Data is timeless

I was listening to good ol’ Radio 2 on the way to work yesterday and it mentioned a study that:-

‘… concluded that Children of older fathers have lower IQs.’

The study was done by Australian scientists using data from the U.S.

So I thought, “Yawn! Another red wine is bad for you, red wine isn’t bad for you paper fodder production.”

But what caught my ears (if there is such an expression) was when Liza Tarbuck said that the data they used for the report was collected between 1959 and 1965.


Firstly I’m not sure a study done in one country is necessarily relevant in another. Secondly they used stuff that’s at least 44 years old!

I know that the results from these studies seem to be released every day and are taken with a pinch of salt (which is also apparently bad for you, a study says so) by most people.

What I never considered was how old can the data they use be? I just assumed it would be up to date as implied in the news headlines, “A recent report …” or “The latest study …”

Well it seems that it can be very old indeed. What relevancy data written on parchment paper is now is very questionable to me. Everything has changed since way back when. Unless it is meant as a Historical study but I don’t think it’s being presented as such.

But then I suppose these studies are not meant to be taken too seriously are they? After all they’re just designed to keep a bunch of scientists employed and guarantee a new grant when their existing one expires. Perhaps as long as they publish something then that’s enough to keep the cheques coming.

“Not breathing can seriously shorten your life span”, a new study shows.

“Masturbation causes Cancer.”

“Masturbation doesn’t cause cancer.” (Teenage youth heaves a sigh of relief.)

“A new report shows that staying in bed is safer than climbing K2.”

It does make you wonder how many studies out there are using data that Noah started. (“Building a wooden ark in times of severe flood can greatly increase your chance of survival”, a scribe says.)

I know we all have to earn a crust but it would be nice if people spent their time on pursuits that actually meant something in the real world. Surely there are useful things to study out there?

But I’m obviously missing the point.

Must be a lack of data.

Costa lot

Gennaro Pelliccia’s tongue is worth £10m ($13.95m). That’s a lot of money for a tongue. It’s a lot of money for a body. Heck it’s a lot of money for a whole neighbourhood.

He’s the chief taster at Costa coffee and so his wriggling muscle has been insured by Lloyds of London for a huge salivating amount.
I wonder if the small print in the insurance policy has restrictions on usage similar to car insurance where you can’t off road etc.
Clauses like no tongue piercing, no overly aggressive French kissing, no sticking out of tongue at friends or colleagues, no licking of frozen metal. Why you would want to do the last one is beyond me but some people seem to be fascinated with doing it.

I imagine this tongue has a great responsibility for ensuring the coffee is a good as it possibly could be. There’s a lot tasting on this tongue. The most expensive tongue there has ever bean.

I just hope the tongue hasn’t had a curry the night before.

No kissing please, I don't want to lose my no-claims bonus!

No kissing please, I don't want to lose my no-claims bonus!

Nasa’s early bonfire party

Failure is Not an Option - but it is a distinct possibility

Failure is Not an Option - but it is a distinct possibility

Bonfire night has come 8 months early courtesy of NASA.

Apparently they lit the blue touch paper, stood well back and let off a huge firework. Not the kind that you can usually pick up at the corner newsagent I might add, probably one you have to get mail order.

This mother of all whizz bangs which cost $270m (£190m) had a fantastic flight. It impressed everyone who proudly waved their sparklers at it and then off it went and crashed into the sea near Antarctica.

Personally I think this is a tad excessive. I think it’s great making a firework show for people to enjoy and of course if you’re the US then it has to be the biggest but I feel they have gone a bit too far this time. Do you have to have a firework that goes halfway round the globe?

If this is their idea of Guy Fawkes night I’m just wondering what they have in mind when the potatoes go in the fire.

But it appears it was not a large firework at all but Nasa’s first dedicated mission to measure carbon dioxide from space.

Oh dear.

NASA called the disaster a ‘contingency’ and the operators at mission control were instructed to enact a ‘mishap plan’. Yep you can’t fail to give them boys full marks for understatement.

I suppose measuring Carbon Dioxide will have to wait but I’m sure they’ll be plenty left when they have another go.

I guess for now they’ll just have to console themselves with some bonfire toffee instead.

Welcome to Spamabit!

Well I really feel that I have arrived.

“Why is that ?” You may ask. Other people mentioning your site on their blogs? BBC talking about an in depth article (Ha Ha) you wrote on their website?

Nah don’t be daft. I’ve just started receiving spam!

Good old spam. You always know that someone or something has noticed you when those little spambots come a’ callin’. Up to now I’ve received two spam comments for my posts. I know, I know that’s nothing but one has to start somewhere.

One of them is reasonably clever. It quotes part of the post and makes it appear that it is being talked about on the particular forum that the website leads to.

The other one is just spammy, consisting of a load of links to crappy websites.

The overall intention is clear. To get me to post the comment which contains outbound links to their sites so that google will think better of them and rank them higher in search requests.

Thankfully I’ve got a spam blocker to bar those bots (sounds like an advert for toilet fresheners), so we hopefully won’t be seeing any meaty antics on this site anytime soon.

Still that could be famous last words!

Chartism is for dummies

Now that were well into the credit crunch (I guess nostalgia lovers will be storing away memories of this so that they can tell their grandchildren. “Yes, I remember when there were banks.” or be able to answer “What did you do in the great crunch daddy?”)

Well I was looking at the BBC’s Archive section on their website and they have a series of programmes about british banking etc. first broadcast in 1964. (Back in the days when the world was black and white.)

One of the episodes was called  ‘The Golden Eggheads’ and amongst other things is about ‘Chartists.’
Now Wikipedia describes them as:-

‘A chartist (also known as a technical trader or technical analyst) is one who utilizes charts to assess patterns of activity that might be helpful in making future predictions. Most commonly, chartists use technical analysis in the financial world to evaluate financial securities. For example, a chartist may plot past values of stock prices in an attempt to denote a trend from which he or she might infer future stock prices. The chartist’s philosophy is that “history repeats itself.” ‘

On this programme (about 7:00 in) they were being asked and were attempting to explain what they did and how successful they were at it.
Unfortunately they failed at both. Either they didn’t want to tell and give away their secrets of alchemy or they just didn’t know. At one point during the explanation it seems to dawn on them that there is nothing to know, they don’t really know what they’re on about and all they do is look at graphs and well, sort of guess!

Anyway I don’t think this chart-porn is all that difficult to decipher. You only have to look at this graph (produced during the recent “I’ve been here before” financial déjà vu) that I found during my study of the subject …


Enough said really.