Will Robots Replace Doctors?

New research has found that robotic surgery can lead to quicker patient recoveries and cut down on complications.

Is anyone shocked? Machines are precise. I can sit and watch videos of Jaffa Cakes being made by machine for hours. Robots also have the advantage that they don’t need sleep or several afternoons off to play golf like a human doctor. It’s the future.

In a first-of-its kind clinical trial led by scientists at University College London and the University of Sheffield, researchers divided 338 bladder cancer patients to receive either normal or robotic surgery. All patients had their bladder removed and a section of the bowel taken to make a new bladder.

There’s a chance that there was a third group who had that last stage done by someone who is good at balloon animals.

When they looked at the results they found those who had normal surgery needed 10 days recovery time in hospital, compared to just eight days for the robotically assisted patients.

It makes sense. The cuts are smaller as you don’t need to get a whole hand in there. Robots don’t need to cut a hole so they can see in there too.

These aren’t automated. There’s a surgeon controlling the machine, and it’s a high-tech machine too. It’s not the one where you try to hook a stuffed toy out of the case at the seaside.

Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that open surgery should be the first stop for highly complex surgeries, but the researchers said they hope the study would encourage greater use of robotics.

One day all surgery will all be done by machine, unless it’s a trendy hospital in Hackney that boasts it’s artisanal hand-performed surgery.

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A Quick Look At Beergate

We have all had some regrets after a beer and a curry and often it can leave a mark, but not like it is doing with the Labour Party.

Previously the excuse was that Keir Starmer had some curry and beers during a break with people who were working on the local election, which was allowed. But a memo has come out that shows it was pre-planned.

What? Someone planned to have breaks in a workday? How is that possible? Planning that food will be eaten by people in a day, what is he, Machiavelli?!

If planning a break is criminal then every theatre is going down.

In the plan the order of events looks like nothing else was planned afterwards, so could you call that a break? If you have your break at the end of the day did you day simply end earlier. These are philosophical questions up there with working out how noisy trees are when we’re not there.

There’s quite a difference between that and someone laughing at a fake press briefing about a party or someone sneaking a suitcase full on wine into Downing Street.

At least I hope there is. If your break from work includes a suitcase of wine you may have a problem.

It’s great to see people who have spent ages defending Boris Johnson from the pointlessness of such accusations suddenly do a 180. They were saying things like, “Was it a party? Just because there was a birthday and a birthday cake? If the presence of a birthday cake means it’s a party then the bakery aisle in Asda must be arrested. It’s nothing.”

They have all flipped to, “A curry and beer? The debauchery?!”

It’s another story where everyone has picked their side and they’re making the facts bend to fit their beliefs. It’s heading towards the big question, if fined should Keir resign. Boris has already had a fine and not resigned, so should Keir do any differently? Maybe they should agree go at the same time. But if every there was a man you wouldn’t tryst to “go on the count of three” with you, it’s the PM.



Would A 50:50 Parliament Fix Sleaze?

There has been more fallout of the political scandal that we should called “Tractorgate” but we can’t because that’s actually just a normal gate.

Oliver Dowden said the Conservatives promise that half of their MPs will be women in the wake of the Neil Parish porn scandal.

Firstly, you can’t promise that because there’s a little thing called an election to worry about. You can have 50:50 representation at the candidate level but if they could control who wins each seat they wouldn’t be worrying about how they come across in the bad headlines of late.

It’s a strange reason to aim for a 50:50 parliament. We should want it to be made up of 50% women and 50% men because you think having more women is a good thing, not because you’re saying men are inherently porn-watching problems. If that’s your claim a 50:50 parliament will still have half of them watching The Hub. They’re going to need a better router.

As a man myself I’d like to point out we aren’t all sat around watching adult material. I am a few paragraphs into the story now and I haven’t looked at porn more than one or twice.

The same sentiment is also forgetting the women of this land who like a nice blue movie. They should be represented in Government too.

This is following the scandal of Neil Parish, the Tory chairman of the Commons environment committee, who claimed he accidentally watched porn while trying to look at tractors. It would have been more believable if he said he was searching for a garden hoe.

