Wednesday, 24 February 2010

When Progress Goes Bad...

I know there's a saying somewhere on the internet which, according to my memory, says "Any technology invented before you are 30 is new and exciting, and anything after that is scary and unneccasry". I'm not quite 30, but I've just discovered a worrying trend...

It's really hard to buy a MiniDV Camcorder anymore.

And I mean REALLY hard... They're all miniDVD or Hard Disc Cameras now...

I need to find a couple of MiniDV ones for work, and my reasoning for this is as follows - The advantage of having a MiniDV camera is you can change the tape when it's full and keep working, and also you can take that tape and, if it's important, you can put it somewhere safe so that whatever else happens to that footage when you edit it or transfer it, you will always have the original.

I don't understand this desire for Hard Disc Cameras. They're OK for short term stuff I suppose, and they have the advantage that you don't have to spend the time digitising the tape before you can edit it... but eventually you'll have to delete the raw footage from both the camera and the editing machine, leaving you with just, say, a DVD copy of the edit.

So what happens if that gets scratched? I know in regular consumer-ville where camcorders are used to film your kids playing, or christmas, or a particularly good night with your other half then it wouldn't be the end of the world - but at work I need to keep backups of everything from the last 3 years... If I didn't have it all on tape it'd be impossible!

Oh and don't even get me started on the unreliability of mini-DVDs.... they're utterly rubbish.

This isn't the first time I've noticed technology progressing in a bad way (last year I attempted to find some decent size "Boom-Box" type stereos for use at work, I was unsuccessful as no-one makes them anymore, you can either get tiny little portable ones which are tinny, or seperate stereo systems...) but this is starting a worrying trend.

Is it just me? Does no-one else see this problem?

Ridiculous News Round-Up

This is going to be another decent length blog post, as I catch up on several small stories that I felt all deserved to be looked at through the eyes of Brawny, beginning with an idiot, moving through some more idiots, and ending with... well, you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out won't you! (But I wouldn't rule out it being more idiots...)

So apparently there's an American Professor called Sidney Perkowitz has been making suggestions to Hollywood. He says that he is "... not offended if they make one big scientific blunder in a given film... But after that I would like things developed in a coherent way."

Yeah. Because that's the problem with most Hollywood films today. The science is wrong. Never mind all the re-makes, re-imaginings, returns and re-boots populating the release schedules (and yes, I know a better word for return would have been sequel, but then I'd have lost the rhythm of the writing using the prefix 're' in each word in the list. So there.) if we get the science right then that's the way forward.

What an idiot.

Whats worse is when you keep reading through the article, the films he cites are Starship Troopers, The Core, and Angels and Demons. His issue with the Core is fairly reasonable from a scientific point of view (although I still don't think it should stop people from making such films), as it's about the geology of the earth. With Angels and Demons he bemoans the use of a small battery powered forcefield to keep safe an anti-matter bomb. Would he have been happier, one wonders, if they had just made up a new name for the bomb, so that it didn't relate to any scientific reality?

But the one that bugs me the most is "Perkowitz said he liked Starship Troopers, but criticised its giant insects, saying if you scaled up a real bug to that size it would collapse under its own weight." Yes, this is probably true. But bear in mind that the insects in Starship Troopers are not earth bugs, they are ALIENS! With a physiology that no-one knows about! SO IT DOESN'T MATTER!! Talk about picking on a pointless reason for films being bad nowadays.

Oh and the other thing that made me laugh hysterically. This man who is suggesting films and TV should be more scientifically realistic has apparently had an impact as the article states "the exchange has advised on the Watchmen movie and the TV series, Heroes."

Let's for a moment ignore the bad grammar, wondering how an exchange can have advised on something, and just laugh outright at the concept that Heroes obeys any form of scientific law. Other than the law of diminishing returns....

