Sunday, June 28, 2009

swearing is awesome

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David Mitchell is too. Go and read his CiF eulogy for swearing. Cunting fuckbiscuit.

Friday, June 26, 2009

more evidence of unprovoked police violence at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp

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This is just outrageous. False imprisonment is the least these officers should be charged with. Their disdain for the law and brutal treatment of these three people should lose them their jobs, require them to hand over substantial damages to their victims and saddle them with lengthy spells of community service to remind them who they are meant to serve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

punkscience goes to the beach . . . . in France!

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Packing shit and finishing touches to the van prior to boarding Brittany Ferryies' flagship Pont Avon (which nearly sank on its maiden voyage) at ten tonight. Fuck me dead I need a holiday.

Back in a week. Au revoir to both my regular readers and a big, hairy "fuck you" to the UK government, the BNP, the Tories, UKIP, Obama, Brendan O'Neill, all postmodernist cunts and the rest of the cockweasel fraternity.

Word.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flying Rodent: A delightfully acerbic liberal.

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Awesome comment from the great man on a thread at Liberal Conspiracy about the BNP being racist cunts. Via Jim Bliss.

Labour abolishes any commons oversight of science policy

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Frank, author of the Science Punk blog, has a post up on the Guardian's science blog with the details. Suffice to say, the UK government is shit.

no regrets, no apologies, no contrition- just fuckyounomics as usual

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As claims of the end of the recession continue to sound, the city is reasserting its philosophy of regulatory elimination, the rejection of transparency and removal of oversight. These policies were clearly largely responsible for the current fuckyounomic crisis. So how do they justify this astonishing resistance to reform? The weakness of the government undoubtedly plays into their hands. But what about the people? The electorate? The victims of fuckyounomics? Why are people standing by and letting this happen? Who, for one second, imagines that letting the financial system slip back into its inscrutable, unacountable ways would be the right direction for society to move in? Once again the ignorance of the electorate is going to be the direct cause of its own exploitation.

John Lanchester explains, in wonderful detail, why the bankers shouldn't be allowed to get away with it and what we're going to have to do to avoid years of depression. (via Craig Murray)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

IDF solider who shot dead 4 Israeli Arabs in a shooting spree "is not a terrorist"

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"The authorities want Zada to be seen as a lone madman but the research we've conducted suggests he was part of a larger Jewish terror organisation that operates freely even though it's outside the law. It appears the attack was organised and planned."


Eden Natan Zada's shooting spree on a bus full of Israeli Arabs, in which 22 Arabs were also wounded, was apparently conducted with the support of a banned extremist group called Kach. Kach espouses the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories. Despite this the group apparently operates within Israel with impunity. Zada was beaten to death by a mob of Arabs who surrounded the bus after a female passenger managed to snatch his IDF-issue M16 from him whilst he was reloading. His victims have been denied state compensation because a military tribunal decided that a serving soldier could not be classified as a "terrorist". Twelve Arabs are being prosecuted for the lynching, seven are charged with attempted murder.

Israel is a racist state that conducts torture, murder and ethnic cleansing.

Also see this article:
"This proposal coming from a party in Israel's governing coalition should set off alarm bells that fascism is emerging."

legal threat to chiropracters results in massive cull of anti-scientific websites

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Posts from The Lay Scientist, Science Punk and Le Canard Noir. As a consequence of this legal challenge to a CiF article by science writer Simon Singh, in which he stated that the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) promoted "bogus" treatments, a major chiropractic association is advising its members to take their websites down without hesitation in order to remove unsubstantiated claims of efficacy of the practice that might lend support to Singh's statement. The panicked tone of the circulated email is simply delicious!

Sweet!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nick Griffin is a climate change-denying cunt

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As if I didn't have enough reason to hate the little gobshite already. Now there's this.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

there are many different languages spoken in this land but only one language that the fascist understand

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Fucking WORD. ADF rule. I can't believe that this is 14 years old, although Jasdip Sagar's animation is a bit telling.

