Thursday, 20 December 2007

British 'girls' are mingers

Really nothing can be added to this little gem from Tad Safran in the Times:
"I am a massive fan of British women. UK girls, in my opinion, are the greatest natural beauties in the world . . . when they’re 17 or 18 years old. The girls I was surrounded by when I was a teenager were sublime roses with lustrous hair, flawless skin, bright eyes and lithe, athletic bodies. They dressed as if there would be a prize at the end of the night for the girl wearing the least. I then went away to Philadelphia for university. Four years later, I came back and wondered: “What the hell happened to all the beautiful girls I knew?” My first assumption was that one half of them had eaten the other half and washed them down with a crate of lager. These girls looked phenomenal when looking good took no effort. But when British women get to the age where they have to make an effort, they appear unable, or uninterested, in rising to the challenge."

As he says himself:

"I always thought I would end up with an English girl. But I’m never getting laid in Britain ever again."

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I ate the baby Jesus

Via Butterflies and Wheels, the ever lucid Theo Hobson comments:
"Ultimately you are either for or against Baby Jesus"

Thursday, 13 December 2007

We only made up 20% of the results, it is still significant at p<.05!

Working nights I'm not following the Policy Exchange/Newsnight spat, but the comments on this Comment is Free thread were fascinating. A good number of people seem to be arguing that if you can prove that 5% of the Mosques actually had forged evidence that they were selling extremist material then the conclusion is that we should continue to take the Policy Exchange report at face value and just revise down the estimate of the number selling extremist material from 25% to 20%.

Perhaps it is just me, but when a study has methodology as demonstrably suspect as this I'm inclined to reject the whole thing. We are not supposed to give the benefit of the doubt, even to think tanks. Imagine when a scientific fraud is perpetrated the journal concerned doesn't publish a retraction of the study but rather withdraws only those figures or results that have been demonstrated to be fabricated, and stands resolutely behind the rest.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Little girls probably 'ask for it'

Via the F Word, the Guardian reports:
'"A judge in Australia was facing calls to step down today after she failed to jail a group of nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community, saying the young victim "probably agreed" to have sex with them.'

This story has a disturbing combination of cultural relativism (cf female genital mutilation) and good old fashioned judicial misogyny. It was 1993 in the UK that Judge Starforth Hill said of an eight year old sex attack victim that she was "not entirely an angel", and gave the man two years of probation. How can stuff like this still be happening?

Friday, 7 December 2007

Labour Friends of Dorothy

Re: the David Abrahams affair, I was amused to discover that JP thinks 'friend of Israel' (as in 'Labour friends of Israel') is a euphemistic reference to being Jewish comparable to being a 'friend of Dorothy'!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Captain Cackhanded

I wonder if Denis Campbell, author of the classic Observer MMR 'scoop', is the worst broadsheet health journalist in the country?

Looking at his latest offering he could well be:

"Most people use only three to four per cent of their total supply of brain cells."

Really Denis? Are you sure? Did you check out that surprising factoid to see if it was true or one of the hoariest urban myths of all time?

Oh, apparently not:
"Where do brain myths come from, and why are they so persistent? The origin of the 10% claim remains uncertain, despite considerable research. It is often attributed to William James, who expressed a similar idea in a 1906 speech to the American Psychological Association: "Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources." But the 10% number has not been found in any of James' writings. Alternatively, the myth may have originated from an early misinterpretation of interneurons as undeveloped neurons, leading to the speculation that they might be a reserve pool or neural replacement later in life. Another potential source of this myth is the difficulty encountered by early neurophysiologists, notably Karl Lashley, in identifying functional defects caused by lesions of particular brain regions. Indeed, the term 'silent cortex' was once commonly used to describe regions without a clear sensory or motor function, and this could easily have been misinterpreted to mean 'unused cortex'." (from Nature Neuroscience, but pretty much anyone with even the slightest familiarity with psychology or neuroscience could have told him that it was nonsense)