Tuesday, 23 February 2010


The Science and Technology select committee (a group of MPs) has just published a report into the efficacy of homeopathic treatment, suggesting it shouldn't be provided on the NHS, and that products with no active ingredients shouldn't be regulated by the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. I think this is really good, because it makes so much sense.

I quote:
'By providing homeopathy on the NHS and allowing MHRA licensing of products which subsequently appear on pharmacy shelves, the Government runs the risk of endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine. To maintain patient trust, choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments, including homeopathy. Homeopathy should not be funded on the NHS and the MHRA should stop licensing homeopathic products.'

Media coverage of this report seems to be trying to present a 'balanced' viewpoint. Much as has happened in the climate science 'debate' in the media, cranks and quacks are given as big a platform as the credible science is, because the newsmakers chicken out of making any judgements.
For example the BBC's article is titled "NHS money 'wasted' on homeopathic remedies." Rather than the more sensible "WTF! do our taxes really get spent on magic water?" The woman even explains how it 'works' - not mentioning placebo at all...

This kind of stuff gets right under my skin and makes me squirm with incredulity.

Here's how it doesn't work

Monday, 22 February 2010

Time spent being greatly mundane

OK so this blog project is kind of stalling, much as I expected it might; no posts for a while. Gladly no-one is dissapointed by this. In any case for my future self I want to leave more fragments of my history behind... So what's been happening?

I've stopped smoking. Last Saturday night I decided it was time, when my girlfriend was exasperated by my chimneyism and asked me when I would stop... I thought about it and realised I could just do it then, that the excuses for carrying on didn't really make sense.
I'd been meaning to quit at Christmas; I know how wasteful a habit it is in terms of health and money. I was on about 10 a day. I bought some patches as a precaution, in case I got bad cravings, but honestly I haven't yet, just a slight urge.
But it's early days yet. I was quite drunk last night, and I did have one. Actually it was only three quarters of a rollie. And it was nice. But not great, not worth doing again.
I was happily smoke free for a year and a half before, this time I want to stay off for good. I know there'll be a few tough challenges in the next few weeks, but I don't see myself giving in.

There have been other things happening of course, here and there in my life. But I'm really not getting the blogging habit to record all those things. It'd be nice to write interestingly about them all, but mostly that would take the time that I now dedicate to napping, which is a much more pleasurable activity. 
In any case I hope this blog will eventually be filled with explanations and links to clever and fascinating things, a sprinkling of my insightful opinions and creative concoctions and only the choicest of anecdotes.
But for now I think I can allow myself some bemoaning of my failings: maybe it's just February being a crap month, but I've been especially unproductive these last few weeks. Either that or I'm unusually bothered by my unproductivity... Probably the latter actually. I've just got the feeling I need to sort my life out. I'm no stranger to this feeling, but I still have hope that I can keep it at bay by beating back my apathy; being useful every day. Too often I just spend the whole day with the radio, the TV, wikipedia, blogs, facebook... It's not only that I'm staying in all day that's a bit rubbish, but I'm not even doing anything. I'm probably learning something, but I'm not studying my course. I'm fiddling on the piano now and then, but I'm not making songs. I haven't even been out to buy any food today. I'm a bit... lame... Maybe I need to go cold turkey with napping like I have with smoking. 
Anyway, tonight I'm gonna do a few things I've been putting off. And soon I'll upload some of my archive...

In the meantime as a reward for reading all that, I have a quiz for you. See if you can figure out what these pictures are. I'll tell if you ask..... (OK the answers are under the link...)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Architecture Fantastic

So I was thinking of writing a health article for the student magazine, that I would post on here. Of course I haven't got round to it yet, but such is my life. In any case, to keep this unloved blog a little bit fresh, I thought I'd post some pics of one of my architectural fancies.
Sketchup is great for making these sort of fantasies tangible, although this is the only one I've ever done that is an good.

I call it hung house. It's a giant mansion with a giant swimming pool, on the outskirts of London. The flat roof is a garden with a circular window in the middle, and plants feature heavily all over the building. It's mostly open plan inside, with a few enormous windows, plus windows between floors. Under the water line of the pool is a window into the cellar.
I think architecture is always a kind of fantasy, a massive embodiment of someone's idea of living. It's a constant shame that the art form has in so many cases been dulled down to dissapointing mediocrity around the urban landscape. I'm a rationalist, but I still think aesthetics are worth the investment.

If you've never used it, here's sketchup, which is really great as a free program that's fairly simple to use. The best feature is downloading the enormous array of other people's models that you can place in your own.