Too Dozy

Too dozy to write anything. Or even think anything. So here’s a cartoon from over on F2C.

Downing Street Dog Walkies Cartoon


I recognised her immediately. It took me a while to figure out who the two pooches were.

And if that’s not enough, from Bishop Hill here’s a 1 hour long talk by Christopher Essex,  professor of applied mathematics, on the difficulties of climate computation.

“There are no experts on what nobody knows.”

About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to Too Dozy

  1. Smoking ban a step toward nanny state

    Kevin J. Gordon 3:10 p.m. EST February 21, 2015

    Kevin J. Gordon is a business consultant and board member of the Independent Business Association of Northern Kentucky.

    Name five restaurants – not bar/restaurants – where smoking is permitted in Campbell or Boone counties. Establishments allowing smoking are becoming more rare than nonsmoking establishments were in the 1960s.

    More and more people are adopting a libertarianesque view when it comes to legalizing marijuana and ending the “War on Drugs” even while witnessing the heroin epidemic, yet smoking has become public enemy No. 1?

    Instead of addressing the heroin epidemic, Dr. Lynne Saddler, district director of health at the Northern Kentucky Health Department, chose to speak out in favor of a statewide smoking ban at the recent legislative forum sponsored by the Northern Kentucky caucus. Misplaced priorities?

    Smoking ban proponents cite health care costs and health risks related to smoking and secondhand smoke. They also point to asthma and other breathing problems, particularly in children and “an important cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).” We are supposed to accept these statistics as gospel. Not so fast!

    December 2013: Stanford University researchers found “no clear link” between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Surprised? Not when you learn that 80 percent of studies completed by 1993 had similar conclusions. In 1998, after a seven-year study of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), the World Health Organization found “weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between risk of lung cancer and exposure to spousal and workplace ETS.”

    January 2014: The Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey, in Southeast England, reported a link between shift work and cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

    January 2015: Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at San Francisco reported a link between altitude and lung cancer. The less oxygen in the air, the lower the rates of lung cancer.

    May 2014: The Louisville Courier-Journal reported, “A growing body of research … shows the risk of lung cancer is much higher for smokers exposed to carcinogens such as radon, asbestos, arsenic or chromium.”

    A wide swath of Central Kentucky has the highest levels of radon, while Appalachian residents are exposed to high rates of arsenic and chromium.

    Even University of Kentucky professor Ellen Hahn, PHD, RN, who directs Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy, is studying the “synergistic risk between tobacco smoke and radon.”

    With so many theories and potential causes, the annual health care costs “directly caused by smoking” become suspect.

    As to SIDS? How did so many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers survive when smoking was much more prevalent?

    Smoking ban proponents say: “All we are asking is to take it outside,” and “We want to protect those who might be exposed to secondhand smoke.” Not true.

    UK’s campus is tobacco free, not just smoke free. The policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products including traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chew, pipes, cigars, hookah or water pipe smoking, snus, snuff, etc.

    As of January 2014 Northern Kentucky University’s campus went tobacco free. This past November, all state property became tobacco free.

    Just take it outside? Who are they protecting? What else should be banned? Large soft drinks? Unhealthy snacks? Where does the nanny state end?

    HB 145, the proposed Kentucky statewide smoking ban, is an unnecessary overreach of government toward an eventual nanny state.

    The role of government is to protect its citizens from unseen dangers, food production inspections, restaurant kitchen inspections, etc. For seen/known dangers, there are warning labels on products. Clearly marked smoking establishments would be more than sufficient.

    Tobacco is a legal product. The decision to allow smoking or not allow smoking is the decision of the property or business owner reacting to the demands of their clientele and exercising his or her constitutionally guaranteed property rights.

        • Kentucky is No. 7 in cardiovascular deaths, No. 1 in cancer deaths, No. 1 in lung cancer, and No. 13 in asthma prevalence. And Kentucky leads the nation in smoking with 26.5 percent of its adult population.

          Even non-smokers are at risk of diseases caused by tobacco. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of coronary heart disease by about 25 to 30 percent among non-smokers. It increases the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers by 20 to 30 percent.

          This means that waitresses and bartenders (most of whom do not smoke) in workplaces that allow smoking risk their lives just to earn a paycheck. Sadly 68 percent of Kentuckians are currently exposed to secondhand smoke in public places. At this rate it is no wonder that Kentuckians suffer serious and deadly consequences.

          Fortunately, we have scientific evidence that a smoke-free law will reduce disease rates in areas where such a law is in effect. Communities that pass comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws have experienced a 15 percent drop in emergency room visits for heart attacks. Emergency room visits for asthma dropped by 22 percent in Lexington after the smoke-free law was enacted.

