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About robh

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  1. Or Boyzone - oh no I see a problem there... I believe the ladies only policy worked well in attracting ladies who didn't want to share gym space with guys. Well there are some guys with the same issues so how about setting up a WrinklyZone gym. I'd sign up for BeerGutGuys gym in a flash so I'd not have to expose my "manly physique" to the mockery of fit young ladies who, my fantasies assure me, throng the mixed gyms.
  2. One mechanism for spreading malware is to leave memory sticks around so someone picks them up, tries them and gets a virus/trojan. Not sure if a dongle might present a similar risk but be careful.
  3. Just had one of the usual guys at the door trying to sell me, not sure what, I never let it get that far. I never buy anything from them, I try to get rid of them ASAP, why waste my time or theirs? Today I had to go downstairs in my dressing gown as it was about time the postman calls. It's a nuisance. On the other hand they do look as if life hasn't been kind, I'd not mind giving them a couple of quid except that would encourage the practise. "No doorstep sales" notices don't work. I wonder what the background story is? They've always got a card they flash to prove they're registered doorstep sellers or something - what are they, do they really have any validity? Who issues them? Where do these guys get their stock? Is someone else sending them out and taking half the money they make? Is there a better way of helping these guys? Does anyone actually buy from them or do people just give them a quid to go away? How much do they earn? If some people do give them a quid they only need one every 10 mins to be on the equivalent of statutory minimum wage, I guess that might be quite a realistic target in some parts of town.
  4. We got the call twice yesterday. Yes I'm TPS registered, No I've not entered a competition. The TPS reduces the number of sales calls but I still usually get 1 or 2 a month (4 yesterday!) Complaints to the TPS are a complete waste of time. They can fine up to £5000 per call but they have NEVER fined anyone. In 2008 the only action taken by TPS/ICO was to send "please stop doing this" letters to a grand total of 4 companies! So useless are TPS that there is now a commercial competitor trading on the failure of TPS. In their sales bumph they write: "Have you ever tried contacting the Telephone Preference Service? Have they actually stopped you from receiving nuisance calls? Whether they have or not - the Call Prevention Registry puts the needs of its customers first. You can expect to get attentive action from our company at all times." However I suspect this is just a scam charging £35.75 p.a. to register your number at TPS. Rather than reporting calls to TPS waste as much of their time and money as possible - how about inviting the salespeople to visit? In the Limoges porcelain instance how about a Sheffield Forum flash-mob attending? Or maybe if we all called the hotel and complained they'd cancel the booking?
  5. Make your own, it's not difficult and you can guarantee maximum possible calories and cholesterol.
  6. People don't own cats, cats own people. This is a slave and slavemaster situation, guess which you are. Your biggest worry should be the name your cat chooses for you. Whilst we had extensive and entertaining dialogue on many other topics, one of my cats was reluctant to tell me his name for either himself or me so I called him "the cat". I suspect he may have called me "the b*start who had my balls cut off" (in Cat there is a single word to represent that phrase) but whenever I raised the topics he remained inscrutable. His name didn't go down to well at the Vets, when they call out the name of the next "patient" there was a risk of some confusion if they call out "the cat" so they gave him my surname - which just goes to show how little Vets know about cat psychology.
  7. I hope you are right. I expect most of those in Sheffield who voted Labour did so because they always have, because their dad did and because they reinterpreted Karl Marx's statement: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is transformed into: "I can sit on my arse doing b**gger all and the state should make someone else provide me with everything I want". (HELP! I think I'm turning into t020!). ... and Ecclesall Road (south) is God's own country (Suspicion confirmed!)
