Is it Possible to Sanitize Athletes’ Shoes?

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 02:36 pm
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Posted by Marc Abrahams

A newly published study asks: Is is possible to sanitize athletes’ shoes? The study does not ask whether that matters.

The study is:


Is it Possible to Sanitize Athletes’ Shoes?” Gabriele Messina, Sandra Burgassi, Carmela Russo, Emma Ceriale, Cecilia Quercioli and Cosetta Meniconi, Journal of Athletic Training, epub November 2014. The authors are at various institutions in Sienna, Italy.

Here are details from the study:

We invited 34 athletes to take part in the project: 1 athlete (3%) refused, giving no reason, and 33 (97%) accepted. Two of the 33 (6%) were subsequently excluded because of the irregularity of their weekly training. The final study population was 31 athletes (1 was in the under 16 years group old [3%], 15 were in the under 17 years group [48%], 11 were in the under 19 years groupol [35%], and 4 [13%] were male coaches). The final number of shoes examined was 62.

BONUS FACT (possibly non-sequitorial): Basketball players often look down on microbes on their shoes.



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Posted by Anthony Wells

Lord Ashcroft has published a new batch of constituency polling. I hesitate to call it marginals polling, since we’ve moving up into some less marginal territory with today’s polls. Ashcroft has polled four different groups of seats in this set (all the tabs are here.)

The first is the next cohort of Lib Dem -v- Conservative marginals, this group are those seats with a Lib Dem majority of between 9% and 15% over the Conservatives, so we are no longer looking at ultra-marginals. The average swing from the Liberal Democrats to Conservatives in these seats is 2%, nowhere near enough to win seats like these. However, as we’ve seen in previous Lord Ashcroft polls of Lib Dem marginals there is an awful lot of variation between individual constituencies – some seats (Carshalton & Wallington and Thornbury & Yate) are actually showing swings from Con to LD. At the other end of the scale two seats are showing large enough swings for the Conservatives to win the seat (North Devon and Portsmouth South, which has a chunky 9 point swing from LD to Con, presumably at least partially connected to the scandal around Mike Hancock).

The second group of seats consists of two more Lib Dem seats with Labour in second place. Lord Ashcroft’s previous polling in LD v Lab seats essentially showed a complete Lib Dem collapse, raising the possibility of an almost complete wipeout for Liberal Democrat MPs where Labour was the main opponent. One of the seats here – Burnley – follows that pattern, with a ten point swing from LD to Lab. The other, Birmingham Yardley, represented by John Hemming, bucks the trend. There is still a 2.5% swing from LD to Lab, but it is smaller than we’ve seen in other LD -v- Lab seats and would be small enough for Hemming to hold on.

The third group of seats is two unusual seats – the close three-way marginal of Watford, and Wyre Forest, an Independent seat between 2001 and 2010. Neither of these really fit into any broader category, but looking at them as individual seats Watford shows little relative movement for the three main parties – all are down a little, UKIP are up a lot but still in fourth place, meaning the Conservatives retain a narrow lead. Wyre Forest was held by Dr Richard Taylor between 2001 and 2010. He’ll be standing again come the next general election for the National Health Action party, but I think under the same Kidderminster Health Concern label that he won on in 2001 and 2005. Ashcroft’s poll currently has the Conservatives holding the seat on 32% with UKIP in second on 27%, Labour 16%, Lib Dem 7%, Green 5%, Other 13%. The others aren’t identified in the poll, but is presumably largely Dr Taylor’s supporters.

Finally Ashcroft polled three of the four seats that will be contested by the main party leaders come the election – Sheffield Hallam, Doncaster North and Thanet South (presumably he didn’t do Witney because he thought it would be too boring… it would seem there comes a point when even Lord Ashcroft saves his money!). Party leaders normally do pretty well in their own seats. It is extremely rare for them to lose their own constituency and they very often outperform their party nationally. Such is the collapse of Liberal Democrat support however people have seriously raised the possiblity of Clegg losing his own seat – Ashcroft’s poll has it very close. Clegg is on 31%, Labour on 28%, just three behind (and this is on the question prompting people to think about their own constituency, the standard voting intention question had Labour a point ahead). Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North seat is traditionally a very safe Labour seat that should pose no concerns for him, but there was some speculation about how well UKIP might do. The BNP have held their deposit there at the last two elections and their was some significant support for the English Democrats too, with the far-right parties now collapsing and UKIP hoovering up that right-wing protest vote it looked as if there could be some potential. In fact Ashcroft’s poll did find UKIP in second place in Doncaster North, but 12 points behind Ed Miliband. Finally Thanet South, the seat where Nigel Farage plans to stand at the general election. Current figures there are CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 29% – so UKIP in a strong second place, but not currently quite enough to send Farage to Westminster.