          Truly a bunch of BS………….The mummy study destroyed ll those claims

          Mummies’ clogged arteries take smoking, fatty foods, lethargy out of the mix

          By Tom Valeo, Times Correspondent

          Tuesday, April 23, 2013 4:30am

          You do everything right: You exercise every day, include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet, never smoke, minimize the stress in your life and take medication to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control. You’re preventing modern life from ruining your heart, right? • Well, maybe modern life isn’t as much of a problem as merely living. CT scans of 137 ancient mummies from three continents show that our ancestors had plaque in their arteries, too, even though they never smoked, never tasted ice cream or pork rinds, and had no choice but to exercise vigorously every day of their lives.

          According to the study, which appeared recently in the Lancet, at least one-third of the mummies, who lived as long as 5,000 years ago, had arteries that had narrowed as a result of atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty deposits in the arterial wall. Apparently the cardiovascular system has a tendency to clog up over time.

          “Our research shows that we are all at risk for atherosclerosis, the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes,” said Gregory Thomas, medical director of the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and one of the authors of the study. “The data we gathered about individuals from the prehistoric cultures of ancient Peru and the Native Americans living along the Colorado River and the Unangan of the Aleutian Islands is forcing us to look for other factors that may cause heart disease.”

          The diet of the mummies varied widely, but contained ample protein and vegetables (and presumably no cupcakes or pork rinds). Aside from the few Egyptian mummies who lived their lives as pampered royalty, these ancient people used their muscles constantly.

          Yet, the atherosclerosis was found in mummies who died in what we today would consider middle age (almost none made it to 60). And just as today, their arteries became more narrow as they got older. CT scans of modern people have demonstrated that after the age of 60 for men and 70 for women, some degree of atherosclerosis is all but universal. One large study found that teens ages 15 to 19 showed early signs of atherosclerosis, and 50 percent already had conspicuous accumulations of plaque.

          “All of us age in every tissue of our body,” says Dr. Donald LaVan, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. “It’s just a question of how rapidly it happens. There’s nothing you can do to stop aging. All you’re trying to do is prevent it from advancing faster than it should.”

          The authors of the paper agree. “Although commonly assumed to be a modern disease, the presence of atherosclerosis in premodern humans raises the possibility of a more basic predisposition to the disease,” they concluded.

          So what can we do to thwart that predisposition?

          Above all, don’t smoke, says LaVan, and engage in regular physical activity.

          “After that, we’re in the realm of treating disease,” he says. “If your lipids are up or you have hypertension, take care of it. If you have problems with rhythm disturbances, that must be treated, too, because it impairs the ability of heart to pump efficiently. We’re looking at common sense here, but getting patients to do these things is tough.”

        • If anybody can post the mummy study up Id sure appreciate it I cant get in but Ive tried/

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    “The Finite Representation of Computers” is an amazing presentation by Christopher Essex. Enjoy ‘real’ science when it is correctly presented.

  3. jltrader says:

    From ‘The Lancet’ 1965: It is impossible to follow the tortuous and, contradictory arguments of Dr Doll: Eight years ago smoke was carcinogenic, now it is only a vague ” promoter “. Lung cancer had an induction, period of twenty years, and then giving up smoking had little effect; now the period approaches the lifespan of man and giving up smoking has a ” surprising ” effect. It is ironical that the Government should now irretrievably commit itself in support of Doll’s claim to have found the cause of cancer by statistics, when this unfortunate controversy is ending in fiasco.

  4. Loving couple banned from adopting… because husband had ‘e-cigarette’
    Couple barred from adopting after would-be dad was seen using an e-cig
    Decision came after they’d passed a series of tests to qualify as parents
    They had earlier paid for expensive fertility treatment which had failed
    Told they couldn’t adopt if they’d used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months
    Experts say that ‘vaping’ poses little or no threat to children in the

  5. Frank Davis says:

    Need to pay to read the whole thing.

    Atherosclerosis across 4000 years of human history: the Horus study of four ancient populations
    Published Online: 11 March 2013

    Atherosclerosis is thought to be a disease of modern human beings and related to contemporary lifestyles. However, its prevalence before the modern era is unknown. We aimed to evaluate preindustrial populations for atherosclerosis.

    We obtained whole body CT scans of 137 mummies from four different geographical regions or populations spanning more than 4000 years. Individuals from ancient Egypt, ancient Peru, the Ancestral Puebloans of southwest America, and the Unangan of the Aleutian Islands were imaged. Atherosclerosis was regarded as definite if a calcified plaque was seen in the wall of an artery and probable if calcifications were seen along the expected course of an artery.

