Two years of no sunshine

Hole Ousia

On Thursday 22nd March 2018 I will be standing outside the Scottish Parliament with this banner.

This will be a peaceful, one-man protest, two years to the day that my petition for a Sunshine Act was closed. My petition closed on a most positive finding: that the Scottish public, in an official consultation (by the Scottish Health Council) concluded that declarations of competing interests should be mandatory and recorded centrally in an open register.

I was hopeful that the campaign on Realistic Medicine might have encouraged some action before now as the issue of competing interests has been part of a number of health inquiries

However it is now two years on and the Scottish Government has provided no meaningful update. This is the reason for my protest.

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Nature Reclaiming


This gallery contains 2 photos.

Originally posted on Isle of May National Nature Reserve:
Friday 9th February comments: The Isle of May has a well documented rich variety of human history dating back to the 7th Century and there is plenty of evidence of more recent human…


Tools, substitutes or companions: three metaphors for thinking about technology


Centaur_(PSF)Here are three metaphors for how we think about digital and robotic technologies:

First, as tools. Passive instruments which extend our own power. Hammers enhance your hitting, video calling extends your presence, algorithmic trading merely implements the rules you designed for trading. Tools seem like passive objects, without their own desires, but a moment’s thought will tell you that even passive objects have psychological effects (that’s why we say ‘to a man with a hammer every thing looks like a nail’).

A second metaphor is to think of technologies as substitutes. This is the metaphor which dominates robotics – and the ever repeated image of the humanoid robot, whether doing human labour (and potentially putting them out of work), or rising up and a waging a war against humans to replace them. Here’s an interesting post from Marginal Revolution, which pours cold water on self-driving trucks…

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Paradigms, pathologies and shifts

Hole Ousia

The following extracts are taken from this perspective published in the Scotsman, 11 January 2018:

Pfizer has seemingly concluded that Alzheimer’s disease is far more complex than we had ever anticipated.

Perhaps this indicates that the 110 year old “paradigmatic pathology” of Alzheimer’s disease does itself need a paradigm shift.

Meantime, the “Edinburgh Consensus” demonstrates limitless faith in the current paradigm, to the extent that they recommend that research criteria should be introduced into the NHS.

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Battle of the Isle of May (part I)

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

1 The Isle of May….

K-Boat British K-class submarine

Monday 29th January comments: (Isle of May NNR) Part One: Over the course of this week, we’ll be running a series of special blog posts which will shock many and surprise others at the events which unfolded off the Isle of May, a century ago.

100 years ago to this week, the nation was gripped by the ravages of the Great War which was raging across much of northern Europe. The British Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet had been involved in one of the deadliest and bloodiest navel battles of all time at Jutland just 20 months previous, with the loss of over 6,000 men. As a result, the Fleet Admiralty were keen to improve on ‘battle readiness’ for any further sea confrontations with the enemy which may come about as the war continued.

It was decided a navel exercise would…

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Diagnosis, power and suffering

Patching the Soul

I was very fortunate in my psychotherapists. None of them tried to impose an interpretation on my experiences in a way that didn’t feel right for me. They suggested them from time to time, but they always allowed me the choice to find my own way forward. Two of them didn’t discuss diagnosis at all. However the cognitive therapist, who said that my use of antidepressants was ‘between me and my psychiatrist’ worked from the basis that I had recurrent major depression- what it says at the top of every letter from my psychiatrist letter to my GP- and the therapy I received was rooted in research evidence.

So it has been interesting, and worrying too, this week to watch people on social media arguing about thePower-Threat-Meaning (PTM) framework just published by the British Psychological Society. Some of its supporters have somewhat grandiosely claimed that it will ultimately replace…

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