Posts Tagged Guardian

Immigrants and conspiracy theorists

A new antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been found. So far, it’s only infected 37 people, and while it has shown some signs of person-to-person transmission, it’s been detected early and will hopefully be controllable, unlike MRSA.

Fairly pedestrian news so far. But what’s that you say? The resistance gene is believed to have evolved in India?

GOVERNMENT LIES Government up to its old phoney controlled statements why not telli the truth nevermind the cosmetic surgery lies,ITS IMMIGRATION FROM FROM THESE THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES THAT’S THE PROBLEM.stop it now “”””””””””””

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The Coldism War

So apparently The Telegraph has a climate change denialist columnist, one Christopher Booker. The little biography given of him is “Christopher Booker of The Sunday Telegraph exposes the ever-growing power of the European Union in Brussels and the excesses of mad officialdom“. Fairly standard Telegraph fare, though the denialism is a new spin on it. Anyway, today’s column is “Desperate days for the warmists“. Is this going to be another paragraph-by-paragraph takedown? I think it is!

So he opens with a photograph of cattle herders in Chile, surrounded by snow, captioned “Herding cattle in Chile as South America suffers one of its coldest winters for years“. Now seems as good a time as any to drop a link to an awesome website: If Global Warming Is Real Then Why Is It Cold?, a collection of the most inane newspaper cartoons on the subject. Such a stupid argument from cold doesn’t really need refuting at all (average temperatures are increasing, of course there is still variation year on year, etc.), but I would like to point out that in fact South America is in fact particularly at risk from climate change – the glaciers are in retreat, the coastline of Brazil is shrinking and average temperatures are soaring. Don’t forget also that the South American climate is affected strongly by El Niño and La Niña – right now, the colder La Niña appears to be in effect, so the fact Chile is having an unusually cold winter is not surprising at all.

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Despite mounting evidence

“I don’t know how, but homeopathy really does work”, says Rachel Roberts in today’s Comment is Free, with the tagline “More of a mystery is why scientists continue to debunk it despite mounting evidence that homeopathy is effective“. Now, CiF is The Guardian‘s opinion section, and is known for giving some particularly controversial viewpoints a platform, so some sort of devil’s advocacy about homeopathy is to be expected. Okay, it would still hardly be a debate so much as just blind contrarianism, but that’s about par for the course of modern journalistic “balance”. This however goes way beyond that, into out and out nonsense on an actually epic scale.

This will be a paragraph by paragraph takedown, so it’ll get a bit long, but if you want a summary, the article takes place in topsy-turvy world where nearly every scientific study proves homeopathy works, and yet no scientist believes in it. Roberts then tries to claim that because scientists in topsy-turvy world are blinded and ignorant, scientists in the real world must be equally stupid.

Here we go:

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First post, or; how I learned to stop worrying and write a useless blog instead

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle predicted I'd write this blog

I’ve been a newspaper reader for donkey’s years. And it seems every day, some piece of science coverage finds a new and interesting way to annoy me. Rather than fume inwardly about it (can inward fuming cause cancer? Better check The Daily Mail Oncological Ontology Project) any longer, I’m going to write about it! Now let’s see how long I can keep this going for before I go mad/get bored/die.

So let’s kick things off with a little history of science reporting.

The private notes of Robert Boyle – he of Boyle’s law and The Sceptical Chymist – have recently gone on display at the Royal Society, as part of their 350th anniversary celebrations. These particular notes detail Boyle’s visions for the future of science and they do in fact make for quite interesting reading. You can see the full list on The Telegraph‘s site.

This, you might say, is not a story. I could write a list of things I want science to look into, and as long as I make it vague enough, progress will probably have been made in most of those fields in 350 years time. This is Nostradamus stuff – when Boyle writes “a perpetuall light“, perhaps he’s predicting electric lighting. Or perhaps he’s predicting a light that doesn’t require energy (bear in mind this was all written pre-thermodynamics). Whether or not he predicted the future becomes a matter of interpretation; and if you say he did, do the countless others down the ages who predicted flight or long life count as visionaries?

But enough philosophy, let’s have something harder – media studies.*

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