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News for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

True Blood Fans are Skanks, and Other Generalizations

I love how underage girls or slutty bitches with boyfriends/husbands gush about and have marathons of True Blood, which I’ve just discovered is pretty much plotless male nudity and soft core porn.

I, like all males, have no interest in it and assumed it was just more Twifaggotry and wrote it off. But more and more people I know have spoken about how awesome it is, many are young and most have boyfriends hell many have husbands.

What I didn’t know is it’s the largest instance of mass hypocrisy and a more contemporary example of sexism against men and objectification of men, along with image crushing emotional scarring that men have forced on them more than women do in modern society.

I noticed that the demographic of fandom into this new Rice-esque vampirism of faggoty Calvin Klein models and very normal almost unthreatening female characters had caught the attention of many girls who I’d probably categorize as the type of sexist chauvinistic pig that deserves euthanasia if not at least being desexed, but I didn’t quite twig as to how prevalent it is.

The kinds of constantly single (gee, wonder why) or walking STD factories that host these marathons also rope in girls who I’d expect far better from, especially given their age or marital status.

Now I’m far from a prude, but it’s the mass hyporpcrisy and trend towards overt sexism against men about this that is really illuminated by current societal norms moving towards the hypersexualisation of females.

I don’t know a single female who wouldn’t flip their shit and get angry at their partner if they were watching porn, overtly, and didn’t give a fuck if their partner knew but hoped that the ambiguity of the brand name of porn will hide that what they’re doing is going over friends places for porn fests.

If a guy did that, he’d find himself single REALLY fast.

Then we have the flip side, women raging about body image stress from models and the like. Those models aren’t there for men to look at, they’re a clothes horse for women’s clothes for women to look at. If that gives them body issues perhaps they should take a look at the ‘expected normality’ imposed on men.

I’ve always been fit, and I’m in no means insecure, but recently having Gaines an easy 10kgs due to medication I’m on I was looking for other fit men on the same meds to see what they did and what their experiences were.

What I found was, more men are insecure to the point of emotional harm, than women in any demographic circle I’ve frequented, and more have serious depression based from this as a curvy girl is ‘womanly’ and the enduring concept of women being comforting baby pooping factories allows chub, but the image of a man has slowly drifted to steroid built protein shake and no solid food intake men al la the film “300″.

The body image of women, not addressing the super skinny but more the mean example of female image is actually something most females achieve by eating healthy and being active a couple of days a week.

The body image of men requires hormone level sabotaging, starving to below 4% body fat, living off protein shakes and exercising an hour a day with an added two hours two days a week. And that’s the regime I used just to get abdominal definition in my hey day.

Then we have the whole issue of men being judged by women, partners, friends, or even ransoms if they so much as look at porn in the privacy of their own home, not some publicly advertised smutfest of a bunch of hipster sluts like a True Blood marathon by any means.

See, men are a visual creature, women are emotional. Men are the hypersexual of the species like most male animals as in nature courting is more a case of fighting the competition off, physically overpowering and raping the female, especially after a few seasons where they know that if a boy jumps them they have the displeasure of having to carry, bare and raise their young.

Women lack these fundamental psychological and genetic dispensations and this current trend seems enforced by peer pressure, and when you follow that social network to the queen bee enforcing the peer pressure it’s always some massively Americanized Hollywood obsessed twat who eats up what the consumerist market tells her to.

This decade we’ve also seen the emergence of equality in alcoholism, longish behavior, and boarding on competitive immorality from the female gender as the male. These are all new things that I would argue objectively are alien both culturally and socially, and something that is entirely foreign to Australia on top of all that. It’s purely American culture reflecting out to other nations, and it’s entirely built by the current Gen Y obsession with conformity to what they are told by any Tom Dick and Harry is normal, and if you’re to stop and question it clearly you’re a prude, or take things too seriously, or heaven forbid, you’re having a rant, not objectively analyzing what appears to be societal decay happening giving us all a front row seat to the show.

So next time you see some chick ranting about True Blood whilst having a “OMG I LUV @MYBF SO MUCH” in her bio, pop -him- a tweet and educate him, let him know clearly her love is subjective and she doesn’t have a problem lusting after other men behind his back, even worse, doing it overtly so all her friends and those on her feed are completely aware that she doesn’t give a fuck and is proud that she spends her weekends lusting over other men behind his back, which is possibly the biggest insult as it’s public humiliation and disrespect except most men wouldn’t twig on this or even realize.

You’d feel obligated to do the same if a guy on your list kept going on about say, some inconspicuous bar he and his friends go on about as totally awesome and go to often as a group while accidentally leaving out the part that it’s a strip joint and he goes there to lust over other women while his loving girlfriend is oblivious and sitting at home. You’d not only out him but give him a good smack about the head for it.

The cancerous effect that mass consumerism at a cost to societal cohesiveness has wrought may seem not to be too drastic, but I challenge you to look below the surface at ‘ladette’ culture, female alcoholism, and the statistical surpassment of men being the more likely to cheat being flipped on it’s head. I challenge you to ask the hard questions, and ignore the victim defense of clearly women are being exploited by being convinced this is normal or even acceptable behavior. It takes two to tango.

The ladette culture as a whole I should add comes in different guises, I know many hipster wanks who are ladettes in regards to thinking it’s fine to go clubbing without their boyfriends purely because they want to play up, flirt with other men, get with other men, or overtly lust over and ‘like looking at’ other men and think that’s absolutely fine. I feel sorry for men in such relationships, especially if they legitimately love their partner and are given the mushroom treatment about any of the above information.

I definitely feel sorry if they’re scared to talk about it openly, when in reality the pressure all this puts on relationships and especially the men in them (keep in mind men have societal pressure to not be sad, depressed, suicidal, hurt, jealous, offended, or feeling insecure or disrespected as that’s ‘being a pussy’ and heaven forbid if they talk about it) causes more harm than any other social pressure, effect, disease or disorder especially on men’s psychological well being and even health.

We deserve better.

Posted: July 9th, 2011
Categories: critical thought, gossip, lifestyle, op ed, pop culture, rant, television
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iTunes U, Education in the Digital Age

Most of you know I’m a bit on the nerdy side, my academic peen is huge and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t actively seek to learn a few new things. From the arts to sciences, from landscaping to mechanics, or aeronautics to gaming I proactively seek to hone my skills in every field that catches my interest.

That being said, I can also be a bit of a dolt and in this case was entirely slow of faculty. I discovered iTunes U, I entirely forgot Americans abbreviate university to U (outside the US the common abbreviation is ‘uni’) and expected the U to be oriented around the selfishness of Web 2.0 with everything being self centered, my, u, etc included.

I was surprised to find that it has a mass of lecturers from various uni’s around the globe! My days will no longer have lulls of boredom within them, it really has a mass of interesting lectures to download and listen to from all around the world.

I can’t help but be amazed that I can gain insight from uni lecturers from the middle east, or listen to student workgroups from Russia discussing and covering any number of topics.

So, if you have an iPhone or iPad, I highly recommend cashing in on this free cache of information and wealth of knowledge. This is what the Internet was designed and meant for, it is absolutely brilliant and humbling in a way to see the milestone if where it has, with the help of the sage like prophets of technology and the digital church of awesome, come full circle.

Get downloading and get educated. It’s cool to be smart now, when the dumb kids realized all us nerds are what makes the world go around and that they bask in the technology and science brought about by their victims of bullying and the shunned geeky types in the world.

Expand your mind and you will also expand your future and potential as a human being.

Happy Geek Pride Day!

For all Trekkies, comic collectors and gadget gurus, here’s a day just for you. Today the world celebrates Geek Pride Day.

Geeks, nerds and whoever else wears thick glasses and a pocket protector can publicly boast about their geekiness without being labelled as weird. It happens on May 25 every year, which coincides with the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

The day started in 2006 in Spain – strangely enough – when 300 geeks showed their pride by creating a human “Pac-Man” game. In 2008, it came to the US, where bloggers heralded it as a holiday.

Not sure of your geek orientation? Here are some rights and responsibilities, as outlined in Geek Pride Day’s manifesto. If they inspire you to put on your favourite Dungeons and Dragons cape, then, no question, you’re a geek. So take pride and celebrate.

Your Geekly Rights

The right to associate with other nerds.

The right to have few friends (or none at all).

The right to not leave your house.

The right to not like football or any other sport.

The right to be out of style.

The right to be overweight and nearsighted.

(WIth great power comes great) Responsibilities

Try to be nerdier than anyone else.

If there is a discussion about something geeky, you must give your opinion.

Don’t be a generalised geek. You must specialise in something.

Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.

Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/once-a-year-its-hip-to-be-square/story-e6frfro0-1226062318927#ixzz1NKlH6toB

Posted: May 25th, 2011
Categories: epiclullz, lifestyle, news, oddities, pop culture
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Travel Tips Every Traveler Should Know

I found a twee little article by the ironically named Doc Holiday in relation to holiday tips everyone should know before they’re 40. It brough a smile to my face, so I figured I should share it with you guys. <3

DESPITE our relative geographic isolation, Australians are among the best travelled race on earth.