In other recent news, the Tories got in trouble for misplacing a decimal point, and therefore proudly announcing that 54% of teenagers in deprived areas are pregnant. 54%. That's more than half. I live in a deprived area, and work in an all-girls school, and if half of them are pregnant, then they're hiding it very well! What makes me laugh more is that this error wasn't someone reading it in a speech, it was published. Which means whoever proof read the report thought that it was an accurate representation of the truth... Out of touch much?

Talking of idiotic teenagers (well we weren't, we were talking about idiotic Tories believing that all teenagers are idiots, but it seemed like a good link at the time) there's a scandal going on in Germany at the moment around the teenage author Helene Hegemann. Apparently, her cult teen bestseller Axolotl Roadkill contains passages "that are plainly lifted wholesale from another novel, Strobo". However, the writer of the Guardian news article (Robert McCrum) seems to think that she "a child of the internet age, simply does not understand, or recognise, the charge of plagiarism. To her, coming from the cut-and-paste world of blogs and Facebook, what she's done is no more than "mixing"

Um, OK... except I come from the cut and paste world of blogs and Facebook, and I understand right from wrong... I'm not passing judgement because I haven't read either book (as I don't read German. I can say the word for Pedestrian Zone and claim to be a doughnut, but that's as far as my German education in year 9 went) but if the plagiarism is as obvious as Mr McCrum states, then she deserves to be brought up on whatever charges are suitable. And don't say she didn't know it was wrong, I bet she did. (Oh look at that, I said I wasn't going to judge, and now I'm being judgemental. Oh well, that's my right as an internet blogger, I can criticise anything I want, and who will stop me? No-one!! Hahahahahahahahah..... (Continues evil laugh for a while, realises I am alone, and stops, sheepishly) )

And on a final, slightly lighter hearted note, I watched the first episode of The Bubble on BBC iPlayer the other day, and while it was a perfectly respectable time-wasting show (made all the funnier this week by having the brilliant Reginald D Hunter on it), there was a point in it that made me laugh.

The Bubble (for those of you who don't know) is basically a comedy show where they lock three guests away for the week so they don't see the news, and then they show them various news reports and newspaper headlines and the guests have to guess which are real and which are made up. So far, so humorous (I particularly liked the news article about introducing a gay character into Thomas the Tank Engine. That's right, a gay engine. That was made up, but still amusing) . However, this BBC-produced, BBC-aired show has been told that they cannot use any BBC reporters to create the fake news reports, because the BBC don't want to undermine them.

So the news reports on this BBC show are being provided by their direct competition, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News.

Seriously, could the BBC be any stupider?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

How do we fix the Entertainment Industry?

First and foremost, I apologise for not having written for a couple of weeks. It's not that I've fallen out of love with you, oh wonderful blog readers, it's simply that I haven't had the time. The problem with this is of course that I now I have a large backlog of things I want to blog about, so you may well get lots of blogs over the next few days.... so there's a bright side :) (That is, if you enjoy reading my blog. If you don't then I'm sure that the news there are more on the way will fill you with dread, but if you don't like them why are you reading this? Anyway...)

There's been a lot of talk recently (and by recently I mean over the last few years) about how the Entertainment industry can adapt and survive due to the advent of the internet. The other day, the wonderful Graham Linehan tweeted about this article in the New York times written by Damian Goulash Jnr, the lead singer of the band OK Go. What makes it interesting is that it is a discussion about the current state of the music industry from the perspective of a moderately successful band rather than a giant star.

In this piece (which I think you should read) he starts by lamenting their record company for not being flexible with regards to the use of the internet and viral videos to promote the band. It's a well thought-out argument, pointing out that when they had put a music video online in 2006, which they had made and paid for themselves, and, in his own words the video"... brought big crowds to our concerts on five continents, and by the time we returned to the studio, 700 shows, one Grammy and nearly three years later, EMI’s ledger had a black number in our column. To the band, “Here It Goes Again” was a successful creative project. To the record company, it was a successful, completely free advertisement."

However, now that the band has released a new album and a couple of videos, they are unable to get the same help in spreading the viral video due to the record companies agreement with YouTube.

As it stood - when they released their first video, it made them no money, but worked as an advert. However, YouTube and the record companies have now reached an agreement for an amount (however small) to be paid whenever the video is watched, but only when it's watched on YouTube's own site, so embedding has been disabled.

And this is the problem. Without embedding the video, large amounts of blogs and sites are unable to promote the music they enjoy.

Damian Goulash (which incidentally is a FABULOUS name) does then go on to say that "It’s decisions like these that have earned record companies a reputation for being greedy and short-sighted. And by and large they deserve it. But before we cheer for the demise of the big bad machine, it’s important to remember that record companies provide the music industry with a vital service: they’re risk aggregators."

And he's right. Who else would pay a bunch of people with instruments to go and make a record that has a 98% chance of being a complete commercial failure? (That figure is completely made up by the way, it's just a guess). But as record companies tighten their belts and only finance the acts that they are certain of, the entire industry is at risk of implosion, with very few new, interesting acts coming to the fore...

Why are record companies tightening their belts? They tell you it's because of piracy. This is a common statement amongst record, TV and film producers, and to an extent, I am sure it's true. I know that I have, in the past, pirated music, TV and films, because I want to hear/see them and don't have any money.

Disney are at the moment having a large spat with Odeon over Alice in Wonderland. This has been going on for a couple of weeks, and is basically due to Disney saying "Because of Piracy, we want to shrink the theatrical-DVD window from 17 weeks to 12 weeks." So 12 weeks after Alice comes out in the cinema, it'll be out on DVD. Odeon feels that this is unacceptable, as it will cause them to lose business if they have to pull the film after 12 weeks.

Now first of all, I can't remember the last time I went to see a film at the cinema more than 2 weeks after it came out, and (apart from possibly Avatar, which I have STILL not seen, which I am aware makes me part of an increasingly tiny minority) I can't think of a film that's stayed in a cinema for 12 weeks! So how, realistically are they going to lose business?

And the second, and more important point, Alice is being strongly marketed on it's 3D. You can't watch proper 3D on a DVD yet... so even if it came out early, surely Odeon could continue to show it anyway?

But on the subject of 3D, I would guess that the very nature of 3D will limit the piracy of Alice anyway, so Disney needn't be in such a rush to release the DVD surely? I mean, I know there'll be a 2D version, and this I am sure will appear online very quickly, but if you want to see it in all it's glory, the pirated version will be nothing like watching the proper, full screen, 3D version. (Of course, this assumes that the 3D will be good, as with Avatar (allegedly), rather than pointless, as with every 3D horror movie ever made)

This spat is just more proof that the industry is in chaos and no-one knows how to deal with it. The only people who have it remotely right are the TV channels. I don't remember the last time I watched a BBC show from an illegal copy, since I can just catch up with it on iPlayer, and now 4oD exists (and works, to an extent) as well as ITV Player (which doesn't work very well at all...) and I'm sure Five have one too which I would try to use except nothing of any interest is ever on Five...

So, the question I am sure you're all wondering, is how would you fix it Brawny? How would you make the Entertainment industry great again?

Well, before I continue, may I point out that I am no expert, and certainly don't think that I should be in charge. But if I was, then I'd do the following...

1) Embrace the Internet
This is, in many ways, the most important thing. The industry is slowly beginning to do this, but it's taken way too long. The internet isn't just a more modern poster where you can put trailers or clips from your film/show/album, it's a genuine two-way communications device between you and the people who are going to part with money for your creation. Work with them. Find out what sort of thing they want to hear/see and work out how to fill that gap. If 1000 people on the net want to hear a jazz/techno trio, then work out a rough estimate of how many people that'd translate to in the real world, set aside a percentage of budget that covers that many sales and then get the album made (Yes, I am aware it's impossible to create accurate projections from what people on the internet say they'd like, but you could try...)

