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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  14/11/2010  :  06:26
NEW VERSION TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR MEMBERS WITH SLOW CONNECTIONS TO CONNECT.

Follw this LINK for last version.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Bruff
Regular Member


479 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 09:56
I heard the reports on the research into pharmaceutical labelling.  I wasn't wholly sure what the original purpose of the research was.  So I wasn't sure whether the research arose over concerns regarding the general population's (in)ability to read and understand the labelling?  Or whether it arose from concerns that the framing of the message of labelling didn't best facilitate the behaviour desired?  These are separate questions.

 
For health issues, there is research showing that message framing influences behaviours.  For detection behaviours - testicular or breast self-examination to look for lumps say - positive or negative frames make a difference.  That is, whether you say: 'checking for lumps enables early diagnosis...'. or '...if you don't check, you may not benefit from early detection..', appears to make a difference to behaviours.  Same for prevention behaviours, which is about folk not smoking, or eating well etc - again, the framing appears to matter.

 
On numeracy, if folk will allow me to be controversial I'll contend that most people are inumerate (to varying degrees, me included) in one area that really matters these days and that is in the use and presentation of numbers and particularly statistics.  Look at the way numbers are presented to the public.  Newspapers in particular are prone to report the ‘relative risk increase‘ - the percentage increase in condition X when presented with risk Y, because it produces the most attention-grabbing numbers.

 
So we see headlines all the time (every other day it seems in the Mail and the Express) that scream 'eating [insert inanimate thing here] increases the chance that you’ll have [insert dreaded disease/illness here] by 50%'.  Blimey.  But it's not so much a 'Blimey' if the ‘absolute risk increase‘ is quoted which might note the increased chance as 0.2%', or even better, if we quote ‘natural frequencies‘ that is, intelligible numbers.  In this case, we would say say 'eating [inanimate thing] increases the chance you’ll have [dreaded diseased] from 4 in every 1000 people if you don’t, to 6 in every 1000 people if you do'. 

 
Phew.  Much better.  Yes, pop another rasher on there would you, thanks.

 
I'd like this ability to be the focus for a debate on numeracy and not the ability to do your times table and long division (important though those are).  Would make for a much more active citizenship.

 
Richard Broughton



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tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 10:38
Richard - why do you use a larger font than nearly everyone else?

What caught my attention today was the arrival of the 2011 Census Form.  Initial reaction - Name Rank and Number is all you're getting!   I suppose I'll mellow in a while.  Question H1 annoys immediately - they categorise every conceivable class of person who could possibly live here, but can't bring themselves to use the word "wife" . My answer to many other questions should be "mind your own business" 
Is it justme? Can you get treatment? 


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 10:38
I'll second that Richard! Also, journalists should be sent on `Understanding statistics' courses. The way probablilities are expressed can have unintended consequences too and doctors and nurses could do with a bit of help in how to tell people such numbers. I was due to have an angiogram (thin endoscope tube up your leg artery and into the top of the heart) last December and went for my pre-op appointment to discuss it and be told the dangers. The nurse, the doctor and all the accompanying literature told me there was a "1 in a 1000 chance of death" during the op. That sounded high risk to me; after all, most people think they are going to win the lottery and that's a much lower probablility. When I came home I looked up the risk of death from parachute jumping and found, to my surprise,it was much, much less dangerous than the angiogram (I think it was something like 1 in 25,000 for parachuting) and I almost cancelled the angiogram.

But the problem was all down to presentation of the risk - two things in particular. First, the 1 in 1000 figure was not appropriate for someone like me. It is the overall average figure for everyone given an angiogram and includes a large number of people who have already had a heart attack, have serious heart malfunctions and who have much higher than 1 in 1000 risk. Which means that in my case - an angiogram simply because I'm increasingly breathless - the risk is a lot lower than 1 in 1000. Secondly, even if the figure of "1 in 1000 chance of death" were appropriate they would be better, psychologically, to tell me "1000 to 1 against death". It sounds a lot less likely to happen to you then! Whereas, the first version conjures up a mental picture of a finger pointing at me.

