Friday, 17 July 2009

A sense of perspective


Tried the piezo-electric gas lighter thingy on the ears last night. The secret is to allow some gas to blow into your ears before igniting it, rather than delicately playing the flame over the surface of your ear. Once ignited using the aforementioned method, a great fireball erupts outward at incredible speed, incinerating any hair in its path before having insufficient time to roast your skin. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it beats the Zippo; however the smell of burnt hair doesn’t half linger. Hay wouldn’t come near me all evening and accused me of smelling like a burnt jute sack.

Swine flu related deaths in the UK have climbed to 29. Based on the 55,000 reported cases that’s a mortality rate of 0.05272727%, which extrapolated over the 60m inhabitants of the UK comes to some 31,600 projected deaths.

Now it has been estimated that there are 36,000 deaths per year in the UK from ‘normal’ seasonal flu, however, the 36,000 figure has no science behind it and is seemingly plucked from the air, as flu is rarely, if ever, listed on a death certificate as a prime cause of death. However, it’s at least an educated guess, so it’s worth bearing the figure in mind. This suggests to me that swine flu is no more dangerous than seasonal flu, and as usual it will be the elderly, the young and those with underlying respiratory problems that will be chiefly at risk.

I heard the CMO, Sir Liam Donaldson, say on the radio that the predicted deaths related to swine flu are between 19,000 and 64,000, which averages out at 41,500, only slightly higher than the 36,000 guesstimate for normal flu. Kind of puts things into perspective – something the newspapers sorely lack in their sensationalist headline reporting.

The real danger is if swine flu mutates into a virulent strain of man flu.

I’ve heard it said that those worst served by the British National Health Service are the very poor and the very rich. It’s not immediately obvious that the very rich are ill served, but when you think about it they have the money to put into untested and very expensive non-NHS medicine and quack cures peddled by the unscrupulous and thus don’t really use the NHS at all.

Talking of sensationalist newspaper headlines, the Daily Mirror has this week called the UK soldiers who died tragically in a recent roadside bombing in Afghanistan ‘the bravest of the brave’. What then does that make the holders of Victoria Crosses and George Medals?

Several high-profile authors are to stop visiting UK schools in protest at new laws requiring them to be vetted to work with youngsters. The Home Office says the change, being introduced from October, will help protect children from paedophiles (my spell checker once more tells me that the Americans can’t spell). Anyone who has "regular" or "intense" contact with children or vulnerable adults will by law have to sign up to the Vetting and Barring Scheme from November 2010. "Regular" is defined as more than once a month and "intense" as three times a month or more.

On that basis every parent, uncle, aunt and grandparent should be made to register. It’s a well known fact that children are at higher risk of abuse from family members than strangers.

11 comments:

  1. Britain is a weird place....seriously it's thought patterns are bizarre these days....

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  2. Says she who holds a British passport.....:)

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  3. Braja: I thought you were antipodean?

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  4. Sorry... I must have missed something... but why are you setting fire to your ears? Is this a swine flu cure?
    Sx

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  5. Okay... just read the previous post.
    Get a hat. It's safer.
    Sx

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  6. Scarlet: You obviously don't follow my posts regularly. See yesterday's post for enlightenment.

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  7. Scarlet: A hat? To hide ear and nose hair?

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  8. Scarlet: A baclava? Is is that not a Greek cake. Perhaps a balaclava?

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  9. I love the idea of setting fire to your ears as a swine flu cure. Sometimes blogs are better than Chinese whispers. I agree with your analysis of the swine flu figures, there is an awful lot of over-reaction. Remember also that the deaths from seasonal flu are despite the annual vaccination efforts and vaccination for swine flu hasn't been introduced yet.

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  10. With reference to the first paragraph - it sounds like one of those kinky games. Are you sure you're not an MP ??

    And don't talk to me about schools and authors and that --- do you know they have put forward the idea at our school that every member of the PTA should have a CRB certificate. No wonder no-one's volunteering!

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  11. Alan: Did you know that Edward Jenner lived not a mile from here?

    Jenny: You are joking, aren't you?

    Bloody internet has gone down and having to connect via the mobile. Pain in the arse. Why do they make these sites so damned graphic-intensive?

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