Thursday, 16 December 2010

Update: Natwest - helpful banking

2011/03/03: Update: Natwest fail to pass a fifth of their self imposed targets.

Back in August I pulled Natwest's Helpful Banking advert apart thusly:

It's why, when you told us to open on Saturdays, we did.[2]
And why 160 branches will open earlier, or close later.
[2] Which banks don't have branches open on Saturdays? And I note that they don't qualify this by saying how many of their branches are open on Saturday. (I'm assuming it's not all of them since their branch locator has a check box for listing only those open on Saturdays.)
It would appear two others noticed this and put in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (I was not one of them) and Natwest got a slap on the wrist as a result:


Two viewers challenged whether the claim "It's why, when you told us to open on Saturdays, we did" misleadingly implied that all NatWest branches were open on Saturdays, which they understood was not the case.


[...] [Natwest] said they had a long history of Saturday openings and, in response to customer demand, 675 of their 1552[1] branches were currently open on Saturdays.


The ASA noted the ad focused on the NatWest Customer Charter, but nonetheless considered that viewers would understand the claim "It's why, when you told us to open on Saturdays, we did" to mean that all NatWest branches were open on Saturdays. Because we understood that that was not the case, and there was no qualification in the ad to explain that the claim applied to selected branches only, we concluded that the ad was misleading.[...]


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.
[1] That'd be 43% then - not even 1/2 of them.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Normal people are terrorist suspects

Spotted via Dizzy:

The government wasting more money on yet another pointless advertising campaign.

Examples of suspicious behaviour[current]?
  • Van - Terrorists need transport.
  • Passport - Terrorists use multiple identities.
  • Mobile phone - Terrorists need communication.
  • Camera - Terrorists need information.
  • Chemicals - Do you know someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals for no obvious reason?
  • Mask and goggles - Terrorists use protective equipment.
  • Credit card - Terrorists need funding.
  • Computer - Terrorists use computers.
  • Suitcase - Terrorists need to travel.
  • Padlock - Terrorists need storage. 
I mean, really - can you come up with at least one valid and non-terrorist related use for each of those items?

I could probably come up with my own list:

  • Air - terrorists need to breathe. Have you seen someone breathing recently?
  • Water - terrorists need to drink. Have you seen anyone drinking?
  • Food - terrorists need to eat. Have you seen someone trying to buy sandwiches at Tescos?
  • Toilets - terrorists need to piss and have a dump. Have you seen anyone visiting the pleasantly smelling lavatorial facilities in your local pub?

Nanny-statism at it's unpleasant worst.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

PDBTL #1 - seatbelts.

First in a series of (UK) government sponsored advertising, suggesting that perhaps the subjects citizens shouldn't break the law, and wasting tax-payer's money in the process.

This is the "gory" version of this particular advert (the pre 9pm watershed version only omits the allegedly 'graphical' stuff that happens inside Richard's body.)

Richard didn't want to die, [Richard is driving along] but he couldn't stop himself.[1]

The collision [two cars head-on-collide[2] in a residential area[3]] with the car didn't kill him, but he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, so he continued on his journey. [Airbag deploys and Richard hits it full on.][4]

When he hit the inside of the car[5] [his head breaks the windscreen[4]], that didn't kill him either.

But his internal organs carried on travelling until they hit his ribcage[5] [graphic of Richard's ribs], and his lungs were punctured [his ribs break and enter lungs[6]], and the main artery from his heart was torn.[shift to front view, and slowly leaking blood from his 'heart' is shown[7]]

And that's what killed Richard.


[Think! Always wear a seatbelt]

[1] Perhaps Richard should have had his brakes checked last time they felt spongy then. Or perhaps he should have been paying attention to the road ahead of him. Or perhaps he shouldn't have been speeding.[8]

[2] Such a perfect head on collision. To pick an easily found link at random, in 2005 in the US, only 2% of collisions were head on, (though were the cause of 10% of fatal crashes.) Most other 'head on collisions' don't involve the car going straight ahead as shown and stopping in such a short distance - which is what causes the injuries stated. If there isn't an air-bag[4]

[3] Typical speed limit in a residential area in the UK? (Section 24) 30mph. Are we expected to believe that there is a substantial number of fatal, perfect, head on collisions at 30mph in built up areas where at least one of the drivers dies?

[4] Hang on... Air bag? Those are supposed to protect you are they not? :

WTF is his head doing hitting the windscreen with such force (at 30mph[3]) that it breaks? That is one seriously mis-designed air-bag. Maybe it's the car company that killed him?

[5] The only part of Richard shown hitting the car at any speed is his head. The rest of his torso should have been less affected due to the air-bag[4]

[6] Not necessarily fatal.

[7] Given the speed of the blood coming out of that heart, the pathologist in me suspects that Richard was long dead before the crash, and *that's* what caused the crash.

[8] I have no doubt that one of those adverts will make an appearance here.

Anyway - as pointed out in a previous post, the fact the advert exists is a load of bollocks. While being in a moving car without wearing a seat-belt (with certain exceptions) is against the law, punishable by a fine, the government's own statistics show that the adverts do fuck all:
This publication presents estimates of seatbelt wearing rates [...] by drivers in England. Estimates of seatbelt wearing rates for Scotland are also included. Surveys were carried out in October and November 2009.

The main results from the seatbelt survey for England are:

* The proportion of car drivers observed wearing seat belts has not changed since the 2008 survey, remaining at 95 per cent in 2009.

We know you opted out but...

... we really really want to send you some crap.




We like to keep our customers up—to—date with all that’s going on, whenever we can. However, because you’ve chosen not to receive marketing communications[3] we’re not able to keep you informed of the latest news, offers, and insights.[4]

We’re committed to maintaining the privacy of all our customers.[5] That’s why if you do decide to opt back in, we’ll keep your information safe and secure. We won't share any of your details with third parties for marketing purposes.[6]


From fund launches and investor information to latest offers such as the cash back offers. It could benefit you and your investments to stay in touch with all the things we’d love to tell you about.[7]

We’ll only ask you this once every three years.[8] lf you do change your mind later on, you can opt out simply by calling or writing to us.


Opting back in to our communications is quick and easy. Just fill in the reply form below and send it back to us free of charge in the enclosed reply—paid envelope.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.[9]

Yours sincerely,

[1] Too bloody much it appears.

[2] I somehow think that L&G are hardly on the cutting edge (well any more than, say, LLTSB who took over Clerical Medical recently.)

[3] There was a reason for that. I get enough crap through my letter box. And I thought a check box indicating "don't send me stuff not directly relevant to any accounts I hold with you" meant, well, not sending me stuff that's not directly relevant to any accounts I hold with L&G.

