Richard P Grant and his BioLOG (biolog); the wee blog, weblog, or web blog; things not necessarily biology related. The anti-blogger.


20 May 2010

On teaspoons

A while ago (it was back in Sydney, so that’s at least a year and a half) I came across an analogy to do with mental health, depression, stress—something like that—and how we cope with stuff. It might even have been something to do with cancer. The writer was saying that she (pretty certain it was a ‘she’) had days where she just couldn’t cope with things, or people, and it was like teaspoons. She’d start the day with a limited number of teaspoons, but different events and people would cause differing numbers of teaspoons to be used up. On a bad day, she’d run out of teaspoons and just couldn’t cope with whatever it was that needed those teaspoons.

I found the analogy to be pertinent, but I didn’t note where I found it. Certain events recently led me to think of it again, and in explaining it I’d love to be able to find the source. A quick google throws up Shakesville, and a very useful but different analogy (essentially, you can empty the ocean if you have enough teaspoons = enough people doing small things will change the world) but that’s not what I had in mind.

Anybody any idea at all what I’m talking about?

Filed under: stuff — Tags: — rpg @ 4:46

17 May 2010

On defecting

Jenny has a new shiny. It’s a device for imaging chemiluminescence–a standard procedure in any lab that works with proteins. The traditional way of doing this is on film, but it seems a lot quicker, safer and environmentally-friendlier to do it with one of the imaging gizmos.


Except I’m a little bit worried. I was reading a paper just now, trying to figure out how to summarize it for our Faculty Dailies, and came across this figure:


Now I have no idea how this image was obtained (the Methods section mentions neither film nor fancy-schmancy new devices), but either way that is one butt-ugly blot (BUB for short). I am worried that it is obtained with a FSND, because you really have to be a bit of an imbecile to get that level of pixellation when digitizing a blot by scanning a film. I wouldn’t ever want to publish something that looked like that–accusations of over-processing aside, it simply looks wrong.

Are we likely to see more BUBs as FSNDs gain in popularity? Is a whole way of life and aesthetic pleasure at stake here? Say it ain’t so, Jenny.

Say it ain’t so.

Filed under: Rants,science — Tags: , , , — rpg @ 21:14

16 May 2010

On the profit motive

It’s just not funny any more.

This tweet:

Dangerous advice. Fever of +105F go to the ER! RT @homeopathyworks: Hot baby, less is better for your Children’s fevers

made me fall off my chair. The argument is that if a child has a fever of 105°F (40.5°C) or more, you should give them … water. The retweeted twitterer (‘twat’?) ‘@homeopathyworks’ says in her profile

Joette Calabrese is a certified homeopath, she has become a trusted voice in achieving robust health that is decidedly educated, experienced and committed.

Tell me, would you trust someone who recommends giving just water to your feverish child?

We should note that homeopaths often take the moral high ground, attacking ‘big pharma’ for selling drugs and making lots of money of the back of illnesses. It’s been pointed out time and time again by people with two brain cells to rub together that the homeopaths are also making money, and indeed their profit margins are probably much greater (because there’s no active ingredient).

But I didn’t realize just how much more money homeopaths are making.

Take this fever ‘remedy’ for example. On the Boots website, you can get a packet of ‘pillules’ for five quid. That should clear your fever within five days according to the dosage instructions (let’s ignore the fact that most, non-life threatening, fevers are self-limiting over that period anyway). And most homeopaths will tell you that you should go along to their ‘surgery’ and get the stuff made up the ‘proper’ way, which means you’re looking at substantially more dosh than that.

Aspirin caplets are 75p. If you take them at the recommended dose a pack will last you two days. Even if you bought three packs (to last five days) that’s still only £2.25; plus you get an active ingredient.

So who are the immoral money-grabbers now: ‘big pharma’ or homeopaths?

But seriously, if you have a temperature of 105 you should be in hospital already. As another twitter friend of mine put it,

They’ve obviously not read the book – stupid people are supposed to remove themselves from the genepool, not innocent children.


Filed under: scary — rpg @ 20:42


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