One network to rule them all….aka hypocrisy on stilts

Hypocrisy on stilts: Facebook (closed) celebrating the Web (open).

John Naughton writing in the Observer. Even if you’re a casual* Facebook user it’s worth a read. (*casual as opposed to a full on, FOMO user).

Starts, “If there were a Nobel prize for hypocrisy, then its first recipient ought to be Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook boss. On 23 August, all his 1.7 billion users were greeted by this message: “Celebrating 25 years of connecting people. The web opened up to the world 25 years ago today! We thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and other internet pioneers for making the world more open and connected.”

Continues here.

 

The Monday Morning Quote #382

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. 

If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence.

You must make yourself succeed every time.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt

w4riting in “You Learn By Living” (1960)

I wonder what they would have made of my Social Media profile?

Application for employment

In August 1978 I started my first “proper” job. By proper I mean a job that meant I had satisfied my university examiners and was fit to be registered with the GDC. The interview process was a bit of a cattle market with all the candidates for dental house officer posts at The London Hospital being interviewed and awarded on the same day. My memory is of a full room with all the candidates trying to out-do each other in terms of experience, knowledge and who had the best referees. John “Sam” Holmes and myself had just left Newcastle each with a shiny new BDS which meant we were 6 months behind all the London graduates who qualified in a term over 4 years compared with our 5. We both decided that the two posts for which we had applied, the resident Oral Surgery House Officer jobs, were bound to be given to the more vocal candidates, the ones who had told us how good they were.

We were wrong. They wanted something that we had. I had completed an application form of sorts and submitted a curriculum vitae (cv). The Dean in Newcastle, Professor Roy Storer had given us a lecture and a handout on writing your cv, or resume, and I realised over the next few years of job interviews that other candidates did not possess such a polished document to back up their applications. I was also supported by (good) references from Prof Storer and my Oral Surgery mentor Stewart Blair.

So a document and an interview. I had not been an outstanding student in terms of academia but had enjoyed a very full life at university. I shudder to think what my Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc, etc profiles would have looked like. Probably they would have had details of rugby trips, skinny dipping in Leazes Park in the snow and countless parties.

A report in CIPD this week says that, “Third of employers have turned down candidates because of their social media profile”.

Around a third (36 per cent) of the 4,000 HR professionals surveyed said they had declined to interview a candidate, or had rejected an applicant they had already interviewed, after checking their social media posts, while 65 per cent Googled prospective employees.

The process works both ways, however: 28 per cent of jobseekers said their view of an organisation was influenced by what they read about it on websites such as Glassdoor, and they were less likely to apply if they formed an unfavourable impression.

I do wonder what Prof Gordon Seward (my first boss) and the great and the good of London Hospital dentistry sitting around the boardroom table grilling me would have thought of my undergraduate antics. Would they have dismissed me out of hand because of my behaviour on a Dental Students Field Day, not offered me an interview due to the bill for damages when I spoke at the Agric-Dental debate or withdrawn the offer after seeing the photos from my mobile disco Facebook page?

If they did, and I gather from talking to clients that it is, understandably, common practice to Google prospectives, what would they have missed? What could I have missed?

We live in a world that seems to be getting more and more obsessed with safety, where every prospective student and job candidate ticks the correct boxes. Take no risks and you will never accomplish anything.

Beware of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The Monday Morning Quote #381

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson

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Childhood obesity – another let down.

Here is today’s piece from The Guardian about the the UK government’s “Childhood Obesity Strategy”.

The BBC joins in and says, it’s weak and watered down.

In April this year I stuck my head above the parapet and said I was not in favour of a sugar tax. I thought it was far too little and doubted the UK government’s commitment. Here’s the piece in Dentistry.

Because I dared swim against the perceived tide, I wanted to tax sugar, all sugar, where it comes into the food chain and not at the retailer, I have been contacted on several occasions by food industry lobbyists who wanted me to put my name to letters against the “sugar tax”. I was left in little doubt how strong and broad ranging these groups are. I declined any and all offers.

I committed much of my clinical career to prevention and the control of diseases, especially in the young, I take no pleasure in thinking, “I told you so”.