[4] Or advertising asking me to opt back in. Oh... wait... that's not right is it?

[5] No you're not. It's a legal requirement of the Data Protection Act. Not maintaining my privacy might cost you money, and certainly loss of good will.

[6] Of course, that's no guarantee that you won't offer the opportunity to send me crap on behalf of 3rd parties yourselves, is it? And make money from those 3rd parties doing it.

[7] Or I could just read the financial press, (and there's quite a bit of it online.)

[8] Once every three years too often in my opinion. And I'm sure there's absolutely no way of opting out of these three yearly reminders, without ceasing to be your customer. Or even if I ceased to be your customer.

[9] Don't hold your breath.


I intend to start a series or two.

Please Don't Break The Law (PDBTL)  and Stop Wasting My Fucking Money (SWMFM) - government spending wasting money on advertising suggesting (or telling) you to or not to do something.

This post started off as the first one in the series for PDBTL, but the background to the opening paragraphs started getting a bit verbose, so thought it needed a post in its own right.

Naturally this post is UK-centric, but I've seen other nations' governments' attempting to cajole their subjects/citizens.

Since the 'majority'[1] of the UK population that could be bothered to turn out and vote[2] at the last (May 2010) election removed the Labour party, who seemed to be such spendthrifts[3] - especially when it came to spending the tax-payer's money on advertising (£253M 2009/10[4],) I thought at least the coalition would have at least reduced it.

Down to nothing.

Especially since we're they're we're[5] supposed to be saving money in these straightened economic times.

No such luck. Though I have noticed a reduction in the number of government sponsored adverts, they are still there.

The previous Labour government spending on advertising spanned a few areas:

  • Health (^178% 2009 ->2010[4])
    • get your flu jabs
    • stop fucking around
    • if you must fuck around get yourself tested for chlamydia
  • Education (^50% 2009 -> 2010[4])
    • lern 2 spel
    • Learn to count
    • Learn the other stuff you should have learnt in school but didn't because they didn't teach you nothing.
  • HMRC
    • Tax needn't be taxing
    • Pay your fucking tax
    • Pension bollocks (NEST, GMP, S2P, SERPS)[6]
  • DWP
    • Get a job yer lazy twats
  • Among others.

    But the ones that really annoy me are the ones that suggest/tell you not to do things that are against the law.

    The government thinks they need to tell us what's against the law through the medium of  dance using adverts. Using our tax.

    For example in a few clicks of a mouse you can have access to the Highway Code. Or, alternatively, for the Luddites among you, you could pop down to your local WH Smiths and purchase a dead tree version for under £2.00.

    In it, it has words of wisdom such as things that are actually against the law, and if you (don't) do them, you leave yourself liable to a fine, points on your licence, or even accommodation at Her Majesty's Pleasure. (The online version lists the relevant laws - not sure about the book.)

    Things such as
    All three of the above have copious adverts telling you not to do them.

    Why? It tends to change nothing, and some of the statistics show it. The DFT (presumably by wasting more money) collated some results in their report entitled: Seatbelt and mobile phone use surveys: 2009 results. Some 'interesting' results:

    • The proportion of car drivers observed wearing seat belts has not changed since the 2008 survey, remaining at 95 per cent in 2009.
    • The proportion of car front seat passengers observed wearing seat belts or child restraints has decreased slightly from 96 per cent in 2008 to 95 per cent in 2009.
    • The proportion of car rear seat passengers observed wearing seat belts or child restraints has risen to 89 per cent in 2009 from 88 per cent in 2008.

    • Since the last survey in September 2008 the proportion of drivers observed using hand-held mobile phones whilst driving increased (from 1.1 per cent to 1.4 per cent for car drivers and from 2.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent for van and lorry drivers).
    • An increase in the number of drivers who appear to be using hands free mobile phones (from 0.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent for car drivers and from 1.1 per cent to 2.4 per cent for van and lorry drivers) was observed in the same period.
    Now that first section has changes of at most 1%. Taking front seat passengers with seatbelts, if 2008 was 95.5% and 2009 was 95.4%, and we round to 2s.f. we now have our 1% difference, generated from a 0.1% difference. Well within the bounds of error. (Granted other valid values could be 96.4% and 94.5% (1.9%) but I'm sure that this would have been pointed out had it been the case.)

    Likewise, the differences for phone use differ by at most 0.4% - suspected statistical error again.

    Hardly encouraging, or justification for spending on adverts, given that we've had these adverts on UK media for years.

    The cynic in me is waiting for the first advert telling you not to steal.

    Or don't go around murdering people.

    [1] Since (roughly) two thirds of eligible voters[2] actually bothered to turn up and vote, and of those only 60%[2] voted for either of the parties eventually involved with the coalition, I hardly think 40% of the electorate constitutes a majority.


    [3] Spendthrifts, contrary to what some/most seem to believe (me too, until I saw that first link when it was first published,) derives from "spending the money that [previous] thrifts saved," and thus indicates someone who spends a lot, rather than someone who is thrifty by not spending.

    [4] In Labour's last year of government, they managed to increase their spending on advertising from around £180,000,000 to £253,000,000. (The article says 40% up to £253M)

    [5] It's my tax you're spending damn-it!

    [6] Win 2 internets if you actually know what all those stand for without hovering over the links, visiting the linked sites, or work in the pension industry.

    Wednesday, 24 November 2010

    TV Licencing. Have you paid in Sheffield?

    Via BBW:

    There are five homes
    in Rock Street S3
    without a TV Licence

    [graffitti] Maybe they have a life

    That would be Rock Street, Sheffield then?

    View Larger Map

    Is your house there?

    Anyway, this is yet another prong in TVL's[2] "You're guilty until we decide otherwise you've bought a licence regardless of whether you're required to," campaign that's been prevalant over the years.

    There are a variety of reasons why a home might not legitimately have a TV licence.
    1. It may be unoccupied, the previous occupier having transferred their licence to their new house.
    2. The occupier may not be able to afford a TV Licence and has forgone the need to own a TV.
    3. The occupier may have decided that all the stuff on TV is shite and isn't worth the TV, or the licence.
    4. The occupier may simply have taken the stand that they disagree with the licence on principle and decided not to have a TV.
    5. The occupier may have a TV but may only use it to view DVDs/videos/Wii/X-Box, and not to watch live TV.

    Or there's one reason why they may illegally not have a TV licence and that's
    1. That they have equipment that is both capable of, and is being used to, receive as-broadcast[1] TV signals. (Edit 2017: or want to watch anything on iPlayer)

    That bolded bit is important - it's why the owner in #5 above is able to own a TV yet not be required to have a licence. It's also, incidentally, why it's possible for someone not to own a TV, but still be required to have a licence (TV receivers on PC's are an example of the latter.)

