The Daily Mail quandary

I remember being in the UK. Downing a coffee and heading out into the rain to work. Popping into the hospital newsagents in the morning and buying the paper.
I generally stuck with The Times or The Telegraph. If it was Monday, I might get The Sun for the football news. I wouldn’t touch the Daily Mail, because I didn’t want to read alarmist nonsense about house prices or the latest idiotic health-fad idea, e.g.:

How 40 winks in the afternoon can raise your risk of diabetes.
Daily Mail, 9 March

Diabetes risk ‘soars with lack of sleep’.
Daily Mail, 12 March

Quite. But now, in a sinister turn, it seems that the Daily Mail has run out of bad things to say about Britain and Britons (amazing!) and has turned it’s attention overseas. Peter Hitchens’ piece is arguably the most damning, one-sided, ignorant, pessimistic, alarmist thing I’ve ever read about this country. It’s not the most racist, obviously, because some people have the courage and honesty to at least speak openly about their views, however repugnant those views may be.

I sighed when I got to the standard disclaimer a few lines in:

I can promise you I will be accused of alarmism and pessimism for saying so, and quite possibly of ‘racism’ too.

How many times have I read that? It’s put in there because the piece is alarmist, pessimistic and ‘racist’. And when you point that out, the author can say, “Well, I knew you’d accuse me of that”. Of course, it doesn’t make those accusations any less valid.

The article is also inaccurate on many points. The “African Chernobyl” comment made me laugh – I’m about 12 miles away from Koeberg nuclear power station at the moment and I’m really not scared at all. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is, so where did he get that soundbite? 
The power blackouts indicating “a country on the slide” are long gone, as the nation pulled together to use electricity less wastefully.
The upcoming election is being overseen by the strong arm of the IEC together with international observers – it is not “crooked”.
His comments that we do not hear about crime or HIV or corruption is completely laughable. Would that we could hear about something else for a change.
And finally – that machine gun song – only the most desperate of propagandists have ever been foolish enough to take it literally.

And then on Zuma: jibes about his weight and his “charisma of an ashtray”. This from a man who has Gordon Brown as his Prime Minister.
Hitchens points out that Zuma is a polygamist as if this is unexpected and wrong. Well, yes he is. And in the Zulu culture that’s completely normal. Many from that tribe would probably look at Barack Obama and Gordon Brown and wonder why they only have one partner. This isn’t America or Britain – so why should Zuma conform to your Western norms?
And then the fawning support for (white and Western) “popular and effective mayor of Cape Town and leader of the Democratic Alliance” Helen Zille. I had to read twice and then check I wasn’t reading a DA election ad.

I caught up with her at Stellenbosch University, where she was speaking to an almost wholly white student audience, switching easily from English to Afrikaans. Unlike Zuma, she is a witty, fluent orator. She does not break into song, and critics joke that if she did it would be ‘Bring me my cappuccino’ rather than ‘Bring me my machine gun’.
Her aides, however, point out that she also speaks fluent Xhosa, Nelson Mandela’s language, and that many of her meetings are full of black and brown faces. 

 [Her] diagnosis is impressive, cool and clear. [Her] cure: a real law-governed democracy, is attractive.

Once again – the naïve assumption that Western government is the cure-all South Africa requires. But of course, It won’t happen.

She knows the Alliance must break out of being nothing more than a white liberal party. But alas she is a white liberal, albeit a very impressive one.

Indeed. If only those silly black people would understand that the DA doesn’t stand for “Darkies Aside”. But no – they insist on voting for parties that they choose, instead of the ones that Hitchens would prefer to govern the country. How very trying.

Altogether the worst bit of journalism that I have ever seen. But, of course, there will be those who believe every word, like the Daily Mail readership. And then they’ll tell their friends Roger and Helen over a pineapple juice at the Black Dog on Friday evening, wonder if JZ killed Princess Di and then all worry about how it will affect their house prices. Sad, but true.

So why this “quandary”, then? Surely one just avoids the Daily Mail and its obnoxiously snobbish racist viewpoints?

But no, because the editors (who swore they would never again use paparazzi pictures after that 1997 Paris tunnel incident) drag you in with their loss leader: Kelly Brook in a bikini in the Caribbean.


Kelly – Hello!

It’s unfair, but it’s brilliant marketing. And while I hate to admit it, it’s working on me. I just wish I didn’t have to put up with misleading, racist crap to be able to see skimpily dressed ex-Breakfast TV presenters frolicking in the sea.

