Developing your blog writing style…

This started life as a comment on the Teck Line blog, about developing one’s own writing style when blogging, but it got out of hand and, like Topsy, just growed, so I copied it over to Word, just using what’s now the sixth para as my comment, as it relates to something another commenter said, so that I could carry on writing. Essentially, it’s a few tips on developing a writing style, about which I know bugger all, as my own style just went off on its own. Yours will, too – just don’t try to hard. I mean that – if you have to work at having a style, as well as work at writing, they whole thing just gets too tedious – you need to let your natural style emerge, then maybe tweak it just a little if it’s rough around the edges. Continue reading

Writing your WordPress blog posts in Word…

Note: If you came here for the Firefox 3 bookmarks info, it’s right at the end.

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Writing your posts in Word then transferring them to WordPress is a breeze – but you must do it right.

When I joined WordPress, one thing I didn’t like was the text input pane on the Add New Post page. True, you can expand this to full page, but I find it a little clunky, not least because of the small font (yes, I do know how to make it larger, that’s not Continue reading

90 on a mobility scooter…

Ninety-year-old Stanley Murphy, of Sussex, took to the A27 road in his Class 3 mobility scooter, to the consternation of many, including Mr. Murphy, who hadn’t intended to be there and had taken a wrong turn (which rather calls into question whether he should be out on his own – it could easily have been a motorway). It is, however, perfectly legal to use such a scooter on the highway, provided certain conditions are met, about which the Sussex police Continue reading

Falling literacy standards online…

Can’t write? Don’t write…

I’ve complained here,  previously, about the piss-poor standard of English usage at the online version of the Guardian (which, for all I know, extends into the printed version too, but I’m not paying 90p a day to find out). This article, though, is Continue reading

Drugs are bad for you – but not how you might think…

A 14-year-old rugby player has died after taking an OTC acne remedy – read the report here.

Doctors believe that his death may have been caused by an ingredient of the tablets, possibly the colouring – I can’t say I’m surprised.

The first time I was prescribed the antibiotic Distaclor MR Continue reading

Medical research can damage your health…

…especially the way it’s reported in newspapers.

Psychologists find gene that helps you look on the bright side of life.

Those unfortunate enough to lack the ‘brightside gene’ are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression

That’s a headline from today’s online Guardian and probably the paper version, too, followed by an utterly useless article – read it here – from a “science correspondent” in which the journalist has simply re-written a press release. Which is unfortunate, because the whole thing is just a bit pointless. And I’m pretty sure I don’t have the gene (if I have, it’s hiding!), but neither am I at all prone to mental illness, so what does that say about the results?

I said it’s pointless because it involved a test population of “over 100 people”. So what’s that, 101 or 199 , or somewhere in between? Whatever, it’s far too few. Iit’s quite impossible to come to any meaningful conclusions, or any conclusions at all other than “looks promising, needs more research,” with such a tiny test population – and that applies to all medical research.

That, of course, is something I would expect t a “science correspondent” to be perfectly aware of – except it’s not mentioned. What we got – and this happens far too often, and in all newspapers – was a rehashing of a press release which was no more than mildly interesting, presented as hard science – and that’s fundamentally dishonest. It’s bloody lazy journalism, too.

This is why I repeatedly exhort people, when it comes to reports like this in newspapers (this one is innocuous, but often, and especially in the Daily Mail, it’s blatant scaremongering), to make some effort to find out – if it’s a subject that might affect them – what the facts actually are behind the report. In this case the hack did at least point up the size of the test population, which is far too small to be of any practical use.

Note: when you read the article you’ll see a comment that looks as if I’ve plagiarised it (scroll down below the article to get to the comments). I didn’t plagiarise it; the writer, LePendu, is me. (LePendu [the Hanged Man Tarot card], because I spend a lot of time hanging around there!)

Lung function monitoring in COPD…

If you have COPD, it’s worth monitoring your lung function daily, at home, rather than relying on an annual assessment by a practise nurse at your GP’s surgery.

A couple of years ago, I bought a digital peak flow meter as, unlike manual ones, they keep an internal record (a PFM, by the way, measures how well my lungs are functioning which, mostly, is Continue reading

Binyam Mohamed – what is the truth?

Binyam Mohamed has been returned, amid great fanfare, to Britain from Guantanamo Bay. Why? He doesn’t belong here at all.

As David Aaronovitch says in the Times, today, “Mr Mohamed’s story is that, as a young Ethiopian denied asylum in Britain but permitted to remain, he led an unsatisfactory life and became a drug addict. In June 2001, in an effort to kick the habit, Continue reading

Getting the best from Google is up to you…

As regular readers will know, in my blog’s statistics is a section listing a selection of search engine terms that have brought people to my blog. Sometimes, what the person is looking for isn’t there, so that provides me with subjects for posts. All too often, though, I see a search term that is so rubbish, I don’t know Continue reading