Bah! Morons, the world is run by morons

Via Reuben:

Up in Scotland there has been some disquiet over the plans the Grampian NHS trust to enforce particularly over-the-top smoking ban. The board has been considering plans to ban nurses from smoking while on breaks or indeed at any time while in uniform. Even carrying tobacco about their person could, under the plans, have them disciplined or sacked.

Morons, and illiberal shits too.

This ban is likely to have 5 effects:

1) It will reduce the pool of people willing to work for this Trust, probably leading to poorer service and and more deaths.

2) It will damage staff morale, probably leading to poorer service and more deaths.

3) It will slightly reduce the number of people who see hospital staff smoke, this may slightly increase the numbers of those listening to the advice of doctors saying “stop smoking” and will slightly improve the air quality around the hosptial, probably leading to slightly fewer deaths.

4) It will make staff in general slightly more healthy leading to slightly fewer days being lost to sickness and death, probably leading to slightly fewer deaths.

5) It will inflate Trust Directors egos and make them feel like they are doing something useful, no net effects on service or deaths.

If we sum out the effects, the only conclusion is that those proposing this policy think the benefits of point 3), 4) and 5) outweigh the negative effects of point 1) and 2).


First I laughed, then I cried a little inside

Obesity and teenage sex have become social and public health issues in developed countries. This column looks at the affects of being overweight on attitudes to sex among teenage girls in the US. While obesity is associated with less vaginal intercourse, overweight teenage girls are at least 15% more likely to have had anal sex, with a high chance of sexually transmitted disease.

The juxtaposition set off that little wirble in my head that makes me laugh. After a momentary pause, I thought about it a little more and began to realise that this wasn’t funny at all.

If we assume that the distribution of those teenage girls who enjoy anal sex is unaffected by weight, then it seems that fat girls are forced into anal sex which they don’t really want.

Not coerced in any criminal way, but through lack of self-esteem it seems that women are being forced to do things which they otherwise wouldn’t want to do.

From a consequentialist point of view, this obviously has negative affects on someone’s chances of contracting various sexually transmitted infections. Looking to someone’s capacity to make themselves happy, this is bad as well. 

This appears to be one of those sad things about which there is very little one can do, other than try to improve access to sexual health advice.

I had scheduled this for Sunday, but as I see Tim has just posted on it, I thought I’d offer teh interwebs a more grown up look at this.

I’ve got to say I’m a little confused by The Economist at times

Last week’s Economist Debate:

This house believes that industrial policy always fails. Do you agree with the motion?

28% voted yes

72% voted no

The debate is now closed

This week’s Economist leader disagrees:

In the rich world, meanwhile, the record shows, again and again, that industrial policy doesn’t work.

It’s very complicated of course, but the Economist shouldn’t canvas people, including Josh Lerner and Dani Rodrik, and then proceed to ignore them.

Instead, perhaps they could show some internal consistency; it is their regular readers who they are alienating and that ain’t very capitalist of them.

(In defence of The Economist, this does look like an interesting debate. Pity it seems they’ll ignore the result.)