A new low for the Daily Mail…

If anyone still thinks the Daily Mail has any moral compass at all, this headline should disabuse them of the idea:-

‘We just thought it was jet lag’, say newlyweds who caught swine flu and brought it to UK

The mail must employ some deeply despicable, conscience-free, hacks, not to mention editors, to publish so scurrilous, and possibly untrue, a headline.

Every single person on that flight from Cancun had the potential to be infected before ever boarding the plane, as did Continue reading

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COPD and the Flu Pandemic…

Based on the information available and on my past experience of flu with COPD, if the pandemic does materialise (and it seems inevitable), the risks seem little worse than ordinary flu. No-one outside Mexico has so far died (and the deaths there are curious – men in their thirties, mostly, rather than the vulnerable groups, like the old and the young).

Speaking personally, even ordinary flu, in the right circumstances, can Continue reading

COPD and antibiotics…

I found this stating-the-bleeding-obvious gem in today’s Search Medica newsletter:-

Dramatic benefits for early antibiotics in at-risk patients with LRTI**

Prescribing antibiotics on the day of diagnosis of a lower respiratory tract infection, ‘dramatically’ reduces admissions and mortality related to respiratory infection, UK research reports. Antibiotic prescribing on the day of diagnosis lowered the rate of admissions by 27% and reduced mortality by as much as 69%.

(**LRTI includes COPD flare-ups.)

Well, hey, I’ve been Continue reading

Swine flu…

The more retarded members of the UK’s media are pondering the question of why this is called swine flu, when no pigs have been found to be infected.

So, for the hard of thinking, this is a mutated version of the H1N1 type A flu virus that normally causes flu in humans. The mutated version also contains elements of the swine flu virus (as well as traces of the variant that affects birds). The swine-flu component is what gives it its populist name, because people-swine-bird flu is just too cumbersome and would confuse even more people.

See, told you it wasn’t hard.

And as I said in my previous post on the subject, comparisons with the 1918 pandemic are facile and alarmist.

Spare me from eco-zealotry…

In yesterday’s Observer magazine, their eco-hack suggested that USB-rechargeable AA batteries are a green alternative to normal ones. Sorry, but they certainly are not.

The greenest way to use AAs is to buy the highest capacity you can find – that way you need fewer batteries. Fewer batteries = smaller carbon footprint – a child could figure that out (but not Observer hacks, seemingly).

My current NiMH AA batteries are rated at 2800mAh, and I have a dozen in more or less constant use. The USB version is a rather pathetic 1300mAh, little better than a decent AAA, so I’d need more than twice as many for the same usage – how is that, in anyway at all, green? And who the hell has that many spare USB ports? (NB – these are OK if you’re are in the middle of a field somewhere, and need to recharge a couple from your laptop, but for everyday use they’re just a gimmick.)

By the way, the capacity is low because the actual battery is, physically, little bigger than a AAA once the USB connector is discounted. Obvious to anyone, but not to the Observer’s eco-zealot.

I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, but they seem only rarely to think of doing something as elementary as visiting the manufacturer’s website and checking a few facts (we’ve visited this territory before with the Obs eco-dimwits). Mind you, go to http://www.usbcell.com/ and you’ll have to dig pretty damned deep to find out the capacity of these things but, surely, digging for facts is what journalists are supposed to do? Or is fact-checking not, perhaps, green? I mean, really, is there a carbon debt involved in just thinking?

Flu pandemic – are we screwed?

The long-anticipated flu pandemic may be here at last, rolling out of Mexico across the world. A strain of swine flu has jumped the species barrier and is now transmissible person-to-person. And what re the Mexicans doing? Telling people not to kiss or shake hands! Unfuckingbelievable. And the Americans are as bad.

Here, at home, the advice is Continue reading

ESA – a few thoughts…

Just checking out Employment and Support Allowance. As I’ll become a pensioner in October, I’ll be extremely unlucky to get sucked into it, changing from Incapacity Benefit to ESA, but it’s not impossible.

Interestingly, unlike the IB50 form, the ESA form has no questions relating to disability at all. You may, apparently, be sent a medical questionnaire. Equally, you may not. The whole affair rests on the medical assessment – effectively Continue reading

Firefox 3.0.9

What new fuck-uppery is this from Mozilla?

At start-up this morning, Firefox was very slow putting in an appearance. Then up popped a message telling me it’s updating itself. Now the normal routine is that FF will flag the availability of a new version and ask if I want it. Then I download the new version, so I have a copy of it, and install it as an update. No problem. So what’s Continue reading