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Hmm, a Press Association story saying breastfeeding has almost no benefits to the baby has been picked up by the Mail and the Telegraph and... with predictable results.

It says the study was published in the January 2010 edition of Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica, a Scandinavian journal, and was a metastudy of the benefits of breastfeeding involving tens of thousands of women overall.

Except that it wasn't. There is one article by Sven Carlsen, but it's about hormone levels in breastfeeding women, involving a study of 181 women. It's not surprising he's interested in this, because he's at the Department of Endocrinology of Trondheim University Hospital.

The source of the PA article appears to be at news-medical.net, which makes it clear that the basic story is the one on hormone levels, but tags on Carlsen's comments about the benefits of breastfeeding at the end.

And it's that which has been picked up. As I am not about to pay to read the journal version, I don't know what studies the comments were about, but they were clearly not the focus of the article - this aspect is not even mentioned in the abstract!
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I've forgotten to go 'hooray' here over this story from a couple of weeks ago: Food labels advice change over Palestinian territories. I am happy to eat food grown in Israel. I am not happy to eat food grown in the occupied territories but sold as from Israel. As there has previously been no way to tell which was which from the label, this has meant not buying any of it.

This last bit hasn't got through to the Israeli embassy - at the moment, people like me don't buy any food from 'Israel', and far from this change playing "into the hands of those who are calling for a boycott of Israeli goods", it means we can now support goods produced in Israel proper while continuing to boycott the ones from illegally held land. Hooray. It'll be very interesting to see how much stuff was from the latter...

We came back to London yesterday. Normally, we check the traffic news before going on a long journey, but with the final leg being a simple Cambridge - M11 - London trip, why bother? This is why: earlier that morning, a lorry full of pigs overturned between two junctions of the M11 with no other good route between them. If you didn't check the traffic news, cough, the only warning was a sign that the road was closed about a mile or so before one of the junctions. This meant a big queue of vehicles turning off to go another way.

We could see the two most plausible routes were solid, so elected for a tour of the narrow wet roads of the Essex countryside, including the delightfully named village of 'Matching Tye'. Overall, the journey took us about four hours, twice what we had expected. The story doesn't mention why there was no indication of this closure earlier on the M11, at a point where sensible alternative routes existed...
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1. We got a new credit card in September, the Santander Zero, mostly for use abroad. The first statement had a payment for £1.49 to a BSkyB related phone thing. Nothing to do with us, so we phoned up to report this. Turns out there would be another £1.49 for the same thing next month. The relevant card was cancelled, and another one sent out.

Postal strikes meant we weren't particularly fussed when it hadn't arrived quickly. However, the second statement did, on Friday. The two £1.49s that were supposed to have been cancelled were still there... along with someone's shopping spree in and around Manchester over three days while we were away at various places for half term. This included two £900+ spends at two different branches of Currys, four £200 or so visits to cashpoints around the city, etc etc etc until they went over the card's credit limit. (Which there was a charge for!)

Incredibly, Santander's fraud detection systems did not pick this up as being suspicious: a new credit card, replacing one known to have had a identity fraud problem, being used to buy lots of big things in multiple branches of the same store, two hundred miles away from the card-holder's home. Hmmm, do you think there might be something odd about that? Had they had a fraction of a clue, they would have been able to catch them: one purchase was for a train journey with a reserved seat.

2. So that's what's going on just across the footbridge (off the bottom left of the picture) over the railway line from us...
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But there's two to read today: an excellent article in The Guardian about what actually happened when there was a government drive against sex trafficking with another one, sadly without the facility to comment on it, on the origin of some of the statistics you may have heard.

Does sex trafficking happen? Yes. Is it on the scale you think? Very probably not.

I've been pointing out the dodgy basis of the statistics for a while. My particular favourite flaw, mentioned in the article, is the inclusion of women coming to the UK to marry in the 'trafficking' estimates. 'I wouldn't, therefore you mustn't, therefore anyone who is must be a criminal.'

There's one other statistic on the sex industry that I know is crap: I made it up, and made it clear to the person who asked that it was made up. They still published it and every so often, I see it repeated. It makes a really easy test to see who's talking rubbish.

Let me see if I can find a good article on one recent convicted 'trafficker' whose crime was to book someone a taxi...
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Bottom: Mindless Violence

"For 25 years, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson have been kicking the Read more... )
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Did I miss the posts about Micro Men, the BBC drama about the rivalry between Sinclair Research and Acorn Computers?

I wonder how many complaints they've had about Amstrad CPC's being 'at' the show where they launched the Acorn Atommmmm *.

(And when did Sinclair User start? Ah, 1982 apparently. Ooops. No Camputer around then either, surely. And that's not wire-wrapping, that's soldering.)

It would be interesting to see a drama done on the UK bi community...

(*) The Atom's keyboard 'debounce' didn't work very well, and pressing a key once would often lead to multiple characters appearing on the screen, hence its nickname of 'Atommmmm'. Early TRS-80s had a similar problem, but it was so much easier to call those 'Trash-80s' than TRS-800000s :) and Radio Shack / Tandy did at least release a software fix for the problem.
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Just as I think people start off with more than one 'virginity', there's also often more than one thing to come out about or to. This is going to be about the bisexual stuff.

To myself

It was my masturbation fantasies aged 11 or 12 that made me go 'ah ha': when I thought about a male/female couple having sex, I realised I fancied both of them. I also didn't just enjoy the sensations of having my penis stroked, I also liked stroking the penis.

