Friday, November 30, 2007
Bar codes provide a tried & tested technology. So bar code tattoos for all. On the inside of the wrist, natch. To make them accessible
I am particularly concerned with the idea that small children might be forced to try writing, on paper, with a pencil. At the same time as spelling correctly, writing something reasonably coherent, & keeping it neat. Lots of children cant manage this, & the frustration of failing could damage them for life
Thats not the same as not teaching them letters & the connections with words & the sounds they make & the realisation that by stringing them together you can express your thoughts, send messages etc
But try as many ways as possible of letting them achieve this satisfaction
Including, in this day & age, the use of keyboards. My daughter could type quite well (for her age) at 3, loved it, could do things she couldnt manage with a pencil. We didnt push her into it, she just started by playing with Mummys toy & took it from there
The old fashioned slate has its virtues too. These were used at her school because paper & pencils would have been far too expensive for most of her classmates. So I too soon realised that chalk can be easier than pencil for a small hand to manipulate. The slate itself is easy to use anywhere - on your knee, in the garden, not just at a desk. And there is the enormous benefit of being able to rub out your mistakes very easily until you are satisfied with what you have done
And plasticine. Rolled out into sausages then bent into letters. S is good for starters because its so easy to do & offers a very obvious introduction to the phonetic links with snakes & hisssssssssing
Using a variety of methods will encourage all sorts of neurological links & pathways which will not develop with rigid methodologies
I noticed a few years ago that National Statistics had announced they were no longer going to ensure that local population estimates constrained to sum to the national total. If that has caused problems I dare say that rounding errors are the least of anybodys problems now, with all the new arguments about migrant figures
It is surprising how much time & effort can be put in to making totals add up, or in trying to explain to otherwise well-educated people why they might not. I was once involved in a legal case in which I was able to show, quite simply from the companys own figures, that their compliance with the law was not exactly what they claimed it to be. I got a surprisingly nice letter from the Managing Director, but he could not resist pointing out, as a parting shot, that I wasn’t completely accurate either because my percentage column did not add to 100 exactly
I did, very briefly, ponder the wisdom of replying by thanking him for pointing this out, & offering to rectify the mistake if he could tell me which of the individual figures was wrong
But at least people in wheelchairs do have a seat. Most disabled or mobility impaired people do not use a wheelchair but they do need to sit down on the bus
Having said that, I dont know if theres any easy way to sort out such conflicts of interest. Like tactile paving, or putting things at a level accessible to the chairbound but inaccessible to those who cannot bend or crouch
Some such irritations seem to stem from simple thoughtlessness. I am fed up of admiring my midriff in the mirror in a toilet which has been made accessible, while just hoping that my top half remains presentable
My friend liked small men. Said they were wieldy. I choked & had to leave the room
My friend thought it was because I thought she had said something disgusting. But I had just been overwhelmed by a sudden, unwonted vision of her, arms aloft, whirling this midget around like a trusty sword – Braveheart springs to mind as I type this now!
So then we had an argument about the meaning of wieldy. Turns out to be one of those quantum words which can have opposite meanings. I thought it meant easy to wield; she thought it meant good at wielding. So we were both right, but at least the dictionary marks the latter as obsolete
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Its a long time since I heard anyone use that word. It was one with which most children, in the North at least, used to be all too familiar. Adults, mothers in particular, always wanted you to stop mithering them
Pronounced m'eye-th'd. So thats probably why, in my early reading to myself, I thought there was a word pronounced m'eye-zzld
I was mortifyingly old - 10 at least - when I found out it should be pronounced miss-led
But maybe theres something genetic rather than just regional about this mistake of pronunciation. For years my mother thought there was a Gilbert & Sullivan opera called The Mike Adoo
And there ought to be a word for the misery-inducing practice of m'eye-zzling
Yesterday evening I was suspected of shoplifting in Marks & Spencer
Actually, its a relatively common hazard for us country bumpkins who use public transport for our trips to town. When the weather is inclement we are the ones walking around in full length overcoat or macintosh or seriously heavy duty weather proof jacket looking well equipped with poachers pockets . Everybody else wears at most a lightweight fleece or showerproof jacket to cover their dash from the carpark
I noticed the security guard as I wandered round. It was meant to be just a quick dash for 3 specific items so I had no basket but theyve changed everything round again to accommodate Christmas fayre, so I had to meander
He wasnt very subtle about it. As I came through the checkout he was standing there telling someone on his walkie talkie to Stand down on this one, theyve gone through the checkout. But perhaps that was the point of the exercise
The first time I was ever aware of this kind of thing I was wearing a new green mac with which I was rather pleased. It had a lot of pockets, inside the lining as well as out. It seemed to offer a way of following the advice the police gave me after the mugging: Try not to carry everything in your handbag. Even they recognised there had to be a heavy emphasis on Try.
