Thursday, July 28, 2011
Apart from the stupid name (Rival to my own NGO that I think I will call DR GRRRL -"Doctor Girls for Rum Reggae Rollerskating and Lurv"), they have at other times pushed for:
* An end to democracy as a cure for climate change. No sh1t.
* Advocating to patients that they stop eating meat to curb climate change.
* Population control and the payment of a "climate tax" for having children outside of the allotted quota. (As if we aren't paying already...)
* And most offensive of all, repeatedly spamming my work in-box with requests to bake cakes or shave my head to prevent climate change. For the record, I have shaved my head before, and not to raise money OR awareness for any cause. It was one more thing I can add to the list of "questionable stuff I have done to try and impress men". What it did was impress my lesbian flatmate, but thats another story.
The DEA are by and large not the type of people who embody the traits one would normally associate with the noble profession of medicine. They flagrantly disregard the principle of primum non nocere (first do no harm) and generally violate the bounds of good taste.* Just ask yourself if these are the sort of people you would want to invite to a dinner party or stick their fingers up your bottom fossicking for cancer? Which is why it is with great delight that I can report that they are now at least somewhat implicated in the Greenpeace GM wheat whipper-snippering fiasco.
Turns out an open letter protestiing the GM wheat trials was circulated (mostly via Greenpeace) from a group of concerned scientists and doctors. The inference being that they provided weight, urgency and grounds to Greenpeace's recent illegal bout of lawn-care activism.
That is, until one of the key signatories, Professor Dave Schubert, realised what Greenpeace had done and quickly moved to denounce their actions and distance himself from the organisation. Two of the eight signatories were Australian medical doctors from our old friends over at Doctors for the Environment. "No comment", they explained, making them at least slightly smarter than Shane Rattenberry.
It has also been pointed out that the open letter is eerily similar to one circulated previously by Greenpeace, with some of the same co-signatories, which protested Golden Rice trials in 2009, and cites the same evidence for concern. After corresponding with Prof. Schubert, one GM pundit came to the conclusion that not only did this signatory not even know the stated reason for the proposed wheat trial in the first place, but also did not write the letter he "signed", nor knew who the co-signatories were. The reasonable assumption being that Greenpeace itself authored the letter, and not very well, if their cut-and-paste job are anything to go by. Read further here. Nice to know they are keeping up to date with the latest evidence base.
* Thinking further on this, they also defy the Declaration of Geneva, one of the more widespread medical oaths that most graduating medical school adhere to, wherein the medical graduate swears they "...will not permit considerations of...party politics...to intervene between my duty..."
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
My personal dislike of Paul Watson and relative fondness for sailors (hello boys!) aside, I do know a thing or three about ancient and modern maritime conventions. While much of how Sea Shepherd comports itself bothers me, something that really bothers me is their profligate renaming of their vessels. Do they even have a vessel that they haven't renamed?!
Originally named Westra, Sea Shepherd renamed it on purchase to Robert Hunter and then to My Steve Irwin, after the Australian conservationist's untimely death. The Farley Mowat, which had various names before Sea Shepherd taking possession, was then Sea Shepherd and then Ocean Warrior before its current handle was bestowed.
One of their trimarans was variously named things ending in Adventurer, before being re-named Gojira then My Bridgitte Bardot.
Then of course there was the ill-fated trimaran Earthrace, which was renamed Ady Gil before being deliberately scuttled by Sea Shepherd after they ran it into a Japanese whaling vessel.
Thats alot of renaming. Renaming a vessel is not something to be done lightly. Its generally regarded as bad luck to rename a ship, for two reasons of un-contestable superstition: A vessel is, firstly, and always, female, so some of us tend to look fairly dimly on masculine names, although it is a widely accepted practice. Like any woman, a ship does not appreciate being renamed, and a lady won't necessarily respond to whatever you decided to arbitrarily change her name to. (As I discovered after bestowing the nickname "Dr. Boobzilla" on a particularly irksome intern.) Secondly, the belief was that in Neptune's ledger of the deep is recorded the name of every vessel to sail, so to change a vessel's name requires convincing the Big Guy to go back over his paperwork. If he's anything like me, that makes him cranky.
