Monday, September 01, 2014

Yet more need for that "How to Win Friends and Influence People" book

From the Australian's media diary:
Estranged party
IF you don’t like hearing a few home truths don’t invite this paper’s columnist Judith Sloan to your birthday party. South Australian captains of industry and business leaders were “stunned into silence” on Friday as Sloan delivered a speech at the 175th gala celebrations for Business SA. “It was akin to inviting someone to your birthday party to speak, only to have them tell everyone they’re fat and ugly,” Ish Davies, News Corporation’s regional director of South Australia, told Diary.
Guests at an event hosted by Sunrise’s David Koch were told “Australia can’t afford another Tasmania”. But the wake-up call left Davies feeling a bit uneasy. When he collected an award later that evening he used his acceptance speech to put some “clear distance between The Oz and The Advertiser”. He told the audience: “We’re from the same mothership but they’re estranged.” Our hard-hitting columnist left the venue before Davies took to the stage, but informed by Diary she was working for an “estranged” publication, Sloan said: “They just want to put their heads in the sand.”

About data homogenisation

Good point raised about the effect of data homogenisation that the Bureau of Meteorology undertakes to try to get a more accurate long term temperature record:
Our data on extreme temperature trends show that the warming trend across the whole of Australia looks bigger when you don’t homogenise the data than when you do. For example, the adjusted data set (the lower image below) shows a cooling trend over parts of northwest Australia, which isn’t seen in the raw data.
Anyone who has credulously believed Marohasy, Jonova and their publicity agent Grahan Lloyd are fools.

Yet another fail

Plain packs don't drive smokers to buy cheap imports

Gee.  Just how comprehensively wrong can Davidson, Ergas, Sloan and Creighton get?

Mad doctors

After the remarkable story on TV last week about the cocaine addicted neurosurgeon who left prostitutes for dead but was able to continue operating at a private Sydney hospital, there was this story in the weekend magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald about another mad hospital doctor, although this one has been dead for 26 years.

It's a really amazing story of just how mentally disturbed a hospital doctor can (or could?) be and still work.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

You've come a long way, baby

So, I was looking  at that Flickr account that got publicity last week for the huge number of historic book image scans you can look up (and then, if interested, go to the scan of the full book) and stumbled across this one:



which came from this 1889 American travelogue book:    "The boy travellers in Australasia : adventures of two youths in a journey to the Sandwich, Marquesas, Society, Samoan and Feejee islands, and through the colonies of New Zealand, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia".  (They really didn't believe in succinct book titles in those days, did they?)

I was curious to read about their impression of Brisbane, and while there is not much of interest to report about on that topic, in the same chapter, they did get onto the matter of race relations.  This section, for example, makes white men sound rather too delicate for Queensland:



But when we get to the quality of aborigines, who, it is acknowledged, often work on sheep and cattle stations, we get this assessment:



Well, I'm glad we have in modern Australia a more sympathetic assessment of the effect of  sudden exposure to the West had on aboriginal Australia.  Here, for example, is someone at Catallaxy yesterday talking about the PM's somewhat insensitively expressed statement that arrival of the First Fleet was the defining moment for Australia: 


Yes, we've come a long way, baby.    [For those to young to pick up on it:  ironic reference to the Virginia Slims faux feminist advertisements of the 60's and 70's.]


Update:  Oh look:  this time Henry Ergas, someone who actually posts at Catallaxy, talks about aborigines and salaries too:
Rather, the rise in imprisonment rates reflects the changes the 60s brought: the equal wage decision in 1965, which accelerated the collapse in indigenous employment in regional areas; the dismantling of laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to indigenous Australians; and the explosive increase in welfare payments.
 Now, he doesn't actually say that he thinks the equal pay decision was wrong, but given that everyone who posts there hates minimum wages, I wonder if he gives it the tick of approval....  

Friday, August 29, 2014

A weird review outcome

Success. The Renewable Energy Target's greatest failing

So, everyone (including Dick Warburton) seems to agree now that the original claim of Tony Abbott (that the RET is killing everyone with its added cost to electricity) was wrong.

No no, the real problem is that it is reducing CO2 (and at the same time driving down wholesale prices), but at a higher cost than what something else would cost - with the only "something else" that the government will allow being "direct action", which has no specifics yet, and nearly everyone can't see achieving the goal at the low cost the government thinks.

The review therefore looks a bit of an embarrassment, but once again, I expect, we will see Greg Hunt selling his soul and making directly opposite claims to what he did a mere year ago.  (Or I could be wrong, but looking at his track record so far, I doubt it.)

