Stephen Hawking warned us about contacting aliens, but it may be too late


In 2010, physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that we might contact extraterrestrial life by transmitting signals into space.

However, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak told us that it’s too late to consider whether we should send such transmissions, because we’ve already been doing it for decades.

Read more:http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-warning-space-aliens-seti-2016-9?IR=T

Mary Neal: Abortion decriminalisation and statutory rights of conscience.


On 13 March 2017, the House of Commons voted by 172 to 142 in favour of a second reading for the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. The bill, introduced by Diana Johnson MP, would decriminalise abortion until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, meaning that abortion could be performed until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy without the need to satisfy any statutory grounds, or to obtain two doctors’ authorisation. Many campaigners see this bill as a first step toward the longer-term goal of fully decriminalising abortion. [1]

The prospect of decriminalisation raises a number of interesting and important issues, including an issue which has been neglected in the debates over decriminalisation so far, namely what any change in the law might mean for the right of health professionals to withdraw from participation in abortion on grounds of conscience, under section 4 of the Abortion Act 1967.

In the case of Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan, [2] the UK Supreme Court decided that section 4 only covered “direct” participation in the course of action which “begins with the administration of the drugs designed to induce labour and normally ends with the ending of the pregnancy by delivery of the foetus, placenta and membrane.” [3] Speculating about what “must” have been in Parliament’s contemplation at the time of the passing of the Act, the court held that there is no right to opt out of “indirect” participation (such as “delegation, supervision and support” in relation to abortion) on grounds of conscience. It also confirmed that the statutory conscience right offers no protection to general practitioners; what legal protection they have, they have under the terms of the GP contract with the NHS. Although this means that GPs conscience rights will be unaffected by any decriminalisation process, it also means that they have no statutory conscience rights at all and could be left without any protection were the terms of the GP contract to change.

There is ongoing academic debate about whether individual conscience should be accommodated at all in the healthcare context. [4] When the law does decide to provide for it, however (as it does in the case of abortion), the provision should be interpreted in a manner consistent with its purpose. The purpose of a conscience clause is to protect individuals from sharing in moral responsibility for an outcome that they regard as seriously immoral. Those who help to arrange for something to happen, or who support and facilitate it in necessary but “indirect” ways, share in the responsibility (credit or blame, depending on one’s view) for the outcome. Thus, a fit-for-purpose conscience clause must protect those who regard abortion as serious wrongdoing from participating in it indirectly (so it must cover senior midwives and GPs); restricting protection to those immediately involved defeats the purpose.

Weakened as it is by the Supreme Court’s decision, section 4 remains a vital lifeline for those whose roles it doescover. Moves to decriminalise abortion have the potential to restrict conscience rights much more severely, however. Section 4 provides that “no person shall be under any duty…to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection” (my emphasis). In Doogan, the court held that “treatment authorised by this Act” means treatment “made lawful by” the Act. [5] If abortion were decriminalised, the 1967 Act would no longer be “making abortion lawful” (either at all, or until the end of the 24th week, depending on the scale of the decriminalisation), and it could be argued, following the reasoning in Doogan, that the section 4 conscience right no longer applied to recently-decriminalised abortion. If that argument succeeded, individual professionals could no longer rely on the protection of section 4 in the overwhelming majority of abortions (and perhaps even all abortions).

Influential supporters of decriminalisation, like Ann Furedi (CEO of Bpas) and Professor Sally Sheldon, have indicated their support for accommodating conscientious objection. [6,7] To ensure that any liberalisation of abortion law does not have the unintended side effect of depriving professionals of their conscience rights, it is imperative that a meaningful conscience provision be added to Johnson’s Bill if it progresses beyond the second reading, and to any subsequent bill seeking to decriminalise abortion. In my view, such a clause ought also to put GPs’ protection on a statutory footing.

Mary Neal is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, researching and teaching medical law and ethics with a particular focus on beginning and end of life issues and rights of conscientious objection. She is a current member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee.

References:

[1] For example, the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign, which supports this Bill, seeks full decriminalisation: http://www.wetrustwomen.org.uk/about-the-campaign/ accessed on 20/03/2017

[2] [2014] UKSC 68

[3] [2014] UKSC 68, paragraph 34

[4] For a range of views, see the following special issues: Bioethics (Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2014); Medical Law Review (Volume 23 Issue 2, May 2015); Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (Volume 26 Issue 1, January 2017); and Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 43 Issue 4, April 2017).

[5] Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan [2014] UKSC 68, paragraph 38

[6] A Furedi, ‘We support a woman’s choice of abortion: but should doctors have the right to choose too?Lawyers For Choice Blog, 25 July 2016, https://lawyersforchoice.wordpress.com/ accessed on 20/03/2017

[7] S Sheldon, ‘The Decriminalisation of Abortion: An Argument for Modernisation’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2016) 36 (2): 334-365, 361  https://academic.oup.com/ojls/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ojls/gqv026accessed on 20/03/2017

Source:http://blogs.bmj.com

 

Dr. Paul LaViolette — Will a Superwave Arrive in in 2017?


An earlier posting (http://etheric.com/the-date-revealed-at-garabandal-for-the-coming-world-miracle/), discussed the revelation of Garabandal and attempted to infer the date of the miracle that the four young girls were told would affect the whole earth.  I had narrowed the possibilities down to two years: 2017 and 2020.  Based on hints left by one of the surviving girls, I had inferred that the “miracle” is to occur between April 8th through the 16th, hence during easter holy week.  Of the two years, I had chosen 2020 as a more likely possibility, based on the recurring miracle at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox church in Milano.

A number of people who have responded to the posting, however, believe that the true date will instead be in 2017.  One person has suggested it will occur in May of 2017.  The 2017 date coincides with the prediction of Jake Simpson, a black project whistleblower who claims that a wave of energy will impact the solar system in that year causing a major global catastrophe.  In our Project Camelot interview, Kerry Cassidy suggested to me that the event Simpson was referring to might be a galactic superwave, whose arrival I had long been saying is much overdue.  See interview excerpt here:

Dr. Paul LaVioletter — The Galactic Superwave Will Hit by 2017

For the entire interview click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oURVtGKW420 

Also Bob Dean another black project whistleblower who was interviewed by Project Camelot  also points to 2017 as a significant date, although he speaks of Earth encountering a planet (e.g., Planet X).

So, it is up to you to decide how much faith to place in these various predictions.  But it may be a good idea for one to be prepared in 2017, just in case.  If a superwave were to strike this coming year, the Starburst Foundation will go into high gear to help out in any way possible to inform people about the situation.  But since there could be an internet outage associated with this, it could be difficult to get the word out.  At this point I can offer the following advice.  The first indication of the super wave’s arrival would be the impact of a gravity wave which would affect the whole planet, triggering earthquakes.  Immediately afterward the high energy cosmic rays would begin arriving and a bluish white star will begin to appear in the sky at the location of the Galactic center.  One should not delay to seek shelter at once in a cave or underground tunnel to escape the radiation hazard.  It would help to be prepared with a bag full of clothes and supplies that you could grab on a moment’s notice. Remember to meditate or pray and to stay calm as there could be unusual psychological effects associated with the passage of the superwave.  The solar system will be bathed in negatively charged particles which will produce a negative mass gravitational potential (gravity potential hill), whereas normally we have been used to being surrounded by a positive mass gravity potential  (gravity potential well) produced by the Galactic core and Sun.  This G potential flip could produce noticeable psychological/mental effects.

The first three days will be the worst since the barrage will be most intense during that period.  After that one might venture outside if the radiation intensity is sufficiently low.  A geiger counter would come in very handy.  Hopefully by that time there will be people around who will have some information on the degree of the radiation hazard.  It would also help if you have access to a solar powered home that is off the grid.  Be aware that the Sun could become aggravated during the event and could produce excessive flares which could have more lethal effects than the superwave.

For more about superwaves read the postings on the sidebar of this webpage or read books available here such as Earth Under Fire  or  Galactic Superwaves.

About Dr. Paul LaViolette

Paul A. LaViolette, PH.D, is author of Secrets of Antigravity PropulsionSubquantum Kinetics, Earth Under Fire,Genesis of the Cosmos, Decoding the Message of the PulsarsGalactic Superwaves and their Impact on the Earth, and is editor of A Systems View of Man. He has also published many original papers in physics, astronomy, climatology, systems theory, and psychology.

He received his BA in physics from Johns Hopkins, his MBA from the University of Chicago, and PhD from Portland State University. He is currently president and director of the Starburst Foundation.

He has served as a solar energy consultant for the Greek government and also has consulted a Fortune 500 company on ways of stimulating innovation. Research he conducted at Harvard School of Public Health led him to invent an improved pulsation dampener for air sampling pumps. Related work led him to develop an improved life-support rebreather apparatus for protection against hazardous environments and for which he received two patents.

Dr. LaViolette is the first to predict that high intensity volleys of cosmic ray particles travel directly to our planet from distant sources in our Galaxy, a phenomenon now confirmed by scientific data. He is also the first to discover high concentrations of cosmic dust in Ice Age polar ice, indicating the occurrence of a global cosmic catastrophe in ancient times.  Based on this work, he made predictions about the entry of interstellar dust into the solar system ten years before its confirmation in 1993 by data from the Ulysses spacecraft and by radar observations from New Zealand.

He also originated the glacier wave flood theory that not only provides a reasonable scientific explanation for widespread continental floods, but also presents a credible explanation for the sudden freezing of the arctic mammoths and demise of the Pleistocene mammals. Also he developed a novel theory that links geomagnetic flips to the past occurrence of immense solar flare storm outbursts.

He is the developer of subquantum kinetics, a novel approach to microphysics that not only accounts for electric, magnetic, gravitational, and nuclear forces in a unified manner, but also resolves many long-standing problems in physics such as the field singularity problem, the wave-particle dualism, and the field source problem, to mention a few.

Moreover based on the predictions of this theory, he developed an alternative cosmology that effectively replaces the big bang theory. In fact, in 1986, he was the first to cast doubt on the big bang theory by showing that it makes a far poorer fit to existing astronomical data when compared to this new non-expanding universe cosmology.

The subquantum kinetics cosmology also led him to make successful predictions about galaxy evolution that were later verified with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dr. LaViolette is credited with the discovery of the planetary-stellar mass-luminosity relation which demonstrates that the Sun, planets, stars, and supernova explosions are powered by spontaneous energy creation through photon blueshifting. With this relation, he successfully predicted the mass-luminosity ratio of the first brown dwarf to be discovered.  More recently, his maser signal blueshifting prediction has found confirmation following publication of the discovery of a blueshift in the Pioneer 10 spacecraft tracking data.

In addition, Paul LaViolette has developed a new theory of gravity that replaces the deeply flawed theory of general relativity.  Predicted from subquantum kinetics, it accounts for the electrogravitic coupling phenomenon discovered by Townsend Brown and may explain the advanced aerospace propulsion technology utilized in the B-2 bomber.

He is the first to discover that certain ancient creation myths and esoteric lores metaphorically encode an advanced science of cosmogenesis.  His contributions to the field of Egyptology and mythology may be compared to the breaking of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphic code.   For a partial listing of these discoveries click here:  Mythology Insights.

He is also the co-developer of the Gray-LaViolette feeling tone theory which explains how the brain/mind forms creative thoughts.  This has led to a new understanding of how the brain functions and to a novel approach in education.

Paul LaViolette also briefly worked as a patent examiner in the U. S. Patent Office.  The Patent Office Society “Unofficial Gazette” ran an article about his being newly hired.  During this period he was responsible for expanding civil rights law to cover cases where an employer has terminated an employee on the basis of his scientific beliefs.

Source: The Sphinx Stargate

Michio Kaku Clears up God Discovery


Several months ago there was a flurry of headlines claiming that Michio Kaku had proven the existence of God. In this exclusive interview with the famous physicist, Kaku elaborates on what happened.

I&T Today: You recently made a lot of headlines with your discoveries regarding the possible existence of a higher intelligence. Could you explain what you found?

Michio Kaku: There is a website that quoted me incorrectly. That’s one of the drawbacks of being in a public sphere: sometimes you get quoted incorrectly. And the reference I saw said that I said that you can prove the existence of God. My point of view is different. My own point of view is that you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.

dr michio kaku

Science is based on what is testable, reproducible, and falsifiable. That’s called science. However, there are certain things that are not testable, not reproducible, and not falsifiable. And that would include the existence of God.

For example, look at reincarnation. If somebody at a cocktail party says that they are Cleopatra or Julius Caesar, how do you disprove that? How do you falsify that? Well, you ask some simple question and they get it wrong. Then you say, “Ha! I falsified your statement.” And they say, “No, the history books are wrong…How do I know the history books are wrong? Because I am Cleopatra. I am Julius Caesar.”

At that point, the conversation is over. You begin to realize that no matter how you falsify that statement they can come back and say, “No, no, no, the history books are wrong.” And, how do you falsify that? You cannot. So, there are certain statements that are not falsifiable.

Michio Kaku God, God Discovery Michio KakuSame thing with the existence of God. I don’t think there’s any one experiment that you can create to prove or disprove the existence of God. Therefore, it’s not a falsifiable statement. You cannot create an experiment that disproves the existence of God. Therefore, it’s a non-falsifiable statement.

Personally, I think there’s much wisdom in the God of Einstein. Einstein basically said that there are two types of gods. One god is a personal god, the god that you pray to, the god that smites the Philistines, the god that walks on water. That’s the first god. But there’s another god, and that’s the god of Spinoza. That’s the god of beauty, harmony, simplicity.

The universe is gorgeous. The universe is very simple, and it didn’t have to be that way. The universe could have been random. It could have been ugly. It could have been a random collection of electrons and photons. No life, no vitality, nothing interesting at all. Just a random collection of a mist of electrons and photons. That could have been the universe, but it isn’t. Our universe is rich; it is beautiful, elegant. And you can summarize most of the laws of physics on one sheet of paper. Amazing. In fact, what I do for a living is to try to get that sheet of paper and summarize it into an equation one inch long. That’s called the unified field theory. We want to summarize all of the laws of physics into one equation that is one inch long.

Now, one version of that is called string field theory, which is a branch of string theory. String field theory allows you to write this equation, this one inch equation. In fact, that’s my equation. I’m a co-founder of string field theory. Now, that’s not the final theory because now there are membranes, and things are more complicated. We have yet to create a one inch equation for strings and membranes. But just for strings we already have a theory that’s only one inch long that allows you to summarize the laws of nature. So, that’s the God of Einstein. The God of beauty,[the idea] that says that the universe is simpler the more we study it.

If you’re an English major, you know that English literary criticism gets more complicated every year. Every time someone writes a PhD thesis on James Joyce or Hemingway, they say, “What did he really mean by that sentence?” Well, it gets more complicated every year!  Physics is the opposite. It gets simpler and simpler every year. And ultimately we want to get it down to one inch.

There is a theory about whether or not the universe is a simulation of some sort, like the movie The Matrix. And then the question is how do you prove it? Or how do you disprove it?  Personally, I think it’s another non-falsifiable statement. Just like “Are you Cleopatra?” Just like “Is there a God?” “Is the universe a simulation?” is a non-falsifiable statement. That’s my true opinion. However, there is this website that quotes me saying otherwise. But that’s, I guess, one of the drawbacks of being in the public domain. People misquote you all the time.

Source:innotechtoday.com

World-Famous Physicist Drops Bombshell GOD Discovery… Atheists Will NOT Like This


Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku recently claimed that he found proof that God exists, and his reasoning has caused a stir in the scientific community.

 When responding to a question about the meaning of life and God, Kaku said that most physicists do believe in a God because of how the universe is designed. Ours is a universe of order, beauty, elegance and simplicity.

He explained the universe didn’t have to be this way — it could have been ugly and chaotic. In short, the order we see in the universe is proof of God.

“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence,” the physicist said, according to Science World Report. “Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

Kaku, one of the creators and developers of the revolutionary String Theory, came to his conclusions with what he calls primitive semi-radius tachyons, which are theoretical particles that have the ability to “unstick” matter or the vacuum space between particles, leaving everything in the universe free from any influence from the surrounding universe.

The physicist explained that God is like a mathematician, which is similar to what Albert Einstein believed.

These ideas will no doubt make atheist heads explode, because the more intelligent people come to accept that there is a God, the more atheists will look foolish.

Watch the video discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/Hi6yPJvCFU0

Source:http://mindszen.com

David Oliver: Getting real about care closer to home.


There’s a growing consensus about how we must change to ensure sustainable future health services. Its essence is: let’s focus more on public health, prevention, and wellbeing; enhance primary and wider community support for people with long term conditions; and, during acute crises, help patients spend less time in hospitals—or none at all—repurposing resources and staff away from hospital buildings.

In England we see such ambitions and rhetoric in political pronouncements and in key documents such as the NHS Five Year Forward View,1 sustainability and transformation plans (STPs),2 and position papers from professional organisations.34

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions. This isn’t surprising, when service leaders must balance imagined future benefits against tangible current pressures in broke, full acute hospitals—admitting that they can no longer hit high profile and politically sensitive performance targets.5

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions

The health announcements in the chancellor’s March 2017 spring budget further exposed this dissonance.6 First, Philip Hammond promised an extra £100m for GPs based in emergency department triage—even though upstream conventional primary care, with the potential to help keep patients away from them, is experiencing workforce and workload crises and has 100 fewer GPs this year despite plans to recruit 5000 more.7

Social care was promised a further £2bn uplift over the next three years. But this announcement was clearly labelled in terms of reducing delayed transfers from—you guessed it—acute hospitals.8 Senior NHS leaders encouraged these hospitals to “get lippy” about use of the social care money.9 Little mention, then, of supporting people and their carers to stay at home in the first place, although this is at the core of social care’s purpose.

