Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
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- Steve Davies talk last night
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- the Norlonto Review is back!
- There are cranes and there are cranes
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- Spot the Samsung connection
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- Cassette iPhone photographer
- Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
- Testing again
- BMdotCOM insult of the day
- Views from the Hackney Wick station footbridge
- BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
- Wedding photography (5): Photography!
- Phablet news
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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Category archive: Healthcare
And the first thing I photoed yesterday was newspaper headlines, about Britain’s Envy-of-the-World NHS. Those first three were literally the first three snaps I took yesterday, and the last one was photoed later, at London Bridge Station, more about which later, I hope.
Read, and be amazed:
I honestly cannot remember a day when Britain’s NHS has ever, ever had a worst press than it had yesterday. (The same stories had been all over the telly on Wednesday evening also.)
I hope to write at greater length at Samizdata about these dramas, connecting it to my Alpha Graphs stuff, but promise nothing
The basic idea being that a nationalised industry collapses not when it merely starts deteriorating, but only when it is deteriorating so fast that a switch to the free market, although horrible, would be no worse even in the short run. And of course massively better in the long run. But it’s the short run that matters because it is during that short run that you or your elderly loved one dies, through being left out in a corridor or some such horror.
Libertarians are prone to assume that things like the NHS are untouchable, merely because people continue to swear by them when they are getting only somewhat worse. Brainwashed fools! They will never see sense! But they are seeing sense. And then suddenly, to the amazement of libertarians, they do suddenly see sense. Actually, just a bit more sense, along with the sense they had already been seeing.
See also: collapse of the USSR.
The NHS has a bit of a way to go before it folds, because people are still at the stage, as you can tell from these headlines, of thinking that sacking the Boss and installing a New Boss would turn things around. But, any year now ...
When you want to write a big old piece about Something Important, it’s not a bad idea for a blogger to rip out a little piece about it in the meantime, in a single figure number of minutes. That at least gets the meme out there and gives it a chance to propagate, even if a bigger piece at Samizdata would do that better.
I just did a posting here about Doctor Theatre, which is about how performing stops you being ill for the duration of the performance. But as soon as I stuck it up here, I realised it would also do for Samizdata, so I put it there instead. Perhaps commenters will tell me about the physiological processes involved. Hope so.
I seem to be almost the only person writing for Samizdata just now. This troubles me.
Michael Jennings just sent me a link to a piece by
Joss Voorhees Farhad Manjoo about the recently deceased Man Who Invented Our World. No prize for knowing who that is.
I saw the news of Steve Jobs’ death on a device that he invented - the iPhone - and I’m writing on another machine that he willed into being: the graphical interface computer. I happen to be using a PC running Windows, with generic hardware I put together myself; technically, only my keyboard was made by Apple. But none of that matters. Just like the touch-screen smartphone and, now, the tablet computer, the PC that you and I use every day became ubiquitous thanks mainly to this one man. I’ll go further: Whether you’re yearning for a Kindle Fire or a BlackBerry PlayBook, whether you play Angry Birds on an iPod Touch or Google’s Nexus Prime, whether you’re a Mac or a PC, you’ve succumbed to Steve Jobs’ master plan.
“Willed into being”. That sums up the man’s achievement and way of working beautifully. As I understand him, Jobs was essentially the spokesman for us consumers amongst the great Community of Geeks, which is why he was so loved by so many of us consumers. He was the one saying: “It’s not good enough that you can make it work. It has to be easy for humans as well. It has to be nice. It has to be cool. Do it again.”
Michael sent me the link because, like me, Voorhees uses a Mac keyboard attached to a PC. In fact, I think my Apple Mac keyboard is the only piece of Apple kit I have ever owned. But I enthusiastically endorse what
Voorhees Manjoo says, and here record my profound thanks to Steve Jobs for the profound influence he has had, not just on Apple and its products, but upon the entire world. I didn’t “succumb” to the Steve Jobs master plan. I accepted it with enthusiasm.
The Samizdata commentariat is saying what it has to say about Jobs here. I particularly liked this, from Rob Fisher:
Yes, this is terrible news.
It bothers me that even with the resources at his disposal, Jobs could not keep himself alive. I’m attending a conference on Saturday at which life extension technology will be discussed. If the optimists there are correct, one day we’ll all be much richer than Steve Jobs.
Detlev Schlichter also just sent out an emailshot recommending this. Haven’t yet watched it, but will.
Snapped by Darryl:
In a comment on this.
So Trott is injured, is he?
It will not have escaped the attention of the England selectors that two days ago, Ravi Bopara scored a really good, really big, hundred, for Essex against Leicester. Immediately after he had scored it, Essex proceeded to bowl Leicester out for 34 and win the game by a mile with a day to spare. Admittedly Leicester are particular terrible at the moment, but the wicket can’t have been exactly plumb, now can it? Plus, Bopara can turn his arm over, much as Trott can.
Bell (currently 119 not out in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge) at three. Bopara at six or five?
