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  1. "Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience." (Oscar Wilde)
  2. Azeem Rafiq receives six-figure payout ..... “Your cruel remarks made me so unhappy I cried all the way to the bank” (response by the pianist Władziu Valentino Liberace, when an adverse newspaper review made him even more famous than before).
  3. Colion Scott is just across the border, near Hawick. www.bordertaxidermy.co.uk
  4. £2 invested in Premium Bonds since they were first issued in 1956, total income nil to date. Could have put the money in my Post Office savings account and got sixpence in the pound at that time. Alternatively, I could have bought 86 Eley "Fourlong" (£2-6s-6d per 100) and had a lot more fun.
  5. If a teacher rode a horse in a race and was filmed repeatedly using the whip, would that be grounds for dismissal?
  6. Which would you say is a bigger risk to human health in UK – eating game meat or playing football? Several million people in UK play soccer or rugby, tens of thousands every year need hospital treatment for fractures, many suffer severe concussion, some are disabled for life due to spinal injuries, others incur head injuries leading to serious loss of mental capacity in later life, and occasionally a player dies. There are actual medical records for these cases, not just predictions from a mathematical model. "well understood scientific understanding" is not always quite as reliable as people expect. Money talks. A wise person remarked that “Universities were once populated by people in search of the truth, and are now populated by people in search of funding.” Funding, promotion and salary for a scientist depend mainly on the numbers of publications, and the number of times those publications are quoted (“citation count”). A very effective way to increase your number of publications is to join the jet set and present the same information (with minor alterations) at meetings and conferences around the world. Each set of conference proceedings will then contain a paper published under your name. Just add a little bit more information and you'll be ready for the next round of conferences. Citation count can be boosted by quoting your own previous publications (“self citation”). Deborah Pain managed to cite no fewer than 14 of her own publications in a single paper at the Oxford Lead Symposium. Citation counts can grow quite quickly when a group of like-minded individuals start writing papers on the same subject and quoting each other. I am sure the majority of scientists steer well clear of any dubious practices, but a combination of ambition and zealotry is apt to influence the way investigations are carried out and reported.
  7. I agree there is likely to be ever-increasing pressure on shooting, but that doesn’t mean we must accept low standards from within the scientific community. Poor quality work deserves to be exposed. People campaigning vociferously against use of lead shot are in many cases the people who constantly attack every aspect of shooting. It is within their rights to do so, but I would not expect any reputable scientist to ignore actual health records and cherry-pick data in order to “build a case”. Bad science could quickly undermine this country’s reputation for excellence in scientific education and research . If you wanted to take a degree in zoology, would you apply to a university department where professors seemed to think protein intake would be a measure of energy expenditure? If you wanted information about the potential market for a new medicine, where would you award the research contract? To someone who will find out how many people actually suffer from particular health problems, or to a university department that prefers ten-year mathematical modelling studies? Do you believe that a 2.5 year old child eats 100g of meat in a single meal? If so, you have probably decided that the modellers are right and the Great Ormond Street Hospital nutritionists don't know what they are talking about (they suggest 20-30g meat portions for a child of 2-3 years). Have the modellers been striving to improve health and welfare of the people most likely to eat a lot of game meat (ie the shooting community), or do they have different objectives? Decide for yourselves.
