Thursday, June 29, 2006

Truly Moved

The day has finally arrived. The house is ready, the keys are waiting and we're taking the first step into our new future. We've fought all the way and gone through an incredible amount of stress to get this to work, but it looks very much like it's all going to pay off.

That's the idea, anyway. One of these days I'll post the whole chain of events leading up to this day, but for now I'll just have to say: it's incredibly complicated. Hopefully no last-minute problems will crop up and my next post will be from my (sorry, our) new home office.

Don't hold your breath though; the next post could be a couple of weeks away. Due to everything happening at the last moment, our telephone line won't be connected until the 15th or some ridiculous day. No phone, no ADSL, no posts. Damn.

I'll make a note of anything extraordinary that happens so that the tiny number of people reading this won't miss anything exciting. As if...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Freedom For Your Mind

I've decided that I have to make some changes around here. This blog is supposed to be a place for my personal thoughts and musings, but if I post what I was planning to post here today it will have become more than that. I don't want to let too many sensitive topics invade my personal space. This is supposed to be a light-hearted page, not somewhere I air all my grievances.

To make sure everything stays in its place I'm going to start a second blog dedicated to the issues that most provoke me. The core issue will be 'free thinking'; the practise of applying scientific reasoning instead of traditional, superstitious or religious dogma.

So, from now on this page will keep the discussion of issues like this to a minimum, and anyone who is interested in knowing more about these issues and my opinions on them should go to my new blog, Loose Neurons

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Innocent In Their Own Eyes

This is one I've had to work up to. It's an issue close to my heart and one I'd gladly fight over. There aren't many things in life that get me this angry. In case you hadn't guessed from the picture, I'm talking about animal testing.

If I had any say in the matter, almost every animal on this planet would be given full 'human' rights. In my view their lives are of equal value to ours. If you consider the calibre of some of the people currently rotting away in prison, I consider most animals' welfare to be more important than theirs. So why can't we test drugs on them instead?

Ok, I'll admit, that's never going to happen. I honestly don't think it's a good option or a solution to the problem, but it does make you think. If we're unwilling to test drugs on the scum of society, what gives us the right to test them on innocent animals that have never done anything to hurt anyone?

Many of the scientists who carry out the testing have recently said that they hate doing it and wish there was an alternative. If they're so opposed to animal testing, why don't they do something about it? There is a lot of evidence showing that animal testing doesn't actually help, as the human body is so radically different from other animals, but if the scientists stood behind those findings and put pressure on the government, I'm sure things would have to change.

Not many people realise how pointless animal testing is. Many drugs and chemicals react differently in other animals than they do in humans. A simple chocolate bar will kill mice, rats, rabbits, cats and dogs within hours, so how can we trust the results of more complex chemicals when tested on these animals? The truth is, we can't. Most of the tests are done to satisfy the law.

A couple of months ago a human drug trial showed the dangers of animal testing. Six men were given a new anti-inflammatory drug and collapsed almost immediately in excruciating pain. They suffered multiple organ failure and were in intensive care for several days. Luckily none of them died, but they came very close. The makers blamed it on "unexpected biological effect." The new drug had already been successfully tested on animals before the human trial began, so it just proves that animal testing is no indication of the safety of a drug.

One day, far in the future, everyone will be vegetarian and animals will have similar rights to humans. I doubt I'll see that day in my lifetime, but as far as I'm concerned it can't come quickly enough.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

And Justice For All?

Is Justice blind? Or is she just stupid? I can't help thinking that there's something seriously wrong with this country. It seems that every few days another flaw in the system is exposed in the media. In the last week a violent and dangerous paedophile who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a three-year-old girl was sentenced to life. However, due to our fatally flawed criminal justice system he could be back on the streets in just five years.

People are absolutely outraged, and rightly so. This man should spend the rest of his life in prison. He is obviously a danger to the public, and that's what prison is for: to protect the rest of us from dangerous criminals. For some reason the law seems to see prison as a punishment only. If it's supposed to be a punishment, why are prisoners given satellite TV, video game consoles and various other forms of entertainment? How is that a punishment? The vast majority of these people are probably happier in prison than out of it. The whole system's gone mad.

It's not just the judges that are the problem either. At the beginning of this month 250 Police Officers raided the home of two innocent Muslim brothers, shooting one of them in the process. Luckily he survived, or it would have been another Jean Charles de Menezes. The Police involved in the raid seem to have had very sketchy information and have so far refused to reveal how reliable it actually was. These heavy-handed tactics certainly didn't win them any friends in the largely Muslim area where the raid took place.

I'm sure there are very competent Police Officers out there, doing their best and making sound judgements. We only get to hear about the things that go wrong on the whole, so our information could be biased towards the negative. Still, from where I'm sitting, I don't think I trust the Police any more than the average politician.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

They Shoot Whales, Don't They?

Goddamn Japanese. If it's alive, they'll kill it and eat it. Especially if it's an endangered species. Luckily, not everyone in the world agrees with them. The International Whaling Commission is so far blocking the Japanese from restarting commercial whaling.

I've got nothing against the Japanese in general. What I can't understand is why they have these obsessions with eating or drinking bizarre bits of weird and wonderful creatures. I mean, what's a dried tiger's penis in your tea really going to do for your sex life? Don't you think it would be better left on the tiger, and that tiger left to go on with its life?

I should point out that anyone who kills animals and thinks it's just fine and dandy is an idiot in my book. Those who feel guilty and wish it didn't happen, but decide that there's nothing they can do and go along with the crowd anyway, are probably right - but that doesn't make it any better. In this day and age there's absolutely no reason for humans to eat other animals. I say 'other' because of course, humans are animals. Just because we've invented loads of crap doesn't make us the Lords of the Earth with an open invitation to do what we want, when we want. Everything has a right to life, and when you take that away it's called murder.

Murder of a single life is bad enough, but when you're planning on wiping out a species that's called genocide. That's exactly what the Japanese want. They want the freedom to hunt whales until there are none left. They don't give a damn whether the 'stocks' are rebuilt or not, they just want to make a fast buck at the expense of the largest and most extraordinary creature this planet has ever seen.

Whaling should be stopped completely; absolutely no commercial whaling. No scientific whaling either. What can that possibly achieve anyway? The Japanese have been killing hundreds of whales for 'scientific' reasons. Like what? To check they're still whales? Give me a break! I say we send the Japanese, the Norwegians and the Icelanders out across the North Sea and hunt them. See how they like it. After all, they're not exactly an endangered species!