Hammond promised an additional £325m of capital expenditure for “leading” STPs (again, more on buildings rather than on staff and services in people’s own homes).10 Some £800m in funds held by clinical commissioning groups and earmarked for primary and mental health was then repurposed by NHS England to meet hospital deficits and pressures.11

Opinion polls show that responsive, urgent care tops public concerns about the NHS.12 Politicians and journalists reinforce this by discussing it predominantly in terms of hospitals and beds. This high visibility and the narrow focus on acute care performance become a distorting, overvalued idea.

If we’re serious about a shift towards the preventive and coordinated care we claim to want, we can’t keep pumping all additional new funds into supporting hospitals. We’ll need to relax our expectations of hospital performance and be honest about what they can no longer offer, let alone improve.

Maybe in the autumn statement we’ll put our money where our mouth is. Platitudes don’t help patients.

Footnotes

References

Source:BMJ

Stephen Hawking: Greed and Stupidity Will End Humanity Earlier than Expected


Stephen Hawking
Although theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is not a soothsayer, he has in the past predicted the future of humanity. Hawking has warned us on countless occasions about how humans are actively pursuing Artificial Intelligence (AI) without caution; concerned it will spell the end of humanity in the future.

Mr Hawking believes the current AI race will eventually usher humans into a stage when machines will become more intelligent than humans. This is when the total annihilation of humans would begin, Hawking claims. Of course, the AI community prefers not to hear such a prominent and respected science proponent say such things. Hawking was heavily criticized within the AI community recently, facing accusations of being a pessimist, and should inculcate the spirit of positivism in the AI debate instead.

Stephen Hawking

But despite the criticisms, Hawking is still expressing his views as an independent thinker in the arena of public discourse. Apart from the AI apocalypse, Hawking has summarized vices in humans that he thinks will destroy any progress made since the Stone Age period to current times.

In an interview with Larry King on the Larry King Now talk show last year, the distinguished physicist said although he has talked about AI in the past as a tool that could spell doom for humans, he believes strongly that such inventions are inspired by human vices.

Hawking stated that greediness and stupidity are the biggest threats to humanity. He said these two vices will eventually drive humans into extinction, and earlier than he previously expected. According to Hawking, humans are becoming increasingly stupid and greedy with each passing day. He noted that there has been a massive air pollution problem in the last six years, killing many around the world.  Hawking said the situation will continue to worsen, bringing along more deaths and strange diseases in the near future.

Stephen Hawking

“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid. The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased over the past five years. More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution,” he said.

Hawking added that he is only reminding us of the things we are doing that will end up devouring us. Hawking’s warning is just like the hunter who finds a baby monster in the forest and brings it home. After nurturing the baby monster for it to grow into a giant beast, the monster eats the hunter one day.

Stephen Hawking

 If you look at what is currently happening across the world, people are increasingly being exposed to automated things. Smartphones, robots working amid humans, and unmanned vehicles to name a few.

These machines are increasingly becoming more intelligent. On the other hand, humans seem to be losing their senses. Due to proliferation of smartphones and other integrated cell-phones; some are literally dying or injuring themselves, just for a common selfie.

Stephen Hawking

The United States Department of Transportation estimates that during 2014, in the so-called “year of the selfie,” 33,000 people were injured while driving and using a cell-phone in some fashion, which included talking, listening, and “manual button/control actuation” including taking, uploading, downloading, editing, or opening of selfies. Also, a 2015 survey by Erie Insurance Group found that 4% of all drivers admitted to taking selfies while driving.

Again, the Washington Post reported in January 2016 that about half of at least 27 selfie deaths in 2015 had occurred in India. No official data on the number of people who died taking selfies in India exists, but reports show from 2014 up to August 2016, there have been at least 54 deaths in India while taking selfies.

Stephen Hawking

This has encouraged the Indian Tourism Ministry to ask states to identify and barricade ‘selfie danger’ areas. The goal of the sign is to try and stop or reduce selfie-related deaths in the country.

So, you see, this is one of the exact stupidities Hawking is warning us about. Humans are becoming increasingly stupid while the machines they have created are becoming increasingly intelligent. The mockery of humanity has started. The machines seem to be controlling humans, not the other way around.

Source:http://anonhq.com

David Oliver: Getting real about care closer to home


There’s a growing consensus about how we must change to ensure sustainable future health services. Its essence is: let’s focus more on public health, prevention, and wellbeing; enhance primary and wider community support for people with long term conditions; and, during acute crises, help patients spend less time in hospitals—or none at all—repurposing resources and staff away from hospital buildings.

