You’ll find all the posts in the Scribbles category below.

The November 2019 Debrief

The November 2019 Debrief

My monthly Debrief: Generalism for bounded rationalists° was published in the new November 2019 issue° of the BJGP last week. Inevitably, in writing a 600-700 word article a lot of stuff has to be dropped out or skimmed over. This month the article covers some thoughts around the work of Herbert Simon, bounded rationality, and the paradox of choice…

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis

I finished off this wonderful little audiobook this weekend. My vague sense of Varoufakis was that he was a disruptive, if not obstructive, rebel influence when Greece went through their agonising economics ruptures a few years ago…

Howgills in November

Howgills in November

The late Alfred Wainwright° was the one that called the Howgills “sleeping elephants’”. It’s a brilliant and much-used (overused?) description. You’ve seen them for sure. If you have ever driven north on the M6 then they slumber on your right as the motorway kicks up…

Engines of Privilege

Engines of Privilege

I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Engines of Privilege by Francis Green and David Kynaston.° So, first things first, I’m state school educated and I hadn’t been particularly militant about private schools…

Selected quotes from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Selected quotes from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

It has taken me a while to get around to reading this. I did have a couple of false starts with it but, it’s such a stated classic, I wanted to persist. I’ve written down some of the quotes I highlighted. It is particularly well suited to fiction writers…

Monthly reflection on activity: October 2019

Monthly reflection on activity: October 2019

I do record most of my exercise activities on Strava°. It does make a difference to the amount of training I get done. I record my runs and cycles on my smartphone using the Strava app and I add other entries, like weight training, manually as needed. I’ve been doing it for several years…

London Review of Books: How to Buy Drugs by Misha Glenny and Callum Lang

London Review of Books: How to Buy Drugs by Misha Glenny and Callum Lang

I read Misha Glenny’s book Dark Market a good few years ago and it was a fascinating exploration of the dark web. The London Review of Books article in the title,is available online° at the moment but I have, thanks to a kind friend, a gift subscription to the LRB so I read it on old-fashioned paper…

Smith: Why are doctors so unhappy?

Smith: Why are doctors so unhappy?

I only recently read this short editorial° from the former editor of the BMJ, Richard Smith. It was published in 2001 article and it has over 100 citations – which is remarkable and testament to how much it has resonated, and continues to resonate, with doctors. I think this may be the first time he refers to the ‘bogus contract’…

Some quotes from Seneca: On The Shortness of Life

Some quotes from Seneca: On The Shortness of Life

he Great Idea series° from Penguin are lovely little books. They tuck under the elastic of my Leuchtturm1917 notebooks° and can go anywhere. There is, of course, little shortage of quotes from Seneca and some of these are very well known. Here are...

Aporkalypse Now

Aporkalypse Now

African swine fever (ASF) is cutting a swathe through the pig population. Who knew? There is a World Organisation for Animal Health°, which I will admit I didn’t know existed, and this is the fact that staggered me: they expect a quarter of the world’s pig population to die of African swine fever…

Can Medicine Be Cured by Seamus O’Mahony

Can Medicine Be Cured by Seamus O’Mahony

I recently finished Seamus O’Mahony’s book Can Medicine Be Cured? He poses the title as a question and it is tempting to apply the principle that one should, as a matter of course, answer these kind of questions as ‘No’. And, indeed, O’Mahony offers little comfort that it can be answered…

Memy: Learning poetry by heart

Memy: Learning poetry by heart

I’ve been making an effort to commit some poetry to memory. I wouldn’t describe myself as an avid poetry fan, I have a very modest collection of books, but I do get an enormous pleasure from being able to recite a few verses from memory. It is deeply satisfying and they make good company…

Richard Freeman: former Team Sky doctor

Richard Freeman: former Team Sky doctor

I read Richard Freeman book, The Line, last year when it came out. In July 2018 I sent an email to a magazine offering a review. I wondered if there were some serious professionalism concerns that had not yet been picked up. The jiffy bag story, the lost laptop, it all looked bad…

Healthy diets and the planet

Healthy diets and the planet

There is, as with society in general, increasing concern about planetary health amongst the medical profession. While clearly climate change can damage health it is not always immediately apparent how doctors themselves can help people make changes. Two main areas stand out…