of her pupilages in libel chambers. In those far-off days of the early 1980s, libel was all about people with massive egos and often bank balances, who felt they had been wronged in the tabloids.  Now, it seems it is being used in a much more general way to protect commercial interests.

In the next few years, how many writers and scientists will challenge the established view, if they felt that what they said despite the overwhelming evidence was against the commercial interests of a large company or professional organisation?

Raymond Tallis finishes by asking us to become a signatory on the National Petition for Libel Reform.  I have done what he asked and suggest that all those who want scientifically correct, rather than lawyer derived truth, should sign.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | News | , , | 1 Comment

Homeopathy Protests Outside Boots

It would appear that today there are to be protests outside Boots because of their stocking of homeopathic remedies.  I like the fact that the protest is being organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society.

The protest will take the form of a mass overdose on homeopathic remedies.  As they contain nothing but sugar and water, the only result might be a small amount of weight gain.

Clare Balding on Radio 5 then talked about arnica to a jockey.  Now arnica is not a homeopathic remedy but a natural one.  I have given it to horses in the past and it helps stop bruising during castration.  But it is only diluted to the same sort of levels as a cough syrup, not to the parts per billion billions that you get with homeopathy.  As I said in an e-mail to Clare.

Arnica, of which the active ingredient is helenalin, is a natural remedy, which is partially understood scientifically. Aspirin and many other drugs, have similar natural roots.  These have absolutely nothing to do with homeopathy.  Natural remedies are valid treatments and work, the others are beloved of snake-oil salesmen and are just to relieve fools of their money.

One has to question Boots decision to sell these quack cures, especially as they admitted to the House of Commons that there is no evidence that they work. 

But anybody who has investigated them properly knows that too.  But think how many snake-oil salesmen would be put out of business, if this was the general belief.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | News | , , | 3 Comments

Malcolm Turnbull

I had never really heard much about Malcolm Turnbull, who was the leader of the Australian Liberal Party.  But he wrote a thoughtful article in The Times on Sunday.  The title says it all, It’s reckless to be a sceptic on global warming.

He makes some interesting points.  Take these key paragraphs.

I recognise that many people are sceptical about the science. But as Margaret Thatcher pointed out 20 years ago, this is an exercise in risk management. Given that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic, responsible leaders should give the planet the benefit of the doubt. Few of us imagine our house is going to burn down tonight, but most of us will have taken out insurance.

So the political or indeed moral issue is not whether you are totally convinced by the climate change thesis, but what you propose to do about it. Being sceptical about climate change is not unreasonable; doing nothing about it is reckless.

He’s right.  Those that advocate doing nothing are just plain wrong.

He also makes the point that most climate change deniers have their youth behind them.  That is curious or is it that they have saved for and want to enjoy their retirement and then all these restrictions come along and ruin it.

I certainly am no climate change denier and know we must cut emissions.  But we should do it in a scientifically correct way, that will deliver large cuts, so that we leave our descendants the maximum benefit.

December 21, 2009 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Depression and Processed Food

There is a serious report in The British Journal of Psychiatry linking levels of depression with processed food.  They are not sure that there might be other factors involved, but the evidence is fairly clear of the link.  As it is published in a peer-reviewed journal, everything is obviously scientifically-correct.

On the BBC web site there is an article with a video, where a guy describes how he cured his depression. Watch it! The first thing he says is that he cut out wheat!

Here’s what I said in a letter to the author of the study.

I was very interested to read the summary of your research and hear about it on the BBC this morning.

I used to suffer mild depression, despite being a very successful scientist and engineer, who created two multi-million pound companies.  My diet was good, as my late wife tended to believe in proper cooking and we did eat quite a bit in very good restaurants.  However, on trips to the US, I always felt worse and often came home early. Could this be because North America has wheat in everything and I was living on burgers?

But in 2003, I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went on a strict gluten-free diet.  Since then I’ve really not suffered from that type of depression, although I’ve had to get over the death of my wife from cancer of the heart and my youngest son is now suffering from serious pancreatic cancer.  I may be very unhappy and almost desperate at times, but I can talk my way through the problems and it is very different to the depression, I’ve had in the past.

So the question I have to ask, is the missing factor in your research gluten and sensitivity to it? 

Only one in a hundred of the UK population are coeliacs, but I understand that your study used middle-aged people.  I have a feeling, that many when they approach fifty could benefit by going on a gluten-free or low-gluten diet.

Keep up the good work.

I certainly would prefer to try a natural and balanced diet, than indulge in a few chemicals for depression.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Scientifically-Correct

Some years ago, I had a letter published in The Times, criticising Greenpeace for measuring exhaust emissions in a very unscientific way.  They were trying to make a point, but their methods were very wrong.  I used the term scientifically-correct in the letter.  A few months later I was phoned by the OED and asked where I’d got the phrase.  I said that it’s use was obvious and I’d used it for years. So I don’t really claim any first usage on the term, although it may be the case.  But I very much doubt it.

But it illustrates how I think.  You must get your facts right, even if they end up with a set of thinking that is politically incorrect.

My reasons for being so strong on this, is that sometimes a researcher finds something that is totally against the general view and his peers stop publication and rubbish the research.  There was a Horizon program some years ago about how the body works and how a Glasgow professor of veterinary science proved everybody wrong.  But it took him years to get his research accepted.

So when Alan Johnson fired Professor David Nutt for speaking the truth, you can have no doubts as to who I think is right.

I also applaud his colleagues who are now saying they have resigned or will do so.

But this row means that what scientist, doctor, engineer or computer scientist would advise Prudence and his rabble, when they know that their good advice will be totally ignored.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment