On the Internet, nobody knows you're a cat

By Whisky, the Black & White Cat

Ian seems to have lost interest in his blog, so I’m going to take advantage while he’s out of the room to grace the world with my thoughts. Family-loyalty forbids me to opine whether these will be preferable to Ian’s own, which anyway he prefers to keep to himself for the present.

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In 1993 a cartoon by Peter Steiner bearing this caption was published in the New Yorker, with “dog” in place of “cat”. Now a cat blog is infinitely preferable to a dog blog, so I don’t choose to conceal where I’m coming from.

You won’t be getting any of this haz cheez now stuff from me, though. In a world replete with spelling checkers there’s no excuse for bad spelling. It doesn’t betoken a lack of education, which most condone and some would applaud, but a lack of application, which appeals to no one.

What prompts the following reflections is an article about homeopathy on the BBC website:

Homeopathy ’could be blacklisted’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34744858

So, for a government obsessed with cutting expenditure on ineffective measures, there is clearly more to be gained from pulling the rug from under homeopathy in the National Health Service than there is from pulling it out from under, say, solar power. Which, whether you’re an oil magnate with a huge investment in continuing to poison the atmosphere, or an environmentalist doubting whether there will be a recognisable world for your children to enjoy in fifty years time, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called “ineffective”.

Now I have it on good repute – from professional pharmacists no less – that the results of the enormous dilutions used in homeopathy is to leave no molecule at all of the active ingredient present in the resulting preparation. I thought I’d check this assertion with a few calculations of my own, and I estimate that at 12c dilution (not uncommon in present day homeopathy – Hahnemann, homeopathy’s founder, recommended 60c) there is a 1-in-3 chance of a molecule or more of the original active ingredient being present in 1 ml of the medicine.

This does however raise questions in my mind. It has been left to the late Stewart Farrar, a present-day exponent of Alexandrian witchcraft, to proclaim the unpalatable but unchallenged truth that the Placebo Effect “really works”. As Dr Helen Beaumont, a respected authority on homeopathy points out in the BBC.co.uk article, the NHS expenditure last year of £4 million on homeopathic remedies represents better value for money than the £14.4 billion spent on far more expensive pharmaceuticals being prescribed to the same effect, i.e. to administer a placebo which the patient both wants and is in dire need of.

Nor should it be overlooked that reported harmful side-effects from homeopathic remedies are considerably fewer, thanks to their enormous dilutions, than many commonly-prescribed “ethical” pharmaceuticals. As medics themselves are wont to say: “First Do No Harm”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primum_non_nocere

You may wonder what your cat is doing when it’s lying in the sun, apparently asleep, twitching occasionally. Well, let me tell you. It’s doing calculations in its head, and the twitching results from coming to conclusions radically different from yours, or upon which your behaviour is obviously based. Now a cat’s paw is specialised to tasks which don’t include wielding pen and paper, so most cats have been content to keep their findings to themselves. But just as computers have robbed us of excuses for bad spelling, so they remove all justification for cats letting their owners persist in manifest delusions.

So, cat-owners, if you discover calculations being done on your computer without your knowledge, you’ll know where they come from.

updated: 23:37 13/11/2015