Monday, June 08, 2009

access to pron is a basic human right

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Mash it! Whilst sniggering loudly.

the Liberal Democrats are dicks

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Jenny Jones lands some really rib-tickling blows in this CiF article. "Green" Lib Dems? Yeah. Right.

Repeat sniggering.

in case anyone didn't notice, UKIP are just as much racist cunts as the BNP- and they have a MUCH bigger share of the vote

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Via Monsieur Band comes this interesting exchange involving one Andrew Hickey. Nice work.

Of particular interest to anyone who doubts UKIPs closet racism is the text of this speech.

SW election results

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The Green Party beat the ruling party into 5th place! Shame about the filthy UKIP's success though. What the fuck point is there voting for an anti-EU party in European elections? I can't begin to voice my disgust at being beaten by these wankers, let alone the dirty Tories.

Conservative 468,742
UKIP 341,845
Liberal Democrat 255,253
GREEN 144,179
Labour 118,716
BNP 60,889
Pensioners 37,785
English Democrat 25,313
Christians 21,329
Mebyon Kernow 14,922
Socialist Labour 10,033
Misc 39,702 (6 other groups mostly around 7,000)

trains can be more polluting than aeroplanes says new report

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New Scientist article of considerable import to anyone interested in transport and energy policy. The obvious conclusion is that electric trains fuelled by coal-fired power plants are more carbon intensive than a jumbo jet over the same distance. Similarly, off-peak buses carrying a handful of passengers are less efficient over their entire lives than a Chelsea Tractor.

Slay those demons, people. The facts matter (see preceding post).

Mikhail Chester is awesome.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I pity Catherine Bennett

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The comment on her CiF article on MMR in the Observer are going to get violated by ignorant, bigotted fucktards. I thought she actually handled the subject extremely well. She refrained (unlike me) from calling people who don't vaccinate their children child abusers. She gave a good background to the problem and raised reasonable concerns about the way the entire scam was initiated by a fraudulent doctor, whose claims of a link between MMR and autism managed to survive peer-review and make it into a highly respected medical journal. She pointed out that the government completely failed to quash the persistent rumours, even after damning evidence of conflicts of interest and misrepresentation of evidence surfaced.

Unfortunately this well written article and its arguments will not carry sufficient gravitas to intrude upon the hysterical screechings of the postmodernist movement, graphically illustrating how modern society is drifting yet further from any rational, reasoned way of life and out into the hazy, clouded world of mysticism, neurosis and the broad conviction of the power of stupidity to produce the 'right' answers to questions of life, the universe and everything.

This is a particularly fine example of why we need change. Not just a change of government but a change in the way information is released into society. Science remains open to exploitation by vested interests. It can be hired, hijacked, stolen, buried, twisted and simply made up. In the interests of public information we need something along the lines of a judiciary for science. We need demonstrably neutral adjudicators to oversee the elucidation of fact by a panel of peers in cases of supreme public interest. MMR is just one obvious example: Climate change, energy policy, health policy and a host of other issues should be decided solely from pragmatic and heavily evidenced arguments. Politics in the UK is the most anti-scientific influence perverting the allocation of funding in society and mis-managing the dissemination of information to the public. The public have a right- nay a need- to know the facts. However, facts are frequently corrupted and compromised by being sourced from government departments with a record of spin and manipulation. We need to solve this if democracy is ever going to work. Democracy relies upon informed decisions. If the public isn't informed the decisions will be whack. Et voila! I present Gordon Brown and his government. Worse still, I see Cameron and his Plutocracy lurking just over the horizon.


Addition (later):

Massive respect and kudos to an anonymous commentator whose vitriol for child abusers obscures even my own. I will reproduce the entire text of their comment here out of respect for their exquisitely excoriating skills with the English language:

Anonymous "Anonymous said...