2) Use Common Sense
If you come across someone using your music/video in order for them to make money, then arrest them, sue them, do whatever you want with them. A fan has put a home made video up on Youtube soundtracked by your song? Leave it alone... I know that finding the dividing line is hard, but surely the interest generated by the non-commercial use of your song/video pays more in goodwill than demanding the video be removed...

3) Don't expect to wipe out the Pirates.
Piracy exists. It will always exist, no matter how hard you try. You can't erase it, so instead try and learn from it's distribution methods etc...

4) Control your overheads
You know that there is a niche for a film about a fish who wears a top hat and speaks only in rhyme? Then make the film on a low budget - don't risk all your money on it. On the other hand, don't spend $209 million on Superman Returns because A) it was a rubbish film anyway (although Kevin Spacey was a delightfully scene-stealing Lex) and B) it means that the studio consider it a disappointment when it brings in a box-office return of $391 million...

Seriously. Name me another business to whom a profit of $182 million is a disappointing return??

5) Buy from the internet
If you're a film distributor/music publisher, look around online for low-budget home-made films / albums and embrace them. Quite often these types of projects could easily be tidied up and released with very little extra money spent on them, so why not do so? The artist will be grateful for the exposure and you might make some money out of it

6) Don't give up.
At the moment the music industry seems to be financing more and more manufactured artists and mega-stars, because it thinks that they will definitely sell. There's much less innovative, new, and interesting music being released, certainly by major labels.

7) No more staggered releases
Films that come out in the UK three months after the US? Why? That's more than giving the pirates a window, that's leaving a window open, turning the alarm system off and providing them with a map of the house that clearly shows the value of every item within it...

8) Make legal downloading easier
Now don't get me wrong, whilst I prefer to buy a real, physical product (I love CDs, and Vinyl, and DVDs) it's pretty easy to download things legally right now (and much as I hate it, iTunes is a big part of that) but I still notice that we, as members of the UK audience, pay more for things than our US cousins. The way around this from my perspective is - create a new currency.

Now before you think I've gone insane, let me clarify. This thought came to me the other day, when I recieved a paypal payment for a CD i sold. This payment was for £12, which is a small amount, so Paypal would charge me a percentage for withdrawing it to my bank account. I am therefore left with money that I may as well spend on something on eBay, or CDWOW, or CEX, or anywhere else that takes Paypal.

If you had an equivalent of this for music or film, then people would buy it rather than be penalised for returning their money to their account, and also you could side-step all currency issues, meaning that everyone gets a fair deal.

9) Everything has an audience.
And as a studio / record label, your job is to find it, not to tell the artist that it doesn't exist.

And before you think I'm blaming it all on the companies, I have a word for the artists too..

Make it because you want to make it.

I write scripts and stories, record music, make films and short videos because I want to. Do I want to be paid for it? Sure, that's the dream, but just because I don't doesn't mean I'll stop doing it... I may even self-publish my novel if I feel like it and I can establish whether more than 5 people would buy it (once I've finished the endless re-write process)

So that's it. Brawny's suggestions. And it's not like not saying that I should be taken as a "Voice of the People" because I'm a voice of one person. Me. But something needs to be done, because just blaming the internet as the source of all evil hasn't worked so far...

So as a bonus to you all - some bands who are on minor labels / self-published that I think you should check out:

The Wildhearts - Fabulous Rockers - Used to be on a major label, now kicking ass on their own. Also, their frontman Ginger has several wonderful solo albums and side-projects.
Jackdaw4 - Lighter Rock, but still wonderful musicians
Reel Big Fish - The SkaPunk kings. Again, used to be on a major label, now doing fine on their own
Brawny - Because I may as well plug myself :P (Also, check out my Youtube for my videos and film)

If you have any further suggestions please post in the comments, and I'll update this list.

Apologies for the length of this post, I promise I'll be back with something short and irreverent soon. (Well, maybe just irreverent.. I've always been bad at short posts!)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

A Funny Valentine

We're well into February now, and this weekend sees the onset of the most divisive "special day" ever.

