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New Website!

9 Dec

Hello all!
I appear to have moved my blog.
You can find it here: My new blog!
I’d appreciate it if you could all update your links!
Thanks all,
Rhys

Project sCAM

30 Nov

Hello all!
Just a quick blog to let you know that I will soon be sending a number of letters off to the Welsh Health Boards.
I will let you figure out what they will be about from the title of this post.
Ciao for now!

Sense about Science fundraiser

25 Nov

Hello everyone!

As I am approaching my 20,000th tweet, I decided it would be a good idea to try and raise some money for Sense about Science!

The basics are, you bid. If you win, then I will tweet almost whatever you like – to promote it, advertise it or just have a funny tweet as my 20,000th.

Basically, tweet me your bid. When you bid, I will announce it on Twitter so that everyone else can see the latest bid too.

Obviously, there must be some ground rules:

1. Bid money must be paid through PayPal.

2. No, I will not promote any woo or bad science as my 20,000th tweet.

3. And, uhh… I think that’s it.

If I think of any more rules, I will add them here and let you all know. If you want to run anything past me, you can email me – thewelshboyo (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com

The bidding starts today and will run until 8pm on the 2nd of December.

So, let the bidding begin!

The Mass Libel Reform Blog – Fight for Free Speech!

10 Nov

Free Speech is Not For Sale

This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.

The English libel law is particularly dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.

You can read more about the peculiar and grossly unfair nature of English libel law at the website of the Libel Reform Campaign. You will see that the campaign is not calling for the removal of libel law, but for a libel law that is fair and which would allow writers a reasonable opportunity to express their opinion and then defend it.

The good news is that the British Government has made a commitment to draft a bill that will reform libel, but it is essential that bloggers and their readers send a strong signal to politicians so that they follow through on this promise. You can do this by joining me and over 50,000 others who have signed the libel reform petition at http://www.libelreform.org/sign

Remember, you can sign the petition whatever your nationality and wherever you live. Indeed, signatories from overseas remind British politicians that the English libel law is out of step with the rest of the free world.

If you have already signed the petition, then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Moreover, if you have your own blog, you can join hundreds of other bloggers by posting this blog on your own site. There is a real chance that bloggers could help change the most censorious libel law in the democratic world.

We must speak out to defend free speech. Please sign the petition for libel reform at http://www.libelreform.org/sign

iPad!

31 Oct

Hello all!
Just doing a sample blogpost from my new iPad!
It’s absolutely awesome!
That is all.

News from Trading Standards on Bleachgate…

11 Oct

Hello all,

At home today, because I’m feeling sick and have a sore throat.

However, I have received a letter from Cardiff Trading Standards today about Miracle Mineral Solution. This, I guess, is the response to my council meeting public question where I asked to know what they were doing about it!

First off, it was due to my initial Trading Standards complaint that the FSA acted. Cardiff Trading Standards referred the matter to the FSA, who as we know, released a warning here.

Now, here’s for the very exciting news…

The FSA have advised me further that they have notified the European Commission so that the product may be withdrawn across the European Authority.

This is excellent! Also, some news that the FSA are advising local authorities

…of any websites in their area selling MMS so that enforcement action can be taken.

For those who wrote to Southwark Trading Standards and heard back from them that they were already dealing with it and already knew about MMS Health, now you know why!

Also, some more information regarding the very first complaint I made to Devon Trading Standards about MMS Europe. Yes, the website run by one Christian Pankhurst. Rather unsurprisingly

…the address on the website does not appear to be accurate…

Devon Trading Standards have since referred it onto East Cheshire Trading Standards, as that’s the area where it is believed Pankhurst ‘resides’.

Also, Cardiffians, good news! It appears that there are no MMS sellers here in Cardiff.  Hurray! Even so…

…we are in the process of checking premises…

They’re really taking it seriously, which is good. The more action taken on the sellers of MMS, the better. Thanks again to everyone who has helped! Now, lets wait for (even more of) the fall out…

P.S. You can listen to my interview on RI Podcast here. They also managed to get the man himself, Jim Humble for an interview here. Well worth a listen. Very enlightening. You can also read Marsh’s thoughts on Jim here.

Not a Doctor

23 Sep

Not a doctor

Do the same and link back if you get what I’m doing Winking smile

More Bleachgate!

19 Sep

Hello everyone!

So, since the last post on Bleachgate, a number of exciting developments have happened…

Firstly, I’ve been invited to speak at a couple of conferences. More on this closer to the time… I’m also going to be on a radio program, Pythagoras’ Trousers, soon. You can get this in podcast format here.

Also, I went back to school. Mum and Dad told my school principle about Bleachgate, who was very impressed! Smile with tongue out I got a mention in school assembly on Friday, which was pretty cool. My school have also contacted a local newspaper and are going to put out a press release sometime this week.

That, however, came after an article on The Guardian website on Wednesday, by Martin Robbins (@mjrobbins)

You can find it here: Miracle Mineral Solution

He’s told me that he’ll be following it up tomorrow, so keep tuned.

Also, something incredible has happened…

Jim Humble claimed he took his product to Africa, which is where he did the majority of his “research”. As a direct result of the story making The Guardian website, an African newspaper, The Daily Nation reported here and here about the danger Miracle Mineral Solution poses to citizens. This is brilliant news and really demonstrates how news can spread to the people who need it the most.

Thank you to everyone who helped spread this story. You are incredible and have been instrumental in getting this story to those who really need it.

– Rhys

Ms. Willott responds…

19 Aug

So, Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central has very promptly replied to my email regarding her signing of the two EDM’s. While I commend her quick response, I’m not sure I agree with everything she says in the letter.