You were, of course, correct.

The thread reads like a list of inexcusable, dribbling, fucktard cretins advertising their ignorance as if it were a virtue. People so slow they probably have to whistle before they go to the toilet so they know which end to shit through. There have already been comparisons to concentration camp doctors, references to Nuremburg, apartheid etc.

What a bunch of clusterfucking cunts, as you yourself might intimate...

07 June, 2009 23:17"



Fucking WORD.


Addition 09/06/09:

Excellent article on the subject of the MMR-autism controversy written by Harriet Hall MD, the author of the Science-Based Medicine blog. Checkit!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

the record industry is full of shit

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Ben Goldacre: Full time legend.

Friday, June 05, 2009

TERRORISTS ARE OUT TO GET YOU!

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The Sun, Mail and other shitty pages ridden with twisted hyperbole would have you believe that Air France flight 447 was destroyed by a terrorist bomb. Several of the tabloids whose covers I scanned yesterday had headlines screaming that story after a bomb threat was called in on another Air France flight from Rio four days before flight 447 took off.

Today the Guardian reports:
"The French defence minister and the Pentagon have said there were no signs of terrorism."
Oddly enough I can't find any pages from the Mail or the Sun carrying the terrorist story now.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

check out the new widget

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Like my new widget on the left? You can get it too from here.

Sourced from the awesome power of the Data Not Shown blog.

snigger

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WolframAlpha is awesome.

genetically modified crops hand control over food production to corporations and will aggravate poverty and starvation across the globe

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And all this from a sky-pixie-cuddler. Impressive! I bet he still lusts after little boys.

"According to classical economics, financial crises don't happen – clearly, then, there is a lot wrong with classical economics."

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Brilliant article from New Scientist, titled: "Can science reinvent the economy?". Its subscription only so if you require access I will happily share a copy. Email me at punkscience at gmail.com.

why does the Guardian focus on giving Hazel Blears a rosey retirement?

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So Hazel Blears has resigned from the cabinet. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo. There have been several other resignations from the cabinet today. The most significant has clearly been Jacqui Smith's resignation as Home Secretary: The third most powerful political brief in the UK.

So, why is the Guardian focussing on Blears' resignation?



Why would a national newspaper focus on anything other than the most important political story of the day?

The Graun even goes to incredible lengths to defend the Arch-Cockweasel's retirement in graphic terms.

I fucking HATE Hazel Blears!


Amended 05-06-09:

Thanks to my anonymous friend in the comments, who pointed out that I had slurred the noble Clare Short by putting her in Jacqui Smith's shoes as Home Secretary. Not quite sure how that happened. Wishful thinking getting the better of me, maybe.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Green Party manifesto endorses alternative medicine quackery

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I voted Green (postally). However, there are aspects of Green Party policy which make my blood boil with rational rage- specifically that bit of it which has been written by Councillor Phillip Booth. This is the guy who advocates policy that demonstrably threatens the lives of tens, hundreds or even thousands of children.

This guy has an exemplary post up showing why such fluffy, anti-scientific badger-spiff puts people off voting Green. George has also spent time detailing why fucking stupid people who consider environmentalism to be synonymous with alternative medicine should be beaten about the head with copies of Campbell-Reece (an enormous and stout biology textbook) until they renounce their fuckwittism.
"Environmentalism is, or should be, a movement led by scientific findings. I see the role of environmentalists as being to explore and explain the implications of what the science – whether on climate change, habitat loss, biodiversity, fisheries, pollution or resource depletion — is saying, and how this should translate into public policy. We should try at all times to be rigorous. And we should kill our darlings – our enthusiasm for solar panels, for example, or our rigid opposition to nuclear power — if the facts demand it."

