Some of the things we see in the microscope are not a part of the original structure of the living specimen but are artifacts. An artifact is a product of man’s workmanship. Workmanship may bring to mind the craftsmanship of the Eskimo’s polar bear carved out of walrus tusk or the graceful gazelle of African ebony. Man’s workmanship also includes the embedding, sectioning, and staining of tissues for microscope observations. The effects of these manipulations often produce distortions and color changes which are not characteristic of the tissues when alive. In order to interpret what we see and to understand the structure of living tissues, we need to know what artifacts are and what makes them.
The ‘reactive howls of ‘outrage’ from some politicians and commentators.’
The Media, and not just the BBC, by its very fact of observing, for example, politicians in action, can introduce ‘artifacts’ into events as said politicians react not only to those events but react in a way that is influenced by them trying to either generate favourable comment or avoid unfavourable comment in the Media…..either way they act in a manner that they wouldn’t naturally do if they were unobserved…for better or worse.
Recent events have given us some perfect illustrations of this.
MP’s pay is one such example….all three leaders of the main political parties have been trying to out compete each other to make it quite clear that ‘in the present economic climate‘ such a pay rise is ‘inappropriate’…….
That is despite it being made quite clear that the plan is ‘cost neutral’ and will cost the tax payer nothing.
Why do the politicians all posture and prostrate themselves before the Media? Because they believe they will be torn apart if they so much as suggest that perhaps the cost neutral ‘payrise’ is in fact appropriate.
The irony is that the BBC has been very even handed, if possibly more inclined towards the payrise…giving a lot of coverage to explanation of the ins and outs of this.
Massive respect for Charles walker mp honesty – " I'm not going to be holier than thou and say I won't take the pay rise " #newsnight
— emily m (@maitlis) December 9, 2013
Another example is this:
Lack of a proper national policy to get UK children to do more exercise amounts to mass “child neglect”, the British Journal of Sports Medicine says.
Charities and other august bodies know that they have a ready audience in the Media for any sensationalist claims…the more sensationalist the better….and this distorts the news agenda which favours such tripe.
And yet only a day or so later we hear that 1.5 million more people are taking part in sport as a result of the ‘Olympic legacy’…no doubt many of them children.
And apart from that I don’t think sport in school has anything to do with obesity or fitness…or it is marginal…..these doctors are demanding 1 hour a day of sport in school….I must have had at most 2 hours a week…and yet managed to be more Laurel than Hardy.
[And..if fat is genetic the spooks would have whisked some of these miraculously fat people off to Area 51 for examination…because if you can get fat on a Ryvita then your genes will save the world from starvation as you can convert minute amounts of food into large amounts of stored energy in the shape of fat. Ab Flab!]
The last example of how the presence of the Media distorts reactions is again genetics…but not concerning fat…concerning IQ.
Boris Johnson was monstered last week when he suggested that a high IQ gave you an advantage in life:
“I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth.”
Naturally the usual suspects all came out against such apparent ‘elitism’…Clegg saying it was ‘unpleasant, careless elitism….that treated people as if they were dogs’. Even Cameron had to distance himself from Boris….Labour MPs also clamoured to denounce him…saying it was an insult and shameful.
However today we have this:
Genetic influence explains almost 60% of the variation in GCSE exam results, twin studies suggest.
Scientists studied academic performance in more than 11,000 identical and non-identical 16-year-old twins in the UK.
The team from King’s College London found that on average, genes explained 58% of differences between GCSE scores in core subjects such as maths.
Differences in grades due to environment, such as schools and families, accounted for about 36%.
The remaining differences in GCSE scores in maths, English and science are explained by environmental factors unique to each person, say the researchers.
So….what Boris said was in fact the case….as most people probably believe…..which is the point of this post…the politicians react in a way that is more tuned to how the Media will react than to what the Public actually thinks…..the Tory Party famously changing its core beliefs and values under Cameron in the hope that the BBC will stop calling them the ‘Nasty Party’.
The public, as the head of IPSA said, are quite capable of thinking for themselves:
“This shows us something important: this is an issue where the public has a more nuanced, and split, opinion than the reactive howls of ‘outrage’ from some commentators and politicians.”
So when will politicians get brave enough to say what they really think rather than shaping it to fit in with the Media’s values and let the Public judge?
What is also amusing is Richard Bacon’s reaction along with that of his guests (9 mins in )..including a teacher, to this story.
We were told that genetics played a ‘huge part’ in how pupils performed academically in school.
Bacon said ‘Brass tacks…if your parents are stupid then you will be stupid..that’s what it is saying.’
He said this was ‘Really interesting stuff.’
He brought on a teacher who said that this was only ’emphasisng what teachers knew already….every pupil is different…it is a very interesting piece of research.’
What a remarkably different reaction to that given to Boris….could it be that, regardless of the truth of Boris’ statement, because he is firstly a Tory and secondly an Old Etonian, the Media, commentators and craven fellow politicians, either saying what they believe is ‘acceptable’ to the Media or taking an opportunistic chance to attack Boris, all denounce Boris and thereby distort not only perceptions of reality but the political process as a whole.
Paxman recently complained about politics and its apparent detachment from ordinary life….well who creates that detachment?…the Media which forces politicians to react in an artificial and absurd manner saying things that bare little relation to life or indeed what the majority of the Public probably think…Boris accepted….all to please that very same Media which is in fact the most out of touch group of people in the country…and yet who are setting the political agenda more often than not.
‘Do you find our industry slightly ludicrous?’