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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Anonymous sperm available on the net

A WEBSITE which supplies sperm to single women and lesbians who want to have a baby claims that it has found a way around Britain’s new laws overturning donor anonymity.

Controversial internet site ManNotIncluded is now offering a service which allows women to use sperm sent from countries where donor anonymity is still legal.

After 1 April this year, egg and sperm donations in the UK can no longer be made anonymously - meaning that any child born as a result of a donation can find out the donor’s identity when they reach the age of 18.

Last week, fertility experts said that the forthcoming laws had already created a shortage of donors and warned that it would lead to "fertility tourism" and an increased use of unlicensed donor providers, such as ManNotIncluded.

Use of unlicensed sperm could potentially cause problems over paternity rights.


unlicensed sperm? aaaaaahhhhhaaaahahahahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Legal row over iTunes domain name

An internet entrepreneur is taking legal action against computer giant Apple over the iTunes domain name.

Benjamin Cohen, 22, registered in 2000, but earlier this month the UK domain name registry, Nominet, handed the name over to Apple.

Mr Cohen, of Hackney, east London, has applied to the High Court for a judicial review, saying Nominet is biased against small businesses.

But Nominet say legal experts found Mr Cohen was abusing his registration.

The body's judgement, dated the 10 March, states by offering to sell the domain name and by continuing to re-direct people from Mr Cohen is abusing his registration.


It seems that a big mistake was offering to sell the domain. As was the redirect. Had the domain been developed it would most likely have remained in the possession of the original owner, assuming that no attempt was made to cash-in on the Apple brand, which appears to have been successfully argued because of the redirect. Shame.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Researchers Trace Evolution to Relatively Simple Genetic Changes

In a stunning example of evolution at work, scientists have now found that changes in a single gene can produce major changes in the skeletal armor of fish living in the wild.

The surprising results, announced in the March 25, 2005, issue of journal Science, bring new data to long-standing debates about how evolution occurs in natural habitats.

More ...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Top ten scams targeting consumers

BBC NEWS | UK | Top ten scams targeting consumers

Top ten scams targeting consumers

On Wednesday, the Office of Fair Trading is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the ways in which people are conned to try to stop this happening.

To coincide with the launch, OFT has identified the top ten scams targeted at UK consumers.


Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are often advertised as paid work from home.

On application, would-be workers are asked for money up-front to pay for materials and, after payment, hear nothing.

Alternatively, people are asked to invest in a business with little chance of success.


These include scams which go under the name of genuine lotteries like the Canadian lottery and the El Gordo Spanish lottery.

Unsolicited telephone calls tell people they are being entered into a prize draw.

Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery.

But before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes.

The prize, of course, does not exist.


These schemes are promoted through websites offering top-of-the range electronic gadgets as free gifts in return for spending about £20 on an inexpensive product, such as a mobile phone signal booster.

Consumers who buy the product then join a waiting list to receive their free gift.

The person at the top of the list receives his/her gift only after a prescribed number of new members join up.

The majority of those on the list will never receive the item.


Holiday prize draws, sweepstakes and foreign lottery mailings form the basis of many scams.

The majority appear to be notification of a prize in an overseas draw or lottery.

Prizes can apparently only be awarded in return for administration or registration fees.


Investors attend a free presentation, which aims to persuade them to hand over large amounts of money to enrol on a course promising to make them a successful property dealer.

Schemes can involve the offer of buying yet-to-be built properties at a discount.

Other variations include a buy-to-let scheme where companies offer to source, renovate and manage properties, claiming good returns from rental income.

The properties are generally near-derelict and the tenants non-existent.


Postal notification of a win in a sweepstake or a holiday offer in this scam include instructions to ring a premium rate number.

This is generally an 090 number.

Calls to the number incur significant charges, the recorded message is lengthy, and the prize often does not exist.


An unsolicited telephone call offers the opportunity to invest in 'soon-to-be-rare commodities such as shares, fine wines or gem stones.

These investments often carry high risk and may be worth a lot less than you pay.

The shares are not quoted on any stock exchange and could be difficult to sell afterwards while gem stones are often said to be stored in secretive Swiss bank vaults, so the investment can never be seen.


These frauds take the form of an offer, via letter, e-mail or fax, to share a huge sum of money in return for using the recipient's bank account to transfer of the money out of the country.

The perpetrators will often then use the bank account details to empty their victim's bank account.

Alternatively, they can convince the victim that money is needed up front.

They will often say this money is necessary to bribe officials.


This is another advance fee fraud, this time usually originating in Canada.

Adverts appear in local newspapers offering quick loans regardless of credit history.

Respondents are told their loans have been agreed but they must pay a fee to cover insurance before it is released.

After that fee is paid, the consumer never hears from the company again and the loan never appears.


Pyramid schemes offer a return on a financial investment based on the number of new recruits to the scheme.

Investors are misled about the likely returns. There are simply not enough people to support the scheme indefinitely.

