Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Healthcare

Monday November 13 2017

Busy day.  Busy evening.  So just a couple of quota photos, both taken a little under ten years ago, just before Christmas 2007.

First, Guys Hospital, looking as good as it ever could:

image

At first, all I was thinking was: artistic impression.  But it also has interesting info in it.  No Shard.  Which got me noticing another, at the time very commonplace photo, of the Gherkin.  Also interesting info in it.  No nearby Big Things.  There it stands, in splendid isolation.

image

I also photoed lots of photoers that day, and have so far showed you only some of them.  There are several more good photoer photos deserving of resuscitation, all with impeccably concealed faces, but these will have to wait.

Thursday September 28 2017

I am continuing to read Martin Gayford’s conversations with Hockney book, and it is proving to be most diverting.

Gayford begins the chapter he entitles “Seeing more clearly” with this intriguing anecdote about Picasso, which was related to him by Picasso’s biographer, John Richardson:

Lucien Clergue, the photographer, knew Picasso incredibly well. The other day he said to me, ‘You know, Picasso saved my life.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yes, it was after a bullfight, in Aries.’ Lucien said he had been feeling fine, had lost a bit of weight but wasn’t worried. Out of the blue Picasso said to him, ‘You go instantly to a hospital.’ Lucien asked ‘Why?’ Picasso said ‘You’ve got something seriously wrong with you.’ Lucien was damned if he was going to do it, but Jacqueline
[Picasso’s wife] added, ‘When Pablo says that, for God’s sake go.’ So he went, and the doctors had him taken straight into the operating theatre. They said he had an extremely rare type of peritonitis, which is lethal. The bad thing about it is that it doesn’t manifest itself in pain, it just kills you. ...

Hockney’s reaction to this is to say, yes, this is because Picasso spent a huge amount of time looking at faces, really looking, the way you only do if you are someone who paints pictures of faces.  Picasso could therefore see signs that others wouldn’t.

I’m not the only one to have found this a very striking story.

If it’s right, it occurs to me that maybe face recognition software ought to be able to make similar diagnoses, if not now, then quite soon.  Excuse me while I try to discover if the www agrees.

Partially.  It seems that face recognition software can already spot rare genetic disorders.  Whether it can spot the onset of rare diseases in people previously unafflicted, I could not learn.  But I bet, if it doesn’t yet perform such tricks, that it soon will.

Monday August 14 2017
Monday March 20 2017

This evening I attended a talk at Christian Michel’s, about (and against) major increases in the human lifespan.

The speaker quoted luminaries saying that infinite life would lead to infinite meaningless of life.  People would just get bored.  It is death that gives life its meaning.  Immortality would drain the meaning out of life.

But from the floor came a different surmise, to the effect that the imminence of death, to some anyway, causes a slowing down, a draining away of zest.  Greatly prolonged life - accompanied by the enhanced and prolonged energy and zestfulness that would make prolonged life enjoyable, rather than merely bearable, or worse, unbearable - would surely cause many now considered old to get stuck seriously into new projects, confident that they would have a serious amount of time and energy left to devote to them.  Something like immortality would cause more lust for life, rather than less.  People who expect to die soon are now inclined just to sit back and wait for it.

When I first encountered a primitive version of the very word processing that I am indulging in right now, nearly fifty years ago now, I hurled myself into learning to type, confident that the investment of time and effort would more than pay for itself.  Had I been nearly seventy when I first encountered word processing for the first time, would I have bothered with it?  Probably, not.  If, on the other hand, I could now confidently expect another seventy or so years of active life, would I now be more inclined to adapt to new techniques and processes?  Yes.  I am pretty much certain that I would be more adventurous, more willing to invest time and energy, if the pay-off was going to be five or more decades of further potential impact rather than just the one decade or so that I now anticipate.

The speaker from the floor who expressed this most eloquently was Chris Cooper, who is giving my next Last Friday of the Month talk, on March 31st, on the subject of the rise of the robots.  Chris thinks they will become our robot overlords.

What I can say with confidence is that one of the reasons I don’t now get stuck into new ways of doing things, new ways that might greatly improve things for me, is that whereas the investment of effort and energy would be unchanged from what was required fifty years ago, the benefits I can expect to gain, now that death looms, will be greatly diminished.

So, if death did not now loom ...

Saturday February 25 2017

imageI am hopeless at drawing, as you can see.

But having been watching the Six Nations rugby tournament for the last few weeks, and having in particular been listening to the various television commentators, I feel the need to offer you all this attempt at a cartoon.

Anyone who wants to copy this, or indeed copy it and improve the graphics, is most welcome.  I am surely not the first to have thought of this particular observation.

(There was a bit of fiddling about with the presentation of this, on account of my software not actually showing me exactly how a posting like this will look.  Sorry about that.)

Friday November 11 2016

I’ve already shown a very similar picture of this building …:

image

… at this blog, in this posting.  The above photo is only very slightly different, in that it includes the Spraycan on the right, but excludes the Walkie-Talkie.  Also, I was able to compose it because I was on the platform of Battersea Park station, rather than in a train and just taking a chance.