Stanley, you're the lucky one - we've been chosen to receive a a `small business' census form too. It tells us we are obliged to complete it. If we give wrong data I suppose they could cross-check with the Revenue and Strange Customs. Much of it is irrelevant to a small partnership like ours but, if it's llke all the other forms we receive, it will keep bouncing back if we don't complete everything. They grind you down to powder. The bureaucrats need telling in detail how the current uprisings across the Middle East and Africa first began - a Tunisian market trader pushed to the limit by bureaucracy who finally doused himself in petrol and struck a match.

Edited by - Tizer on 07/03/2011 10:47:57


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 10:58
Catgate, hopefully you will be encouraged to learn that those at the forefront of enlightened education do see the need for a better transition from primary to secondary, and are doing much to improve it.
One thing that may jeopordise that is the recent idea of learning through play, many primary schools have opted into this new model which I believe may be compulsory, and in practice it has meant that children who have been learning to read from the age of three in pre-school and early primary years, are suddenly thrust back into a playing all day choice, some take it and undo all the work that has been done! I believe the model is part of studying the way children progress who have not gone to school untill age 6 (many countries have this as entry to school age) the argument being that they learn more quickly because their brains are more mature, this may be true, in whcih case the new methods could improve things.  One thing I would bring back into primary teaching if I were in charge is the need for order and quiet, when I was an  assistant in primary schools I struggled to think in the busy, continually noisy and bustling atmosphere.


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thomo
Barlick Born Old Salt


2021 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 11:47
I think I understand what you are saying, and yet I see what type of numeracy an individual may feel most comfortable with as being the one that suits that individuals purpose to his or hers best advantage, other forms being peripheral to that requirement. If I may use myself as an example it would be thus: In my time at what was Barnoldswick Secondary Modern and arriving there with a basic understanding of maths sufficient along with English etc, to put me in the A stream, I was then taught by a man who took great delight in ridiculing a pupil in front of his classmates and even in front of other classes if the pupil did not "get it right" first time. For me, maths was my weakest subject and this kind of treatment did not help, the curriculum ended in those days with algebra and following an interview with an RAF Officer when I was fourteen it became clear that I would require more, and so I was enrolled on a Technical Entrants Course at the same school but in the evenings, Maths, English and Technical Drawing, my daytime English teacher now became my maths teacher and the result was quite amazing, he took the time to make sure that what he said was fully understood. After leaving school I was then enrolled on a trade course at Nelson for the next six years, besides the trade related subjects, there was English, Maths, Art and Social Studies, the first two of which started at the very beginning once more! My next period of intense education came along with my entry at age 32 into the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineering Mechanic (Stoker) and once again it all started from the very beginning. Due to achieving good results in final examinations I was selected for accelerated advancement to ultimately become a Mechanician (Artificer), each stage of advancement has to meet the educational standards laid down as well as the ability to effectively function as a member of a ships company, When the big day arrived in the shape of a Fleet Board which is where you are cross examined by senior members of your chosen profession and having met the aforementioned standards you are advanced to Senior Rate and it all begins again. This is the point where it all changes and besides the Maths and English etc new subjects are added, what I had been taught as science now becomes Physics, I should point out that this course was full time and the range of subjects were many. All of my classmates were much younger than I, and had had a much more comprehensive education at the beginning, our maths instructor was brilliant, a young Irish Lieutenant who had the skills and the patience to deal with anyone who was struggling a bit. At the end of the first year came the exams, I got the highest mark ever in workshop practice 98.2% (I had worked in engineering before) to pass these exams the lowest acceptable mark was 76% and in maths I got 75%, this was put down to my never having come across calculus before and the accidental inclusion of a question that not even the brightest among us understood (calculate the volume of the frustrum of a cone) no one knew what a frustrum was. The upshot of this is that my 75% put me before the Training Commander who asked "why" given that all my other efforts were well above what was required, and what had I to say in mitigation. "It is no use quoting calculus to a broken machine Sir" was what came out, fortunately he had a sense of humour. Calculus in the Navy has more to do with gunnery and stellar navigation than with engineering, but then I imagine that a Seaman would have felt much the same about Mass flow through pipes, heat transfer, Charles and Boyles Gas Laws and all the rest of the first and second laws of physics and thermodynamics etc. But the powers that be had made the rules that you must prove that you can do it, regardless of wether you ever use it or not. Too much knowledge of a subject that does not affect your ability can sometimes cloud your judgement.