    Probable or definite atherosclerosis was noted in 47 (34%) of 137 mummies and in all four geographical populations: 29 (38%) of 76 ancient Egyptians, 13 (25%) of 51 ancient Peruvians, two (40%) of five Ancestral Puebloans, and three (60%) of five Unangan hunter gatherers (p=NS). Atherosclerosis was present in the aorta in 28 (20%) mummies, iliac or femoral arteries in 25 (18%), popliteal or tibial arteries in 25 (18%), carotid arteries in 17 (12%), and coronary arteries in six (4%). Of the five vascular beds examined, atherosclerosis was present in one to two beds in 34 (25%) mummies, in three to four beds in 11 (8%), and in all five vascular beds in two (1%). Age at time of death was positively correlated with atherosclerosis (mean age at death was 43 [SD 10] years for mummies with atherosclerosis vs 32 [15] years for those without; p<0·0001) and with the number of arterial beds involved (mean age was 32 [SD 15] years for mummies with no atherosclerosis, 42 [10] years for those with atherosclerosis in one or two beds, and 44 [8] years for those with atherosclerosis in three to five beds; p<0·0001).

    Atherosclerosis was common in four preindustrial populations including preagricultural hunter-gatherers. Although commonly assumed to be a modern disease, the presence of atherosclerosis in premodern human beings raises the possibility of a more basic predisposition to the disease.

    National Endowment for the Humanities, Paleocardiology Foundation, The National Bank of Egypt, Siemens, and St Luke's Hospital Foundation of Kansas City.

  6. Hundreds vote against banning smoking in Nottingham’s Old Market Square in Post poll

    Nottingham Post

    Smoking expert Professor John Britton, consultant in respiratory medicine at Nottingham City Hospital, said: “Smoking is the biggest threat to public …

  7. The tyranny of health Down Under

    Australia is leading the way in public-health authoritarianism

    It’s a funny old place, Australia. We have a peculiar love of rules and regulations that sets us apart from other liberal democracies. No other country in the free world imposes such stringent controls on individual behaviour – even when that behaviour puts no one else at risk.

    Bicycle helmets are the obvious example. Australia and New Zealand, much to the bemusement of foreign visitors, are the only countries that force you to wear one. The strange thing is, we don’t even like cycling. Only 16 per cent of Australians ride a bicycle every week. In Denmark and the Netherlands that figure is above 40 per cent. The world champions of pedal power don’t see helmets as a necessity, but for some reason we in Australia do.

    In 2011, the Australian government introduced one of the most radical anti-tobacco laws in modern history. Plain packaging was not designed to protect innocent bystanders from second-hand smoke, but rather to control individual decision-making. Australia was the first country to do this. And yet we already had some of the lowest smoking rates in the developed world. Of the 34 countries in the OECD, Australia consistently ranks in the bottom five for tobacco use.

    Responding to an apparent alcohol crisis in 2014, we introduced the strictest licensing laws this side of Saudi Arabia. The crisis, meanwhile, is a complete myth. We drink far less per head than we did in the 1970s, and our consumption has fallen every year since 2007. Today, 14 countries in the OECD drink more than we do, and that’s not even counting the vodka-drenched lands of the former Soviet Union. You want to see an alcohol crisis? Book a flight to Belarus.

    Something is clearly out of whack here. Our public health policies lack any sense of proportion or balance. You would expect the harshest laws to be reserved for the greatest crises, but in Australia the opposite is true. We apply draconian, heavy-handed treatment to what are comparatively minor issues. In doing so, we trample the right of adult individuals to make their own lifestyle choices.

    Is Australia exceptional? Do we actually need all these crazy rules? Are we really so different from our cousins in Europe who get along just fine without them?

    I don’t think Australians are that exceptional. I think the public-health lobby has sold us a great big lie. Our political debate has been hijacked by a gang of moral crusaders and neo-prohibitionists. They’ve convinced us that we can’t be trusted to act responsibly – that we need protection from ourselves.

    So where does it end? Once we accept that the government can nullify our basic rights in the name of making us healthier, we set ourselves a very dangerous precedent. Imagine all the health problems that could be fixed if we simply stopped giving a shit about individual liberty.

    Take skin cancer. Australia has the highest rates of melanoma in the world. So why not enforce the use of sunscreen, in the same way we enforce the use of bicycle helmets? It wouldn’t be hard to do. The police could set up RSTs (Random Sunscreen Tests) on our popular beaches.

    Most of us don’t visit the GP as often as we should. That could be fixed with a compulsory check-up every six months, for every person in the country. Miss your appointment and you get a fine – just like when you fail to vote in an election. If we can force people into a polling booth, we can force them into a doctor’s office.

