Thursday, 10 July 2008

Micheal Turner

Micheal Turner Passes Away at 37

I only just heard, but a great man has passed.

Micheal Turner - of Witch Blade, Fathom and Aspen fame - passed away ten days ago after a long battle with cancer.

Micheal Turner was the man, the artist, who got me into comics in the first place, his art was what inspired me to do it.

I know in the last year or so, I turned away from his work, but that doesn't change the fact that he was a huge inspiration to me, one of my biggest influences.

He was a brilliant artist and a brilliant writer.

He will surely be missed.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Homeopathy: An Essay

Homeopathy enjoys a rather high rate of popularity in the Western World, despite the fact that the practice is so far entirely unproven, by numerous scientific investigations. In fact, in most cases, when an investigation is undertaken and negative results recorded, the practitioners often fall back on the old complaint that ‘alternative therapies’ should not be investigated using ‘orthodox methods’, because they do not capture the intricacies of the therapy.

Homeopathy supposedly works on the basis of ‘Simila Similibus Curenta’ – or ‘Like Cures Like’ – and was founded on the observations of Homeopathy’s creator, the German Physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (10 April 1755 – 2nd July 1843).

Hahnemann was a gifted linguist, having mastered five languages by the age of twenty, and a further four in following years. He studied Medicine for two years at the Leipzig University and a further ten months at the Vienna University – apparently moving from Leipzig to Vienna for wont of facilities in the former.

Hahnemann believed that the medicine of his time did as much harm as it did good:

My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines. The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice in the first years of my married life and occupied myself solely with chemistry and writing

Hahnemann gave up his practice in 1784 and lived chiefly as a writer and translator. This is where he came across the information that would form the beginnings of his development of Homeopathy. While translating ‘A Treatise on the Materia Medica’ by William Cullen, he read that Cinchona, the bark of a Peruvian tree, was effective in treating malaria because of its astringency.

Wishing to understand how this ‘cure’ worked, he tested it on himself in small amounts – 4g of the powdered form, which contained only trace amounts of the actual active ingredient, Cinchona. From his reactions to this substance (heart irregularities, fever, thirst etc) – which have since been hypothesised as an allergic reaction to the quinine present in the medicine – he deduced that the application of any remedy that evokes similar reactions to an illness in a healthy person, that same application would cure the ‘like’ illness in a sufferer.
This formed the basis of his theory, which later came to be known as Homeopathy (from the Greek, hómoios ‘similar’ and pathos ‘suffering/disease’).

Taking this gross generalisation, Hahnemann began to experiment. He tested a series of substances on healthy people, recording the reactions of his subjects to each one. From the reactions, he tried to work out which illnesses they would ‘cure’. The process of investigation included keeping detailed notes on the subject’s emotions, thoughts and activities while taking the ‘remedy’ and was called ‘Proving’.

The process of ‘Proving’ is still used today:

A healthy person takes each of the various substances over a variety of time periods, from days to months, with every single subsequent physical, mental and emotional event and experience carefully recorded, as they happen, minute by minute. One recent account of a proving of argentium sulphuricum, for example, includes the report that ‘crashing pots in cafe area don’t put me off’ and ‘as I get ready for work, my nose looks bigger.’ Physical symptoms include ‘teeth hurt after eating soup’ and ‘feel hot but no fever and feel as if sweat is trying to come out but no sweating.’

However, his initial trials showed an unacceptable risk to the healthy person. To combat this, he began to dilute the ‘remedies’ before continuing the trials.
Despite his claim that Succussion (systematic mixing through vigorous shaking) and Potentization (to render the latent power of anything/something available) still resulted in the healthy individuals producing symptoms, no clinical trial has yet reproduced the results.

Hahnemann believed that this process of dilution allowed the ‘remedies’ to act on the disease itself, while leaving alone the organs of the body – in a process where the ‘remedy’, due to having it’s ‘coarseness’ removed through dilution, acts only on the nerves (the part of the body closest to the soul).

