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Could drones solve bed-blocking in NHS hospitals?

Elizabeth Rust : March 6, 2018 1:09 pm : Blog

All too often there are stories about how patients are stuck in hospitals because they don’t have help at home. I had five days in the hospital, and the first question that was asked before I was discharged – Is someone able to help you when you get home? Because if not, your staying a couple extra days. Thankfully the question was ‘yes’. But what about those people who are well enough to leave, but don’t have anyone to help them do the shopping, pick up prescriptions or deliver clean laundry.

Now drones could be deployed to help with these everyday tasks. Yesterday it was announced that Nats, the national air traffic control service that drones could safely co-exist with aircraft in the UK’s busy skies. This is a huge shift in how the regulator has previously viewed drones, especially because in the past they’ve said that drones need to be kept within in the sight of the person operating it.

According to The Times: “A trial system of drones co-exisiting with aircraft would be in place by the end of the year, with routine out-of-sight drone operations possibly starting next year or in 2020.”

I’m not saying that drones could take the place of social care workers; this is wholly about drones dropping vitals off to people who are well enough to be discharged from the hospital. If used correctly, it could help elevate some of the stress hospitals face when beds could be freed for incoming patients.

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My digital detox fail

Elizabeth Rust : February 13, 2018 3:29 pm : Blog

It’s 8pm on Friday. I turn my mobile off and hide my laptop under the bed. I plan to go the entire weekend without looking at either one. This will be my first digital detox. Something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, considering I’m part of the average population who looks at their mobile at least 80 times a day. I feel invigorated. I tell myself I’m going to get so much done this weekend – and read a book – instead of mindlessly flicking between Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and the Daily Mail column of shame.

Saturday turns out to be nasty day. It’s raining. It’s cold. It’s just miserable. And when you have a two-year-old indoors all day, it can be hell. So I decide to check my weather app to see when the weather clears. I turn on my mobile, and straight away I see that I have three missed messages from my friend organising a playdate for next weekend. I message her back, then she messages me back. In the middle of waiting for her to respond, I flick through Facebook and Twitter. In the midst of this, I completely forget that I turned on my mobile to see the weather. To be honest, I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I just swiped my thumb to the next screen and touched the app.

I’ve read that the best way to do a digital detox is to delete all social media apps. And while this sounds easy, I’m still hesitant – probably because I really am addicted to Facebook and Twitter – and I don’t end up doing it. Instead I turn my mobile off again. This time I make it until Sunday afternoon. That’s when my neighbor tells me that the national press has picked up on a story in the local area. Straight away I’m on my computer, reading through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Huge fail. MASSIVE FAIL.

And although I’ve failed, I’m pleased that I learned about this story from talking to my neighbour and not from my social media addiction. I’m going to try to detox again next weekend. I’ll keep you posted …

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#everydaysexism starts young

Elizabeth Rust : February 7, 2018 11:53 am : Blog

Women can drive a Porsche too!

Yesterday tech editor at the New York Times, Pui-Wing Tam, interviewed Bloomberg tech journalist Emily Chang about her experience of covering Silicon Valley. It’s of no surprise that Emily is publicising gender imbalance in her soon to launch book Brotopia – this is something that has been written about extensively, especially because of ex-Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s Medium post and the #MeToo movement – but what I did find surprising is why she believes her three young sons would benefit from a more balanced tech community.

Pui-Wing Tam asks: You have three young sons, who you dedicate the book to. What are the implications for them?

Emily Chang response: When things got hard — because it’s not easy to report on sexism — I’d look at the boys and think “I’m doing this for them.” I really do think their lives will be better in a more equal world.

More importantly, Silicon Valley is controlling what we see, what we read, how we shop, how we communicate, how we relate to each other. This is not just tech’s problem. This is society’s problem. This is the industry that is having a greater influence on humanity than perhaps any other. And the same industry that changed the world can change this behavior.