Yes, I'm talking about Valentines day.

When I was single, I maintained that Valentine's day was a pointless, man-made holiday designed to sell cards, chocolates and roses, and to generally make single people feel rubbish. I even thought that we should have a single peoples day.... although I wasn't ever very clear on what you would do to celebrate it. Stay at home and drink whiskey alone maybe? But anyway, I digress (You Brawny? You're digressing? On your own blog? How dare you! (Yes, and now I'm digressing within brackets and referring to myself (in the previous set of brackets I mean, not this one. Oh wait, they're the previous but one set of brackets now, because I'm inside the third set of brackets. OK, I meant in the original brackets, clear?) in the third person. Because I can. ) )

However, now that I'm a taken man, the idea of having a day where I get to focus on my wonderful girlfriend and generally just have a nice time spoiling her is very appealing. So I am aware that I'm a hypocrite, but I'm OK with it. :)

However, this made me laugh today. A primary school has banned valentines cards.


Apparently it's because "children should wait until they are mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a boyfriend or girlfriend" and if they were to get dumped it "interrupts their learning."

OK. This is a school for children under the age of 11. Surely they wouldn't take it seriously? Well, no more seriously than anything else at that age, where something going wrong is the end of the world - for about ten minutes, until something shiny goes past and your mind is distracted again.

But apparently I'm wrong, and allowing valentines cards to be exchanged amongst young children will cause heartbreak, social breakdown and a complete loss of enthusiasm or interest. So basically the headteacher is worried they'll become moody teenagers early. Which would have a downside I admit, but then the upside is that by the age of 15/16 they'd have got over it... so then they'd be much nicer to deal with.

Besides, Valentines cards are an important part of a child's growth. They're one of the first lessons that not everyone likes you, which sounds harsh, but is something that everyone needs to learn at some point. Otherwise they grow up to become self-centred individuals who believe that everyone is in awe of them. (And this isn't just me being bitter because I never got Valentines Cards at school... honest. I mean, look at me now, I'm well adjusted, it's not like I'm angry and bitter and sarcastic by writing nasty things about people on a faux-anonymous internet blog.... Oops!)

So yeah, I think they're wrong. If you agree, then I think you should protest at that school on Valentines Day. I'd love to join you, but sadly I'll be busy....

P.S. On a Valentines Day related note, I notice there's a film coming out tomorrow called... Valentines Day. Now I'm sorry, but that's just lazy titling. They've named it after the real life event that they're exploiting to make money. Honestly next we'll see horror films called Halloween.... *listens to advisor whispering in my ear*.. There already is? What? ... *More whispering*... Oh bugger it. Ignore this postscript, because apparently this isn't news at all.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

PETA - Stop it. Now.

OK, so PETA are an organisation known for their "shocking" tactics and publicity attempts (and for more information, some good humour and a much better written blog than this one, go and read the lovely Neety's entry about them from April last year) but this time they've successfully shocked me.

They created a poster that ends with the tag line "People who are violent towards animals rarely stop there." OK, that makes sense. That's quite a good tag line, as it implies that if you're cruel to animals, you'll end up being cruel to people.

But what was the rest of the poster made of?

It was a picture of Steven Barker (the man who killed Baby P in 2007), and the complete caption read "Steven Barker: Animal Abuser, Baby Abuser, Rapist. People who are violent towards animals rarely stop there."

Is it just me, or have they listed Animal Abuser first to make it seem the most important?? They're trying to make a point, I get that, but who do they think they are going to convince? Do they think that by making it people will suddenly go "Oh shit, I should stop being mean to animals before I murder a baby?" Of course they won't. That as a poster has no advantage to anything. It tells us cruelty is bad, which we know. If you are a person who then continues to be cruel to animals, you'll do so regardless of what that poster says.

Now personally, I wouldn't be cruel to an animal, but I would imagine those who are would look at that poster and go "Well I'm nothing like him."