It has to be explained that Hahnemann believed that disease and illness is transmitted by ‘dynamic’ (invisible) forces, as explained in this quote, from his book ‘Materia Medica Pura’:

What is dynamic influence, dynamic force? We see that earth causes the moon to revolve around it … by some invisible mysterious force and that the moon in its turn produces in the ocean at regular intervals alternating tides of ebb and flow … A magnet powerfully attracts a piece of iron or steel near it in a similar way; …The invisible force of the magnet does not need any mechanical (material) means, such as a hook or lever; it attracts the iron or a steel needle by its own pure, nonmaterial, invisible, spirit-like force. We have here a dynamic phenomenon. …In a similar way a child who has smallpox or measles will transmit them to a healthy child by approaching him, even without touching him. This contamination takes place invisibly (dynamically) at a distance, with no more transmission of any material particle from one to the other than from the magnet to the steel needle. A specific, spirit-like influence communicates smallpox or measles to the child nearby, just as the magnet communicates magnetic force to the needle.

And further explained in this quote from ‘Organon’:

This remarkable transformation of the properties of natural bodies through the mechanical action of trituration and succussion on their particles (while these particles are diffused in an inert dry or liquid substance) develops the latent dynamic powers previously imperceptible and as it were lying hidden asleep in them. These powers electively affect the vital principle of animal life. This process is called dynamization or potentization (development of medicinal power), and it creates what we call dynamizations or potencies of different degrees.

Today, the dilution process is a distinct point of consternation in the orthodox medical and pharmaceutical fields. The dilution process of Homeopathy has been revealed to reduce the remedy to miniscule and even non-existent amounts.

Of course, this is where we come to the crux of the problem. According to the dilution process of Homeopathy, the first dilution results in a ratio of 1:10, the second at 1:100, the third at 1:1000 and so on. Against all common sense and scientific knowledge, Homeopaths believe that the higher the dilution, the more powerful the ‘mother tincture’ is. This ratio – or degree of dilution – is known amongst Homeopaths as the ‘potency’.

Now, to understand the various remedies dilutions, you have to understand the terminology. So, a tenfold dilution is written as ‘x’ and a hundredfold dilution as ‘c’. In Homeopathic preparations, the most common potency level is 30x – in written form, this means that the ratio equals 1 part actual medication to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 parts water!

In terms easier to imagine, I bow to Quakwatch’s Dr. Stephen Barrett, as quoted in Suckers:

Imagine a cubic centimetre or mother tincture – about a fifth of a teaspoon full – mixed with enough water to produce a 30x dilution. This volume of water is greater than the amount needed to ‘fill a container more than fifty times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container, so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy’s Law of Infinitesimals is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness.’

Paraphrased from Homeopathy: The Ultimate Fake

According to physicist Robert Park, in order to get even one molecule of the mother tincture, from a 30x dilution, you’d need to drink 7,874 gallons of the mixture!
It gets worse. Many Homeopathic remedies are diluted, not at the relatively low ‘x’, but at the huge ‘c’ levels. In fact, the Practical Guide to Homeopathy states that a dose with a potency of 6c is an appropriate dosage to start with for minor problems – and after a few days, if the problem is not getting better, to up that dose to 30c!
That works out as 1 molecule of medication, to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water! The container to hold that volume of water, would necessarily be 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth.

More astonishingly, the popular Homeopathic cold remedy is Oscillococcinum, which comes from the liver of a French duck and has a potency of 200c.

Again, I leave the description to physicist Robert L. Park:

That would result in a dilution of 1 molecule of the extract (actual medication) to every 10 to the power of 400 molecules of water – that is 1 followed by 400 zeros. But there are only about 10 to the power of 80 (1 followed by 80 zeros) atoms in the entire universe. A dilution of 200c would go far, far beyond the dilution limit of the visible universe.

This is why real medical practitioners and pharmacists have a problem with Homeopathy. According to the Mathematician and Physicist Avagadro, any dilution beyond 24x, (24 dilutions at 1:10 parts) there is no chance of even a single molecule of the original medication remaining in the solution. In real terms, this means that out of the entire solution, only one single sample will contain a single molecule of the original medication, the remaining samples will contain absolutely nothing other than water.

