Sunday, 27 July 2008

BBC Scotland Investigates: 2008: Scotland's Hidden Epidemic: The Truth About Multiple Sclerosis


A major donation from Harry Potter author JK Rowling will help combat Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease which affects one in 500 Scots. Funding for the £2.5m project will largely come from Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, which has been gifted a substantial sum from the author for this work.

Yesterday, my Mum mentioned a documentary on the BBC that she saw the other day that I missed.

Being a UK TV License Fee payer, I was able to watch it online here via the BBCi-player.

If you are able to access it, I urge you to watch this most compelling 30 minute programme.

Living life with multiple sclerosis by Elizabeth Quigley, BBC Scotland

Whilst I never met her, my Mum’s mum died at an early age due to MS. The documentary was therefore of particular interest to us and I would suspect, the ~ 10,500 MS patients in Scotland and beyond.

The documentary features an interview with author, JK Rowling. JKR apparently rarely speaks about the loss of her own mother at an early age (45) to MS but chose to do so here and also here.

Further reading:-

Research features in TV documentary
JK Rowling and the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland fund a new MS Research Centre
Sunday Herald article

Monday, 21 July 2008

Scribd Experiment

Read this document on Scribd: CJD Presentation


Link to Scribd url

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Lessig says money erodes trust in politics - Keynote from Austin

Mcdawg was one of around 650 online viewers of Lessig's most recent talk yesterday. The podcast has now been archived as above.

Certainly, up to Larry's well cemented standards delivery wise. I certainly found this pretty compelling and must watch it again later.

From one report in the blogosphere:-

We're listening to a very lively keynote by the distinguished Professor Lawrence Lessig, who is explaining how money in the political process has bankrupted Congress as an institution and reviewing the history of corruption, which goes all the way back to the beginning of the country.

"We face the exact same problem here," Lessig said, referring to the Framers' problems in making early American government independent (or nondependent) of private money and influence.

More under the fold.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Wright/Wrong - A Jurisdiction Issue or Broader Matter?

It's not everyday that your/the family GP is reported to governing bodies like the General Medical Council (GMC).

"The hearing continues."


No further comments from this family at this juncture.

Our family are very proud to be part of Dr Kerr's practice.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Interview: "Open Views" featuring McDawg aka Steck

12th October 2007, Prof Peter Suber and I & were interviewed on the same afternoon, back to back by Sundar Raman as part of the ongoing series called "Open Views".

Peter's can be found here.


Having previously released a snippet and patiently waiting for a landing space over at, I decided to edit and self archive a copy of my own.

Intended Intro music

White Lies by *Catch* by steck
Genre: Pop (mainstream)

Intended Outro music

Wake Up Now - remastered by Tobin Mueller by steck
Genre: Pop (mainstream)

Creative Commons License

Image, mash up of this image from released under this CC license.

The interview was a joint creation of McDawg and host from

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Top 10 TEDTalks of all time

Really good montage of the 10 most popular TEDTalks.

Counting down the Top 10 TEDTalks

"With 50 million views since we debuted online two years ago, TED talks have become a powerful cultural force.

To celebrate this milestone, we're releasing a never-before-seen list: the Top 10 TED talks of all time, as of June 2008.

With speakers like neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor and global health expert Hans Rosling, the list proves one of the compelling ideas behind TEDTalks: that an unknown speaker with a powerful idea can reach -- and move -- a global audience. Links to all 10 talks are found below -- or browse through our Top 10 TED Talks Theme. Even if you've seen all the talks, the highlights video is darn fun."


H/T to Jane Park @ Creative Commons

Open source DJ mixer - 'Aurora'

aurora Open Source DJ Mixer\MIDI Hardware w/ Ableton Live from mcubed on Vimeo.

Looks and sounds well cool.

aurora is a usb powered multichannel mixer in a typical dj form factor. the device features two linear channel faders, a single a/b crossfader and eight backlit buttons. twenty four backlit knobs allow you to control effects. aurora, unlike most midi controllers, enhances performances with controllable ambient lighting. aurora easily integrates with your favorite midi compatible software.


Friday, 11 July 2008


Updated version of this image.

Toll Access? Can't Share? - Get Creative - Legally


In one of McDawg's official capacities as a Patient Advocate, he has two officially authorised routes for gaining free access to Toll Access STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) literature.

I've already blogged about one of them via McBlawg here.

