To Be Confirmed

Archive for the ‘Seriously?’ Category

Yesterday, while travelling back from some serious flat hunting, I happened to tune into Radio Two and was delighted to hear an interview with Richard Wiseman promoting his latest book. Whilst I was trying to decide whether being dubbed the ‘most quoted psychologist’ in the media was a good or bad thing along popped the next segment on Monday’s show; the live astrologer.

During this segment Sara Delphi, the astrologer, goes through the various astrological signs and gives vague predictions apparently based on the position of the planets. People then call in to tell her their star sign’s and their particular problem, since Sara also claims to be a clairvoyant (is there no end to her mystical powers?) one presumes this is a formality for our behalf. Sara proceeds to give people advice according to what the stars/planets are telling her. It was during this particular part of the programme that Sara felt confident enough in her pseudoscience to give someone financial advice and another advice to change her career, during a recession, based purely on the position of the planets. This is horrendous and despicable behaviour, she has absolutely no qualifications that suggest she is in any position to give this sort of advice.

Perhaps some could dismiss this as harmless fun but this is a very delicate time for a lot of families who are struggling to make ends meet and one of the most listened to radio stations in the UK is promoting advice based on nonsense. They should be telling those in financial trouble to seek advice from a FINANCIAL advisor not a crystal healing, psychic astrologer.

I always though that Steve Wright had come across fairly sceptical in the past so I was appalled to not only hear this segment on his show but later find out it is a regular Monday feature. Despite the slightly mocking tone he took with Sara Delphi he still gave her a platform on which to promote astrology as a legitimate means for making life decisions and giving advice on important issues which it quite blatantly is not.

I very much doubt that Sara Delphi will read this but should she and then have any problems with my questioning the validity of her psuedoscientific belief and her ability as a clairvoyant then I would invite her to take up the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge, which is offered to anyone who an show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. I don’t fancy her chances though; since it’s conception in 1964 the challenge is yet to unearth anyone that can even pass the preliminary test.

Yesterday I wrote about the decision by the MOD to try and claw back some of the compensation awarded to Cpl Duncan and Mne McWilliams.

Now Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has come running home from holiday to deal with the issue and as a result of this case is bringing forward their review of the compensation procedure for our troops. He said;

“As Defence Secretary I cannot allow the situation to continue that leaves the public in any doubt over my or the Government’s commitment to our servicemen and women.”

Really! Do you think so? Have you only just figured this out? I mean well done for cutting your holiday short and everything but what did you really think was going to happen when the MoD tried to take money back off someone THAT WAS SHOT?

It’s a wonder who is in charge of these decisions, did no one turn around and say “Here, do you think the public might be a little bit pissed off if we try and take compensation money off these soldiers?”

There was a article in the Independent today about the decision by the Ministry of Defence to take legal action against Cpl Duncan, of the Light Dragoons, and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams to have their compensation reduced after they successfully appealed to have their compensation increased for injuries they suffered during service.

“Cpl Duncan was initially awarded £9,250 after being shot, while Marine McWilliams received £8,250 for fracturing his thigh on a training exercise, before they appealed to a tribunal for further compensation. Both men argued they had suffered a number of subsequent health problems during their treatment and these should not be regarded as separate from their original injuries. Three judges agreed with them and increased their compensation. Cpl Duncan was awarded £46,000 Marine McWilliams £28,750.”

Accompanying this story was this breakdown of the military compensation rules, detailing the amount a soldier might expect to receive according to their injury.

compensation

It kind of reads a bit like a rather morbid game we used to play at university where you would discuss what you would do for a certain amount of money. For example, would you chop off your pinky for a million pounds? We were students, we were poor, it was mostely in jest. Only it isn’t a game for these soldiers, these are injuries actually incurred in the line of duty and reading the amounts involved they’re paltry. I am not saying that money solves all ill’s, but less than £3,000 for permenant facial numbness?! 

It is appalling that having gone through the trauma of getting injured and finally winning a reasonable amount of compensation for their claim Cpl Duncan and Marine McWilliams now have to go through yet more strain in trying to defend their right to adequate reparation.

There was a guide to swine flu in the Guardian today (page 11 – not available online) compiled in conjunction with the British Medical Journal. It was informative and the advice it offered was sound.

Under the ‘Prevention’ section of the guide it read as follows;

There’s no good evidence that wearing masks will protect you against swine flu. The evidence we found, which comes from the 2003 Sars (sic) outbreak, said masks in clinics and hospitals worked well. But it didn’t look at wearing masks in everyday life, for example on the street or public transport.

This guide was accompanied by a massive picture of a civilian wearing a mask. COME ON! Even if this person had swine flu, which from the picture you can’t tell, did it not occur to the picture editor that this particular picture is perhaps slightly inappropriate and misleading given the information in the text? Did they not read the article? 

There’s a great little story tucked away at the bottom of page 19 of the Guardian today. It turns out that the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) recent annual report revealed “a cash loss of £250,000, of which £97,000 occurred in 2008-09, and £153,000 occurred in 2007-08”. “This was due to an alleged fraud made possible by a control weakness in the Accounts Payable process,”

If Iwas to pick an organisation that I would expect to be alert to fraudulent activities, an organisation that’s purpose was to alert the general public to the danger of scams would probably be right up there. I mean it’s like the church being a victim to completely immoral behaviour or something…

…oh no wait that happens all the time.