Why is the truth so hard?
June 17, 2008
It is rare that I go into anything off topic, as I promised in one of my earliest post – there will be no discussions about what my cat is up to.
That said, I am compelled to comment on a couple things that the recent death of Tim Russert, has brought to the fore.
Issue number one: Where societies spend their money.
Mr. Russert apparently died of a heart attack … the way you are most likely to die. From the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:
Each year, about 1.1 million people in the United States have heart attacks, and almost half of them die. CAD, which often results in a heart attack, is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States.
Given that so many people die from heart attacks, I was wondering how much money is spent on researching ALL disease.
With a little help from the almighty Google, I found on the Science Daily web site a disturbing piece of information:
A new study by two York University researchers estimates the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industryâ€™s claim.
OK, that’s bad enough. But what is even worse (in my opinion) is the actual dollar amount the pharmaceutical industry spends on ALL medical research: only (about) US$30 billion a year!
So why does this disturb me? Isn’t $30 billion a lot of cash? Well, let’s compare this to the money spent in Iraq every month: US$10 billion. So that adds up to $120 billion a year!
… So the US is in Iraq because of the terrorist threat – so they said. I do not want to get into that debate, because what’s important, is to see how many have died because of terrorist attack in say, the last 20 years?
From what I can tell, it is in thousands (less than 15 000 in 20 years) for the entire world. Yes, my numbers are rough, but the differences (between heart attack related deaths vs. terrorist deaths) is so staggering, that I don’t need to be very accurate with the terrorist death count.
Deaths in the last twenty years:
From terrorist attack: 15 thousand (the entire world – that includes the US)
From heart attack: 10 million (US only)
Another interesting fact is that many more people die of drowning in their bathtubs, than they do because of terrorist activity! Yes, you are much more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are to be killed by a terrorist!
… Perhaps there should be a ‘war on bathtubs’?
What the above numbers show, is that it makes no sense from a life-saving point of view, to be spending so much money on the ‘war on terror’.
It’s a shame people seem compelled to do so, since it seems to me, that so many more lives (a lot more!) could be saved if more money was spent on medical research instead.
Issue number two: Why is telling the truth hard?
In praise the Tim Russert, many a politician has said that he was a ‘tough’ but still a fair interviewer.
He was tough because he held politicians feet to the fire, he pressed them to tell the truth … to be honest about whatever it was they were speaking about.
Mr. Russert was also praised for being unbiased and fair … he sought the truth and did not play gotcha games. That’s why he was one of the best journalist ever.
That got me thinking, why is telling the truth hard? Shouldn’t telling the truth be easy. Shouldn’t being honest about anything be our top priority? Sadly, we all know that for some, (especially for many politicians) telling the truth about hard things is hard.
How does all this have to do with web design, programming or the business of web design?
As a small business owner and web programmer, you have (to learn) to be brutally honest with yourself, because if you aren’t, you will find yourself in the poor house and your software won’t work.
… Kind of like government!
I have to tell you, I’ve pissed of a lot of people over the years because I tend to tell the truth. Maybe I should work on my delivery?
R.I.P. Mr Russert.