Monday, April 1, 2013

I2P: Things I've been reading

This newsletter is for Busy People, so this month I don't offer opinions, but articles / recordings I found interesting that you can dip into as time and interest permit.

Topic 1.

What happens when a good academic/researcher finds himself in debate with Climate Skeptics?
He doesn't pretend he's expert in Climate Science, he applies real science in his own disciple. A reminder of what Good Science looks like.

Meet Prof Lewandowsky from UWA and one of his papers "Recursive Fury".

A good quick intro, includes an excellent 3min video by the Prof from ConversationEDU [direct link below]

"Climate change denial and the abuse of peer review" [02:57]

"A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial" [03:09]

An intro from a science show late 2012 [long]

An overview of "Recursive Fury"...
Conspiracy theorists are those who display the characteristics of conspiracy ideation
Recursive Fury establishes, from the peer-reviewed literature, the traits of conspiracist ideation, which is the technical term for a cognitive style commonly known as “conspiratorial thinking”. Our paper featured 6 criteria for conspiratorial thinking:
1. Nefarious Intent (by conspirators): they're out to get us.
2. Persecuted Victim: Self-identifying as the victim of an organised persecution.
3. Nihilistic Skepticism: Refusing to believe anything that doesn’t fit into the conspiracy theory.
4. Nothing occurs by Accident: Weaving any small random event into the conspiracy narrative.
5. Something Must be Wrong: Switching liberally between different, even contradictory conspiracy theories that have in common only the presumption that there is something wrong in the official account by the alleged conspirators.
6. Self-Sealing reasoning: Interpreting any evidence against the conspiracy as evidence for the conspiracy.

Topic 2.

This program on Radio National is a good listen, it's on a 35-yo paper that took a fresh look at how Medicine really happens.


In 1976 the British sociologist Nicholas Jewson published a paper called "The Disappearance of the Sick-Man from Medical Cosmology, 1770-1870."

Dr James Bradley
Lecturer in History of Medicine/Life Science at the University of Melbourne

Topic 3.

Letterman this week rebroadcast an interview (Jan, 2013) with Al Gore, notionally about his latest book, "The Future".
It ranged over many topics and shows Letterman can be a tough interviewer. Letterman thought the situation looked hopeless in parts, but they both agreed that part of the cause was the capturing of Politics by Big Money interests: politicians play to those who fund their campaigns, not those who elect them.

This came on the back of reading a "Rock Centre" piece on Dr Eric Topol about "Apps" revolutionising medical-care, where Dr Topol sums up the root of the persistent, systemic problems:
Doctors have NO incentives to reduce costs.
The Letterman interview sparked this thought:
The World is in the grip of a long-term Healthcare crisis with spiralling costs and falling patient outcomes: where is the equivalent to Al Gores' "An Inconvenient Truth"?
There are not only increasingly issues around Patient Safety, Quality Improvement, Process Improvement and Improved Cost Effectiveness, but serious questions about the effectiveness of Professional Societies, Medical Boards and supporting legislation for criminal action.

Queensland Health is again in the news directly after the acquittal of "Dr Death" of manslaughter, a senior investigator is suggesting up to 100 doctors should be investigated for criminal negligence, but just six are being re-investigated.

Directly following the wide-ranging Commission of Inquiry there, sparked by the deaths in Bundaberg, how can this be so? How can the Queensland AMA be hosing this down, not outside Parliament mounting a strong protest?

Who is looking after Patient interests and making individuals and organisations accountable for this actions? It seems only to be the occasional media story, nothing more.

This lack of Organisational Learning and Improvement fails my Rubric of Professionalism, yet seems acceptable to "those in Power".
It's is NOT Professional to repeat, or allow, Known Errors, Faults and Failures.
We wouldn't accept this in Aviation, or even railways, so why does Healthcare get to slide by?

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