Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rabbits abused and killed all for a cup of tea - help stop it!

Millions of animals are needlessly poisoned, maimed and killed in UK laboratories every year. 

The multimillion-pound company behind PG tips, Lyons and Lipton teas has abused and killed rabbits, piglets, mice and rats in tests so that the company can make health claims about tea. 

Sign up to help end these cruel and pointless experiments.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Friday, 26 November 2010

Rush - the biggest band you never heard of!

I've been a fan of Rush for 25 years. I've seen them twice in concert and own all their albums. They fill the world's biggest stadiums and arenas, but unless you're a fan, you've probably never heard of them. After The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith, Rush have had the most consecutive gold and platinum albums. They're touring the UK next year, and I've managed to get my hands on 2 tickets to see them in Birmingham next May. Thought I'd share the great news!


"You can be the Captain,

And I will draw the chart,

Sailing into destiny,

Closer to the heart"


Live, Laugh, Love

Thursday, 25 November 2010

27 Beautiful Photos To Believe That Are Not Made in Photoshop

There are thousands of pictures you probably have seen on the internet. Today’s Post definitely think about these outstanding photos. This does not mean that they haven’t been photoshopped for cropping, coloring etc, but originally all the photographs are real using only in-camera tricks and photographer efforts. You will need to grab their creativity in these photos.

Follow the link to see the rest of the photos

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Beautiful 404 Error Pages

The design of 404 error pages is often overlooked and underestimated. However, designed carefully, these pages can make a random visitor stay on your website, take a look around and eventually find the information he or she was looking for in the first place. Effective 404 error pages communicate why a particular page couldn’t be displayed and what users can do next. A search box and list of useful resources (possibly related to the missing page) could be helpful in this case.

Follow the link to see examples of beautiful looking 404 Error Pages.

The rest of your life....average or memorable?? Only you can decide!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Avoid serious injury, stay away from my bike!

UN votes against protecting gays from execution


The UN has removed a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution condemning arbitrary and unjustified executions.

Click on the link to read the full story.


Saturday, 20 November 2010

If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian

Music legend and activist Paul McCartney delivers a powerful narration of this must see video. Watch it to discover why everyone would be a vegetarian if slaughterhouses had glass walls.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Heroes - Lance Armstrong

Here is the second part in my Heroes series - following on from my Carl Sagan article. For anyone who knows me, it should come as no surprise that I have chosen Lance Armstrong for my second instalment of my Heroes series.

Lance Armstrong was born on September 18 1971. He is an American professional road racing cyclist. Even amongst those who do not follow the sport of cycling his name is well known. He retired from professional road cycling in July 2005, but returned to competitive cycling in January 2009, and finished third in the 2009 Tour de France.

He is perhaps best well known for winning the Tour de France a record breaking 7 consecutive times (1999 - 2005). This is quite simply an astonishing achievement. Prior to this, the most consecutive Tour de France wins was 5. This was by the Spanish cyclist Miguel Indurain (1991 - 1995). Other cyclists have achieved 5 Tour de France wins, but have not done so consecutively (Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil).

In my opinion this is a record that will in all likelihood never be beaten!

If you don't follow cycling and are not familiar with the Tour de France, it is a 3 week stage race that circumnavigates France. Each day the riders will cycle between 150 - 200 kilometres, including mountain stages crossing the Alps and Pyrenees. There are only two other 3 week stage races on the professional racing calendar - the Giro D'Italia (circumnavigating Italy) and the Vuelta Espana (circumnavigating Spain). To finish the Tour de France is an achievement. To get on the podium is an achievement. To win it once is an achievement. To win it 7 consecutive times is an absolutely astonishing achievement.

What makes Lance's 7 consecutive wins even more astonishing is that they were all achieved after he was diagnosed with life threatening testicular cancer. Lance was diagnosed with his illness in October 1996. The cancer was so virulent that it had spread to his lungs and brain. His treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy. His original prognosis was poor.

Amongst the professional peloton, and therefore his cycling peers, he is highly respected but not always necessarily liked. He is quite often outspoken and is not afraid to make his thoughts on issues known, even if they are unpopular or controversial. His phenomenal self belief is often interpreted as arrogance or cockiness. It is precisely these qualities that I admire about him. Telling you how it is, and believing in yourself!