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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 14:24


quote:
tripps wrote:
Richard - why do you use a larger font than nearly everyone else?

What caught my attention today was the arrival of the 2011 Census Form.  Initial reaction - Name Rank and Number is all you're getting!   I suppose I'll mellow in a while.  Question H1 annoys immediately - they categorise every conceivable class of person who could possibly live here, but can't bring themselves to use the word "wife" . My answer to many other questions should be "mind your own business" 
Is it justme? Can you get treatment? 

I'm sure Richard will reply to the font question himself but I would say that it is no larger than the default font used in the reply box. Looks like 10 or 11pt Times New Roman to me which is normal default in MS Word.

With regard to the census, not got mine yet but my reply to your "can you get treatment" is no, but you can get a heafty fine if you don't fill it in, it is a legal requirement.

I have looked at all the census related jobs in detail as I am currently out of work. The basic census enumerators are there to go round an gee up people and encorage them to fill in the forms. They will even offer help if required. The next stage of enumerator up is the one that lays down the law regarding non-compliance. The job description goes something like, "must be calm, have good people skills and be able to handle agumentative data subjects", yeh right! The next job tier above that is the one that brings the police along for non complient members of the population. Some of the jobs are quite well paid, although very short term and very tying on hours to be worked (evenings and weekends).

I thought about applying for one or two of the roles and then decided against it, this census is the most searching that has ever been produced and as such is bound to carry a considerable amount of contention and dissent along with it. I did not relly fancy spending my evenings and weekends in all weathers arguing the toss with reluctant folk on the doorstep. My wife Sally did the basic enumerator job 10 years ago and said she would not do it again.

It will probably be the last one that is carried out on paper in this way. I belive that you can complete your return online using the reference number on the documentation. I think it is intended that this will become the norm in future census years.

One thing is for certain, it is a legal requirement to return a fully completed form one way or the other. Of course it is entirely up to you what you populate the fields with.

 


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 14:29
An interesting tale, thomo, and one which accords very much with my last comments on this matter. The pupil needs to know how to learn and the teacher must know his subject matter inside out, and have the ability to cause the pupil want to absorb it willingly.

My one-time brother-in-law was an art teacher. He surprised me one day when he said that he had just started teaching maths at night school to make a bit more money .  I asked him how he was doing that when his speciality was painting.  He said it was easy. he just read up before the class started. He said it was only necessessary to be one step ahead of the pupil!!!!.....and that was about 40 years ago. Since when things do not appear to have got any better.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Callunna
Revolving Grey Blob


3044 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 15:50
I can understand the reluctance to disclose personal information but just think how many people on this site alone - never mind throughout the world -  use the census information to research family history and local history in general.

In 10 years' time filling in the census may all be done online, but in a hundred years' time the information will probably be unretrievable as technology moves on.

Such is progress.

(Good job the Edwardians didn't use their latest technology - wind-up gramophones!)


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Callunna
Revolving Grey Blob


3044 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 16:19


quote:
belle wrote:
What attracted my attention today is that a judge has decided not to allow a Christian couple to adopt because their beliefs mean they would not be able to teach a child that same sex marriage was right.

I've waited a while to respond to this, Belle, as I didn't want to dive in with a knee-jerk reaction.

In my opinion, any religion, political organisation or group of any kind which advocates prejudice should not force their beliefs on anyone else. 

I don't know the background to the story but there are always several perspectives to any situation and people should be judged on who they are, not what someone's beliefs expect them to be like.

I speak from personal experience, not as a woolly liberal. Our two have grown up happy, healthy individuals who now have their own stable families and are useful members of society. Unlike some I could speak of, who had what society might call a 'normal' upbringing with traditional Christian beliefs.

