Archive for government incompetence

Information Technology is Great – Isn’t It?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by AF

I sometimes wonder if the old saying that, “ignorance is bliss” wasn’t a lot truer than many supposed. It’s all very well us getting all this information, but in these days of tight schedules and sound bites it can get pretty confusing and occasionally dangerous.

The first difficulty comes from another quote which tells us that we (the UK and other English speaking countries) are divided by a common language – elevators and lifts, suspenders and braces, pants and trousers and so on… But it goes much deeper than that since, if you’re going to be bombarded with endless information, then you’d better make darned sure that you and the speaker attach the same meaning to the words, even if you’re all from the same country. Sometimes that’s down to what part of the country you come from and sometimes it’s also due mainly to the general level of education – or the lack of it, despite what it costs most of us!

For instance, take the word “pandemic”. Thesauruses tell us it’s an epidemic of a disease that is widespread, etc., but even that’s not strictly correct and it really only refers to anything (usually a disease or virus) instances of which occur globally, however infrequent or mild those occurrences may be – up to a point. To most of us though, when we’re told (endlessly on TV news and elsewhere) that Swine Flu is now pandemic, we instantly think of such diseases as the “Black Death” that wiped out something like two thirds of the human population of Europe several hundred years ago, or outbreaks of cholera, some past very virulent flu types and similar illnesses that threaten to spread like wildfire and destroy chunks of humanity.

In fact, although as with almost all viral diseases, it can result in serious illness or even death in those whose health is otherwise compromised and just a few isolated other cases that are not currently properly understood, the virus is, at the moment, often not that much worse than a common cold. That doesn’t mean it can’t kill those who are vulnerable, but it’s not that serious for most of us – particularly when correctly diagnosed, monitored and, if necessary, appropriately treated.

So, I don’t know how it went in other parts of the world, such as America and Australia, but the fact is that, because neither most politicians nor much of the media actually initially understood the true meaning of the word pandemic (and specifically how the W.H.O. uses it), they managed to create a huge amount of fear within the UK. Now, when the health authorities have failed abysmally to cope with the rush of people seeking diagnosis and treatment, they are telling us to calm down and not to panic!

Panic? You created it, guys! You deal with the consequences!