The other resource that I have access to is in relation to a fairly specific area of protein misfolding diseases.

This is great for me (and the others who have access) but I'm fairly restricted by traditional Publishers Copyright as to sharing this literature with others who might be interested.

As one OA community member so ably put it to me when I was handed this particular "golden key":-

Thanks for this - indeed a victory. This is definitely not open access, though; anyone else who wanted access would be in exactly the same boat as you were before. There are more than 500 academic institutions, in North America alone. With open access, more grad students and potential researchers would have access; some might be interested, and decide to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this area.


About two weeks ago, I spotted a new Manuscript of extremely significant interest and under "Fair Use", drew this to the attention of two contacts (McDawg has a lot). The one who responded remains an extremely reliable and sound contact at New Scientist.

From experience, this is simply water off a ducks back for McDawg but since I blog more regularly these days, I felt a blog post was in order.

Having closely followed research in a particular field of rare fatal neurodegenerative diseases for many years now, it's not every day when a new/novel form is discovered.

From the commentary Manuscript relating to the Manuscript in question:-

In this issue of Annals of Neurology, Gambetti and colleagues describe a new form of prion disease designated proteinase-sensitive prionopathy (PSPr). The discovery of any new form of disease is a milestone. The identification of this novel phenotype of prion disease reflects the value of a rigorous systematic surveillance program and underlines the importance of neuropathological examination and prion protein (PrP) typing in prion disease classification.

It was during a conversation with McDawg's father last night that McDawg was alerted to one of the growing number of media reports relating to this discovery. There are currently 15 including this one from the BBC. Several link back to either the abstract of the Manuscript and/or the article in the New Scientist which generated additional media interest.

From what I've read thus far, media coverage has been authoritative and accurate.


As regular readers (Aunty Philippa and Uncle David) of such ramblings are aware, McDawg is an active (albeit, lurking in the background) member of the Open Access Community. McDawg has demonstrated yet again that "Fair Use" is not a crime and I urge other Patient Advocates and those interested in free culture to share information with a degree of creativity etc. as we continue to navigate the semantic web world that we now live in.

If you are even the slightest bit interested in what the global community can do in terms of Open Access, drop by the Open Access Directory. It's a wiki so anyone interested can get involved as reported here from the onset.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Science Blogging 2008: London

Since I'm still a relative newcomer at the office I'm working in, other than my musical activities, my colleagues are unaware of some of my other outside of work spare time activities. Nothing new there then.

Having booked a day or two off to attend Science Blogging 2008: London, it wasn't long before folks enquired, "so, what are going to be doing when you're off?".

"I'm heading down to London for the weekend" McDawg replied.

"A Conference about science blogging".

That threw them big time.

Yesterday, I was asked "are you into Star Trek?". After I replied with "yes", this was greeted with a couple of sniggers. I'm not exactly "a Trekky" by any sense of the imagination.

2 + 2 = 10

McDawg then gets hit with "so you're off to a Star Trek Convention..."

Aye right.

"OK then, Google science blogging 2008" said McDawg.

After a few of them read this, they started to understand what I was talking about.

Some initial comments were interesting such as:-

"They're all PhD's"
"They're are old"

Both factually incorrect.

Next up was "what do you blog about?". "Various things: music, comedy, science, you name it". retorted McDawg.

We are a small team and clearly, I'm the only blogger. Nothing unusual about that.


After one person read this out loud:-

The science blogging community is growing rapidly and reaching larger audiences. At Science Blogging 2008, science bloggers from around the world will have the opportunity to meet and discuss the pressing issues in science, science communication, publishing and education. What can science bloggers do to maximise their impact? Can blogging contribute to scientific research and careers? How can blogs be used to help educate the public about science? Readers and writers of science blogs, those who follow trends in online scientific communication and anyone else interested in learning more about science blogging will benefit from the discussions.

they and those listening started to appreciate the purpose of the Conference and why us attendees were, er, attending.


Science is not just about scientists - its about many things. Blogging is about many things. The dual combination is still a relatively new concept but one that is rapidly gathering in pace the world over.

During today's discussion, once the concept was grasped that McDawg is a blogger, someone interested in science and attending a Conference about these subjects, thank feck, the penny had dropped.

Better still, once I explained that I already knew, via the blogosphere, many of the speakers and others attending and was equally looking forward to the social events, it was swiftly back to work to all concerned in this interesting on and offline discussion.

I rest my case.