    Anyway, the poster above implies, as do the letters they send that border on barratry, that everyone(without exception) without a TV Licence falls into the latter group.

    I'm sure the BBC have better things to spend the Licence Fee tax-payers' money on.

    You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.

    [2] For the benefit of those fortunate to not be harassed by TVL - "TV Licencing" is actually a trademark, owned by the BBC in the UK, which 3rd party companies can licence(!) in order to harass law abiding members of the public.

    Crapita Capita seem to be the company that provides the bully-boys at the moment.

    Tuesday, 16 November 2010

    Not so happy down on the farm...

    MotherCare are selling (but currently out of stock) the Early Learning Centre Happyland Goosefeather Farm [current] for £30. In the product description:

    • All the fun of the Happy Land Goosefeather Farm with Farmer Shepherd and his wife
    • Includes a barn, tractor and trailer, sheep pen, pig sty, and six animals
    • Your little ones will love playing with the farmyard animals, while learning the different sounds they make with the help of the animal sound effects
    Brilliant, eh? But what's this? If you want to buy it direct from the Early Learning Center [current] it's only £25. What do you think might be the difference? Their product description:
    • Bring all the fun of the farm to HappyLand with this lovely set.
    • Farmer Shepherd wakes up early in the morning to tend the fields. Mrs. Shepherd makes sure all the animals on the farm are well fed and happy.
    • Set includes barn, tractor, trailer, pen, 3 fences, gate, Farmer Shepherd, Mrs. Shepherd, horse, cow, sheep, sheepdog and chicken. 
    • Press the buttons on the roof to hear five animal sounds.

    Can you spot the difference?

    Bit difficult?

    Ok - here's the promotional photo from Mothercare:

    And the promotional photo for ELC:

    Spot the difference yet?

    How about a hint - here's the mother care one again:

    Yes - for a reduction of £5, you can get the new version of Goosefeather Farm without pigs.

    "New Version" I hear you ask?

    Yup - the ELC have slaughtered all the pigs on Goosefeather Farm for fear of offending Jews and Muslims.

    Really. But don't worry - the pigs are still there in spirit. Ghostly pigs can still be heard haunting Goosefeather Farm, because the button that produces the Oink sounds proved a little more difficult to remove than the pig.

    Oh - what's this? ELC have done a U-turn due to bad publicity? Colour me surprised.

    Wednesday, 10 November 2010

    Smut on smut channel - shock horror!!

    Not so much the advertisers themselves this time, but the authority that purports to regulate them.

    No video this time, sorry ;)

    Imagine you're watching an adult themed channel at 6.40am.

    An advert for a parody of the Blair Witch Project called "The Bare Tits Project" pops up. (Mistakenly, apparently - the advert shouldn't have gone out.)

    Tagline:  "In 2009 4 students went out to make a naughty documentary in Epping Forest ... They never returned but the footage was found a year later ...".

    Now given that the advert (from the ASA description) has nothing more explicit than that which may be found on Page 3 of your favourite Red Top, and bearing in mind that this is "Tease Me 2" what would your reaction be?

    1) Ignore it because you realise that kids won't typically be watching Tease Me 2, especially in households where the parents are actually parenting and have probably put the controls on such channels.

    2) Ignore it because you realise that no-one except you will be watching Tease Me 2 at 7am in the morning.

    3) You wouldn't be watching it anyway, since you either realise that there's very little smut on the smut channels that early in the morning, or you have better things to be doing then. Like sleeping.

    4) Complain to the ASA that people might be offended at seeing smut on the smut channels at early-o'clock in the morning and it would "cause serious or widespread offence [and] that the depiction of nudity contravened [...] generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards."

    Yes, some sad twat chose #4.

    And the ASA agreed with them.

    Furthermore, the ASA decided to stick their oar in and add to the complaint by claiming that the ('explicit') premium rate numbers advertised alongside should have been presented on an encrypted channel. (They should perhaps take a look in the adverts sections of the aforementioned Red Tops.)

    And the ASA, strangely enough, agreed with themselves on that 2nd point.

    So, the punishment for mistakenly airing an advert before 7am in the morning that normally wouldn't be aired after 9pm?

    The usual, with a rider: The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, unless it is shown on encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels.

    Monday, 8 November 2010

    Vicks - up next: the cure for cancer

    Proctor & Gamble have finally done something no other scientists have thus far been unable to do - cure the common cold. Or so they imply:

    Stop Your Cold with First Defence

    When you catch things early, they're easier to deal with.

    So when you feel the first signs of a cold[1], Vicks First Defence catches the virus and helps stop the cold developing.[graphic of Vicks nasal spray attacking viruses][2]

    Vicks First Defence - helps[3] stop your cold before it takes hold. [current]

    Attack is the best form of defence

    Picture the scene. You’ve got a holiday coming up and, just when you should be getting excited, you feel the dreaded twinge of an approaching cold. Great.

    Don’t panic! Vicks has the solution - First Defence Micro-Gel Nasal Spray. Applied as soon as you feel the first warning signs of a cold[1]. The unique Micro-Gel attacks the virus where it first takes hold[2] – at the back of your nose, traps it, disarms it and helps to remove it. When people used Vicks First Defence Micro-Gel Nasal Spray at the first signs of a cold[1], 77 per cent said they didn’t develop a full blown cold*[4]. So next time a nasty cold threatens to ruin a holiday, don’t surrender – send it packing!

    Always read the label/leaflet.
    *2006 consumer satisfaction survey of 90 UK users.[5]

    [1] The first signs of a cold typically occur 2-5 days after catching the virus which causes the common cold. (But, as the link points out, it could be as soon as 10 hours.) The problem, of course, being that once you've started showing the first signs of a cold, the virus has been replicating busily in your body, so...

    [2] It's impossible for a nasal spray to attack the virus as shown in the nose when the virus has already taken hold in the rest of the body.

    [3] Weasel words.

    [4] How many of those 77%[5] would have developed a full blown cold had they not been using Vicks? From the link above:
    Sneezing and coughing are the body's natural efforts to eject the viruses. Fever reduces the virus' ability to reproduce inside the nose. It does seem to be likely that in those people who only experience symptoms for a few days, the immune system is functioning well.

    [5] 77% of 90 UK users is... 69 people. Out of an adult population of 45,457,163 (Number of voters on 22 Feb 2006.) For the mathematicians at P&G, that's 0.00015%.

