Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cold weather breaks records, legs.

Its summer here in the antipodes, and while I soak up ultra violet that may or may not be good for me, our colonial British overlords* are in the grip of one of the coldest winters for almost thirty years.

At least one hospital has seen a sudden rash of cold weather related trauma presentations to its ED, King's College Hospital isn't sure if all its outpatients services will be running or even if all its staff will turn up, and one young doctor wound up freezing her tits off using skis to get to work:

Not to worry, though. The NHS (aka "Captain Obvious") has helpfully noted on their web site that:
One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.

Interestingly, they then go on to note that:
Every winter in the UK, 25–30,000 deaths are linked to the cold weather. Currently, more than three million households in the UK are in fuel poverty. This is when a household spends more than 10% of its income to keep warm.

Huh. Thats wierd, just two years ago the Department of Health commissioned a report that predicted:
more summer deaths are expected, fewer people will die in Britain as a result of cold winter weather, as the world warms up because of rising carbon emissions from human activity.

and that:
more than 3,000 people could die in an intense summer hot spell...
...The report, an update of a 2002 study, was re-issued on the same day London's mayor said owners of the most polluting cars will have to pay 25 pounds a day to drive them in the city centre in a measure to cut down on carbon emissions.

25 pounds is alot of money. I don't want to stir up trouble (heh), but I'd be a bit cranky about that if it was my hard-earned that was contributing to a net loss of around 22, 000 - 27, 000 lives by preventing some life saving global warming.

* Possibly one of the last true colonies they have left, although we're still a bit put out by the whole Breaker Morant, Gallipoli thing. Every school I went to as a child (and all government buildings) had a picture of Her Maj, the Queen, and for one memorable period in the late 1970's, early '80's a particularly corrupt state premier made all of the school kiddies line up and sing God Save the Queen instead of Advance Australia Fair. (And No, Waltzing Matilda is NOT the national anthem of Australia, although we do seem to have unofficially jettisoned the second verse of the real national anthem. I think it was the line about "for those who've come from across the seas we've boundless lands to share". Apparently it was sending all the wrong messages to illegal immigrants.)
The Queen also appears to own the local prison near here, which has H.M. in front of the name. Odd, unless you consider our convict past.

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