I do not recall ever having a government so full of political, unprincipled opportunism. 

Anyway, Peter Martin's explanation of the review seems pretty spot on to me:
It's killing the coal-fired power generation industry. The panel doesn't put it that crudely. It refers instead to a "transfer of wealth among participants in the electricity market". If by 2020
retailers are required to buy 41,000 gigawatt hours from new pollution-free suppliers, the old polluting suppliers are going to sell 41,000 gigawatt hours less.

It would have hurt in any event, but a time when electricity use is sliding (thanks largely to the carbon tax) it means what was to have been 20 per cent is on track to become 28 per cent.

The abolition of the carbon tax gave coal-fired power generators a windfall. Kneecapping the Renewable Energy Target will give  them a second helping.

Taking business away from coal-fired generators was never an unintended consequence of the Renewable Energy Target as the report seems to suggest, it was a design feature. It has helped cut pollution.
Update:   John Quiggin notes this:
I can certainly see some ways in which the RET could be improved, but I won’t canvass them here so as not to commit myself in advance. I’ll observe however, that the Abbott government itself has removed the strongest argument against the RET, namely, that it duplicates the effect of a carbon price (there were valid counterarguments, which I’ve discussed elsewhere, but it was still an important issue)
And yet, as was reported last week, there was a push from within the government to leave open the option of its complete removal.   That certainly indicates you've got complete ideologues behind the scenes who do not want to see CO2 reduced at any cost...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Silly Americans, again

Americans Clearly Don't Understand How Deadly HPV Is

I've posted about this before, but here's another detailed story about the pathetically low US rate of immunisation against HPV.

I didn't know this point (about its effectiveness):
He proceeds to debunk several common misconceptions about the HPV vaccine's effectiveness (it is virtually 100% effective at preventing the most common cancer-causing HPV infections, for at least 30 years), safety (the vaccine has been shown to cause no serious side effects), and propensity to promote promiscuity (it doesn't).  
My son had his first shots for it at school earlier this year (along with some other vaccine), and I don't think he had any idea of (or care about in the slightest) the details of the disease he was getting it for.  Sorry, but it's absurd that Americans are squeamish about it. 

Making a photo with photons that weren't there

Entangled photons make a picture from a paradox 

What a brilliant experiment, based on the entanglement of photons.

I feel sure there must be some science fiction use this technique could be put to....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The marijuana headline that will probably confuse

Marijuana compound could be used to treat psychosis in young people

I wouldn't be surprised if the headline alone, if noted by yoof interested in marijuana, made them think that smoking cannabis might actually help mental illness.

As the body of the article makes clear, this is definitely not the case.  Interestingly, the "good" compound seems to hardly be in the street cannabis at all now:
She said there was a small, but growing number of studies suggesting
CBD relieved psychosis, anxiety and insomnia, and that her team was
trialling it in about 10 people withdrawing from cannabis use to see if
it helped them through the process.

But Professor Copeland said people should not try to source
CBD in street-based cannabis because tests on seized portions of the
drug in NSW showed it contained virtually no CBD.

"It has high levels of THC, around 15 per cent now, but
almost no CBD ... so it's definitely not the same thing as smoking
cannabis," she said.  
I also note the other claim in the article relates to the relatively high number of people who may face increased risk of mental issues due to THC:
The director of Orygen Youth Health Research Centre said while
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis was widely thought to be
dangerous and increase the risk of psychosis in about 10 per cent to 20
per cent of people, another component - cannabidiol (CBD) - appeared to
relieve psychosis, depression and anxiety. 
So, if you were going to legalise marijuana, I wonder if it could be done only on the basis that the strains sold have to be bred to have a high amount of the apparently protective compound in it?

Still, as I have said before, if that product is more expensive, the black market for the normal stuff will likely continue to be strong anyway.

Palmer-ing about China

It must be a blue moon - I'm linking to an Andrew Bolt post with approval.

It's about Clive Palmer's boyhood (very young boyhood) adventures in China.

I too trust nothing that Clive claims.

Yes, you're magnificent, Sam

As a person who's really disliked Sam de Brito's writing for many years (search the blog if you don't believe me), I am amused to see this satire of him at Crikey, which is no doubt inspired by this recent column.

The truth is, I don't actually bother looking him up on Fairfax any more, so I hadn't read the tale of his fantastically orgasmic bedmates.  The puzzle remains as to why he is engaged by Fairfax at all...

