Saturday, 6 February 2010

Retracted: Wakefield study which started the 'vaccines cause autism' idiocy

Rebecca Watson of the Sceptics Guide to the Universe gives a quick run-down of the situation

The Times article can be found here -

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

10:23 Homeopathic ‘Overdose’ Campaign

Consumers in Leeds to take part in nationwide homeopathic ‘overdose’ protest against Boots’ continued endorsement and sale of homeopathic products, despite the company admitting they have no evidence the ‘treatments’ work.

Leeds-based Consumer rights activists will be taking part in the protests on January 30th, culminating in a mass homeopathic ‘overdose’ taking place in towns across Britain as well as in other locations across the globe. The intention is to demonstrate to the public that the homeopathic remedies sold by Boots are nothing but sugar pills, and put pressure on Britain’s leading pharmacist to live up to its responsibilities and ensure that the products it sells to customers are genuine.

The protest, organized by Leeds Skeptics as part of the 10:23 Campaign, comes after a Boots representative, Paul Bennett, attracted ridicule from the national press after admitting to a parliamentary select committee last November that Boots sells homeopathic remedies to the public even though they have no evidence the ‘treatments’ work. The Science and Technology Select Committee are due to release their report on homeopathy around the time of the protest, at the end of January.

The 10:23 Campaign is a national movement headed by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, which aims to raise awareness of homeopathy, a multi-million pound industry based on a long-discredited 18th century ritual, selling remedies to the public which have no scientific basis and no credible evidence for their efficacy beyond the placebo effect.

While dispensing sugar pills may seem harmless, in reality the endorsement of homeopathic potions by leading health providers can have grave consequences. As well as potentially undermining trust in medicine and medical advice, customers may be misled into believing that they are treating their illness – for example a 2006 Newsnight investigation revealed that homeopaths were advising customers to take ineffective ‘preparations’ in place of anti-malarial drugs. In extreme cases, such as the ‘healing therapist’ Russell Jenkins, deaths have occurred.

The Boots brand is synonymous with health care in the United Kingdom, and they speak proudly their role as a health care provider and their commitment to deliver exceptional patient care. Michael Marshall, a spokesman for the 10:23 Campaign, said the following:

“We do not expect the nation’s leading pharmacist to sell us remedies that do not work. The sale of homeopathic remedies is defended on the basis of allowing customer choice, but choice relies on clear information, and misleading customers by endorsing homeopathic brands restricts their ability to make good health choices.”

Ahead of the protests, an open letter to Boots has been published online and signed by thousands of unhappy customers from across the UK and beyond.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Evangelical Christian Stephen Baldwin versus Prof. Richard Dawkins

I don't really watch this kind of TV programmes, but I was tempted to see the first episode of Celebrity Big Brother. As soon as Stephen Baldwin was introduced as an evangelical Christian I made a prediction that he will be using the show as a preaching opportunity.

The nightmare came true, and a video recording of Stephen Baldwin that proves his ignorance towards science was found by me whilst browsing Reddit.

via | Youtube chanel

(If the video is becomes unavailable on Youtube, please click here or here.)

Friday, 4 September 2009

How to use Facebook via text from any mobile phone

A large number of mobile phone users have smart phones, some of them aren't even aware of it. Nearly every smart phone has a Facebook app, some of them are really good, like the one recently released for the iPhone. Sadly, the BlackBerry Facebook app still needs some work and is a bit slow, at least on a 8310 Curve.

But what do you do if you need to use Facebook from a non-smart phone (dumb phone)? Facebook has enabled a feature called Facebook Mobile, which name is a bit confusing. It allows you to receive updates via text message to your phone.

It's as simple as that - you just have to verify your phone number, choose what kind of updates you want to be notified about and you're ready to roll. You can also select timeslots in which texts will not be sent to your phone, so you aren't waken in the middle of the night just because someone likes your picture, and has to express it.

Oh, and the service is free, so why not give it a go. (inb4 burden of proof)

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

How to fix a wrong unread message count on a BlackBerry

This is a quite common issue for BlackBerry users, sometimes the smart phone will fail to accurately display the unread message count. As a consequence it will show an envelope with an number at the top of you home screen (this also depends on the theme you are using).

Here are the steps to go through:

1. Check if you haven't got any unread messages that you might have saved.
2. Check if you haven't got any unread messages
3. Reconcile your inboxes
4. Delete entries in your call log
5. Battery pull (not simulated battery pull using QuickPull, it will not work)

If this doesn't help seek help on forums such as CrackBerry or just Google the issue, there are multiple things that can trigger this issue.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Twitter not releasing inactive usernames

I always wanted to have the @sav Twitter handle but it was taken. Using advice form Zee of I've contacted Twitter, that claims on their website that they release unused twitter user names.


I'm currently using @savocado as my twitter username and I would like yo
change it to @sav

The user that has @sav hasn't tweeted for over 2 years.

I have heard that in some cases you release a unused twitter names.
Please let me know if this could be done, and if there is any additional
info that you would require.


A minute later I got an automatic response.

Hi Sav,

You can change your user name at any time here:

Your messages, replies and content will not be affected, but we do recommend that that you let your followers know about the name change with a tweet.

Twitter is not currently releasing inactive user names. Unless your user name issue involves Terms of Service violations, you'll have to wait until all inactive user names are released. We're working on a better long term solution for this, and we should have more news soon.

* If your user name request concerns impersonation, trademark infringement, copyright, or another Terms of Service violation, please submit a request to the Terms of Service group via the web form. Be sure to pick the right item from the drop down box for expedited help. Keep in mind that if there is no content and no intent to mislead, there is most likely no infringement.

If you're unable to use our web form, please send your request to for help from our Terms of Service group.

Twitter Support

Sadly, I failed. I will be monitoring this issue, will be posting here if I find out more.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8310 crashing/freezing behaviour

Recently I have had problems with my BlackBerry Curve 8310. It was crashing all the time, even a few minutes after a reboot. As I figured out later, there was an disk error on the memory card that caused the issue - everything is now fine after I have had formatted it.

An interesting thing happens when the device crashes - if you are playing an audio file it will continue playing, but if you unplug the headphones it will not switch to the speaker/speakerphone. The light sensor will still react to changes in lighting condition and will adjust the brightness of the screen and back light the keyboard and clitmouse, errr I mean trackball.

Surprisingly the [Shift] key will also work. Interesting.