With Asia on our doorstep, we are a relatively easy half-day, overnight and jet-lag free flight away. And the strength of the Australian dollar means than more of us can travel to more places.

There’s also no more experienced a group of travellers than the intrepid Generation X, many of whom are now approaching 40, with half-a-lifetime of globe-trotting behind them.

It made me wonder what you should know by the time you’ve reached that milestone, now that you have all that experience under your money-belt.

Australia is not the centre of the universe
Some people still don’t even know where it is. You know to presume ignorance.

Not risking getting sick
You’ve stared into enough toilet bowls by now. Follow the tenets of healthy eating and drinking when travelling, especially in the third world: boil it, peel it, cook it – or forget it.

Never enter an Australian-themed pub
Anywhere.

The best Irish theme pubs are in Ireland
The Irish will appreciate you visiting them considering the dire state of their economy.

Knowing how to use chopsticks
You’d be surprised how impressed the Asians (especially the Japanese) are when you display real skill with these eating utensils (and how pitying they can be when you ask for cutlery).

How not to be fleeced
By now you’ve probably been victim to at least one scam in your travelling life and can spot a fraudster from a mile away.

Dressing appropriately
Leave your shirt on at all times on when not on a beach or near a swimming pool. The locals will appreciate it, and may even expect it.

Not looking like a tourist
You’ll be taken more seriously and melt into the crowd. Remember that most people dislike, even despise, tourists, particularly in places where the annual number of visitors can out-number the local actual population.

Not behaving like a tourist
See above. Every country has it loud-mouthed, drunken tourists. Don’t be one of Australia’s representatives.

Knowing that you shouldn’t travel without travel insurance
You’ve heard all of the horror stories and know you’d be mad to risk your luck.

Remembering not to eat and drink too much on a plane
You’ve already had enough jet-lag in your life and realise you don’t need to eat and/or drink everything offered to you or put in front of you.

BYO toilet paper
You never want to get caught out again after that horror Indian/Chinese/Russian train carriage toilet experience.

You don’t need to see everything
Tear up the checklist. Rome wasn’t seen in a day.

Travel is never really a waste of money
Even when you get the credit card bill when you get home (though watch those global roaming charges).

Getting lost is not a bad thing
In fact, in can be fun, illuminating and by now you’re experienced enough as a traveller to find your way back.

How to pack
Your clothes are better now than when you were 21. Be kind to them.

Not trying to be the first person off the plane
Relax, no one’s ever been imprisoned for life on a plane.

Be considerate
You are a guest in another country. Behave like one, unless badly and unreasonably provoked.

Not to queue interminably
Madame Tussauds was never really worth the wait.

Know when to stop haggling
Arguing over the equivalent of 50 cents is not a good look for someone from a nation as rich as Australia, even if you’re on a budget holiday.

Look beyond the tourist zone
Some of the most rewarding travel experiences can be as close as a street or two from the crowded main tourist drag (example: the streets immediately surrounding Barcelona’s Las Ramblas).

Immunisations before travel can save your life
Boring but true. Keep a record of them and keep them up to date for every trip.

Consider government travel warnings
… but you weigh them up based on your own judgement, knowledge and experience

Do your research
You owe it to yourself and the destination you’ve visiting

You wear a motor-cycle helmet
You wouldn’t go without one at home so why do it in another country? Brain-surgery in Laos is to be avoided.

Not to worry/panic when things go wrong
By now you’re a seasoned traveller and can handle pretty much anything and realise that it all adds to your experience (except if a jet engine explodes mid-flight when you’re allowed to panic).

How to tip
It’s really not worth being chased down a street by an irate American waiter just because you don’t believe in tipping.

Learn at least a little of the local lingo
It’s always appreciated, and a good ice-breaker.

That a smile goes a long way
Except in countries such as Russia where they’ll just think you’re crazy

Not to give money to beggars
Hard as it can be to ignore them, it just perpetuates the practice.

Knowing that you don’t need a photo of everything
Who cares if the traffic lights are different than back at home?

You still have more than 40 years to perfect yourself as a traveller
Chances are you’ll be living to 80, and may well beyond, with a whole rest of the world left to see.

Read Doc Holiday’s weekly travel advice column Escape lift-out in all News Ltd Sunday papers. Send Doc Holiday questions to doc@docholiday.com.au

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advisor/things-every-traveller-should-know-before-theyre-40/story-fn6sg2rl-1226061066555#ixzz1N8oLF6gO

Posted: May 23rd, 2011
Categories: general, lifestyle, pop culture, reviews
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Real Life Functional AT-AT Walker

AUSTRALIA’S status as the world capital of Big Things is under attack.

In February, the citizens of Detroit successfully lobbied for a giant statue of RoboCop to keep its crims in line.

In the same week, news broke that a three-metre tall Arnold Schwarzenegger statue will stand guard outside the Governator’s former home in Thal, Austria.

Both of which kick Robertson’s giant poo-tato and Ballina’s prawn to the kerb when it comes to cool icons for your country.

And now you can add — possibly, unless George Lucas hears of it — a lifesize, fully-functioning replica of a Galactic Empire AT-AT walker to the countryside somewhere in Oklahoma, if Mike Koehler gets his way.

Note fully-functioning — not like that static tat at Disneyland’s Hollywood theme park.

The 16m tall (some nerds experts put them at 23m) All Terrain Armoured Transports featured most famously in the attack on the Rebel forces’ secret base on Hoth in Empire Strikes Back, where one tripped over a bit of rope and exploded.

Another one makes a cameo in Return of the Jedi after a smaller version — an AT-ST — gets smashed by monkeys with logs.

But they look fearsome enough and Mr Koehler has been given the green light by online fundraiser Kickstarter to begin collecting cash to realise his dream.

It’s called AT-AT for America and Mr Koehler’s welcoming any offers of help or donations.

We chatted to him about why his country needs it…

Why did you choose a symbol of the Empire’s destructive capabilities to represent the US?

The AT-AT is not so much a representation of the US as it is a monument to what geek culture and its know-how has done for people in the country and, as I am quickly learning, folks all over the world. The can-do and cooperative spirit that nerdy pop culture has inspired can’t be overlooked in the past 30, 40, 50 years.

I wanted to make something that was: A) Doable. Fast-than-light and force field technology made many options unrealistic. B) Big enough to be awe-inspiring. Many people have made R2 units and Back to the Future Deloreans. The AT-AT is 50-feet tall.

If it proves too difficult, do you have any smaller scale Star Wars projects in mind?

I guess we could do one of the smaller scout walkers, but that seems like copping out.

If it proves easy, would you consider building a Death Star?

The Death Star would involve too much red tape I’m afraid, unless I could get Richard Branson on board.

The original AT-ATs had some notable design flaws. How will you Ewok-proof it?

No Ewoks will be allowed around the build sites. Sharpened logs will also be strictly prohibited. We are working towards some strong anti-log technology.

Have you had any interest from Mythbusters et al?

No word yet from the Mythbusters, though I hope as we continue to build momentum that we will get a lot of help from some of our geek heroes. When I first thought of this, my ideal project managers were Adam and Jamie.

If Detroit can get a RoboCop statue, maybe you should pitch your AT-AT for a permanent public space…

Once we’re done, I would like for the AT-AT to find some place nice to be housed and admired as a monument. Since it will be fully operational, people will be able to ride it. It would be an art piece on par with the Statue of Liberty, but with the ability to mosey around the block.

Have you had any cease and desist orders from George Lucas yet?

We have not heard from Lucasfilm yet, though there is that expectation. All I can say is that we won’t be making any money off this project, we consider it a public work of art and we would gladly locate it where ever Mr Lucas would like us to. This is a testament to how many dreams his work and other work like his has inspired in people my age and younger.

Will you live in it once it’s finished?

No, I won’t live in it.

Can I?

You can’t live inside it, though you are welcome to string a hammock between its knees.

Is there ever a chance that such a monolithic, relentless corporate machine could ever be seen in Australia?

Given enough support and volunteers, the AT-AT, like Oprah, would be happy to visit Australia.

 

Related Coverage

Lasers & Blindness, a @news_com_au Tabloid Myth

Recently we’ve seen enough articles regarding OHNOES LAZORS blinding pilots. When this first came up and the Australian Pilots Association’s president went on record agreeing with this tabloidal myth I decided to ring him and have a chat, from one pilot to another. I asked him straight, how many pilots have been ‘blinded’ by these lasers, he claimed reports of one pilot in Adelaide (a very small capital city in South Australia which gets as much flight traffic a month as Sydney would in a day) and ‘of four others’, when I pressed him for names, dates or locations he suddenly got amnesia of the details. I set him at ease and said I will happily wait and give him a week or two to email me through the details when he remembers.

No email came of course, in chasing him up further on the issue it sounded more like the pilot who was ‘blinded’ by the ‘laser attack’ all over the news was simply seeking compensation and ironically none of these ‘blindings’ lead to the pilots never flying again except in the case of the pilot above who was at retirement age and used it as an excuse to retire; however his insurers doctors found his vision was perfectly fine, at which point it was claimed post traumatic stress disorder occured from fear for his life whilst blinded.