    But why stop there? To tackle obesity, we could have mandatory exercise programs. Everyone is legally obliged to burn a minimum number of calories per week. A simple device like the Fitbit could record our workout sessions and report the data to the health authorities. If your calorie-count starts slipping, you can expect a letter in the mail.

    Now this all sounds a bit far-fetched, I agree. And that’s precisely my point. A few decades ago, most of our current health-and-safety regulations would have seemed equally ridiculous.

    Think about it. When Malcolm Fraser was Australian prime minister, who could have imagined a $150 fine for not wearing a bicycle helmet? Or a ban on children doing handstands and cartwheels and bringing birthday cakes to school? Today’s absurdity is tomorrow’s reality.

    Which brings us to the final question. What will Australian society look like in 30 or 40 years? On current trends, we’ll be living under some kind of public-health dictatorship, where clean living is not a choice, but an obligation – a sacred national duty. You won’t even have to think about your own health and safety anymore, because Big Brother has already made the hard choices for you.

    It’s time we had a serious conversation about where the public-health lobby is leading us.

    Tim Gregg is an Australian journalist based in Berlin. He is currently researching a book on the authoritarian trends in public-health policy.

    • Some French bloke says:

      “Take skin cancer. Australia has the highest rates of melanoma in the world.”

      See the WHO database’s (male) crude rates listing for melanoma of skin in 2010, with New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and Sweden at n° 1, 2, 3, and 5 respectively; Portugal, Spain and Greece at n° 35, 36, and 39 respectively:

  8. junican says:

    Thanks for the link to the video. It was quite fascinating. When I was messing about getting to understand the ‘Theory of Relativity’, I came across the complexities of the flow of water in rivers. It is worth thinking about the comparative simplicity of such flows.
    There is only one ‘constant’, which is Gravity. Everything else is variable. Thus, there are:
    1. Steepness of incline.
    2. Width of channel.
    3. Shape of channel.
    4. roughness of channel bed and sides.
    5. Friction of bed (which slows down flow at the bottom of the channel compared with the surface of the river).
    6. ‘Still’ parts caused by deep wells.
    7. Eddies and swirls caused by rocks.
    8. The spin of the Earth (causing whirlpools).

    All the above apply to the atmosphere, plus many more besides, such as temperature, lightening, variable sunshine due to sunspots and ‘coronal ejections’, volcanoes, variations of the Earth’s orbit due to planetary alignments, absorption of CO2 by vegetation and the release of oxygen by respiration, variation in the size of the polar icecaps, etc, etc. Geological time has seen the seabed raised into mountains and mountains sunk into the sea. Continents have floated apart and crashed into each other, raising mountain ranges. Vegetation has spread and died back, depending upon latitude, longitude, CO2 in the atmosphere. Snowball Earth was a fact a long time ago. What caused the ice-ages? Human activity? Human inactivity? Ducks? Dinosaurs?

    And yet we have a joint declaration by Cameron, Clegg and Milband declaring their devotion to ‘Greenness’ which, in effect, would have the intention of destroying industry!

    It is all very comical.

    But I wish that the professor had dwelt for a little while on the equations. They are not as difficult to understand as we think. For example, consider the spread of light emitted from the Sun (or any other source for that matter). Imagine a square pane of glass 2 million miles from the surface of the Sun. A quantity of intense light will pass through the surface of that plate of glass. Now, move the pane of glass to 4 million miles from the Sun. The distance of the pane has doubled, but what will have happened is that the intensity of the light passing through the surface of the pane will be only a quarter of what it was before. Move the pane to 8 million miles, and the intensity will be only one sixteenth of the initial intensity. In mathematical terms, if the intensity of the light at 2 million miles is x, then at 4 million miles, it will have reduced to 2 squared times x, and at 8 million miles, it will have reduced to 4 squared times x. At 16 million miles, it will have reduced to 8 squared times x. That is, one sixty-forth of the original intensity. The calculations are positive, but the effects are negative.

    The funny little symbol which is the lower case Greek symbol for ‘d’ indicates ‘a change in’. Thus, in the example above about rivers, a ‘change in’ the incline of the river would be ‘d-incline’. That would result in a change in river flow of ‘d-flow’. The interesting thing, however, is that a change in ‘d-incline’ might result is a much bigger change in ‘d-flow’ than you might thing. That is why such effects are described as ‘non-linear’. An easy way to understand that effect is to think about a motorway. Given a certain amount of traffic, the traffic will flow smoothly, but if you double the traffic, there is a likelihood that the traffic will overwhelm the capacity of the road and cause blockages and tailbacks in the event of the slightest interruption in the flow. Thus, the effect of only a small increase in traffic could be a major interference in the flow.

    I could go on to describe Einstein’s thoughts about the ‘gravitational field’, but better not perhaps!

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