Once again (and how quickly they come round when you are getting a bit long in the tooth) ’tis the season to be silly. Establishment media editors thrash round looking for stories with sufficient newsworthy menace; professors of epidemiology come out to play and the zealots sharpen their propaganda tools. Those irritating bits that normally act as fillers for the spaces in the main pages are elevated to the giant lead headlines.
A delightful example for collectors is the widespread scare of a link between vasectomy and prostate cancer. From the numbers given any reasonable science-trained person would come to exactly the opposite conclusion to that reached by these “experts”. It has Harvard written all over it. A lovely big Trojan number leads to a pathetic relative risk of 1.1. With knowledge of how the Harvard scaremongers operate this was almost certainly one of the offshoots of a data dredge. The really aggressive form of the disease is only 2% of the total.
Free surgery for fatties made the main headline in The Times. In the on-line Telegraph it was tucked away in the health news section. This might sound like a reasonable action, but bear in mind that many possibly vital surgical and medical interventions are frequently refused by middle managers in the NHS on economic grounds. Furthermore, the obesity crisis was largely manufactured by the adoption of one of the most stupid measures ever invented (BMI). It was then magnified by the now traditional process of changing the recommended limits (naturally in a more draconian direction) at the stroke of keyboard. As a result, for example, many leading players of rugby or American football have now officially become technically obese.
Meanwhile, the alcohol zealots are confident enough to raise their game. Now, even light drinkers “could” still be raising their risks of heart disease. The indirectness of the “clever” trick that produces this benefit (RR= 0.9), might not appeal to old fashioned scientists. For those with a penchant for having others dictate their lifestyle, there are many other recommendations of the season, including an apple a day to improve your sex life.
“Impudent!” What a beautifully succinct and apposite reaction to the latest eruption of nonsense from the people who brought you the dangers of life-threatening power cuts, the Department for Energy and Climate Change. They instruct us to Stop buying big fridges and televisions. It is just another move to trap you in the cycle of religious sacrifice that will weld you into their own logic-defying belief system.
As a service to readers who cannot be bothered to read through the plethora of seasonal medical stories that occupy the media at this season, here is a convenient summary
Politically incorrect behaviour causes cancer, dementia, diabetes and many other fearful conditions.
The last front-page headline of the month in The Times was Power companies double profits. What a mess the British political class have made of an industry that is now so vital to human life! It is little consolation that other EU countries pay even more, but an even greater threat than the cost it is the inherent unreliability that hangs over us like a cloud of doom. A smooth, efficient and trustworthy operation has been converted to a ramshackle mess based on a phony market and the replacement of applied science by the doctrine of the new godless religion. We used to export energy: now we export profits.
How I loathe and fear that euphemistic cliché that politicians and their media cronies coyly employ to refer to the threat of power cuts – keeping the lights on. The lights are the least of our problems.
I shall die soon, that’s the way stuff happens, but it would be a bitter irony to be dying because of a man-made catastrophe that I have been warning about for a decade and a half. When I first wrote “people are going to die” in August 2003 (and, incidentally, on eleven subsequent occasions) I was not thinking of myself, as I was not then one of the vulnerable, but the march of time and genetics has changed all that.
In the early hours of Sunday morning we had a local power cut. We would have barely noticed it but for the alarms that went off – on my oxygen concentrator and wireless alarm button receiver. As it happens our power was restored after about half an hour, during which sleep had been replaced by feverish activity to ward off disaster..
The other half of the town was not so fortunate. They were without power for the whole of the next day. Some of the consequences were as I forecast in Time: the future (and the Rage! that followed it) even though that dealt with the much greater danger of a winter catastrophe. The shops closed, as their tills and other systems did not work, but the unforeseen circumstance was that the local Co-op was desperately trying to dispose of huge quantities of spoiled frozen food and find replacements, while those who had adopted the new habit of doing the big shop on a Sunday were bereft of essential supplies and had to motor or beg lifts to nearby towns. Imagine that happening on a national scale. An odd coincidence was that the cause of the breakdown was an explosion of a transformer, something I had included in that Cassandra-like essay. Why had I included that bizarre sounding event? Well, I suppose it was because I was aware that overall control of the Grid had passed from the hand of engineers to those of believers, who do not prioritise such essentials as regular inspection and maintenance. Incidentally, during this event the contribution of the holy renewables to the power supply was precisely zero on a warm windless night.
Engineers are professional pessimists. I remember my young wife of nearly half a century ago complaining that “Whenever we have a project, you start to think of all the things that can go wrong”. In contrast believers are perpetual optimists – “It will be alright on the night.” They treat the Grid as a sort of electrical sewer into which any Tom, Dick or Harry can pour their corrupted waveforms at random and be rewarded for it: as we said in March 2010, Pity the poor grid controller.
We had prepared as much as we can for the dangerous new world of the fantasists. We have restored the solid fuel fireplace, bought a transportable gas heater, placed battery light sources in strategic positions etc. Some people still do not realise that their gas central-heating systems are electrically controlled and will switch off in a power cut. It is cold that kills! Not hypothetical global warming.
apologies for late uploading, due to a health incident
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