Friday, February 27, 2015

News?; Sleep & death; Hospitals & doctors; Personal space; Science; & Lazy cheetahs

What passes for important news these days - whatever is trending on social media, however banal. Mild mob rule. What 19th century philosophers and politicians feared about universal suffrage.

Researchers say they've discovered a correlation between low life expectancy and both less and (worse) more than 7 hours a day. I wonder what this means for those of us who take our sleep in 2 bites, one at night and the other as a mid-afternoon siesta. I've always felt this meant the equivalent of an extra hour's sleep. Should I now move from 6 plus 1 = 8 to 5 plus 1 = 7? Decisions, decisions. They're costing me sleep.

I've been going to the same hospital for 14years now. Each time I go, they ask for my ID and my insurer card. Then they enter the details of both in the computer. Then they shoot off to the photocopier to copy the documents. If it can't recognise me by now, it must a crap computer. Two things struck me when going through this ritual this morning:- l. that none of this happens when I go to the doctor or hospital in the UK, and 2. no one here seems to object or see it as, to say the least, duplication. I guess it's symptomatic of the bureaucratic mindset for which Spain is renowned. And the hospital is a private, commercial concern where you'd think they'd be concerned about time wasting. To knock this on the head . . . I had both an ECG and blood tests this morning, meaning two desks. You know what happened.

I went to see my doctor last night for my annual check-up. After 5 or 10 minutes, they told me he wasn't there. He'd had an accident and broken his elbow. If I wanted, I could go across the road and see a Dr Calvo, who had his clinic in the hospital. Now, calvo means 'bald, in Spanish and, guess what, he didn't have much hair. But, anyway, he was very friendly - if not fawning - and I wondered if this was because I knew exactly what I wanted and gave him the results of my last check-up to peruse. He didn't have to turn to the hospital's (crap) computer in search of my details.

Walking into town across the bridge this morning, I saw 2 examples of Spanish characteristics I've frequently cited: A rather large woman and her young daughter approached a narrow defile cbetween a lamppost and a wall on the other side of the pavement(sidewalk). What you might call a rock and a hard place. A young man was approaching from the other direction. Neither of them stopped to let the other through and they both ducked their shoulders - slightly touching - as they went through the gap. Immediately after, the young man - possibly disorientated - bumped into another woman who was following the couple and then apologised profusely. No one seemed to think any of this was unusual. And neither did I.

Two interesting quotes on science this week:-
1. (From a scientist): Science is the only discipline which admits its own fallibility. In fact, it welcomes criticism.
2. (From a theist): If science is so right, why does it keep changing? 

Finally . . . In 1937, an enterprising owner of a greyhound track brought 12 cheetahs to London to race against the dogs. The cats were slow to start but always easily overtook the dogs. However, it didn't take long for the cheetahs to realise they were chasing an electric rabbit and, being true felines, simply refused to take part in any more races. What a shame. I'd love to have seen it. At least once.

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