These diluted solutions, once complete, are then dripped onto sugar pills, where the solution then evaporates, bottled and sold for extortionate amounts of money to vulnerable or gullible patients.

Now – to get even more confusing, Homeopaths dismiss the problems inherent in repeatedly diluting a solution, by claiming that the water contains a memory of the medication diluted into it, known as ‘the memory of water’.

Dr. Peter Fisher (Homeopath to Queen Elizabeth II) described it in New Scientist as:

I think it’s to do with changes in the structure of the water ...somehow information is stored in the water.

Basically, he is implying that the process of diluting the medication imprints the properties of the medication onto the water. He also shows that he doesn’t understand this hypothesis enough to even explain it.

Normally, at about this point, the Homeopath will attempt to use Quantum Physics to explain the hypothesis. However, as any Physicist will explain, Quantum Physics as they want to use it, does not apply to ‘large and/or un-isolated systems such as cells, people and pills.’

Now – also at this point – any thinking person will then ask ‘Does sugar also have a ‘memory’?’ Perhaps followed by ‘Does the water of the whole world not then contain ‘memories’ of every single thing it has passed through?’ How about, ‘What about when water passes through the sewage system?’ And ‘Does water have a selective memory?’

These are not questions Homeopaths are typically willing to answer – and if they do, obviously not with any degree of certainty.

Unfortunately, my choice of ‘vulnerable and gullible’ to describe the patients was not idle. For the most part, this is true. As with all forms of Complimentary and Alternative Medication (CAM), the biggest supporters are the healthy middle-aged Upper Class with lots of disposable income.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine study conducted in 2002, that surveyed 31,044 people as a supplement to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, Factors associated with highest rates of CAM use were ages 40-64, female gender, non-black/non-Hispanic race, and annual income of $65,000 or higher.

The majority of these users are not ill, they are what would be called 'health-freaks' - perfectly healthy people who only worry about fictional health problems because of the general day-to-day aches and pains of bipedalism on a body originally evolved for quadrapedalism.

However, alongside these health-freaks are the inevitable seriously, or terminally ill patients who turn to CAM as a last resort (or in some cases, the only resort) because it offers an unfounded, but all too appealing hope.

Homeopathy has, over the years, made various claims about cures. Curing cancers for instance. Every last one, though, has fallen by the wayside, unproven, with no evidence other than annecdotal evidence - and as we all know, annecdotal evidence is no evidence, especially to a scientist.

Homeopathy, as a trade, as well as offering unfounded hope, offers the personal, one-to-one doctor-patient relationship that people so yearn for in the modern age, but are rarely able to find due to GP time constraints. A Homeopath spends more than an hour per appointment, really listening to everything the patient says, whether it be silly complaints about general back pain, or full rants about troubles in the patients very life. This happens because Homeopathy bases it's remedies on the individual, not the illness.

So people flock to the trade, less for the 'cures' and more for the chance to have a 'real relationship' with their 'doctor'.

I say this from personal experience - I once visited a Homeopath and spent more than an hour being questioned minutely about anything that could have emotional, biological and psychological effects on me. I ended up pouring out my whole life story. It was this carthartic release of emotion, a 'psychological release' that allowed me to feel better and happier - not the silly little sugar pills they then prescribed me (which I stopped taking within days.)

Fortunately, in my case, this lead me to seek out actual psychological/councelling help, rather than relying on the Homeopaths and their extortionately priced sugar pills.

I leave you with the story I posted some time ago.

As final, unequivical proof that Homeopathic remedies have no effect, whatsoever on the human body - as in fact, they simply can't, it is biologically impossible for them to do so - I offer a report about some Belgium skeptics who decided to comit suicide by Homeopathy.

Seeing the errors of the skeptic’s ways, they resigned themselves to committing mass suicide by drinking a lethal dose of terribly toxic and dangerous drugs: snake poison, Belladonna or deadly nightshade, arsenic, dog’s milk, petrol, and cockroach. Dog’s milk does not sound that dangerous, but try milking a pit bull. To assure immediate death, these powerful drugs were immensely dynamized: the daring skeptics selected the over-the-counter 30C homeopathic solutions (reimbursed by the health insurance, if prescribed by a certified quack).