    Clearly Vicks products do mitigate the symptoms of colds, but I find it highly unlikely that they can do anything about the causes of those symptoms.

    Tuesday, 2 November 2010

    The AA - Half price driving lessons?

    Cheap driving lessons [current] from the AA? Hardly.

    AA Driving Lessons
    from only
    £10.50 per hour *
    Call now on
    0800 980 1834
    Offer subject to availability
    * Discounted price is for the first two hours of tuition purchased in one transaction using a valid debit or credit card when calling 0800 980 1834, after which standard lesson pricing applies. A handling fee of 1.5% plus VAT is applied to credit card transactions. Lesson prices vary by postcode and instructor and will be confirmed when you call. Debit card transactions are exempt of handling fees. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and applies to new pupils only. Tuition must be booked through the AA Customer Service Centre on the number displayed in this advertisement. AA tuition is subject to instructor availability. AA driving instructors are self-employed franchisees and all contracts for the provision of tuition are between the pupil and the instructor. AA Driving School reserves the right to amend, change or withdraw this offer at any time.

    So, for one transaction only, you can get two half price hours worth of tuition at £10.50. If you buy at least two hours. If this is your first transaction with the AA. If you can get an instructor, and if that instructor only charges £21 per hour. If you aren't paying by credit card.

    Having bought some lessons, you aren't allowed to use this offer again, since you would no longer be a new pupil.

    That's a lot of if's for saving £21 on something that will probably cost quite a lot more.

    Now, the AA has already recently been slapped once on the wrist by that most toothless of regulators (the ASA) for a similar (previous) advert:
    we considered that the claim "Learn with Us HALF PRICE AA driving lessons from only £10.50 per hour*" in the headline implied that unlimited lessons could be booked at the stated price within the promotional time frame, whereas the price stated in the offer was limited to two lessons only, and was dependent upon the purchase of a block booking of a minimum of five lessons and was also dependent on the availability of an instructor who offered standard lessons at £21. We considered that, although the conditions of the offer were stated in subsequent click-throughs, those conditions contradicted rather than qualified the headline claim and the promotion was therefore misleading.

    Clearly The AA has changed their advert due to the ruling, but have they really changed it sufficiently?

    Sunday, 31 October 2010

    RSPCA - saving the animals one by one.

    Everything we do supports our goal of preventing cruelty – and all our successes drive us to continue making life-changing differences.

    We work tirelessly to rescue domestic animals and wildlife.


    Our wildlife centres rehabilitate animals who can be returned to the wild.

    The fawn was plucked from its pregnant mother after she was killed in a car crash.

    It was reared at the RSPCA Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, then released into the wild.

    But the male roe deer was deemed too tame for its natural environment and was euthanased.

    BDS spokesman David Kenyon said: 'If the RSPCA took the decision to raise the deer, then they should have taken the long-term decision to put it into a petting zoo.

    'It was irresponsible to bring up a deer and expect it to go back into the wild.

    'I have heard of deer being raised and put in petting zoos, but I have not heard of one being raised and then put down. That's a first.'

    "Staff were very hands-off during the deer's stay at the centre. They did not talk to the animal, or pet him, and they threw his food over the wall so there was no direct contact," she said.

    When the deer was released into the wild on October 20, however, he was apparently unable to cope with his new environment, so RSPCA staff caught him and put him to sleep.

    One of these things is not like the others.

    Tuesday, 26 October 2010

    Want to buy some crap? I have just the company for you...

    More tagline idiocy, via FailBlog:

    While not quite as amusing as, (well as was - it is a porn site now) or even, you would have thought that someone involved with the website would have picked up on it.

    Based in the UK if anyone in Belfast, Co. Antrim would care to drop by and laugh at them.

    Washing Ariel at 15'C. Or maybe it'd be better at 30'C after all...

    Suggested by Rob[11]; first an old(er) advert...

    Hot pasta sauce. Hot chocolate sauce. Hmm - hot date.[1]

    But, a cold wash. [Turns dial to 15°C][3]

    New Ariel Excel Gel - it's unique new gel specially designed from scratch[6], to give outstanding cleaning from as low as[4] 15 degrees[2][3]. So now you really can, "wash on cold."

    New Ariel Excel Gel. Outstanding cleaning from as low as 15 degrees.
    [1] What sort of stains are Ariel alluding to here? Or is it just my mucky mind.

    [2] Ignoring the hint given in the video; degrees what? Fahrenheit? Rankine? API? (There's a whole list here for those who want to examine this particular piece of stupidity.)

    [3] Without looking, do you know what's the coldest cycle on your washing machine? Let's have a look a few random machines:
    • The Hotpoint 6200 series - 30°C (page 12)
    • The Creda 1000 Supaspeed[5] -  40°C (page 8)
    •  The Becko WME 72xx series - 'Cold' (whatever) but the lowest they quote is 30°C (page 18)
    • The Boshe WFC2062/05 - (you'll have to take my word on this one, but the German manual is available from their website - no direct downloads) - 30°C (page 7 of the larger manual.)
    If you have one of these 'older' machines, then being able to wash clothes at 15°C using this specially designed from scratch[6] detergent is really rather pointless, unless you're prepared to go and ditch your working washer for a newer model, however; before you do...

    I'm sure there are newer washing machines out there that actually would do colder, if they had two inlets; one for cold and the other for hot.

    But most machines these days have only one inlet (to save on manufacturing costs - it's nothing to do with energy efficiency,) typically for  cold water (which the machine then heats if/as required - a marvelous energy saving if you have, for example, hot water produced by cheaper means other than the mains electricity - making the point of sometimes being able to wash at low temperatures rather meaningless,) but it's not unknown for you to be required to attach your hot water to it instead. Now, if you've got water pumping into your drum at - what - say up to 50°C, you're still not going to get your 15 °C wash.

    [4] Weasel words.

    [5] I'm sure there's another post in there, but I can't be bothered.

    [6] Now, far be it for me to say, but bragging about Version 1.0 of something is not really something you should be doing.

    However, should your washing not come out entirely perfect at 15 degrees curvature[2] the first time, a wonderful company have come up with a solution.

    Can you guess who it is yet?</rolf harris>

    Stain Removal the First Time

    Some things are just difficult to get rid of, the first time.[7]

    It's the same with getting rid of tough dried in stains on the first wash. [Subtitle: Not for use on wool, silk, leather.][8]

    Now there's a stain remover from Ariel. [Subtitle: Tested at 30°C[9] vs. detergent alone] It helps your detergent to get rid of stains which otherwise  would may go away the first time.

