Numbers don't lie

July 7th, 2013

Statistic of the day:

Parachuting for charity: is it worth the money? A 5-year audit of parachute injuries in Tayside and the cost to the NHS.

Authors Lee CT, et al.

Injury. 1999 May;30(4):283-7.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Perth Royal Infirmary, Scotland, UK.


All parachute injuries from two local parachute centres over a 5-year period were analysed. Of 174 patients with injuries of varying severity, 94% were first-time charity-parachutists. The injury rate in charity-parachutists was 11% at an average cost of 3751 Pounds per casualty. Sixty-three percent of casualties who were charity-parachutists required hospital admission, representing a serious injury rate of 7%, at an average cost of 5781 Pounds per patient. The amount raised per person for charity was 30 Pounds. Each pound raised for charity cost the NHS 13.75 Pounds in return. Parachuting for charity costs more money than it raises, carries a high risk of serious personal injury and places a significant burden on health resources.

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

Comments Off on Numbers don't lie

Gary Farber

January 25th, 2010

Gary Farber is having a seriously bad time of late.

I know times are hard and money is short all round, but this is not a case of someone asking for you to visit their tip jar to help them keep their web site running: it's a plea for help from someone struggling with a genuinely bleak situation.

If you've ever enjoyed reading one of Gary's numerous comments at this site, or if you've followed a link that I've posted that I found at his site – and if you've been reading this site for very long then I can all but guarantee that you've done one or the other – then please consider helping Gary out if you can.

1 Comment »

Egg all over his face

June 17th, 2009

The Royal British Legion's open letter to Nick Griffin is a doozy:

We couldn't help but notice that there was egg on your face (and on your suit jacket) on the day after you were elected MEP for North West England.

Please don't leave egg on ours.

You wore a Poppy lapel badge during your news conference to celebrate your election victory. This was in direct contravention of our polite request that you refrain from politicising one of the nation's most treasured and beloved symbols.

The Poppy is the symbol of sacrifices made by British Armed Forces in conflicts both past and present and it has been paid for with blood and valour. True valour deserves respect regardless of a person's ethnic origin, and everyone who serves or has served their country deserves nothing less.


On May 27th, 2009, the National Chairman of The Royal British Legion wrote to you privately requesting that you desist from wearing the Poppy or any other emblem that might be associated with the Legion at any of your public appearances during the European Parliamentary election campaign.

He appealed to your sense of honour. But you have responded by continuing to wear the poppy. So now we're no longer asking you privately. […]

[Via Prog Gold]

Comments Off on Egg all over his face


February 12th, 2009

Things My Beard Can Lift:

For weeks, I've been grooming, conditioning, stretching, and toning, and now my beard's finally become the talk of the town. But it needed purpose, direction – a mission – and now it's got one: lifting heavy objects. Heavy objects and the human spirit.

What kinds of objects? All kinds of objects. I've warmed up with birdhouses, lamps, and plastic plants. I've trained with globes and framed pictures of Tom Selleck. But from here on out, it's up to you: please click here to donate to Chicago's Off the Street Club. Every Wednesday, I'll announce the total amount donated, every Thursday you'll make your suggestions, and every Friday, my beard will lift one pound for every hundred dollars raised.

He's a braver man than I.1

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. I'm guessing that his hair follicles will give up the ghost before his hair itself breaks under the strain. Either way, it's going to smart.

Comments Off on Ouch!

"All teddies will have a medical check-up"

December 27th, 2008

Best. Charity. Fundraiser. Ever?

"Bring your teddy bear along and watch how brave they are when jumping from the roof of St James's Church wearing a harness and parachute."


£5 per jump for one teddy or £10 for three teddies.

Formation teddy jumping – brilliant!

Comments Off on "All teddies will have a medical check-up"

Press a key

September 6th, 2008

While on holiday, Matthew Paris spotted a neat idea that could encourage charitable giving:

Colombia, whence I've just returned, has cash machines like ours. They work fine with British cards, paying out in Colombian pesos. The procedure's the same, except that before pressing the final proceed key you are asked on-screen whether you wish to donate the equivalent of about (a) 30p; (b) 60p; or (c) 90p, to a listed charity; a sum that would not be deducted from your cash payout, but charged on your monthly statement. To indicate your decision you press a key.

Comments Off on Press a key

Bletchley Park

June 1st, 2008

Bletchley Park, the home of the Allied codebreaking operation in World War 2, is badly in need of repair:

The true Bletchley Park Story is more incredible than fiction. A desperate race against time, pitting Britain’s best brains against Hitler and his chief commanders. The WW2 codebreakers’ mission was to crack the German Enigma machine and decode other seemingly unbreakable messages. Against them? Odds of 158 million million million. Their reward? ‘Ultra’ Intelligence that saved Allied convoys carrying essential supplies from U Boat wolfpacks on the prowl, and played a major part in the North African and other military campaigns. So effective was Bletchley Park that the decoded messages sometimes reached the Allies before the enemy Generals.

The astonishing achievements of the codebreakers are believed to have shortened the war by two years saving countless lives.


But now is the time to act to help save Bletchley Park and the Trust are currently in talks with the Heritage Lottery Fund and other potential funders. Some of its remaining buildings, where the most important work of the twentieth century took place, are in urgent need of repair. The iconic Victorian Mansion requires in the region of £1,000,000 for repairs to the roof and some of the symbolic Codebreaking Huts are in a desperate state of decay.

You can make a donation to support the site via the donations page.1

[Via Bruce Schneier]

  1. The link from that page to the Charities Aid Foundation web site doesn't take you directly to the page for the Bletchely Park Trust: for some reason, the CAF site requires you to search for charities. Searching for 'Bletchley Park' should get you to the page with the Donate button.

Comments Off on Bletchley Park