But the most horrendous thing was where they chose to display the poster. Where would be the least tasteful place to put it?

Why, Haringey of course.


Luckily, the news story I got this from says that the poster has been banned, which is good news. But I can't even imagine how horrendous it was for the residents of Haringey when it was on display.

I'd never be cruel to animals... but can I be cruel to PETA? Please?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

CAUTION - Life gives you Cancer!

I found a wonderful facebook group today which is entitled "The Daily Mail list of "Things that give you cancer"". Someone (namely a gentleman called Hugh Davies who started this wonderful group) has bothered to create a detailed list of everything that the Daily Mail has claimed gives you cancer, complete with links to each story.

Now, I'm not going to go through all of them in this blog, seeing as there are approximately ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY items listed... but I did think I'd regale you with the eight of the most ridiculous ones... (why eight? Because I felt like it. So there!) so here goes...

Brawny's Top Eight Cancer-Causing Things (as dictated by the Daily Mail)

8 - Being a Woman/Being a Man

The hilarious thing about this, is that these are two different studies, one of which says women are more at risk from cancer, the other says men is. So does this mean we're all screwed? Well apparently "Researchers claim the female sex hormone oestrogen could make women more vulnerable." so this would imply that women are much more at risk than men. But wait, the other report says "men were almost twice as likely as women to develop one of the 10 most common cancers that affect both sexes." So which is true? Can both be true? Surely if that's the case then we're both as vulnerable as each other?

This, to me, highlights the sheer randmoness of cancer in general. If we can have two (presumably) well funded and well organised studies and they give us conflicting information, surely it just proves that it's random and these studies are pointless? But no, the Daily Mail loves to give us headlines with the word CANCER emblazoned across it.

7 - Blowjobs

Don't lie. This one made you laugh as soon as you read the title didn't it. God you're so immature... Anyway, this is apparently the news that oral sex can cause throat cancer. Which is strange, because that seems completely impossible to the average brain. However, according to Dr Gypsyamber D'Souza (and I'm sorry, that's a stupid name, and wouldn't surprise me if it was made up) ".. the sex act can pass on the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can trigger a specific type of throat cancer in both men and women." Oh really? And apparently "they claim oral sex is an even bigger killer than smoking or drinking."

Now that's an interesting phrase, and typical of the Daily Mail. Firstly, there's no specificity as to who "they" are, even if you read that quote within the context of the article. So we don't know if that's part of the same study, but lets think the best of the Mail and assume that it is. The rest of that sentence is scary and threatening, and what it should say (from what little information I can glean from the article) is "Oral sex is more likely to pass on the rare HPV virus than smoking or drinking", which is significantly less scary.

The final thing, that makes it even less threatening, is that buried at the bottom of the article is a quote from the co-author, Dr Maura Gillson, who says "People should be reassured that oropharyngeal cancer is relatively uncommon, and the overwhelming majority of people with an oral HPV infection probably will not get throat cancer."

So it's not really that threatening after all, is it... Could it be that the Daily Mail have been exaggerating?? (Sarcasm)

6 - Being Left Handed

I'm sure this just counts as discrimination. The scientific reasoning? "The study...found left-handed women were more than twice as likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer as non-left handed women...The researchers said that the origins of the link may lie in exposure to high levels of sex hormones in the womb. This can induce left-handedness as well as cause changes in breast tissue. The researchers concluded: "Although the underlying mechanisms remain elusive, our results support the hypothesis that left-handedness is related to increased risk of breast cancer.""

Hang on, high levels of sex hormones cause left-handedness? Does that mean only the manliest men and the girliest girls are left handed? The key word in this sentence is "can". It CAN induce left-handedness as well as cause changes in breast tissue. And then the concluding statement from the researcher basically says "We may well be wrong. But we chose left-handedness out of a hat and then had to prove it caused cancer." Honestly, next they'll be telling us that the size of our head can cause cancer...

