Anthony Cox was born in Lancashire, England. He is a pharmacist, who after working within NHS hospitals, moved to Aston University and The West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring. He blogs at Black Triangle.
Why do you blog? > It was initially just to save interesting items in a format I could retrieve easily, but now I think it has become a habit. I'm trying to decide if it is a bad habit.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Karl Popper and Charles Darwin.
What are you reading at the moment? > Stephens' Detection of New Adverse Drug Interactions (Eds - John Talbot and Patrick Waller), Medicines out of control? by Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon, and The Shield of Achilles by Philip Bobbitt.
What is your favourite poem? > At the moment, The Armful by Robert Frost.
Who is your favourite composer? > It's a tie between Shostakovich and Philip Glass.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The precautionary principle. It is now applied too indiscriminately, not always to scientific issues either, by those who think the plural of anecdote is data and who seem to have agendas other than safety.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Moral relativism.
Who are your political heroes? > Accepting that all heroes have flaws, Winston Churchill, Vaclav Havel, and Tony Blair - over the issue of Iraq.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Less reliance on targets, more freedom and trust given to those working at the sharp end. I'm thinking of the NHS, but I'm sure it can be applied widely to other areas of government.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > John Humphrys. He thinks he's running the country already, so this would seem a natural step for him. However badly he did, at least the Today programme would be improved.
What would you do with the UN? > 1) Weight the influence of countries on the basis of their adherence to clearly defined democratic standards. 2) Make the promotion of those standards one of the key aims of the organization.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Small groups of people, with 7th century attitudes, in control of powerful 20th century technology.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > A life with no risk is no life at all.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Manifesting personal frustration as hatred towards others.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Creationists. I can cope with those who believe in a deity, but the world is only 6000 years old? Come on.
What is your favourite proverb? > Don't let Stephen Pollard get in with your favourite proverb before you. Nil desperandum carborundum (don't let the bastards grind you down).
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching soaps and golf. Any of the endless trivial lifestyle programmes on television.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Deadlines.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > New England.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Walking the Appalachian Trail; or a leisurely chauffeur driven tour of all the distilleries in Iain Banks' Raw Spirit.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to play the piano entertainingly.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Film editing.
What animal would you most like to be? > A Bar-headed goose. They can fly over Everest.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of previous profiles, and the links to them, can be found here.]