  8. Conor has rightly pointed out that "Anyone attempting to use the questions in the survey form to submit opinions ‘for or against’ lead ammunition will soon find that this is a futile effort." There is no obvious place in the survey form for comment on the information (or mis-information) circulated in relation to human health in UK. Ministers and their advisers are unlikely to have studied all the published documents, but they should perhaps be made aware of the following points. In the papers presented at the 2015 Oxford Lead Symposium and the 57 more recent documents listed by the Lead Ammunition Group as being related to human health, there is no record of any person in UK having been harmed by eating game meat. There are no estimate of how many people in UK are likely to be harmed by eating game, and mathematical models only predict numbers for whom “the possibility of an effect cannot be excluded”. There are no reports comparing predictions with actual data from NHS health records (physical and mental health), the official Lead Exposure in Children Surveillance System, SATS test results (intellectual development of children), or death certificates (lifespan and cause of death). There are no reports of any attempt to measure blood-lead concentration in UK residents who are known to eat a lot of game meat. Predictions relating to UK gamebird meat were based entirely on information about Greenland sea ducks that are not quarry species in this country. Those results were highly variable, and the numbers analysed were so small that scientists could only say the average lead concentration in thick-billed murre was likely to be somewhere between 0.155 and 1.937 parts per million (a twelve-fold range). Models assume that the gamebird meat portion eaten by an adult at each meal will be twice the size formerly reported by the UK Food Standards Agency, thereby doubling the predicted intake of lead. Risks to very young children may have been grossly over-estimated, because toddlers' meat portions assumed in the models are nearly four times as large as those published by health professionals. Modellers devised their own theoretical method to predict total energy expenditure by UK children, calculated that a 2.5 year old child should need half as much energy as an adult, and hence decided the toddler’s game meat portion would be half that of an adult. They failed to acknowledge that meat of any kind, and lean meat in particular, is regarded more as a protein source than an energy source, therefore calculations based solely on childrens' energy expenditure might not be an appropriate basis for estimating gamebird portion sizes.
  9. https://www.homeworkshop.org.uk/ There is a Marlow currently listed at £1000, location Chesterfield.
  10. LACS is a registered charity. Wild Justice is not. Packham embarked on a scheme to sell Christmas cards, claiming that 10% of the proceeds would go to charity, but the money he obtained from members of the public was in fact going to fund his own campaigning group. In other words, he deliberately set out to defraud members of the public. The link posted by bluesj mentions this (cartoon number 6), and there is more detail here: https://www.fieldsportschannel.tv/packham-christmas-profits-benefit-wild-justice-charity/ The ActionFraud website mentions that “….. fraud can take the form of a fraudster creating an entirely bogus charity and pocketing proceeds from fundraising.” https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/charities Perhaps this little episiode is worthy of mention if anybody is writing to complain to the BBC, but the organisation that gave so much support to Martin Bashir might not be very much concerned about a petty charity fraud perpetrated by their pin-up boy.
  11. Something like this? https://www.first4magnets.com/other-c89/63-x-50-x-55mm-high-switchable-magnetic-base-with-m8-mounting-hole-70kg-pull-p3473#ps_0_3563|ps_1_1527
  12. Might be worth asking the question on DIYnot forums. I've never looked at the audio-visual section, but have found their buildings info to be very helpful. https://www.diynot.com/diy/forums/audio-visual/
  13. Does that relate to quality, or to design? On the very few occasions when I have handled Baikals, they seemed shorter and lighter than my ideal, and didn't fit me very well, but they did function correctly. If the rugged and reliable Baikal O/U had 32” barrels, stock dimensions more like those of an MK38 sporter, and weighed around 8lb, would it still not be good enough for serious clay shooting?
  14. In principle that should be correct, but can anyone produce actual data to show that Browning Grade 1 models fail more frequently than the Grade 6 equivalent when used under similar conditions? So could almost anybody, because those two guns are of markedly different design, but I was wondering how many people would be able to tell a basic silver Pigeon from its EELL equivalent if they couldn't see the side-plates, engraving, etc. Yes, that EELL version of the Beretta’s cheapest entry level model is advertised at less than nine thousand pounds, which might probably seems a trifling sum to some people. Thank you for putting me in my place, I feel duly chastened.
  15. Agree totally. Certainly a Yildiz or Baikal will feel very different from a Dickson or a Purdy, because of major differences in design and in the quality of workmanship. But when considering modern guns from the major manufacturers, is there any functional difference between the Browning Grade 6 and Grade 1, or between a Beretta EELL and a Silver Pigeon? If handling guns with eyes shut and wearing gloves (therefore unable to see or feel the engraving and chequering), how many people could tell the up-market version from the basic model?
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