Profile

Cover photo
Martin Robbins
Lived in Maidenhead
1,960 followers|11,645 views
AboutPostsPhotos

Stream

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
3
1
Daniel Mathers's profile photoGonzalo San Martin's profile photoKalpesh Thankey's profile photo
3 comments
 
Good points in article I feel and I definitely think there is an issue with the idea that these children are having decisions made for them. The thing is though, I find that most people I speak to are rather uncomfortable with these images even if we supposed there was nothing wrong with them objectively, people still don't like them by and large from my experience. It's a wonder to me that this therefore sells or is used like this. Unless it's the rest of the mails "amazing content" that people are really after and just ignore the images. And yes that was sarcasm.
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Ten nerdy Valentine's Day poems wot I wroted on Twitter earlier!

Roses are red / Violets are blue / But I can't love you if / You confuse 'whom' and 'who' #englishlove

Roses are Red / We are the Borg / Resistance is Futile / We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. #borglove

Roses are red / Lilies are orange / I'm making you this poem / But wtf rhymes with 'orange'?! #lovepoemfail

Roses are red / Daffodils are Yellow / "I Love you" in binary / annoyingly doesn't end in 'zero' #robotlovepoemfail

Seven is red / Fourteen is blue / Synaesthesia's beautiful / And so are you #biologylovepoems

Deoxyribo- / -nucleic acid / your genome's impressive / but your face makes me flaccid #biologyantilovepoems

You have two Xs / And I have XY / If only you weren't / Drosophilidae #biologylovepoems

ROSES RED / ROCKS GRAY / HULK GET TURNED GREEN / BY THIS DAMNED GAMMA RAY #hulkvdaypoems

Volcanoes are red / oceans are blue / geology rocks / did the Earth move for you? #romanticsciencepoetry

Neptune is blue / Jupiter's beige / I lost my cock / to an anthropophage #romanticpoetry
5
6
Achintya Rao's profile photoDougie Nisbet's profile photo
2 comments
 
love the #borglove! I would LOL (if I did that sort of thing). But I did, I nearly did.
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Burzynski Clinic Backs Stephens and Will Pursue Bloggers

Just got this follow up for the Burzynski lawyer. As I thought, he was straight with me, but the situation behind the scenes seems very confused. In any case, the below seems pretty clear now... I've not seen the press release, and I'm out of the country s will just post this as is...

"The clinic issued a press release on the blogosphere issue which was sent to your paper.  It covers the relationship between it and Marc Stephens It turns out some of the issues are more complicated that I had first thought. But the bottom line is that the clinic did hire Marc Stephens and one of his main tasks was to stop the dissemination of false and misleading information, and he initiated contact with at least some of these web sites with the knowledge of the clinic. As stated in the press release, the clinic is still going to pursue having these web sites remove misstatements or misleading omissions of fact. For the time being, these bloggers have managed to make this about threats by the Burzynski clinic rather than whether the information on these sites is truthful, accurate and fair. We're hoping that somewhere down the line, the media will focus of these issues."
5
7
Callum Hackett's profile photo
 
Importantly, Stephens's job to stop the dissemination of misleading information was part of his role providing "web optimisation services". And, though the Clinic still hates bloggers, Stephens has lost his job for them.
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Burzynski Lawyer Distances Clinic From Threats to Bloggers

I've just received a response from Rick Jaffe, the real attorney for the Burzynski clinic. Here's a part of it relating to Marc Stephens, the person claiming to represent the clinic who has threatened Rhys Morgan and Andy Lewis, among others:

"On the Marc Stephens thing, that's what I need to look into and see what happened. What I can tell you now is that I believe that he is not a clinic employee but is an independent contractor doing web marketing, the exact scope of which I'm not sure of right now." [...] "I can also tell you that based on my limited current information, no one at the clinic approved of or had advance knowledge that he would be sending a google map picture of a high school kid's house to him."

This is a bit of a late response, but of course it was Thanksgiving weekend in the US. First impression is that it stacks up quite well with what else we know so far, but others with more time will comment I'm sure!

He's promised to find out more and get back to me. I'll blog more on this when I can...
30
19
Michael Warren's profile photoGeorge Watson's profile photoMartin Robbins's profile photoForrest Brennen's profile photo
7 comments
Pat D
+
2
3
2
 
There is little doubt Rhys emailed the clinic, here is a quote from Rhys' blog:

"Seeing as he’d not bothered to reply to me, I considered reposting the blog as well as an earlier version of this one. First though, I sent an email to the Burzynski Clinic’s corporate email address with a copy of the email thread between Marc Stephens and me, a copy of the original blog and an earlier version of this post. I wanted to know if they considered anything factually incorrect or not.

Dear Sir,

I attach an email (titled Email Thread.pdf) I have received from one Marc Stephens, who claims to represent you. As you can see from the attachment, he states that he represents you, and furthermore threatens me with libel proceedings in respect of material I posted on my blog.

