Thursday, October 27, 2011

Open Access Week

From October 24-30 it is Open Access Week.

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its fourth [actually fifth year], is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

Open Access (OA) has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporting a move towards Open Access in increasing numbers every year. Open Access Week is a key opportunity for all members of the community to take action to keep this momentum moving forward.

OA Week is an invaluable chance to connect the global momentum toward open sharing with the advancement of policy changes on the local level. Universities, colleges, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, and think tanks have used Open Access Week as a platform to host faculty votes on campus open-access policies, to issue reports on the societal and economic benefits of Open Access, to commit new funds in support of open-access publication, and more."

Britain's most prestigious scientific institution, the Royal Society, made its entire archives open-access and online on 26 October

"The Royal Society has today announced that its world-famous historical journal archive – which includes the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal – has been made permanently free to access online.

Around 60,000 historical scientific papers are accessible via a fully searchable online archive, with papers published more than 70 years ago now becoming freely available.

The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific publisher, with the first edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society appearing in 1665. Henry Oldenburg – Secretary of the Royal Society and first Editor of the publication – ensured that it was “licensed by the council of the society, being first reviewed by some of the members of the same”, thus making it the first ever peer-reviewed journal."

News on Open Access in Africa can be found here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness

boingboing draws my attention to this article How the News Media May Hurt – Not Help – Health Literacy Efforts by Gary Schwitzer of the Health News Review which questions the efficacy of screening for breast cancer.

Strangely enough my friend Helena draws my attention to the role of big pharma in the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


We have three aging mechanical typewriters in the office - an Adler universal 390, a Triumph matura 490 and a Swedish Facit. All three are amazingly still operational and occasionally still in use.

The solicitor in the office next door to us still uses a typewriter for all his work!

What amazed me even more is that you can still buy typewriter ribbons! I guess there is still a demand for this amazing machine in countries that sorely lack both computers and electricity ... and, of course, they must be far easier and cheaper to repair.

I was amused to find today the USBTypewriter - "a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence. Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer".

Convert your mechanical typewriter into a USB device that will type to your computer screen!

Of course, you need to have both devices ... and a printer!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew

And if you don't know the height of a "safe" Free Fall ... look it up on Wikipedia!


I thought Halibut is a fish - according to Alan Davidson of excellent quality although I have never had the opporunity to try it.

But now I learn otherwise - it is a Zinc oxide dermatological cream.

Friday, October 21, 2011

iklan sabun giv

Well blow me down with a feather!

Someone speaking "Indonesian" searched on Google Indonesia "iklan sabun giv" and found my entries on Giv soap and proceeded to visit seven pages corresponding, more or less, to all my entries on the aforesaid.

I can only wonder whether it was their beautiful model or their advertising department?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Form C2 - Kezia's Passport contd

So finally we ascertain we cannot use IPS Form SE04 to apply for Kezia's replacement passport as she is not resident in the UK but must use Form C2. My brother managed to find a downloadable pdf version of the form and sent it to me.

Instructions for completing the form state "Please use black ink and capital letters, if handwriting" which implies to me that you can alternatively complete the form on your computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If only ...

The form is a) encrypted so as to even prevent you from superimposing text objects and b) contains no data fields. As a result you are obliged to print out the form and complete it by hand. The space available for many of the entries is so small that your block capital handwriting must be miniscule (Mothers town and country of birth: Sao Tome, Sao Tome e Principe - there are precisely x centimetres for this).

So I have gone through the laborious process of finding and downloading a free pdf deencryption tool and then downloading a trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro Portable and adding data fields. Now I can complete the form on a computer and size the text accordingly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's worse than having Leukaemia?

boingboing has posted about Amit Gupta who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia and requires a bone marrow transplant. The post highlights the difficulty of finding an appropriate donor of South Asian descent. The same applies to anyone non-white.