….Why be specific about drinks? Dentists have advocated a tax on confectionary for decades. We know that many confectionary sales are an impulse in response to advertising. Deal with that and get rid of sweets at checkouts and petrol stations.

Why not tax it in the supply chain with a levy on all sugar containing food ingredients? Tax sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate and other added sugars at the point where they’re manufactured or imported, essentially taxing everything with added sugar, at a level appropriate to its sugar content.

Amongst the acolytes for a sugar tax is Jamie Oliver, whose recipe for “Scrumptious sticky toffee pudding” contains nearly 2lb of sugar. Shouldn’t the BBC be made to give public health warnings with every episode of The Great British Bake Off?…

…The belief that a tax will automatically lead to a reduction in obesity and related diseases is far too simplistic in my opinion. It will take other measures including the elimination of marketing and advertising of other junk foods. Above all it will take Government will to confront the food industry and to promote change in the hearts and minds of the country and with so many lobbyists and vested interests that’s not going to happen soon.

In the meantime dentists would be best advised to walk the talk, to limit their own intake, step up their patient education so it’s about general and dental health and vote for a government with a genuine commitment to health.”

Truth-O-MeterSleep well in your flaming pants Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mrs May and as for Jeremy Hunt….

 

Sense! There are good reasons not to give up on flossing, despite what you’ve read in the news.

From Quartz

O-8ZYr-duI39SgthlrtsIm1fbdErkyr67Q4sV4retnAhRZsGTxI_qqYX1hExRdFO0-y4=s151The world woke to the smell of burning floss last week, as thunderous applause met news reports that there was, after all, no evidence for dentists recommending flossing. A lot of people, it seems, hate to floss. Some would rather clean a toilet.

But don’t throw out all those spools of waxed dental tape just yet.

It’s true that in response to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP) the US government “acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched.” It’s also true that the latest US government-issued Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in June did not include advice to floss every day—a staple of dental advice all over the world and, according to AP, a standard recommendation since 1979.

What isn’t true is that science has proven flossing is bad, or that it does nothing for the health of your teeth and gums. According to the rumor-debunking website Snopes, what’s been missed by the mass media is the underlying problem: evaluating the impact of flossing on health is nearly impossible, and that means the government can’t in good conscience recommend it—even if almost all dental health experts believe flossing works.

Dentists have seen it with their own eyes: people who floss have healthier gums, because it helps get rid of gunk and bacterial build-ups that could cause problems later. Buts right now all we have is the anecdotal evidence of experience and not proper scientific proof. At least not to the extent required by the Institutional Review Boards that makes the decisions around official government-issued health advice.

Government health recommendations have to be based on scientific evidence, and the studies that supply such evidence have to meet the rules of the Board. Primarily, the Board requires successful clinical trials comparing one group of people given a treatment—in this case, flossing—with another “control” group who are given nothing. You then see if the treatment really does have an effect on what you’re studying—in this case, gum health.

But to properly evaluate flossing, you’d need a group of people to not floss for a pretty long time, possibly several years. That’s not really ethical nor is it particularly scientifically sound since there’s no way to control for dozens of other variables that could compromise the results. For instance, if you are telling a group not to floss, they might feel compelled to brush for longer to keep better oral hygiene.

There’s another problem. Trials aren’t conducted with Big Brother-style 24/7 surveillance, they’re done through check ups and surveys. But people are known to lie about their flossing habits. Scientists have to trust what the study participants tell them, and have no idea how often or to what extent people really are or are not flossing.

It’s no surprise then, that the scientific evidence for flossing has been found wanting. A thorough 2011 Cochrane review concluded that, while they couldn’t say there was evidence to support flossing that met proper scientific standards, “flossing is an effective adjunct to toothbrushing, as the important benefits outweigh any potential harms.”

It’s true, there is no evidence from clinical trials that proves flossing works. But just because the US government can’t in good conscience recommend it in official guidelines, that doesn’t mean flossing is useless.

The Monday Morning Quote #380

“A better world could be brought about only by better individuals.”

Pierre de Coubertin

Founder of the International Olympic Committee and considered the father of the modern Olympic Games.

coubertin

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