But I was followed around by a store detective. It pleased me that I could recognise her on future visits, & it became a bit of a game I played in other stores as well: spot the nice lady with a basket. Until a friend of mine who worked as a store detective was seriously injured when she went to apprehend a suspect. It wasnt a joke anymore
And the pockets dont provide any real solution to the handbag problem either. Because you dont wear it every day, you cant remember what is in which pocket, so you have to frisk yourself to find anything
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
There was a real outbreak of middle aged ladies shop lifting in the 1960s. All acting out of character. Once one defence lawyer had the bright idea of claiming that his client was not guilty by reason of not being able to control her impulses because of The Change, it was open season for anybody who wanted a bit of fun
Or so I used to believe
What changed my opinion was not menopause but a mugging. For a short while after that I kept feeling a very strong impulse to reach out & take something off the shelf. Not things I wanted or needed, just felt an attraction to. It was a time when all sorts of things - particularly childrens products, came in bright primary coloured packages - & these were what drew me. Oddly though, my impulse was to waste my money by buying, not stealing them. Still, it gave me insight into the power such feelings can have
The odd thing was that Gordon Brown was clearly feeling confident, not at all under pressure, judging from his voice. Cameron was just not getting to him
Of course I couldnt see his reaction to the Mr Bean joke
I didnt hear the press conference - yesterday? - just one clip on the news. That scared me. The resignation of the General Secretary was A necessary first step. Good job he really isnt Uncle Joe
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
In the 1970s Virgin was slowly expanding its cheeky youthful music business. They were acquiring more & more property in Notting Hill & West London. Usually a bit run down & ramshackle but recognisable from the trademark primrose yellow paint applied to the woodwork. And the trompe l’œil paintings. I remember one in Portobello Rd with a sash window painted in the centre of a blank wall
In Ladbroke Grove there was a building belonging to a publishing company. It had a high-doored garage to accommodate the vans which transported the books. Virgin took it over. The garage doors were painted primrose, with a superimposed painting of a van supposedly crashing in, sending splintered timber flying
A graffiti artist got to work & sprayed
I do however covet one of the smart grey winter overcoats worn by (male) Virgin station staff
They charged me a ridiculous price for a t shirt so I nicked a necklace
I spend over £100 a week in this supermarket so I deserve a little extra
I would never steal from the corner shop
I would never give something which I had stolen to someone else as a gift
But as nice middle class professionals who could afford to buy what they had nicked, they are not of course, indulging in criminal behaviour. That is the province of the lower orders. Theirs was just a little indulgence in something that gave them a frisson
Mustnt mock though. I have, at first unwittingly but then knowingly, walked out without paying for something. The first time was an individual pork pie from M&S, worth about 60p. Only when through the checkout on a very busy Saturday did I realise it was still in my trolley, unpaid for. I certainly was not going to go round again to pay for it. No member of staff in sight to deal with it.
Put it down on the end of a counter? They probably aren’t allowed to put it back on the shelf, so it will go to waste anyway. And the other week, they made a mistake in their favour which it was too much trouble to go back & complain about, so they owe me.
I deserve this pork pie which I was so looking forwards to for my tea
I popped it into my bag & left
The thing is though, I got anything but a buzz from the episode, terrified of the tap on the shoulder outside. So I can claim no virtue for not repeating the trick deliberately
If not, why not? Both sexism & ageism are illegal, aren’t they?
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
27 April 97
It struck me yesterday (on the bus) that there are almost no posters up in this area - the sort that go in peoples windows or gardens, not the billboards. Today the point was made on the tv news, so its not just round here
Genuine undecidedness? A change in fashion?
Or not wanting to go out on a limb? So your neighbours cant blame 'you' if the result - whatever it be - is perceived to be disastrous in a few months time
Remember when the Conservatives upped VAT soon after 1979?
Perhaps people are just awe struck by what, after 18 years, is the BIG THING - a change of government (potentially), & see themselves as spectators rather than participants. After all, my one vote wont make the difference
They identify a link between you (or the person in possession of the card) & something else - bank account, public library, supermarket loyalty scheme, employer, local bowling club ....
