Category Archives: News

CommentLuv v2.9

ComLuv 125x125


As anyone who has ever commented on this site will know, one of the more visible plugins I use is CommentLuv. CommentLuv is designed to allow commenters to receive link backs to their own site without risking being known as a spammer by dumping in links without permission.

Since it’s first release, CommentLuv has gone from strength to strength and is installed on a huge number of sites. This is probably because the plugin is solid and easy to use, but also because Andy Bailey, the creator and developer of CommentLuv, is directly involved in the support and promotion of the plugin and is keen to help other bloggers get a leg up.

Andy Bailey wishes to make the next release a big event. To that end, there is a video embedded below these words. Please watch it and follow the link and see what comes next. Read the rest of this entry

UK Voting

Graph showing the difference between the popul...

Image via Wikipedia

On May 5th the people of the UK will have to go to vote. At almost any other point in time this would not be notable at all; however this year, as a result of the coalition government formed at the last General Election, we have the opportunity to change the way we vote and how our vote is counted via a referendum.  Pretty heady stuff.

To explain, currently the UK uses what is known as “First Past the Post” voting. This can be explained as “the party with the most votes”. On the face of it this is incredibly fair – if you get 80% of the vote (or whatever you get) then surely you should win. Right? The problem is that the winner is not the person (or team or party) with the majority of the votes, simply the highest number of votes. So if the choice is between a low number of candidates or parties, say 3, the winner will get the highest number as well as the majority of the vote. If the option is between a high number of candidates, the winner may not have a clear majority, simply the highest number of votes – even if the “highest number” is a low number. In the case of 10 possibles, anyone with more than 10% of the vote will win. The downside of this is that the people who voted for the remaining 9 candidates have not just “lost” the election, they are also effectively having their views disregarded and are un- (or under-) represented.

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Tim Minchin – Storm

Tim Minchin is well-known in the skeptical world.  An Aussie musician/singer/comedian he applies his knowledge to his music and brings forth some wonderful songs.

In his 9 minute beat poem Storm, he is able to distil a million tiring conversations and can show us all why some people get that throbbing vein in their temple when someone starts to hold forth in a social gathering.  Watch and listen to the poem, please.

This poem is being turned into an animated film and will be available later this year.  Storm the movie looks to be a great short film.  If you’d rather, follow it on Twitter and Facebook.


Parliamentary Committee on Homeopathy

The portcullis on a British one penny coin (pr...

Image via Wikipedia

The full title should be “The Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on Homeopathy” but I think that would make the URL unreadable.  The English Parliament (UK Parliament?) has many Select Committees covering all aspects of governmental influence.  The Committees are drawn from all parties and their role is to examine evidence and take expert testimony.  They also take great pleasure in ripping apart MPs, civil servants and suppliers to the government.  Where normal parliamentary business appears to be stage managed and operating off some bizarre codewords and actions, Select Committees are very plain speaking.  Hansard, which publishes parliamentary records, has a list of Select Committee meetings and the records.  Luckily for us, they also provide video records of the meetings.

This Science and Technology Committee meeting was called to hear evidence and submissions on 3 subjects:

  • Government policy on licensing of homeopathic products
  • Government policy on the funding of homeopathy through the NHS
  • the evidence base on homeopathic products and services

Read the rest of this entry

Left For Wed

Did it, had a fantastic time and am now fully married.  Thanks to all of you who wished us well, it was a great ceremony and Helen looked beautiful.  Pictures are after the jump and all can be clicked for biggererness: Read the rest of this entry

Better Off Wed

Shutting down for the night.  Tomorrow is the big day…..