Additionally, changing a vessel's name to something that could be construed as a challenge (E.g. "Unsinkable", "Best Boat Ever" or "Liquid Asset" all spring to mind as particularly unwise choices) would positively invite disaster.
If you have the misfortune of buying a boat with a particularly loathsome name*, renaming it once is O.K. The maritime superstition police over here at the Daily Suppository will consider that acceptable, as long as the proper formalities are adhered to. However, to continuously rename a vessel you have already renamed since taking possession, is insulting. To the ship, obviously, not to the rich person you are sucking up to by doing so.
If I was the Steve Irwin I would be pretty pissed at someone right now.
* Including, but not limited to, medical names such as "Biopsea", "Boatox", "Bow Movement" or for the budding pathologists out there "Autopsea".
Friday, July 22, 2011
The Daily Suppository is feeling somewhat worse for wear this morning, and hasn't quite finished with the requisite bucket of coffee to kickstart brain processing, so some confusion was resulting.
CLIMATE SCIENCE AS AN EXEMPLAR FOR SAFETY AND QUALITY
In a number of respects, the parlous state of the quality and safety of medical care resembles the problem of climate change. Both constitute a profoundly serious and growing man-made threat to the public good that has until recently been both ignored and denied.
Their idea: Medicine needs multidisciplinary centres for safety, quality and policy study based on the model of those dedicated to Climate Change research. To which The Daily Suppository would like to giggle immaturely and say "What, like I need a second butt hole?" or alternatively, like that bastion of multidisciplinary research, the CRU?
Even given the relative risk of having a Junior Dr. McStabstab screw up your drug chart, I would probably err on the side of wanting an existing medical education or health care body run the safety show. Just sayin'.
I looked into the article author bios, and they all seemed fair enough. Extensive research backgrounds, nothing overtly flakey. One of them has taken money from the Pew Charitable Trust in the past, and we all know my thoughts on them, but hey, money is money. I'll suspend my disbelief for now. So, why would three learned guys say something so, well, thick?
...lack of sustained funding bedevils quality and safety improvement...
...Centres will need core funding from a variety of sources...
...In time, further funding would be secured from...
Ohhhh. At first I didn't understand your angle, but now I get that you just want to fund about the funding you funded about earlier in the funding-funding. Fair enough, why should climate change science get all the funding fun? Healthcare safety researchers with University tenure can haz buckets of cash thrown at them, too.
My favourite bit is the last paragraph, for the best-worst use of the word "sustainable", ever:
They will also, as the climate change centres do, reach out to patients and citizens to foster a wider engagement and support for safe, high-quality healthcare as part of the wider quest for living a life that is both healthy and sustainable.
Hands up who doesn't generally want their life to be sustained?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By tomorrow I will have painted my toe-nails and pulled myself up by my knee-high boot laces, but right now I am feeling cranky. Well, when I say "cranky", I may or may not have requested that someone arm me so I can plan the revolution. I think I would look good in camo.
If I was French I would be marching with hundreds of my colleagues and setting fire to cars or something, but alas I am Australian, so I drink beer and mutter under my breath instead.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Anyway, Big Al is going to have to share the podium with ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenberry this week, following his on-the-record comments in regards to Greenpeace Australia's latest criminal escapade.
Three Greenpeace "activists" broke into a CSIRO facility and whippersnippered (a.k.a. "Weedwacked", "Strimmered" or "Line trimmed" depending on how you're feeling) an experimental crop of GM wheat. "What was this foul monster of genetically modified cereal being grown for in the first place?!" You may ask, if feeling dramatic. The clearly malevolent scientists at the CSIRO report the purpose of the experiment was to lower the glycaemic index and increase the fibre content of the wheat to aid in the prevention of diabetes and bowel cancer. What utter bastards.