A dynamization of 30C means the poison is diluted [10.sup.60] times. That is a one followed by sixty zeros. The whole earth (estimated at [10.sup.50] molecules) is way too small to hold a single molecule in that dilution. That is, in homeopathic terms, an awfully powerful dilution. The immensely “dynamized” spirits of arsenic and snake poison (not to mention the pit bull milk) will rise from the liquid, and kill the skeptic on the spot. All important newspapers and TV stations were recruited to witness the terrible extermination of these dangerous minds.

The skeptics on death row solemnly queued to personally select their own toxin: “In Flander’s fields the skeppies glow, to take their poison, row on row.” In front of the assembled national press they filled their chalices and drained their drinks, fully expecting to meet their Maker (if He existed). The skeptics didn’t succeed in their suicide attempt, however. All of them survived.

From the May-June, 2004 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Heavily referenced from:

Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools Of Us All by Rose Shapiro
How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered The World by Francis Wheen
Wikipedia articles Homeopathy and Samuel Hahnemann

Thursday, 3 July 2008

When it gets right down to it...

I watch a particular 'forum' on DeviantArt and found this bloke and ended up arguing with him.

He starts off by telling a bot account that he hopes it dies:

Him: if you even exist DEVART, I hope you and your family dies because a long term, and painful CANCER

I respond:

Me: That's really very mature of you. No, really. Truly. ...You can tell I'm being sarcastic can't you? Ah well.

Him: I know devart dont exist nor he will respond, I just wanted to release the presure in this "oblibion" poll, besides, you read that, didn´t you? if deviantart keep banning pics for some stupid reason, i´ll keep myself going here and yelling to the everlasting vacum

Me: Precisely what good will it do? Why don't you figure out why your work was removed and learn from the experience? It's certainly a much better use of your time, than yelling at a bot that will never respond. Though I suppose you are causing the watchers much amusement.

Him: ha ha ha, that is just fine! so we have to bend like sheeps to whichever stupid new rule the deviantart staff decides to came out with???
if i want to post here some sexy girl I will do it... and by the way, do you even know why I was commplaining to "devart"?? they did not deleted a nude image, they just told me that some of them are required to being labeled as mature content, and THEY ARE NOT!!! they are wearing a skimpy out fit, and thats all!!! deviantart is going to hell if they coninue going forward the path of absolute intolerance... i am not a porno artist, you know? I just draw sexy things, thats why I am so angry, ok?

Me: On this particular site, yes, we do have to 'be like sheep' and follow the rules. You're supposed to read them before signing up. If the people running the site say your images need a mature filter, then according to THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THIS SITE, they do. If you don't like it, go to hentai or fur affinity or even that adult poser site. And after looking at your submissions, I find myself in complete agreement - most of them do need a mature filter.

Him: then go to other artists pages who are more famous than me, and display more flesh and sexy situations than me, and whimper to them because they are bending the rules, deviantart is full of hypocrital people, and it just run by INTERESTS, not by their elastic rules! so go teach some another about rules and shit. and I repeat to you, if if you find my stuff too wrong to be displayed with out a mature filter, just run to the church closer to your home, and pray to save my soul, I really need it

Me: I'm an atheist and a fascist, sorry, I don't pray. If you've spotted other art that needs filtering or removing, then report it - that's what the little report button is for.

