Thursday, February 28, 2008

Follow up

A leading psychiatrist says that depression is not a human defect at all, but a defence mechanism that in its mild and moderate forms can force a healthy reassessment of personal circumstances.

Completely agree.

From here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

erb

Was literally laughing at this for ages...

Expensive Placebo

Looks like it.

Though it's worth noting that the studies did show improvement in serious cases. This has been my opinion for a long time now, that for most cases of depression, drugs aren't the answer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

DNA Database

As if the government hasn't already lost enough of our private information, a certain Det Supt Stuart Cundy thinks that they should implement a national DNA database. By an amazing strike of fortuitousness they've rejected these calls.

The argument given was that it took police 9 months to catch Mark Dixie, the killer of Sally Anne Bowman. Now, I'm sorry but this sounds like a serious buck-passing exercise. Maybe if more police resource was spent on this case, and less on searching bored teenagers, putting up speed cameras and paperwork they might have more to be proud about. You can't just say 'oh, it took us so long to catch him because no one confessed.' but that's essentially what they're saying.

There are a lot of problems with a DNA database, not just around the accuracy or confidentiality of the information contained within, but more fundamentally around the DNA profiling techniques in use today. No matter what you see on CSI they're not 100% accurate and should not be relied on as compelling evidence. DNA profiling is at best circumstantial evidence and it's interpretation very much open to the skills of the particular researcher.

The day we rely purely on DNA evidence to convict someone will be a very sad day indeed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Re: Panorama

If you don't like bottled water, don't drink it.

Don't spend my license fee gobbing on about it for half an hour on a Monday night.

Mohamed Al Fayed is a rambling, bitter, conspiracy theorist

As if ten years of papers filled with grieving for 'The People's Princess' (although what the fuck she ever did for me, I don't know) hasn't been bad enough, just when it's all looking to be over he sticks his massive, expensive tat-selling oar in. Shut your face Harrods-boy! No one gives a shit that you think Dodi was actually the Queen's brother and should have been given the throne if it hadn't been for a plot concocted with the Household Cavalry, three aliens from Neptune and Max Clifford, which resulted in Princess Diana and him being teleported to a 3-bed semi deep in the burning heart of the sun.

It's sad when people die. It's sad when anyone dies. But sometimes you need to move on.

Equitable Power

I know I mentioned this before, but I secretly thought there was some kind of catch to it but I've got my first bill and there isn't. That's why I'm imploring everyone to switch to Ebico ('The UK's only not for profit energy supplier') for gas and electricity - it's ethical and cheaper.

The gas price is 2.55p per kWh and electricity is 9.80p per kWh. Look on your bills to see how this compares to what you get.

Ah, I feel all nice and smug now.

Sunset

Who saw the massively orange sky as the sun set tonight? Quite eerie wasn't it? I thought a nuclear bomb had gone off or something.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Quick one

I just found this about Fårö, the island North of Gotland we visited. Had to post it now otherwise I'll forget.

Here are some spooky rocks from there:

State of the Kingdom

Answer me this will you; how come I can cross Sweden and Denmark, covering a total of 700km with 2 trains and a bus when to travel the 130km from Harwich to Muswell Hill I have to take 3 trains, 2 tube trains and 2 buses?

This was the situation I was confronted with upon stepping off the ferry onto English soil earlier today. And then I remembered - this country is shit, of course nothing will work properly.

I enjoy travelling, I really do. The trains, the boats, negotiating public transport with no knowledge of the language. I think it's all fantastic. But any kind of travel in the UK is just a nightmare. But it's not just transport we can't get right. The Scandinavians have social housing indistinguishable from designer apartments, ours look like prison camps and are only good for breeding scummy oiks who secrete a form of saliva so foul that they are unable to swallow it, and are left with little choice but to spit it out onto our grey pavements, like chav llamas.

Everything in Scandinavia runs on time. Everything. It was actually kind of unsettling at first, being used to London time. But it's actually really nice to read a timetable and it not be a work of fiction.

We bitch and moan about things (ahem) but never try to improve things because some other English person would just come along and fuck it all up again. Look at the train companies, a natural monopoly cut up because it wasn't performing effectively under public sector control, given over to a hundred different companies staffed by the same useless fuckwits and the end result is the same level of service, but masses of confusion all round. Can you just imagine getting to Paris and trying to figure out which train company you had to use to get to Lille? Not that you wanted to go to Lille, but anyway. The only thing we're really good at in this country is humour, and that's because if we didn't laugh at ourselves, we'd surely cry.

Now, I know it's reasonable to expect to be a little disheartened upon returning home after a good break, but each time I do I find it harder and harder to justify why I'm here. I'm certainly not looking forward to work tomorrow. On the rail replacement bus from Chelmsford there were some absolute scummers, who'd possibly been out all night clubbing, but managed to pick up some stolen goods on the way and were discussing their court appearance tomorrow. And you just think, why are these people here? Why do they exist? What is it about this country that breeds people like this?

I know you get scum everywhere you go, and later on in the journey a drunk Pole started hassling another wideboy Essex lad, much to my amusement, but we do seem to produce more than our fair share.

Maybe it's that this country is still trying to live off past glories and consistently fails to look forwards, with progressive social policies, to start building a better future for it's inhabitants. But all we can be bothered with doing is building a massive sports complex in East London to distract the rest of the world from how shite we've become. Maybe we did stand on our own all those years ago, defiant against the onslaught of Nazi Germany as the rest of Europe buckled. But that was over 60 years ago! What good have we done recently?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Greetings from the Baltic

Well we've finally made it to Visby which, I have just learnt, is where they filmed the Pippi Longstocking films! Copenhagen was great, but busy. I'll maybe give you all an update later - we've just got free internet in this hotel (fairly basic, holiday camp looking place, virtually empty but very friendly staff and I think we might be the only non-Swedes here). It's overcast, but not that cold. We'll have to see if that's good for photos or not. I'll tell you what, standing by the harbour in Copenhagen for an hour, in the dark, trying to get a decent picture of the new opera house was a chilling experience. I didn't even get any photos I was particularly happy with, but it's all a learning experience.

The sail across the Baltic was calm as a lake and ridiculously punctual - as is everything, down to the minute. We're just about to explore the town now, but we're going to take it easy today by exploring mostly cafés. We're also thinking about hiring a car (cycling really only seems like an option for summertime) and if we do maybe we can go to Faro, the little island to the north where Ingmar Bergman lived until his recent death. Apparently they have some really otherworldly limestone rock formations.

Anyway, here's a couple of Copenhagen photos to keep you happy:

Pretty Houses

The Little Mermaid. Meh.

The Opera House