Tag Archive: statistics

Akismet and Jetpack Issues, Stop Spammers and CloudFlare Save the Day

My Web Host Penalised Me Yet Helped Speed Up My Site

Introduction

shared web hosting

shared web hosting

This site used to be hosted on Site5, in Texas.  I had a shared web host account, about the cheapest there is on Site5 though by no means the cheapest around (I’ve had experience of really cheap hosts….).  It worked alright, site management was good.  Then, I got hit by spammers.  Twice.  Big time.

Each time, this slowed the site down, made life hell for other shared accounts, especially when I introduced WordPress plugins to counter this.

Naturally, Site5 advised me to stop the hits or they’d pull my account (they’d already temporarily disabled it).  They advised me to cut the plugins, using GoDaddy’s plugin testing tool, WordPress Plugin Performance Profiler (P3).  So I did this, and after some trial and error, got the running processes down.  Of course, I lost a bit of neat functionality.

Testing Times

Apart from internal WordPress testing, it pays to test your site as if you are someone else somewhere else.  Pingdom have a set of tools that does just this, testing from various global locations and I can recommend it.

Result!

I used an iterative approach, testing various combinations of plugins and systems to end up as being in the top 8% sites for speed in the world!  Not bad for free is all I can say!   You’ll see in the screenshot above, that 92% of websites are slower than mine….   So is it really free?  Here goes…..

Paid For:
  • Web Hosting.  Shared.
  • My domain registration.
Free:
  • WordPress and all the LAMP functionality
  • WordPress plugins
  • CloudFlare
Pingdom Says

Pingdom Says

Automattic Issues

WordPress (which this site uses) is built by the Automattic team and naturally have expanded over time.  I’ve used their plugins for many years, Akismet from the off, which is a comment spam blocking system.  Latterly, they came out with Jetpack, where they say,

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.

P3 Selected Output

P3 Selected Output

This is all well and good, except when I tested it using the P3 plugin profiler, Jetpack was the biggest drag on everything!   The worst part of it, was that actually, I was only using a small part of its features and it was still the biggest suck on performance.

  • I didn’t use Carousel for photos since I had an old solution, NextGen Gallery, that I’m loathe to change.
  • The comments system mucked up all other comment plugins, grabbing all for itself (a bit like Microsoft here!)
  • I used the stats, and that was about all, yet they were very slow and not that informative, actually.
  • Nearly all the other stuff I looked at, tried and ditched for similar reasons.

So much for the awesome cloud power.  On top of this, you’re now supposed to pay for parts of Automattic’s offerings, like Akismet, the comment spam blocker while a major offering of theirs was actually slowing my site right up!

What Did I do?

Change host!

Well not initially, actually, though the heavy-handed Site5 approach got my ire a bit I must admit.  I did do loads of tests with a host of caching, anti-spam and page load improvement plugins first…

Vidahost

Vidahost

I now use Vidahost in the UK.  The site is faster to manage (along with my others) since the servers are in the UK with me, and it’s cheaper, providing almost the same functionality and tools as Site 5.  I took the opportunity to clean out a few dead files in the process, but essentially, all was moved, database and files.  The lot.  Just twiddled config.php and the .htaccess file a bit.

did worry that my American visitors, who are actually in the majority, would  suffer slower speed and thus I’d get hit in Google rankings, but hey, wait for later…!

I got it all working and as part of the whole “thinking” process since the very first warnings from Site 5, I’d been looking for better things.

Looking at Things Closely

  • I like Related Posts.   Related Posts plugins do just that.  I love the idea of pulling out meta-data relevant stuff from a website.  Site 5 had said, as have others on the web, that this sort of plugin makes big hits on a site.  Some of them really do!  I use  YARPP, with a limited subset of features enabled which cuts down processing.
  • I also like Andrew Ozz’s Shutter Reloaded which shows images nicely.   I also like his post editor, TinyMCE Advanced, it being the best of many I’ve tested over the years.
  • I like NextGEN Gallery having used it since before WordPress got all image fancy.  I haven’t got time to fiddle with thousands of photos now…
  • I’d like some statistics within WordPress.
  • I’m not that interested, any-more (though I was) in Social Networking sharing features.  Truth be told, if someone wants to share, they will.
  • I’ve read a lot on image improvements.  I’ve always shrunk images manually before uploading using the excellent IrfanView application.  But during this enforced research, other things like sprites and delayed image loading popped into the equation.