Him: then you are telling me that as they delete my pics, i have to release myself fucking some other guy???????? oh god. look, I think we started quite badly... I apologice for my initial "rude mode" now, really, lets talk in a fair way, someting more usefull for our comunication, as far as we are no devart, lol.
I mind my own business, I think I dont need to report any other guy art, because I have never had the feeling of seeing anything wrong , nor here, nor in any extrahardcore drawing page, so I dont feel like going over deviantart with my axe, and the most important, I dont understand why other people does it, really, I mean, reallypeople feel so disapointed to see some bare breasts IN A DRAWING?????.......jesus christ, I am not talking of someone going too far with a doulble penetration, nor anything hardcore whisperelmwood, I understand that deviantart orientation about the type of submision heads the web to a not-adult-only content, but still, I think a fair ude, or a girl in a skimpy outfit enter this category, dude, we are in the 2008, when our children gor to the place they buy their comics, they are mature magazines all around them, you know? its life, sex surround us!... I am just pointing out that deviantart sometimes goes too far (way too far in my opinion) about their banning policy, and that they should be more straight, while they dio not ban people because they feel like its good for the web to keep their wors as a hook for viewers, they mesure thigs with two different messure-bars, and we dont improve that banning another guy to release ourselves, but complaining to deviantart... the onlyway I have to do it its to keep myself tryig to bend the rules in a way I put things difficult to them, as for example, they banned, a nude of one character I drawn, when in the original series she was nude in the opening (really!!!!) and it was a educational series in the 80s!!!!... are we going ackwards about morals and liberties???? I know i draw very sexy stuff, still, I think I never drawn anything too wrong

Me: The point of the report button is to enforce the rules that every member of this community should be adhering too, but the admin don't have the time to police on their own. The rules are clearly there when you first sign up to this community and they should be read - there is a box to tick saying you have done. Evidentaly, people don't - and the report button is there to remind them.

What you appear to be forgetting is that A: there are under-aged children using this community and B: DeiantArt is required by law to keep to the laws of it's host country.

And no, when they walk into a magazine store, they do not see what you draw, because the top shelf is always paper bag'ed or otherwise censored. Just because you believe children are far more able to spy adult oriented work, doesn't mean we should enable them further - children are children and should be allowed to continue to be children until they are ready - by law - to grow up. And that means not letting them see innapppropriate artwork when under the age of 16/18.

As I'm sure you spotted in my own gallery, I draw adult oriented and sexually explicit artwork myself, but I have the sense to keep that artwork to sites and communities where it is welcome and not constrained by the age restrictions and pornography laws that this community adheres too. You should seriously think of doing the same thing.

If you honestly have a problem with the rules on this community, there is a really, really, very simple solution. Go away. Find somewhere else. Find somewhere where they don't give two hoots about childhood and stop complaining here.

I really do get into some of the stupidest arguments sometimes.

Edit: Continued

Him: nice, so you basicaly stablish that sexuality is something wrong by its own nature, dont you? then there you have what is your problem, and I repeat to you, I am not displaying anything not even sexual, just some nudes.
also, believe me, there were laws in where it was stablished that a woman who was able to think by her own had to born in a bonfire.

and again, and dont forget that, you are forgetting this unconvenient detail about people who are not banned because they are somehow sacred cows or whatever the deviantart staff finds so good to be displayed in their web, is it their sexy work less harming for the poor children???? no, it is just more convenient for the web.

and DONT EVEN DARE to say that I dont mind about childrens, because I SHOW A BREAST, what is the most that I have displayed, what I was meaning, is that EVEN CHILDREN ARE SMART ENOUGH TO SEE A NUDE AND KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT BAD, not like others I bet...... and sorry, no one is a child because laws say so, you are a child or not, laws has nothing to do with that, really, I think you should check some of your beliefs.

and yes, I draw much worse matterial too, and it is not displayed here either, so dont put e in so bad place f you dont know jack of me, ok??, what makes me feel like "ohhh god" is that a girl with wet clothes is something childrens should not look at, that is pretty mean.

and, ey, travel a little, I feel you really need to know about other countries really, I have been in several countries, (not a lot, but several still) I have never seen something alike those "paper bag´ed magazines" lol, really.

and I was not saying that the child tries to spy, wtf? lol lol lol, its you who has said that!!! I was meaning a very different thing, lol you are a really really mean person dude. buff, I quit, continue quarreling so much as you want, I´m done with that.
by the way, just as a little final quote, you are defending those who woulnd´t mind to hang homosexuals like in a party, and this is the wrong party dude..... enjoy the link:

I just think like you, a hug never should be taken something wrong :( .... bye.

Me: No, I only 'stablish' that it is wrong when concerning pre-sexualised humans. And you do display sexualised images, espescially that one of Velma and Corpse Bride.

As a woman, I take offense at you trying to tell me something I already know - it is patronising and condescending. Go away.