To cut a long story short, to date there is no empirical evidence of a single pilot being afflicted with blindness or having anything more than a minor annoyance from a laser pointer being aimed at their plane, however the media, police, and government are all super serious business, and at present in Australia (you guys really think I’m kidding when I talk about the fun police, don’t you) laser pointers are listed as PROHIBITED WEAPONS. I shit you not.

This morning I saw another rubbish article from the same tabloid source which gave me the urge to cite this information on record, sadly whenever news.com.au publish their more controversial (see: tabloid, can I say it enough? :P) crap they never have a comments field open. Below is the header of the article in question which just highlights how idiotic the media are in handling this myth:-

THREE commercial passenger planes were targeted by a laser pointer in Sydney overnight.

Police say the three incidents happened within an hour and half of each other last night as the planes were approaching the airport in Mascot.

The pilot of the third flight was struck in the eye by the high-powered light.

Each of the planes landed safely.

Flight crews told police that the laser appeared to be coming from the Cronulla or Brighton areas.

High-powered laser pointers are prohibited weapons and can’t be possessed without a permit.

Posted: April 14th, 2011
Categories: critical thought, epiclullz, gadget, journalism, lifestyle, pop culture, rant, science, technology
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Quacks: Woo Peddlers and Alternative Medicine

Having suddenly, a few weeks after posting about a cure for the flu coming soon, been afflicted by nasopharyngitis I wanted to take a moment out to address my personal bitch of all the sub-human archetypes, the medical-moron.

There are people out there who believe vitamin C, echinacea, guarana, or even silver and gold powdered and mixed in water cure various ailments. These morons are usually identifiable by their lack of knowledge of the difference between nasopharyngitis, rhinovirus, or various strains of influenza, who’s actions are so drastic in variance that something that works for one would be highly improbable to work for others.

If alternative medicine worked, it would be medicine. The most common folly is the eastern noble mystic approach; the same bullshit that attracts those whack-job’s to quasi religious ‘martial arts’ that are more a cult than a martial art, people are suckers for things that seem ‘exotic’ and the Chinese government producing primary sources en masse to basically claim EVERYTHING in the world was invented by, completed by, or done first by noble ancient Chinese (and have an actual entire department within their government that goes through wiki articles to address these amazing finds) tends to jack up the gullability of middle class inbred white folk.

A health or medical practice is called “alternative” if it is based on untested, untraditional, or unscientific principles, methods, treatments, or knowledge. “Alternative” medicine is often based on metaphysical beliefs and is frequently anti-scientific.

Quackery used to be a pejorative term describing medical charlatanism, i.e., health practices or remedies that have no compelling scientific basis. As medical charlatanism became more popular and as using pejorative terms became politically incorrect except for the formerly oppressed classes, quackery evolved into holistic medicine and then into alternative medicine and complementary medicine and then into integrative medicine.

It is estimated that “alternative” medicine is a $15 billion a year business. In reality, not one iota of compelling scientific evidence has been produced that acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, chiropractic, herbal medicine, massage, naturopathy, reflexology, and yoga, among other therapies have any positive result on the human condition let alone an ill human.

The most popular “alternative” therapies are prayer, relaxation techniques, chiropractic, herbal medicine, and massage. Very few high caliber scientific studies are done by “alternative” practitioners (Bausell 2007). If they do studies at all, they rarely use control groups, study adequate-sized samples, or used methods that blind the researchers in appropriate ways. (When every study comes out positive, as acupuncture studies done in China have, one knows something is fishy.) Indeed, many disdain science in favor of metaphysics, faith, and magical thinking.

I can almost bet the contents of my ample wallet that everything you see in a pharmacy or drug store that isn’t on or behind the counter is probably quackery in action, Blackmores and several other ‘health’ companies peddle dirt and bark in pills as medicines and a plethora of every alphabeticized vitamin group you can imagine. Protip: taking vitamins has no effect, if you are low on a certain vitamin–which would take a lot of malnutrition or bad lifestyle habits–then vitamin suppliments MAY have some effect on that.

Quackery usually involves integrating metaphysics and such things as sympathetic magic with healing. Often, but not always, the major quality of quackery is fraud and the dispensing of useless or harmful treatments to vulnerable people who are dying. What quackery lacks in scientific study it sometimes makes up for by prescribing generous portions of caring—sometime sincere but often counterfeit—and overdoses of false hope.

What’s the harm in a little woo, I hear you ask? By being a member of a health fund or insurer who even so much as HUMORS alternative medicine you are facilitating several negative things.

1. these pushers of these treatments are benefiting from the suffering of others without actually having any result for the product or service rendered. Whether they’re just THAT ignorant of science that they believe their own lies (improbable, but for some perhaps) or just totally amoral bastards who are looking for a fast buck, their behaviour is abhorrent and unconscionable.

2. there are people out there, such as vaccine alarmists (the type who claim vaccinations have X or Y negative effects, ignoring the fact it’s 0.0001% as opposed to the 100% risk of exposure at some point in their kids life to the diseases they’re being vaccinated against) who REALLY BELIEVE in batshit insane conspiracy theories about ‘big pharma’ and other watchwords you’ll find they peddle. These people usually peddle their own alternatives, but their most common product is the exchange of ignorance, which spreads like a disease and has no known cure. Participating in this industry of cruelty just facilitates these psychologically disturbed individuals (who also believe all psychology and psychiatry is a crock, they know, because they read it on the internet).

3. through 1 and 2 you are assisting in the entire industry continuing to exist, which leads directly to 368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages for not thinking critically.

I could continue to list the impact, but I feel that the following site does so in a far more succinct manner: http://whatstheharm.net/alternativemedicine.html

Keep in mind, without you actively participating in illuminating the ignorant out there, they will continue and people will die as a result. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve called out a chemist / drug store with signs for acupuncture, a huge amount of vitamins and bullshit ‘cures’ on shelves, or alternative medicine sections and challenged them on why they’d participate in such unscientific rubbish while holding a degree in science, I’d be rich.

Call them out. Check with your insurer, if they cover alt. med. change insurers. Shun doctors who promote charletanism and inform the medical board that they’re suggesting unscientific and potentially harmful methods.

Make noise. Be heard. Don’t perpetuate the industry that kills more people each year than any other industry in existence aside from weapons of war and narcotics.

Most of all, tell that ignorant friend of yours who thinks gargling salt water will cure cancer, or lemon tea or any other herbal infusion will assist with any illness what so ever that if their awesome medical knowledge is that spot on perhaps they should be working in a hospital and not in a day care centre being fat and stupid.

Posted: April 6th, 2011
Categories: general, lifestyle, pop culture, technology
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Sick of Influenza? A Cure is Almost Here!

A US anti-bioterrorism unit has awarded Melbourne’s Biota a $231 million contract to develop a cure for influenza.

Biota shares soared nearly 60 per cent on the news, pushing the price to $1.60 before the stock settled 35 per cent, or 37.5c, higher for the day at $1.42, the Herald Sun reported.

The deal is worth about $41 million more than the company’s entire value before yesterday’s spike.

The lucrative deal means Biota may not need to partner with a large pharmaceutical company to commercialise its anti-viral drug, Laninamavir (Lani), in the US.

Chief executive Peter Cook said the contract was a “seriously transformational event for the company”.

“We have taken this product much closer to marketability and towards realising the full value for our shareholders than we could in the past because it was necessary to licence out our drugs early,” Dr Cook said.

The deal came about because of the US government’s concerns over bio-terrorism, Dr Cook said.

Several clinical projects to combat bio-terrorist threats are being conducted.

Biota said it was scoping three facilities to see if they could meet stringent manufacturing specifications.

Lani, which is already prescribed in Japan under the brand name Inavir, is effective as a single dose compared with twice daily doses over five days for rival drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

The US Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA), with which Biota has the contract, said the drug would provide “real advantages to doctors and patients during an emergency and would be an important addition to our pandemic influenza arsenal”.

The funds will finance further clinical trials of the drug and be used to prepare a detailed application to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s standards.

It could take five years or more before the drug gets the US regulator’s nod.

The global market for anti-flu drugs was worth $US4.4 billion last year and Biota estimates it could be set to receive about $US1.5 billion from sales of Lani.

Barda, which is in the US Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is not seeking ownership of the drug or exclusive rights.

Posted: April 2nd, 2011
Categories: journalism, lifestyle, news, science, technology
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Treatise on Female Grooming (Or Some Overlooked Elements)

I have a predominantly female audience, I have to face this fact. And whilst I love to bust out my fairy wings and lecture on female fashion and style I have fallen a few seasons behind in my savant abilities due to unavoidable life committments. I’ve noticed a lot of buzz about one of my recent posts lambasting females with long fingernails, so I wanted to address a few things that fly under the radar that ALL those girls out there–you know the kind, the ones boys look at instead of you, the kind you bitch out on and hate for irrational reasons–know that most girls seem to drop the ball with.

