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The doctor who knows — 12 Comments

  1. “I really don’t know why they publish crap like this. Was it a slow news day? Did someone feel a need to fill a quota?”

    A little while back I added all our national newspapers to my Facebook timeline. I’d stopped buying them some time before this as I just got tired of the endless stream of anti-Trump/Brexit/anything-right-of-far-left propaganda. The fact that more and more feminists –both male and female– appeared to be writing for them only hastened my decision.

    I’m now this || close to binning them on Facebook, too. Once the Trump To Visit Ireland was announced they have gone into full on Crappy Leftie Student Rag mode, and I’d swear that’s where the majority of their ‘journalists’ were writing just 12 months ago. The level of juvenility in many of their online articles is breathtaking. We all know the newspaper trade has been on a slippery slope for a long time now but they seem to be utterly oblivious to this fact and seem hell bent on quickening up that demise every passing week.

    They say you get the politicians you deserve. I think we can say the same about our current shower of hacks.*

    *Not that any recently qualified graduate from J-School with tolerate such a description. It’s Journalist, with a capital ‘J’.

    • Welcome Dinny!  Apart from the obvious bias in the media, one thing I object to is their ability to sensationalise just about anything.

      Just imagine then recieving a circular staing that “research suggests that minute traces of carcenogenic material has been discovered in the colouring of tennis balls”.  The headline the folowing day – “PLAYING TENNIS CAUSES CANCER”.  Few people read beyond the headline and fewer still will read with enought thought to realise that there is no danger whatsoever.  And once the seed has been implanted in the public’s mind, no amount to denials will shift that belief.

      • Hello Grandad. It’s nice to meet you. I found you through the Martin Scriblerus blogger collective and have been lurking here for a little while. It’s good to know there’s a fellow Irishman able to mix with it with some of the better bloggers out there.
        I find that that same media sensationalism can have the opposite effect. Well, on me, at least. Every other week I see an article pop up in my increasingly selected media browsing about how red meat is going to send me to an early grave or how coffee’ll kill ya! There are the red wine ones, too. Last week it was the nectar of the gods. Today it’s contributing to drive-by shootings.
        This form of crying wolf has now left me cold and I just ignore each and every one of these warnings. Why should I pay attention when I’m pretty sure another one will appear in 3 weeks arguing the very opposite? I know it’s the hacks’ job to catch our eye and the headline writers are past masters at that, but it does lead to a very cynical attitude among the general population who get tired of the mixed messaging.
        A more invidious form of this is the general apathy people now have for the reporting of terrorist attacks across the continent. From what I hear many of them are not even being reported for both reasons of ideological bias and paper space but it’s worrying that the reaction many have to another attack is “Hmm? Oh, another one?”.

        • Ironically my readership mainly is in the UK [about two thirds], while Ireland usually trails in behind the US and Australia!  There aren’t that many of us in Ireland once you have discounted all the fluffy wannabe fashion and make-up sites.

          That media sensationalism has left me cold for a very long time.  I think it dates back to around the time there was a panic over eggs or something, where logic kicked in and I dcided it was all bullshit.  The simple answer I have to all their “research” is that if all these things are killing us, then how are we living longer than ever before.

          I completely agree though that the more they pump out, the more obviously ridiculous they are.  Peope are seeing that, and I notice a distinct change in ant articles that are published on-line.  The trend has gone from “OMG I never knew that!!” to “Not more of this nannying crap”.  That, in my book is a good thing.

  2. I like people who doggedly keep up the propaganda without having the slightest idea that it IS propaganda they’re keeping merrily going round.
    At least, I assume they don’t really know that they’re lending themselves as useful idiots to the ANTZ. If I wouldn’t assume that I’d get high blood pressure … 😉

    • He knows precisely that what he is saying is propaganda –

      Chair of the Policy Group on Tobacco at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

  3. Many years ago, I did a short-term contract job with a drugs testing company. They wanted a non-smoker to run their tests which were looking at levels of a nicotine metabolite in saliva (which apparently mirrors the bloodstream levels). I fit the bill, so was put onto the job.

    What the results were was quite fascinating. The levels of cotinine were in picogrammes per ml of matrix; that is to say thousand millionths of a gramme of cotinine per ml of saliva/blood. Non-smokers were about the 15 – 30 level. Smokers were in the low hundreds. People who lived with a smoker and were exposed to second-hand smoke could barely be distinguished from non-smokers; mid twenties to mid thirties.

    Basically, the levels of nicotine and thus tobacco smoke that smokers and non-smokers who inhale plenty of second-hand smoke are a couple of orders of magnitude different; there is simply no comparison. What I reckon is going on with all of this second-hand smoke malarkey is a very dubious practise called extrapolation.

    What you do is this: take some chain smokers as the far end of the graph, normal smokers in the middle, and occasional smokers as the bottom end of the graph. Amount of smoke on the Y axis, recorded reduction in lifespan on the X axis. In amongst those data you can draw a pretty dubious best-fit line that with the best will in the world isn’t a very good best fit.

    Now comes the magic: you assume that you can extend the line. Fairly obvious extending it upwards; smoke more than chain smokers and you die a bit quicker.

    Extend it downwards below the occasional smokers, and you firstly have to go quite a ways to reach the levels of smoke that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke see, and more importantly you start getting into the realms of statistical noise. I would contend that this extrapolation downwards of the harm caused line is simply not a tenable assumption, and that the breathless statistics on second-hand smoke are similarly not tenable hypotheses. A non-smoker honestly is likely to suffer more likelihood of harm bumping into a lamppost when sneezing at a smoker’s smoke trail than they are to suffer lung damage from the smoke; the second-hand smoke hypothesis simply does not stand.

    • The whole object of the second hand smoke scam is not to prove that it affects people’s health but rather to create the perception that there was harm.  Once you have achieved that then the non-smoking public can be whipped up into a hatred of smokers.  If they had failed to create that perception, I doubt any of the smoking bans could have been introduced.

      What the youth of today fail to see is that virtually anyone over the age of forty or so grew up in a world where smoke was everywhere, yet peope are living longer than ever before.  They lap up the propaganda yet fail to see the real eveidence that is all around them.

  4. A decade or so ago now the World Health Organisation had a big press conference to announce that henceforth the W.H.O would not be employing smokers. And then they all got into their big cars, started them up, and drove off emitting five known carcinogens into the sweet, sweet, alpine air. There’s never a massive sinkhole around when one is really needed.

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