[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by MikeSmithson

But elsewhere latest Ashcroft polls good for LDs

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Posted by Zoe O'Connell

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill was published yesterday, along with a couple of supporting documents, but it is still unclear exactly what data the Home Office is proposing to retain.

There is a need for the government to clarify the language in the bill and supporting documents, because it will be difficult to have a debate about security vs. freedom without this information. (We would really have to assume the worse case option, numbers 2 & 3 below combined) It may also result in legal wrangling if a service provider objects at a later stage to the information they are being asked to collect.

There are three likely interpretations of the bill:

  1. They want to keep:
    • account-to-IP address mappings for broadband
    • source IP address and port for NAT on mobile and cloud networks
    • MAC addresses on cloud WiFi networks.

    Although the data does not seem particularly useful and would thus query the price tag, the civil liberties implications seem minor, given that this data may be being kept by the ISPs in many cases already.

  2. As (1), but also collecting data such as MAC addresses from end-user equipment where it is operated by an ISP. (E.g. BT Home Hub) This is troubling, as people will not expect that equipment in their own homes would be spying on them.
  3. As (1) or (2), but also keeping some element of destination information to allow matching with destination server logs – e.g. destination IP address and port. Although in many cases an IP address/port combination is ambiguous when it comes to what site is being visited that is not always the case. Collecting this data strays into the same territory as with the Communications Data Bill.

It has been suggested that there may be a provision somewhere to also require CSPs (Facebook, Twitter etc) to keep source port information in server logs, which would make the data from (1) more useful if the source and destination is also in the UK.

If they could also publish how many additional RIPA requests they would expect to be able to get a positive result from due to this bill, that would also be useful information.

(It’s also worth reading the Impact Assessment if you are researching all this)

Police probe into Lords fraud should start with ex-cop

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 01:18 pm
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Posted by James Graham

The police are said to be launching an investigation into expenses fraud in the House of Lords a year after the Mirror caught disgraced peer Lord Hanningfield claiming £300 expenses before immediately leaving.

This is a year after the Mirror investigation, but the scandal has been well known years before that. My old organisation Unlock Democracy revealed dozens of questionable cases in 2012, and working peers have reported people clocking in and sodding off for years. It’s almost as if they were somewhat reluctant to investigate for some reason.

Allow me to introduce you to the Earl of Rosslyn, aka Peter Loughborough.

For years, the Earl has worked in the Metropolitan police as the head of royal protection. Unlock Democracy uncovered that he had clocked up over £15,000 in daily allowances in 2011 despite not voting at all or being a member of any committees. In fact, up until that point, he had only voted seven times in the Lords in total, five of which in 2007 when democratic reform of the Lords came up. He was, of course, against.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, he claimed a further £8,700. He still doesn’t sit on any committees, and he has not voted at all since 2007. As a senior policeman, he had a full time job, and it’s genuinely bemusing how he can justify these claims. According to the official register he also claimed “Ministerial and Office Holder Secretarial Expenses” (quantity undetermined), but he holds no ministerial or parliamentary office. If his attendance was as part of his police duties, the cost of him walking for five minutes from Scotland Yard to the Houses of Parliament is already covered by his salary.

According to the Daily Mail, earlier this year he left his police role to become the head of Prince Charles’s household. He has not apparently attended the House of Lords since taking on this role (accurate up to June 2014). Clarence House is, of course, much further to walk to Parliament from than Scotland Yard.