Greenpeace then publicised this escapade, to which Shane Rattenberry MLA had this to say:
Mr Rattenbury says Greenpeace has a track record of breaking the law to highlight problems.
"I've certainly been involved in action in the past where Greenpeace has broken the law and that has been necessary to highlight what we've considered at the time to be a greater issue than perhaps a simple trespass," he said.
Clearly he missed the politics 101 tutorial on plausible deniability.
The Daily Suppository thinks that any politician who would not only speak out in favour of criminal activity, but also take the opportunity to happily confess to his own past criminal activity, all without realising that he had done so, deserves a Tofurkey.
And will someone puh-lease go and arrest them all now?!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Al has embarassed himself by using footage of the recent Brisbane floods to spruik the dangers of anthropogenic global warming on youtube, when even Julia Gillard's own pet climate commission populated by alarmists conceded they were not.
Faced with the news that hospitals are not going to be compensated for the increase to their costs under a carbon tax, I had no choice but to gird my mathematic loins and join the fray, so as to put this into some kind of perspective. (Albeit with a quick call to good ol' Dad to translate some of the more technical terms. "Hey Dad, whats this thing..its an EM.DoubleYEW.Haich or something?") So if any of my more learned readers think I have gone astray with my calculations, please consider yourself volunteered. Do you have a calculator? I'll make the tea.
This is what I worked out. Hospitals are very expensive places energy wise. Operating theatres run around the clock, we have expensive kitchens, food bills, heating and cooling, expensive equipment, lots of fun drugs and kit made out of petroleum products and aluminium, linens, the list is endless. Oh, and we leave the lights on all the time. (Except when an enviro-bully has used the bathroom last and insists on turning the lights out when they leave, thus leaving the next user (i.e. Me) to stumble around in the dark groping blindly for where the switch should be if the facility wasn't designed for achondroplasic amputees, and hoping not to encounter bodily fluids / rapists / dead people. When I find you, you will pay.)
Hospital electricity bills alone run into the millions per annum, so just times that by anywhere between 10-20% to factor in a carbon tax, and it works out to be a lot of extra dosh the hospital administration is going to have to pull out of their backsides. Somehow I don't think they are going to voluntarily sacrifice large parts of their pay packets to compensate, and I sincerely hope they don't "find" the extra money in the junior doctor's salaries, either. Worse case scenario: we may have to treat less people, less well.
Let us look at one single, important facet of hospital medicine: The MRI scanner. They are really nifty, they have big-arse magnets and are super cooled with liquid helium*, reliably cost over a million dollars AUD to buy and we don't have enough of them to meet demand. The average wait time in the west of Sydney for a medicare funded, elective MRI is anywhere between 1-8 weeks. MRI is also funky because it doesn't deliver the radiation dose of CT.
They also use a fairly hefty wack of power to run. According to an analysis of the Magnetom Avanto MRI system from 2007, it looks a little something like this:
Just to make the things creates a massive carbon dioxide footprint. A fun MRI fact is that they are often shipped by air to prevent the helium that cools the superconducting magnet from evaporating in the absence of a power source (in which case it needs to be recooled at substantial cost and energy expenditure). If the length of time it took me to ship a box of my posessions from California to Sydney by surface mail is anything to go by, I dont think we can ship them by sea in a timely manner. (Even taking into account the length of time needed for customs to open my stuff and steal my CD's). As far as I know, neither marine or air transport will be compensated under this tax, anyway.
The running costs in terms of energy work out to over 600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year (at least according to the fine print on the back of my last electricity bill). Thats over AUD $14K a year extra just in terms of the price the government plans to put on carbon dioxide emissions, and not even including the other knock-on effects and existing predicted electricity price hikes. Just for one MRI machine!