As a mother to a two-year-old son, I struggle with how he already views women in society. The other day when we were looking through a magazine together, there was an image of a Porsche. He pointed to it and said: “That’s a man’s car!”. I asked him if a woman could drive it too, and he said, “No, only a man!” And although he didn’t mean to be sexist, he already thinks that that men and women can attain different things.

So what am I going to do about this?

I’ve put him into nursery another day. I’m hoping that will allow me to have more headspace and be able to work. I’m realising that he’s only seen me as the homemaker, while his father goes off to work every day. And while I love spending time with him, he probably doesn’t understand that I need to go to work too.

I’m also going to try my best to encourage him to realise that men and women can do the same thing – not thinking his comments are a ‘boys will be boys’ talk – and most of all challenge him, ask him why he only thinks a man can have or do something.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll tell him … again … again … and again …until it sticks.

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A world through a baby’s eyes

Elizabeth Rust : July 10, 2017 2:57 pm : Blog

A couple weeks ago I took my baby to an art gallery in south London. I may have had second thoughts, but I did an interview with the new director for the Dulwich Picture Gallery in May and she told me galleries are alive – bring your baby!

We were in a long hallway, just opposite a room where a film was playing. I picked him up out of his push chair so he would have a better view. He pointed to abstract letters on the wall and posters in another language, calling out: cat, cow, dada, red, blue, amongst other words. I found his observations amusing, probably wholly because I’m his mother, but nonetheless it was abstract, so how insightful to hear his words.

So you can imagine my shock when a woman glared at him. She was intensely drawing on a sketchpad. Her dark hair perfectly tied back in a ponytail. A few strands of grey glimmering. Why she was sketching, I can only imaging for a foundation degree. But we weren’t exactly at a top gallery. And to be honest, I’d never heard of the artist.

“This is a gallery. I’m trying to get some work done,” she said.

I smiled at my baby. “Shh,” I said to him. This only made him giggle. He started making a ‘Ba, ba, ba’ noise. A happy noise someone said to me when I took him along to an interview the day before.

But the woman was having none of it. She insisted babies shouldn’t be at the gallery. Announcing it to the room. No one acknowledged her. But it left a bad taste in my mouth. We left within a couple minutes. I felt ashamed for taking him.

We crossed the street from the gallery. I put him back in his push chair and pushed him up the treelined Camberwell Grove. And as I did so, I couldn’t help but think: “Isn’t art all about humanity? Shouldn’t this person, who is studying art, applaud what a baby is seeing? He is seeing the world with new eyes? Isn’t that what artists, writers and musicians try to do every day?”

And with that I gave him a little kiss on the cheek. Not because of anything other than I was so pleased to have him.

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Mark Carney: ‘No’ regulatory sweeteners

Elizabeth Rust : April 10, 2017 11:30 am : Blog

Not my usual habitat, I somehow blagged my way into the Mark Carney talk about the impact of Brexit on the City at Reuters last Friday. What I mainly learned is that I need to brush up my ‘adult banter’ as I’m so used to speaking with a sixteen-month old, that I now I just nod and smile when I talk to an adult. I swear I used to be able to do this! Ugh.

Financial stuff, FinTech, for example, is something I don’t feel very well versed in. So I thought he might talk a bit about this. But he really didn’t mention much. Only that London being the centre of financial technology innovation brings risks and complexities that need a proper level of regulation.

Regulation was his hot topic. Basically he referred to the current situation as being a ‘fork in the road’ for the global financial system, with the outcome of Brexit negotiations certain to have a significant impact on the way the City is regulated.

I found it particularly amusing that when someone asked if there would be any ‘regulatory sweeteners’ to encourage financial firms to do business in the UK, his response was an emphatic ‘No’. But I really loved that when the moderator said she was putting questions out to the ‘experts’ in the audience the first person to ask one came from the Daily Mail, which caused a roar of laughter in the room. Tough gig!

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