You don't win the Tour de France without having huge reservoirs of self belief. It's just not possible. While few people could ever hope to equal Lance in terms of self belief, most would like to be nearer to him on this particular quality.

As a cyclist, he is an amazing athlete. He has massive natural ability. An ability that he has since honed with hard training and dedication to his sport. By any accounts, his athletic abilities are exceptional. His measurements for V02 Max and lactate threshold for example are testament to his athletic prowess. His V02 Max is recorded at 83.8 mL/kg/min (the average person is between 40 - 50). He has a resting heart rate of 32 - 34 bpm, with a maximum heart rate of 201. When riding the tough mountain stages of the Tour de France, his body simply doesn't suffer as much his rivals.

Whilst many famous and successful sportsmen would be happy to sit back on their laurels and bask in their glory, Lance preferred instead to continue riding and winning the Tour de France. Lance single handedly brought cycling to the mass American audience. Although other Americans brought it to their attention, such as Greg LeMond, Lance was the breakthrough cyclist who brought an entire generation to France every year to cheer for their own home grown hero.

As much as I admire and respect him as a cyclist, it is also his tireless dedication to furthering the cause of reducing cancer through his Lance Armstrong Foundation that I greatly admire. In 1997, Lance Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which supports people affected by cancer. The foundation has become one of the top 10 groups funding cancer research in the U.S., raising more than $325 million from the sale of yellow Livestrong bracelets. I own one of these thanks to a very good friend of mine. He has also acquired corporate sponsorships from companies like Giro, American Century Investments, Nike, Inc. and FRS to help raise funds for his charity.

Lance Armstrong is quite simply a living legend!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Armistice Day marred by Muslim protesters

The rights and wrongs of battle don't matter to the broken hearts of those the fallen leave behind. Today was Armistice Day, and like many others around the country today, I paid my respects by taking part in a two minute silence at 11am.

Whatever you think of the rights and wrongs of war, past or present, today was not the time to show those objections.

It has sickened me to read reports of Muslims holding demonstrations. Muslims clashed with police after burning a large poppy in protest at Britain's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which was timed to coincide with Armistice Day's two-minute silence.

Whatever you may think about the rights and wrongs of war, today was not the time to make those objections. Today was about showing your respects to all those past and present that had died.

I am tired of the way my country has to tip toe around these people for fear of offending them. Clearly they had no such compunction when they burned a poppy and interrupted today's peaceful remembrance celebrations.

The British have been tolerant enough. We will not put up with such disgusting and offensive behaviour forever.

To all those who took part in such protests today, let me tell you, all you achieved was to tell the rest of the world that you are the lowest of the low!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Victory! Hens Spared Horrific Death in Grinder

Atheist cat

Catching criminals with social media

Modern police are to be taught on the use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to catch criminals. As if we needed any further evidence that the old school concept of seeing bobbies on the beat was fast fading away.

Deputy Chief Constable Nick Gargin – acting head of the National Policing Improvement Agency – told the BBC that the move is “exactly what detectives need to tackle the challenges and complexities of modern policing effectively”.

Will such training courses include modules on “How to friend a felon” or “How to search Facebook users for people who list murder, paedophilia and drug dealing amongst their hobbies”. Will police detectives be sending out tweets or status updates along the lines of “If you know who murdered [insert victim's name here] please get in touch”. I wait with bated breath.

I’m obviously being tongue in cheek. Or am I? Does life imitate art, or art imitate life? Maybe this concept will finally put that question quietly to bed. If you’re an avid Daily Mail reader, you will no doubt have been brainwashed into believing that all of the world’s ills stem from the Internet, and that all social networking sites are inhabited solely by child abusers. The first thing I would say is – start reading another newspaper. The second thing I would say is – while I may be joking about the concept of police officers using social networking sites, I do believe that there is a strong case for its use.

In August 2010 Ian Green set up 11 Facebook accounts to distribute up to 100,000 indecent images of children.

In September 2010 Michael Williams – a postman form Cornwall - was jailed for eight and a half years after he admitted 27 charges of using Facebook and Bebo to abuse hundreds of children.

So while the idea of using social networking sites may not on the face of it seem to have any direct relevance to catching criminals, a closer inspection reveals that in fact it most certainly does.