    More stains out, first time. New Ariel Stain Remover. Discover the complete range with confidence. Guaranteed results or your money back. [Subtitle: Return survey+deposit[10]. Conditions apply. For details]
    [7] "Have you tried Ariel Detergent 15°C V1.0 and found it lacking?"

    [8] Do not use on the leather jacket you wore on that messy hot date[1] Or on her silk stockings.

    [9] Hmm. Why won't this new one work at 15°C then? I wonder. Perhaps you should have tried V1.0 at 30°C after all. Oh[3] - you did? As you were...

    [10] What's all that about then? You need to leave a deposit to get your money back?

    [11] As Rob pointed out:
    The website:
    The blurb:
    "The gel has been specifically designed to work right into your fabrics, offering outstanding stain removal and brrrrilliant results even at low temperatures. No wonder consumers are saying it's one of the most brrrilliant detergents they've ever used!"

    (Not this particular consumer; it's no better than Lidl own brand detergent, just brrrrrrilliantly more expensive)

    Wednesday, 22 September 2010

    Download Chrome with... Chrome

    You would have thought that when creating an advertising campaign for a browser, you'd at least exclude those users actually using that browser.

    (For those interested, not only is the advert by Google, the advertising platform being used here ( itself is also by Google.)

    Saturday, 18 September 2010

    The (UK)government on not being wasteful....

    From Private Eye 1271, I found this:

    "There has been an estimated 52 percent reduction in spending for the first month of the government's marketing and advertising freeze." announced the Cabinet Office last month. " That is the equivilant of almost £6.5m in savings, compared to the same period last year."

    Pats on the back all round. Not least at DEFRA, where filming on a new public information campaign encouraging people to recycle was completed just three weeks before the election.
    Even though the entire budget had already been spent on making and editing the film and the airtime was donated for free, the coalition has decided to waste money by not using a campaign against waste, in order not to appear wasteful.

    Thursday, 9 September 2010

    I'm sure this can't be legal...

    Via FailBlog:

    epic fail photos - Teen Promotion FAIL
    Judging from the writing on the wall in the background, this isn't a case of Engrish; just an ignorance of the colloquial meaning of the word facial.

    It also appears to be a candidate for The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, if it wasn't for the fact that Bethany won't take anything from FailBlog.

    Warning - exposure to the sun causes subliminal advertising.

    Via the Daily Mail (yes, I know..):

    It's a well-known fact that shunning the sunscreen and basking in direct sun leads to wrinkles.

    But those who thought their skin was shielded while driving, or sitting in a conservatory, could be in for a nasty surprise.

    The damage caused by sun coming through glass can be so dramatic that, over time, the side of the face exposed to the rays can end up looking up to seven years older than the other.


    Another study, by [have a guess. Go on. Answer below], found even a few hours sitting in a car in April resulted in skin damage linked to ageing.

     Now, who would want to associate themselves with this little bit of scaremongering, and why would they want to?


    Boots the chemist. In what is a clearly unrelated note, the article finishes off with:
    The research is published by Boots, which is introducing UVA sun protection into a line of No 7 moisturisers.

    Monday, 6 September 2010

    ITV Needs You. To be an arsehole for the nation.

    Spotted (via Private Eye 1270) in Metro:

    Lively characters needed for new Friday night ITV show!
    Do you have a crazy nan, chatterbox housemate, embarassing dad, know-it-all in-law?
    Or are YOU the soul and life of the party?


    I have nothing to add.

    Friday, 3 September 2010

    Make time to play. With empty cardboard boxes.

    Unable to embed, or archive, the videos to this one, so the commentary is a bit longer with descriptions. Video 1 was seen on ITV. I was encouraged to look at it (with a view to sticking it on here) and decided to visit their website, where not only was the advert on there, there was a second. And some[0] other bollocks on the website, detailed below.

    Video 1:

    [Two kids, girl and boy, unwrap an empty cardboard] For your kids, play time is any time, and any thing is a play thing.[1]

    All they need is imagination. [The kids get into the empty cardboard box. Scene changes to cartoon box kids on a country road(?)]

    Play helps kids make friends.[2] <whistle>[3rd 'box kid' comes along.] Grow in confidence. Be more active. [3rd kid turns into a cardboard car with square wheels] And aware of the world around them, just by having fun. [Girl gets into car. Boy tries, but fails, to push.][3a]

    Help make your kids who they are today, and what they'll be tomorrow. [Boy turns crank that moves the scenery making the car appear to move.]

    Go to for great ideas and fun things to do together as a family.[4] Scene ends back in real life with the girl in the empty cardboard box and the boy attempting to push it as his cartoon simile was.][1]

    Video 2:

    [Two kids, girl and boy, unwrap an empty cardboard] For your kids, play time is any time, and any thing is a play thing.[1]

    All they need is imagination. [The kids get into the empty cardboard box. Scene changes to cartoon box kids in a cartoon living room.]

    Playing as a family improves kids' verbal skills[2] <whistle> [The TV and chair in the room turn into two more kids.] Raises self esteem [Room changes into a large 3d snakes and ladders board which resembles a pyramid.] Helps solves problems [Die appears and gets rolled.] And ensures everyone has fun whatever what their age.

    Help make your kids who they are today, and what they'll be tomorrow. [Kid rolls die again, attempts to reach the summit of the pyramid, and as he reaches the golden cup at the top, the sides turn from a ladder into a snake and the boy slides back down.][3b]

    Go to for great ideas [another kid rolls, and succeeds in reaching the summit] and fun things to do together as a family.[4] [Scene ends in real life with the girl sitting on top of the empty cardboard box and the boy running round her.][1]

    [0] Lots.

    [1] The whole premise behind these two adverts appears to be to encourage kids to play with empty cardboard boxes.

    [2]  When they aren't being over-exposed to stranger danger that is, and being kept indoors to vegetate and grow fatter on the sofa watching the TV or playing with their X-Box.

    [3a][3b] The only message I'm getting here - is what the characters depicted will be tomorrow is - abject failures. Not too dissimilar to a not insignificant number of 'kids' these days.

    [4] We shall now see what fun things we can do with the family (said family being strangely absent from the adverts,) and have a look at the website. If you want to play along, click "Play Ideas" on the website if you have it open, otherwise see the images below...

    Well, if it's sunny...

    and you have half an hour to kill, you could play piggy in the middle[5]. Or you could do the gardening for an hour. Or Wash the car for half a day. Or if you have a whole day of sunshine, you could have a 'play day.' (Does that mean playing for two half days, where you could wash two cars?)

