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Dixons: At it again

Dead TVs
Photo by chriswatkins, modified under licence
My thanks to Nick Freestone for pointing out that Dixons are at it again, issuing the sixth iteration of virtually the same press release.

That’s now analogue radios, 35mm cameras, video recorders, the computer game Manhunt, CRT monitors, and now analogue TVs of which the Dixons Group have issued press releases with exaggerated reports of impending demise.

Keep your eyes peeled – if they manage to get national coverage of virtually the same story a seventh time, I’ll have to send their press department some kind of prize. At this rate, I’m going to have to have a regular DixonsWatch feature…

This 1,258th post was filed under: Media.

National Fetish Day

This 1,257th post was filed under: News and Comment, Notes, Politics.

MPs’ salaries

Shortly, MPs are to vote on how big a pay increase they should give themselves. Even asking such a question of MPs – essentially, how much money do you want – seems crazy enough, but this is British politics, and so craziness is par for the course.

So, happily, that’s not where the craziness ends.

See, Gordon Brown wants MPs to limit their pay increases to 1.9%, since that’s what other public sector workers are getting.

This totally ignores the fact that MPs are currently earning £60,675 – or more than double that for cabinet ministers – compared to £22,000 for a nurse, £20,000 for a police officer, or £15,000 for a soldier. Limiting the increase to the same relative value as these people has no real meaning. Perhaps limiting their salary to the public sector average would have some meaning, and may focus minds a little more – although still, with the number of perks received by MPs, the figures would not be truly comparable.

Where is the justification in paying MPs so much more than other public sector workers? Their job is to represent the views of their constituents – something few of them actually seem to do these days – and such a position should be seen as a privilege, not an arduous task for which financial recompense needs to be comparatively extreme.

Looking at things this way makes Daniel Kawczynski comments seem loopy:

I can’t look into the eyes of my constituents who are police officers and say ‘you will stick at 1.9% but I, as an MP, should have more than that’.

…but apparently he can look them in the eyes and say ‘Hey, I sit in a cosy office all day, you risk your life on the streets, I deserve thrice your pay!’

Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster: RNLJ&C, modified under licence

This 1,256th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Medicine for Medical Students by Marc Crutchley

Medicine for Medical StudentsAbout a month ago, Dr Marc Crutchley sent me a copy of his new book, Medicine for Medical Students, and asked me if I’d review it on here. Clearly, that’s not something I’d normally do – I don’t think I’ve reviewed any sort of medical textbook of any description on this site ever… but I’m raving about this one.

I’m struggling a bit to come up with a way of describing the book without it sounding crap. Essentially, it’s written by a recently qualified doctor, and aims to be everything you need to know as a medical student condensed into 118 pages, so that readers no longer have to spend a fortune on 600 different textbooks. And it works really, really well.

I’ve seen books like this before, and never really liked them – I’m sure most other medical students have too – but this one is just great. It’s brilliant not only for revision, but also for those mornings when you wake up, realise you’re on some other speciality that day and can’t remember a thing about it – flick to the relevant section, and you can get a thorough but quick reminder of most things you’re likely to see and do before you’ve finished your cornflakes.

The content does require a fair amount of prior knowledge, and wouldn’t be great for someone learning things for the first time, but as a revision aid it is just fabulous – primarily because it assumes a basic level of knowledge, and also doesn’t go into complex depth – it’s pitched at exactly the right level.

I’m currently so enthusiastic about this book and its ideology that I think I might still be raving about it in a decade’s time, much like I still rave about QBasic by Example despite the fact that QBasic is now a relatively archaic programming language and that I haven’t written a program in it for almost a decade.

My writing is getting more rambling by the day, isn’t it?

Dr Crutchley also has a lecture series available for sale, and is in the process of making a clinical skills DVD.

You can get the book and the lectures from his website – TheMedicalStudent.com – both come very highly recommended.

As there’s no way on Earth that I’m going to give away my review copy of this book, a donation has been made to charity to keep this post in line with my ethical review policy.

This 1,255th post was filed under: Reviews.

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