Long nails, french tip, nail art are out. They’re repugnant, always have been, always will be. Fashion for personal grooming has gone towards hygeine and sanity. Just as extremely long hair is a thing of the 60′s and 70′s, fingernails have gone the way of pubic hair. Preferably not there. Okay, well not NOT there, but men have always subscribed to the ‘doctors hands’ look of keeping their skin soft, their nails cut back to the nail bed proper, and hands clean and uncalloused, topped off with a no polish manicure. If you’re a guy and reading this (I’m not judging, I’m a guy and I’m writing this!) I recommend purchasing one of those four color sided buffing boards you see in the girls section of the magical wonderous music-from-the-heavens brightly lit personal product aisle down your generic supermarket. No one there will question it, you could be buying stuff for your wife or girlfriend. Follow the instructions, and abide by the above, and notice the difference. Women notice small details, as do men. And let’s face it, if you have manky hands, no one is going to want you to touch them with them.

Now, on other small details, bright nail polish has been back with a vengence for the past decade nearly, with no color off the shelf being too bright. Guys love bright fun colors, just don’t step into the Kesha void and draw bright colors all over your body and face. Your lips, eyeshadow, and .. well the rest of your body should NEVER match a color you can buy in a make-up section, other than kohl / black.

Eyebrows are the killer element 99% of women miss. Those ‘gorgeously intimidating’ girls you see? Well, now I’ve said it, go back and look at a few. Eyebrows frame the face and totally define the look; they can set off facial bone structure so perfectly or they can crash your fashion train into an oncoming diesel freighter.

There are a plethora of articles delving into these in fine detail, but when you see sites that look like they’re written by some morbidly obese fashion victim who’s merely trying to push their own grooming habits onto others (kind of like me with mens hands, except I’m not morbidly obese, but sometimes I can be a bit of a fashion victim!) or if they look dated and daggy, disregard them.

One sure fire way to base personal grooming habits on a winner is to turn to the fashion world. Ignore fat housewife magazines or pubescent teenage hormone fuelled soft-core porn passing off as girls mags; turn to the catwalk. Look at what known models are toting. They always have shortish well kept hair and put effort into it even when they’re bumming around. They ALWAYS have doctors hands, al la above, and they’re always paying attention to the small details.

In conclusion, I wasn’t joking about the pubic hair. I haven’t seen that shit since the 80′s. Oh, wait, no. That’s not what I was talking about. Uhm. Yeah. Pick up your game, change one element at a time if you don’t believe me over a period of a few weeks and NOTICE the difference you get in attention from your partner or members of the opposite sex in general.

Posted: March 19th, 2011
Categories: lifestyle, op ed, rant
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E3 Xbox: The Future, Plus The ALL NEW XBOX & Kinect

Just watching the live broadcast of the E3, telecast globally, and even comandeering the time square big TV. This will be a rambling review as it’s 4AM in Australia and I’m writing this as it happens. Some win announcements are Call of Duty: Black Ops with Xbox and Activision signing a contract that everything CoD will be Xbox first. The biggest downside is how ‘on rails’ it feels, all movement lacks kinetics of realism requisite for immersion. 10 years of Xbox, they definitely have some exciting things in store.

The new CoD will be out 11.09.10. Project Natal launched, being renamed Kinect (a play on kinetics and connect) with a world premier of new experiences promised. Kinect is a diminuitive set top addition that reads signatures of the attachments on the player.

This makes Nintendo seem as anachronistic as it’s lame mario franchises, which it always was as only tards bought them because they lacked any decent games and yes whilst it had some kinetic interaction the Nintendo Power Glove (for those old enough to remember if from the early 90′s) did exactly what Wii did and it flopped massively. Kinect seems to corner a multi-purpose application.

The stupidly named Metal Gear Solid Lightning Bolt Action Rising was launched by Konami with Kojima Productions where yaoi-to-be stars with oversized hair using their epic ninja skills can cut giant cyborgs ten times their size in half. I already want to scream at the head of anyone who’d buy something so stupid and lame.

Phil Spencer of Microsoft Game Studio lauded the industry defining multiplayer and graphics prowess of their Xbox platform before unveiling Gears of War 3, the gameplay looks fun but it’s definitely nothing that would be a blockbuster, except amongst teenage boys perhaps. One dynamic I liked was the fact you can use cover, like in Mass Effect 1 and 2, unsure whether this was in previous versions, as I said before, not my cup of tea due to it being too unrealistic / scifi fantasy.

Peter Molyneux, the creative director of MS Games Studios Europe announced another Xbox 360 exclusive, Fable 3, set 50 years after Fable 2. Loaded with choice and consequence, with action packed game play in a more immersive realm. Set to release 26.10.10, set in Albion you get to play a super awesome character that goes from revolutionary to emperor of win as per .. well, the other two. It’s very on-rails, but the graphics are very pretty albeit stereotypical of a fantasy game.

Microsoft’s newest partner Crytek revealed a very awe inspiring trailer for the dickily named Codename Kingdoms, look it up on YouTube, looks seriously cool from the trailer alone but don’t hold me to any promise of quality there.

After 34,000,000 games sold and 2b online hours Halo Reach was announced by Bungie, on the heels of the Halo Reach beta, citing it as the most ambitious game they’ve ever created. The unveiled world premier was of gameplay as opposed to cinematography, which makes the September shipping game look very impressive to the point where I’d say I may even jump in on the Halo franchise finally. That being said if they advertised it’s storyline better as zombies in space I would have been all over that shit. The music, ambience, cinematics, and dynamics of movement make it seem like it may very well be a blockbuster.

Kinect was explained as having an impact on more than just gaming, waving at Kinect will let it recognise who you are and sign you in simply by waving at it. Waving at it again will bring up a controller free menu, where you can interact using just hand gestures. There are no apparent things attached to the player, like we seemed to think, it just views the player optically. That does however mean that lighting will be an issue. It also enables voice commands, in a very in depth manner by addressing the device and following it with a verbal command. It really does look like Microsoft are trying to launch a tech-savvy household entertainment centre as part of the functionality of Kinect. To my chagrin they played Bustin’ Jeiber as a demonstration of how effortless it is to listen to music verbally.

An unexpected announcement was that on Windows Phone 7 Kinect and your Xbox will sync with it, allowing you to integrate your stuff in a more streamlined fashion. Using VideoKinect you can even watch movies with friends in other states, or even countries, online at the same time. Amusingly they chose Avatar Last Aidbender, with a comment about the ‘game about that’ and ‘boosting’ gamer scores. Lollip0p and Velveteen, two sisters, demo’d this but aside from the obvious potential of the technology were boring as batshit and so rigid in delivery.

My brain shut down when the ESPN logo came up, there was some rabble about some games based on sports, blah boring. Okay, sports aside, the USC graphics quality is AMAZING, it looks like you’re watching a sports match not playing a video game. It’s also interesting watching them interact with it through Kinect.

Kudo Tsunoda, the creative director for Kinect (Gamertag: Kudo) addressed his promise that Kinect would revolutionise the way you have fun, lauding the ‘it just works’ natural interaction system using your body and your voice–something that is usually reserved more for Apple products–Kinect promises to unite people socially, bringing people together in the same room or around the world in a lot of new ways. He went on to point out some six odd Kinect release games.

Kinect is slated for release November 4th globally.

  • Kinectimals are a fun bunch of interactive pets you can play with with your hands, interacting with the animals like they were in your living room. On screen the pet interacted with the young girl in some novel ways, even when she hid from it it cutely animated pressing up against the screen peering around trying to find where it’s owner went. The young girl also issued verbal commands, telling it which toys to go and get, one amusing animation was a matrix like barrel roll over a jump rope. You can adopt 40 animals with over 30 unique activities.
  • Kinect Sports had some English bloke taunting a crowd of avatars in a stadium, the first game they played was a track and field match where they ran on the spot and jumped imaginary hurdles. I refuse to put in that much effort to play a game, if I wanted that I’d get a friggen Wii. Other sports include soccer, bowling, running, javlin, long jump, table tennis, boxing, beach volleyball, and more.
  • Kinect Joy Ride is a controllerless car racing game, the graphics and dynamics look as novice as a Wii game, and having to use an ‘imaginary’ wheel is just ridiculous, all interactions seem to be automatic aside from the wheel. It really looks like a Wii game, except instead of a dicky Nintendo character from the 1980′s you have dicky avatar characters in their stead.
  • Kinect Adventures is some retarded rollercoaster ride where you have to dodge, jump and generally interact with crap from a static platform, a rollercoaster and a water raft being two examples shown. It does however seamlessly add in a new player when someone stands beside the current player, again though it’s far more motion than a real gamer is going to invest in playing what is fundamentally such a sophmoric game that it’s almost designed for the mildly retarded.
  • YourShape: Fitness Evolved, exlusive for Kinect from Ubisoft, will sink Wii Fit, doing everything Wii fit does and then some, with full body monitoring of your exercising to the point of even being able to tell if you’re doing aerobics in time, or dipping a knee to 90 degrees in certain exercises. The advert for it is outstanding and very creative, and the demonstration of the game environment portrays you and your entire body shape and interactions. It also gives you a glimpse as to how you look to the Kinect module, a yellow and orange blob with vague definitions of your more intricate features. If can measure your appendages, estimate your height, and calibrate in a manner that it entire absorbs you and tailors fitness routines to your exact shape.
  • Dance Central, from Harmonix, comparable to DDR on crack with liberal dashings of MTV. The quality of interaction with the game is pretty smashing, and it’s a very revitalising take on DDR without having a lame mat, or worse, a Nintendo product in your house.
  • Star Wars OMFG Lucasarts and Microsoft gaming studios team up to release a Kinect only star wars game where you get to weild a light saber and do .. starwarsy things. The graphics are very primative compared to other SW franchise games, but it looks like it has a lot of promise. This game alone will sink the evil Wii, but unfortunately there was little more than a teaser of gameplay and a note that it’s due 2011.

