Tagged: news

We are the Champions!

2009 is shaping up to be a great year for women’s sports, not only is Nicole Cooke making sure we know that she is one of the top female cyclists around but in a sport that is traditionally considered to be a ‘man’s game’, the women are kicking some serious butt.

What am I talking about? Well, today England won the 20:20 cricket tournament… England ladies that is. It’s hardly surprising really, England (Ladies) currently hold the Ashes (they retained them after their 2005 win), they won the Cricket World Cup and now they’ve added the 20:20 trophy to their shelves whilst our men can only look on with jealously… actually, they probably aren’t since women’s sports is taken about as seriously as Gordon Brown.

There was a bit of controversy when Wisden named Claire Taylor in their five cricketers of the year and you can pretty much guarantee that despite being the top ranked ODI batsmen in the world, named player of the 20:20 tournament she won’t get a look in for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (might be worth noting that currently, the only award held by a woman is the Young Sports Personality of the year award).

It’s a pity really that there are certain (male) footballers that are being promoted as a role models for young children when they’re probably the last person you’d want influencing your children, whilst Claire Taylor (holder of a Masters degree in Mathematics from Oxford University) will only ever see her name briefly mentioned in the “also” section of the tabloid sports sections.

So, congrats once again to England Ladies for being brilliant, let’s hope that they continue to go from strength to strength… maybe we should send them out in place of our male team.


Reactionary Responses

I’ve been following the news story about the guy who committed suicide over the Internet watched by various people in a chat room that didn’t take what was going on seriously. Apparently the guy in question had repeatedly cried wolf and the forum members were fed up with his suicide related posts… anyway, it seems that the media are putting a lot of blame on the forum users and the host server for the chat room; in fact, there were two comments on the Times article that may have hurt my brain:

What is happening to our society? It seems that the internet allows many weird individuals to gain acceptance for their anti-societal behaviours. Where does this all end? People, spend more time with your kids, and teach them right from wrong, as they are the only salvation from this abomination.

As a mother I’ve seen that some kids are born more prone to self esteem problems than others, even if you treat them all equally well. I wish his parents had confronted his issue early on. I took my own son’s computer away after I saw him commit pseudo-suicide by nuclear bomb in an online game.

It’s mentioned in the article that the guy suffered from bipolar and was taking medication in order to help manage the symptoms. There needs to be more understanding shown towards mental health, we need campaigns and education to raise more awareness so that perhaps peoples first response when hearing about something like this is not to go blame the internet, video games or the lack of religion (it amazes me that it’s assumed that religion will cure everything).

I worry that this issue is going to get worse with legal intervention towards censorship or even mass moderation of free speech mediums such as forums and chat rooms. There needs to be places for us ‘weird individuals’, where as could you go to discuss Star Trek with likeminded people or even take part in an discussion about fictional characters as if they were real? Sometimes when you’ve hit that down part of your cycle it’s the only things stopping you from doing something that doesn’t really benefit anyone in the long run.

I suggest everyone goes and watches ‘The Bridge’, it’s a moving and thought provoking documentary about suicide, that talks to the families of people who have chosen to end their life. There’s no annoying voice over or moral judgements forced upon you.

Dreams Becoming Reality

Imagine a scene where you are out in the park, maybe walking your dog. You’re ambling along minding your own business when suddenly, a strange shape appears on the horizon. You pause, watching it get closer and closer… slowly a realisation dawns upon you and for a moment you doubt your eyes, your sanity, but no… it’s real. Lumbering towards you is the latest must have fashionable pet, a miniature mammoth.

Amazed and confused you head home and quickly log into your mainframe and take yourself off to the best search engine (blasting a few spambots with your phaser). You ask the helpbot about miniature mammoths and it directs you to an advert – they’re called minimoths and come several sizes. You can have a small dog (think West Highland terrier size), guinea-pig size or mouse size.

It might seem like an absurd idea, but it’s something I’ve always wanted (guinea-pig size please). Whilst this is really just a pipe dream, and somewhat far fetched my dream of a minimoth is creeping (very) slowly towards reality.

Last year (July 2007) it was reported that the well preserved body of a mammoth calf was discovered in the permafrost in North West Sibera. It’s believed that this six month old female calf is around 10,000yrs old which puts it on the planet around the time of the last Ice Age. The eyes and trunk are largely intact and the specimen still has some fur, it stands at 4ft 3″ (six inches shorter than me, for those keeping score) and weighs about 50kg.

Scientists said that whilst they aren’t able to get a viable DNA specimen from this body but they believe that they should be able to find the perfect specimen soon. They say that they could inject mammoth sperm (if found) into the egg of a close living relative species (in this case it will be the Asian elephant) and ta-da! twenty-two months later you’d have a baby mammoth cross. Another option, is they strip an elephant egg cell of its DNA and fuse it with the nucleus of a mammoth cell then we could effectively clone a mammoth.

A problem they faced was re-activating the cells of frozen long dead animals, but recently there was a break through where scientists were able to reactive the cells of a dead mouse that was frozen sixteen years ago! By reports the Japanese scientists performing these experiments have set their sights on the mammoth problem.

If they do manage to succeed bringing back mammoths, it won’t be long before they’ll be the latest designer must have pet and then next we’ll have a real Jurassic Park… which sounds awesome to me.

Minor Mammoth News Update: It seems that mammoths are once again hitting the headlines with scientists announcing they’ve mapped the genetic code and for as little as $10 million (£6,699,425) we could have mammoths once again roaming the Earth.

Jack the Ripper, still going strong 2008

I wonder what it is about Jack the Ripper that inspires people to try to copy him? Peter Sutcliffe is doing time in a high security mental hospital for his claim to fame and it looks like another wannabe Ripper is to join him. There’s an original series Star Trek episode called ‘Wolf in the Fold’ where they discover that an entity called ‘Redjac’ is really Jack the Ripper (it possesses people), I wonder if that is going on here, after all Jack the Ripper does seem to have inspired a lot of copycat killers.

Convicted rapist, Derek Brown (from Lancashire, Sutcliffe was a Yorkshire man – not exactly great publicity for us Northerner’s is it?) was found guilty of murdering and dismembering Xiao Mei Guo and Bonnie Barrett who he picked up in the Whitechapel area of London. Neither body was found but blood from both victims was found in the kitchen, corridor and bathroom of his flat in South East London, it’s unlikely that the bodies will ever be recovered. Brown assmebled a murder kit and even borrowed a book about serial killers (‘Killers: The Most Barbaric Murders of Our Time‘ – either sales of this book will go up or it will mysteriously vanish from the shelves). He’ll serve a minimum sentence of 30yrs, and will probably become one of the few prisoners to whom life really does mean life.

Serial killers do fascinate me, particualrly the ones with a big question mark over ‘who?’ – there are times when I get worried that if police (for some reason) search my flat I’m going to get into trouble for the many books I own on this topic. I’d like to therefore state, I have no intention of killing anyone I’m far too much of a wuss when it comes to things like that and I’m the least organised person on the planet.