    But what if you're in the UK and it's pissing down outside? Well...

    if you have half an hour to kill, you could [5]play piggy in the middle. Or you could kill an hour by making the Sunday Dinner, or writing that Aunt you hate a thank-you letter for the awful jumper she knitted you.[7] If you have half a day to kill in the pouring rain, you could build a den. Or if you have a whole day of pissy-down-ness, you could spend the day in the cemetery visiting your grandparents.[6]

    But wait! There's more! What if you're on the road with your parents? Well wonder no longer....
    If you're on the bus to [6]visit your grandparents, you could annoy the other passengers on the bus by singing. If the journey to the crematorium (you're visiting your other grandparents) is slightly longer, you could read (assuming the educational system hasn't completely failed you.)

    And if you're on an even longer journey, you could [7]write that letter you successfully put off last Wednesday when it was chucking it down.

    You're fucked if you're traveling all day though.

    Who's behind this? Well it's the British Toy & Hobby Association. They're a sort of union for toy makers

    Why are they encouraging kids to play with empty cardboard boxes, instead of pushing their client's products? Fuck knows.

    Thursday, 26 August 2010

    Bringing AIDS to your Community

    Not so much advertising bollocks, but advertising idiocy. In taglines.

    I present "AIDS 2010 Conference Hubs: Bringing AIDS 2010 to your Community!"[current]

    Monday, 23 August 2010

    Natwest - helpful banking

    2011/03/03: Update: Natwest fail to pass a fifth of their self imposed targets.
    2010/12/16: Update: Natwest have been told to stop using this advert.

    Helpful Banking Charter

    Natwest is making a public promise to become[1] Britain's most helpful bank.
    This is a real commitment.
    It's why we've created our customer charter.
    It's why we've listened, and will continue to listen, to thousands of customers across the country.
    It's why, when you told us to open on Saturdays, we did.[2]
    And why 160 branches will open earlier, or close later.
    It's why we're committing to deliver over 25,000 MoneySense for schools lessons.
    It's why we devote over 15,000 staff days each year to help local communities.
    It's why we'll continue to run mobile banks to serve remote areas.[3]
    And why, with our queue busting programme, we aim to serve our customers within 5 minutes. But we know we can do more. You see when we say helpful banking, we want to make sure [garbled]
    To find out more visit our website. Natwest. Helpful banking.

    Sadly, it would appear, they are still only thinking about 'helpful banking,' rather than actually providing it.

    Dorothy Southernwood, wanted to pay a bill, but was unable to because her bank manager refused to allow the payment.

    The bill? £27,000. Did Mrs Southernwood have the money in her account? Yup.

    Was the payee at all suspect? Well, no - it was the German clinic Mrs Southernwood was attending for cancer treatment.

    What did the helpful bank manager do? Even after 5 days of frantic phone calls, she insisted Mrs Southernwood provide written authority from Germany.

    In order to try and show willing with the clinic, Mr Southernwood withdrew cash from machines, until the helpful bank helpfully stopped his card after £860.

    Rather more helpfully, the bank backed down once they started to be questioned by the press.

    [1] They have a long way to go, even though none of the UK banks could be considered particularly helpful. I'm looking at you Santander. I note there's no time scale for when they will actually be Britain's most helpful bank.

    [2] Which banks don't have branches open on Saturdays? And I note that they don't qualify this by saying how many of their branches are open on Saturday. (I'm assuming it's not all of them since their branch locator has a check box for listing only those open on Saturdays.)

    [3] Perhaps if they hadn't have closed down their branches over the years there wouldn't be a need for 'mobile branches.'

    Tuesday, 17 August 2010

    Apple Magic Trackpad

    Let your fingers do the clicking, scrolling and swiping.
    Introducing Magic Trackpad. The first Multi-Touch trackpad for Mac desktop computers[1]. Only[!] £59.
    I have two things to say here. Firstly, here's another device that also lets your fingers do the clicking, scrolling and swiping.

    Cheap mouse. £3.99

    Secondly, here's a USB multitouch keyboard. I used to have two of these, bought late 90's/early 00's, and I thought they were wonderful. In case it's not clear from the photo, the left and right panels are like two giant 1/2 keyboard sized mouse touch pads (they're flat except the tiny bumps to indicate the home row) but they can recognise how many fingers are touching. You could not only type, but you could and make 'gestures' involving 2-5 fingers, left and right handed to not only emulate the mouse, but a variety of macros (open/close/new, copy/paste etc.) and some application specific gestures.

    The company who used to make this useful product were bought out, and closed down, by Apple in 2005. This keyboard is no longer produced (in this format anyway...)

    The Fingerworks Touchstream LP.

    About the only new things Apple have introduced[2] into this product is bluetooth connectivity between the unit and the main computer, and making it sound like something new. This stuff was recognisable in the late 90's guys. And Apple didn't even invent it.

    [1] Technically I'm sure it's not the first, since I'm sure even a Mac would recognise a Touchstream if it was plugged into it.

    [2] They have of course, removed the ability to type letters on it, reduced the size, and (presumably) removed the ability to use it on a normal PC.

    Friday, 13 August 2010

    Miracle Mineral Solution - bleaching your way to health

    From here [current] we, apparently, have a wonderdrug; Miracle Mineral Solution:
    This Breakthrough can save your life, or the life of a loved one. The answer to AIDS, hepatitis A,B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer and many more of mankind's worse diseases has been found. Many diseases are now easily controlled. More than 75,000 disease victims have been included in the field tests in Africa. Scientific clinical trials have been conducted in a prison in the country of Malawi, East Africa.
    It continues [current]:
    Separate tests conducted by the Malawi government produced identical 99% cure results. Over 60% of the AIDS victims that were treated in Uganda were well in 3 days, with 98% well within one month. More than 90% of the malaria victims were well in 4 to 8 hours. Dozens of other diseases were successfully treated and can be controlled with this new mineral supplement. It also works with colds, flu, pneumonia, sore throats, warts, mouth sores, and even abscessed teeth (it's the only thing that controls and cures abscessed teeth).
    Some of the more worldly-wise may look at this, and think "homoeopathy."

    You couldn't be more wrong. This stuff actually has more than simply water in it, to which we'll come to in a moment.

    And how should it be used [current]?
    Always activate the MMS drops with one of the food acids, either lemon juice drops, or lime juice drops, or citric acid solution drops (to make citric acid solution add 1 level tablespoon of citric acid and 9 tablespoons of water. Store it in a bottle with a lid.) Always use 5 drops of one of these food acids to each one drop of MMS [it goes on and on.]
    (emphasis mine.) In fact this 'medicine' has been banned in Canada, and in the US, the FDA has issued a warning.


    From the FDA warning:
    Product contains industrial strength bleach

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.

