Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Cows Are Out To Get You

A post to scare my Mother:

The deaths of no fewer than four people after being trampled by cows in the past two months has prompted Britain's main farming union to issue a warning about the dangers of provoking the normally docile animals.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Drugs Don't Work, But Placebos Do

If you, like me, are fascinated by the Placebo effect, then you'll be glad to know it's getting stronger or, perhaps, merely stranger:
By the late '90s, for example, the classic antianxiety drug diazepam (also known as Valium) was still beating placebo in France and Belgium. But when the drug was tested in the US, it was likely to fail. Conversely, Prozac performed better in America than it did in western Europe and South Africa. It was an unsettling prospect: FDA approval could hinge on where the company chose to conduct a trial.

Colours make a difference too. If you're looking for a pick-me-up then make sure you get the red placebo.

Also, I should really have heard of the "nocebo" before, despite finding that neologism quite ugly:
It also works in reverse to produce the placebo's evil twin, the nocebo effect. For example, men taking a commonly prescribed prostate drug who were informed that the medication may cause sexual dysfunction were twice as likely to become impotent

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Poster For An Upcoming Gig

I've got a template now and I'm not afraid to use it.

These photos were, mostly, taken at the last gig in Doherty's by Robert Unterfurtner. I've processed them a bit to give the main images something of a burnished quality. I'm not sure if I've overdone it by adding "drop-shadow" to the names, though, it seems very 90's but it does give the lettering some weight. I guess not all faddish things are bad...

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A Question I May As Well Ask Here, Too

Is Ireland trying to become the worlds first Theme Country?

I guess it was partly the itinery -- Dublin, Knowth, Giant's Causeway, etc. -- but just in the way English pubs in the country became Country Pubs, Ireland seems to have slightly over done it on the horse brasses and ploughman's lunches to become, well, "Irish".

Not that it's a bad thing. There were many ways that Ireland reminds you it's not England. A complete lack of pork pies, for one and the fact that every pub had the same four or five beers. There's Guinness, of course, with the occasional Beamish to back it up, Harp, Carlsberg and Bulmers (or Magners) with an American beer, too, Bud or Coors mostly. In every damn bar that I went in, with the exception of Porter House in Dublin (well worth a visit, that place), it was exactly the same. Given that a decent pint of Guinness is its own reward I couldn't grumble too much, but some sort of CAMRA style action is sorely needed.

Speaking of sorely needed, only one place I went to the toilet at had a bog brush. Surely a nation where a thick black drink is their tipple of choice has to see that there is something wrong with this. Much flushing (possibly a bar I visited -- and the Dublin bars did seem to want to get together and form a poem The Flowing Tide, the Winding Stair etc.) is no substitute.