In England we see such ambitions and rhetoric in political pronouncements and in key documents such as the NHS Five Year Forward View,1 sustainability and transformation plans (STPs),2 and position papers from professional organisations.34

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions. This isn’t surprising, when service leaders must balance imagined future benefits against tangible current pressures in broke, full acute hospitals—admitting that they can no longer hit high profile and politically sensitive performance targets.5

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions

The health announcements in the chancellor’s March 2017 spring budget further exposed this dissonance.6 First, Philip Hammond promised an extra £100m for GPs based in emergency department triage—even though upstream conventional primary care, with the potential to help keep patients away from them, is experiencing workforce and workload crises and has 100 fewer GPs this year despite plans to recruit 5000 more.7

Social care was promised a further £2bn uplift over the next three years. But this announcement was clearly labelled in terms of reducing delayed transfers from—you guessed it—acute hospitals.8 Senior NHS leaders encouraged these hospitals to “get lippy” about use of the social care money.9 Little mention, then, of supporting people and their carers to stay at home in the first place, although this is at the core of social care’s purpose.

Hammond promised an additional £325m of capital expenditure for “leading” STPs (again, more on buildings rather than on staff and services in people’s own homes).10 Some £800m in funds held by clinical commissioning groups and earmarked for primary and mental health was then repurposed by NHS England to meet hospital deficits and pressures.11

Opinion polls show that responsive, urgent care tops public concerns about the NHS.12 Politicians and journalists reinforce this by discussing it predominantly in terms of hospitals and beds. This high visibility and the narrow focus on acute care performance become a distorting, overvalued idea.

If we’re serious about a shift towards the preventive and coordinated care we claim to want, we can’t keep pumping all additional new funds into supporting hospitals. We’ll need to relax our expectations of hospital performance and be honest about what they can no longer offer, let alone improve.

Maybe in the autumn statement we’ll put our money where our mouth is. Platitudes don’t help patients.

Source:BMJ

Andre Agassi: ‘One day your entire way of life ends. It’s a kind of death’


The former world No1 reflects on life after tennis married to another of the sport’s greats, Steffi Graf, and says: ‘If I went back in time I would probably retire sooner’
 Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi responded to his tough tennis education early in life by establishing foundation schools for underprivileged children. 

Eight years ago, in his raw and poignant autobiography, Open, Andre Agassi wrote: “My father yells everything twice, sometimes three times, sometimes 10. Harder, he says, harder. Hit earlier. Damn it Andre, hit earlier, Crowd the ball, crowd the ball. Now he’s crowding me. He’s yelling. It’s not enough to hit everything the dragon fires at me: my father wants me to hit harder and faster than the dragon. He wants me to beat the dragon.”

Andre was seven years old, in 1977, and the dragon was a ball machine his dad, Mike – a former Olympic boxer from Iran – turned into a beast. “Nothing sends my father into a rage like hitting a ball into the net. He foams at the mouth … My arm feels like it’s going to fall off. I want to ask: How much longer, Pops? But I don’t ask. I hit as hard as I can, then slightly harder.”

Forty years on an hour of conversation with Agassi is like little else in sport. The lost boy from Las Vegas is now a venerable educationalist whose eight grand slam titles and happy marriage to Steffi Graf dwarf his previous hatred of tennis and brief brush with crystal meth. But how did his dad, now 86 and described as “loyal” and “passionate” by Agassi, react to his depiction?

“When people didn’t have my nuanced take on him they just represented him as abusive. But my dad was clear. He said: ‘Andre, I know how I’ve lived and I know who I am and who I’m not. If I could do everything all over again I would change only one thing – I wouldn’t let you play tennis.’ I’d pulled the car over when he said: ‘I would only change one thing.’ I said, ‘Wow, why’s that Dad?’ He said: ‘Because I’d make you play baseball or golf so you can do it longer and make more money.’ I got back on the freeway with a chuckle.”

Agassi’s knowing laugh echoes his belief that “you can’t spread who you are without being broken first. Sometimes, when you’ve been broken into pieces, you come back and give much more to people. You can see my scars and they’re key to me making a difference in other lives now. You can’t have any wounds in this game that don’t leave scars. They never quite heal but they make you who you are.”

Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi, aged seven, playing tennis in Las Vegas. 

Agassi is so obviously intelligent it’s tempting to wonder what he might have done if his father had been obsessive about education rather than tennis. “Yeah, but my dad is the reason I’m in education now,” Agassi says. “My lack of education, a lack of choice, had a huge impact. The question always remains: what might you have done? But I don’t have any deep regrets.”

A possible outcome, if his dad had turned the classroom into his battleground, is Agassi would have ended up hating learning and buried himself now in middle-aged games of tennis. Instead he has made a substantial impact on education. He was only 24 years old, wearing a mullet and hot lava pink shorts, when he started his first education foundation for underprivileged children in Vegas. In 2001, he opened a school which became an educational model in Clark County.