So I like certain plugins or functionality.  I try and use the one that works best for me.  Too many plugins make a big hit on the server and thus website loading.

Caching

A way round this is caching.  e.g. If a post is created and has related posts clagged on the bottom using YARPP, then the post is cached and YARRP is only running once.  How and where the caching is done is the crux of the issue…

Site 5 suggested W3 Total Cache as a better alternative to Wp Super Cache,  which I’ve used for years.    Naturally, I’ve tested this and my conclusion was that it could be fast, and it was fast for a while, but over time on each of my sites I got issues around lock-ups and the huge and complex caching system around files, databases and sprites.  This list is long.

I’ve also tested various database query caching plugins likewise over the years.  W3 Total Cache incorporates this method too, but ultimately, it made too much work for not a lot of difference IMHO, since I’m lazy.

However, it did point me to one thing!  CloudFlare.

CloudFlare

CloudFlare Admin1

CloudFlare Admin1

Ah.  The power of the cloud is back!

Not only that – it works!

CloudFlare Admin2

CloudFlare Admin2

You re-direct your DNS at your domain registrar (joker.com in my case) to CloudFlare’s DNS servers, set up the site malware protection level you want – then after a few hours your whole site is cached and protected.  Best of all, it’s free for a little site like this!

In fact, using CloudFlare speeded everything up even before I got caching going again…

Further Plugin Work

Now, I went back to Wp Super Cache from Doncha and it all works fine.  Site speed good.  I then ditched Jetpack after testing it again.  It really does interfere with all comment plugins, and I really like this comment one as do people who comment here:

  • U Extended Comment

It works great and does everything I want.  So Jetpack, it’s bye bye.  Take all your fancy commenting system, your stats, your social media and fancy image handling.

But What About Comment Spam?

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results1

Stop Spammer Results1

I’ve found the best solution is a plugin called Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin.  It needed a bit of fine tuning and a re-activation of Akismet to whip out a few wisps of spammer, but it works and seems to trap and report more spammers than ever Akismet did alone.  Akismet, by itself, does the commenting bit in tandem with the plugin, rather well.

Registration Spam

SABRE Results

SABRE Results

Unfortunately, during testing, a few unwanted visitors managed to register on the website.  They can’t do real harm since I use the lowest role level at registration time.  So I re-enabled SABRE and since then, no more unwanted visitors.  I’ve tested SABRE as a visitor and the settings I’ve chosen are just about right – I’ve had issues with it previously when it blocked registration!  But reducing the feature set and re-uploading a clean plugin fixes that.

CloudFlare and the CDN Issue

I toyed around getting a CDN to host images.  But they (can) cost and anyway, I’ve gone off Amazon and others because of their anti-Wikileaks actions plus they don’t pay UK tax…

Delayed Image Loading

However, in the course of my reading, I found that images can be loaded just as the page comes into view, which speeds up page loading, and as a consequence the perceived nippiness of a site.  The plugin BJ Lazy Load does this for me and works brilliantly.  Check this last post about Australia which has a lot of medium sized images to see them pop into view!

Delayed Javascript Loading

I use two plugins that handle this end of the issue around JavaScript.

Statistics

WP SlimStat1

WP SlimStat1

Well, Jetpack is gone.  I won’t be using it unless some serious improvements are made, it being the prime reason for the server load that brought me to this position in  the first place.  As soon as I disabled it (and simultaneously blocked all comments to the site, which isn’t the best thing, this being a blog after all), all server loads went away.

I now use SlimStat and it works very well.  I’ve tried many over time, including Google’s analysis tools, my webhost’s stats tools, Wassup and more, but for now, this is it.

Conclusion

My site works pretty fast and is pretty protected from the bad guys.  I actually still use more plugins than what is usually recommended – 50 is a huge lot according to web gurus and sages.  Currently there are 31 in active operation with 8 inactivated.  I love trying new ones, it’s like that, that’s just the way it is.