Can't be too much of a ratbag for Catallaxy (and let's look at renewables again)

Well, my question earlier this week as to whether someone booted out of the IPA for being too offensive to Muslims could still post at Catallaxy has been answered in the affirmative, with Alan Moran still posting there today (about renewable energy.)

Well done, Sinclair Davidson!  Previously, extreme views of Islam were restricted to those visitors in threads; now we know they're held by (at least one) who posts there too.

Speaking of renewable energy, Moran points with approval to a Leyonjhelm piece in the Australian today, which (as usual) is big on claims but short on evidence.

The Bald One apparently accepts uncritically a Deloittes report from earlier in the year that figured the RET would "cost the economy" $29 billion.

But as this article noted, this is based on some very dubious assumptions about the ongoing cost of installing renewables, when we know that they have been becoming cheaper.   And besides, this way of modelling and adding up a cumulative amount over years of "costs to economy" exaggerates the effect for political purposes.   And even more crucially, the Deloittes report is open about not taking into account any environment benefits of renewables at all.

This last point is, of course, at the heart of nearly all criticism of the RET:  those fighting it do not really believe there is an environmental benefit to it at all, because they don't believe in climate change.

Update:   here's Leyonjhelm as apparently quoted in The Australian today:
“I have seen so much levy money being poorly spent on ridiculous fantasyland things such as climate change and sustainability; ..."
I thought he used to take a more "well I'm just being open minded" line on climate change, saying things like:
Nobody disputes the fact that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing, although there is debate about what effect this is having and whether it justifies government action. 
 So it's good to see that he has outed himself as a clear denialist, then.  



Interesting science and technology

1.   Here's a handy potential plot device if you are writing a spy or crime story:
The cold boot attack is possible because of a little-known property of the random access memories used in computers to store and read data quickly. Random access memory is volatile meaning that it has to be constantly rewritten over periods measured in milliseconds. This property means that anything stored in random access memory is temporary–when the machine switched off and the memory loses power, the date is soon lost.

At least that’s what everyone thought. In 2008, the Princeton group showed that data stored in the random access memory turns out to be preserved over a period of many seconds after it loses power. What is more, cooling the memory can extend this period to many minutes and possibly hours. (One way to cool random access memory is to spray it with an upside down can of liquid air, which releases cold liquid rather than gas.)

During this short period after power is lost, any information in the random access memory is there for the taking. And this is exactly how the cold boot attack works.
The idea is to cut the power to the device and then immediately reboot it to a USB flash drive so that the operating system does not immediately overwrite the contents of the random access memory. Next, search the random access memory for sensitive material, download it and be gone.
Speaking of USB flash drives, using one of the them with a "portable" version of a browser would have to be one of the safest ways a teenager could browse the web with no risk of browsing history being detected by parents.   Maybe even safer to boot a simple version of Linux, I guess?   I wonder how commonly this is known amongst teenagers.   (Mine doesn't read this, and working on the assumption that children don't care to read their parent's writings, it will likely be years before he does.)

2.    An interesting laser experiment that may, or may not, indicate that we are all holograms has started working.    (Actually, I think physicist Bee is skeptical that it is really relevant to the holographic idea, but she thinks it worth doing anyway.)

3.    Feynman's famous book version of his lectures is now fully available on line.
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The case of the comedian accent

Well, this is rather odd.

Josh Thomas is appearing on TV a lot on Optus ads, and I tend to find him likeable in them.   (My daughter does too, and I think I have withheld the "gay" information from her so far.)  But then, I assumed he genuinely had an accent picked up from somewhere in England.

But reading this lengthy Guardian interview about his critically praised (but little watched) dramedy show, I learn (from comments after it) that he grew up in Brisbane.  My side of Brisbane, in fact.   Googling around, it is clear there has been chatter for years about why he sounds (by most people's reckoning) Irish.  Either that or Welsh.  And it seems a fair few people claim it is genuinely a fake (or greatly exaggerated) accent, although others say he has Irish parents and kids sometimes pick up accents that way. *  