Dear Mr Morgan,

Thank you for your email about homeopathy and the EDMs which I have signed on the issue.

Both of the EDMs you mention discuss specific issues surrounding the treatment of homeopathy by bodies charged with assessing and analysing them. For instance, EDM 908 deals specifically with how the Science and Technology Select Committee’s report into homeopathy was conducted. I believe that in this case there were real concerns about the committee’s methodology which undermine the credibility of it’s report, for example, refusing to take evidence from the Society of Homeopaths.

I agree with you that it is very important that ay decision taken on medical treatments is made in a scientific way. However, this often means talking to people you disagree with. By not doing so, I am concerned that the Science and Technology Committee failed to carry out their investigation properly.

The other part of the EDM which I support is the Government maintain the policy of allowing individual NHS trust to determine whether to fund a particular course of treatment, As a Lib Dem I believe that people have a right to choose to be treated in a particular way providing it is safe, and, that if the treatment is cost-effective, they should be available to get treatment on the NHS. However, it must be left up to NICE and individual NHS trusts to determine whether something is cost-effective and shouldn’t be the role of the Government. That is why I was so concerned by some of the Select Committee’s recommendations because they suggested taking away the opportunity of NHS trusts to respond to their patients needs.

On the overall issue of homeopathy I again believe that we need to continue to research this area. Whilst I agree that many of the trials have suggested that this type of treatment has no medical effects, some other studies have suggested a link and therefore this is an area which requires further study before a definitive decision is reached.

I hope that this helps explain why I signed the EDMs you mentioned and reassures you that I understand the importance of scientific evidence, especially in decisions as important as medical treatments.

Thank you again for your email and if you have any more questions about this or any other matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Willott MP

Cardiff Central

I am currently considering a response and will write another blogpost when I have worked out exactly what I want to say. I just wanted to get this out there.

– Rhys

Dear Ms. Willott

16 Aug

As those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen, I discovered that my local MP, Lib Dem Jenny Willott, had signed disgraced MP David Tredinnick’s Early Day Motion 908. The one where he says he disagrees with the SciTech Committee’s Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy and that instead, we should be listening to countries such as France, Germany and India because they make even more provisions for homeopathy than we, the UK, do. Upon learning of this, I started writing an email to her explaining how homeopathy doesn’t work and how this has already been definitively proven.

“Dear Ms. Willott,

My name is Rhys Morgan. I am 15 years old.

I would like to express my disdain that you signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy. I also would like to express my disdain that you, in March 2007, signed Early Day Motion 1240: NHS Homeopathic Hospitals.

Firstly, most homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredient. They’re literally just sugar pills with water that has had ritual magic performed upon it, sprinkled on top.

This is because they’ve passed a number called Avogadro’s constant. The water has been diluted so many times that there are no more molecules of the original “mother tincture” left in the final result.

This happens twice before reaching the most common homeopathic dilution, 30C. It happens once at 12C, where 1ml of “mother tincture” has been diluted in 100ml of water and this has been repeated 11 more times. It then happens again, where nothing from the 12C dilution is present in a 24C dilution. If homeopathy were to work, we’d have to throw everything we knew about modern physics and chemistry out of the window.

I am not currently aware of any good evidence that homeopathy works. In fact, I am aware of evidence that it does not. When it comes to conventional medicine, new drugs are tested under a method called controlled, double blinded trials. The control bit means that either the new drug is tested against the currently accepted standard treatment, where it has to prove it is more effective or has less side effects; or it’s tested against a placebo. A sugar pill. In well designed trials, homeopathy, seeing as remedies are sugar pills themselves, unsurprisingly fails to show that it works better than even the placebo. What can we make from this? That homeopathy is nothing but placebo, where it appears it might work. Another reason it may appear to work it something called regression to the mean. Basically, illnesses come and go. When you’re at your most ill is when you’re most likely to take a medicine for it. You then start getting better and attribute this getting better to the medicine. However, what actually happened in this situation is that the illness went away naturally.

Another thing that happens occasionally with medical trials, is that they are subject to meta-analyses. This is where data is collaborated from numerous high-quality trials to see if scientists have missed something before. One such example is giving steroids to premature babies. While some trials showed there was a positive benefit, others didn’t. As such for many years, even though doctors had data saying it was worth it, they had other evidence saying it wasn’t worth it and as such did not give steroids to premature babies. However, a not-for-profit organisation called the Cochrane Collaboration produced a meta-analysis of the data available. By discounting the badly designed studies and lining the results up one against the other on a “blobbogram” they discovered that, actually, providing steroids to premature babies was likely to allow them to live longer than premature babies who didn’t receive steroids. Even though the breakthrough thought had come through years previous, it was only now that doctors and other scientists had the definitive proof that giving steroids to premature babies was a good thing. Where does homeopathy come into this, you might ask? Well, a definitive meta-analysis has been performed upon the medical trial data of homeopathy. It has, unsurprisingly, shown that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo. The name of this meta-analysis is Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy.

You can find the Abstract on PubMed and the full article at http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67177-2/abstract

It is with this reasoning that I ask you remove your support for both Early Day Motions. Homeopathy simply does not work and recognising homeopathic hospitals is a waste of already scare NHS resources. If something does not work, it cannot be “cost effective” by any stretch of the imagination. I also direct you to Andy Lewis’ blogpost regarding EDM908 http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2010/03/mp-david-tredinnick-is-wrong-about-the-homeopathy-report.html

Thank you for taking the time to read this email,

Yours sincerely,

Rhys Morgan”

I await a response…