“That school is still thriving and our endowment allows it to live in perpetuity,” Agassi says. “I then figured out a way to scale that mission across the country and in the last three and a half years I deployed over $650m nationally to build 79 new schools.”

How many kids has Agassi helped educate? “I’ve got 1,200 kids in my foundation school and they revolve annually. I now have 38,000 kids nationwide revolving. I can’t do the math but the numbers go up pretty quickly.”

He has also launched an online tennis coaching course with Udemy, which chimes with his philosophy that teaching should be available widely. The most interesting facets of the course focus on Agassi’s tennis psychology – and his attempts to help players of different levels understand that improvement cannot always be measured in victory or defeat.

Agassi knows more about winning and losing than most – and his fall from being the world No1 in 1996 contains a significant lesson. “The real tragedy in my decline was happening during my success – it was the disconnect I felt from the game. Despite being good at it I had a deep resentment and even hatred of tennis. That disconnect after getting to No1 was even worse because you believe being the best will fill the void. I felt nothing. Every day is Groundhog Day and what’s the point? I declined in different ways. In some cases it was lack of work. In others it was the self-inflicted damage of drugs. I found many ways to hurt myself.

Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi in action at his final tournament – the 2006 US Open. He lost to Benjamin Becker in the third round. 

“But I got to a point where I realised that just because I didn’t choose my life doesn’t mean I can’t take ownership of it. That was the epiphany. But epiphanies don’t change your life. It’s what you do with them that changes your life. That’s when I saw children whose lack of choice was far worse than mine. I found myself feeling pretty blessed but compelled to confront the unconscionable reality of these kids – which is that, without education, there’s no hope, no choice, no breaking the downward spiral. Once I started to focus on that, tennis became a vehicle for me. I started to appreciate it. I learned a lot when trying to get back to No1 as it’s much harder. I realised you had to plan your work and work your plan. That became my mantra.”

Agassi became the world No1 again in 1999 and competed in grand slam tournaments for another seven years. In 2005 he lost the US Open final to Roger Federer while, the following summer, he was defeated in his last match at Wimbledon by Rafael Nadal. Agassi watched his old adversaries play the Australian Open final in January – with Federer winning his 18th slam over five sets.

“I don’t think anyone who cares about tennis could have missed that match. I was as neutral as possible because they’ve both given so much and have great stories. Of course seeing Roger win at that age was special. He never ceases to impress me but he’s stopped amazing me. I expect it from him. And Nadal persevered through so much adversity and with people writing him off. I didn’t believe that with the amount of physicality he’s put into his career he’d ever get his game back to that level. He certainly proved me wrong. It was a beautiful match and one of those times you truly wish there wasn’t a loser.”

Did Agassi also wish he could be on court playing Federer or Nadal? “No. You can’t believe you once were at that level – and, even if I could do it, I think of my life now and ask: ‘Why do they do it?’ Steffi said: ‘Can you believe what these guys are still willing to put themselves through?’ It’s remarkable but if I went back in time I would probably retire sooner.”

Surely he misses the intensity? “I miss that the least. That was always the tough part for me. I enjoyed the work that went into making yourself the best you can be but I hated what the scoreboard doesn’t say. It just tells you if you won or lost. But the biggest issue for most athletes is you spend a third of your life not preparing for the next two-thirds. One day your entire way of life comes to an end. It’s a kind of death. You just have to go through it and figure it out. In her own quiet way Steffi feels stronger than me. She’s pretty linear in how she lives. I probably do a little more reminiscing than she does – which says a lot.”

Andre Agassi at the 1990 French Open
Andre Agassi, in action at the 1990 French Open, is one of only eight men to have won all four grand slam tournaments. 

So Graf did not mind Serena Williams overtaking her, after they had been locked on 22 slams, by winning the Australian Open? “It has no relevance in her world. The hardest part of Serena chasing down those numbers was respecting the game. Steffi doesn’t want people to feel she doesn’t care about tennis. She cares but she’s so disconnected. Every time she was asked she felt obligated to put importance on it for the sake of tennis and an incredible champion in Serena.”

After Djokovic won the French Open last year, his 12th slamtitle, it looked like the Serb might challenge Federer’s record. But he has since lost every major, relinquished his No1 ranking to Andy Murray and was defeated again last week by Nick Kyrgios in Indian Wells.

“If it was a physical thing it would be obvious,” Agassi says of Djokovic. “You don’t lose it quickly unless you’re dealing with a significant injury. So there’s got to be something emotional, mental, behind the curtain that only he and his team know. But he’s way too good to not find the solution. He’s also going to find perspective given his history. After clearing the courts of bomb shrapnel to practice I’m sure he understands how cruel and tough life can be.”