In order to work, or to be of any value to you the user, the provider has to have a system which records your current status, rights, benefit entitlement, whatever
So what, exactly, is this national identity to which our cards will provide evidence of a link?
A name? But which one - if for example I am a married woman who uses one name for family & another for professional purposes?
A home address? Again, which one? A question of particular relevance to MPs & their housing allowances, but also to millions of others who have to live away from their families for work, educational, health or other reasons
Citizenship? Right of residence? Criminal record? Intelligence from various sources?
I am open minded & capable of being persuaded (honest!) but I cannot see how a national identity card would be anything but a massive bureaucratic exercise to establish, once & for all, where we all stand in this system of classification, even if that has no direct relevance for our day to day life at present
And then it will have to be kept accurate & up to date
Just to prove that I am not a terrorist? Havent I got a good disguise!
Since the abolition of those cards, administrators, politicians or statisticians have from time to time advocated the introduction of a universal national identity number. Makes it much easier to make reliable estimates of the number of people actually living here, to avoid cutting off the wrong bit of the wrong patient etc etc
The most popular objection to such a system is I dont want to be just a number. Somehow they are cold, impersonal, not me, I am special, unique
Looked at in one way, that is very odd. We all feel a very special attachment to our names, even though they may be anything but unique (John Smith). What could be more personal than a number which belongs just to you?
But now there is a wizard wheeze. We shall all have a national number, it will just be disguised as something even more intensely personal than a name. Your own unique iris. Or, how about your genes? No? Well lets just settle for a fingerprint
The fact that in order to be of any use it has to be reduced to an even longer string of even more boring & impersonal numbers consisting of 0 or 1 is neither here nor there. After all, nobody can remember them
Friday, November 23, 2007
- a totally inaccessible database is totally secure
- a database totally accessible to one & all is totally insecure
Reliability v accessibility
- Who decides what is accurate? [What is your name, Cherie Blair? Nicky Campbell? Cary Grant? Peachesandcream Zola Minerva Monteverdi Cholmondely-Smyth?]
- Who is responsible for checking the accuracy of the database
- Who has access to correct mistakes
Timeliness v accuracy
- How to ensure that whoever accesses the database, whenever & wherever they access it, will see the most up-to-date information
- What happens if information is corrected/updated while I am looking at a screen
- can we flash important information - STOP THIEF
I had a 10 oclock class to go to so I left home at about 8. Beautiful sunny morning. A day for optimism. I walked down the lane so that I could pass the polling station on the way to the train station
Still undecided how to vote
The political atmosphere had become so toxic that the thought of waking up on Friday morning to find that the Conservatives had scraped back in again was unbearable
But I have never been a member of a political party. And 20 years of living in a rock solid safe constituency had got me perfectly used to taking other factors into account - principally the qualities of the candidates & how my vote might contribute to the overall psephological analysis. And all those lectures on the British Constitution had made it perfectly clear that only the electors in Sedgefield get to vote for or against Tony Blair
The Labour party had run an impressive local campaign & the candidate seemed like a decent enough inoffensive kind of chap. But I liked & respected the sitting Tory MP - who was anything but swivel-eyed
The trouble was that I really dreaded the thought of a Labour government. Almost irrespective of their policies. There seemed to be not one person in the potential cabinet who had the slightest idea of how to organise the proverbial, or of what it takes for someone who does know. Time after time, not just during the election campaign, Labour MPs & front bench spokesmen had shown an alarming ignorance, in practical terms, of their policy areas
But maybe that was just arrogance on my part. Unwilling to see the baton starting to be handed over to a younger generation
There had to be a change, for everybodys sake - including the Conservatives
I voted Labour
Not for the first or last time in my life. But I havent voted in either of the last 2 general elections. Neither of the other 2 parties ran anything like a serious local campaign - showed in fact a real contempt for the voters, I thought. So I just returned the compliment
Things are different now. We have 2 prospective candidates appointed who are being quite active, so we shall see
Sometime after their wedding Princess Elizabeth & Prince Philip undertook a nationwide tour.
We walked all the way down to the other end of the dale where she was due to make a brief stop in her progress along the A6.
I was wildy excited at the idea of seeing a real live princess
I couldnt believe that she was in a car. And had only ordinary men in suits with her. Princesses travel in coaches!