Everyone has been getting in on the story. Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, told the BBC: “I always thought that if we get more women, then things will get better.” I’m now searching for a German word that describes someone managing to prove themselves wrong as they say a thing.



Should We Have The Right To Sleep At Work?

A new survey has found that half of millennials would love to have a nap at work.

That’s the kind of result that could make you worried if you see a millennial is your pilot.

In the poll the 25 to 39-year-olds said an office kip would boost their physical and mental well-being. They’re not wrong. It’s only the fact that we’re stuck in our ways that makes us think it’s a bad idea. The same survey says that only one in ten over-40s like the idea. Why? We’re the age group that needs to snooze more.

For many people there is a stage in the afternoon when you start to flag. If we could take a nap and then return to work with a fresh mind we could get more done.

Instead we plough on with a brain that’s only half working and that’s how ideas like The Masked Singer are created.

Other surveys have shown that younger workers are more likely to be in favour of working from home instead of going back to the office. I think we can work out why. It’s harder for your boss to catch you sleeping when you’re doing it at home.

I know you still have to have Zoom meetings but if you record some video of you sitting at your laptop awake and then use that video as your Zoom backdrop you’re all set.

If you want a job where you can sleep all afternoon why not try working in a call centre? From the amount of time you have to spend on hold I presume they’re getting their forty winks most of the day.

>Read the source story

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Unlike Angela Rayer, The Mail On Sunday Doesn't Have A Leg To Stand On

The latest political scandal is #Pantygate.

The Mail on Sunday ran a story saying an unnamed Tory MP claimed that Angela Rayner uncrosses and crosses her legs to distract Boris Johnson like in the film Basic Instinct.

If you haven't seen that film, do you remember that Kenny Everett character? Or possible like Neo in The Matrix getting up after being knocked down. It’s hard to know what the motion was like because it very probably doesn’t actually happen.

The whole claim seems ridiculous. Are we to believe that the Prime Minister of the UK is a priapic, lascivious fool? OK well, that bit checks out but the rest…

As you can see in the photo there’s no way Boris Johnson could even see her legs; he’d only see the box.

There is an attempt to find out which Tory member was behind the claims. They’re looking for someone who might hold outdated views about women. No doubt that’s numbered it down so much they’ll be telling us who it is any second now.

Boris Johnson called it, “Sexist tripe.” Or maybe he said, “Sexy tripe,” which might be how he refers to us Northerners.

The article wasn’t only dripping with misogyny there was classism and snobbery. It’s become a huge distraction from the real issues. Normally the only bit of knee in the Labour Party the Mail on Sunday gets upset about is when someone is kneeling on it.

If the claims are true this is an embarrassment to politics. If he claims are false, it’s an embarrassment to tabloid journalism. Why not be on the safe side and think less of both?

Tech minister Chris Philp said there was “ongoing, active work” to root out such “offensive views” within the Conservative Party. Yes, and leave those comments where they belong… in a Boris Johnson Telegraph article.



Russia Bans Boris

Russia has banned Boris Johnson and twelve others from entering country. Oh no, that’s so mean.

It means Priti Patel can’t go to live in Russia, and we know how much she likes the idea of migration.

It manes Rishi Sunak can’t go to Russia. How dare they ban someone who very recently had an American green card.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has banned them in retaliation for sanctions amid the Ukraine war.

That’ll really hit them where it hurts. I know someone with the first names of Alexander and Boris must have an affinity to Russia but right now I bet no one was planning to go there.

As if anyone British politician would go there now. Your guide would say, “Want to shop in duty free and buy some perfume? We have one called Salisbury Cathedral.” They’d run for it.

I’m surprised that it’s only just happened. We brought in sanctioned, banned some Russian officials and they only just got round to it. I suppose they have been a bit busy. This is what happens when you have to do you official meetings on a table that’s 100 yards long.



The Cost of Oil and Living

There has been an interesting development in the battle with Russia. Joe Biden announced the US is to ban Russian oil imports over the Ukraine invasion.

