Sep 012011
 

I learn that there is to be a “Conspiracy theory” event in London later in September. I love reading about conspiracy theories (up to a point)! Someone I currently follow on Twitter has written about “Conspiracy Theory” (apparently a proper noun): The problem faced by Conspiracy Theory Conspiracy Theory as Political Philosophy and Ideology I don’t (yet) know enough to decide whether these articles are serious political and social analysis, or post-modernist waffle. I’ll post some analysis of my own from 2002/2003: The context is a bizarre Usenet dialogue (“Child Support Reforms International Conspiracy“) from 2002 with someone who was (technically) . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 302011
 
Alcohol consumption - discussion

This is the 3rd of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: Alcohol consumption at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Part 2: Alcohol consumption – science and politics Part 3: This article Preamble I started this 3-part discussion because of the recommendations in the report “Our invisible addicts” by the Royal College of Psychiatrists about alcohol guidelines in the over-64s. They were wrong on a number of levels. Much of the literature on alcohol consumption suffers from one of the errors made by that report: there is a failure to see the issue from the individual drinker’s perspective. . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 292011
 
Alcohol consumption - science and politics

This is the 2nd of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: Alcohol consumption at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Part 2: This article Part 3: Alcohol consumption – discussion Via Twitter, 2020Health say they will publish a report ‘Risky drinking’ in October. The Daily Mail and Telegraph have written about it, perhaps from a press release. I’m confident that it won’t say anything significant that I don’t already know, but if it does I’ll comment eventually. Lack of information Are the following questions reasonable? “If my alcohol drinking pattern and quantity is X, what is my increased . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 252011
 

I want to be able to blog in future about “enlightenment”, so first I’ll define what I mean by it. I don’t use the word in a vague way. I refer to specific themes from the “Age of Enlightenment“. This post is an extract from a much more comprehensive page I started about 3 years ago (helped by discussion at RichardDawkins.net). Preamble I am a scientifically-literate atheist. Guess who I would rather have as neighbours: On one side: a scientifically-illiterate arts-teacher who believes in pluralism and human rights and representative government, or an authoritarian scientist who favours restricting people’s rights . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 242011
 

This is the 1st of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: This article Part 2: Alcohol consumption – science and politics Part 3: Alcohol consumption – discussion In June 2011, the Royal College of Psychiatrists published a report “Our invisible addicts” which contained some sloppy analysis that was rightly ridiculed in the media. The Daily Mail has re-opened the discussion, perhaps to fill up spare column-inches: Why an extra glass of wine (or three) does more harm to older drinkers. This gives me an excuse to post some analysis I did before I started this blog. Sloppy . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 112011
 

When I feel strongly about something I don’t simply bite my tongue. Sometimes I try to influence people who hold the levers of power. (Rarely with much success!) Here are some such papers I have sent to such people and organisations over the years. Child Support analysis papers I am child-free, but I had been a business analyst with a consortium (1 ACCORD) bidding to replace the central computing for the UK’s Department of Social Security (as it was then). I had helped with the consortium’s input to the government’s invitation to tender at the Green Paper and the White . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 102011
 
AEIOU - A simple checklist of understanding

We often need to be part of a working group or team, trying to come to a common understanding so that we can decide how to act. It can be useful to have a simple agreed method to enable members to back-away from confusing debates, diversions, repetition, and misunderstandings, and to re-synchronise their discussion. This is a method that I have kept in mind and personally used during such discussions for many years, although rarely with agreement of those concerned. During a discussion, and especially during a debate or an argument, it is useful to have a way of bringing . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 092011
 
My physiograms (swinging light photographs)

                The September 1964 edition of “Practical Photography” published the above images of mine. Months earlier, its sister publication “Photo News Weekly” had published similar images by me. These were “physiograms“, (swinging light images or “pendulum photographs“), but apparently unlike any that had been published before. They are possibly unlike any that have been published since. This is their story.      Articles A friend (Peter Hunt) and I were studying “Mathematics, Further Mathematics, & Physics” at school. We set about applying mathematics to the topic. To do so, we had to swing the camera too. This transformed the possibilities, and . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 022011
 
The myth of a baby-boom-led housing crisis

This is the 2nd of a 2-part attack on some myths about the baby boom and the impact of baby boomers: Part 1: The myth of the UK baby-boom Part 2: This article: The myth of a baby-boom-led housing crisis Once again, I am using David Willetts’ book “The Pinch: how the baby boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back“. In “The myth of the UK baby-boom” I quoted from David Willetts’ book and showed that he didn’t understand the true nature of the UK’s baby-booms. David Willetts isn’t the only person promoting these myths; . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jul 262011
 
The myth of the UK baby-boom

This is the 1st of a 2-part attack on some myths about the baby boom and the impact of baby boomers: Part 1: This article: The myth of the UK baby-boom Part 2: The myth of a baby-boom-led housing crisis “Everyone” knows that the UK has a baby-boom. “Everyone” knows that it began just after the end of World War 2. “Everyone” knows that it continued for perhaps 15 or 20 years, creating a huge cohort that massively influenced UK policy, causing problems for the following generations. David Willetts wrote “The Pinch: how the baby boomers took their children’s future . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]