Sep 202021

In the UK there is something known as “vehicle excise duty” which the owners of some motorised vehicles have to pay. Before 1937, this was paid into a road fund used exclusively to pay for the creation of the road network. But from that date, roads are funded out of general taxation and local council taxes.

Which means that everyone (or just about everyone) is paying for the roads and that is no bad thing – we all benefit to some extent (although the pollution is a bit of a drag).

Filthy Roaring Beasts Rushing Along The Scar

The interesting thing is that because local roads are locally funded (to an extent), there is a good chance that a pedestrian is paying more for the roads within a city than the car driver – the driver is more likely to be a visitor to the city and thus pays considerably less. So by the argument that whoever pays should have priority, it should be the pedestrian who does!

Sep 182021

There are a fair number of memes out there at the moment throwing rocks at people who “do their own research” (meaning reading a few articles online).

The point they are trying to make is not unreasonable – casual reading up on a subject doesn’t trump the results of professional researchers results.

On the other hand, reading the right sources is research; not as valuable as academic research with all that extra “stuff”, but research nevertheless. The OED definition includes :-

To engage in research upon (a subject); to investigate or study closely.

Doesn’t say a whole lot about publishing papers in a peer-reviewed journal, the scientific method, or all that other tedious stuff that separates the professional academic researcher from the amateur.

There is of course a whole other post on how to do research properly in terms of background reading :-

  1. Wikipedia may be a good start but it’s just that – a start.
  2. You need to assess the trustworthiness of a source; if nobody trusts the source you’re reading it probably means the source can’t be trusted.
  3. You’re looking for accepted wisdom; you need to do a lot more work to start looking at the kooky stuff.
Unnatural Nature
Aug 302021

One of the most amusing (if you have a sick sense of humour) things about the debate between fans of the current US system (devotees of privatised health care) and those proposing a more rational and efficient system, is the whole “I don’t want to pay towards the care of another”.

Once you get past the level of selfishness approaching a sociopath, and think deeply about how insurance – any insurance – works, you realise something. People with private health care insurance are already paying for the health care of others because that is how insurance works.

The insurance company sets monthly premiums at a level they calculate will leave them with profit after all the healthcare costs and overheads are taken care of. Most of the people paying those insurance premiums are unlikely to ever use up those premiums on their own health care; those premiums are going towards the healthcare costs of those who do exceed the total value of all the premiums they’ve paid. And of course to fill the pockets of the insurance companies.

So the next time someone objects to “socialist” healthcare by saying that they don’t want to pay for the healthcare of others’, just point out that they already are.

Posts in a Foggy River
Aug 282021

There’s a bunch of idiots currently poisoning themselves by taking Ivermectin as a cure or preventative for Covid-19. Which is doubly-dumb because not only is there no real evidence that ivermectin will do anything to deal with Covid-19, but these idiots are all too frequently getting their dose from horse-worming medication because the stocks of ivermectin for people has all run out.

Yes you read that right ivermectin is an approved medication for people when the dosage is appropriate. But it is not approved for treating Covid-19; it is intended to treat parasites.

And nobody with any sense would suggest ivermectin paste intended for use on horses :-

  1. The dose of ivermectin for a 700Kg horse is way higher than for a person who typically weighs under 100Kg. And yes the weight makes a difference – LD50 is the measure of how poisonous a drug is, which is specified per kilogram of the subject’s weight.
  2. An oral preparation of a drug for a horse may well contain ingredients not suitable for people.

So taking ivermectin without checking the ingredients and adjusting the dosage is really dumb especially when taking it for something it hasn’t been shown to be effective for.

And don’t take the advice of random strangers on the Internet; some of us aren’t qualified as pharmacists. Consult proper experts.

Setting Sail
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