Archive for September, 2012

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The world may not need more examples of stupidity or ignorance, or hatred, but examples can sometimes be illuminating and funny. I always like the tale told by Jacob Bronowski in the Ascent of Man, about how Friedrich Hegel’s thesis proved ‘philosophically’ that there could only be seven planets. The thesis was presented in 1800 […]

Sep 29, 2012

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learning

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The really good things about all the talk about MOOCs is that it means people are thinking and talking about learning. Figure from here

Sep 27, 2012

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medicine

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Global industrial output was 57 times greater in 2010 than it was in 1900. In other words, manufacturing has grown far faster than the overall economy. The main reason for this is that factories keep getting smarter in ways that hair salons do not. From a review of Peter Marsh’s new book in the Economist. […]

Sep 25, 2012

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medicine

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I wrote quite a few articles (EBM) many years ago on the inadequacies of the EBM sect and their dogmas. My take is that EBM is now slowly dying as a serious attempt to understand the natural world or clinical practice except at an institutional level. EBM remains popular with bureaucracies such as the NHS or […]

Sep 25, 2012

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medicine

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My article in the BMJ continues to attract a few letters. Worth reading them. This link should get you behind the paywall. I have had a small number of emails from GPs direct. Some clearly believe they are the only people who do any work in the UK and, not surprisingly, they reserve their scorn […]

Sep 20, 2012

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medicine

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GSK is a recidivist. How can a company commit a $1 billion crime and no individual is held responsible? ………On July 2, 2012, the Department of Justice announced the largest settlement ever in a case of health care fraud in the United States. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to plead guilty to three criminal counts and settle […]

One of the most telling metaphors about competence I know  comes from Frank Davidoff: Competence, in contrast, is like “dark matter” in astronomy: although it makes up most of the universe of working knowledge, we understand relatively little about it. What does it really consist of? Which of its components are most important? How do […]

Sep 04, 2012

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learning, medicine

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I enjoy Roger Schank’s blog and writing. This is not meant to be followed by the caveat that his views are a little extreme. They are, but that just reflects that most people are wrong. A recent post is a lovely summary of  what real education is about. What shocks me is how well his […]

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