I still implore people to vote Green because no political manifesto is perfect. As I wrote earlier on John Band's post about the same issue:

I voted Green even though their healthcare policies are straight of of Postmdernism 101. If there was a punkscience party or if I could be arsed to start it, clearly I’d vote for that as all the policies would be perfect and utopian. However, there isn’t so I’m not. Who to vote for is a pragmatic decision. All political parties are run by humans and so their manifestos are Curate’s Eggs. The party you end up voting for is the one which, on balance, you feel most confident of doing the right thing.

Word.


Addition 09/06/09:

This post is garnering quite a few hits so I want to link to some more articles on the anti-scientific nature of the Green Party's Manifesto for A Sustainable Society. Firstly this one from The Times and then this one from the Graun.

Just to reiterate, I strongly believe that the Green Party is the best party to rule the UK. The Green philosophies of the institution of real democracy, social justice and- above all- long-term policy planning and sustainability are the right way ones under which to govern. From this perspective their opposition to GM and nuclear power are sensible and pragmatic. Their bizarrely backward approach to animal testing and their embrace of CAM are ridiculous throwbacks to a previous age, however, which have no place in a modern manifesto. Anyone who knows anything about science knows that animal testing is utterly indispensible to the progress of both human and environmental science and anyone involved in the practice (like me) can tell you that there are complex layers of regulation and oversight of such practices which ensure they are conducted as ethically as possible. The GP's opposition to embryonic research is similarly fluffy and unscientific and is a barrier to progress and the development of new therapies which can be proven to work- unlike CAM.

how to extract total RNA from tissue samples

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After I posted a method for extracting RNA from tissue samples, which someone had given me, I have spent the last few weeks composing an improved version which should be suitable for extracting total RNA from tissue. The difference is that the first method is really only suitable for extracting RNA for use in Quantitative (or real-time) PCR where you are looking to quantify a specific mRNA. This latter version is what I will be using for generating a normalised cDNA library by transcriptomic analysis, which requires complete extraction of the undegraded transcriptome. RNA is very vulnerable to degradation by RNase enzymes which comprise one of the many regulatory pathways in gene expression. Therefore you must be uber-keen to avoid any degradation. Transcriptomic analysis and the preparative steps involved in generating normalised cDNA libraries s also very sensitive to contamination and so the extraction must be as pure as possible.

Voila:



RNA extraction from animal tissue for the creation of normalised cDNA libraries.


This method requires an RNeasy mini kit from Qiagen as well as an RNase-free DNase kit.


Pre-extraction prep:

• Prepare DNase I stock solution before using the RNase-Free DNase.
• Dissolve the lyophilized DNase I (1500 Kunitz units) in 550 μl of the Rnasefree water provided.
• Take great care not to lose any of the lyophilised powder.
• Mix gently by inverting the vial. ~~ Do not vortex! ~~
• Aliquot to 60µl volumes and store at -20°C

• Add 4 volumes of ethanol (96–100%) to the Buffer RPE concentrate, as indicated on the bottle to obtain a working solution.
• Aliquot to 1300µl volumes and store at -20°C

• Prepare some 70% EtOH

• Aliquot buffer RW1 into 1850µl volumes and freeze @ -20°C

• Aliquot buffer RDD into 400µl volumes and store @ -20°C

• Aliquot RNase-free water into 200µl volumes and freeze @ -20°C





Extraction protocol for 5 samples:

You will need:
• TRI
• 70% EtOH
• 2 x buffer RW1 aliquots
• 1 x buffer RDD aliquot
• 2 x buffer RPE aliquots
• 1 x DNase I aliquot
• 1 x RNase-free water aliquot
• 5 x Qiagen RNeasy spin columns
• 10 x 1.5ml cent tubes
• 15 x 0.2ml cent tubes
• RNase-free, sterile tips & pipettors
• A temperature-controlled centrifuge
• Microcentrifuge tube pestle


Work on ice at all times, except where stated.
Work quickly and asceptically.


