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Interesting Links for 03-03-2012

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

Holy moly, they kept privatising the police force quiet didn't they. The more hair-brained schemes the Tories come up with, the more I find myself thinking maybe independence might not be a bad thing after all.

If you read the actual details, what's actually happening is *not* the police being privatised.

Two police departments are tendering for bids to outsource those parts of police work that are already (under Labour legislation) legally outsourceable. Note that even the article (which is more than a little misleading, if not outright lying) says "They do not include those that involve the power of arrest and the other duties of a sworn constable."

The Guardian article lists a long list of things they're trying to outsource, which would be privatising the police - if they were outsourcing them. But if you look at the document they took this from - or at least the two pages out of twenty six that they're showing us - what they *actually* say is that they're going to outsource everything they legally can within the range of activities the police have to cover. They then list *all* of the activities the police have to do, in a standard form (the police activity glossary) before saying in effect "Obviously we're not going to ask you to do all of this, just what we can legally get you to do".

In other words, this isn't Tories privatising the police, it's police forces using existing legislation to get services more cheaply from the private sector rather than doing them in-house.

Which no doubt, of course, the Tories welcome, but it's not a new thing from this government.

That antibiotics curing schizophrenia thing actually makes a *LOT* of sense. There's a hypothesis that a lot of schizophrenia - possibly even all of it except drug-induced psychoses - is actually caused by toxoplasma gondii infection. Minocycline, the drug used in that case, is one that's used for toxoplasmosis (the disease caused by toxoplasma) in people with immune-system disorders.
So this would be evidence confirming that hypothesis, rather than anything startlingly new.

That is indeed a hypothesis, and a fascinating one, though *highly* contested.

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