Turn 10 cam on to chat about Forza, talking about a Ferrari (GASP, no Audi?) discussing the way that it’ll allow you to use Kinect, using an imaginary steering wheel, but also allowing you to angle your head to look around the cabin of your vehicle which is a very handy feature. Marrying Forza 3′s amazing graphics with intuitive gameplay interaction is going to allow Turn 10 to provide radical car experiences. Browsing car designs just got better, you can interact with any part of the car and get the details of anything from headlights to carbon ceramic breaks, or walk around the vehicle to examine different parts. I’m praying that Kinect also implements with car design, I’m very well known for releasing some stunningly designed cars in Forza 3 and my main excuse is a friggen huge screen and patience, with this kind of intuitive interaction I should be able to release even more amazing designs. The previewing of cars also illustrated an internal examination where you can look at and interact with any feature of the vehicle.

The Xbox E3 closing speech came with a surprise, a NEW Xbox 360, sleaker, cooler looking, and shipping NOW, expect them to be in the stores by the end of the week. For those who’ve read through this rambling post (and I apologise, but it’s now five am and I’m shattered) I hope you enjoy this news and I look forward to gaming with you all in the future! Also, check out my YouTube channel for a peep at Halo Reach and the closing speech showing off the new Xbox at: http://www.youtube.com/user/bashpr0mpt

Posted: June 15th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, game reviews, games, lifestyle, pop culture, technology, xbox
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$5M Victorian Government Transport Fail

A $5 million dollar bike share has been announced by the state of Victoria in an attempt to make their state seem more ‘revitalised and european’. Gordon Oakley RACV Member & Motoring Services was interviewed regarding it and pointed out some utter failures of the system, you have to bring your own helmet (in Australia it’s illegal to ride a bike without a helmet) and if you ‘subscribe’ you can only use it for half an hour at a time. So, it’s a $5m white elephant state project as the target audience has been marginalised dramatically and it’d barely get used as opposed to what it could achieve.

It’s a brilliant idea, given how many ports they’re setting up for them, however it’s 2010, if they had even half a clue the helmet would be attached to the bike and ‘unlock’ for use when the bike is released from the port, and the bikes would have rudimentary electric motors (I believe the going rate of such a bike in China is about $50 AUD IIRC.) and would recharge from a simple solar cell added to the base station.

Who knows, maybe some company searching for keywords during the data mining part of their marketing team research might see this and pick up the game in the corporate sector providing a real transport solution for their state.

Posted: May 31st, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, lifestyle, politix
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Lisa Williams (@lwmedium) Charlatan ‘Psychic’

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Where do I begin? I recently saw an advert for her upcoming show, that was filmed by the Lifetime channel. She opens with her common pitch line, “Do you want to know everything?” What you won’t hear her telling you is that she is merely a charlatan who exploits the pain and suffering of people grieving using cold reading. Let’s set one thing straight, psychics and mediums do not exist. Conmen and women do. There has not been, in thousands of years of scientific documentation, one SINGLE example of the supernatural or paranormal existing under ANY scrutiny by learned and educated persons. It’s not because academics are closed minded, or have it in for the little guy, or have ANY other motivation other than pushing forward common sense, critical thought, and legitimate honesty of fact. Many deluded people out there honestly think it goes as far as there being complex conspiracies to conceal the ‘truth’ about ‘human psychic potential’, et cetera. In 1988 the U.S. National Academy of Sciences gave a report on the subject that concluded there is “no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena.”[1]

Let’s examine this critically: Not a scrap of evidence ever put forwards that can stand up to scrutiny, or giant illuminati plot to enslave and opress humanity. You tell me which one comes up in that fight.

Cold reading, combined with warm or hot reading, is the method by which all ‘psychics’ operate. Many people do this for a living as mentalists, or magicians; these people when asked will usually be outright honest about their art and it’s complete lack of supernatural or paranormal involvement. In 2004, Williams gave a reading to a senior staff member of TV host Merv Griffin. As a result, Griffin worked with her to host a show of her own. The proverbial path to ruin is laid with good intent.  Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead aired for two seasons on the Lifetime network 2006-2007 and is set to air in Australia shortly. Her show Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side ran for five consecutive nights on the network in October 2008. The shows followed Williams on a typical day, as she claims to have ‘communicated with the dead,’ ‘investigates haunted houses,’ and conducts other ‘spirit-seeking activities.’ She claims she has spoken to Bob Hope, Princess Diana, Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe and Ray Charles after they died.

Let’s examine a well known psychic critically: A 2001 Time article reported that psychic John Edward allegedly utilized hot reading on his television show, Crossing Over, where an audience member who received a reading was suspicious of prior behavior from Edward’s aides, who had struck up conversations with audience members and asked them to fill out cards detailing their family trees.[2] In December 2001, Edward was alleged to have used foreknowledge to hot read in an interview on the television show Dateline, where a reading for a cameraman was based on knowledge gained in conversation some hours previously, yet presented as if he was unaware of the cameraman’s background.[3] In his 2001 book, John Edward denied ever using foreknowledge, cold or hot reading.[4]

I am VERY familiar with these methods and have used them out of the blue on random people in the streets of Sydney to illustrate the power of commonality to friends, and I know a close friend of mine, mentalist and stage magician Ryle Hilton, is exceptional at his art and absolutely blows peoples minds. I am not detracting from the SKILL involved in these acts, merely that using it to con and exploit people into believing only YOU can give them closure with their dead loved ones is abhorrent.

The following is sourced under fair use from Same Same, a publication for the Australian Gay and Lesbian Community that addresses some of the core elements of fail that is applied when handling ‘psychics’ in the press, with my comments in brackets.

Over the years Lisa has been challenged by many skeptics, including her own father. “He’s one of the biggest skeptics around!” she laughs. “But Dad has also seen first hand what I can do, and he’s seen how I give people a feeling of closure, and he says ‘you know what Lisa, I can’t take that away from you’.” [The closure given is fair enough, but the financial exploitation is unforgivable.]

One of the most public challenges Lisa has faced was with a skeptic named Laura on an episode of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. Lisa said that during the reading she kept offering Laura details that should have resonated – like her father’s name, or that he was a ballroom dancer – but Laura remained unconvinced, and was intent on getting cold, hard facts. [Note the use of negative terms such as ‘skeptic’ just because someone was unconvinced.]

“I gave her the name John, but she wanted his full name, that kind of thing. I told her ‘I am only telling you what he is giving me, I can’t make it change’. I almost got up and walked away. I said, ‘if you’re not open to this then there’s no point in me being here’.” [Ie: Dummy spit.]

Lisa says that she often reads comments about her in online forums, where people dispute her authenticity. “People say ‘oh Lisa Williams gets all the ticket data and uses that to do background checks on people who come to her show’. Well hello, it’s just me. I don’t have a team of researchers. I certainly don’t put microphones in the bathrooms or under the seats. I laugh at it. Of course, when it comes to TV, the producers get given a certain story. The talent tells them ‘I want to communicate with my mum because of…’ but often there’s another story that comes out or that I bring out. [Lol.]

The last paragraph was the best, she admits that–like John Edwards–she has access to the core information, the ‘other story’ that ‘comes out’ is where the cold/warm/hot reading elements come into this.

I figured I would take these channels publishing her crap to bat and sent an email, given that the Lifestyle Channel and W are sponsors of my online life and commonly compensate me for critical evaluation (public or otherwise) of their programs or services, and considering I have a larger demographic reach than Lisa it will be interesting to see if they make a stoic legitimate call or just kowtow to a fast easy buck like a heroin dealer down a dark alley.

Here is a copy of one of my emails in it’s entirety: –

I am writing as a blogger who [details of financial arragements excised]. I write specifically to request that–in an effort to maintain fairness, legitimacy, honesty and integrity–that you cease publication of Lisa Williams, the ‘medium’ and other such charlatans.

Sure, you get viewers, sure you make a quick buck; but these people are exploiting the ignorance and idiocy of the masses, much like a drug dealer who peddles his wares amongst the foolish. These lecherous conmen and women exploit the pain and suffering of people by lying through their teeth, and there are avenues to be pursued for large financial and fame rewards if any individual can prove ANY element of the supernatural or paranormal exists through JREF, however most of these scum refuse to claiming they don’t want ‘wealth’ (even though they charge extortionate fees to fundamentally give people a pat on the back and tell them their dead family still love them), and none of these people pursue this proof of their talents for obvious reasons.

I am posting this letter on my blog, which will be replicated throughout my social networks and blogs demographic reach meaning over half a million people will view this within 24 hours. I would like a reply to this, and I advise you now it will be published as will your choice to continue to air these exploitative shows or otherwise. I hope you make the right decision.