The delayed image loading is particularly apparent on a post with a lot of images, say this recent one.  The post loads fast and you see the first images load, and as you scroll down you’ll see other images appear with a slight delay.

All the other stuff is incremental improvement, with the biggest, by far, being the free CloudFlare service which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It’s a no-brainer, go and do it?

My Full List?

These are the plugins currently running that help my site work.  Many are for security, which demonstrates the state of play versus the bad internet guys full well.

Related Posts:

The Real Troubles are not in Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING FREE DERRY 8The Saville Report, probably the longest and certainly the most expensive enquiry in the UK ever, is now out.  The ramifications are continuing, despite the Prime Minister trying to draw a line under everything.  See Bloody Sunday report published

History

On that day in 1972, 13 folks were killed, and overall, in what are called “The Troubles”, over 3,500 people were killed in Northern Ireland in the 30 years between 1968 and 1998.  (see ref.)  This is about 130 a year, or about 11 a month. ( Also, during the 30 years, >47,000 were injured!)

Bloody Philadelphia

But let’s stick with the dead for now.

I’ve been following the local 6ABC News in Philadelphia for a bit.  It’s not happy reading.  Most of the news headlines are murder related.

For Instance

Last year there was a ‘random’ shooting at a funeral.  Afterwards, Taaqi Brown was caught and charged with killing Aaron Kearney, although apparently he was after one of Kearney’s friends, ( – so that makes it alright, then?)

These are black guys, and drugs and guns come into the story a lot.  See storyline links below:

Disturbing Philadelphia

Recently, Taaqi had been let out of custody accidentally, which is pretty bad for the law enforcement agencies.  He later turned himself in.  What is horrifically disturbing though, is the interactive map from the Philadelphia Police Department.

http://citymaps.phila.gov/CrimeMap/map….from=5%2f17%2f2010&to=6%2f16%2f2010

Click on it and you’ll see all the homicides in the city for the past one month.  This is only one month, not a year or a decade….

27 people killed!

Most of these are from gunshot.  Mostly, people have been murdered outside in the street.  These are the cold statistics.

Crime Category Location Date/Time Premise Code
114 – Homicide: Knife 6100 BLOCK COTTAGE ST 6/13/2010 8:58 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 500 BLOCK E ASHMEAD ST 6/13/2010 0:23 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 6900 BLOCK N 19TH ST 6/12/2010 2:36 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun S COLORADO ST & WOLF ST 6/10/2010 6:04 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun N HOWARD ST & W HUNTINGDON ST 6/9/2010 17:11 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun CHEW AV & E WOODLAWN ST 6/6/2010 6:50 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic 1100 BLOCK S 6TH ST 6/5/2010 0:52 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 400 BLOCK E SHARPNACK ST 6/4/2010 5:14 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
112 – Homicide: Rifle 1200 BLOCK S 21ST ST 6/3/2010 8:18 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 1600 BLOCK W YORK ST 6/3/2010 3:07 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
115 – Homicide: Beating 1200 BLOCK N 4TH ST 6/2/2010 14:54 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
114 – Homicide: Knife 2600 BLOCK COLLINS ST 6/2/2010 12:49 70. Private Residence
111 – Homicide: Handgun 3000 BLOCK W DAKOTA ST 6/1/2010 8:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun S 60TH ST & KINGSESSING 5/31/2010 6:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 2100 BLOCK E CLEARFIELD 5/31/2010 4:14 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
121 – Homicide: Auto W LEHIGH AV & MASCHER ST 5/30/2010 6:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 400 BLOCK W INDIANA AV 5/30/2010 2:37 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 4800 BLOCK DEVEREAUX AV 5/29/2010 3:56 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 5400 BLOCK BALTIMORE AV 5/29/2010 2:11 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 3300 BLOCK W WESTMORELAND ST 5/28/2010 4:21 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic 1200 BLOCK RHAWN ST 5/26/2010 13:43 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun 1200 BLOCK S BUCKNELL ST 5/25/2010 3:30 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
117 – Homicide: felon by Police Officer 1500 BLOCK W TIOGA ST 5/22/2010 4:01 66. Apartment House/Condominium
117 – Homicide: felon by Police Officer 1500 BLOCK W TIOGA ST 5/21/2010 23:21 66. Apartment House/Condominium
111 – Homicide: Handgun 900 BLOCK FILBERT ST 5/21/2010 7:29 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
123 – Homicide: Non-Traffic N 2ND ST & W OLNEY AV 5/18/2010 20:32 53. Highway (Outside Structure)
111 – Homicide: Handgun N 59TH ST & LANSDOWNE AV 5/17/2010 6:20 53. Highway (Outside Structure)

But remember, Northern Ireland, for the whole of The Troubles, averaged out at 11 murders per month…..  This is just one month in Philadelphia!

