The dishonesty of the defenders of helmets
I would love if they turned out to be wrong. But several independent Czech neurosurgeons were interviewed and independently of each other, they quantified Michael Schumacher's chances to wake up as a sane capable human to be nearly zero. Four weeks is just too long. The neurons are dying, and so on. The experts are saying that Schumacher is unfortunately more likely to follow the example of Ariel Sharon. I've been informed about some impressive operations by these folks so I trust their expertise quite a lot. Their top British colleague Richard Greenwood says that Schumacher won't be the same man even if he survives.
Two thirds of TRF readers don't see DISQUS comments and can't post them. Sorry for that. I have no idea what is the cause or how to fix it. Hat tip: Bill Z.
Recall that it's claimed that speed didn't play much role. He was brought to an artificial coma to reduce the pressure and oxygen within the brain. I feel that they should have tried to wake him up earlier. Recent reports say that they were trying to wake him since Tuesday and the initial reactions looked encouraging but the rumors were mostly rejected by the Grenoble doctors so they're probably inaccurate, to say the least.
I want to mention one topic: the helmet. After his accident, some media were full of claims that the helmet had saved his life, and all this stuff.
I've heard some hardcore defenders of the helmets everywhere who would say how wonderful they were – and how horrible the accidents may be without helmets. You don't necessarily just kill yourself; you may survive and become a cripple for the rest of your life which is worse than life, I would hear, and so on.
Unfortunately, it may seem now that the latter is what happened *with* the helmet. I may even imagine that the helmet may have caused the problems.
Don't get me wrong. I tend to believe – because of the mechanical simulations of the collisions I can do in my head – that the statistical conclusion should say that a helmet increases the average chances to survive and to be fine - if all other things are equal. But there are three problems with this argument if you want to extract a recommendation from it: individual events are not the same thing as the expectation value; the helmet may reduce the good feelings; and other things are not equal.
Concerning the latter point, a helmet may allow you to be more irresponsible, careless, and perhaps faster (although speed is claimed not to have played a role) and these things may compensate or even overcompensate the positive impact of the helmet.
Concerning the first point, there may be contexts in which the helmet may help you to harm yourself even if other things are equal. And there may be cases in which a speedy death is actually the solution you might prefer. And many people are skiing or biking etc. so safely or so slowly etc. that a helmet is redundant.
Concerning the second, middle point, a helmet may simply be unpleasant, reduces the circulation of the air, adds some undesirable pressure, and so on. And these things simply do matter to humans, too. It makes no sense for other people to tell someone that the foe of helmet doesn't care if he clearly does care. Needless to say, the rationalization of the Big Government or regulation in general is all about the overlooking of one side of the coin. For example, all the benefits of the fossil fuels are neglected and all the costs of the carbon caps or taxes are denied when global warming radicals defend their orthodoxy.
Most importantly, there is statistical empirical evidence that the skyrocketing use of ski helmets hasn't actually reduced the brain injuries.
To summarize, I have a big problem with similar "one size fits all" safety policies. I think that if people prefer not to wear helmets or follow other recommendations on safety, they usually compare their costs and benefits rather sensibly (the same thing holds for smoking and other things) and it's wrong for others to impose their "expectation values" stereotypes on them – because of their human freedom and because of their specifics by which they may differ from the "average person" in the statistics. And because sometimes the recommendations aren't backed even by the aggregate data.
More importantly, I've had a big problem with the dishonesty of the ideological promoters of the helmets (and a more regulated society, to generalize it) because this was a story that hasn't so far confirmed their point but they were still eager to spin the story in a way so that they might have pretended that their point was strengthened. So far, it wasn't.
A complete coincidence (added later): a few hours after I wrote this blog entry, Czech TV NOVA showed ex-president Václav Klaus, a very good skier, who has explained why he has no helmet and that he hasn't needed one for 70 years. ;-) He believes that up to the end of his life, he will be able to "complete the knocking" without a helmet. Some "experts" said that he should have one not just because of his style but because of other skiers who may knock him down. They didn't convince Klaus: "Unless the European Union commands me to wear a helmet and distributes members of the Helmet Police around the slopes, I just won't place a helmet on my head." :-) To have the last word, the reporters informed about a Czech skier who may have been saved by a helmet after an accident today.
U.K. bank won't pay you your money if they don't like your "reason"
I was stunned to read a story at Petr Hájek's Counterstream. See The Daily Mail for the original story. HSBC, a British bank, won't pay you something like more than GBP 3,000 of your own money if they decide that you haven't given them a satisfactory reason why you want the money.
Holy cow. It's the very meaning of "the money's being mine" that I can decide what to do with it regardless of whether or not a corrupt asshole or any other person not equal to myself likes it. This new policy is nothing else than theft and the people responsible for that must be treated as big-scale criminals because billions of pounds are being held hostage and used for blackmailing in this way. However, I am afraid that these organized criminals are so well organized that they will be backed by their fellow criminals in the government who will "argue" that stealing your money in this way is good to fight against crime or something like that, and the rabble within the electorate that votes for this scum will okay these immoral would-be justifications, too. I am really shocked that the HSBC officials who invented this plot haven't been arrested yet. They deserve life in prison.
HSBC deserves to go out of business. I surely recommend the clients of HSBC to gradually remove their money from the bank because the evidence suggests that they may change the rules in similarly dramatic ways whenever they want and steal everything from you.