I was confident that I wasn't gay, because I also wanted sex play with girls and I really don't think I ever thought I was straight. I can't remember if one of the better sex ed books of its day (the credited author is one of the co-authors of the Kinsey reports) gave this a name - I think I had that already - but did have a very good sex-positive, diversity of desire-positive approach and meant I was never going 'argh, oh no' about it.

To others

One of the things that struck me most in a presentation at a CHAPS conference a few years back was that most young men's first homosexual partners are no longer found via school, but via the internet. I pre-date the internet :)

Having hit puberty early, I was invited around to a friend's house and, also at his invitation, a 'I'll show you mine etc' game ensued. I vividly remember looking at his (then small) erection and thinking 'that'd fit nicely in my mouth' and not being at all surprised never mind shocked at the thought.

There ended up being a lot of sex play between pupils at my boy's grammar school, and I don't remember it been stigmatised, or indeed commented on. For most, it was definitely 'situational', in they'd have prefered female partners, but they were not available for most until later and there were other boys who were. With, very interestingly, a definite 'I'll do this for you iff you'll do it for me' ethos: one of the reasons I didn't get fucked until much later is that, although I was interested in trying it, the peers I was playing with didn't want to be fucked in return.

Not all of it involved physical contact, but playing soggy biscuit turns out to be particularly interesting (even to watch) when more than one participant really does not mind 'losing'.

Favourite outing

During a temporary job at a market research company working on the RAJAR listening figures, the blood donation service paid a visit. I got taped on the shoulder by the office Daily Mail reader and pointedly asked why I wasn't donating blood. So I told her why. All of the reasons why...

The only bad response

Around 1982, I was doing a temporary job at the (now deceased) Royal Agricultural Show. Wandering around the show ground, I was stopped by seeing a painting of a woman lying face down, legs in the air, with a frog on her bum. Tell me you've seen a picture of that, and I'll find it hard to believe you :) So I bought it. I chatted to the artist, who was a woman a year or two older than me, and over the years, I bought lots of other things from her. (I still have them, and if she ever became famous, I could be rich.)

On one visit to her home in the mid-80s, I mentioned the name of my father's then partner, who had a French woman's name that sounds like an English male one. 'Oh, is he gay?' she asked. 'No,' I said, 'but I am bisexual...' I was in the middle of paying for some more pictures and she went to an envelope she was going to post to someone, took the money out of that, and replaced it with my money.

Why yes, this was in the middle of the 'bisexuals will infect nice people with Aids' scare, and she did read the Daily Mail... but WTF?!?

She apologised for it later, but that's as bad as it's ever been.
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I haven't seen anything on this here, but an Australian radio show presenter recently thought it'd be a good idea to a) attach a 14 year old girl to a lie detector, b) on live radio, c) ask her about her sex life, and d) reply with 'is that the only experience you've had?' when she said she'd been raped age 12.

Not that the mother was much better, given she apparently knew about the rape.

The Sydney Morning Herald's story. Looking for the presenter's name gets a lot of other Australian coverage - he's been fired from various places.
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Amongst my interests is naval combat. WWI is - for me anyway - particularly interesting.

So when two designers with good records produced Jutland on the largest clash of battleships in history, obviously I was interested. Read more... )
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Following on from having bought the thing, I can now talk about what it's like to actually use. Read more... )


Jul. 10th, 2009 11:04 am
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A couple of Christmases ago, I was in Nottingham at somewhere with, gasp, no internet. So Read more... )
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I got to see Boris Johnson in full, unscripted flow last night. I'm glad I am not one of his political minders, because it must be scary every time he opens his mouth. Not even he knows where he is going.

So, somehow, he got onto the topic of Sappho. He presumably quoted her in the original Greek - it was a rapid babble of something I bet absolutely none of the audience could understand - and continued "the ancient Greeks regarded her as the tenth Muse alongside... alongside... does anyone know who the other Muses were?"
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The Times Online website emailed to say that it is about to introduce "a new, improved reader comment system".

They reckon "Times Online attracts the most insightful and informative reader comments from around the world", but that the change "unfortunately .. means that all old comments will disappear from the site."

So... they're about to throw away several years' worth of the world's best comments.


Losing content in this way is stupid. As well as losing all of this valuable (and free) content, they're also putting off people from commenting in future. Why bother if they're going to throw it away?

Would they go through the archive of the paper and delete all the letters to the editor because they were introducing a new format? No, people would think they were insane. Same here.

Would I?

Jun. 10th, 2009 11:30 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
Prompted by a conversation this evening...

(... and with a reminder that I don't get offended at all easily by honesty...)

[Poll #1414078]

(Comments screened, unless you say otherwise.)
lovingboth: (Default)
I missed this at the time, but Stephen Holdsworth, one of the founders of the Edinburgh Bisexual Group died in March.

If you have a copy of Bisexual Lives, he's the one mentioned in Kate's section, and she did the obituary.
lovingboth: (Default)
If I were really interested in someone else's 'first-second.com' domain name, I'd make sure I had the obvious 'other' ones (like firstsecond.com!) registered. Or at least that they were registered.

Ahh, I thought it was scammy...
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OK, I looked at the question, thought that 'maths is about finding the simplest and easiest answer' and said '120 x 1'. I'm kicking myself slightly for not thinking of sqrt(120) x sqrt(120) first :)

JA(7) saw that 120 is a multiple of 20 and worked out that '20 x 6' was 120.

L said '2 x 60'.

Adult visitor P said that seven year olds probably wouldn't know anything higher than their twelve times tables and said '12 x 10'.

You lot had... Read more... )
lovingboth: (Default)
From a SATS key stage 2 (i.e. for 6-7 year olds) practice question...

[Poll #1386206]