Posts by B Jones

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Marie Antoinette's ghost must still be pissed about that cake line.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre,

    Level 2 Biology (which I don't think is compulsory) has an achievement standard of assessing public information about biology and deciding which is accurate and which is misleading, eg do sports drinks really work.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre,

    The problem with being self taught is that your teacher is a soft marker. The first thing, as Richard Feynman said, is not to fool yourself, and you're the easiest person to fool.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre,

    We've been trusting experts since we let electricians put wires in our houses. But electrician skills don't have the same sort of social and economic cachet and scarcity that scientific expertise has, so there isn't an alternative electrical industry*. You can train as an electrician in a relatively short space of time, compared with research or medicine. A lot of the criticism of science comes from a place of (justified or unjustified) suspicion of the power that people who wield it have. Socially marginalised groups have trouble with it, but so do social elites who think that they're just as entitled to wield that power as those who have worked for it.

    *also, staff turnover would be pretty high.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An interview with Ben Goldacre, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Interesting what he says about the anti-vaxxers.

    I had a conversation once with someone expressing a view opposing vaccines (she wasn't anti-vaccine, but...), who cited Ben Goldacre in support of her position. "You can't trust anything researchers say, they're all employed by big pharma, Ben Goldacre says how they hide all the data," etc. It wasn't how I thought the conversation was going to go.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Quite apart from drug policy, that’s not even natural justice.

    Depending on what power the department is exercising to do this, that could be grounds for judicial review.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Crowded houses, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Also “incoherent” and “unfair”.

    You have to run that through the bureaucratic anger translator to get the full impact of that. I'd guess at least three or four measured, cautious folk with eyes on what their bosses and minister would be prepared to accept wrote and reviewed that paper. Words like unfair aren't used often in reports - normal usage would be something like "the potential to lead to inequitable outcomes", sadly.

    Also, topping the poetic heights with easy grace there Russell?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    The n=1 thing is a problem too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You get gut microbiome diversity from gardening, getting your hands dirty. And from eating food straight from the garden.

    That's how my partner got toxoplasmosis :-)

    I hope youse fellas are all eating unsweetened yoghurt. Your average pottle of fresh n fruity has a lot of sugar in it, and it's thickened with gelatine. I don't know whether or not it gets fermented the way they make it.

    This is one of those fields in which there is so much unmet demand and unknowns that there's room for plenty of pseudoscience. People want to believe. There's body politics, health politics, expertise-claiming politics. There's no shortage of crankery in mistreating health conditions with special expensive diets. I'll be taking this cutting edge stuff with a healthy pinch of low-sodium salt substitute before I jump on the bandwagon.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 954 posts Report Reply

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