The propaganda machine
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “There are record numbers of doctors, nurses and NHS staff [in England] – over 1.18 million – and there are now more medical students in training than at any point in NHS history.
“We are backing our NHS with an extra £7bn for health and care services this year, bringing our total additional Covid-19 investment to £92bn, including £1bn to support NHS recovery by tackling waiting lists.”
It released figures last week showing there are record numbers of doctors working in the NHS in England. There are more than 123,800 doctors, almost 6,300 more than a year ago, and more than 303,000 nurses, more than 11,200 up on last year, it said.
Nothing beats not so much the lies of the Dept of Health but the insincerity with which is shouts at you with statements that are often both 90% accurate and 100% wrong. Its aim is to dissemble. Those who work there must know it, too.
The messiness of the real world
“It’s quite easy to keep all your principles intact and end up with a result which is not what you wanted.”
Classicist Mary Beard, in an interview with the Financial Times, 1 May 2021. (h/t to John Naughton).
Down the drain
Consumers pay an average of £400 a year for water and sewage, of which around 20 per cent goes on financing debt and providing a return to shareholders, according to the CMA.
Research by Greenwich University has shown that water companies had taken on £51bn in borrowings and paid out £56bn in dividends by 2018 after being privatised free of debt in 1989. This suggested that the bulk of borrowings were used to pay returns rather than invest in network infrastructure.
The beauty and power of that Queen of Sciences
A potential chink in physicists’ understanding of fundamental particles and forces now looks more real. New measurements confirm a fleeting subatomic particle called the muon may be ever so slightly more magnetic than theory predicts, a team of more than 200 physicists reported this week. That small anomaly—just 2.5 parts in 1 billion—is a welcome threat to particle physicists’ prevailing theory, the standard model, which has long explained pretty much everything they’ve seen at atom smashers and left them pining for something new to puzzle over.
“Since the 1970s we’ve been looking for a crack in the standard model,” says Alexey Petrov, a theorist at Wayne State University. “This may be it.”
My response: pure envy.
On that fundamental faith
What passages or reading material do you turn to for reassurance, or optimism? The activist David Graeber, who sadly died last year. He invented the idea of “bullshit jobs”. But he also wrote: “The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.” I also like Malcolm X’s observation: “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” [emphasis added]
Good spelling is just politics writ large
A big reason spelling systems never seem to get overhauled in more liberal societies is that those in a position to change the rules have learned the old ones. Put another way, the type of folk who were once good at spelling bees now run the world. Those who would benefit most from reform, meanwhile, hardly have a voice, being either children or illiterate adults whom politicians can safely ignore. For the broad middle who muddle through, technology has made it easier to hide what they don’t know. It seems the illogical systems are here to stay. In which case, politicians had better learn to spell-check their tweets.