BIOPRO i-H2O

I was just looking into the benefits of activated water via the BioPro Technology site:

When age-old secrets from Mother Earth are combined with cutting edge technologies, a new generation of wellness solutions is born that is bound to change the energetics of the planet as we know it.

Ja right.
Frankly, I’m amazed that given the amazing benefits and the bargain price of just R8,145.61 (+VAT) per BIOPRO i-H2O™ System, South Africa isn’t laden with the patented system devised by (no joke) Dr Igor Smirnov. 

Following the disastrous nuclear radiation leak at Chernobyl, the brilliant Russian Scientist Dr. Igor Smirnov and his team were called in by the Soviet government to research the healing effects of certain mountain springs on victims of the radioactive fallout.  Through Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Tests and Infrared Spectroscopy, Dr. Smirnov discovered the water’s healing secrets, an unusual configuration and high-energy activity of water molecules.
Following that amazing discovery, Dr. Smirnov focused his efforts on a technology that could replicate this amazing natural process. The result, MRET®, a proprietary, patented noise field technology that closely resembles the natural geomagnetic field found near healing water springs, which effectively activates and structures water molecules.

Often, these “pseudo-science” technologies are dismissed as frauds and quackery. But it’s not nonsense. Honestly. Because there are a multitude of scientific papers proving the benefits of MRET and i-H2O in killing germs, enhacing red cell morphology, increasing plant growth and more, including:

  • Smirnov, I.V. (2007) “The Anomalous Low Viscosity and Polarized-Oriented Multilayer Structure of MRET Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.16, No.4: 37-39, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2007) “MRET Activated Water and its Successful Application for Preventive Treatment and Enhanced Tumor Resistance in Oncology” European Journal for Scientific Research, Vol.16, No.4: 575-583, Germany
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2006) “The Physiological Effect of MRET Activated Water on Patients Suffering from AIDS” Explore Magazine, Vol.15, No.2: 37-40, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. and Peerayot, T. (2006) “The Physiological Effect of MRET Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.15, No.1: 38-44, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2006) “Clinical Observation by Peerayot Trongsawad, M. D., Using MRET-Activated Water as Additional Treatment” Explore Magazine, Vol.14, No.6, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2005) “The Possible Effect of MRET Activated Water on Diabetic Patients” Explore Magazine, Vol.14, No.2: 49-54, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2004) “The Effect of a Specially Modified Electromagnetic Field on the Molecular Structure of Liquid Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.13, No.1, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2003) “Mechanism of Activated Water’s Biological Effect on Viruses” Explore Magazine, Vol.12, No.4: 34-36, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2002) “Activated Water” Electric Spacecraft Journal, No.33: 15-17, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2002) “Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.11, No.2: 49-53, USA

Bit Smirnovvy yes, but surely no conflict of interest? But check that penultimate one: the Electric Sparecraft Journal. I’m impressed. Getting published in the ESJ takes a whole lot of tinfoil. And while we’re on that subject, better put on your protective tinfoil helmet just in case Dr Smironoff’s 1994 invention comes after you:

Igor Smirnov from Moscow Academy of Medicine demonstrated for the U.S. secret services and FBI experts a device which was capable to subliminally implant thoughts in peoples minds and in this way control their actions.

The rest, as they say, is history. (i.e. we’ve not heard of it since).

Of course, there’s a serious side to this nonsense as well – it concerns me that he’s suggesting that his special water can benefit AIDS patients. We have experienced the infamous quack Mathias Rath preying on vulnerable HIV+ individuals in South Africa with his “vitamins cure AIDS” bullshit and while the BioPro website does come with a disclaimer, it’s tucked away very neatly right at the bottom. I wonder how many disclaimers their “direct marketing” staff give?

I don’t know why this sort of  thing is allowed. It’s basically fraud and let’s face it, we have enough issues around fraud in the country right now. All I can advise, as a scientist with [number] years experience, is that you could find a whole lot better stuff to buy if you just happen to have R9,286 lying around.

A Question of Trust

This whole “is the case against Jacob Zuma about to be dropped?” thing. Man, it’s getting complicated.
Why doesn’t someone take things back to basics and explain it in straightforward terms?

OK – here you go, then:

Jacob Zuma, out future President (in 3½ weeks) and who can’t be trusted is set to face charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud. He is alleging that these charges, which were investigated by Leonard McCarthy of the Scorpions (who can’t be trusted), were instated by Thanda Mngwengwe of the National Prosecuting Authority (who can’t be trusted) and were being pressed by Bululani Ngcuka of the NPA (who can’t be trusted), are politically motivated by Thabo Mbeki (who actually can’t be trusted, either) .