I’m sure it is a complete coincidence that this investigation has only started six months after a potential suspect has left the senior ranks of the Metropolitan Police, and I’m sure they will demonstrate this fact by taking Peter Loughborough in for questioning.

[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Editor

train-commuter-largeA passenger on a rush hour train has proactively made his into the middle of an otherwise packed carriage to allow fellow commuters to board, according to reports.

Masturbate to keep warm this winter, says Osborne

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 12:18 pm
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Posted by Neil Tollfree

George-Osborne-EU-surcharge-largeGeorge Osborne has suggested that those concerned about fuel bills this winter should masturbate to keep warm.
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Posted by Lord Ashcroft

My latest round of constituency polling includes an assortment of seats and some intriguing results.

Of the eighteen seats I have polled over the past four weeks, eleven are held by the Liberal Democrats with the Conservatives in second place. These have bigger majorities than those I have previously surveyed on the Lib Dem battleground, from 9.3% (Cheltenham) to 15.2% (Hazel Grove). To these I have added Watford, the most closely contested of the Conservative seats I have polled where the Lib Dems were second in 2010.

I have also looked at Burnley and Birmingham Yardley, two Lib Dem-held Labour targets not yet covered in my research. And though it does not fit easily into any category, having had an independent MP over two parliaments who finished second at the last election, I have also looked at Wyre Forest.

In addition to these I thought it would be interesting to poll the constituencies of the three leaders of the opposition: Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North, Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam (the electoral opposition, if not technically the Opposition) and Thanet South, where Nigel Farage hopes to be elected next May.

First, the Lib Dem battleground. Having found Labour ahead in Watford in September, this time the Conservatives were back in the lead, by two points. There is little to choose between the parties and the result could still go any of three ways.

In the Lib Dem-held Conservative targets I found an overall swing of two points to the Tories – but only because the fall in the Lib Dem vote (13 points) was even bigger than that in the Conservative vote (9 points). As is often the case, this overall swing masks significant variations between seats – indeed the swings were not even in the same direction.

There was some good news for the Conservatives – I found the party a point ahead in North Devon, where the Lib Dems are defending a majority of 5,821, and five points ahead in Portsmouth South, where the nine-point swing to the Tories suggest the sitting MP’s antics have generated the opposite of an incumbency effect.

Elsewhere in this selection, most of the Lib Dem MPs concerned seem quite well entrenched. Outside Portsmouth South, the biggest swing to the Conservatives was 4.5% in Hazel Grove, which still leaves the Lib Dems with a 6-point lead. At the other end of the scale, I found swings to the Lib Dems in both Carshalton & Wallington and Thornbury & Yate, where Tom Brake and Steve Webb each saw their vote share fall by just 5 points compared to 2010, while the Tory share was down by nearly three times as much.

In the Lib Dem-held Labour targets I found the challengers comfortably ahead in Burnley, with a 13-point lead and a 10% swing, but the Lib Dems holding on by three points in Birmingham Yardley. In Wyre Forest I found the Conservatives ahead and UKIP second with 27% of the vote, evidently benefiting from circumstances in which many local people have not voted for one of the main parties since 1997.

In the eleven Lib Dem-Conservative seats the powerful incumbency factor enjoyed by many Lib Dem MPs is clearly on display. A quarter of those saying they would vote Labour in the standard voting intention question (“which party would you vote for in an election tomorrow?”) switched to the Lib Dems when asked the localised question (“thinking about your own parliamentary constituency at the next general election and the candidates who are likely to stand for Westminster there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for?”) Seventeen per cent of those initially saying they would vote Tory did the same, as did 12% of those saying they would vote UKIP.

Interestingly, 15% of 2010 Conservative voters who said they would vote UKIP in the first question switched back to the Tories in the second question. Even so, I found 17% of 2010 Conservative voters saying they would switch to UKIP in their own constituency – as would 13% of 2010 Labour voters and 10% of former Lib Dems.

Conservative switchers to UKIP were less optimistic about the economy, both for themselves and for the country as a whole, than remaining Tories. However, 92% of Conservative-UKIP defectors said they would rather have Cameron as Prime Minister than Miliband, and two thirds said their preferred outcome of the next election was a Conservative overall majority.