No 'unconvenient detail' here, the only reason some people have not had explicitly sexualised images removed, it because they have not yet been found and reported - the ones that are allowed here, are tame and under a mature filter.

There is a vast difference between 'seeing a nude' and viewing soft-core porn. Your work, for the most part, falls under the latter heading. And, when it comes right down to it, children do not know the difference and should not be forced to learn the difference until they are of legal, emotional and chronological age to understand the difference.

Sorry, but BY LAW, anyone under the age of 16 is considered a child. It doesn't matter how grown up you or they think they are, they are children and should not have adult issues foisted upon them. My 'beliefs' as you call them are based on both the law and an understanding of emotional and biological development. There is a damn good reason humans under the age of 16 are considered children by law. Live with it.

I have no idea what this means: and yes, I draw much worse matterial too, and it is not displayed here either, so dont put e in so bad place f you dont know jack of me, ok??, what makes me feel like "ohhh god" is that a girl with wet clothes is something childrens should not look at, that is pretty mean.

I have travelled quite a lot, thankyou. Stop making assumptions. I have seen the things I described in most places, you apparently are just unaware of them. In some countries, the very idea of pornogrpahy or even jsut a little titty is completely forbidden. Be happy you can even have this discussion where you are.

*rolls eyes* 'spy' as in see, idiot.

I'm mean? Because I don't like the idea of pre-sexual humans, being able to see sexualised images? That makes me mean? Really? What the hell kind of planet do you come from?

you are defending those who woulnd´t mind to hang homosexuals like in a party, and this is the wrong party dude. I take it you mean that by defending the porn laws on this website, I am defending homophobics? Really? Are you entirely sure of that? Because, as far as I've noticed, not a single yaoi/homosexual/gay image has been removed from this site JUST FOR BEING GAY, for instance, none of my own gay images have been taken down.

Oh, and thakyou for linking to one of my own images. Very nice of you. Doesn't prove much though, only that some people can't tell the difference between sexual and platonic. If you think I'll take that as a hint, I wont, because I can, and most of your images either blur the line or cross it completely.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Moved and settled!

We're back and settled in Wiltshire!

We spent a quiet week without telephone/internet access, basically packing and working. Then Mom arrived Friday evening and kicked our asses into high gear to pack quicker XD

Saturday was then also spent packing ALL DAY, a chinese meal for dinner while watching the latest Dr Who and then an early night.

Sunday was then spent getting the boxes, furniture, bags and white goods into the van. Then the drive down - the cats went with mom and me in her car.

Only thing of notable interest during the drive was at the lunch-stop. Mom and I sat in the window at BK and watched as three men literally carressed a silver BMW, as if it were a woman and they were in love with her c.c They were truly scary.

We all arrived in one piece, put the cats (still in their boxes) in my office and closed them in there until all the boxes were emptied from the van and into the garage.

When we finally let the cats out, Moogle and Twisp were all over the place, inspecting, sniffing, looking around - while Spork stayed well back in his box looking terrified c.c I think the car drive traumatised him.

Anyway, our bedroom is all set up and my office is now also in perfect working order - it has a proper desk and everything (there's even room to have my drawing board up!) and loads of shelf space for all my books.

The cats are all settling in nicely - all three skirt tentatively round Oscar (mom and dads cat) who apparently smacked one of them on the head this morning XD Moogle refuses to go anywhere near moms gargoyle on the fire place (it looks a bit like a bulldog with wings) - the first time she saw it, she hissed, fluffed up and ran away XD Now she walks past it with as much distance as she can manage XD it's amusing. The kittens aren't bothered by it in the slightest.

Mostly, it's just bloody brilliant to be back in Wiltshire again - this is home to me and I've missed it.

Bayly popped over this evening and we went out for a few hours - went up to Westbury White Horse and enjoyed the views and did an awful lot of chatting. It's great to see Bayly again after a year XD We plan to go out again thursday, on his day off.

Matt is already looking for jobs and I've started looking into advertising with the town magazine and exhibiting in the town gallery.

I'm already feeling much happier and lighter here. All things are good now.