But she did wear a very pretty shade of pink
Picture credit: North East Midland Photographic Record
It looks to me as if this photo was taken at St Ann’s Well in Buxton; in which case I am standing about 40 yards to the left.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The first 11/2 columns were clearly based on sources within NAO, not Revenue & Customs. Then came details of phone calls between the Chancellor & the Prime Minister, which presumably came from political sources
When did all this briefing take place? Before the Chancellor made his statement to Parliament?
And how come the NAO gets off so lightly? They had already, on an entirely separate occasion, received a copy of the full database. Why did they not say We cant do this, we must find another way?
Why would the Revenues IT consultants charge so much for stripping out the sensitive details? If this is a genuine technical difficulty, why did NAO not go to the North East to draw their sample in secure conditions?
Even worse, the Times opening paragraph feels free to speculate that the lowly official who made the copy was distracted by the major sporting events taking place that week. I assume they know the official is a he. That seems to have the fingerprints of Labour spin doctors all over it. One might hope they & the press had learned a lesson about not hanging civil servants out to dry like that
Well we can all be distracted or absent minded sometimes. Some people can even be malign. So why are there not procedures which protect such an important database from accidental or malicious copying?
And what, pray, has happened to the 2 copies of the complete database which were in the possession of NAO?
Some of my questions answered by Computer Weekly
See also: Identity is a link
For good medical reasons we needed to include a question about alcohol consumption. The question needed to be kept simple (for translation reasons) & we decided on a simple high/medium/low type format
Then we had to define our terms
The Italian representative was of the opinion that low should mean less than 2 litres of wine per day
Hows that for a Mediterranean diet?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Is there any radio station in the world now which does not carry news, on the hour? It is just so hard to avoid
So today we had the child benefit database disaster & a Brussels bendy banana story. As nauseam (I have decided to let that typo stand)
The first just leaves me gaping in disbelief - tho by the time I read the papers I am relieved to see that no-one is buying the 'mistake by a lowly official' version
How would you like to hear yourself described this way by the BBC correspondent?
That somebody, anybody, no matter how high or low, could even consider popping a complete copy of a sensitive database into the post, let alone be able to do it within the system, beggars belief
I switched over to Radio 5 to get away from an over-excited UKIP man explaining that consensual union is the upmarket term for sex, only to find Shelagh Fogarty making the same claim, that the EU plans to ask all us wimmen when we had our first sexual experience!
In my day ....
Curiously though, events surrounding the 1971 Census in England do provide an illustration of how things have changed
Confidentiality of individual census data for 100 years has always been enshrined in law, to the extent that any disclosure, however inadvertent, exposes the culprit to potential imprisonment
1971 was the first decennial census to be processed entirely by computer - though individual names & addresses were never added to the database. Nevertheless there was a sudden late flurry of concern about privacy raised first by the Liberal Party then fomented by Bernard Levin
Late changes had to be made to procedures. Among them something called Barnardisation, adding a random +1, 0 or -1 to figures in statistical tables to obviate the possibility that by comparing one table with another someone could deduce that that nice middle aged couple with 2 cars were not actually married to each other. Or something with an equally low probability of actually happening
The other census topic which came to grief was fertility - then (& now) a term used in demography as a statistical measure rather than a medical condition
To fill gaps not covered by the birth registration process, statisticians used the census to ask women about the total number of children born live to them, complete with relevant dates
The question was asked only of women still in their first marriage. To enquire further would have seemed, in earlier eras, not just insensitive or intrusive but downright indecent
Not in 1971 however. Significant numbers of women were outraged by the lack of sensitivity displayed by statisticians interested only in numbers & not real people
Why dont you want to know about my baby, even if he is illegitimate? What about our much-loved adopted/fostered children? Why cant I record my stillborn baby?