So I have a question: What do we do to absorb the cost? Considering the existing waiting times for MRI scans, I'm not sure we can churn more people through. Are the medicare rebates for MRI scans going to be increased? At the moment, say a ball park figure for the rebate amount is around $400 (or you can peruse the list here, if you're feeling particularly masochistic). Thats not very much when you factor in the cost of the technicians needed to run a scan, the cost of purchasing and running the scanner and the cost of keeping a radiologist in luxury yachts and European cars. (I would tell you what a consultant interventional radiologist makes, but you might vomit.)
* For further information on the technological wonder that is the MRI machine, please ask someone more learned. Most of what I know about MRI can be summed up by the phrase "Big magnet = ferromagnetic metal bad" ** or watching the below clip. Warning: People upset by the gratuitous slaughter of melons should turn away now.
** UPDATE: That should probably be "Big Magnet + Ferromagnetic metal = Bad". I told you I was bad at math.
Monday, July 11, 2011
This is why I propose taxing cyclists on the basis that their exercising leads to an increase in carbon dioxide exhalation above the baseline of the rest of our sedentary, expanding-girth population. Just to clarify, I mean those sports cyclists who go out in gaggles of lycra cladding on weekends and then clip-clop around coffee shops in those expensive riding shoes. I really have no beef with kids on bikes, mountain bikers, or even cool twenty-somethings with moustaches on fixie-bikes. No, I just have an unreasonable, bigoted, knee-jerk reaction to anyone who takes it seriously. I suck like that.
I have to confess I didn't think of this idea, and it pains me to say that it was actually the Ex-Mr. Paua who came up with it. This is a man who used to have a subscription to New Internationalist, and jealously guarded his box of back issues when the subscription ran out. I would like to point out, that as I am what is known in Australia as a "top chick", I resisted the temptation to "lose" them with extreme prejudice during any of our successive house moves. I have never been the sort of woman who disappeared hated wardrobe items of a spouse either, and its worth pointing out here that the Ex-Mr. Paua owned both leather trousers AND a woolen cloak. Who wears a f#$%ing cloak for f&*$s sake?!
Anyway, I really, really dislike cyclists in a completely unfair and unreasonable way. They sh!t me to tears. I think its the flourescent lycra and their flagrant disregard for road rules. Cycling is reaching epidemic proportions, and there is nothing as terrifying as coming over a hill on a country road doing 100 kph to suddenly find a freaking pellaton of weekend city cyclists in front of you. If they want to be treated as any other vehicle on the road, then that is fine, but then I should be allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road so that I can chat to the driver of the car next to me. In the interest of fairness, they should also be subject to the road rule which says that a motorist cannot do more than a certain amount below the posted limit. A polynesian relative of mine discovered this little known road rule when he was booked by police for doing 30 kilometres under the posted limit. He was so tired after a hard nights work as a nightclub bouncer that he was driving with the door open so he could follow the white line, and it was 4am on a deserted country road, so he figured he better play it safe. A law is a law, however, and he broke it.
Perhaps my visceral dislike stems from my skateboarding days when a fat cyclist in flourescent lycra picked on me at a set of traffic lights to vent some of his cyclist angst, presumably because I represented a fairly soft target. That was the day that a cyclist learnt that the reason why a young woman would skateboard through the inner city at night is because it's an excuse to carry what is essentially a plank of wood covered in grip tape.
Anyway, fair is fair. If they are going to pollute the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, they should be taxed accordingly. Kind of like how Greens dislike feral camels on the basis of their farting, and just remember what they proposed doing to camels.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Somewhere between tripping over the cat and psychologically profiling Prime Minister Gillard's motivations and likely I.Q. level, I had a sudden revelation:
This carbon tax thing is on purpose! No, wait, still hungover, let me clarify. She doesn't really need The Greens the way everyone has being bleating on about. The Greens are never going to back a conservative government, she doesn't need them the way an obligate intracellular organism needs its host, or even as much as I need a coffee. She could have called their bluff.
Ergo, she must have some deeper motivations, and among the more obvious theories are:
* She actually has deep seated convictions that this carbon dioxide tax thingy is going to do something for the environment and isn't particularly bright. This theory has a certain attractiveness.