I show another shot of this thing, because, well, I just like it.  There’s something about the way it gets lighter at the top, and how photos of this thing end up looking like they’ve been faked up by an architect’s office before the thing has even been built.  Photos of it don’t look real.  They look like Photoshop.

When I started doing this posting, I had it in mind for tomorrow (which is a busy day), having already done a rather perfunctory posting about a cat, Friday being my day for cat-blogging.  But it turns out that this blue building is also all about cats and other creatures.  I tried googling it for that earlier posting, without success.  But I just gave that another go, this time typing “"blue new building Battersea” or some such word combo into the great computer in the sky, and this time it worked.  This blue building is the recently opened Battersea Dogs (and now also Cats) Home Veterinary Clinic & Centre of Excellence.

Blog and learn.

Tuesday September 27 2016

Sunday was a good photography day.  After lunching with a friend in the Waterloo area, I made my way, as reported yesterday, to the Tate Modern Extension.  When up at the top of this I took many photos, and some quite good photos.

But none, for me, was better than this, which I spied just before getting into the lift from Floor 10 back to the ground:

image

I can’t remember exactly when the change happened from plaster casts to … that, but happen it did, and I am impressed.  I’m guessing that one of the many advantages of this system is that you can take it off and put it back on again, to do things like assess progress, or deal with skin discomforts.

I’m further guessing that you can dismantle one of these things, give it a good wash, and then use it again.

More from me on the subject of plastic and its newly devised applications in this at Samizdata earlier today.

Monday September 26 2016

Photoed in January of this year. from the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral:

image

The Parliament website says that the tower above, the big one with lots of pointy bits, is called the Victoria Tower, but I’ve never heard it called that.  For me, it’s the Big Parliament Tower.

Anyway, whatever you call it, there it is, with the Shard beside and behind.  Very sweet alignment, I hope you will agree.

While categorising this posting, I had to check the picture to see if there are any cranes.  Of course there are cranes.  In shots like this, there are always cranes.

There are also two major London hospitals in the shot.  On the left St Thomas’s Hospital (the building on which it says “St Thomas’s Hospital"), on the far side of the river.  On the right, further away, bigger, next to the Shard, Guy’s.

The Big Parliament Tower and the Shard as seen from the Westminster Cathedral Tower
On the connection between drinking lots of coffee and living a long and healthy life
Illness and coolness
UCH footbridge
Benevolent Laissez-Faire photos
Getting better - but rather slowly
Sickness and sunset
How things like 3D printed blood vessels may be improving education in rich countries
Antoine Clarke on herding drunk cats
White van reflexology
It continues (well)
Cat picture on white van
Ed Smith on sporting maturity – Burns and Henriques collide – Secretariat and his jockey
Bloody Enrique Iglesias drone drama
What are those things on her hands?
Magic clarified
Bad taste
Big cat scan
Scandinavia comes out on top according to the HDI …
Was Guy’s Tower a key building in the architectural history of London?
In the City with Gus
The uniqueness of our microbiome
Smaller Old Thing in front of Big New Things
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
On the insecurity of ObamaCare - and on the unwisdom of only punishing big and later
Dezeen continues to delight
Pain in the midriff
RNSQotD
Sperm Bike
Algernon Sidney sends for Micklethwait because Micklethwait is wise, learned, diligent, and faithful
Stuart Broad has a kitten heel
Blepharitis
Bad times for the NHS
Doctor Theatre - here very briefly but now there
The Jobs difference
Another reason to like Colorado
Bopara’s chance?
BM.com quote of the day
Animals that like the smell of humans dying
Potential dental interruption
Jobs departs from Apple (again)
A laptop but not in my lap
A down and up weekend
Why does a coffee lover not want coffee when he’s ill?
Blog hiati
Another strangely punctuated headline and a depressing television play
Cathedral photo
Happy hundredth
Shard sitings and and an agreeably honest rabies prevention sign
Green cat email mystery solved
Unusual leg extension
Getting well soon
Shingles
Those angry Americans
More sign photos
France falls in love with Hugh Laurie
Philippa Micklethwait - the Eulogy
Nothing from me here today but something on Samizdata about cannabis
The shadow of Shipman – and forgetting things
Philippa Micklethwait (1914-2009)
“Dying is a fulltime business. You haven’t time to do a lap of honour.”
The impossibility of God but the possibility of Michael Flatley’s cure and of super-super-flees
Do not read this if you prefer all epigrams about getting well to be tasteful
When the carer needs to be cared for
Not happy
To Guy’s with Gerald
Tumor
Linkable Lefever
Man regrows finger
Why it helps to be exposed to the lower classes and to dogs when you are young
Tajo
F1 athletics?
Cuba before Communism
Moore versus Stossel on Cuban medical care
The robotic future
The cat genome is cool
More roboteaching
An education link
A dreadful age
There ain’t no such thing as a free NHS
End the medical monopoly!
Adriana and Ivan in Addis
The (very) slow fade of Bolshevik Cuba
Today I ate something that disagreed with me
Irrelevant heart attack adverts
Search
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Groan
Patrick Crozier talks with me about Japan