To put all those Daily Mail readers straight – not all social networking users are child abusers – despite what you might have read to the contrary. Social networking sites are simply the new, modern means for such people to target , groom and abuse their victims.

If this idea is successful and results in the capture of criminals, then maybe it deserves to be “Liked” and Retweeted!

What is a moment?

Each day we live moment by moment. Each day is a series of moments. All those moments when taken together are our lives!

Make each moment count!

Check out this link to find out what a moment is.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The original geek is at it again!

As a bona fide geek, I thought I'd give this Posterous application a go. As most of you will already know, I already have my own blog, and co-author another blog. So I'll probably use this platform for posting shorter articles that may not fit in with my blog, such as half formed ideas, shorter posts, news, reviews etc. Or post messages, photos, links, videos and so on.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Heroes - Carl Sagan

I thought I'd do something different in my blog. I'm going to write a series of articles about people I greatly admire. I won't write these all at once, but rather write them over time interspersed with other blogs. These are people I admire, respect, look up to and who have influenced me in some way. The series will also hopefully give you a bit of an insight into who I am as a person.

For my first blog in the series I want to write about the late, great Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan was an American astronomer and author. Born on November 9th 1934, he passed away on December 20th 1996. He wrote the book behind the incredibly successful series Cosmos. This was back in the 1980s, and it was the first time I had come across him.

I have always been a naturally curious person, and have always had an interest in finding things out and asking questions. I have an almost unquenchable thirst for knowledge. When I watched Cosmos for the first time, my curiosity about the universe grew from an interest to complete wonder. My fascination was piqued.

I have since read the book Cosmos, and found it utterly compelling. The book that first got me interested in not just Carl Sagan, but science as a whole, was The Dragons of Eden. In the book Carl "combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science to give a perspective of how human intelligence evolved" - Wikipedia.

If you don't think books on subjects relating to science can be interesting, then you have never read a book by Carl Sagan. I have read many of his books, including the Demon Haunted World, Billions and Billions and Contact (please don't watch the film that is based on the book - the ending to the book is utterly profound).

After reading The Dragons of Eden, my fascination with science blossomed and flourished. I had found an author who was not only extremely intelligent, but could write in a way that anyone with a keen interest could understand. More importantly than that however, was that his writing instilled in me a sense of wonder that has remained with me to this day.

Never has anyone caught my imagination as much as Carl has through his writing. Never has anyone made me feel humbled and fascinated by the universe and our place within it. His books are as intellectually invigorating as they are deeply profound.

I would strongly urge you to watch this video for Pale Blue Dot. It is only 3 and a half minutes so please make the time to watch it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. The text to the video is taken from the book of the same name, so will give you an indication of his writing style if you have not come across him before.

"The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 from a record distance, showing it against the vastness of space. By request of Carl Sagan, NASA commanded the Voyager 1 spacecraft, having completed its primary mission and now leaving the Solar System, to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space." - Wikipedia

I have watched this video clip many times, and posted it onto my Twitter and Facebook feeds too. It never fails to make me feel humbled by the sheer vastness of the universe, how insignificant we are, and to put in perspective all of our inflated human egos. I challenge anyone to watch this clip and not feel humbled by it. If we could all think in the same vein as Carl narrates in this clip, we would advance as a species and progress our knowledge.

It is also fair to say that reading Carl Sagan started me on the path towards rejecting religion. Here is a typical quote from Carl that demands you consider the universe with more intellectual vigour than the introduction of imaginary gods:

"I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true."

It is not just Carl's sheer intellect that I admire, but his compassion. He writes not just as a scientist, but as a curious and thought provoking human being. It is clear from his writing that he cares deeply about our planet and its inhabitants - humans and non humans alike.

I have also taken to heart his quote that "there is no such thing as a dumb or stupid question" which forms a chapter from his book The Demon Haunted World. Anyone who knows me has almost certainly heard me say this. I never undermine anyone for not knowing something that I may know. They will almost certainly know a great many things that I don't know. By asking questions where you are not made to feel intimidated or undervalued, we all further our knowledge.

After a long and difficult fight with myelodysplasia, which included three bone marrow transplants, Carl Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, on December 20, 1996. He was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Ithaca, New York - Wikepedia.

It is no accident that I have chosen Carl Sagan to be the first in my Heroes series. That should indicate how much I admire and respect him.

To live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die - RIP Carl Sagan