So for now, I advise all of you to pass this on to your wanky airy fairy friends who believe in the supernatural and like a suppository of testicular fortitude it should thwart their idiocy, and stay tuned for the results of my correspondence to these networks, if they even dare reply. Oh, and Lisa, and I know your PR agent has shown you this because with my reach they wouldn’t be worth a pinch of shit if they haven’t, this isn’t a PR nightmare for you honey; it’s just a wake up call that you should get a day job that DOESN’T involve exploitation. In 50 years people like you will be locked up in prison for these crimes you perpetrate on innocent and vulnerable people.

And people like me, who’re probably only in for a night stay due to drunk and disorderly in public, will make sure you drop the soap. 😉

References:

  1. ^ Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. p. 22. ISBN 0-309-07465-7.
  2. ^ Leon Jaroff (2001-02-25). “Talking to the Dead”. Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/columnist/jaroff/article/0,9565,100555,00.html. Retrieved 2006-06-14.
  3. ^ Joe Nickell. “John Edward: Hustling the Bereaved”. CSICOP. http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-11/i-files.html. Retrieved 2006-06-14.
  4. ^ Edward, John (2001). Crossing Over. Jodere Group. ISBN 1-58872-002-0.

Xbox Natal set for October 2010 Release

A Microsoft employee may have inadvertently given away the biggest secret in gaming this year.

Project Natal is Microsoft’s attempt to revolutionise motion-control in video games.

An add-on for the XBox 360, it does away with handheld controllers altogether, relying solely on body motion and gestures caught on camera to control the on-screen action.

In a slow year for game fans – at least when it comes to hardware – Natal’s release couldn’t come soon enough.

And thanks to Microsoft marketing manager Syed Bilal Tarig, it may be coming sooner than expected.

In an interview with GamerTag radio, Tariq revealed Natal would get a worldwide release in October – a full two months before the end-of-year date that Microsoft had been peddling.

“I do have great news to share with everybody that Project Natal will be launched in Saudi Arabia at the same time it will be launched in the rest of the world, that is to be sometime in October,” he said.

“Definitely it is going to be October 2010, we will have it in Saudi Arabia for sure.”

He also confirmed that it would be unveiled at the E3 games expo in June, as rumoured.

Project Natal is one of a series of updates to the console that Microsoft claims will enable it to remain relevant for gamers until at least 2015.

It first appeared in public at last year’s E3 expo, where a basic unit showed it was capable of motion-tracking up to four players at once.

A notice sent out by Microsoft earlier this year suggests the exact date for the completed unit’s unveiling will be June 13, a day before the start of E3 2010.

Posted: May 13th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, game reviews, games, general, lifestyle, pop culture, reviews, technology, xbox
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Twitter Client Reviews: My New Weapon of Choice

Most of you have probably seen me evangelize the wonders of API functional clients for Twitter, I have several very large Twitter accounts, @bashpr0mpt is just the one you know me as, the rest are for business, and some for pleasure. Some are just to blow off steam anonymously even. But all are pretty bloody big. So when it comes to clients, I don’t have time to fuck around with various trialware, shareware, etc. Many of you know I’m a no nonsense kind of guy and I’m not some cash strapped welfare twit either, so I’m willing to fork out some dosh for a good product. I previously threw $10 at my first API client, it was (well, later named) MyPostButler, I used it for quite some time effectively but also used several other mass-managers for Facebook and MySpace.
Ideally I eventually want to make a good multiple-network manager software, I’ve thrown up a few adverts on Freelancer to hire me some code monkeys to make this happen but unfortunately that’s a project that’s in the medium-term goals as of yet (and no you can’t have it free, but I’ll make sure it’s as near ‘at cost’ as I can make it depending on how much out of pocket I’ll be). In the interim I’m still using the dodgy mass managers for my other networks, but MPB is sadly closing it’s doors. Well, no, the owner is selling it off. The downside is there’s no assurance that the new owner will honour previous clients by providing free updates everytime Twitter change their API. Future-proofing is integral to any marketing campaign, even if you’re only marketing yourself, with your name being a brand and your product being your words, views, opinions.

Thus it became time to review Twitter managers. I tried about six in total, only one seemed to be what I needed. TweetAttack came close but it’s license fees are too steep ($200ish), TweetAdder is near identical however it lacks a few ‘spammer’ tools TweetAttack has. It should be noted that ‘spammer tools’ when used in every day life for a non-profit entity just makes managing huge bloody friends lists easier for the most part. TweetAdder does all the mass-management I need though.

5 of the main selling features for me: –

  1. I can dump a heap of tweets and let it tweet while I’m asleep so I can keep in touch with my friends across the big puddle.
  2. It manages who I add, and removes them if they don’t follow back within X days (I set it to a fortnight, try before you buy style.)
  3. It remembers who you remove so you don’t add them again.
  4. It let’s me target followers by adding people by niche interest so I -am- finding friends and not just numerics for epeen.
  5. It keeps track of … well, EVERYTHING, and can automate everything so my life is much easier.

As many of you know, and are probably waiting for, I’m putting together a tome of the arcane magic of social networking (for fun or profit) based on my encounters with tens of thousands of fellow net socialites, so expect an entire bloody chapter on this beautiful little piece of software. I forked out $188 for my license for it, but I’ve signed up as an affiliate so I can get a discount for friends, family and followers alike, the link for it for $50 is: – http://tinyurl.com/264hl8m

Even if you’re a tight arse and never want to pay a cent for a Twitter client, hit it up and at least play with the demo and enjoy a day of power-user Twittering for the lullz. There’s no catch, no con, no sign up, no … well, nothing, just a sweet little API accessing client that’ll make your daunting user list seem easy, or make your scrawny userlist grow. 🙂

The downsides of this client, I might add, is the fact it’s for PC and Mac only and thus isn’t for portable devices. Which I tend to use 99% of the time. But bleh, horses for courses.

Apple iPad to Hit Non-US Nations May 28

Apple made the announcement late last night, two days before it was officially due to begin taking international orders for its breakthrough entry into the touchscreen tablet market.

All six models will be available to the market on outside the US on May 28 – three wi-fi, three 3G – and surprisingly, Australians will also be able to immediately access Apple’s iBookstore, with titles available for download immediately.

Prices for the iPad in Australia are as follows:

Wi-Fi models:

16GB: $629

32GB: $759

64GB: $879

Wi-Fi + 3G models

16GB: $799

32GB: $928

64GB: $1049

The device will also go on sale in eight other countries from May 28: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Since its US launch on April 3, the “revolutionary and magical” machine, as Apple calls it, has created daily fodder for the media, right from its first day on sale when teenager Justin Kockott bought three of them, just so he could trash one and post the destruction on YouTube.

Kenny Irwin put his in a microwave and sealed it in resin.

It’s currently for sale on eBay and bidding this weekend pushed past its $575 sale price.

It’s been made into a skateboard, accused of coming up short when it comes to streaming video and its possibly drawn Apple into a court case after the company chose not to support Adobe’s Flash multimedia platform. Although that being said given the proliferation of PDF and the extortionate costs to use Adobe formats, it serves them right for being gluttons and shows a lot of balls on behalf of Apple.

Apple’s legendary ability to generate publicity has seen it shift a million iPads in 28 days in the US, selling twice as quickly as Apple sold its first million iPhones. Developers have created more than 5000 new apps for iPad that take advantage of its multi-touch interface, large screen and high-quality graphics. Demand for the “magical” device was so intense that its worldwide release was delayed, but the announcement it will available so soon will come as welcome relief for Apple’s Australian fanbase.

It was originally expected to take at least six weeks from the order date to arrive, with the iBookstore app not available until next year.

Publishing organisations have hailed the device as a possible saviour for newspapers as demand shifts from print to digital, and the iBookstore announcement comes on the heels of Google’s announcement that it will opens its online bookstore Google Editions, by the end of June.

The devices will be sold at Apple stores and Apple resellers and will be released in other countries including New Zealand and Singapore from July.

This is also clearly the end of the Amazon Kindle and it’s crappy black and grey LCD screen. 🙂

Posted: May 8th, 2010
Categories: apple, consumer reviews, gadget, lifestyle, piracy, pop culture, technology
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Why Australian’s Pirate, Survey Results from CoreData

I’ve always said if they don’t give us what we want when we want it we’ll pirate it. Screw going to the movies, my plasma is higher def than your projector and my sound quality is vastly superior. Screw waiting years to see 20 minute shows stretched to 1.5 hours of adverts, I’ll download my shows and watch them nao kthx. 😛 Below are the results of News Ltd’s survey, please note a lot of their inferences are based on the assumption that all persons answered honestly (ie: ‘rich get stingy’, more like people lie about their income, etc) so evaluate it with critical thought: –

WHY do people turn to the web to get TV shows, movies and music without paying for them when they know they should?

We asked more than 7000 illegal downloaders to tell us just that. Here’s the breakdown of their answers.

Overview

The online survey was completed by 7324 respondents who said they had illegally downloaded or streamed TV shows, movies or music in the past 12 months.

Respondents were asked to choose the most applicable reasons for illegally downloading or streaming media from a list of about 12 possible choices, for each type of media — TV shows, movies and music.