Murderous, Troubled, Philadelphia

It means ol’ Philly is 3 times as bad as Northern Ireland.

  • What can they do?
  • Has it always been like this?
  • Do they want it to change?

Q. So which makes the best holiday destination?  N. Ireland or Philadelphia?

Q. Are they very similar?

Well, both Philadelphia and N.I. have similar populations of between 1.5 and 2 million souls.   But there, I’m afraid the similarity ends.

My own internal image I have of Northern Ireland is of it’s troubled times, but in all likelihood I could walk the streets yet not feel very “brotherly” towards the place because I’d be haunted by it’s past.  But I’d most likely be “safe”.

My image of Philadelphia is of the home of Benjamin Franklin and the Liberty Bell.  It means “The City of Brotherly Love” from it’s Greek meaning. I also have a vision of a  ‘tough’ place because of Will Smith’s signature tune from the Fresh Price of Bel Air.

But my new image is that it’s not somewhere that’s safe to walk the streets, or even drive.  27 murders a month is nearly one a day.

Northern Ireland was never, ever, as bad as Philadelphia now.

War On ??

The continuing “War on Terror” looks to be a misguided distraction from these figures.  The true war should be being fought on the streets of cities like Philadelphia and in the minds of it’s inhabitants.

Because, you see, what happens is that if these same “poor kids” involved in a society like this, decide that the only way out of their mess of a life, is to join the Army in it’s war on terror, then their poor grasp of right and wrong leads to the continuing atrocities that we see in Iraq, Afghanistan etc.  Things like the gunship turkey shoot below where American heroes heroically shoot unarmed civilians on the ground from afar… (We only know of this because of the great Wikileaks.  As usual, the government tried to cover it up.)

This action and the continuing slaughter on America’s own streets by Americans is inexcusable.

  • Why is America like this?
  • Why do they put up with such shit?

Related Posts:

Awful BBC, Xenophobic Road Accident Reporting

Students die in India as bus plunges into river

Indian police officers look down from a bridge at the wreckage of a bus after an accident in Sawai Madhopur district, nearly 185 kilometres west of Jaipur, India, Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP / Rajasthan Patrika)

Indian police officers look down from a bridge at the wreckage of a bus after an accident in Sawai Madhopur district, nearly 185 kilometres west of Jaipur, India, Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP / Rajasthan Patrika)

The above headline is awful enough for the people involved, but in reality, it’s subject, a road crash, is common enough in my own country, the UK.

What is really bad is how the BBC is reporting this.  They should know better but essentially, they’ve reported verbatim the same “superiority complex” story being bandied about the globe in a “mass denigration” of India, (see here and here for instance), originally sourced from AP and which includes the objectionable phrase,

Road accidents claim hundreds of Indian lives every year. Most are blamed on bad driving or poor roads and vehicles.

There are two things wrong with this:

ONE:  The statistics are incorrect and they imply that somehow India is much worse than anywhere else.

TWO: The causes of accidents are reported as if they are specific to India, e.g. bad driving, vehicles, roads.  This is obviously wrong – my personal experience and the accounts of countless others tell me so….

Statistics

People are killed on the roads in far greater numbers than “hundreds” as the BBC and everyone else is saying.  Not only that, India’s figures are in the thousands, not hundreds, the same as every other country on the planet!…

You see,  ~4,000 are killed in the UK and ten times that, ~40,000 are killed in the USA!    Every year.

In the USA it’s so bad now that the main cause of death for people aged from 5 to 27 is on the road! (source)

Bad Driving? Bad Writing? Bad Editing?

So is it okay to compare bald figures?  What are they?

