Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

New academic year, that is. By 'eck, it's been a busy, wet summer. I really feel like I need a holiday, but instead here come hundreds of new students. Welcome to Preston, guys! Here's a few bits and pieces to start with...

I'm doing 10:10. Are you? Follow the link, and pledge to reduce your carbon footprint by 10% in 2010. Also, while I am in campaigning mode, watch THIS FILM too. Good, isn't it?

Now, if that was a bit serious for you, check out this beautiful model pig. I love the customer reviews underneath! If it was just a bit cheaper I would definitely buy one.

What else is new in the world of quack (or should that be "oink") medicine? Following a campaign by Sense About Science, the WHO declared that homeopathy should NOT be used to treat HIV, TB, malaria, influenza or infant diarrhoea. Wahey! This is perfectly sensible advice, of course, since homeopathy is completely useless for all these conditions (as it is for all conditions, in fact), but it is still nice to see the WHO taking a stand. The reaction of the homeopaths has been predictable: the usual bluster, whining and cherry-picking of evidence. When will we be rid of these murderous imbeciles? Homeopathy is dead, dead, dead, but the corpse just keeps on twitching.

Meanwhile, Simon Singh's libel case against the back-crack quacks rumbles on, but legal blogger Jack of Kent has decided to take a sabbatical from blogging! How will I keep up now? I hope this does not mean I have to swallow my pride and join the infernal tweety thing.

I have been ill myself for the past couple of weeks, but there is one complementary medicine I do approve of and sure enough, a few doses of uisge beatha have made me feel a lot better (I like to use it in conjunction with a few crystals of dihydrogen monoxide, to enhance the effect). My trip to the Rebellion festival was probably the cause of my malady: I am really too old now for a four-day bender of alcohol, junk food, late nights and serious mayhem. Not that it will stop me going again next year! Here are a couple of highlights - the Exploited and the UK Subs. See what you missed?


Stu said...

Homeopathy is good for two things, dehydration and watering you house plants.

Mike Eslea said...

@ Stu, I know you're only joking but forgive me if I have a quick sense-of-humour bypass here, because I keep hearing the "homeopathy is just water" trope at the moment (even PZ Myers has been at it) and it is starting to piss me off.

1. Homeopaths don't just use water, much of their dilution is with alcohol or a water-alcohol mix. 2. The actual "medicine" is almost always given in pill form, not as a liquid. 3. Even when it is liquid, they only give a few drops at a time. 4. Even if they did give out gallons of water, it wouldn't be much use to a seriously dehydrated person, since rehydration also requires the appropriate mix of salts and sugars.

The problem with water jokes is it makes it easy for homeopaths to ignore the mockery. They can just play the "oh, the critics are so ill-informed" card.

Restarting SOH now...