Firstly: As regular readers will know, conservation is important to me. I got around to joining the RSPB yesterday, and so was dismayed to see Simon Singh tweet this:
Twitchers should twitter about RSPB being sued http://is.gd/gVAn2 Bird-lovers pls back #LibelReform & sign www.libelreform.org/sign
Essentially, two researchers' (Gordon and Christine Bowker) methods were questioned by RSPB, as to whether they helped with the black grouse's decline (which the researcher's were hoping to combat).
Someone who really cared about both bird conservation and proper science, would re-evaluate and improve their methods, and move on, or, would give evidence that their methods were, in fact, sound. Science is built on constructive criticism. Finding out you've made a massive mistake isn't easy (especially if it's gone and helped the very thing you were hoping to fight). However, the researchers are suing instead, because of our daft libel laws. This wastes the RSPB's time, which is better spent with what they do best: conservation. It also highlights how they are more concerned with how they appear than by doing any good.
Secondly: Rodial produce a number "beauty"* products, whose efficacy I won't comment on, as if I do, I may end up in the same boat as Dalia Nield, who Rodial are suing. In the Daily Mail she questioned whether their Boob Job cream works.
Dalia Nield, a consultant plastic surgeon at the London Clinic, said it was ‘highly unlikely’ the cream would increase a woman’s bust size and questioned the amount of information provided by Rodial.
It's understandable why she said this. Rodial say:
Boob job works with your natural fat cells. As the fat cells move around the body after eating, boob job "blocks" the fat into the area where the product has been applied, so the bust and décolleté areas.
This is contrary to what I learnt about lipoprotein metabolism at uni (where my Animal Science degree specialised in nutritional biochemistry). I recall it was something like this, and that adipocytes (that's fat cells) stayed put.
Rodial may sound "sciencey", and their tag line may be "Nature. Science. Skin care", but their actions in suing show them to be the very anti-thesis of scientific debate.
As you can see everything is under threat: from charities' conservation efforts right through to your consumer rights to not be sold dodgy stuff that doesn't work, but claims to.
Please, at the very least, sign the libel reform petition. It is *vital* that we reform the laws in this country.
If you fancy donating, that would be even better, their JustGiving page is here, or you could get the Geek Calendar, whose profits help the campaign, and whose pages showcase the UK's geek heroes in ways you will have never seen before.
What ever you do though, please get involved.
*read this to understand the quotation marks. Before following that link though, please sign the petition.