Of course, the statistics for India are hard to come by.  But this website for 1998 gives road deaths figures for India, North America and Europe as:

  • India:               217k
  • N. America:     49k
  • Europe:             66k

From Wikipedia, these are the (2008) figures for population of the three areas:

  • India:               1,150M
  • N. America:     528M
  • Europe:             830M

So from these figures, road traffic deaths per 100,000 persons are:

  • India:               18.8
  • N. America:     9.3
  • Europe:             8.0

So India is about twice as bad as the two major OECD areas in the world, for road deaths as a percentage of population size….  Not that we can all sit easy in our Western smugness….  there are still 10 people dying every day in the UK, on the road.

(I know the above calculations are back-of-fag-packet stuff and the data doesn’t line up correctly, date-wise.  As I said, Indian data is hard to come by. This document makes plain that the OECD median is 7.8 for 2007, which is close to my calculations, and my calculation uses figures from the same year for each geographical zone down a given metric.)

USA Paradox?

But what about the distance travelled?  Surely Americans drive more and thus crash more compared to their fellow Europeans which will lower their rates?

This document again makes plain that the above supposition is false!  When allowance is made for distance travelled, the USA fares only slightly worse than the UK for deaths per 100 million vehicle kilometres; 0.8 compared to 0.6

But this “slightly worse”, in percentage terms, is about the same as the whole variation across all OECD countries, N. America and Europe as seen above.  This means, that Americans DO drive farther, but they still crash at their same higher rate compared to Europeans.

Conclusion

Wolseley StreetWhere does this leave India?  As I said, the data is hard to come by.  But that’s not the point, is it?

The point is that the reporting of this bridge crash is being done in a mocking, superior way, and we have nothing at all to be smug about in the arena of road deaths.

NOTHING.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Now You See it, Now You Don’t!

Is Nuclear power Safe?

  • Watch how the politicians duck and dive.
  • Watch how they pick and choose which bits of ‘science’ to believe!
Gymnasium at Pripyat

Abandoned for 100 Years

Last week, smiley Alan Johnson fell out with serious Professor Nutt because the professor said some factual scientific things, things proven by statistics and analysis to have an overwhelming degree of proof.  This was that drinking alcohol and smoking is far more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy pills.  See dont-shoot-the-messenger-if-you-dont-like-the-message and associated links.

Now, this week, Ed Milliband has taken the opposite approach and said:

Nuclear power is safe, says Ed Miliband

So, despite there being three major accidents involving nuclear power, he says it’s safe!  In actual fact, he said this:

“I do understand the anxieties that there are because there have been concerns about nuclear power.”    “I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view.”

The trouble with this, is that a nuclear accident isn’t the same as a car crash, it isn’t at all like a train crash or a plane crash.  It actually isn’t anything like an earthquake or tsunami, natural hazards that many have to live with.

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point Power Station

In a nutshell, if Hinkley Point Power Station down the road from me goes up in a similar fashion to Chernobyl, because of the prevailing wind, most of England will be uninhabitable and we’ll all have to go to Scotland!

The Three Close Shaves

In order, there was Windscale when I was a child and was exposed to Strontium in the milk which had to be chucked away for months.  The records show that this was a really close shave for us in Britain and Scandinavia – only half an hour away from a worse-than-Chernobyl disaster!

Then we had Three-Mile Island, another skin of the teeth episode but this time by the Americans.

Then there was Chernobyl which has left a 100 mile square piece of Russia uninhabitable and left sheep inedible thousands of miles away in Britain for years.  If the Chernobyl event had been here, as I say, all the Midlands would’ve needed evacuating.  As it is, Russia is very, very big, and they’ve room to move…..  We don’t.  It’s a little island.  Full of jobs-worth’s and idiots, by the sound of it.

Belief

Subway to Nowhere

Subway to Nowhere

Q. So which scientist is Milliband believing?  Which scientist says it’s “safe”?

Q. What evidence is Milliband ignoring that leads him to think people’s fears are “ungrounded”, as he says?

A. The evidence of his head in the sand, that’s what!

In this case he is using the infrequent bad events and calling them safe because they don’t happen often.  And because we’ve been very, very lucky; that’s all.