    The FDA has received several reports of health injuries from consumers using this product, including severe nausea, vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration.

    Consumers who have MMS should stop using it immediately and throw it away.
    From the Canadian warning:
    According to the information provided on the company's website, Miracle Mineral Solution is a 28% solution of sodium chlorite. [Note - that's sodium chlorite, not sodium chloride]

    Health Canada advises that using this product as directed may cause serious health problems. Ingestion of water treated with Miracle Mineral Solution (28% sodium chlorite solution) has been associated with two adverse reactions in Canada, including one life threatening reaction.

    And 'food acid' is supposed to neutralise the bleach in this stuff to make it safe to drink? Wow. (Well I suppose given sufficient lemon juice, it could neutralise the bleach, but still...)

    And the reaction of those who have been using this stuff when these warnings have been pointed out to them? Shoot the messenger since 'he's wrong'.

    Never underestimate the gullibility of the stupid.

    Wednesday, 11 August 2010

    Carling - Taste Lock Can

    Carling [current - the archive isn't too good; sorry] have found something 'new' to sell their brand of fizzy alcoholic drink.

    The "Taste Lock Can" (this image is a collage from selecting points 1, 2 and 3 on the can):

    Without wanting to sound too geeky[1], everyone at Carling is really excited[2] about our new Taste Lock Can, so we’d like to take a minute to tell you why!

    (1) Improved seam:
    Our improved seam around the top of the can gives ultimate protection[3] for the beer inside[4], locking-in the great taste[5] of Carling and preventing it from developing a 'tinny' taste.[6]

    (2) 2 stage 'in-can' liner:
    The two stage in-can liner covers the inside of the can to protect the beer from the metal of the can itself[4][7], ensuring that the great taste[5] of Carling isn't affected by any 'tinny' flavours.

    (3) New, improved cold indicator:
    The new cold indicator (in the shape of a padlock) uses innovative[8] Theromochromic ink to turn blue when the beer inside is at the perfect temperature for you to enjoy. Simply put the cans in your fridge and you can tell when it's ready to drink by checking that the padlock has turned blue. Perfect cold Carling[9] - every time!
    [1] Nothing geeky about this at all

    [2] Maybe everyone in the marketing department might be, but I suspect that's about it. I'm not sure that the factory workers on the shop floor are ecstatic about this new marketing ploy.

    [3] This bit wouldn't be lost in a condom commercial.

    [4] Which raises the question: what on earth have they been using up until now? Sub-optimal seams? Leaky seams? Bare metal?

    [5] As anyone who drinks more than just cheap/mass produced lager will know, this is debatable. Also, see [9].

    [6] One wonders how they're preventing the 'tinny' taste from the opening when the lager is poured out of the can (or, as most chav's drink it, straight out of the can.)

    [7] I do believe that this is a legal requirement. Certainly it is a physical requirement. For instance baked bean tins must have an interior coating (usually some sort of plastic - of which there has been some controversy) to stop the acid in the sauce reacting with the tin coating of the can itself. Carbonated drinks (like cola, and fizzy lager) are also acidic.

    [8] Thermochromic ink's may have been "innovative" back in the 1970's when they were first discovered. Or in the late 1980's when they were used on T-shirts, Or maybe as late as 2002 when Newcastle Breweries stuck a star on bottles of their Newcastle Brown Ale that turned blue at the 'correct' temperature (12°C.) But in 2010, from Carling? Hardly.

    [9] As most drinkers of more than just the cheapest larger will attest, the colder the drink you're drinking, the less taste it has. Some have even postulated, that the reason mainstream lagers, in general, are served so cold (4°C or below) is so that you can't taste them.

    Tuesday, 3 August 2010

    Virgin - denying the Pakistan floods


    We put customer service and commitment to our passengers at the heart of what we do. We strive to get it right, first time, every time. But occasionally, things don't go as planned.
    Indeed. But they make it seem like a minor inconvenience. From

    After four of the most terrifying days of my life - driving speedily through landslides, trudging through swollen rivers, and broken dams to get to dry ground, the most frustrating experience I encountered from living through the Pakistani floods (the worst in 80 years with hundreds dead and over half a million displaced) was with Virgin Atlantic Airlines.
    [CS staff] insisted that there were no indications in her notes that a flood had happened in Pakistan. [...], she eventually suggested that I try and convince another airline company to call her and convince her that an international crisis had happened. Confused by this strange request, but eager to resolve the situation, I asked her what information she would need, which airline she recommended, and which number I should have them call. She either hung up on me at that point, or I got disconnected.

     From the Virgin page again:
    We really want to give only the best levels of service to all our customers.
     I think they need to train their staff first.

    Tuesday, 27 July 2010

    Greenpeace. Closing BP stations

    Yet again[1], Greenpeace get it wrong. Being neither Green nor Peaceful.

    Today they've been targeting[current] small businesses that are franchised out from BP.

    They have been basically preventing customers from filling up at BP franchises by illegally blocking off entrances, trespassing then turning off the petrol pumps by the emergency switches and, unbelievably, tampering with those switches with a screwdriver to remove the physical switch.

    Two things immediately spring to mind (beyond the utter stupidity of tampering with the safety system):

     1) BP couldn't give a fig about this in any monetary capacity. It's well known that there is little money to be made selling petrol to end users in the UK since the vast majority of the difference between pump price and raw cost ends up in the government's coffers

     2) Most of the profit in petrol stations comes from the concessions sold in the shop. The sweets, the sandwiches, the maps, and so on. BP don't see any of those since they're run by small businesses/families, and it is those small businesses/families that Greenpeace are hurting.

    Green? Hardly. All anyone who wants petrol is going to do is go to Tesco or Shell or Morrisons down the road.
    Peaceful? Trespass - nope. Tampering with critical safety systems - nope.

    They really have no idea....


    Tuesday, 22 June 2010

    Quattron - Sharp's 'extra' yellow TV's.

    George Takei: Introducing our Quattron Technology. It adds yellow to the standard RGB colour system(1) for colours never before seen on TV.

    Notice the lifelike colour on this yellow seahorse.(2) Oh, sorry, yellowish seahorse, on your TV with 3-colour technology.

    Observe the stunning blue sea, in your mind that is.(3)

    Well you get the picture.

    Actually, you don't.

    Voiceover: Quattron from Sharp. You have to see it, to see it.

    (1) It's perfectly possible to produce yellow using the RGB system. You simply mix red and green. Yellow's called a 'secondary' color, since it requires two 'primary' colours to make it. Your eye doesn't have any 'yellow' receptors, only red, green and blue. Completely wrong as pointed out by Nathan.