* She screwed the pooch so badly on the minerals resources tax thingy that was needed to get the Labour budget out of deficit, that this carbon dioxide tax is a way to recoup the funds, by taxing the same industries that slipped the noose in the last tax-go-round and exempting everyone else.
However, none of the above explains why she would insist on committing political seppuku in such an epic manner. I mean, she's going down faster than a B-grade starlet at Charlie Sheen's house. Then it occurred to me:
* It's all a calculated move to destroy The Greens! She is nobly sacrificing her own continued leadership aspirations, and the future of her own political party, to make sure that The Greens go the way of One Nation and the Democrats! Think about it! Calls have already gone out from both sides of politics to limit their preference flows and sideline them the way One Nation was. Crafty Julia is giving Bob Brown enough rope to hang himself. Just the other day he got so over-excited he started talking about one world government, y'see, it's working already. All those gen-Y knobs who voted for them because they thought they were warm and fuzzy are starting to wise up, and are not about to hand back the keys to the hotted up commodore. Its brilliant.
Julia "KFC"* Gillard, for your noble sacrifice on behalf of the Australian people, the Daily Suppository salutes you!
* Two small breasts, two large thighs and a red box.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Thankfully, before I could become a complete wanker, a questionably tattooed lesbian flatmate coaxed me off the vegetarian wagon a fews years later with rump steak, after a particularly bad hangover. Then several successive pregnancies were the last nail in that dietary coffin. In fact, I am cooking a lamb roast as we speak. I also grew up in the beef cattle country of Australia. I, unlike many people in this country, have seen (in real life) cattle being slaughtered, and then eaten their meat.
Now let us examine the recent live-export cattle ban.
For those who have been living under a rock in Australia, or are American and haven't followed the latest Gillard government S.N.A.F.U., the abridged version runs along these lines: Two blonde women from an animal rights group filmed horrendous cruelty to Brahman cattle in a couple of abattoirs in Indonesia prior to their slaughter and a news story was aired. It was horrible. The cattle were live exports from nothern Australia. This apparently made it our fault. The viewing public freaked the fuq out. The government freaked the fuq out. Overnight all live exports were suspended. Beef cattle farmers freaked the fuq out (being several million dollars in the hole overnight will do that to a person). Indonesia freaked the fuq out (losing a big whack of your national dietary protein overnight will do that to a person). Everyone was freaking the fuq out.
To cut a long story short, the Government realised they had, ahem, porked the poodle on this one and backflipped, however the economic effects of this aren't over by a long shot.
Now, on to some hypocrisy worse than my past case of vegetarianism:
There are better ways to slaughter animals. Just ask Temple Grandin if you want a pragmatic approach. However, insisting that the worlds most populous majority muslim nation adhere to the principal of stunning prior to slaughter, when we allow exemptions for Halal and Kosher slaughter here in Australia, is somewhat hypocritical.
It gets better. Not only do we allow exemptions to be granted for ritual slaughter here in Australia, we also allow for wholesale extermination of animals that we deem to be "pest" species. Apparently, poisoning foxes, shooting feral cats, fumigating fluffy bunny babies in their nests and unleashing biological agents of death on same, are OK. Even The Greens think that's OK, in fact, its part of their platform, right under the bits about banning live exports and circus animals, they just say it should be done more "humanely":
5.the most humane and effective means available to be used in the control of introduced and pest species, including humane population management methods.So what does the Department of Primary Industries say about about animal welfare in relation to a "Pest Animal Strategy"?:
In general, the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare has advocated the use of techniques that result in high level and long lasting control, therefore reducing the need to frequently apply controls.
Oh, well thats alright then. Pass the myxomatosis
We also do not require stunning to be performed on wild game prior to slaughter, which means Skippy can get shot in the head from the back of a truck while being chased by dogs, and the little Joey in its pouch "humanely" terminated, all in the interests of supplying the pet meat trade.