  8. I don't understand. You would be furious that, because sunbed industry don't abide by their own code of practice to warn type 1 in particular of the risks of burns and cancer, there are calls for tighter regulation? It is up to the individuals to decide whether to use a sunbed but how can they make an informed decision if they are not aware of the risks. The code of practice requires that customers are given information on sunbed risks, it's then up to them, with the benefit of that information, to decide. CA found that 5% of shops visited provided advice that the code of practise regards as "adequate", none reached the "good" standard and of the 95% that failed to reach the "adequate" standard several gave "misleading" advice - i.e. all that mattered to them was getting your money. Type 1 are at particular risk and permitting them on sunbeds might be compared to a pub landlord urging you to have a couple more pints before you drive home. If type 1 want to disregard the fact that they are at particular risk they can expose themselves to natural sunlight or buy a sunlamp (which will include written warnings) but for a tanning shop to provide the service for them is at the least irresponsible. Should tanning shops be free to make money by knowingly exposing members of the public to something which, in the case of type 1, is going to harm them? As for the Consumers Association being scathingly dismissed as "some consumer group" I think you should look at their record, especially in respect of food, medicine and health. They have brought dozens of medical & food industry scandals to public and government notice (and got government policies changed) and all funded by CA members. To eliminate any risk of partisanship CA don't accept any funding or advertising at all. Perhaps you'd prefer to believe you can trust government and industry to act in a responsible manner and protect out best interests at all times, even if doing so is not in their best short-term interest. But if you want to disregard CA, Cancer Research UK considers the skin cancer risk so high that under 16's should be banned from using sunbeds and has called for licensing of sunbed parlours. If people like the appearance of tanned skin then they have the option of using fake-tan which, as far as I am aware, has no known health risks. Do you have some kind of family or financial interest in the sunbed industry? I would be furious if I found I had been exposed to a health risk by someone who knew their product was putting me at risk but chose not to tell me hiding behind an excuse that it would constitute discrimination were they to give me the appropriate information.
  9. There is a government consultation document about identity cards. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs3/identitycardsconsult.pdf Why not read the report and take an active part in the consultation process by submitting your opinion to government (and the forum ?) based on your understanding of the consultation document proposals rather than just on received opinion from the press, pressure groups etc. You've got till 20th July.
  10. I rather incline to the French system where there is no religious education in state schools - and no religious symbolism or identitifiers permitted - visible crucifix necklace, religious headgear etc. Trouble is that would raise a storm of protests about discrimination here. Not that I'm against religion or religious education, I just don't think it's the job of the state. And I don't have a problem with faith-neutral "comparative religion" lessons because those should help foster a wider understanding of world religions.
  11. Don't know how good they are but you could try: http://www.wighamintensive.com/ 35 Stone Croft Road Sheffield 0797 466 9671 or 0114 236 1980
  12. The old system was not perfect. Individual papers could theoretically be traced back to individuals. I could turn up to vote pretending to be someone else, and there were other frauds. Individuals involved in the count could deface a few papers making them spoiled votes, insignificant if the winner had a large majority but sometimes differences are down to single figures. Introduction of a new system was an opportunity to use technology to improve the security of the vote. It has been implemented in such a way as to achieve the exact opposite. Worse, it makes pretences at being secure - like the utterly worthless witness declaration. What proportion of the witness statements are being validated? Are any checks being made between the votes cast and the registrar's office to see how many people who died in the last few months still managed to vote? Technically not difficult but to do so would expose the fallacy of it being a secret ballot. Old people's homes have always been a target for candidates, of course the old biddys would vote for the nice young gentleman who was so kind as to mini-bus them to the polling station. It just got easier for the nice young man, he just has to offer to "help them with that complicated paperwork", or an employee at the home could intercept all the ballot papers and pass them on in bulk if nobody notices their non-arrival. The new system has everything recorded by bar codes so to trace which way I voted could easily become a quick database lookup rather than having to dig through a pile of scrappy little bits of paper. If I can collect other people's blank papers there is nothing to prevent me completing a few dozen. Under the old system, if I had showed up at the school hall 10 times each time purporting to be a different person I'd stand a good chance of being spotted. We are at the mercy of the postal system. If it failed to deliver a ballot paper to me I could ask for a replacement (if there was time and if I realised what the deadlines were and if I knew how and where to ask). Under the old system, I could just turn up at the polling station whether I'd received my voting notification or not. But what if the postal system fails to deliver my completed voting paper? Just imagine there is a post office worker emptying pillarboxes, he decides the voters of Dore are overall inclined to differ from his personal political beliefs, it would be so easy to spot those large distinctive envelopes and consign a few dozen to the dustbin. Can I check that my vote has reached the tellers? electoral fraud stories: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3771083.stm http://stolenvotes.org.uk/