Spud spam-clickers keep the spammers happy

The 'bad behaviour' of e-mail users is helping to sustain the spam industry, a new study has found.

According to a survey conducted by security firm Mirapoint and market research company the Radicati Group, nearly a third of e-mail users have clicked on links in spam messages.

One in ten users have bought products advertised in junk mail.

Clicking on a link in a spam message can expose people to viruses and alert spammers to live e-mail accounts.

more from the beeb ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

UK zombie pc threat

The UK leads the world in home computers that have been hijacked by malicious hackers for use as zombie pc's warns a report.

Research by security firm Symantec shows that 25% of the world's remotely controlled PCs are found in Britain.

The compromised computers are being used to send spam, launch attacks on websites and steal identities.

Symantec said the rise of broadband in Britain and user ignorance about the dangers of the net contributed to the figure.

The Basics of Online Security

  • Install anti-virus software

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date

  • Install a personal firewall

  • Use Windows updates to patch security holes

  • Do not open e-mail messages that look suspicious

  • Do not click on e-mail attachments you were not expecting

more ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

25 Minute Wonder Drug For MS!

Aimspro produces ‘dramatic improvement’ in eyesight of MS patients

Britain’s 80,000 Multiple Sclerosis sufferers have been given fresh hope following the success of an independent clinical trial of Aimspro.

MS patients with the condition Optic Neuritis – an inflammation of the optic nerve and one of the most common features of multiple sclerosis - were treated with Aimspro in a recent clinical trial at Oxford University and the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Patients’ vision improved significantly following treatment with Aimspro. The trial participants demonstrated improvement in objectively measured visual field scores over a two week course of treatment, under double blind conditions - and they experienced no side effects as a result of the treatment.

These highly significant improvements in the patients sight were observed after only three sub-cutaneous injections – and the possibility of a placebo effect was excluded.

This is the first time that any treatment has been shown conclusively to reduce an aspect of disability in the chronic phases of MS to this degree.

The Aimspro trial at the John Radcliffe was a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover trial, independently designed and analysed by two of Britain’s leading MS experts, Prof. Paul Matthews and Dr. Jackie Palace, and their research fellow Dr. Georgina Burke. Patients and researchers were ‘blinded’ as to whether participants were receiving Aimspro or placebo. The crossover design meant that each patient received two weeks (three injections) of medication, and two weeks of placebo, each phase separated by a ‘washout’ period.

In tertiary outcome measures, there was a significant treatment effect on visual fields in both of the assessed measures (p=0.02 for manual points score, p=0.03 for Mean Deviation score). The report also mentions that the treatment was 'well tolerated' (i.e. there were no significant side effects).

Optic neuritis is a complication of MS where discomfort behind the eye is followed by a loss of central vision (particularly colour vision) as demonstrated using visual field testing. Generally patients’ vision recovers fully or partially as an attack of MS on the optic nerve ceases, but some have their sight permanently affected. The patients in the Oxford trial had entered a chronic phase of visual loss, with little chance of significant improvement. All the trial patients have requested to remain on the therapy.

Dr BryanYoul, a consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology at the Royal Free Hospital in London, whose own findings on the medication’s application in MS and other neurological conditions are about to be published in the UK and Australia, is hugely encouraged by the Oxford trial results.

“These trial results are hugely significant and have wider implications for the treatment of MS. Although this was a small trial, the Oxford Neurologists have shown that a brief course of three well tolerated sub-cutaneous injections of Aimspro, can demonstrably improve the condition of MS patients. And they echo other clinical observations which show this drug is able to improve mobility, bladder control and energy levels among MS patients.”

The Oxford trial confirms Dr Youl’s own findings in observational studies carried out last year in London.

He said:

“Within one hour of injection there was a significant improvement in colour vision, and comparison of pre-treatment and follow-up data also showed significant benefit.”

He added:

“Aimspro has a powerful and often rapid effect, producing dramatic improvement. We believe it to be restoring conduction in nerve and muscle fibres damaged by MS and other central and peripheral nervous system disorders, probably by an effect on biological structures within nerve and muscle known as voltage gated sodium channels.There is also clinical evidence to suggest that there may also be a repair process taking place in the longer term, which may reflect the medication’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties”.

Dr Youl is now working with UK and Australian colleagues, on confirming his early observations on the effect of Aimspro in leucodystrophies, inherited and inflammatory peripheral neuropathies, and a range of rheumatological disorders, and muscle disorders.
Dr Bryan Youl has shown that patients with long standing complications of optic neuritis can benefit from the medication, which is given as an injection under the skin, in as little as 25 minutes. Simple neurophysiological tests verified that this phenomenon results from a reversal of ‘conduction block’ in optic nerve fibres. Dr Deidre McIntosh PhD has identified molecules critical to the mechanism of action. Dr Chris Moore FRCP has confirmed neuroscientists’ expectation that modification of sodium channel triggering is critical to the process.