Someone at The Guardian thread says this:
you may be right about the accent, though he himself has said that he didn't grow up with that accent, he "just woke up one morning talking like that." I don't know how to feel about that story, but it does suggest that the accent is utter affectation.
And in one interview on line Thomas himself sounds ambiguous:
You’re from Brisbane, so why do you have a Welsh-sounding accent?
I don’t know – your guess is as good as mine. I didn’t even know I had it until I started going on television and I started getting asked in interviews all the time.
Your friend Tom Ward said you sounded like a female Elmer Fudd in high school. Is that fair?
Yeah, that’s pretty good. I used to be really bad at pronouncing my words. If I was doing stand-up I’d get into trouble for it, so I had to put some effort into pronouncing my words. That’s why I got this stupid accent. There was one point where I was so sick of being asked about it every day I was going to get lessons to learn how to stop talking like this, but then I realised how contrived that would be.
 His voice and, um, comic persona, certainly grates on some people who read the Guardian:
HE's totally unbearable! His accent is Y-gen medication. Or Woolloomooloo Yank. Or ADHD teenager. Or Antonioni-ennuied young monotonal adult. Like one of those obnoxious brats on the bus going to private schools. Like, like and um like they can't stop talking, like OMG I shouldn't have said that. I just find the show and the persona the most irritating things I've ever seen on a television set. Even compared to yet another irritating, nasally whining gay performer, Adam Carr whose range at least extends beyond A to B and sometimes beyond......The endless pursuit of self-absorption through self abnegation as a performance style is cringe worthy even before he gets through the first line of dialogue. I mean monologue. And if this is "writing" I'm , um you know, err straight.
And somewhere, buried in this supposed comedy is the idea that we should be nice to him and the show because he's, um, you know gay.
So am I but I would rather go to an execution than watch him again.
Well, I can't say I feel that strongly about him, one way or the other, but I am surprised about the questionable authenticity of the accent.   It seems that it may be another case of Ben Elton-itis.  As noted in the Telegraph last year:
When it turned out that Elton wasn’t quite as seditious as the comrades had hoped, and, by his own admission, was slightly bewildered to find himself being cast as any kind of political figurehead, his reputation in right-on circles began to wither. The process was accelerated by the discovery that he came from a well-to-do family, the son of a prominent physicist, had been educated at a top Surrey grammar school, and that his street punk London accent had been adopted in the hope that comedy circuit audiences would find it funnier. 

Come to think of it, the other British person who used to "bung it on" (to use an Australian-ism, I guess) was Cilla Black.   I clearly remember her embarrassment and quick reversion to exaggerated accent in some interview or other she was giving on Australian TV way back in perhaps the late 70's or 80's, where she had to started to answer (accidentally) without accent.

But what is the truth?   Can't someone who knows Thomas let the world know whether he used to sound Australian when he was at school?

[Incidentally, I just think Please Like Me - which I've caught in bits and pieces - is not very funny.  Self involved in a very young 20's way, a bit mawkish, a bit too obvious in many respects, but not very funny.  Hence I am pleased it actually doesn't rate well.]

*  (Don't know that anyone has ever mistaken me for being from Liverpool, although the European looking man in the post office near my home in 1980 did insist that it seemed to him I was from mainland Europe.  "Where are you from" he asked when I was buying a stamp.  "Here!" I said, "Just down the road".   "No, originally, where are you from?"   And so on, until he explained he felt sure English was probably a second language for me.  (!)  He was from somewhere mid-Europe himself, I believe.   Honestly, the guy seemed quite normal despite this surprising line of interrogation.

This was when I was at university, just after I had been backpacking in New Zealand, and many fellow backpackers could not readily pick that I was Australian.   It would seem my accent is considered pretty indeterminate both within and outside of Australia, so perhaps I am not the most obvious person to be criticising other accents after all....)

Hello, Gullible Fools

What is more likely:  that the temperature at Amberley (well inland from the ocean) changed from increasing to cooling in 1980,* despite surrounding areas continuing to warm; or that an unrecorded change in how the temperature was being taken introduced a spurious cooling that should be adjusted if you wanted a true idea of the actual changes to the longer term temperature record?

What is more likely:  that climate researchers at the BOM have for years been looking at temperature records and simply saying "that one's going in the wrong direction:  let's just increase this one by 1 degree and no one will ever notice", or that they are consistently applying technical and widely accepted scientific procedures to try to make the complete record more accurate? 

What is more likely:   that idiots will claim that the BOM is "destroying" raw temperature records, even when the very story they are wetting themselves about is based on comparing raw records with adjusted records; or that they will recognise they are being inconsistent idiots?

I know what is likely, or beyond question, really:  people who are convinced by Marohasy and Jonova are fools.



* note Ken's statement in comments - "When Amberley anomalies are compared with anomalies from neighbouring sites, there is a distinct drop around 1980. Certainly it doesn’t look right. But the adjustment doesn’t look right either."   Yes folks, that is what this is all about - a bunch of politically motivated self aggrandising amateurs in the field saying "that doesn't look right - it must be wrong!"