That the benefit of having a President who’s so old he can remember war with Russian. The Russo-Swedish War of 1495-1497.

It’s a strong move but Russian oil imports only make up 3% of the US’s crude imports, 8% of all oil imports. I’m not sure what falls under the “other oil imports” category but I’d stock up on Vaseline just in case.

It’s easier for America to do this than Europe. Natural gas from Russia accounts for one-third of Europe’s consumption of the fossil fuel. It needs to stop because if you were buying your insulin from someone with crazy eyes who might want to stab you, you’d shop around for another supplier.

OK, we’re probably going o get fuel from Saudi Arabia, so it’s like going to a different neighbour who likes killing journalists.

Biden said he was reluctant to do this as he wanted “to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump”. That’s the bit that sits funny to a Brit. Petrol is already so cheap over there.

In the UK the average price of filling up a diesel car has just passed £90. Wow. Are you filling up the back seat as well?

I’m not going to type the numbers here because it would annoying you to know what they pay for a tank of petrol. Put it this way, buying petrol in America is like when you go to the North of England and buy a pint.

>Read the source story

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Are The Elgin Marbles Going Home?

A marble fragment that once adorned the Parthenon has been returned to Greece as part of a loan deal The Greek government hopes to make permanent and become a “blueprint” to reclaim the Elgin Marbles.

The 2,500-year-old fragment, the foot of the goddess Artemis emerging from the folds of a gown, has been lent by the Antonino Salinas museum in Palermo, Sicily. If you just keep a bit of a foot it looks weird.

The Italians will receive a 5th-century BC statue of the goddess Athena, which is that women playing tennis and scratching her bum.

Greek culture ministry officials told The Times that the loan of the fragment could be made permanent in agreement with Italy to help “reunite” the country’s cultural heritage.

So maybe it’s time for the marbles to go back. I know they were stolen, they were taken for safekeeping, from the Ottoman occupiers.

The Elgin Marbles, meanwhile, were made the property of Britain by act of parliament and placed in the British Museum’s collection. Give it a couple of years and we’ll be able to use a 3D-printer to make a really good copy. It’s like buying a print of a painting from a museum gift shop. It’s a lot of agro for some marbles you can’t even play with.



Trains Are Even Worse

Rail companies across Britain warned passengers that they face cancelled trains, delays and rail replacement buses. And passengers said, “Oh, so pretty much as bad as normal, then?”

Train firms have slashed hundreds of services due to thousands of Covid-related staff absences, with bosses warning passengers to expect last-minute cancellations and more crowded trains due to fewer in operation.

But more crowded trains means more spread of Omicron, which will mean more pings. Extrapolate that and in a few weeks there’ll be no trains.

What’s amazing is that the service during a pandemic-fuelled staffing disaster is no where near as bad as it was when Chris Grayling changed the timetables.

This comes as Southern Rail has finally reintroduced trains to and from London Victoria after the post-Christmas closure was extended by a week. I bet they couldn’t wait. “What? You’re looking for a company to run a hugely delayed service? This sounds like a job for Southern Rail!”

Staff absence for all reasons is now at 11 per cent across all operators, up from 8 to 9% in December, and it’s not just staffing. The train companies say the lower demand is a reason to cut the services.

I guess they’re right but one of the few upsides to living through the pando was getting a seat on a train. That and it’s been a great time for ugly people with nice eyes.



Dominic Raab Costs Us £238m

Dominic Raab’s department wasted ‘staggering’ £238m on array of botched projects last year. An increase of 14 times on the year before. Is is staggering? Are you staggered? Or do you hear that and think, “Yup. If you think you can’t go swimming because the sea is close, you’re the guy to oversee a £238m waste.”

The “botching list” includes the electronic tagging systems that were never used. People think the vaccine has a nanochip in it that secret tracks us. The Government can’t get a massive one to work.

Labour called for an urgent National Audit Office investigation into the losses at the Ministry of Justice. And the people in charge now have a great track record when it comes to complying with investigations. Dominic Raab is now desperately trying to move all his emails onto an old pay-as-you-go phone.