They were also asked how much they would be prepared to pay for a similar legal and convenient service if it existed.

Some of the key findings were:

CONVENIENCE was as much of a motivating factor as money for people who illegally downloaded or streamed media.

MORE than two-thirds of respondents say they would be prepared to pay for a similar legal service if it existed.

GEN Y is prepared to pay more for legal downloads of TV shows and movies than any other age group, while people between 31 and 50 are more likely to pay top dollar for music.

THE young (under 20) and elderly (61 and over) are least likely to say they would pay for legal content.

TV shows are illegally downloaded more regularly, and by more people, than movies or music.

Click here to read the original story

Read on for more results on each type of media.

TV shows

6694 respondents said they had illegally downloaded or streamed a TV show in the past 12 months. Of these, 86.8 per cent said they did so regularly.

When given multiple choices to explain why they illegally downloaded or streamed TV shows, most respondents chose:

1) I’ll have to wait too long to see it on TV (50.7 per cent)
2) I want to be able to watch it whenever I want (41.5 per cent)
3) It doesn’t have ads (38.9 per cent)
4) It isn’t shown on TV at all (35.9 per cent)
5) It’s convenient (35.6 per cent)

When asked how much they would pay for a convenient legal option, respondents chose:

1) $1 per episode (39.2 per cent)
2) Nothing (33.6 per cent)
3) $2 per episode (18.7 per cent)
4) $3 per episode (8.4 per cent)

Shows not so social: Less than 1 per cent of respondents said they downloaded TV shows to share them with friends.

Movies

5902 respondents said they had illegally downloaded or streamed a movie in the past 12 months. Of these, 72.7 per cent said they did so regularly.

When given multiple choices to explain why they illegally downloaded or streamed movies, most respondents chose:

1) Going to the cinema is too expensive (43.5 per cent)
2) It’s convenient (42.4 per cent)
3) I want to be able to watch it whenever I want (42.4 per cent)
4) It’s free (28.7 per cent)
5) It’s an old movie I can’t find on DVD or Blu-ray (25.8 per cent)

When asked how much they would pay for a convenient legal option, respondents chose:

1) $2 per episode (45.6 per cent)
2) $5 per episode (28.3 per cent)
3) Nothing (21.6 per cent)
4) $10 per episode (4.4 per cent)

Paying promise: More pirates said they would pay $5 per film through a convenient legal service than those who wouldn’t pay anything. The most popular choice was $2.

Rebel retirees?: Respondents aged 61 or above were the most likely of all age groups to say they illegally downloaded movies once a week or more.

Music

5712 respondents said they had illegally downloaded or streamed music in the past 12 months. Of these, 69.5 per cent said they did so regularly.

When given multiple choices to explain why they illegally downloaded or streamed music, most respondents chose:

1) I want it in MP3 format without copy protection (43.2 per cent)
2) It’s convenient (37.0 per cent)
3) CDs are too expensive (36.5 per cent)
4) It’s free (33.2 per cent)
5) I want to know if I like it before I decide whether to buy it (28.2 per cent)

When asked how much they would pay for a convenient legal option, respondents chose:

1) 50c per song (48.8 per cent)
2) Nothing (33.6 per cent)
3) $1 per song (14.7 per cent)
4) $2 per song (2.8 per cent)

The rich get stingy: Respondents with an annual household salary of more than $350,000 were more likely than other income groups to admit illegally downloading music on a regular basis.

The news.com.au illegal downloads survey was carried out between April 16 and April 22 in conjunction with market research firm CoreData.

This information is disemmination of news data as per the Copyright Act.

Justin Boober in Sydney

7,000 screaming pubescent teenage females rushed the barricades like estrogen fuelled psycho hose beasts for the party frank of a 16 year old boy who resembles a 9 year old (polar opposite of a manchild) who sounds like a 12 year old girl.

What’s wrong with this picture? What the fuck is right with it? (If you answered nothing, read on, else beat yourself across the head, re-read, and repeat until enlightenment)

It’s 2010, when our prime minister lied about stopping Japanese illegal whaling, withdrawing our troops from America’s war against adjectives, and getting rid of the vile fuck-the-workers “work choices” scheme … we saw no one swamp the streets to protest.

In 2008 during the mandatory censorship protests we saw only 5,000 mob Town Hall to protest the decay of Internet freedom in our nation not to mention free speech at the draconian hands of Senator-can’t-program-a-VCR Conroy.

What is wrong with a society which has crazed teen girls acting like sleazy 40 year old men with their hand in their pocket over some kid? In what jilted fucked up take of reality do we see people mobbing barricades and police lines over some b-grade net celebrity? When did Australia turn into the US?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that teenage females are the least intellectually gifted let alone autonomous minority in our society and I’m also aware that they’re brain washed to be the future of mindless consumption technicians that will keep our male workforce subjugated; but there’s something seriously wrong with parents who don’t discourage clearly unhealthy behaviour.

I don’t have children, well none that Centrelink can prove are mine, and I’m personally a fan of ‘late term’ abortions up to the age of 35, but seriously, seeing this in the news disgusted me.

These silly little trollops need to watch less OC/hills/jersey shore and get the fuck back into a classroom or better yet an adidas sweat shop. We boggle our logic to no end trying to figure out why women are paid less than men and have more dick-in-butt ratio in the socio-economic front yet allow borderline psychotic behaviour and encourage hive mentality and worship of TV-told-me-to tin gods. No male would get away with that over any female without their mates outright telling them they’re bent in the head and probably slap them around when they won’t talk about anything but their obsession. Not to mention the extremes many young girls go to (see: changing their online surnames everywhere to reflect obsessed marital fantasies) are just bizarre and unhealthy.

How young females can’t see that there’s no such tangible thing as a ‘fanboy’ but ‘fangirl’ is an ever present term and not appreciate that they’re jipping themselves out of individualistic thought or gender rights progression is beyond me.

Pre-pube girls, grow the fuck up. Pre-pube girl parents, put them in therapy you disillusioned cunts.

Posted: April 26th, 2010
Categories: critical thought, hypotheticals, journalism, lifestyle, news, oddities, op ed, pop culture, rant, reviews, vox pop
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“You Can’t Make Money Online,” I was Wrong, Barely

As most of you are aware I’ve been examining online ‘money making’ drivel and usually exposing the bullshit behind it and the con artists who’re reaping the rewards. From ‘get paid to tweet’ to MLM I’ve pointed out quite a few organisations and people who are dodgy. This time I’ve been proven wrong. WHAT? ME? WRONG? Only marginally though. $5 in a month is NOT an income.

Credit where credit is due, if you really want to be a knob and try and make a buck on the internet, try Sponsored Tweets, they’re run by IZEA a ‘Social Media Marketingbusiness with decent sponsors. Lifestyle Channel have taken an interest in my blog adventures and whilst I am being derisive by saying $5 in a month that’s because it took a month for them to send me an offer, it works out to be $5 per tweet they feed into my stream, which could be a money winner if you talk about crap that will attract the right sponsors I guess? Their banners aren’t all that crappy too if you’re into the whole affiliate marketing crap, but I for one don’t see any value for time in that stuff. Example below.

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Anyway, that’s as much as an update you’re going to get, so you CAN make money online but not enough to buy a beer down the pub. 🙂

Posted: April 23rd, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, lifestyle, op ed, pop culture, rant, scams, technology, twitter
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App Store Games, Are They Worth It?

Whilst many of you may misconstrue my socialist nation as a key indicator of my political leanings I tend to be rather centrist. What’s that you say? I snub my nose at the free market economy and objectivism? Because I pirate stuff? Nay, I too have wasted money whilst sitting on the toilet with my iPhone, which is I might add my current place of publication of this update!

So, app store crap, what’s the dub? I’d love to get a bit of feedback (tweet @bashpr0mpt) about your experience with apps, purchased and free. I’ve bought numerous crappy apps that sound great, but weren’t.

My main gripe with the app store is the amount of IDENTICAL games sold as different games all based off the mafia wars model, rock bands, vampires, zombies, racing, high school, all the same bloody crap rebadged and rehashed. Apple need to rm -rf anything with ‘farm’ or ‘wars’ in it’s title IMHO.

Last Day of Work have given me compartment syndrome from toilet seats with their inane yet quirky and addictive series of games, many of which you can grab at flash games locales online–but hey iPhones and iPods don’t support flash–but also available for a small price (a few bucks) in the app store and horribly addictive. Most centre on a closed economic system with very limited upgrade models but the realms or theatres of the game are persistant.

Persistant realms are nothing new but make IRL timelines interesting, or in the case of idiots like me merely make you roll your phones clock forwards to get that instant fix.

I tried Sim City, addictive but buggy and crashes lots after you get your city big. Also tried Sims 3, it was as absolutely crap as the insanely limited Sims 2 for the PSP which has a low playability, low graphics, sound, gameplay and replayability if you ask me. Those, sadly, cost more for one than ALL the LDOW publications available.

So, your turn. What have you played that’s fun and … well, not crap?

