Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

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Mister Justin – With Daylight Still To Spare

13 September 2011

Mister Justin is – as far as I can tell – a bloke in London. He’s releasing an album of acoustic guitar-driven tunes called With Daylight Still To Spare, and I think it’s pretty cool.

The songs are based in six-string folk sounds. A couple of the album tracks are instrumentals, and Justin’s skill with a guitar is pretty evident: little riffs pop in and out, here and there. Some of the songs remind me of Roy Harper’s Stormcock. There’s an underlying peacefulness, even in the darker songs.

There’s a cover of old poem and sometime-folk tune “So We’ll Go No More A Roving”. The tune is high and mournful, and the guitar playing stays simple, which is what a song like that needs. “We Had Our Time In The Sun” is really good: a minor-key lament, full of strummed bitterness, and a female vocal counterpoint that makes the song bigger and sadder.

A couple of tracks are perhaps a bit too laid back. “My Only Crime Is I Take My Time” begins to veer a little too close to naff territory with its lyrics, and horns and strings.

But With Daylight…mostly avoids the twee “guy with a guitar” cliché by introducing occasional non-folk elements. There are fuzzy bass sounds, an Indian groove, and some shouting on “Memory Fade Out, Burn Out”. “Metal Song” may still be acoustic, and it contains a fiddle, but it’s fun, with tongue-in-cheek headbanger riffs acted out. “You Tell Me I’m Lucky To Have You” is an Irish drinking song with hilarious nonsense sounds.

This is interesting music, fun music, and creative music, well-played.

You can check out the entire album right here.

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British Chiropractic Association v Singh – BCA admits defeat

15 April 2010

Yay! Since Simon Singh won his appeal in the libel suit brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association, the BCA has dropped the suit.

Now, to reform that UK libel law.

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Libel Reform: A Conversation with Simon Singh

8 April 2010

From Open Culture, some background and a Q&A with the man who’s fighting for UK libel reform. An excerpt:

OPEN CULTURE: Why should this concern someone living away from the British Isles?

SIMON SINGH: The issue of libel tourism means that everyone in the world should be scared of the English libel law.  If you write anywhere in the world about a billionaire, then the London court can probably claim jurisdiction because the material can probably be read in England over the internet and billionaires typically have business interests in England so they can claim to have a reputation in England.  There are many cases of libel tourism, such as Saudi billionaires suing an American journalist, a U.S. company suing a Danish researcher, an Israeli technology company threatening to sue a paper written by a Swedish professor, a Tunisian man suing a German newspaper, an Icelandic bank suing a Danish newspaper, and so on – all these cases ended up in London, the libel capital of the world.

Thanks for the heads up from Dan.

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Simon Singh: fighting unfair libel is a full-time job

16 March 2010

In May 2009 I blogged about how UK science journalist and personality Simon Singh was being sued by that country’s chiropractic association because he expressed his learned scientific opinion that chiropractic wotsits are bogus.

I followed up with blogs giving my support (for what that’s worth) and celebrating that Singh was fighting back.

Simon Singh

Last week Simon wrote a sad column for the Guardian; sad because it was his last. It turns out that fighting this lawsuit is consuming all his spare time and energy, and a lot of his money.

Today, comedian Robin Ince pledged his support for Singh. That’s good. Ince is a (funny) voice of scientific reason. He hosted a gig that finished Libel Reform Week in the UK. That’s similar to his Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, which Singh also contributed to.

It’s ludicrous that a nation like the United Kingdom has such backwards laws. Obviously people need protection from libel. But to quash what scientists debate in fields of science? You might as well expect the return of the Spanish Inquisition.

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From pop star to physicist

13 March 2010

Once again, music and science come together on my blog. From last weekend’s Guardian, pop star-turned-physicist Brian Cox (no, not the actorspeaks about his new UK TV series. It can’t hurt to have a few more young, sexy things talking about science.

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Stop homeopathy funding

26 February 2010

In December I blogged that a UK parliamentary health committee was looking into whether the National Health Service there should continue to fund homeopathy.

Today that committee gave its report. And – thank god – they said that there is no evidence that homeopathy has anything other than a placebo effect, that manufacturers must no longer be able to make medical claims for homeopathic products, and that the NHS should stop all funding of homeopathy.

Reason prevails.

Now, will the UK government accept the recommendations?

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Online archive of UK science launches

25 February 2010

From the BBC, word that

The British Library has begun a project to create a vast, online oral history and archive of British science.

The three-year project will see 200 British scientists interviewed and their recollections recorded for the audio library.

An advisory board will help the project pick key technological innovators and scientists for the archive.

The interviews will be put online to form a permanent record of the way British science has been practiced.

Thanks to the Aussie, who now appears to be my UK science ‘n’ music hookup.

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