In a new twist revealed this week, it appears that the South African Police Service (who can’t be trusted), and their Gauteng deputy provincial commissioner Richard Mdluli (who can’t be trusted) bugged the phones of the Mbeki camp and of the Scorpions (neither of whom, remember, can be trusted) and recorded some “potentially embarrassing information”, which the Zuma legal team (who can’t be trusted) are now threatening to release if the charges are not dropped.

Suspended national police commissioner Jackie Selebi (who really can’t be trusted) has denied knowledge of the clandestine recording activities of the Scorpions (who can’t be trusted) and other key players (who can’t be trusted) in the Zuma (who can’t be trusted) corruption saga.

All my information comes from The Times… Umm. No comment.

Dan Power wastes energy

VOTE FOR ME IN THE 2009 SOUTH AFRICAN BLOG AWARDS!

We’ve all had it up to here [indicates height of rising sea level at about neck level] with eco-whiners whining about the eco, haven’t we? 
It’s not that I don’t recognise the need to be kinder to the environment, it’s just that I’m getting annoyed with constantly being told about it – like the utterly pointless Earth Hour this weekend. Switching off my lights on Saturday evening  won’t raise any awareness amongst my neighbours, because they’ll all be watching TV with their lights on and their curtains closed. And then when all the treehuggers switch their power back on, there’ll actually be a bigger power demand with the “spike” as appliances start up again. Possibly.
Who can forget the embarrassing fiasco of Energy Saving Day in the UK last year, when power consumption actually increased 0.1% above average. Oops.
Anyway, I utilise about 8 hours of power saving each night when I switch all my lights off and go to bed. It’s like 8 Earth Hours in one go. Brilliant.

If the upcoming Earth Hour has made the festering boil on the neck of humanity come to a oily, oozing head, then step forward Dan Power – because he’s the man to squeeze the pus out and ease the pressure with his Energy Wasting Day on April 1st.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1_O6NDTbvw]

Embarrassingly cheesy amateur British comedy at it’s best. Yes, I’m cringing too.

Of course, it’s all in a good cause: namely treehugging and eco-awareness via together.com. But what a refreshingly not in-your-face way of going about things. Because you can easily make a bit of a difference every day, without gimmicks like Earth Hour. At Chez 6000, we already institute a wide range of energy saving practices, we recycle and we only fly long-haul when we need to be somewhere far away from the place where we currently are. But I don’t go round constantly telling people about it (apart from just now) and I don’t go round forcing them to do the same.

What I do around constantly telling people about and forcing them to do is voting for this blog in the 2009 South African Blog Awards. It won’t save the planet – hell, it won’t even win me the award – but it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like a high-quality brandy on a cold winter’s day. Which we won’t be having many more of if global warming kicks in, anyway.

Today: a summary

No one particular subject has dominated my mind or time today, save for the post I was going to do about waking up with Madonna and Billy Joel. Not on the radio or on the TV – literally waking up with them. In my bed. 
I have no idea what they were doing in there. Sleeping, I guess. My wife is going to kill me, she was only away for one night and I end up sleeping with a pair of veteran multi-Grammy Award winning artistes.
Again.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. My iPod has been churning out high quality choons all day. This is unusual. I have had a number of very disappointing days music-wise recently. But a combination of Depeche Mode, Fifth Amendment, Skunk Anansie and The Pigeon Detectives has redeemed Steve Jobs somewhat. I shall let him live a little longer.

And back to the ridiculous. The pope and his überdaft comments on condoms and HIV.
I’m not religious. I don’t mind people worshipping me, although it sometimes makes a simple trip down to Pick n Pay quite an ordeal. But I recognise people’s rights to believe what they want to. And the catholic church doesn’t like people using condoms. Fair enough. They can preach their silly message if they choose to do so. But to suggest that the use of condoms actually exacerbates the spread of HIV is completely unfounded and dangerous.

“While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life.”

French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier

With great power comes great responsibility and the pope is a very powerful man. His comments are disgraceful and should be withdrawn before they do real harm. 
Are catholics allowed to withdraw? Probably not.

Julius Malema isn’t on twitter. Gutted.

Natasha Richardson has died. spEak You’re bRanes is unimpressed with the outpouring of emotion.

The Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998.

No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds including race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, and birth.

“Birth”? Now they tell me.
I’ve been regularly discriminating against unborn people in my employment policies and practices since I came to South Africa. I have yet to employ either an embryo or a foetus and now I feel awful. And completely open to prosecution.
In my defence, the last time I interviewed a foetus (for a middle management position, as I recall), all I got in reply to some of my more probing questions was a slap from his mother.
Which was off-putting, to say the least.