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Oh, I’ve been so naughty not writing on here. Once you stop doing something regularly it’s pretty difficult to get going again. I shall try to be a better person though.

So in a quick update (not much as I try to focus on the present) I have now moved to London. Woo! And we’ve moved into a shiny (shiny-ish) flat. Oh the amount of space we now have seems decadent. I’ve managed to fill it quite well though.

I’m also 3 weeks into my new course. So far my impressions are “Ah the reading, the reading”.

I’ve been a bit sickly in recent days. This is why I haven’t blogged for a while. That and I didn’t really have anything to say. This was a more or less direct consequence of being ill. It’s not very interesting to blog about having watched over an entire season of House in a week (although I have – boom ra. Anyone want to ask what diseases can be diagnosed with a lumbar puncture I am your gal).

Daring to be different I didn’t actually have swine flu, which, as I’m sure everyone knows, was declared a pandemic by WHO a few months ago. Of course as the UK is currently diagnosing people over the phone, using non-doctors and then throwing TamiFlu at anyone with a temperature I’m not sure I trust the current statistics of how many people have been affected thus far.  Several people have been found to have been misdiagnosed. Sadly only when they got worse or died. A 48 year old woman died of meningitis after being diagnosed with swine flu, and a 13 year old boy had to spend six days in hospital after being diagnosed with H1N1 when he in fact had a kidney infection.

As for myself, C (I couldn’t talk at this stage) had to assure the receptionist at the health centre that I didn’t have a temperature or any flu like symptoms before I could get an appointment to see a doctor. The doctor rather unhelpfully said that it was “…probably a chest infection caused by a virus in which case you’ll have to fight it off yourself, but just in case it’s a bacterial infection here have these anti-biotics”. I’ve seen way too many House episodes to not realise that just means ‘I have no idea just eat these and see if it works’. I was all for not eating them but C persuaded me.

I’m much better now. But I think that’s mainly because of the bucketfuls of squash I consumed.

Incidentally there’s also government advice set up on swine flu at directgov including links to the NHS ‘Online symptom and treatment assessment tool’.

I had a go on this tool and it told me to CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!! Okay it didn’t have so many exclamation points but it definitely sounded like it was trying to convey a great deal of panic. Needless to say I didn’t call 999. I wasn’t even messing around – I just answered the questions seriously. I don’t think it’s a very useful tool, amblances take forever anyway (more on this later) without fools wasting their time because the online NHS tool led them astray. The whole flu panic is out of hand – people need to take deep breaths and calm down.

gillette-ad

When my brother was a toddler he on several occasions got hold of my father’s safety razor and badly cut his thumb. Doing it once was forgiveable but he went back for more! Oh the blood. He was a cunning child and had the skill of finding where you’d hidden things from him. Luckily for his thumbs though eventually papa managed to put the thing out of his reach.

A big problem sperm donation has in the UK is the 2005 changes to rules about anonymity. These are that any child created through donated sperm has the right on their 18th birthday to learn the name of the donor. Naturally this has led to a fall in donations as most donors don’t want the risk that in 18 years time dozons of their biological offspring will arrive a-knocking at the door.

These changes also apply to egg and embryo donors.

There’s been lots of discussion on the radio about IVF and a recurring theme is the difficulty of getting your hands on quality sperm/eggs. Most UK couples it seems choose to go to Europe to get IVF.  The current favourite is Spain. The waiting times are shorter than the NHS and the price is cheaper. Also, because Spain pays people for donating they have ample supplies of sperm and eggs.

In the UK the idea the NHS had to cover the shortage of donations was to offer a discount in the price of IVF treatment if women donated eggs. That’s right – eggs from people having fertility problems. Is it any wonder the chance of successful impregnation is so low in the UK, compared to say Spain?

Personally I think the ‘Gathering Sperm Trust’ (or whatever they’re called) should use this cartoon from Dinosaur comics in their advertising material.

The fertility watchdog has recommended that women should be offered payment for donation of their eggs as the most effective way of ending that shortage. In America payment is offered for both sperm and egg donation.

