Thursday, 18 October 2012

How do you sleep at night?

The eminent Robert Phipps, a body language 'expert' has been commissioned to produce some research on peoples' sleeping positions.


Lets hear what Robert has to say for himself first:

Robert's services have been called upon by some of the world's largest corporations, his media appearances number well over 100 TV shows and hundreds if not thousands of comments for newspapers, magazines and radio stations.
Due to popularity most of these courses get booked quite early, especially as they are often restricted to just 25 delegates per course.

Back to the research... From The Telegraph:

The results, he claims, can identify how stressful your day was, how much you worry and how much control you have over your life.

It is said to reveal traits such as stubbornness, bossiness and fanciful dreaming, as well as how self-critical a person is or whether they feel in control of life.  

Of course. Naturally. How could it not?

According to his research, more than half of British adults sleep in the “foetal” position, curled up on their side with knees tucked in. This stance, favoured by worriers, is said to show the sleeper is seeking to return to their comfort zone after a stressful day. 

Utter bollocks.

The log position, with a straight body and limbs at the sides, shows a person is inflexible and rigid in thinking, set in their ways and stubborn.  

More bollocks

A quarter of people taking part in the study classed themselves as “yearners”, sleeping with their arms stretched out in front as though they are chasing their dreams or being chased. 

He got paid to produce this?

A further 17 per cent of respondents classed themselves as “freefallers”, sleeping face down with their arms outstretched.
Often clutching their pillow, they can appearing to be “holding on for dear life” in what is thought to be the most uncomfortable sleeping position for adults. 

Enough! Who commissioned this piece of self-promoting bollocks?

The research, for budget hotel chain Premier Inn, revealed the “log” as the second most popular position, adopted by nearly three in every ten people.  

Ah - thought so - an advert.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

CALM - suicidal young men

As reported by the PA, and other media:

A quarter of adults in England and Wales have considered suicide, research suggests.
Suicidal thoughts are most common in those aged 45 to 54, with just over a third (31%) saying they had contemplated taking their own life, according to the research [...]

While men and women are both likely to feel suicidal, more men actually commit suicide, the campaign group said.
Calm chief executive Jane Powell said that 75.5% of the 4,517 people who committed suicide in 2010 were men.
She said that gender should be at the heart of Government's suicide-prevention policy.

Ah, so more taxpayers' money to be spent on... suicides. For men. (Or rather to reduce them.) Wonder where this money should be being spent?

And who conducted this research? From the PA article:

[...]according to the research conducted by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm).

Calm is a fake-charity in the UK, who out of their  £153k income for 2011, £152k (of which £98k was deferred to 2012) came from Primary Care Trusts. Which is the NHS. Which is taxpayers' money.

They describe themselves as:

The campaign against living miserably (CALM) was set up to reduce the high suicide rate amongst men under 35, currently the single biggest killer of young men in the UK

In other words: Charity that depends on taxpayers' money demands that more taxpayers' money be spent on primary reason for said charity to exist.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Sun Life - funerals

From The Telegraph,, marketwatch, and other media outlets, we have some 'research' into funeral costs in the UK co-conducted by the University of Bath and another partner:

  • Almost half of 69,000 applications for a Funeral Payment (FP) rejected(2) 
  • So-called "pauper's funerals" (Public Health Funerals) expected to rise as it becomes "too expensive for poor people to die" 
  • Funeral Payment applicants forced into debt by committing to funeral cost of GBP 1,000s prior to finding out if they will receive state support
Gosh. What a sorry state of affairs. Who helped the University of Bath conduct their research? Another impartial group of people?

From MarketWatch:

A new Cost of Dying Special Report into Social Fund Funeral Payments from Sun Life Direct and the University of Bath reveals that the Funeral Payment scheme, intended to contribute to the cost of funerals for the most vulnerable in society, is failing to meet mounting demand.


Simon Cox, head of life planning at Sun Life Direct, says: "We have to ask ourselves whether the current infrastructure for end of life support is fit for purpose. Something must be done, and quickly.

Ah. Company that sells funeral plans seemingly encourages public, through scare tactics, to buy funeral plans. Or this is possibly a run-up to suggesting that the government use a private company (can you think of one?) to take over the Funeral Payments system in order to get their hands on tax-payers' money.

In no way is this an advertisement. Not at all.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

ASA going after the wrong people?

Seems a few people are in a tizzy over the above advert and have complained to the ASA about it being posted to Bishop Cranmer's blog (linked.)

Quite why this is seen as homophobic, and not persecution towards a blogger, is beyond a few people.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dry ice and CGI smoke are dangerous!!!!one

The latest in the UK Government's nanny-statism, this time pushing the myth of damaging non-first-hand smoke.

