Category: Human issues

ethical issues and human interest stories

Statins again

One week exactly after my attack, this subject is appropriate.

In the Telegraph

Haroun Gajraj
23 Mar 2014

When I had a routine health check-up eight years ago, my cholesterol was so high that the laboratory thought there had been a mistake. I had 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood — almost twice the recommended maximum.

It was quite a shock. The GP instantly prescribed statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes. For eight years, I faithfully popped my 20mg atorvastatin pills, without side effects. Then, one day last May, I stopped. It wasn’t a snap decision; after looking more closely at the research, I’d concluded that statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant.

When I informed my GP of my decision three months later, I wasn’t entirely honest.More here ...

Religion and its limits

This is not a heavy and turgid piece. The author has, in his usual plainspeak, set out the dilemma without being religious, without being atheistic.

Religions tend to set limits. Those limits come with the force of God or some spiritual force that transcends man. Otherwise, a religion would be nothing more than man-made rules enforced by the strongest. This is why laws in most of the world are rooted in the dominant religion of the region or country. The local religion is a list of restrictions and limitations placed on the believers. Naturally, when it came time to form a government and write laws, they relied upon the laws and rules of their religion.

This may seem rather obvious, but the concept of the limiting principle is easy to take for granted. This is a core feature of most religions and it easiest to understand by considering our laws.

More here ...


First sign for me that there was something not quite right with the new-fangled diet pyramid [and the subsequent five a day] was a couple of decades back.

I started weight training and as it was an anaerobic thing, it had its own requirements, one of them being “40-30-30” percent of protein, good carbs, good fat.  I started to become healthy [later lost on returning to the UK].

“The change in dietary advice to promote low-fat foods is perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history.”

Let’s say you want to lose some weight. Which of these foods would you choose: A skim-milk latte, or the same drink with whole milk? A low-cal breakfast bar or steak and eggs? A salad tossed in light dressing or the same salad doused with buttermilk ranch?

My doc at the time said to try to cut down the animal fats but not the other sort.… More here ...

A camel is a horse designed by a committee

It was attributed to Alex Issigonis either accurately or apocryphally. Here is a variation:

Imagine joining an engineering team. You’re excited and full of ideas, probably just out of school and a world of clean, beautiful designs, awe-inspiring in their aesthetic unity of purpose, economy, and strength.

You start by meeting Mary, project leader for a bridge in a major metropolitan area. Mary introduces you to Fred, after you get through the fifteen security checks installed by Dave because Dave had his sweater stolen off his desk once and Never Again.

Fred only works with wood, so you ask why he’s involved because this bridge is supposed to allow rush-hour traffic full of cars full of mortal humans to cross a 200-foot drop over rapids.More here ...