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A volcanic disruption

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 21 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2180
  1. Desmond O’Neill, consultant physician in geriatric and stroke medicine, Dublin
  1. doneill{at}

    “If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans,” was a proverb that re-entered common currency in the last week. In common with many conference organisers (and impromptu vulcanologists) I was preparing for the worst on Saturday. I was to chair a long planned national conference on the brain and music, and three international speakers were due to fly in. While we were fortunate to field an excellent local speaker as one substitute, the stellar qualities of the other two speakers were such that we were poised to cancel the meeting. In the event, new technology and the adaptability of enthusiastic delegates saved the day. For a limited period at least, it would appear that Goethe’s dictum “It is when constrained that the master shows himself” holds in …

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