Ironically, I imagine many present day Christians would be criticised by their founder Jesus Christ for being intolerant and prejudiced.

Before the wrath of the entire universe descends upon me, might I just say that I respect a Christian's (or any other religious person's) right to hold their beliefs - so long as they don't pre-judge me. If they get to know me and still don't like me, well... that's their right too!


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 16:55
The point I was trying to make with this story, and I thank you for your considered response, was that in our country which was untill recently seen as a Christian country, basic rights re religion are afforded to all but Christians. If we are going to harp on about equality, it should be just that! Can you imagine the pubic outcry if any other minority group were prevented from fostering because of their "beliefs" whether religious or sexual.


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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 16:58
Difficult one this.

First and foremost has to be the child, being an Atheist and Hetrosexual I like what I am !! but I have no problem with Christians being Homosexuals I am sure they like what they are. Or Christians not Being Homosexual. So it's the child that matters, do we know if Hetrosexual Couples tend to stay together longer than Homosexual Couples ?? I don't know the answer to that but I do know a few divorced " married couples" so stable relationship can't be the deciding factor.
I think the age and sex of the child must have a lot of influence on the decsion that social workers/ adoption agencies have to come to.
I just know I don't think I would like to be making the choices.
I have a niece who has been Married ( 2 grown up children) now divorced and who has been in a long term relationship with another girl. She has just split with this long term partner and has set up  home with a different girl. Her Children just take it in their stride that's mum's decsions they say but it's not for us both are hetrosexual and currently that's what they want to be. I suppose what I am saying is mum hasn't influenced their sexuality.



Frank Wilkinson       Once Navy Always Navy Go to Top of Page
Callunna
Revolving Grey Blob


3044 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 17:32


quote:
belle wrote:
Can you imagine the pubic outcry if any other minority group were prevented from fostering because of their "beliefs" whether religious or sexual.

Agree with you 100% there, Belle. 

Like Frank says, it's all about the child - religious/political/whatever beliefs shouldn't come into it. And that also goes for many other situations in this country, nay, throughout the world. Respect, understanding and tolerance - that's what we need.

Oh my, I'm turning into a hippy...


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 22:20
You both are making valid points but neither of you get what I am trying to say. Can you imagine a news report which says judge has forbidden Atheist couple to foster because they feel they would have to say there was no God? or court has forbidden Muslim couple to foster because they would expect their child to attend a mosque?


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Callunna
Revolving Grey Blob


3044 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 23:25
I understand your point, Belle, and to a large extent I agree with you.

However, as there are many Christian couples who are accepted as adoptive parents, I can only assume that in this case their attitude indicated they wouldn't prove to be ideal candidates. The media have got hold of the story and used it the way the media does in order to grab attention.

If a Muslim couple publicly stated they would bring up the child to hate non-Muslims I'm sure no one - other Muslims included -  would be surprised or object if they were turned down too.

So the argument isn't about religious beliefs, political persuasion or sexual preferences, it's about prejudice.

I wasn't criticising or objecting to your observation, Belle. But having been on the wrong end of prejudice myself, I wanted to put it into context and suggest that the issue might not, after all, be concerned with the erosion of the traditional British family way of life.

BTW: I was brought up in a Christian family and it didn't do me any harm  :–) 


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 07/03/2011 : 23:43
I don't think the issue is the erosion of traditional British family life either but I do think that as a ruling it sets a precedent that may prevent many Christians from fostering and adopting, so it is about excluding minorities because of their beliefs.. There was no prejudice involved, except that shown by the judge in his ruling,  I agree that if a muslim wanted to teach hatred they too would probably be excluded, but what if they just wanted to abide by the tenents of their faith, which is all this couple said?
We have gone slightly out of kilter where prejudice is concerned in this country...seeing every person who does not conform to a fashionable way of thinking as being a threat to the freedom of minority groups, but surely freedom of speech and lifestlye should extend to Christians too.

Edited by - belle on 07/03/2011 11:50:09 PM

Edited by - belle on 07/03/2011 11:51:38 PM


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