[Dry ice flowing over a sofa]

[Dry ice flowing over net curtains]

[Dry ice flowing over some child's bricks on the floor]

[CGI smoke wafting all over the room with a sleeping child in a baby seat]

[Closeup of child's feet, then hands, then feet.]

[Mum smoking by window while stood in the room]

Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible,[1]

[Mum now outside smoking][2]

so no matter how

[Mum back inside the room][2]

careful you are, they still breathe in the harmful poisons.

[Room without dry ice and CGI smoke showing the child again.]

If you could see what's really there, you wouldn't smoke.

Text invisible to 63818 for a Smokefree Kit.
[1] 80% of *smoke* is invisible? I'm sure it isn't.

[2] And I thought the continuity editors had it hard during films lasting 120 minutes or more - I can only imagine how hard it must be when you're doing a 30 second advert.

Quite why the government is persisting in stating that second-hand smoke is apparently, given the rhetoric, even more damaging to others than the first-hand smoke is to the smoker, despite there being little to no scientific evidence of said harm, isn't really a mystery.

We even have the Chief Medical Officer attributing middle ear infections (wot?), lung infections, asthma and 40 cot deaths per year to passive smoking and pushing for a ban on smoking in cars.

While smoke (or any other particulate matter in the air) may start an asthmatic off, I seriously doubt (nor can find any evidence of) passive smoking caused the asthma to start with.

Cot deaths, aka Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the name attributed to the death of a baby where the reasons are unknown. If 40 cot deaths were actually caused by passive smoking then they wouldn't be called 'cot deaths.'

And the money spent on this advert is on top of the ~£.5 million pounds of tax-payers money currently being spent by an off-shoot of the UK government in the South West of England to lobby other parts of the government for plain packaging while the government is in the middle of a 'consultation' over said packaging.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Predictor: Pregnancy tests

[Couple with the 'father' standing behind an obviously pregnant 'mother' both looking happily surprsied at a pregnancy test]

[Box of 'Predictor']
When you want to be sure.

A must-have item to see if you're pregnant, even when if it's painfully obvious that you are - indeed - pregnant.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Some people are Sofa King Stupid.

Sofa King have used the strapline "Our Prices are Sofa King Low" for over nine years:

Now it seems we have a new generation of stupid people. 3 people complained to the ASA saying the phrase was

... offensive and unsuitable for general display.

As Sofa King pointed out in their defence:

... they had used the slogan "Where the Prices are Sofa King Low!" as their company strap line since they began trading nine years previously and that it was used on their premises and on their vehicles as well as in their advertising. ...complaints made to Northamptonshire Police in 2004 were not taken further by the Crown Prosecution Service and that no complaints had been made direct to them.

Sadly common sense has failed to prevail at the ASA. In their upheld  judgement:

but considered that [the phrase Sofa King Low] could be interpreted as a derivative of the swear word "fuck", which consumer research had found to be a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in ads at all, even when it was relevant to the name of a product.

Not sure who are the worse idiots - the three who complained, or the ASA for upholding the complaint.

Update: BitterWallet suggest that -

Rumours abound that Sofa King will now relocate to Norwich and now use the strapline of ‘Norfolk ‘n’ good’.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

NHS - Bowel Cancer


White man 1: I don't really know how to put this..
White woman: I'm a bit worried...
Black woman: Something has not been right for weeks...
White man 2: There's always a ... bit of blood...
White man 3: Well it's loose .. really loose...

Voiceover: Blood in your poo, or going more often with looser poo[1], are possible signs of bowel cancer. If you've had either of these symptoms for three weeks or more, tell your doctor.

Dr Terry Bowley: It doesn't matter how you tell me, just tell me.

Voiceover: Finding it early makes it more treatable. Be clear on Cancer.
More money wasting by the NHS[archive], and they're talking down to you this time. 
Are there really adults that use the infantile word 'poo,' when talking with other adults, when there are a wealth of words that could be otherwise used, e.g. fæces, stools, shit, crap?

The last two of which could probably be used as adjectives for this advert.

More seriously, who really needs an advert to tell them to go to the doctor if they've been shitting blood or have had diarrhea for three weeks? 
Most who would go anyway, would go long before the three weeks (with or without this advert,) those not so inclined to bother their doctor with something so minor as blood pouring out their anus is hardly likely to change their mind by watching an advert that patronises them by calling the stuff that comes out of their rectum 'poo.'
[1] Is this the P.C. phrase for 'the shits' or diarrhea these days?

Acupuncture Awareness Week

Update March 1: The poll's back up, but with the numbers fiddled - at the time of writing: 32% no, 68% yes, on a total vote count of.... 338. And you have to register to vote.

Update 16:16 GMT: Well that poll didn't last long, did it? At my last count there was 1864(82.9%) No, 348(17.1%) Yes before it 'disappeared.' (Even though the poll is still on their front page.) Strange that.