There have been a lot of injuries in, or affecting, this series. Trott. Swann has a bust hand. Zaheer out on day one at Lord’s. Tendulkar poorly during the Lord’s game. Sehwag already out injured. Gambir smacked on the elbow and out of it at Trent Bridge. Tremlett out with a back strain, or whatever it was.
And now, just as I blog, Harbhajan is crocked and is going off.
I don’t call anyone “Doctor” unless they can write me a prescription for drugs.
Quite right. Found in a piece denouncing “Doctor” Krugman, who is only a doctor in the sense that he doctors his numbers.
Not that there should be any such thing as “prescription drugs”, but that’s a different argument.
Last night, on The Big C, a TV show about Laura Linney dying of cancer, the way that some dogs can smell cancer was gone into. Not only do they smell cancer, they like the smell of cancer, because apparently, they follow cancer sufferers around, and can reveal where the cancer is by exactly where they want to smell. Spooky.
And apparently, something similar happens with some cats:
When nurses once placed the cat on the bed of a patient they thought close to death, Oscar “charged out” and went to sit beside someone in another room. The cat’s judgement was better than that of the nurses: the second patient died that evening, while the first lived for two more days.
Dr Dosa and other staff are so confident in Oscar’s accuracy that they will alert family members when the cat jumps on to a bed and stretches out beside its occupant.
“It’s not like he dawdles. He’ll slip out for two minutes, grab some kibble and then he’s back at the patient’s side. It’s like he’s literally on a vigil,” Dr Dosa wrote.
Dr Dosa noted that the nursing home keeps five other cats, but none of the others have ever displayed a similar ability.
In his book, “Making rounds with Oscar: the extraordinary gift of an ordinary cat”, Dr Dosa offers no solid scientific explanation for Oscar’s behaviour.
He suggests Oscar is able - like dogs, which can reportedly smell cancer - to detect ketones, the distinctly-odoured biochemicals given off by dying cells.
Far from recoiling from Oscar’s presence, now they know its significance, relatives and friends of patients have been comforted and sometimes praised the cat in newspaper death notices and eulogies, said Dr Dosa.
“People were actually taking great comfort in this idea, that this animal was there and might be there when their loved ones eventually pass. He was there when they couldn’t be,” he said.
I got to this via OMG facts, who add this to their report:
Editor’s Note: We tried to find a funny, relevant picture to go with this fact, but we couldn’t find any funny pictures of cats on the internet.
Maybe not so many funny pictures about cats who can smell impending death, anyway. Well, no, there are probably plenty of those also. I can smellz deading peoplez, blahz blahz.
Tomorrow I face what may prove to be a rather debilitating bout of dentistry. Basically, the other day, one of my pretend teeth (that was attached to the remains of a real tooth) fell off, leaving only a small stump. Since the pretend tooth was there to enable me to chew with the left side of my mouth, I need another pretend tooth where the previous one was, fast. So, I can’t wait for the Envy of the World to do it. That could take months.
Actually, it already has taken months. Around last October, I became aware that the pretend tooth was probably about to fall off, any month now, and I told my dentist this. My dentist said he could do it quickly, at a price (and at a price which did not strike me as unreasonable). But at my request, my dentist instead told the Tooth Surgery Department of the Envy of the World, and the Envy of the World was asked to tell me when it could make me another pretend tooth, at no cost. Then, I felt able to wait.
But apparently the Envy of the World has delayed sending out a whole clutch of letters to people in my kind of predicament (telling us all when it might be able to do things like make us new pretend teeth), a fact I was told about at my dentist yesterday, when I went there to tell them that things had become more urgent, but that no, I had indeed heard nothing yet from the Envy of the World. Could it be that The Envy of the World wants to keep me waiting to get onto the waiting list, so that I will only stay on the waiting list for a very short time (having waited to be on it for a long time) thereby enabling the Envy of the World to crow that I was treated by the Envy of the World with great speed (when actually the Envy of the World kept me waiting for months)? Obamacare enthusiasts - and I just know that you read this blog in your thousands, let this be a lesson to you. With nationalised industries of all kinds you get what you pay for, and by and by not even that.
So anyway, what with this dentistry, probably happening tomorrow afternoon, I may not be in a very blogging mood tomorrow, or even the next day, or even the next or the next. So, a longer gap than is usual here, between this posting and the next, may transpire. I promise nothing. I don’t now promise not to put anything up here for the next several days. I merely speculate in advance that this is how it might be.
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?
Another strangely punctuated headline and a depressing television play
Shard sitings and and an agreeably honest rabies prevention sign
Green cat email mystery solved
Unusual leg extension
Getting well soon
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
To Guy’s with Gerald
Man regrows finger
Why it helps to be exposed to the lower classes and to dogs when you are young
Cuba before Communism
Moore versus Stossel on Cuban medical care
The robotic future
The cat genome is cool
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
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Patrick Crozier talks with me about Japan