The Oxford/John Radcliffe team intend to publish their analysis of the trial results in a clinical scientific journal later this year.

Biotech shares anyone?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Cholesterol feeds prostate cancer

High cholesterol levels accelerate the growth of prostate tumours, research has found.

A team from Boston's Children Hospital also found that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may inhibit prostate cancer growth.

The findings may help explain why prostate cancer is more common in the West, where diets tend to be high in cholesterol.

Details are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Blog news

Apple has won its legal fight to make three bloggers reveal who told them about unreleased products.

meanwhile, back at the blog-cave ...

An Iranian weblogger has been jailed for 14 years on charges of spying and aiding foreign counter-revolutionaries.

Arash Sigarchi was arrested last month after using his blog to criticise the arrest of other online journalists.

Mr Sigarchi, who also edits a newspaper in northern Iran, was sentenced by a revolutionary court in the Gilan area.

His sentence, criticised by human rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders, comes a day after an online "day of action" to secure his release.

and of course, the Bloggies have announced the winners of the best blogs ...

The best of the web's blogs - online diaries or websites where people publish their thoughts - have been recognised in the annual Bloggies.

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things took the top overall blog prize.

The prize for the best British blog and the lifetime achievement award went to, a site dedicated to musings about people and new media.

Freed Cannibal Killer Jailed 'Forever'

A voodoo-inspired cannibal killer who ate the brain of one of his victims was behind bars tonight after being told he will never be freed from custody.

Triple-killer Peter Bryan, 35, believed eating human flesh would make him invincible.

He killed two men within months of each other and wanted to go on killing to create the “buzz” he desired.

And the Old Bailey heard today how Bryan was under the care of mental health experts – and was being assessed for a possible return to the community – when he struck in February last year.

He killed friend Brian Cherry, 43, then fried his brains in butter and ate them.

Doctors said Bryan was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder. no shit!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Himalayan glaciers 'melting fast'

Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people, the conservation group WWF has warned.

In a report, the WWF says India, China and Nepal could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades.

The Himalayas contain the largest store of water outside the polar ice caps, and feed seven great Asian rivers.

The group says immediate action against climate change could slow the rate of melting, which is increasing annually.

"The rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers will first increase the volume of water in rivers, causing widespread flooding," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the WWF's Global Climate Change Programme.

"But in a few decades this situation will change

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Asbestos cancer victims 'ignored'

People suffering from a cancer caused by asbestos exposure are being being neglected, campaigners say.

Mesothelioma kills 1,800 people a year - more than cervical cancer - but there is no cure and treatment only relieves the symptoms.

A British Lung Foundation conference is due to demand that ministers invest more money into research and improve access to compensation.

The Department of Health said it was reviewing current treatment practices.

People with mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, often die within a year or so of diagnosis.

The disease can take years to develop after exposure to asbestos.

The government needs to take a two-pronged approach towards mesothelioma - improve the current treatments available and offer proper compensation
Liz Darlison, of Mesothelioma UK

The number of annual deaths from mesothelioma has been steadily increasing since the early 1960s when a couple of hundred a year died.

The death rate is expected to keep rising until 2015. By 2050 90,000 people are expected to have died from the cancer.

Victims who were exposed to asbestos at their workplace are entitled to compensation from government, while those who were exposed by other means can get money under common law.

British Lung Foundation chief executive Dame Helena Shovelton said she wanted the conference to "put mesothelioma on the map".

"Mesothelioma is a particularly cruel disease because sufferers simply contract it through their choice of job, where they live, who they live with or in some way they could never have known about.

'Not good enough'

"The government needs to make it more of a priority, it was hardly mentioned in the 2000 Cancer Plan and victims are basically told there is nothing that can be done for them.

"This is distressing for those diagnosed with the cancer and simply is not good enough. It would not happen with any other cancer.

"It also needs to be easier for people to access compensation. When you are diagnosed it is not easy or a first priority to go about getting compensation."

And Liz Darlison, of support group Mesothelioma UK, said one of the problems was that not many health professionals were fully aware of the disease.

"The government needs to take a two-pronged approach towards mesothelioma - improve the current treatments available and offer proper compensation."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said ministers had set up a lung cancer advisory group to help improve the delivery of services.

She added: "A subgroup has been set up specially to look at this type of cancer.

"it will recommend what action should be taken to tackle this particular cancer including service organisation, treatment and awareness raising, and will be making an initial report to the wider advisory group in April."

Monday, March 07, 2005

My techno woes

It is now official. Technology is out to get me. It seems that just when I solve or resolve one techno problem another crops up to take it's place. Finally replaced the gearbox on the car and what happens? The heater packs in. Fix the heater. The boot locks siezes.

But it isn't only motor vehicles giving me grief. No. One of my websites went down at the weekend - just in time for a review by Overture on around 40 carefully constructed ads I was planning to run. Result? All rejected because the site was down. WTF!? That was the first I knew about it and I had been happily sending ppc to the site from google too. Fer feck's sake!!!