Update:   Nick Stokes at his Moyhu blog shows why the Amberley adjustment makes sense.

The point being:  there is much less common sense in what Marohasy and Jonova want their rabid followers to believe than the obvious explanation - the 1980 change was spurious and needed adjustment.  (And the adjustment applied is nothing remarkable or dishonest.)

Update 2:   the focus has shifted to Rutherglen, with a hysterical Jennifer Marohasy wanting "heads to roll" because a retired scientist says there was a thermometer in a different location, but it wasn't used; whereas it appears the BOM believes there was a thermometer move.   Even if (and I do not concede the point at all) the retiree is correct, surely there is enough there to indicate mistake rather than fraud.  But no, the bile filled climate change denialists think every discrepancy (even apparent discrepancy) is conclusive evidence of fraud.  What a joke.  

Hotwhopper looks at Rutherglen too, and notes a big break in the raw data, which certainly indicates something amiss in that site.

And back at Moyhu, Nick Stokes shows that homogenisation does not mean all local trends only increase.

How does Greg Hunt live with himself?

Renewable energy target in the spotlight

Excellent article by Peter Martin that effectively raises the question in the title to this post, without directly asking it.

Just stop pandering to adult's sense of entitlement to make and experiment with babies

Medical dilemma of 'three-parent babies': Fertility clinic investigates health of 17 teenagers it helped to be conceived through controversial IVF technique - Science - News - The Independent


Why the hell is Britain so keen to be pressing ahead with "3 parent" embryo techniques to cater for the tiny, tiny number of women who want to be pregnant with their own genes, but should not because of mitochondrial problems?

I cannot fathom this.

As much as I dislike surrogacy, even it using a donated healthy egg from a woman with a similar genetic profile of the mother would be preferable.   Sure, surrogacy also involves the commodification of babies; it doesn't involve direct experimentation on how to make one in a completely unnatural way with completely unknown consequences for their future health.

Why are people so prepared to experiment with their own children, and why is the government prepared to facilitate the use of science in support of experiments for the tiny number of potential parents so affected?

It seems the near universal sense of entitlement to a baby has become so overpowering there is no scandal in a patent desire to experiment on human lives.   

Monday, August 25, 2014

TV comedy noted

Been meaning to say, I quite like Brooklyn Nine Nine.   It reminds of some 80's ensemble comedies, but sped up somewhat.

Do other countries have to put up with McTorment

How McDonald's conquered France.

Here's a somewhat interesting article on how McDonalds got to be a big success in France, of all culinary places.

I see that the company has recently suffered poor sales in Australia, and as I think I have said here before, I'm pretty sure it is because of both a price increase for their standard fare that pushed lunch time boundaries of what is reasonable to pay for family of four, and the ridiculous amount of changes that have been going on menu wise.

I mean, look, the McFeast must be a popular item if they chose to run a whole ad campaign about how you would travel across the world to get one while it's making one of its "limited time" appearances.   But doesn't this just reek too much of cynical marketing to keep taking it off, and putting it back on, the menu?  

I know they have done limited "special" burgers for ages, but why take off a menu item that was on for years and then start tormenting your customers by saying "you'd better come back and get it while it's here [because we believe in "treat them mean, keep them keen".]

Do they follow such marketing in other countries?  I see you can get something that looks like a McFeast in France on the permanent menu:

Why can't we get the equivalent permanently here?

And while you're at it, drop most of the "loose change" items save for the cones.  They are all low quality crap that surely don't develop brand loyalty, and I'd prefer they dropped them and made the main items just a little bit cheaper.

We now resume normal programming.  

Out of the IPA, still good enough for Catallaxy?

Ooh, that's interesting.   Professional renewable energy demoniser Alan Moran has been booted out of the IPA for being over the top in the last week or so about Islam (and on other politics too, apparently.)

Yet only a couple of days ago, he was still posting at Sinclair Davidson's Catallaxy blog (where open threads are full of similar sentiments to those of Moran.) 

True, Sinclair makes the odd appearance in threads (as do a couple of the regulars) saying that people are carrying on too much about the religion,  but it's rather interesting nonetheless if Moran will continue to be able to post there if he's too extreme for the IPA!

Ideologue looks at medicine - evidence, not so much

There is so much pure ideology running through David Leyonjhelm's take on medicine, I really don't know why anyone takes him seriously.   (I'm looking at you, Jason Soon.)