5 - Large Heads

See. Told you. (Granted, I knew this because I compiled this list). Apparently big-headed babies are more at risk of childhood brain cancer. The scientific reasoning for this is as follows "They said head circumference was unlikely to be a direct cause of cancer, but was probably associated with underlying causes. One possible explanation was that hormones which affect body size also influence the development of cancer. Another theory was that large children are more prone to cancer simply because they have more cells."

The first of these is a pointless theoretical hypothesis as there's no proof stated in this article that this is a possibility. So I'm forced to go with the second. The bigger they are, the more cells there are to infect. Logical really, but not so much a scientific study as BLATANTLY OBVIOUS!

4 - Candle-lit Dinners

This is getting ridiculous now. How do Candle-lit dinners give us cancer I hear you ask. Well, apparently, it's the candles themselves. Yes, according to the ever-popular "scientists" (who aren't named in the article by the way) "...scented candles can be bad for your health, say scientists. The smoke produced by many of them is laced with toxins linked to cancer, asthma and eczema." That's a pretty ambiguous claim. You'd think it'd get more specific later in the article. But it doesn't. The best it does is say "Some of the pollutants have been linked to cancer, while others could trigger asthma attacks or skin complaints" which seems like pretty flimsy evidence for writing a national article that could panic a country....

3 - Working

Yes, it's the news everyone wants to hear. Work (that tedious activity that you go to day in, day out, that you don't like anyway) is actually killing you! Well, according to this study anyway, which says that "Men who worked as civil servants, teachers or in office jobs were much more likely to get cancer than those who spend much of their day on their feet, such as labourers, bakers and barbers."

So, if you work by sitting down a lot, you're more likely to get prostate cancer? Don't worry, soon some company will have invented some kind of device you sit on that moves your arse around all the time so that you can keep working and hopefully not die.

2 - Sex

Sex gives you cancer? This is hilarious, surely....

Well, it's not hilarious. Because it's an article written by the actual woman who had cancer, which kind of makes it hard for me to take the mickey out of. However, in this case, the thing that annoys me is "I asked why I had developed cancer and he told me I'd caught the human papillomavirus infection (HPV), which is passed on through sexual contact and is thought to be the main risk factor for cervical cancer."

THOUGHT to be the main risk factor. Not is PROVED to be. If you were a sensible person writing/commissioning/publishing an article like this, wouldn't you possibly ask some scientists for some information? Unless, of course, the information they give you is "We don't know. We think it's to do with it, but we have no proof", in which case, you just run the article under the headline "Did sex give me cancer?" and allow your impressionable readers to panic...

Well played, Daily Mail, well played...


1 - Facebook

This one made me laugh a lot. And then laugh some more. And then laugh... It's hilarious. How does Facebook give me cancer? I hear you all ask... Well let me clear up, it doesn't just say Facebook, but all social networking sites and e-mails, and the reasoning is as follows:
"Interacting 'in person' had effects on the body not seen when writing emails, Dr Sigman claimed. Levels of hormones such as the 'cuddle chemical' oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not....Some genes, including ones involved with the immune system and responses to stress, acted differently according to how much social interaction a person had with others."

OK. So apparently our genes know if we're alone or with people. OK.... I'll buy that, it's possible. But the thing that made me laugh the most about the whole of this article is that nowhere does it say "Facebook will give you cancer." It simply says that there may be genetic/physical reactions to spending large amounts of time isolated. This research was done by a psychologist by the way, not a real doctor.... But even the psychologist isn't to blame here, because he just says that isolation could have an effect. The article summarises him as having said "This could increase the risk of problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease and dementia".

COULD increase. No research has been done yet. So what does the Mail lead with as a headline? "How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer" Because that's not a panic-inducing headline at all is it...

And before anyone (yes, I'm looking at you Azzy) says "Oh, but it's the Mail, they always say pointless stuff", I refer you to the fact that, for better or worse, lots of people read it, so surely they should pay slightly more attention to the things they are saying? Or is that just me that's that logical?