The stats show something different, because there are only about a couple of hundred nuclear plants across the globe!  Three have gone up!!!  For me, this is piss-poor odds and I don’t wish the lottery-like risks, especially when there are a host of other alternatives.

Lovelock

relax...

Relax

James Lovelock said some years ago that nuclear power was inevitable in order to have a controllable and civilised future.

He’s a clever man, but that doesn’t mean he’s always correct.

In his same speech (on TV some years ago), he said that an incident killing about 1 million people every 100 years was almost inevitable, but comparing it to road transport, or to dying from an overheating world, or the natural cancers we’d get anyway,  then many more would die in the same period….

That’s statistics and that’s a scientist speaking.  It’s the balance of probabilities and the the certainty of proof expressed in numbers.

However, it does not make it right and it does not make it something to which we should aspire.

Obstacles

Mr. & Mrs. Pump

Vested interests

There has to be a better way – and there is.  There are a pot of technologies available, especially when the economies of scale in mass manufacture are taken into account.  I don’t mean battery cars, the biggest red herring ever.  But there ARE a host of solutions and the biggest obstacles are:

  • Vested interests – oil companies and the politicians and businessmen that are attached.
  • Lack of belief – we people can do anything we set our minds to – even splitting the atom and making global war with it!
  • Stasis in Innovation – a host of tools are already available but people are scared and no-one wants to take the first step…

But look at it this way.  If all houses and industrial premises are forced by law to be covered with low cost film photovoltaic cells, how much electricity will we have and how many people MIGHT get hurt if a roof collapses?

A. A lot of electric and not many people!

Surely, something like this is worth trying rather than putting a host of concrete death stars on our doorsteps?

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Don’t Shoot the Messenger if You don’t Like the Message

Alan Johnson Sacks the Messenger

This, of course, relates to the recent sackings and supportive resignations of Government Scientific Advisors (see More advisers may go in drugs row) .

The home secretary faces the threat of more scientists resigning after sacking his chief drugs adviser Prof David Nutt for his comments about cannabis policy. Two members of the drugs advisory panel have quit in protest and others are to meet to discuss their next move.  Alan Johnson said Prof Nutt was sacked for “crossing the line” between giving advice and campaigning for a policy.

The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.

Currently, a few tens of people each year die while taking ecstasy.   Most actually die from dehydration and related effects, not from the drug.

However, the drug is addictive in that it’s effects diminish with repetition and the user has to take more each time to obtain the same experience.

It can be argued that taking one drug leads to taking others, which seems a reasonable supposition.  But even so, the deaths due to drug taking, as opposed to the deaths due to crimes within the drugs supply industry are miniscule.

Far better would be to fully legalise all drugs but to have life imprisonment for illegal supply.  In this way, there’s be nothing to stop ‘curious’ people making their own drugs…

An even better, and logical proposition, would be to focus on preventable deaths as they stand in the real, accountable figures.  Start by checking the official government death statistics…  Oh!  And here they are (it’s a big PDF file)

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/Dh2_32/DH2_No32_2005.pdf

In this right-riveting read are all sorts of weirdness.

For instance, the number of deaths from CYSTITIS is greater than those due to those surrounding Ecstasy intake!!  Perhaps we should be focussing our energies here?

But even more shocking, is that the deaths due to NOT WEARING A CRASH HELMET while driving a CAR are more than Ecstasy and Cystitis combined.

If HM Gov were truly concerned about the welfare of it’s citizens, they would insist on the use of crash helmets now and also make it impossible for motor vehicles to exceed ANY speed limit by the use of automatic speed limiting devices?  Maybe install equipment to prevent vehicle movement if there’s alcohol on the driver’s breath?

But that removes the freedom of a person to drive how they like? – is the obvious riposte.  And why should I have to wear a helmet inside my car?  And if I want to drive while drunk, that’s my choice!

So?  And there we are back to my first statement: “The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.

And in that, the scientist is absolutely right and Johnson has chucked away all ‘fair comment’ values of a free society and ended the debate by shooting the messenger.  Meanwhile the carnage on the streets continues both by vehicle and by the gun and knife.

Either way, it’s still carnage – and deaths from Ecstasy are a pimple in comparison.

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