31 August 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Devastation has been wrecked on the Gulf Coast of the US by Hurricane Katrina.

It's unclear whether a benefit concert will be held, but if it is, can I make a personal request for Katrina and the Waves to make an appearance.

Katrina and the Waves. With large haircuts

Pretty please?

Animal Rights: The Response Part I

I emailed my blog entry on animal research to a few animal rights groups and here's one of the responses I received, from the Covance Campaign:
The Covance campaign do not encourage illegal activities or support the recent act of grave-digging. The media have carried on claiming that David Hall & Partners bred guinea-pigs for medical research, despite the fact some were sent to France to be used in cosmetics testing, whilst others were used to test pesticides, agro-chemicals and in warfare research.

Undercover footage was also taken of which showed the appalling conditions in which the guinea-pigs had to live. Many drugs tested on animals have been taken off the market as they caused side effects which killed and maimed people. Vioxx, tested on rodents, killed thousands, Viagra, tested on primates, killed over 100 people. Every year 100,000 people are killed by adverse drug reactions to medicines that were proven 'safe' on animals.

There are over 100 cures for Cancer in rodents, yet how many in humans? To find out more, visit: http://www.curedisease.net

A Covance Campaign Cartoon

And for the sake of posterity, here's my response:
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. There were a few assertions in your reply that I wish to challenge however.

You state that David Hall & Partners bred guinea-pigs not only for medical research, but also that some were sent to France to be used in agro-chemicals and in warfare research. I've tried to find proof of this, but with no luck. Perhaps you could help?

You are quite right that Viagra has killed some men that have used it. However "over 100" out of 23 million men prescribed the drug works out to a fatality rate of 1 in 230,000, a good statistic for any drug and men are made aware of the risks when prescribed the drug (with additional safety warnings contained in the drug box itself).
Source on prescription rates:

Vioxx has been prescribed to over 20 million people and the drug was voluntarily withdrawn in 2004 (although many state it should've been withdrawn much earlier). As you aware, a series of lawsuits are underway in the USA and I believe the drug should've been more thoroughly tested before being placed on the market.

Information on the various cures for cancer:
Tomorrow, a more patronising email I received from another animal rights group.

27 August 2005

Traffic Power

After Traffic Power filed a civil claim against Aaron Wall for a comment left by someone else on his blog, I would like to confirm that, in my honest opinion, Traffic Power sucks. They've delibrately conned members of the US public out of their money and infringed copyright whilst trying to put the blame for this on their customers.

As Traffic Power "Want to hear from me", I've also sent them an email (below) inviting their comments.

The email what I sent

And if Traffic Power wish to start any legal action against me, email oberon2001@gmail.com and I will gladly provide contact details to facilitate this.

PS. This post is the honest opinion of Gavin Whenman and is not motivated my malice.

26 August 2005

Google Talk

New from Google, Google Talk.

Pretty basic at the moment, but Google's aim is for users to be able to chat to those using other Instant Messaging Programs - such as AOL, MSN, Yahoo, etc - and to offer total Voice over IP support. The best thing about it at the moment though, is it's ultra quick loading time.

See Also:

Full review of Google Talk

25 August 2005

Intelligent Falling

After the debate over creationism/evolution. The Onion brings us the "intelligent falling/gravity" debate.

You can't get much more satirical than that can you.

Googlebombing is good for you


Via Perfect.co.uk

For more on Googlebombing, see Wikipedia

24 August 2005

New to Amazon

Only available in the US at the moment, but let's hope this appears on our shores soon too.

23 August 2005

The Dilemma of Gladys Hammond

The case of Gladys Hammond, whose body was robbed from its grave by people protesting against her son-in-law's part in animal testing, took an unfortunate turn today when her son-in-law, Christopher Law, confirmed that his farm is to stop breeding guinea pigs for medical research.