And so to the seats of Miliband, Clegg and (potentially) Farage.

Mr Miliband may be relieved to hear he is 12 points ahead in Doncaster North, a seat he won by 26 points in 2010. I found Labour on 40%, with UKIP second on 28% and the Conservatives third on 23%. That being the case, I wonder how many Doncaster Tories would be prepared to lend UKIP their vote, just this once?

In Sheffield Hallam, I found Nick Clegg ahead by just three points (and only on the second question where voters were reminded to think of their own constituency – on the standard voting intention question Labour were ahead). I would be amazed if the Lib Dem leader ended up losing his seat, but remember he won 53% of the vote in Hallam at the height of Cleggmania.

Now seems a good time to issue my customary reminder that these polls are snapshots not predictions – but on the basis of this snapshot Nigel Farage may not find himself in parliament at all. I found the Tories five points ahead in Thanet South, with 34% to UKIP’s 29%.

There is little good news for Miliband in the Doncaster poll, but it is not all bad: his constituents think he is performing nearly as well as David Cameron. Asked how good a job each leader was doing on a scale from zero to ten, they awarded a mean score of 4.40 to the PM, and to 4.27 to their MP. On the whole they thought Farage was doing best, giving him 4.83. Still, nearly a quarter (24%) of Miliband’s constituents thought he would make the best Prime Minister of the four, compared to only 23% who chose David Cameron.

When it came to a straight choice, the local news was less good. Only 18% in Doncaster North said they were satisfied with Cameron’s performance as PM; a further 27% said they were dissatisfied but preferred him to the alternative. Only 35% of his constituents said they would rather have Miliband as PM than the incumbent.

In Sheffield Hallam, Cameron was the highest-rated leader with a performance rating of 5.10, followed by Farage on 4.35. Ed Miliband was third. Nick Clegg was not.

In Thanet South, the local candidate again came second to Cameron, with 4.61 to the PM’s 4.94. Indeed his own potential constituents awarded him a slightly lower score than the people of Doncaster North. Perhaps he should swap seats?

When it comes to managing the economy in the best interests of Britain, 35% of North Doncastrians most trusted Miliband and Ed Balls – which, to be fair to the Eds, is only a fraction behind the 38% who said they most trusted Cameron and George Osborne.

Finally, nearly one third (32%) of Miliband’s constituents said their preferred election outcome was a Labour government. But only 24% of them expected one.

A stroke of genius by the Conservative Party

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 11:05 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
1) Agree that Scotland should have control over income tax.

2) Bring in English Votes for English Laws.

Result: No Scottish MP will be able to vote on income tax laws in the rest of the UK ever again.

Admittedly, this would have been more of a coup six months ago, before Labour looked like losing most of its Scottish seats. But still, it's a stroke of genius on behalf of the Conservatives.

Of course, bringing in EVEL means that no Scottish MP can be Prime Minister either. Which means that Scottish Labour are much less likely to be in favour of sticking with a union that they're powerless to influence in major ways.

I'm not sure there's been a more exciting time in British politics in the last fifty years.

Interesting Links for 27-11-2014

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 11:00 am
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[personal profile] andrewducker

Blackpool hotel guests fined £100 for not voting UKIP

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 08:52 am
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Posted by Dave Jones

blackpool-hotelFurther embarrassment was heaped on Blackpool's tarnished image yesterday, when news emerged of yet another hotelier fining guest for opinions he didn't like.
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Posted by MikeSmithson

It’s important to tease out incumbency & tactical elements

I was tied up last night when the ComRes/ITV online marginals poll was published as well as the latest YouGov which has the Tories back with a 1% lead.

The ComRes poll with a sample of a thousand questioned online is in 40 seats where at GE10 the two main parties were overall level pegging. So it takes in both CON and LAB held marginals.

The changes are broadly in line with what we have been seeing in national polls so did not greatly add to our understanding.

What the pollster could have done to make this a lot more valuable was to have used the two-stage voting intention question that was first deployed in Politicshome polling ahead of GE10. After the standard party choice question you ask those sampled to think specifically of their own constituency.

This, as we are seeing in the Lord A single seat polling can produce very different outcomes. For key factors which really matter are incumbency and tactical voting.

