Uncategorized

Campaign for Clear Code starts here!





I’m concerned about the software that’s installed on my electronic devices.

You should be worried as well.

Have you really considered what you are opening yourself up to every time you download a new app or install an upgrade?

Have you thought about what all those faceless software giants are doing with the code that they are busy sneaking onto your phone?

Do you have any idea what they are slipping directly into your pocket? It certainly isn’t good for you. After all its not you they care about. All that really concerns them is profit, pure and simple. They want you coming back for more, why else would they make those damn games so additive?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 21.26.12

And has that code even been tested properly? They claim it has, but why then does big software continually release patches and updates?

Just stop for a minute and ask yourself this. Do you really know what you are putting on your computer when you downloaded Candy Crush? Have you ever seen the code?

Take a look at this.

“;
for(i=0;i<=20;i++)
{
f=random(3);
z=random(3);
if(tic[f][z]==’ ‘)
co-ordinates
{
tic[f][z]=’O’;
goto x;
}
else
continue;
}
x:newdisp();
d=check();
if(d==0)
user();
else
{
cout<<“

Understand it?

No, me neither.

Want to know where that snippet of code came from? Its just a small part of a computer program for tic-tac-toe. And if a game as simple as that has stuff like that in it then imagine what’s in Candy Crush, Angry Birds or even Powerpoint?

And it gets worse. Because some computer programer, in the pay of cooperate giants, writes this sort of thing before processing it into something that might not even contain recognisable words! The software companies call this ‘compiling’ and afterwards its bears no resemblance what-so-ever to the natural code.

I, for one, won’t stand for this sort of thing being foisted on me by big-software any longer.

Now is the time to take a stand.

I call for a campaign for clear code.

Basically, if a 10 year old child can’t code it then it has no place on my devices.

From this point onwards I’m reverting back to simple code that anyone can understand. I’m using nothing more than Scratch running on a nice wholesome Pi. I urge you to do the same.

And don’t even get me started on anti-virus software. Much better to share infected USB sticks around.

By May 8, 2015 3 comments fun, opinion, Uncategorized

What has Chemistry got to say?

The XKCD comics have been keeping me entertained and informed for years.

But sadly, in the latest comic, Chemistry seems rather quiet.

So how about some suggestions for the next panel, where Chemistry finds a voice?





 

By May 5, 2015 2 comments fun, Uncategorized

The Food Babe quiz. Can you tell Vani Hari quotes from other irrational nonsense?




By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the ravings of Vani Hari a.k.a. Food Babe. Her one women campaign to spread fear through nonsense has netted her (in)fame, fortune and influence. Not to mention a pretty strong back lash from the rational side of the internet.

So to test if you’ve been paying attention I thought I’d set a little quiz.

All you have to do is identify, in the list below, genuine Food Babe musings mixed with other random nonsense.

Answers at the bottom of the page.

So here goes, with a nice game of …

Food Babe or Not Food Babe.

1) There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever.

2) Chlorophyll is the first product of light and, therefore, contains more light energy than any other element.

3) Please consider removing this additive from your diet because artificial dyes…Are man-made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum (a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar).

4) Your brain uses more oxygen than any another organ. If you need to concentrate it is important to keep you oxygen levels high .… Green leaves produce oxygen so if you need to study eat plenty of leafy vegetables to keep that brain well oxygenated.

5) When you look at the ingredients, if you can’t spell it or pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

6) With a name like 8-methyl-N-vannillyl-6-nonenamide it’s bound to be a baddie. If you want more evidence of its unpleasantness then you may like to know that it is used by the police to control rioters.

7) Mass produced bread contains Potassium Bromate. Its used to help make the bread light and fluffy. Bromates have been banned as fire retardants in furniture, so how come its still used in the food we eat!?

8) Wheatgrass … is more than 70% chlorophyll which is essential for improving blood sugar problems.

9) For the experiment pictured above, microwaved water produced a similar physical structure to when the words “satan” and “hitler” were repeatedly exposed to the water.

10) You all know that we breath out carbon dioxide. But did you know that it’s an acid? … Whenever I’ve been in a crowded place I cleanse myself of the effects of all that acid breath with a good dose of Spirulina.

11) North Americans deserve to truly eat fresh – not yoga mats.

Credit: Fraud Files

How did you think you did? Here’s the answers.

1) Genuine Food Babe. An easy one to start with. You can find this little gem in her book. Don’t go out and buy it now.