Gladys Hammond

Animal rights campaigners claim:
"... where animals are used each species responds differently to drugs and chemicals - therefore results from animal tests are unreliable as a means of predicting likely effects in humans."
(Source: National Anti-Vivisection Society)
Sounds fine to me and to some extent this is true. Naturally enough, the genetic difference between us and other animals is different and we will therefore react different ways to different drugs/medical procedures. However, animal research has in the past led to several benefits to both us and humans and so I would expect animal rights campaigners to refuse any treatment that came about due to animal research. To help them, here's a handy, cut out and print list of treatment they should refuse:
  • Insulin: Sorry, but if you've got diabetes, you can't take insulin. Tough break. Mmm... Sugar free sweets. Joy!
  • Kidney Dialysis: Unfortunately, it's urea poisoning for all those that can't go on dialysis whilst they wait for a transplant.
  • Artifical Pacemakers: Ouch, that's got to hurt. You've got a dodgy ticker and been told you can't get a pacemaker. You can't get a replacement heart valve either.
  • Leukaemia treatment: Don't feel down, you don't want animal research remember
  • And much, much more!
See Also:
Americans for Medical Progress

Update 04/09/2005:

21 August 2005

The Island Review

The Island, a new film about a futuristic society where the rich produce their own clones to save themselves, mixes a fascinating plot, superb set design, a clunky script and pisspoor directing by Michael Bay (Pearl Harbour, Armageddon).
First, the plot - Ewan McGregor plays Lincoln Six Echo, a man who thinks he one of only a handful of survivors of Earth's "contamination", but he is in fact just a clone of someone out in the real world waiting to be "harvested" if that person needs spare organs. When he finds out all is not as it seems, he escapes with his friend Jordan Two Delta* (Scarlett Johansson) to uncover the truth.

"God you're hot Scarlett... Marry me."

The premise excited me, and in the right hands (maybe if it was written by Charlie Kaufman), this could've been a really good film, but the screenplay is just pants in comparison to its potential. It's made that much worse by Michael Bay's direction (he's not noted for his directorial genius, see Team America), with far too many helicopter and slow motion shots, intended to set the protagonists up as heroes but instead they drag on and on. During the middle section the characters constantly seem to urge each other to run, which seems like another excuse to use more helicopter shots and the various chase sequences ended up boring me.

Michael Bay, what a tit

Strangely enough, however, I do recommend you go and see the film, if nothing more for the intriguing plot and Ewan McGregor's on-par acting (in spite of the complete cow pat director he is working under).

See Also:

Ain't It Cool Review
BBC Review

*Don't question the names, accept them and move on.

19 August 2005

Rest in Peace

First Robin Cook

Now Mo Mowlem

Clare Short's bound to be feeling a bit nervous.

18 August 2005

Madonna Falls

After her fall, Madonna is still making music:

UK spokeswoman Barbara Charone also said the accident would not delay the release of her new album in November.
"Her LP is finished and is on course to come out in November with a single prior," she told the BBC News website.

If any horses are reading this, and you get the chance to carry Mrs Richie, throw her off again. Please, for the sake of my eardrums, please.

16 August 2005

That lack of apology in full

From ITV News, who have obtained documents relating to the shooting of the innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles De Menezes on a Tube train at Stockwell station on 22/07/2005:
The documents and photographs confirm that Jean Charles was not carrying any bags, and was wearing a denim jacket, not a bulky winter coat, as had previously been claimed. He was behaving normally, and did not vault the barriers, even stopping to pick up a free newspaper. He started running when we saw a tube at the platform.

That's a pretty bulky coat you've got on there Mr De Menezes

Let's just hope a prosecution for murder will be forthcoming.

Update 18/08/2005

Via Talk Politics:

Little Britain

It is my onerous duty to report that the search term "Little Britain" is the top search engine referrer to this website.

It's the result of this post earlier in the year and, as you can probably tell from that post, "Little Britain" being the main reason people come here doesn't make me leap for joy across the nearest green field.