    (2) Looks fairly lifelike to me, both on my TV and on my Laptop. Both of which have reduced Gamuts compared to that visible to the human eye.

    (3) Why bother - it's there in front of me. And anyway - there's no yellow in blue - see below.

    Another solution looking for a problem to solve, Sharp's latest gimmick is their latest attempt to part customers with their money.

    A 'gamut' is the range of colours a particular device/organ is capable of observing/producing, and is typically represented on an graph, thus[1]:

    The diagram above represents the range of the typical human eye.

    Now, clearly a TV cannot reproduce the full range of what a human eye can see, so the range of a TV is a subset of this:

    There is a formal standard for TV's and monitors to 'adhere' to which is called the 'EBU' (European Broadcasting Union) color triangle. That's what this diagram above represents. Any self-respecting TV manufacturer ensures that their TV's can produce all the colours in that triangle.

    The corners of the triangle is what you'd see if only all the red, blue or green lights were on on your TV.

    Going along the edges are when two of those colors are on, and the bit in the middle is a mixture of all three.

    Where does Quattron fit into this diagram? Well...

    Quattron is trying to convince you that the area highlighted with a blue circle (and only the bit between the straight line between green and red, and the outside of the gamut for the human eye) is so vast, and so great, that you'll easily spot the difference between a Quattron TV, and a normal TV, and that what you won't be seeing is overexaggerated yellows.

    Worth the extra money? I'll let you decide.

    And quite how the extra yellow makes the sea any bluer (point 3 above) is a complete mystery, since you can see from the gamuts that they're diametrically opposed to each other.

    [1] Diagrams produced using the software from

    Dettol - germy soap dispensers...

    Protection from Germy Stuff

    Hands touch some germy(1) stuff.(2) And those germs can end up on your soap pump.(3)

    Fact: Your soap pump can harbour hundreds of bacteria. (Scary sound effect.)(4)

    But now there's the Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System.(5)

    It senses hands, and dispenses soap which kills 99.9%(6) of bacteria. And it's enriched with a moisturising ingredient to help care for your hands.

    The Dettol No-Touch Hand Wash System. Never touch a germy soap pump again.

    Here we go again. Dettol spouting utter bollocks again.

    (1) Are they advertising this thing to kids? What sort of word is 'germy' to be using with adults?

    (2) So what. That's what washing your hands helps to get rid of.

    (3) Unless you're keeping your soap pump in a clean-room, and steam-cleaning it (unless it has larval bacteria on it - you might need Dettol Complete Clean for that circumstance) every hour, it's going to end up with germs on it regardless of whether it's being touched or not. Merely bringing your hands close to it is probably sufficient to add some more germs. What's that you say? You have to wave your hands at this dispenser to get it to dispense some goo?

    (4) Scary!!! Though that said, once you've got your soap (and bacteria) from your (bog standard) dispenser - what are you going to do? Wash those germs off! Isn't that the sort of point of any soap dispenser?

    (5) The wonders of technology, eh? Lets invent a solution, and look for a problem, shall we?

    (6) Weasel words. It either kills all germs, or there's some non-round number of germs it does kill. All but 0.1% is not a 'non-round' number.

    I'm just wondering
    a) How many batteries this thing uses.
    b) How you sanitise the thing after you've changed the batteries/changed the empty soap dispenser when you've done so using your germ covered hands, since you can't use the bugger to wash the germs off until you've performed the change.
    c) What comparable research Dettol have done on the bacterial level on soap bars. With or without pubes ;)

    Tuesday, 8 June 2010

    I believe in women's rights...

    ... So did Muhammad [current].

    I believe in women's rights. So did Muhammad. Sultana Tafadar - Barrister.

    This would be the same Muhammad/Mohammad/Muhammed... (the alternative spellings go on and on,) who('s followers) espouse such great rights for other groups such as homosexuals[1], members of other religions[2], and those who wish to leave Islam altogether[3] would it? I'm assuming so, since Sultana says in her speil:

    Working as a barrister at a leading human rights firm, I often get asked the question:  how are you able to reconcile your choice of profession with Islam’s views regarding the role of women?  The question usually stems from the false presumption that Islam sees women as unequal to men. This could not be further from the truth. (see [6] below) My answer is that there is no conflict to reconcile.

    Oh, and lets not forget women's rights [4] [5] [6] [7].

    This advertising (Cranmer's photo appears to be in an underground station judging from the curved wall) is either absolute bollocks and is trying to gloss over the darker side of Islam, or Muhammad has a lot of followers who didn't bother listening to him and/or are willfully misinterpreted his teachings.

    [1] "Both the Qur'an and the hadith have been generally interpreted as condemning sexual relations between persons of the same sex."
    [2] "However, Jews and Christians have not been completely responsible with their revelation and should still be called to the Muslim faith."
    [3] "But is the death penalty for apostasy really “good” for Islam and Muslims? Does it prevent apostasy? The death penalty may indeed discourage some from apostasy, but it would also encourage hypocrisy. And is it really better to have a lot of hypocrites among Muslims than to have a lot of apostates?"
    [4] "The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce."
    [5] "In India a 2001 ''acid attack on four young Muslim women in Srinagar ... by an unknown militant outfit, [was followed by] swift compliance by women of all ages on the issue of wearing the chadar  (head-dress) in public.'' "
    [6] "They have fewer rights than men in family matters; their freedom of movement is restricted; and their economic opportunities and rights are limited. Frequently, women’s actions and choices hinges on the permission or wishes of their mahram (i.e. husband or closest male family relative)."
    [7] "Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said."

    Wednesday, 12 May 2010

    Magical, revolutionary, and at an unbelievable price...

    ... well one out of three [current] isn't bad.

    Magical? Unless you're a luddite, or perhaps don't use computers, hardly.

    Revolutionary? Unless you consider being unable to multitask, no decent keyboard, being unable to put it in your pocket and lacking upgrade paths as being revolutionary, hardly.

    Unbelievable price? Well, on that I can agree on. You can get at least half-decent laptops for £430 that are smaller than this and are a lot more functional. At least you can browse the web, take a Skype phone call over WiFi and play Solitaire at the same time on a laptop.

    Tuesday, 11 May 2010


    Edit: For those tempted to start playing this (or if you already are), a couple of interesting articles from July '09:

    Yes, I know - done to death elsewhere, but having played this for a week or so having clicked through a more reasonable picture advert (not featured,) I didn't make the connection with the old adverts which I found somewhat... surreal... given the game itself.

    First, the (some of) the adverts:

    ... and the, more mundane, reality?
    Civilisation/Age of Empires, mixed with Farmville. Advertised by boobies.