I have carried out some internet research, and I have not been able to establish whether or not Mr. Stephens is a lawyer; certainly he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar nor the Texas Bar in the light of my visit to the California Bar Association’s and the State Bar of Texas’s websites. Please could you confirm for me whether he does in fact represent you and, if he does, on what basis he does represent you.

In the light of Mr. Stephen’s email I attach a copy of an article (titled Burzynski Blog Final.pdf) I propose to post on my blog as well as the original blog post (titled The Burzynski Clinic.pdf) which is currently offline. Please could you tell me within 7 days what, if any, of the blogs you object to, and, in particular, whether you believe any of the blogs to be factually untrue.

Yours faithfully,

Rhys Morgan

This seems to have been then forwarded on to Marc Stephens. He seemed rather irate and replied with this:"

Source: http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
How the BBC's dark forces of political correctness threaten the Christian era

The BBC haven't banned AD/BC, but outraged Christians seem perplexed and annoyed by the idea of personal choice.
18
13
Pete Jago's profile photoDamian Counsell's profile photoMary Mangan's profile photoRobert Tilling's profile photo
7 comments
 
1. The Daily Mail is, of course, bonkers.

2. The drift towards the use of the CE/BCE terminology is, in fact, a rare example of pure political correctness.

2a. It does nothing to combat religious discrimination.

2b. It has no substantive practical benefit---cf imperial-to-metric changes---indeed, it confuses people not familiar with it.

2c. And it's a change of name without a change of referent---cf the use of words like "challenged" or "person of colour", both of which do the opposite of what they are supposed to do by implying that there is something, literally, unspeakable about being disabled or black, just as CE/BCE implies that there is something unspeakable about the underlying Christian basis of an otherwise arbitrary convention.

(If my dad called me and my sister "people of colour"---as a white poet did of the children he had with his black wife in the Guardian a while back, we'd tell him where to stick it.)

3. Apropos of 2c, the Guardian is also, of course, bonkers.

The back catalogue of anti-Semitic, anti-scientific, tinfoil-hat wearing views expressed by its invited commentators, cartoonists, and readers is well-documented, widely and rightly criticized, and actually sinister. I'm a liberal democratic rationalist socialist who grew up with the paper. Even compared with its infamous previous employment of an agent of an enemy power, I'm disgusted by what it has become.

About the same time as your article appeared on its Website, Martin, another one, suprisingly for the Guardian, advancing the well-founded claim that Gilad Atzmon is an anti-Semite, also popped up. Yesterday evening, the most recommended comments (that hadn't been removed for breaching the site guidelines) were claiming that critics of Israeli foreign policy were being silenced by a media conspiracy.

4. Contrary to the implication of the comment above, it is indeed both true and worth noting that what has happened with the BC/AD convention---yes, I realise there is no ban, merely a wider acceptance of a modish academic shift---would never happen to any corresponding Islamic convention. This isn't just a question of religious sensitivity; it's because a minority of self-described Muslims would use such a change as an excuse to threaten and perpetrate actual violence against civilians.

Perhaps less foul stuff would be written about Jews and Catholics---the Guardian 's treatment of Ruth Kelly when she was a Cabinet Minister, for example, was a disgrace---if some of those faiths' adherents responded in a similar way to public criticism.


I don't have a dog in this fight---I'm an atheist, secularist, and ex-scientist---I just hate sneers aimed at lazy tribalists that are as lazy and tribal as the targets of the sneers.
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
1,960 people
Julie Greensmith's profile photo
keir liddle's profile photo
Henry Scowcroft's profile photo
Maria Wolters's profile photo

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
My latest...
3
1
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
The Mystery of the Haunted Taxi Radio

Last night I took a taxi home from the station.

"What the fuck is this on the radio?" asked the taxi driver.

"I don't know", I replied.

"I didn't put this on!" raged the taxi driver, "it keeps changing station of its own accord!"

I opened my mouth to offer an explanation, but before I could get a word out he continued, telling me that he had the same problem with his TV at home.

"It keeps changing channel", he told me. "It's the mother-in-law what does it."

I was midway into a forced polite chuckle - my usual response to cab drivers ranting in a politically-incorrect way about women or Arabs or whatever - when he added "we've got her ashes by the fireplace. Anything on the telly she don't like, off it goes."

Erk.. I aborted my chuckle into a mild coughing fit. "Oh, I see," I said, cringing.