Personally I think I would be unlikely to donate my eggs unless I was offered a substantial payment (this is what critics are worried off, that people like me would risk their health purely for finacial gain, to pay for university etc). It is quite a big needle – right into the ovaries! And I also don’t really like the idea that my genetic material would be just wandering around somewhere. I believe reproduction comes with a great deal of responsibility. Also I am a big advocate of ADOPTION! I have little sympathy for couples who spend thousands upon thousands on IVF instead of adopting.

At a push I might donate an egg (or a syringe full) to someone I actually knew. But I’d have to like them a lot.

It’s a thorny issue. Should the rules be changed back to total anonymity for donors? I feel that would be one of the most effective ways of getting more donations. But when it comes to it there’s still the bigger issue of how much help a couple should be given in creating a baby from scratch.

(sperm and eggs are also used for various experimentations, not even creating babies. Is that more controversial? I don’t think so)

Recently I’ve been overusing the word ‘dude’. It started ironically. But now it’s slipped into my daily language. Here is an example of an exchange that took place today at work. It made me realise that my dudeage has gone too far:

Me: Dude! High five that was awesome.
Small Child: What does ‘dude’ mean?
Me: Um. It’s kind of like saying ‘man’.
Small child: Why do you keep saying man?
Me: Um. It’s a bad habit I’ve picked up. Don’t you do it!

I hate it when this happens. A word creeps its way into your subconcious and before you know it you’re using it in every sentence and sounding like an idiot. Currently I’m also overusing ‘as’ as a exclamation point. For example ‘That is wicked AS’, ‘It was sad AS’. I didn’t even realise I was doing this one until my brother started mocking me for it. Apparently we here in the UK do not use ‘as’ in this way. It’s something I’ve picked up in Australia. So my brother informs me. Oh dear.

I am going to try and quit such bad habits. Soon I shall be embroiled in university life and it’s going to be hard enough as it is without me giving the impression that I don’t have a vocabulary.

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Moon Landing

I’m going to guess……

YES

That’s right I’m just making my position nice and clear right now. So that later on if it turns out to be true I can nod smugly and say “Ah ha, I always knew it” along with everyone else, only I’ll have documented proof that this was my position all those years ago.

This week NASA  has revealed at a news conference some of it’s digitally restored footage of the moon landing in celebration of the event’s 40th birthday (On an unrelated note has anyone else noticed how Americans in the news these days look like they’re in the 1980’s? Just LOOK at that guy’s suit). The moon landing is all over the news at the moment. Especially as apparently there is a new race to the moon on. This time China seems to be taking up the gauntlet of racing America there.

China wants the glory of a moon landing. And in my opinion America is racing there to try and prevent anyone discovering a suspicious lack of debris from the previous landing. Partly this is wishful thinking on my part. It would amuse me a lot though if it was all fake.

Conspiracy theorists have been juggling this topic around for decades now. They’re been scrutinising the photos, claiming the shadows and lack of stars are wrong as well as unearthing NASA employees who claim it’s fake, and videos of the astronauts ‘practising’ the moon landing in a warehouse.

Wikipedia has much to say about it here.

Basically there are three main avenues of conspiracy theory:

  1. Complete hoax — The idea that the entire moon landing was faked from start to finish. This theory claims the technology was not advanced enough. Especially in mind of crossing the Van Allen Radiation Belt.
  2. Partial hoax / unmanned landingsBart Sibrel has stated that the crew of Apollo 11 and subsequent astronauts had faked their orbit around the Moon and their walk on its surface by trick photography, and that they never got more than halfway to the Moon.
  3. Manned landings, with cover-upsPhilippe Lheureux, in Lumières sur la Lune (Lights on the Moon), said that astronauts did land on the Moon, but that, in order to prevent other nations from benefiting from scientific information in the real photos, NASA published fake images.

If America did manage to fake them then well done to them. It’s a pretty excellent hoax, and a long lasting one. It does seem like something that would be very difficult to maintain. I’m just waiting until the next moon landing. Or until the freedom of information act results in relevant documents being released (although if it hasn’t happened yet it’s dubious).

I’m not entirely convinced either way but I feel the need to pick a side now so I’ll go with my previous Yes, Yes the moon landing was faked.

What do you think?