Posted: April 20th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, game reviews, games, lifestyle, pop culture, reviews, technology
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Quackery Alive and Well in 2010

I was recently suggested a read by a friend, Dr. John L. Turner (add him on twitter, @DrJohnLTurner), of a document entitled Bioelectromagnetic Healing, A Rationale for Its Use by Thomas F. Valone, Ph.D. published in 2003. This work was vanity published by his own sock puppet ‘charity’ organisation called the ‘Integrity Research Institute,’ which he is, surprise surprise, the President of. A brief review of his curriculum vitae reveals that he has no published works in any respectable scientific journal, nor any peer reviewed scientific journal or publication out of all his publications; they’re all primarily through his ‘Integrity Research Institute.’

REMEMBER: PSEUDOSCIENCE KILLS.
Click here to review individual instances of pseudoscience and alternative medicine being at fault in over 368,379 people dying, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages.

I don’t mean to rag on him too much by the way, he seems to be a TAFE teacher (by Australian standards, or primarily a ‘community college’ instructor by US standards) and has clearly worked with some brilliant chaps too; my disdain isn’t against this individual but merely his actions as a proponent of deadly conspiracy and pseudoscience peddling. That being said he can be found on YouTube making an ass of himself talking about UFOs and conspiracies.

Before reading through this review, or maybe even after, watch this video on critical thinking for a general primer on how to approach … well, just about anything utilising the illumination of critical thought and the scientific mind!

I was cynical from the commencement reading this material, as I have read hundreds of papers debunking magetic therapy, the dedication at the begining of the work mentioning a naturopath was not reassuring. The preface is a very stereotypical opening shot of anecdote, as with most ‘alternative medicine‘ someone always knows someone who X, Y and Z, but sadly none of these people manage to deliver even a scrap of scientific proof nor are any of these wonderous revolutionary discoveries ever distributed to peer reviewed journals where the reading (and commenting) audience are medically or scientifically trained. We all know why that is.

The kicker that already got my eyes rolling out of my head was the defecting Russian scientist, who spoke of awesome ‘energy healing‘ methods through magnetic devices which, when pointed at the ear of a subject with an ear infection for a few minutes, would destroy the infection. If ANYONE can reproduce that in a lab under ANY form of scientific scrutiny, I will gladly sell all my possessions, hand them the cash, then promptly jump off a cliff. I shit you not, I WILL stake my entire life on the fact that ALL alternative medicine is a farce. A dangerous farce at that, killing millions the world over who, through ignorance, or irresponsibility of others putting forth puff where one should be proposing medicine and science, die and cause massive financial, emotional, and general harm to people every day. I feel safe in my bet on this one though: –

“I know of no scientist who takes this claim seriously…It’s another fad. They come and go like copper bracelets and crystals and all of these things, and this one will pass too.” –Robert Park of the American Physical Society.

“Iron atoms in a magnet are crammed together in a solid state about one atom apart from one another. In your blood only four iron atoms are allocated to each hemoglobin molecule, and they are separated by distances too great to form a magnet. This is easily tested by pricking your finger and placing a drop of your blood next to a magnet. ” –Michael Shermer*

“The more extreme claims of magnetic therapy, such as curing cancer by hanging supermagnets around your neck, are not only nonsense but also dangerous, since they may divert patients from seeking appropriate treatment from mainstream medicine. Magnetic jewelry and most other magnetic-therapy products probably are harmless beyond a waste of money.” –James D. Livingston*

By page 4 the author is already claiming magnets are ‘the medicine of the future’, an ongoing cliche comment from all alternative medicine and snake oil peddlers in general. This magnet shit was mostly hashed out in the 70′s, with magnetic rooms, or ion charging units in sweat lodges in Europe would charge tens of thousands for ‘therapy,’ or the pleasure of sitting on a seat awkwardly in the middle of a room in your underwear whilst your healers snort the cash you’ve given them like hoovers. The whole ‘electro’ fad was exhausted by the 1930′s and debunked by most educated fellows.

One can’t go very far in the realm of ‘alternative medicine’ without striking on an Edison or Tesla reference, this work doesn’t disappoint, albeit I did find the uber professionalism of the author in one outstanding statement that pretty much sets the feel for the rest of the narrative of pseudoscience: –

Key sections are noted with a 🙂 symbol to indicate importance.

Brilliant, right? In the 1930′s, as the author even states, such ridiculous claims were put forwards such as Tesla’s high frequency currents “are bringing about a highly beneficial result in dealing with cancer, surpassing anything that could be accomplished with ordinary surgery.” Statements like that are what people term as anecdotal; they’re not scientific, nor is any credential other than that of the conman or his associates put on the line. If it were submitted for peer review scientific journals by modern standards they’d be ridiculed openly and debunked, if not outright exposed, as phoneys. We all know electricity won’t cure cancer. If it did, we wouldn’t be spending billions in cancer research, nor spending even more in socialist states like Australia to fund the treatment of cancer patients if mere electro-shock will cure it.

Tim Harlow, general practitioner, Colin Greaves, research fellow, Adrian White, senior research fellow, Liz Brown, research assistant, Anna Hart, statistician, Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine conducted a large scale scientific examination of energy healing, with a focus on magnets, these findings were published in an esteemed and peer reviewed journal, British Medical Journal, Dec. 2004.

Skip to the bottom of this article to see other findings from other scientists that have been submitted to REAL journals and published BY presses that aren’t owned by those conducting the research.

That being said, we still have some whacky psychiatrists (mostly in Western Australia at Graylands (movies have been made about that place and this practice) who believe that electro-shock therapy is effective in dealing with depression and anxiety conditions. The figures probably come from the fact people will behave the way the doctors want because they don’t want a fucking jumper cable put to their temples again; not to mention in extreme cases these practices cause indirect lobotomies, but have as unpredictable a result as inserting a screw driver into your cars ignition, hitting it with a 20 lb sledge hammer, and hoping it starts.

By page 12 the author had lost me with far too much blatent pseudo-science, so I decided to look into him a bit more, examine his writing style. He seems to apply many footnotes, but I noticed that there are none beyond the 90s if not even the 70s that AREN’T published in some wanky new age touchy feely hippy publication, or vanity pressing. All the rest of the footnotes are from things from the late 1870s through to the 1930s, so we’re already dealing with someone who is structuring their research to suit their argument, as opposed to conducting research to present their argument be it right or wrong.

By page 13 the author is citing conspiracy theory books claiming that there is suppression by ‘big pharma’ to prevent the world being this wonderful utopia as peddled by snake oil salesmen. At this point I realised I could not go any further without losing all respect for myself. Cute read, non-scientific, all point of view, all flawed research.

Further reading:

  • Colbert, A. P., Wahbeh, H., Harling, N., Connelly, E., Schiffke, H. C., Forsten, C., Gregory, W. L., Markov, M. S., Souder, J. J., Elmer, P., King, V. (2009). Static Magnetic Field Therapy: A Critical Review of Treatment Parameters. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 6: 133-139 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Boutron, I., Moher, D., Altman, D. G., Schulz, K. F., Ravaud, P., for the CONSORT Group, (2008). Extending the CONSORT Statement to Randomized Trials of Nonpharmacologic Treatment: Explanation and Elaboration. ANN INTERN MED 148: 295-309 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Rumbaut, R. E., Mirkovic, D. (2008). Magnetic therapy for edema in inflammation: a physiological assessment. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 294: H19-H20 [Full text]
  • Barron, M. C., Rubin, B. R. (2007). Managing Osteoarthritic Knee Pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 107: ES21-ES27 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Pittler, M. H. MD PhD, Brown, E. M. BSc, Ernst, E. MD PhD (2007). Static magnets for reducing pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. CMAJ 177: 736-742 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Katz, W. A. (2007). Themed Review: Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Osteoarthritis. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE 1: 249-255 [Abstract]
  • Kuipers, N. T., Sauder, C. L., Ray, C. A. (2007). Influence of static magnetic fields on pain perception and sympathetic nerve activity in humans. J. Appl. Physiol. 102: 1410-1415 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Bjordal, J, Conaghan, P G (2006). NSAIDs in osteoarthritis: irreplaceable or troublesome guidelines?. Br. J. Sports. Med. 40: 285-286 [Full text]
  • Finegold, L., Flamm, B. L (2006). Magnet therapy. BMJ 332: 4-4 [Full text]
  • Rubin, B. R. (2005). Management of Osteoarthritic Knee Pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 105: S23-S28 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Winemiller, M. H., Billow, R. G., Laskowski, E. R., Harmsen, W. S. (2005). Effect of Magnetic vs Sham-Magnetic Insoles on Nonspecific Foot Pain in the Workplace: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 80: 1138-1145 [Abstract]
  • McDonald, H. L (2005). Patients who wore standard magnetic bracelets reported reduced pain from osteoarthritis of the hip or knee compared with patients wearing placebo bracelets. Evid. Based Nurs. 8: 89-89 [Full text]
  • McCrory, P (2005). The power of placebo. Br. J. Sports. Med. 39: 125-125 [Full text]
  • (2005). Robin Goodfellow (44-3). Rheumatology (Oxford) 44: 418-418 [Full text]
Posted: April 20th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, critical thought, journalism, lifestyle, op ed, pop culture, rant, reviews, scams, science, technology
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