About those exorbitant hospital parking fees

I had an appointment at the hospital today, and was thinking about the rates at the hospital car park. The parking area at big NHS hospital in my town has the highest parking rates around. They are probably more than double the rate at any other paid parking zone in the town.

At a first look, they seem extortionist. At most places, high parking rates are a nudge for users to either take an alternate means of transport, or to curtail their visits. At a hospital, however, few people visit by choice. Also, the visitors are more likely to use a car – comfort for the ill and all that. By charging these, probably ill, visitors these extraordinarily high rates, the hospital/NHS/council are just heartlessly milking the already suffering.

Unjust!

On a second thought, however, there is a valid reason behind these high rates – consumption tax. They are not just parking rates, they are an indirect tax on the heaviest NHS users.

It is well-known that a small percentage of patients consume a lot of NHS resources – frequent flyers making regular calls to 999, and elderly patients occupying hospital beds long after they need to because they do not believe they will get the care at home. Since care in the NHS is free, irrespective of how frequently, how long (or validly) a patient calls for it, this creates an imbalance, and puts undue pressure on NHS staff and budgets.

A means of preventing this tragedy of the commons, is to charge per-use fees. This however goes directly against the core mission of the NHS – free, universal healthcare. These extraordinary parking rates are then just a small marginal consumption tax on the users of the health service. It helps provide a little extra fund to the hospital, without burdening the non-user tax payers, or breaking the ‘free, universal healthcare’ promise of the NHS.

It’s harsh, but given the budget squeeze, and the tragedy of the commons, it appears a fair solution to me.

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Twitter’s product ideas funnel

Since its founding, Twitter has made a religion of listening to users. After all, they came up with some of the company’s best ideas — including the hashtag, reply and retweet. After the flow of good ideas from users stopped, Twitter was hard-pressed to come up with its own.

Bloomberg: Why Twitter Can’t Pull the Trigger on New Products

The first part of that quote is a fact – users came up with hashtag, reply, and retweet, and Twitter (the company) adopted them.

However…

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Premier league table – the trend continues

Follow-up to the last week’s post.

Premier League table - spread by points - week 21 - 2
Premier League table – spread by points – week 21 – 27

All the trends from the previous week continue…

  1. Manchester City (blue) continue to run away with the title, West Brom (slate) continue a lonely run at the bottom.
  2. The 2nd and 5th placed teams are now just 4 points apart (red) – Manchester United lost, while Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool all won.
  3. Arsenal (slate) continue to be in the middle of nowhere – 7 points behind 5th, 9 points ahead of 7th.
  4. The mid-table / relegation pack (light grey) got even tighter – only 11 points between the 7th and 19th placed teams.

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Premier league table – some trends this season

That chart from the BBC got me interested. Looking at the Premier league table distributed by points makes it lot more interesting than distribution by ranks.

So, I downloaded the Premier League data for current season from Football Data, created some pivot tables, and created some graphs1.

Weeks 1-8: Mixed bag, except for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's dismal start to the season
Crystal Palace’s dismal start to the season

7 straight defeats! Crystal palace really had a crap start to the season!

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Chrome Extensions I use (start 2018 edition)

This is the updated, early 2018 snapshot of the list of Chrome extensions and apps I use.

Favourites/recommendations are in bold.
My own extensions/apps are marked with an asterisk (*).
Extensions by Google are marked with a (G)

The previous list, from late 2015, is here.

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Chart of the day: Premier league table

Premier league teams on a linear scale of points after 23 matches
Premier league teams on a linear scale of points after 23 matches

The usual Premier league table gives a good idea of the ranking, but the gaps between teams aren’t immediately obvious1. I love how this visualisation shows both the rankings and the gaps with one simple line.

Source: BBC sport

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Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 presentation deck rule

A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.


The “or else” implication, in Mark Twain’s words:

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

Source: The Marketoonist