Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Sunday 5 February 2012

Two glasses of wine a night triples risk of mouth cancer

Other than the snow, the main headlines seem to be that "Two glasses of wine a night triples risk of mouth cancer" and that the government is about to launch a TV advertising campaign to press home the message.
Note how statistics are manipulated to show the percentage increase in  the risk, but rarely show the basic risk from which this figure has been calculated.
Clearly something went wrong at the Telegraph as the actually gave some real data in stating that
"Mouth cancer is diagnosed in more than 5,000 people a year, leading to about 1,800 deaths, while about 12 million people have high blood pressure, increasing their chances of strokes and heart attacks."
So the risk of getting mouth cancer, assuming a population of 60 million is about 1 in 12,000 and of dying from it is about 1 in 33,000, a risk that I'm quite happy to take.
When it comes to high blood pressure, it is a well known fact that one's blood pressure increases with age, and with the present ageing population, why should anyone be surprised that the figure is increasing?
Of course, the government and all the various anti-alcohol organisations never point out the good that a moderate intake of alcohol can do, something which has been highlighted in numerous reports over the years and which is carefully ignored by the  medical profession.
So we are to have more government taxpayers' money spent on advertising to tell us half-truths. Surely it is their duty to give us all the facts so that we might weigh the advantages and disadvantages for ourselves?
Why don't they just shut up and leave us alone?
Do they really believe that a worthwhile number of people will take any notice of these adverts?
At least most of us know about the long term results of drinking alcohol, which is more than can be said about many of the drugs that our medical profession could end up prescribing as alternatives.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Useless Windmills

Today is the coldest we've had so far in this part of the country, according to my trusty (mercury filled) max/min thermometer is was down about -5 Celsius last night and it's still below freezing at midday.
But when I went for a short walk,  it didn't feel nearly as cold as it was a week or so ago because there is absolutely no wind.  Never mind, the house is nice and snug as long as there is electricity to drive the central heating!
Of course when we rely on windmills for 20% of our electricity, there would probably have to be power cuts, as there is no way that any commercial organisation would have plant with 20% spare capacity available "just in case". Indeed, according to my contacts, there is virtually no spare capacity at the moment with aged equipment being pressed into use to keep the country supplied at a time of maximum demand. I'm told that what could be a relatively minor breakdown under normal circumstances could cause blackouts over large parts of the country if it occurred during this cold weather.
Just let's hope that we have an outbreak of sanity in the Department of Energy and Climate Change with the appointment of Ed Davey as  the new Energy Secretary and that steps are taken to ensure that we would have electricity under the worst possible scenario.