And so we have gone from a time when government had to maintain an official fiction that activities leading to the birth of a child took place only within marriage, the union of one man & one woman, to a time when union can mean a one-night stand, or just a Friday night knee trembler behind the chip shop
I thought they were a feature of the Manchester area - a product of the 19th century building boom & the relative lack of late 20th century redevelopment consequent on the decline of cotton
Then I realised there were plenty in London & other cities so my desire to document them faded
I thought about them again a couple years later when listening to a Nicky Campbell programme on R5. I used to enjoy that morning show. Particularly the final hour when he used to orchestrate a discussion between a disparate group of studio guests. That suited his talents, I thought
It could be disconcerting for some guests though, particularly those who had something to plug & were expecting the usual one-on-one interview
One guest seemed particularly put out. He was an American novelist whose name, I regret to say, I have completely forgotten. He explained that he had become a writer only after having been introduced to the works of Henry Miller et al. Before that he had thought that literature meant Shakespeare & thee's & thou's
Right at the end of the hour the conversation moved to the joys of walking round the City on a Sunday when, in uncrowded streets, you could look up & see a startlingly different architecture from the normal homogenised modern shop fascias at street level
Yes, said Nicky, you can see a lot of architectural thee's & thou's if you look up
As the microphones faded you could just hear the American: Oh! You were listening after all
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The next thing - which must have been a good couple of weeks later - is being taken to have a blood test at the hospital. Although I was a bit better by then we took the absolutely unheard of & unprecedented step of going by taxi. It had a very small, high rear window of smoked glass, which fascinated me
I was well enough to leave the hospital on foot. As a reward for my bravery we went to WHSmith & I got a new Noddy book - number 4. I remember feeling cheated that I did not get numbers 2&3 to complete my set
I was off school for 6 weeks altogether. The nearest we ever got to a diagnosis was glandular fever without the fever. When, some months later, my glands came up again, the doctor who came was not my beloved Dr Hayward - with his tweeds, mustache & smell of tobacco - but a thin young man with dark hair & hornrims. As soon as he tried to feel the back of my neck I, uncharacteristically, ran screaming to hide behind the settee & refused to budge
Some of the 6 weeks I spent at my Nanas. To keep me amused she taught me to play patience - the simple 7 card kind that used to come free with Windows (which version always annoyed me because it played to the wrong rules) As a 6 year old I used to have trouble keeping track as I laid out the cards. It was tedious to start over, but too complicated to try & work out where I had gone wrong if I ended up with the wrong number of cards in one of the rows or columns
Somehow I very gradually worked out (it must have taken over a year) a way of checking as I went along. All I had to do was keep count of the total number of cards & do a simple check at the end of every line
I had discovered the formula for the sum of the first n integers
To this day I remember it most easily in the form I devised
Monday, November 19, 2007
If I were a more galvanised or galvanising kind of person I would set up a kind of soup kitchen for them. A funky one, or whatever word the young people use nowadays. Lots of plates piled high with mashed potatoes, slabs of white bread, sausages, bacon, eggs & puddings to get some fruit down them. Gallons of full fat milk & orange juice. Cod liver oil dressed up as supplements
That after all is the diet on which we were reared. And, as a too-little noticed American study quite recently reported, although the chance of surviving cancer or heart disease is higher for our age group in the USA, the chance of succumbing to one or other in the first place is lower for those born over here.
And we are the generation which produced all those first in my family to go to university
It strikes me that the famous Watson/Crick model, especially in its modern multi-coloured ball & stick representation, encourages many people to think that you can design a baby in the same way that you can design a necklace, by picking & choosing from a tray of all available genes which look just like beads
And its surprising how many people react I hadnt thought of that if you point out that designer babies mean the end of the fun of making them in the old fashioned way.
It took me quite a long time to realise that school experiments are anything but. The whole point about an experiment is that you do not know the answer when you start. In true science, at least for a good Popperian, a different outcome disproves the hypothesis. Unless you can show that the way you set up your experiment was different from the original in important ways
School physics disappointed me anyway because it seemed to have nothing to do with questions or explanations of things which really interested me - principally stars, radio waves, why water makes a noise
And it may not have helped that I was the only girl & the teacher was principally the boys sportsmaster, filling a hole in the timetable
The prediction was for us all to be wading knee deep through discarded fag ends. But then there are a lot more street ash trays around which encourage people to dispose of them properly now
That doesnt really explain why people should have stopped dropping food wrappers, till receipts, drink cans & cartons though
Could it be that discarded cigarette ends used to encourage people to think that their own bit of litter wouldnt matter, wouldnt make any difference?
Although I am a smoker I have always been careful not to drop my butts on the ground. Or at least since a visit to West Berlin in 1979. There the streets were so pristine that I would not have dared
Is it too much to hope that gum chewers will now get the message?
Imagine the shock! horror! reaction if someone today proposed that Guinness should be available on NHS prescription
And yet it used to be. Recommended for those who needed building up. Poor people who struggled to provide themselves with an adequate diet, or for those with illness-induce poor appetite
Including, if memory serves, nursing mothers. No doubt to be drunk while the poor little baby was alone outside in the garden
An elderly gentleman with mobility problems occupied a flat below us when we lived in Kensal Rise in the 1960s. Happily the bay window in his living room looked out across the road to the off licence. So he was able to put a sign in his window when he had a new prescription. The Guinness, in 1/4 or 1/3 pint cans was then delivered to his door
Other food stuffs could also be prescribed. I seem to remember that baked beans were on the list.
