Friday, 30 August 2013

Does the UK condone chemical weapons attacks in Syria?

I don't usually comment on politics but after yesterdays antics in the UK parliament, I feel a need to.
Whilst I was not on-board with the Conservative's need to take action right away, I do believe that should the UN's investigation into the chemical weapon attack on Syrian civilians provide compelling evidence that the Syrian government was responsible, then we, as a nation, have a moral obligation to help those civilians in some manner.
However, what happened in parliament seems beyond farcical. The government (Conservatives & Lib Dems) tabled a motion to agree in principle to take military action against Syria. Labour tabled an amendment to only do this should their be compelling evidence that the syrian government was responsible. The governments motion was defeated and then, in an apparent fit of pique, the government wouldn't back the Labour amendment, and this was defeated.
This leaves us in the stupid situation where both our government and it's opposition want to take action (only the criteria is different) yet, they have voted to do nothing. This sends a disturbing signal to Syria - in voting to do nothing we effectively condone the actions of the Syrian government. Whilst its people continue to suffer.
Sometimes it seems that we really are governed by imbeciles.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

ASA smackdown on homeopathy advertising

In an adjudication published today, the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) effectively killed all advertising on homeopathy. This statement from the adjudication pretty much covers it:
We told the Society of Homeopaths not to discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought, including offering specific advice on or treatment for such conditions. We also told them not to make health claims for homeopathy unless they held sufficiently robust evidence of efficacy.
This has come about, in part, by a campaign led by the Nightingale Collaboration that encouraged supporters to submit ASA complaints about claims made on homeopathy websites. Briefly, the ASA sent letters to homeopaths offering guidance on advertising homeopathy service. They also decided to investigate further two 'master' complaints in order to precedent for future cases. These are the two adjudications published today.
What this now means is that homeopath's must live up to their responsibilities and abide by the CAP Code, ASA Guidances and rulings. And they must stop claiming that homeopathy is effective for any medical condition.
It's worth noting that nothing here prevents anyone from practicing or earning a living from homeopathy; nothing prevents anyone from buying homeopathic 'remedies' if that's what they want to do. It is only about ensuring that homeopath's abide by the same rules that all other advertisers must do.

Friday, 14 June 2013

It Always Comes Back To Lobster.

For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.
If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

I Am Calling You From Windows

I've been sort of waiting for a call like I received yesterday. I've heard about them, and even know a few people who've been taken in by them, but until now I've never experienced them myself. And whilst I would have loved the opportunity to bait the caller a little, I was supposed to be working from home and couldn't give them as much time as I would've liked.
The call was from a woman with an Indian (Asian?) accent telling me that she was calling from Windows about a lot of 'Critical Errors' they were seeing on their server from my computer. Right away it's clearly a scam - an unknown company is seeing errors on my computer how? And which computer? On my network there could be up to 20 devices connected at any time, about 6 of these are what would be commonly referred to as 'computers'. So despite the huge temptation, I only asked them which windows they were talking about, double- or single- glazed and then proceeded to inform them that they couldn't be seeing any windows errors as my computer didn't use Windows.
The modus operandi of these scammers, is to get you to fire up the Windows Event Log viewer (where there will be a number of errors, but mostly normal under every day running of a Windows PC), prove to you that you can't delete this error (hmm, it's a log file) and then inform you that they are caused by un-deletable viruses which only they can remove. They'll use a remote-control service such as TeamViewer and get you to give them control of your PC. And, of course, they're not doing this for free.