The Nameless Horror

Project 1: Stats

Writing started: July 5.

Writing finished: November 22.

Length: 51,000 words and change.

Yes, that’s short of the 60k I was aiming for, but still, 4 and a half months to do a book, start to end and get it away to my agent (plus x time planning beforehand; probably a couple of weeks doing it heavily). In that 4.5 months, Future Wife had Morgan, I’ve sold my old flat with all the screwing around that comes with such, I’ve had a (short) holiday, Aidan’s started school, and I’ve had to start work on a second, very different, book at agent’s fickle prompting.

That’s not a bad clip at all.

Now someone just needs to pay me for the thing. Which they should, because some of it’s very good.

This Week In Facts: Water & The EU

"EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration" screamed the Telegraph (and my Facebook feed; hence my interest). Blimey, a three-year investigation, pompous Eurocrats, needless time-wasting, and all they can say is that water doesn’t make you hydrated. CRAZY!

So what’s the truth?

It’s not much less bureaucratic, and some EU rulings genuinely are crazy, but this seems to actually have been the two lawyers’ fault. According to the actual ruling (available here - only a page long), they applied by first stating that dehydration was a “disease” (which any sane person I’d guess would say it’s not - disease implies transmission; this would be a “condition”, but maybe I’m splitting hairs). Under the spurious health claims rules for diseases, a product has to show that it reduces a risk factor for that disease to claim that it reduces the chance of suffering the disease itself. So far, so fair enough.

Their suggestions for “risk factors” for dehydration in the general population were “water loss in tissues” or “reduced water content in tissues”, which the authority ruled were both measures of the “disease” itself and not risk factors. In other words, if your tissue water content is reduced, you are dehydrated, it’s not a separate condition.

Their claim was therefore thrown out effectively on a technicality. They couldn’t come up with an “x leads to dehydration” risk factor (why they didn’t use “not drinking enough”, or call it something other than a disease, I’m baffled) and they got stung on it. They’re lawyers used to dealing with the EFSA and they should’ve known better. Which would then make me wonder if this was a deliberate shoot-for-a-refusal in order to gain publicity or to make the EU look worse than it already does at a time when there’s political leverage to gain by doing so - their quotes in the Telegraph would certainly support this. Since we don’t know who they were bringing the case on behalf of - themselves or a manufacturer - we can’t know, though.

For what it’s worth, while the petition to make the claim has a “2008-05014” identifier on it, suggesting it was lodged with EFSA in 2008, they didn’t start considering it until January this year so I rather doubt it was a “three-year investigation”. Especially since it mostly seems to have involved some Q&A with the lawyers (one would assume by email) and then deciding the case at a committee meeting (at which other claims may or may not have been discussed; I freely confess to having no clue how EFSA cases are heard. Maybe all 22 panel members are flown in person to them in personal hoverjets fuelled by liquid gold, but that’s largely irrelevant - this one was only heard because these guys chose to put it before them).

Future Sister-In-Law’s 50th birthday at the weekend, and I was rousted into doing some photo work. Used my newly acquired 55mm f1.4 Olde Manual Chinon lens since we were going to be indoors and I don’t like flash. Now I have to burn 70 images onto DVD. :(

Party: Julie and Morgan

Future Wife and Young Mr Morgan.

Party: Hard at Work

Very busy night for some.

(As almost always, click to embiggen.)

The roughly 54-hectare Manila North Cemetery is considered to be the largest and one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila. It houses hundreds of thousands of the city’s Catholic dead while it hosts a living community of more than 2,000 inside mausoleums and makeshift personal spaces built atop “apartment-type” tombs. It is owned by the local government of Manila and has already established a conventional locale with its residents; requiring them to have titles for the space they occupy and even permits for the businesses they establish within the premises.
A Placid Coexistence with the Departed, by John Javellana. His accompanying photo set is, equally, well worth your time.