Later today we are promised the next batch of Ashcroft polling of marginal seats each with 1k samples. My guess is that this will focus on CON held seats that were held with majorties of 7%+.

There’s also the possibility of some Scottish seats as well the Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North where UKIP is strong.

Last night’s YouGov saw the Tories with a 1% lead and the Greens ahead of the LDs.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

UKIP blunder again

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 08:03 am
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Social media is full of the latest gaffe by UKIP in which their South Thanet branch took to Twitter to criticise the BBC programme, Daily Politics for supposedly conducting a poll as to whether Nigel Farage has what it takes to be Prime Minister, outside a 'Mosque'.

Unfortunately for them, the so-called 'Mosque' was actually Westminster Catholic Cathedral.

But this isn't just a story about geographic ignorance, the assumptions behind the tweet are particularly disturbing implying disrespect for the Muslim community verging on bigotry. This is the true face of UKIP and one that people need to beware of.

Phillip Hughes 1988-2014

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 05:17 am
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The sad news to wake up to this morning is that Australian batsman Phillip Hughes who was hit on the head by a bouncer while playing for South Australia against New South Wales has died as a result of the damage he sustained to a major artery as a result. He had been in an induced coma since an operation after he was rushed to a Sydney hospital following the incident.

Although he was only 25 he made his test debut on 26 February 2009 against South Africa. Although in his first innings he was dismissed for a duck, he took a half century in the second innings. But in the second match in that series scored the first of what were to become 3 test centuries in the first innings with 115 to be followed up with he record test score 160 in the second. He was the youngest man in test history to take a century in both innings of a Test Match.

In total he appeared in 26 Tests:

2009 v South Africa 
1st Test Johannesburg 0 and 75
2nd Test Durban 115 and 160
3rd Test Cape Town 33 and 32
2009 v England
1st Test Cardiff 36
2nd Test Lord's 4 and 17
2009/10 v Pakistan
2nd Test Sydney 0 and 37
2010 v New Zealand
1st Test Wellington 20 and 86no
2010/11 v England
3rd Test Perth 2 and 14
4th Test Melbourne 16 and 23
5th Test Sydney 31 and 13
2011 v Sri Lanka
1st Test Galle 12 and 28
2nd Test Pallekele 36
3rd Test Colombo 0 and 126
2011 v South Africa
1st Test Cape Town 9 and 9
2nd Test Johannesburg 88 and 11
2011 v New Zealand
1st Test Brisbane 10 and 7
2nd Test Hobart 4 and 20
2012/13 v Sri Lanka
1st Test Hobart 86 and 16
2nd Test Melbourne 10
3rd Test Sydney 87 and 34
2013 v India
1st Test Chennai 6 and 0
2nd Test Hydrabad 19 and 0
3rd Test Mohali 2 and 69
4th Test Dehli 45 and 6
2013 v England
1st Test Nottingham 81no and 0
2nd Test Lord's 1 and 1

It is a shame now in hindsight that his last outing in the baggy green cap of Australia was at headquarters and saw him only scoring a single in both innings.

Phil was born in Macksville in New South Wales, for whom he made his senior debut in 2007 before moving to South Australia in 2013. He has also appeared for Middlesex, Hampshire and Worcestershire in England, Mumbai Indians in the IPL and for Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers in the Australian Twenty20 Big Bash League.

He was three days short of his 26th Birthday and had been scheduled to play in next week's test match against India. The current round of Sydney Cup matched have been cancelled and next week's test is now in doubt as it is suspected that very few of his international colleagues may be prepared to return to the field so soon.

Here is the coverage of his greatest test performance that second test against South Africa in 2009.

Phillip Joel Hughes - Cricketer 30 November 1988 - 27 November 2014

My thoughts are also going out to Sean Abbott the young New South Wales bowler who in playing the way he was taught to play bowled a delivery that changed many lives, but especially the two men at either end of the crease. There are pictures of him holding his mates head in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but it was not his fault, though he is grieving just as the Hughes family are. Our thoughts go to both families and it is clear that many in the cricketing family are on hand to support Abbott though these tough days too.

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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