1. Add ~50mg of tissue (you may have to vary this amount for optimal extraction, depending on how much RNA is in the tissue) to 0.2ml of TRI and homogenise before adding another 0.8ml TRI
• Homogenise each sample in TRI before weighing out another
• Vortex and then aliquot 0.5ml and freeze as a duplicate
• Add 0.5ml of TRI to other half and stand for 5 min


2. Add 0.2ml Chloroform
• Vortex for 15 sec
• Stand for 15 min (room temperature)


3. Centrifuge TRI extraction for 15 min @ 12,000 @ 4C
• Pipette 200µl RNA phase (top/clear) into a clean eppendorf and add 200µl 70% EtOH.
• Avoid white cloud above white layer as this is genomic DNA.


4. Pipette the whole 400µl sample onto a Qiagen Rneasy mini spin column placed in a 2ml collection tube straight away! Close lids gently, and centrifuge for 15s at 12,000rpm. Discard the flow-through.


5. Add 350μl Buffer RW1 to each RNeasy spin column. Close the lid gently, and centrifuge for 15s at 12,000 rpm to wash the spin column membrane. Discard the flow-through.


6. Add 55μl DNase I stock solution (see above) to Buffer RDD aliquot. Mix by gently inverting the tube, and centrifuge briefly to collect residual liquid from the sides of the tube.


7. Add 80µl of the DNase I incubation mix directly to each RNeasy spin column membrane, and incubate on the benchtop (20–30°C) for 15 min.


8. Add 350μl Buffer RW1 to the RNeasy spin column. Close the lid gently, and centrifuge for 15s at 12,000 rpm. Discard the flow-through.


9. Add 500 μl Buffer RPE to the RNeasy spin column. Close the lid gently, and centrifuge for 1 min at 12,000 rpm to wash the spin column membrane. Discard the flow-through.


10. Place the RNeasy spin column in a new 1.5 ml collection tube (supplied). Add 30–50μl RNase-free water directly to the spin column membrane. Close the lid gently, and centrifuge for 1 min at 12,000 rpm to elute the RNA.


11. Aliquot into 3 x 10µl volumes in 0.2ml centrifuge tubes and freeze immediately at -80°C.


I will post about the success, or otherwise, of this method as soon as our sodding Bioanalyzer is fixed. Grrrrrrrr . . . .

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Greenpeace intercept police helicopter video feeds

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Fascinating stuff here. Activists are getting more hi-tech every day. There is going to be some severely embarassed police faces over this. Unfortunately its only going to stoke the fires beneath the ECOTERRORIST media storm.

why is scientific research in the UK being sabotaged?

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Okay, first I implore everyone to sign this Downing Street e-petition.

Secondly, a close friend of mine has just been awarded a NERC fellowship. The panel awarding the grants allegedly had an upper limit of thirty for the forty five superlative candidates who had made it to the interview stage. They awarded eight.

Thirdly, a grant with my name on has just been rejected by another NERC panel. Out of a total of thirty to fifty grant applications that they would have considered they awarded funding to two.

TWO!

The research councils have clearly been instructed to tighten their belts significantly. This is insane. The government claims that you can't cut your way out of recession, in direct contradiction to David Cameron's voodoo-economic philosophy. However, their actions at this fundamental level of funding contradicts their own claims. This is ridiculous and will sap research departments across the country right when the most important thing to be doing is preserving- or even building our research base. Research money circulates within the country, provides far more employment in tertiary roles than at the purely scientific level and fuels innovation and development. I say again, cutting research grants in a recession is economic stupidity.

Green Power!

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Two comment pieces today in CiF from Green Party stalwarts. One from Jean Lambert , basically pointing out that the Tories are full of greenwash and that they suck goat dicks, and another from Caroline Lucas. Her article is a comprehensive rebuttal of the usual "hair-shirted hippies" stereotyping by one John Harris. Its rewarding to see his crass taunts rejected by the majority of readers, judging from the recommendations in the comments.

Read it and vote Green.