The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust in the UK campaigns to increase the number of registered donors on the UK donor register. It has managed to raise the number of African-descent donors in the UK from 550 to 33,000 - but this is still not enough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handmade Vacuum Tubes

Radio is a bit (just a little bit) of an interest of mine having worked for a radio retransmission station for many years and being a licensed (albeit not very active) radio amateur. Radio hams in general are enormous Makers, although I regrettably never have been.

This article (at boingboing) on handmade vacuum tubes equals my recent post on the Memex tide calculator. Awesome!

See also Aleksander Zawada's page on making vacuum tubes and the report on this visit to his lab.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Maker Faire Africa

I've been reading about Make from time to time on boingboing and yesterday did a little bit of investigation into what Make is.

To quote from Wikipedia:

"Make (or MAKE) is an American quarterly magazine published by O'Reilly Media which focuses on do it yourself (DIY) and/or DIWO (Do It With Others) projects involving computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines."

O'Reilly Publishing ... the Bastard Operator From Hell!

The Make magazine was launched in 2005 and a year later Make organised the first Maker Faire in the USA bringing together amateur and small professional inventors and innovators who support an opensource philosophy and are seeking collaboration on creative and business levels to promote their ideas. The most recent US Maker Faire was last weekend in New York.

The Maker "movement", for that is what it has now become, was initially a "First World" phenomenon, is now spreading fast as it becomes apparent that it is ideal for the promotion of appropriate technology in the developing world.

Advancing from Schumacher's original philosphy, that inspired "Intermediate" and "Appropriate" technology and were developed world led, the Maker movement, although originally started in the developed world is now taking off in the developing world. The emphasis now is that the people who know what is appropiate are the users themselves and that technology should originate from and, most importantly by users ...

I haven't found time to this. Here are important links ...

White African

Timbuktu Chronicles

Maker Faire Africa


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Help Through Cancer Support Groups and Networks

A guest post from David Haas of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance:

"Being diagnosed with cancer can often be a stressful and overwhelming experience for many people. However, to help increase the chances of survival, this disease requires early detection. Mesothelioma is one such cancer that is not easily diagnosed and is often detected during the latter stages. With a skilled and frank doctor, a good medical team and emotional support you can receive significant help to cope with cancer and improve you quality of life and recovery.

If you are a cancer survivor or are in remission or going through treatment, you may
benefit from the experience of trained volunteers who have been affected by similar treatment and who are fighting the same cancer disease. By using cancer support groups and networks you may receive important benefits such as:

•Receiving emotional support and having a friend in need,
•Getting useful suggestions, tips, advice and ideas on how and where to get information and dealing with side-effects,
•Having practical support during and after treatment as well as during recovery,
•Receiving encouragement and hope for survival and living your life to the fullest,
•Having an outlet to ask questions and share your concerns, story and experience.

Survivors and those who are in remission who help with cancer
support groups or networks may benefit from managing survivorship issues, including recurrence of the cancer.

The types of cancer support networks and groups may differ, but you are sure to find one that best fits your needs and situation. Some groups may meet in person, but if you don’t like opening up to people or find it difficult to travel, you may look for a telephone or an internet support group. Other types of group support such as lectures and workshops, faith-based groups or groups led by a doctor or professional therapist are also available.

Other helpful
ways of expressing your feeling as you cope with cancer is through journaling or writing. This helps you to get in touch with your true feelings and provides and outlet to share them.

Expressing your feelings through writing or on a one-on-one basis may help you to feel less burdened and dispel any fears and misconceptions that you may have about your cancer. You may also find valuable information by using online resources provided by cancer support groups and networks. Two such resources are
the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society’s Network."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I married Nanda in February 2006 in order to pass UK nationality to Kezia because a UK father could not pass his nationality to the child of a foreign mother if they weren't married. The law changed in July 2006.

"From 1 July 2006 the definition of of a parent for British nationality purposes changed to include illegitimate child/ren born through a surrogacy arrangement to a British citizen father; provided that the mother of the child is not still validly married to another man."