I don't want that one

In case any Little Britain fans are wondering, the series really is coming back for a third time. There's an audience report from someone who went to go and see one of the new episodes here. I can't be bothered to read the report myself, but let's face facts, they will be reusing all the same jokes.

14 August 2005


Do we really need to see this story about A-levels getting easier again?
It's oddly reminiscent of 2004's results, 2003's results and 2002's results.

Why does this story keep popping up every year?

In my opinion, it's simple, examiners are getting lazier. Rather than setting a totally new exam paper in a topic every year, they recycle old exam papers. When I sat my GCSEs and A-Levels I was able to topic/question spot just by reading the old papers and prepare accordingly. In my Double Science GCSEs they even replicated several questions word for word. As more exam papers become available with the passing years, students can topic/question spot more effectively.

Even more A-level students will be celebrating this year

Surprisingly, all four stories are totally new write-ups, perhaps a sign that the journos at BBC News don't have much to do during the long summer days.

PS. I couldn't need a better excuse to ignore the homeless.
PPS. No, I don't have much to do during the long summer days either.

12 August 2005

Passport Control

My baby brother got his passport today, even though he is only 1.5 months old.
Can't wait for him to go through Passport control.
Passport Officer: (takes brother's passport. Looks at it intently) I'm sorry sir, could you take off your baby bonnet please?
Baby Brother: (gurgles) Goo-gah
Passport Officer: No excuses sir. Take off the bonnet.
Baby Brother: (farts)
Passport Officer: Ok sunshine, that's enough, come with me.

10 August 2005

Another Reason...

... To love Penny Arcade.
PS. No, they aren't paying me.


Tonight at 8.30pm, Lost starts on Channel 4.

I've already seen the entire series (guess how), and believe me, it's worth one hour of your time each week. If you don't catch it tonight, you're going to regret that decision for the next few months, as your friends gossip about the latest twists and turns of this compelling drama series about a group of plane crash survivors.
And don't think the series finale will be anything like the resolution you are hoping for, the programme has already been commissioned for a second series and filming started at the end of July.

07 August 2005

Simpsons Series 6-10

It's what the box-art will be for the Simpsons series 6-10 DVD collections.
Well, I like it.

The picture (and attached page) has been removed at the request of Fox. Scary!

05 August 2005

You can get the internet on computers now

Don't know what practical purpose it serves, but the WayBack Machine is still pretty good.

04 August 2005

Police Blitz

Whilst the Metropolitan Police gets tough on terrorism (some would say a little too tough), officers in the Thames Valley Police Force were getting their own priorities straight.

Just so you know

The reason I no longer have any friends.

God it's good.

Of particular greatness is Dr Cox as Obi Wan Kenobi and the episode "My Hero".

Does anyone know why it hasn't won many big awards?

03 August 2005

My New Beginnings

Yeah, I've started this.
But don't worry fans... well... fan*, this site goes on too.

* Me

02 August 2005

Hot Coffee

Without a doubt, the best commentary on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" scandal.

And this isn't the hot coffee I'm talking about.

01 August 2005


An extra special post, written by Charles Clarke, MP*:

Those annoying protestors are at it again. Don't they understand that democracy is best facilitated by a total lack of public interference, in fact it's more efficient if there is a complete lack of any opposition at all. Hopefully, this new bill will stop both the public (although not Brian Haw... yet) and nuisance MPs from protesting anywhere near Parliament ever again.

Brian Haw. Bastard.

We hope in time to use the new powers under the
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act to prevent any dissent (or "democratic debate", as some future criminals are calling it) anywhere at all, ever.
From 2006, any MP voting against a Government Bill will be arrested and interrogated in Paddington Green Police Station. As part of our committment to fight terrorism, they may be shot eight times... In the head.
I am a lion, hear me roar,
Charles Clarke, MP.

*It's not really.