Its not that many years ago that I read the practice had been finally discontinued. Now they prescribe very expensive nutrition drinks instead
Friday, November 09, 2007
Well obviously, it depends on what you mean by easy, & it is certainly a good idea to discourage inexperienced walkers from having a go
I went to the summit for the first time when I was 8. My father took me. He was very experienced, I was no complete novice, used to living in the Peak District & family holidays in Snowdonia
I had a little secret dream as we climbed. A boy had been featured in Granpas Daily Express because he had climbed Snowdon at the age of 12. I could beat that, in a way, though perhaps Tryfan didnt count because it wasnt the tallest
I may actually have been conceived on Tryfan - my parents spent their war time honeymoon cycling round Snowdonia & my mother always spoke particularly fondly of Tryfan
By coincidence another recent story took me back to those hill walking days. A warning never to drink untreated water, even from a fast-flowing mountain stream. Apparently e.coli is everywhere now. My father taught me never to drink from a stream below a certain point, in case there was a dead sheep higher up. After that, you were OK
Rations for a days climb usually consisted of a block of dried dates, cheddar cheese & chocolate. We had a little aluminium pan in which to boil water using some kind of white block which could be lit to provide heat
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
A bundle of cartoons fell out of an old commonplace book. From the date of the book they ought to be all over 10 years old, though I cant be sure.
Its amazing how topical some of them still seem. Or maybe we just have a lot of the same obsessions
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Thou knowst thyself so little, as thou knowst not,
How thou didst die, nor how thou wast begot.
Thou neither knowst, how thou at first camst in,
Nor how thou tookst the poison of mans sin.
Nor dost thou, (though thou knowst, thou art so)
By what way thou art made immortal, know.
Thou art too narrow, wretch, to comprehend
Even thyself; yea though thou wouldst but bend
To know thy body.
Have not all souls thought
For many ages, that our body is wrought
Of air, & fire, & other elements?
And now they think of new ingredients,
And one soul thinks one, & another way
& tis an even lay.
Knowst thou but how the stone doth enter in
The bladders cave, & never breaks the skin?
Knowst thou how blood, which to the heart doth flow,
Doth from one ventricle to th'other go?
And for the putrid stuff, which thou dost spit,
Knowst thou how thy lungs have attracted it?
There are no passages, so that there is
(For aught thou knowst) piercing of substances.
And of those many opinions, which men raise
Of nails & hairs, dost thou know which to praise?
What hope have we to know ourselves, when we
Know not the least things, which for our use to be?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sir Edward Cook : Life of Florence Nightingale 1913
This sounds like the source for the saying about lies, damn lies etc.
Not Disraeli after all. More like a judicial joke
Funny that. The edition of Dr Spock which I used said that the idea came from incompletely or inadequately controlled clinical trials on human babies.
Gastro-enteritis etc used to be major killers, evn in the developed world. Trials of methods which involved scrupulous sterilisation somehow also introduced a rigid time table. The death rate was cut dramatically
I suppose that makes sense in a way - if feeding times are erratic & unpredictable it gets harder to ensure sterilisation
It took time to establish that a rigid feeding timetable in itself had no independent effect on the risk of disease
There are eternal lessons here. Make sure that you have thought about all the confounding variables.
And why do we have to keep on re-learning the message about cleanliness?
Can exformation travel faster than information?
And what do scientists mean by information anyway? Where is the knowledge, to coin a phrase
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Trust your instincts
Just remember that, whatever you do, they will end up Larkined
Or at least they will think they are
And again there is horror at the idea that they were left alone. Well they were asleep, usually. Though even when awake babies are often more than able to amuse themselves
Another element of baby care then which has of course more or less completely disappeared is the use of older siblings or neighbourhood children to keep an eye on baby
In the the age of 2-children-3-years apart families of course there wont be any siblings old enough to take any such responsibility
One of the, to me, most disconcerting facts about modern parenting is that, for many people, the first baby they ever hold is their own
The worst danger to babies sleeping in the garden in fact came from cats, who were well known (allegedly) to be in the habit of jumping into the pram & scratching the babys face, or even suffocating it
But the 1950s equivalent of Mothercare could provide special nets to fix over the hood to avert this
Trust the British to hide even their babies behind net curtains