Dougie's BMJ rapid responses 1999 - 2002

Today's BMJ editorial by Delamothe and Smith points out that more than 4 years of rapid responses (over 20,000 individual contributions) are now fully searchable on the BMJ website. They also discuss the downside: the rapid response "bore." Making a page of links to my output of rapid responses over the past 3 or 4 years arguably puts me automatically in that category, but I can't resist. Oh, and they also cite my editorial on free software, (which is nice).

In rough chronological order:

Avelopia described (1999)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/317/7174/1713#1614

Richard Smith asked me to write this up more fully for the Xmas BMJ; I never got round to it, though it stands fine as it is. I didn't invent the term avelopia by the way; that was my friend Patrick Field (the Sage of Amhurst Road). But I believe I was the first registered medical practitioner to promote the term.

Update 29 June 2002: Patrick points out Valerie Stone of Beccles invented the term avelopia. Hats off.
And hats off to the fine BikeReader site, whose illustrious contributors include not only Patrick Field, but Alain de Botton and Jeremy Paxman. Enjoy!

Helmet wars (1999)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/318/7197/1505/a#3811

I normally try to ignore this issue. It is so irrelevant to cycling. That said, I did wear my Bell cycle helmet last week: it was my debut at Hernia Hill Velodrome, racing funny bikes. It seemed the sociable thing to do, and after all, what consenting adults wear in private is their own business. I took it off for the ride home to Hackney.

Lundberg sacked (1999)

http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/318/7180/394 (published letter) http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/318/7177/DC1#1794 (rr)

Old George Lundberg was sacked. It must have been a quiet week. I was in a bad mood, three acronyms deep in the KMC of the SPP at UCL. Still, it passed the time, and made the paper.

Richard Stallman comments on my free software editorial (2000)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/321/7267/976#10362

I got a lot of kudos in the hacker world from the fact that RMS commented personally on my editorial. And the link from gnu.org to carnall.org hasn't done my google importance score any harm either.

Debate with NCC HTA's Philip Simon re PDFs (2000)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/321/7262/711/a#9936

I did meet Philip Simon once in person at an academic meeting in Southampton about 1998 when I was a UCL research fellow. There was stuff to be said on both sides, so it's a moderately illuminating discussion.

Back pain, time, exercise, and the GP (2001)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/322/7301/1516#15234

A heartfelt dose of clinical reality from a jobbing GP. My new strategy of hourly billing goes some way to addressing the problem, while continuing to work for the NHS.

BMJ will sub-edit the word "Accidents" (2001)

http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/322/7298/1320#15015

Political correctness is sometimes sane. Of course, most "accidents" are no such thing, and I thought I'd say so, with a few illustrations from events in my personal life that have shaped my thinking.


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Copyright Douglas Carnall 18 May 2002. dougie@carnall.org You may reproduce this text in any medium provided this copyright notice is maintained. You may reproduce derivative versions of this text provided that a link to the original version is also maintained.