Murray also lost early in Indian Wells and, like Djokovic, will miss Miami this week with an injured elbow. “Andy has skills that are rarely outmatched. I was never the best athlete and had to think strategically. But he has so much athleticism he has a tendency to rely on that and make matches harder than they need to be. If you brought down his speed, matches might get easier because he’d have more conviction to go after [opponents]. He’s getting more assertive and that will help because long-term wear and tear is a factor. But Andy would be terribly disappointed if he didn’t win another slam or two. There’s no question he can win more.”

Who would Agassi like to coach if he returned to tennis? “I can point to people that would be fun and interesting. To me there’s a gap between what [John] Isner, [Gaël] Monfils and Kyrgios do and what I think they could do. That’s interesting and exciting but if they don’t want to be coached it would be short-lived and painful. I would pay to watch all of those guys play but it’s impossible to say whether I could coach them.”

The idea of Agassi working with Kyrgios is fascinating. Could it be a short-term option? “I would not have any room now with my kids, who are 15 and 13. So the answer is no. I wouldn’t be able to do it because I couldn’t do it the way I would need to do it.”

Has Agassi learned to like tennis? “There’s a deep appreciation for the sport. That’s the best way to put it.”

Agassi pauses when asked if he and his wife sometimes hit a few balls in Vegas – for old time’s sake? “No. It sounds a nice idea but as soon as you hit the first couple of balls you remember you can do this but you’re also reminded of what you can’t do. I just thank God I played the game long enough to enjoy lots of good moments. It gave a lot and it took a lot. I think me and tennis are about even now.”

Source:www.theguardian.com

Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor


Today is the world wide web’s 28th birthday. Here’s a message from our founder and web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee on how the web has evolved, and what we must do to ensure it fulfils his vision of an equalising platform that benefits all of humanity.

 

Today marks 28 years since I submitted my original proposal for the world wide web. I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity.

1)   We’ve lost control of our personal data

The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this – albeit often by accepting long and confusing terms and conditions documents – but fundamentally we do not mind some information being collected in exchange for free services. But, we’re missing a trick. As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it. What’s more, we often do not have any way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share – especially with third parties – the T&Cs are all or nothing.

This widespread data collection by companies also has other impacts. Through collaboration with – or coercion of – companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused – bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.

2)   It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And, they choose what to show us based on algorithms which learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or ‘fake news’, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.

3)   Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

Political advertising online has rapidly become a sophisticated industry. The fact that most people get their information from just a few platforms and the increasing sophistication of algorithms drawing upon rich pools of personal data, means that political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users. One source suggests that in the 2016 US election, as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook, a near-impossible situation to monitor. And there are suggestions that some political adverts – in the US and around the world – are being used in unethical ways – to point voters to fake news sites, for instance, or to keep others away from the polls. Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?

These are complex problems, and the solutions will not be simple. But a few broad paths to progress are already clear. We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology like personal “data pods” if needed and exploring alternative revenue models like subscriptions and micropayments. We must fight against government over-reach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is “true” or not. We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed. We urgently need to close the “internet blind spot” in the regulation of political campaigning.

Our team at the Web Foundation will be working on many of these issues as part of our new five year strategy – researching the problems in more detail, coming up with proactive policy solutions and bringing together coalitions to drive progress towards a web that gives equal power and opportunity to all. I urge you to support our work however you can – by spreading the word, keeping up pressure on companies and governments or by making a donation. We’ve also compiled a directory of other digital rights organisations around the world for you to explore and consider supporting too.

I may have invented the web, but all of you have helped to create what it is today. All the blogs, posts, tweets, photos, videos, applications, web pages and more represent the contributions of millions of you around the world building our online community. All kinds of people have helped, from politicians fighting to keep the web open, standards organisations like W3C enhancing the power, accessibility and security of the technology, and people who have protested in the streets. In the past year, we have seen Nigerians stand up to a social media bill that would have hampered free expression online, popular outcry and protests at regional internet shutdowns in Cameroon and great public support for net neutrality in both India and the European Union.

It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone.  If you would like to be more involved, then do join our mailing list, do contribute to us, do join or donate to any of the organisations which are working on these issues around the world.

 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

The Web Foundation is at the forefront of the fight to advance and protect the web for everyone. We believe doing so is essential to reverse growing inequality and empower citizens. You can follow our work by signing up to our newsletter, and find a local digital rights organisation to support here on this list. Additions to the list are welcome and may be sent to contact@webfoundation.org

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