  13. We are getting way off topic here but I'll go with the flow! As regards motor insurance for women, the insurers are not offering lower premiums because women are safer drivers. They are doing it because, on a statistical basis, the total cost of claims from women drivers is lower than for men. Some people choose to believe that implies that women are safer drivers. They may be but there may be other factors like the amount and nature of journeys they take, the mix of urban/long distance/rural driving. Maybe they, on average, drive more slowly so they might have just as many accidents as men but because of their lower speed there is less damage and so claims are smaller or not made at all. Quoting isolated examples of people you degard as a good (male)or bad (female) drivers is as stupid an arguement as the people who argue that smoking doesn't cause cancer because they know someone aged 90 who smoked 100 a day since the age of 3 and someone else who never smoked at all but died of cancer. My intuitive reaction on driver safety is to ask this: when you see cars doing 50 mph on quiet residential roads, what proportion of the drivers are male/female? In my experience young males (usually with 500 watt speakers and baseball caps). As it happens the insurers have spotted this statistic and the young attract very high insurance premiums. I'm not going to man the barricades to fight against that blatantly ageist policy on the part of the insurers. Overall I don't know what factors are the most important in making the cost of insuring a woman lower but doubtless there is some scientific research on the topic. Lower premiums for lower risk are perfectly fair, women also pay lower premiums for life insurance because on average they live longer. In the end it all balances out, a woman buying an annuity will get distinctly poorer terms than a man of the same age because on average the annuity will have to pay out for a longer period. You could even argue that women do already pay the same for motor insurance as men but because women live longer their lifetime motor insurance premium is spread over more years and so the annual premium is smaller. As regards treating this as discriminatory, its a stupid proposal. How will the insurers react? Will they say OK lets reduce the premium for everyone to the lower rate? Of course not, they'll increase everyone to the higher rate. And what a surprise, its a European Directive. It's no more discriminatory than the practice of having women-only clothes shops, and whilst I'm not banned from entering the shop, they won't let me in the communal changing room and they don't have a mens changing room.
  14. Yes people do fall for it, I read somewhere that the average financial loss to them is £30,000. I believe the typical cost of sending bulk emails is about £10 per million so for the scammers it's worth sending 100 million if they just get one success a year. Beware, there are plenty of more plausible sounding schemes. Sadly the ONLY approach is to regard ALL incoming email as trash until proven otherwise. There is very little possibility of any spam filtering technology being successful without the cooperation of the legislators - who are so in bed with the marketing companies that in both UK and US the legislation passed last year was not merely ineffective but counter-productive. How many of those email exhortations to buy (legitimate) products and services are just fronts to collect your money but never send you anything in return? Or send you something worth a fraction of what you paid? I refuse to have anything to do with any organisation that sends me unsolicited mail, if they are legit then why use the tools of a fraudster?
  15. Humans seem to have some kind of inherent want or need to believe in forces outside their own lives and influence which act on them for the better or worse. Every culture has developed some kind of religious belief. Under Socialism in the USSR religion was suppressed but the state tried to make itself the focus of that belief. Many individuals who reject organised religion merely substitute it with a belief in fairies, aliens, UFOs, crop circles, ghosts, horoscopes. A couple of writers here have described what they believe to be evidence to support the suggestion that mediums can either tell you things you already know or predict future events. So what? What use is that? dollypeg says "He said that the little girl had problems with her head and back, my daughter had hydrochephalus and spina bifida." so what benefit accrued to anyone by him telling you, in very substantially less detail, what you already knew. She also says "He told me that two men would come into my life and gave me the initials R and C. The first would cause me a lot of heartache but the second would be my soul mate. I had a very unhappy marriage to a Robert ..." So what use was that information? Did dollypeg studiously avoid all contact with any man who had an initial R? No, she married one. And in any case they would be impossible to avoid. Bear in mind that your local tax inspector, Mr Robinson, could cause a lot of heartache by reassessing the last 6 years and demanding back taxes or a previously unknown Richard could crash his car into yours resulting in serious injury. Indeed Richard could cause you heartache by crashing into the car of one of your close friends or relatives so you'd better put them on alert too. So my answer to the original question is: Mediums are fake but even were they real they can provide no USEFUL information. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, forget James Randi's million dollars but request next week's lottery numbers (I am prepared to provide the stake money. If you give me the numbers, I'll split the winnings 50/50).
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