It appears that the British Acupuncture Council have decided that 27th February – 4th March 2012 should be Acupuncture Awareness Week.

As most people should be 'aware,' Acupuncture is complete and utter bollocks, so it the campaign seems a little pointless.

Nevertheless, they're still trying[archive]:

The first ever Acupuncture Awareness Week in the UK, supported by the British Acupuncture Council, aims to dispel the myths surrounding acupuncture[1], what conditions it can help[2] and give members of the public/you all the information you need about treatment.[3]
[1] No doubt they won't be pointing out the myths they promulgate such as it works, it cures cancer, etc.
[2] None, perhaps?
[3] "It doesn't work"?

Thought not.

They even have a poll on whether the tax payer should give more funding to this woo via the NHS [no archive since it won't].

At the time of posting (since it was pointed out by Pharyngula) it seems to be going well:

Do you think acupuncture should be made more widely available on the NHS?
No: 61.6%
Total votes: 787

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Virgin Money diddling savers

From here [current], Virgin Money are attempting to get those who have money they want to put into an ISA next tax year (April 6th 2012) to save with them now:

Virgin Money encourages the Early Birds

Virgin Money have continued their mission to make banking better[1], with details of a new ‘Early Bird ISA’[2] being released.

Those of you who currently have an ISA will be familiar with the limitations of only being able to put a certain amount in the account each year, making planning ahead that little bit more difficult.[3]

As a keen innovator[4] Virgin Money has sought to bypass this problem by allowing customers to open a savings account now and load next year’s ISA limit into it, with the bank paying the same interest that you’d get in a tax free ISA.[5]

Once the new tax year begins on April 6th Virgin Money simply drop your savings (and any interest accrued) into your ISA, the Early Bird ISA pays an equivalent rate of the Virgin Money ISA[6] – both of which are tax free.[7]
For those not au-fait with what cash ISA's are, and can't be bothered clicking the wiki link above, all interest on 'normal' cash savings in the UK is taxed at the marginal income tax rate of the person earning that interest. Typically this is 20%[8]. So, if you earn £100 interest on your savings, £20 will be deducted at source.

ISA's pay their interest gross, i.e. the interest isn't taxed at source, and it doesn't need to be declared to HMRC. The amount you can save per year is limited (£5,340 for 2011/2012) on a 'use it or lose it' basis.

[1] Well they can't do much worse than Natwest's 'helpful banking' I suppose...

[2] I think the ASA might have something to say about the naming of this - it's patently not an ISA.

[3] Seriously guys, it's a bit patronising to accuse your (potential) customers of being thick/unable to plan if they're actually able to accumulate savings (i.e. plan ahead) to put into the next year's ISA before they 'open.'

[4] A previous innovation was to offer only current accounts that charge £60/yr. The next innovation was to offer fee-free accounts after they were criticised for their last innovation.

Another innovation is their rather expensive tracker fund [current] that costs 1% per year. Three to four times as much as cheaper funds that do exactly the same thing.

[5] This is where the bollocks comes in. The whole point of ISAs is to get interest tax free. So in theory, banks should provide savings accounts with the same rate across the board. For example, if BarcWest Bank decides to offer savings accounts at 4%, they'd offer a regular savings account where tax is deducted at source (net of 3.2%), and an ISA savings account where tax isn't deducted ('net' 4%.)

What Virgin are doing is offering, is the equivalent of a regular savings account at 4%, and ISA savings accounts at 3.2%.

[6] Despite my illustrative examples above, Virgin are only offering 2.85%[current]. Inflation is currently running at 4.8%. Best instant access ISA I could find at the time of writing elsewhere is 3.10%[current]. Virgin being innovative again it seems, by having a crap rate.

[7] No, no, no! They are not both tax free. The 'Early Bird ISA' is not tax free - I'm assuming they've simply upped the taxed account's rate such that the net it pays is the same as it would be if it was in an ISA.

Presumably this is just for 20%er's - they don't go into detail about the 40/50%er's who have to fill out self-assessments and fork out the other 20% at tax-year-end.

This is akin to the "we'll pay your VAT" adverts that are seen - VAT is still payable on the (new) sale price - it's simply that the sale price has been reduced to the pre-VAT value on the original price.

[8] Higher rate tax payers pay 40% or 50% depending on their income, and a small proportion of people only pay 10% if savings interest is their only income up to a certain amount.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year.

I'd like to wish my reader a Happy New Year, and to let them know that I've not abandoned this blog - merely been too busy else-web (and life) to do detailed posts on here since June (that, and most of the tripe I've seen on TV that, in quieter times, I would have posted about, has been merely repetitions of stuff I've already posted about - usually the 99.9% of germs bollocks.)

If my reader would like to make suggestions on further posts I could make, they would be gratefully accepted.