24 January 2008

Free Speech In Danger

Just a small post in support of the very valuable site The Quackometer.

This is a great site debunking all the ridiculous snake oil, wu-wu claims of the increasing numbers of people/companies who are putting down good science for their own personal gains, spreading fear, uncertainty, doubt, illness and even death. There are many other sites giving more information about this situation, here's a few links:


But, irrespective of the arguments involved, we should be most concerned at the failure of important companies to guard the net and ensure freedom of speech. Unfortunately, even Google have succumbed to this, which is very scary indeed (check the first item in the search results). As for the Quackometer's hosting company - Netcetera - they should be truly ashamed at their behaviour in this episode. I have written to them. Why not do the same?

Well, "Dr"/"Prof" Joseph Chikelue Obi, you can just fuck yourself. As a disgraced professional and fraudster, you should be ashamed of yourself. What you have done to your patients, what you're claiming to do for them, how you're trying to recruit more snake oil salesmen to your clan, AND what you have done in an attempt to shut down people who merely bring attention to your failings is truly despicable.

I think it is important that those of us who value free speech make efforts to bring attention to this outrage. So, please post a link to the Quackometer on your site to support this or write a comment of support.

Tags: ,

19 January 2008

GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out Example

Happy New Year reader(s)!

I was most impressed yesterday to see how IT has revolutionised marketing. In my postbox was a fully-personalised full-colour brochure from Thomson Holidays with every page trying to be personal (eg. The Surname Holiday Brochure 2008 - A range of personally selected holidays for my name).

Page 2 showed photos of the Roman Epic Cruise I went on last year including a nice photo of the Thomson Destiny cruise ship. It reminded me when I had departed Gatwick airport (May 2007 in case I'd forgotten). It suggested I might want to cruise the Eastern Mediterranean this year based on last year's selection. Great fuzzy logic, guys!

However, as the character Kryten would say from the Red Dwarf TV Series, "There's just one small problem with that, sir".

Despite having my address entirely correct, the brochure was addressed to a Mr Johnson. Hobson/Johnson, understandable, perhaps? But more notable is the fact that I certainly did not depart Gatwick in May 2007 to join the Thomson Destiny. Indeed, I have never, ever been on a Thomson holiday in my life (what do you take me for, dear reader?).

And in case you thought perhaps they just got the address slightly wrong, there are only 2 flats at this number, and the other flat does not have a Mr Johnson either. There are no other flats at nearby numbers, and certainly none at this postcode (a postcode it took me 10 years to get the Royal Mail to accept - another story, however).

Nice idea, Thomson, but if you really can't get the data right, a complete waste of money. It made me wonder about the quality of their whole database and the thought crossed my mind that they might have sent an incorrect brochure to everyone on the list. It also made me think of the bank (urban myth perhaps but funny nonetheless) who sent a mailing to every one of their customers addressed "Dear Rich Bastard" after the programmer had left some of his testing code in and used his test database customer - a Mr Richard Bastard - against the production address file.

At least the brochure suggests recycling, which it will quickly succumb to.