2) Food babe again. Apparently wheatgrass is a miracle.

3) Food babe. Those nasty men in labs.

4) Not Food babe. Just me trying to channel Gillian McKeith.  

5) Food babe. But how are my fellow dyslexics and I going to eat?

6) Not Food babe. That one was me, with tongue firmly in cheek.

7) Not Food babe. Just random nonsense I made up, but sounds good doesn’t it?

8) Not Food babe. This gem came from the menu of the health food cafe I dinned in recently.

9) Food babe! Honesty, has she no shame? We’ll actually she might, since she’s removed offending post from her blog. But luckily the internet forgets nothing.

10) Not Food babe, I just made it up. But Vani does have some odd ideas about Spiriulina.

11) Food babe. What about fresh yoga mats? 

How did you do? Tell use you scores in the comments. And play along on twitter with #FoodbabeOrNot

By April 29, 2015 5 comments Uncategorized

A letter from a chemist to homeopaths


Dear Homeopaths,

Homeopathy awareness week is here again. And I’ve got some questions about this most popular of alternative therapies. The answers to which I’d very much like to be aware of.

Homeopathy, as I understand it (please correct me if I’m wrong), is based on a idea that ‘like cures like’. So if your hayfever causes runny eyes then onions may be be able to help (because onions cause similar symptoms). Or maybe you suffer from insomnia, in which case caffeine may be the solution. However a cup of strong coffee is likely to keep you wide awake. So you get around this through massive dilutions. This way, you claim, the beneficial effects are retained whilst the unpleasant side-effects are removed. 

Now before we go any further let’s make sure I understand the dilution process, again using the caffeine example. You might start with a solution of caffeine that’s about the same concentration as coffee. Then you perform a 1 in 100 dilution. The solution is shaken, often by hitting it against a leather bound surface (a process known as succussion). The result is known as a 1C solution. You perform another dilution, shake etc. resulting in a 2C solution. The process continues often 30 or more times. The net result is a solution that will not contain a single molecule of the original. In fact it might be the equivalent of diluting the cup of coffee in sphere of water the size of the solar system.

So far I hope we can agree. But it seems rather unlikely, to me, that this process might result in an effective remedy. Although you have explanations e.g. ‘water is capable of storing information relating to substances with which it has previously been in contact’. Or to put it another way the water can remember what was diluted in it.

There is no sound scientific evidence that water has any such memory storage capacity. However, homeopaths often tell scientist that we should be more open minded and not to be so wedded to the dogma that we have been taught. So here I am, putting my education and experience in chemistry to one side for a moment.

Nevertheless, even without everything that chemistry might tell me, I’m still left with what seems to be some logical holes in your therapy.  Hence my questions for you, and I really am interested in the answers.

How come the water remembers the starting substance (e.g. the caffeine) but not impurities?

The gold standard for water purity (used by analytical chemists, but not homeopaths) is just 10 parts impurity to 1 billion parts water. The concentration of these impurities is equivalent to a 4C solution. So in dilutions made beyond this point the impurities will outnumber the original substance. How then can the homeopathic solution know which molecules it is supposed to store information about?

How do you make an oxygen based homeopathic remedy?

There appear to be quite a few remedies based on oxygen. But oxygen from the air will continually dissolve in the water you use to dilute your solutions. So how do you actually manage to make a 30C dilution of oxygen, when at every step along the way you are just adding more of it to your remedy?  

How is the power of a remedy transferred from water to a dry pill?

You make pills by dropping a water remedy onto a sugar tablet and then drying it. How is the stored information (supposedly in the water) retained in the pill after the water has evaporated?

Why can’t I find a homeopathic contraceptive?

I looked and you don’t seem to make or sell any.

If the potency of a remedy increases the more it gets diluted why can this never be perceived as a strong taste?

If a remedy is to work then it must interact with our biology. Why does this never manifest to our sense of taste?

Why was homeopathy so ineffectual at combating infectious diseases before the advent of vaccines?

Your theme for this years homeopathy awareness week is infectious disease. Vaccinations have reduced the spread of infectious diseases to a tiny fraction of what they once were. Homeopathy was around long before most vaccinations were commonplace, so why did it fail to reduce the incidents of infectious diseases?

I hope by answering these you might be able to give me a greater awareness of how you believe your therapies work.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Mark Lorch

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By April 14, 2015 57 comments Uncategorized