Humiliatingly, HM Courts and Tribunals Service then spent £18m on a software system to manage cases which was so bad that courts staff are now threatening strike action over it. Strewth, not even Windows Vista was that bad.

The department also had to pay an extra £72.1m HMRC because it had incorrectly reported the employment status of some of its workers, being hit with a further £15m penalty for breaching the rules.

Meanwhile in good news, HMRC got £87.1m they were owed.

>Read the source story

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Labour (Finally) Leads in Polls

Congratulations to the Labour party. One newspaper reported that Labour has raced into a nine-point lead in the polls. I’m not sure that’s because of anything that Labour has done. This is like winning the Tour de France because everyone who’s good at cycling just had a massive pile up.

This is Labour’s biggest lead since 2014. And all it took was a corruption scandal over paid lobbying, lies over expensive wallpaper, multiple breaches of COVID rules, hundreds of thousands dead in a pandemic and questions over how millions of pounds of contracts were handed out to friends, and also a meltdown about Peppa Pig World, and finally the Labour Party are back on top.

The latest Opinium poll says 57% of voters think Johnson should now resign. There’s no way that’s going to happen. There have been times when he should have sacked a minister but he waited for them to resign. He’s not going to sack himself.

What’s nice about this is that it might stop the distraction we see in debate. Normally a poll comes out giving Labour a slim lead due to some wrong doing from our Government and the first question pundits ask is, “Why aren’t Labour further ahead?” I don’t know, maybe it’s because we’re all avoiding talking about the Government’s failings as soon as we have a chance.

The 43% who don’t want Boris Johnson to resign are probably Labour Party members. If he carries on at this rate they might stand a chance of winning something.



Week of Radio - from Bezos to Olympics

Steve N Allen is back on the radio weekdays from 3pm.

Another week of radio has yielded some interesting moments on Time 107.5. In case you missed any of it – and I am sure you did. I presented the thing and even I feel like I missed a few bits – here are have a collection of podcasts from the last week.

The Weather Phone-In
How do you do a radio show on a hot day when all of the good phone-in questions have been done?

Bezos In Space!
Space day when another billionaire went for a fly, some Mark Wahlberg news and more.

Cathphrases and Tokyo Olympics
In this podcast you'll find some stuff on the Olympics, some on catchphrases and probably other bits.

Rude Gardening and Panic Buying
In this one we show solidarity with those gardeners who got in trouble on Facebook for saying the word hoe and we look at the best things to panic buy if you're a panic buying idiot.

Subscribe for more on iTunes or search for Steve N Allen on radio in your podcast provider.

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Get the info on how to listen to the show live here.



Why British Thank-Yous Aren’t Real

A new bit of research has found that one in four thank-yous are not genuine.

While this is the kind of survey that is basically meaningless and is only commissioned as a way of getting a company’s name into the papers (Virgin Media in this case) it seems about right.

There are many times we say thank you when we really don’t mean it. Let’s put them in a list.

1 – When you have just held a door open for someone and they didn’t say anything. You may then find yourself acting out a small vignette of, “Thank you.” “No trouble at all, you’re so very welcome.”

2 – When you have just received poor service but the British gene kicks in and you thank someone anyway. If a hairdresser has just made you look like you just lost a fight with Edward Scissorhands, you think, “Oh my god!” and yet you say, “Thank you. That looks great.”

3 – When you are not sure if you have just been complimented or insulted. If someone says, “Oh, I like that top. So much better.” Your month will busy itself with a thank you while you’re working out that they’re saying you normally look like shite.

4 – Considering the time this survey was conducted over there would also be thank-yous said by people who went out for a run while the clap for carers moment was happening and they thought it was for them.

The survey found that Brits typically say thanks 207 times a month and that 54 aren’t sincere. Of course some have to be fake ones. Have you seen life in the UK lately? If you had 207 reasons to be thankful this year we’d all think you were a psychopath.

>Read the source story

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