His whole comparison of doctors being like car mechanics ignores things like, oh, how not everyone needs a car mechanic, but every single person needs a variety of medical services during their life; and the almost universally accepted view that the more privatised US system has helped make for an unhealthier population at greater expense.  And what's with this line?:
Opposing the Government’s proposal [for co-payments] in its entirety will only maintain a situation where the well-off and healthy receive the same level of medical support as the poor and chronically ill, a level that is inadequate for those most in need.
While I accept that some highly socialised medical systems in other countries do have co-payments, I would still like to see the evidence that a "price signal" is really needed in Australia.  As I have noted before (although I forget which expert said it), the rate of use of GPs here is not unusually high  compared to other countries, and the increasing cost in the health system is not coming from there.

Leyonjhlem goes on to have his ideological fantasies about how medicine could work:
In an ideal world we would shop for health services based on quality and price, protected from unaffordable costs by insurance. The government’s role would be limited to ensuring that the poor and chronically ill are insured, and collecting and publishing information about the providers to help us make better choices.
The bald one also seems to think that if people have too much access to doctors, they don't take responsibility for their own health via diet, exercise, etc.  Yet I'd be pretty sure that in those areas of Australia with less access to doctors do not show such an effect at all.   I imagine this is because doctors help identify health problems earlier, and thereby increase the general health of the population.   David's just off on one of his ideological day dreams again.

Libertarians never get want fully they want, because most people can readily recognise that their ideas won't and don't work.


This'll be controversial...

Some can’t be satisfied: multiple partners points to marriage misery for women, researchers say | The Australian

The Huffington Post has a lengthier article on the study, which includes some somewhat skeptical takes:
"There are a wide variety of reasons that may lead people to have multiple partners before marriage and, independent of how many partners they have, also be less satisfied in marriage," Dr. Jim McNulty, a social psychology professor from Florida State University who has published a plethora of research on the topic, wrote in an email.

"For example, people who tend to avoid commitment in general may have more
sexual partners and be less happy when they settle down. It’s not the fact that they have more sexual partners that leads them to be less happy, it’s the fact that they don’t really like commitment. I would be very surprised if having multiple sexual partners before
marriage, independent of any other factor, has a direct causal influence."

In other words, correlation should never be confused with causation.

"We cannot make any conclusions about cause-and-effect," says Justin Lehmiller,
PhD, sex educator and researcher at Purdue University, adding, "Could it be that multiple premarital partners impacts marital happiness? Maybe. But it could also be that people who have more partners have different personalities or different attitudes toward marriage or relationships."
That point about causation may well be right, but nonetheless, if the study is correct, doesn't it indicate that men should legitimately be cautious about marrying a woman who has many partners (and be increasingly cautious the more she has had?)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thanks, Medical Board

Cocaine-addict surgeon linked to sex workers' deaths, continued to operate on patients - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Dr Yong said not every regulatory system is perfect and the NSW Medical Board acted on the information it had on Dr Nair.

"Inhindsight now we can see that he, at some stage, even under our
program, was still affected by drugs. He was able to conceal that from
us, from his colleagues, from his patients, from his supervisors," he
said.



In May 2009, a psychiatrist said in a report to the Health Care Complaints Commission:
"It is my belief that Dr Nair is in stable remission from cocaine and
alcohol abuse and that he is fully fit to practise medicine.


I further believe that matters came before the Medical Board that would
have been more suited to a casual chat between colleagues rather than a
s.66 inquiry."
At least with alcohol, you can have a simple and quick breath test  at the start of every work session to see that a suspect addict is not under the influence at that moment.

The inability to so readily test for other drugs is another reason I am leery of the "legalise it, and nearly everyone will work out their own safe level of consumption" idea.

If the electrical brain stimulation doesn't help me in old age, maybe this will

Young blood to be used in ultimate rejuvenation trial - health - 20 August 2014 - New Scientist

A stimulating future

BBC News - Warning over electrical brain stimulation

I still think that the intriguing research into brain stimulation for increased cognitive performance hasn't attracted as much general attention as it should.   But hobbyists are apparently running current through their heads with amateur equipment, and that might just not be that good an idea, yet...

Don't you dare speculate, lay person

I forget where the story first ran recently about some new research on anaesthesia being possibly supportive of the Penrose suggestion that quantum effects in the brain might be at the heart of consciousness.

In any event, it appeared last week in a post at Mysterious Universe, but it has made the doctor who did the experiment very cranky.  From the comments following the post:



Followed up by the post writer:



Dr Turin responds in rather arrogant fashion:



The good doctor goes on to explain in more detail, but he does sound a bit of a jerk.