I did a painting course recently on abstract painting. While in the studio, I noticed lots of interesting textures on the easels caused by splashes of paint over the years. I only had a small digital compact with me so I wasn't able to get very good photos. However the shapes and colours formed the starting point for a series of digital prints. There are currently three up on my flickr pages.
...there is no central or open record of the results from local elections in the UK. If you go to the Electoral Commission’s website, they pass the buck to the BBC, where you can find seat numbers for each area, but no record of how many votes were cast for each candidate. Plymouth University holds an unofficial database of these results, and they pay people to type every single one of them in, painstakingly and by hand. After all that they charge for access, which is perfectly understandable. So for democracy, open analysis, and public record, it might as well not exist.
“Want to look back at how people voted in your local council elections over the past 10 years?” asks Chris [Taggart of CountCulture]: “Tough. Want to compare turnout between different areas, and different periods? No can do. Want an easy way to see how close the election was last time, and how much your vote might make a difference? Forget it.”
As anyone who reads Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog will know, Ms Dorries isn't above a bit of character assassination herself, and is willing to propagate all sorts of nonsense in support of her anti-abortion position. Unfortunately, for NastyLibDems anyway, they don't appear to like contrary views in their comments so my attempt to provide a slightly contrary view never appeared.
I didn't keep a copy, so here are some links that demonstrate just how loony - and extreme - Ms Dorries really is.
According to her:
- The Hand Of Hope: This picture show a pregnant uterus laying
on the exterior of the mother's abdomen, having been lifted out of her
abdominal cavity, via a c-section incision made in the abdominal wall.
Dr Joseph Bruner performed this procedure in order to operate on the
baby whilst still in utero before it was born. The baby had spina bifida
and would not have survived if removed from his mother's womb. When the
operation was over, baby Samuel, at 21 weeks gestation, put his hand
through the incision in the uterus and grabbed hold of the surgeon's
finger, a gesture which was apparently met with a huge amount of emotion
in the operating theatre. Dr Bruner said that it was the most emotional
moment of his life and that for a moment he was just frozen, totally
What Dr Bruner really said:
"Depending on your political point of view, this is either
Samuel Armas reaching out of the uterus and touching the finger of a
fellow human, or it's me pulling his hand out of the uterus ... which is
what I did."
She has accused Ben Goldacre of breaching Parliamentaryprocedure:
We were greatly concerned to read in the Guardian on 27 October an
article clearly aimed at undermining the credibility of Professor
John Wyatt, which contained detailed information about Wyatt’s evidence,
which was passed by him to the committee after his oral evidence
session, and which could only have been passed on to the journalist
concerned by a member of the Select Committee. There should be an
enquiry about how this information got into the public domain and as to
whether such a personal attack represents a serious breach of
My article did indeed contain detailed information about Prof Wyatt’s
evidence, but I suspect any enquiry set up to examine how I managed to
obtain that information would finish its work well before the first set
of tea and biscuits arrived, since all the facts came from the written
evidence published openly and in full during the select committee
hearing. There’s nothing clever about what I do, let me promise you.
In fact every single thing I wrote about in that article was freely
available, a matter of record, in the public domain, when I wrote about
it, no conspiracy, no nonsense, anyone could have written about those
figures, and I wish we lived in a world where lots of other people had.
To be honest, I’m “greatly concerned” that a pair of tory MPs are
“greatly concerned” about me having access to the written evidence for a
select committee enquiry. Perhaps they’d prefer it if everything was
done in secret behind closed doors, but luckily this has turned out to
be a perfect illustration of exactly what science – and indeed
government – should be about: transparency.
There is of course a moral case to be made about abortion. You don't make it however by fudging the scientific facts, by propagating Urban Myths as reality or as 'NastyLibDems' has done, by using those nasty manipulations to further a political agenda.
...and for the record, I voted Lib Dem for only the second time in my life, against my better instincts and only because a) I couldn't vote for any party committed to ID cards and b) I though that was the best chance of getting rid of the tories in my constituency. I may have got the first, but I still have a tory MP and I still have a tory government. Only time will tell how much of an ameliorative effect the Lib Dems will have on the wilder fringes of tory policy.