Cue five minutes of awkward silence, while I tried to work out if it would be polite or not to point out that the coiled cord of his CB radio mouthpiece was wrapped around the frequency dial of the radio...
3
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
The Daily Mail's "Murderers" headline was still wrong

Most civilized nations have the presumption of innocence enshrined in their legal system; you are innocent until proven guilty. It's a concept at least as old as the Romans, and I imagine most of the people I follow on Twitter believe it's a pretty solid foundation for our justice system today. Why then have so many taken to praising the Daily Mail for supposedly 'getting it right' over Stephen Lawrence? (see e.g. https://twitter.com/#!/TomChivers/status/154217723210117121 or https://twitter.com/#!/fleetstreetfox/status/154213076072267777)

To say the Mail 'got it right' is beyond generous for a start. The famous "Murderers" headline named five men, of whom two have now been found guilty. Three remain innocent in the eyes of the law. You might think they did it, maybe they did, maybe some time in the future a further trial with new evidence will confirm it, but for now they remain innocent.

The assertion of people like FleetStreetFox (e.;g. https://twitter.com/#!/fleetstreetfox/status/154257844399648769) is that the Mail should be vindicated because their campaign led to a good result - the reopening of the case and the eventual conviction of two men. It's a superficially pleasing argument, but falls apart when you realize that what it's essentially saying is a combination of "the stopped clock was right once today, so we should be happy to trust the stopped clock" and "hey, if the justice system fails the tabloids can do the job." No, and no.

Firstly, Dacre acted as judge, jury and executioner, declared five men guilty, and merrily risked ruining their lives (not to mention their prospects of a fair trial) on what he concedes was a "gamble". He demanded that they pay large sums of money fighting a powerful media company in the libel courts in order to prove their innocence. That to me is a pretty perverse and unfair form of justice system to fall back on, even if it does produce the odd hit.

Secondly, you can't just point at the wins while studiously ignoring the failures. Two of the five people named by Dacre have been convicted, but it remains possible that three others have been wrongly smeared. And that's just if you count this case. Rebecca Leighton, a nurse, was cleared of involvement in the deaths of patients, but smeared as an 'angel of death' by tabloids who raked through her Facebook profile obsessed with finding anything that might look incriminating (http://politicisedcorrectly.blogspot.com/2011/09/angel-of-death-but-only-for-tabloid.html). Chris Jefferies won six-figure libel damages after taking eight newspapers to court - The Sun, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record, Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Scotsman and Daily Express - for their demonization of him after the murder of Joanna Yeates (www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2011/jul/29/joanna-yeates-national-newspapers).

This isn't to say that journalists shouldn't pursue these cases - far from it! There was some excellent investigative journalism in the case of Stephen Lawrence, some of it in the Mail, and it's fair to point out that the paper's campaign did much to keep the case alive. Part of good journalism though should be responsibility to the facts and to the basic principles of justice. It was right to campaign, it was right to highlight serious questions about the case and the evidence, but it was not right to declare five people to be murderers without a fair trial.

Like a lynch mob, the tabloids may well spot the occasional Gary Dobson or David Norris, but they are also likely to smear the Chris Jefferies and Rebecca Leighton's of this world. That's precisely why we hold onto idea like the presumption of innocence and fair trials, rather than letting Paul Dacre - or the mob - decide. The legal system is not perfect. Justice will fail from time-to-time, and journalists should challenge and fight to expose those failures, but I don't want to live in a world where tabloid newspapers are allowed to act as a kangeroo court. Cherry-picked positive data points are not going to change my mind.
8
1
Paul Sutherland's profile photoAnindya Bhattacharyya's profile photoMartin Robbins's profile photoKalpesh Thankey's profile photo
4 comments
 
I agree with Anindya. This case was quite different from the shameful demonising of more recent suspects. As an inquiry into the murder clearly showed, a half-hearted police probe had allowed Stephen Lawrence's smirking killers to avoid justice. The Daily Mail had the guts to challenge this by making a clear and direct allegation of murder, knowing full well that the men they accused would be able to seek redress in the civil courts and gain hefty libel payouts if they were wrong.
I cannot remember another case like this one. Newspapers rarely go out on such a limb and I recall that I found it almost ironic that it should have been a right-wing paper like the Mail that fought so hard for a black family. But I am glad they did because otherwise I don't think the Lawrence family would ever have seen justice for the evil murder of their son.
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Depressing 'view-from-nowhere' fail from the BBC this. I'm really hoping people put a lot more complaints in to them.
5
Alan Henness's profile photo
 
I missed the start of the programme on Sunday, but had heard a few murmurings about it - thanks for explaining what it was all about. Atrocious.
Add a comment...

Martin Robbins

Shared publicly  - 
6
1
Brilhante Do Charme Franck's profile photo
 
Es O Massimo.
 ·  Translate
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
1,960 people
Julie Greensmith's profile photo
keir liddle's profile photo
Henry Scowcroft's profile photo
Maria Wolters's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Staying up late ranting about stuff on the interwebs. Shouting at trains. Writing. Speaking. Coding. Problem-solving.
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Writer and talker for The Guardian, Strange Quarks and other places.
Introduction
Writer and talker for The Guardian, Strange Quarks and other places. Babble on about pseudoscience, science and politics, that sort of thing.
Bragging rights
50m front crawl badge.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Maidenhead