And bright sparks, yes, even in government ministries concerned with climate change, have at various times advocated the shooting of everything from wild buffalo to camels to stop them farting. Seriously. Considering that part of the complaint in relation to the Indonesian abbattoirs was that the footage showed animals being slaughtered in front of the other animals, I find it hypocritical in the extreme that the same people wouldn't bat an eyelid about shooting a camel from a helicopter, in front of its mates. Like we do regularly with wild horses and pigs. The link supplied mentions that the RSPCA even monitors the aerial shooting cull of the horses to ensure they are shot "humanely", yet puts spokespeople on national television to state their position on mandatory stunning of cattle prior to slaughter for other sovereign nations.
I will now finish with the most blatent hypocrisy of all. So much uproar over the treatment of Australian animals in Indonesia, leading to the (temporary) suspension of live exports, and yet this is a country that executes Australian citizens by firing squad. I don't see the federal government immediately suspending package tours to Bali.
Friday, July 8, 2011
I had this medical degree thing to finish, and kids to wrangle. I had this horrible moment recently during exams, where I became very cranky at the Medical School's seeming expectation that as a final year medical student I was somehow expected to know ALL of medicine. Then I realised I was. Am. In other words, I've been busy trying to learn how not to kill people accidentally.
So, what a couple of months we've had here in the antipodes! Here was me thinking post climate-gate that the alarmism bandwagon had lost momentum. That an eventual collapse of the global mass delusion was imminent. That we were all going to wake up hungover after some massive "end of the IPCC" do, with sketchy memories, torn fishnets, between James Delingpole and Adam Baldwin on a coral atoll somewhere. (Maybe that last bit is just me). Instead, I'm sober, and woke up to Julia Gillard's wide-load arse preparing to announce a climate tax. Seriously, world, WTF?!
So much WTF-ery, so little blog space. I feel to do current events justice I need to probably triage them somewhat and arrange my thoughts into some kind of coherent snark, else this turn into some kind of rambling manifesto. Speaking of which, I realised that my facebook friends list is getting somewhat unwieldy. I mean, I have facebook friends who I went to high school with who are now militant union, labour lawyers with political aspirations. Just ugh, frankly. The things they clutter up my news feed with, honestly. I have another friend who actually ran as a Green's candidate, and shares thoughts bemoaning the cumulative radiation dose of air travel. Another one was spruiking her idea for a liberal, left-wing, angry emo blog. Pfftt. I need to cull. So I was thinking of "outing" myself, and letting them drop by the wayside naturally. Something along the lines of this:
It's time I came clean. Many of you who think you know me, really don't, and I can't live this lie anymore. In a political sense, in many ways, I'm conservative. I mean, I'm slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. In fact, some of those Mongol policies smacked of socialism to my mind. I think P.J. O'Rourke is hilarious, (albeit a trifle catholic) and James Delingpole is hot. I even think Andrew Bolt is a good guy, although I disagree with his assertion that women can't be Navy clearance divers (You're wrong Andrew, I can prove it). I wish we had a flat (low!) taxation rate for everyone, regardless of income, instead of tax brackets, and a simplified taxation system. I also think that Government subsidies are rarely, if ever a good idea.
Sure, I'm all for access to education and health care, my kids go to a Government school and I'm to too broke to have private health cover. I'm also pro-choice and have a past checquered with questionable recreational past-times involving mind altering substances, loud music and occasional episodes of nudity. However, I went and grew the hell up, abandoned a particularly embarassing bout of vegetarianism in favour of rump steak, took out the nose ring (it was too mainstream) and went back to my red-neck roots. Which were never very far away, anyhow. At no stage did I think that MORE regulation and MORE government was ever going to solve any of my problems, and even with my elementary mathematical ability I could do the sums of beaurocracy and come up with a zero. Or a negative. So please, stop sending me text messages inviting me to a rally against red-meat/live-exports/carbon dioxide/poverty and / or economic summits or instructing me how to vote during the next election.
I'm sorry if this means we can't be friends.