Are our spooks distracted by social media?

It's obvious Media and politics had become distracted by social media. You know it, I know it, they know it.

But f**k it, its more interesting than the daily grind of traditional analysis. For example have you seen how thick a copy of the Sunday Times is these days, it's practically equivalent to a session at the gym just to lug it home from the newspaper shop of a morning.

Reading it cover to cover takes you right through to the next Sunday. A tweet is so much more succinct.

But more unpleasantly it seems that while our intelligence services were spending vast amounts of cash shovelling tweets, and pokes and pictures of fapping off yahoo webcam chats into their archive, that Russia was busy planning world war III

The basic failure of the intelligence services, is not so much that they were obviously collecting personal and private data on mass, but that in their fervour to establish and enable these dubious activities, they actually failed to do the job which they are there for.

If we are all killed in nuclear armageddeon, I've trained a cockroach to talk, it will say "I told you so" to anyone who manages to survive.

p.s. I'm joking, that was all a setup for the speaking cockroach joke.

Hard to concentrate after strenuous exercise?

At a few points in the past I noticed that if I do strenuous exercise, particularly in the morning, that I feel badly spaced-out during the rest of the day.

For example, when I used to go climbing at the Mile End wall, or at the Castle in Finsbury, it basically meant that I would write-off any meaningful work during the rest of the day.

I could potter about and procrastinate, but anything requiring concentrated focused effort was almost impossible.

I thought it odd that other people, such as those I climbed with, didn't experience similar degradation in concentration. (though I put it down to them being baseline thick ;-)

However I noticed that some other people were reporting similar issues of loss of concentration on a cycling forum, so I googled for the issue, and it seems a common complaint;
"s5fskzfv" on Bike Forums said: "After a long workout I often have trouble concentrating. It's hard to describe exactly what the problem is, it's like if I have something I need to read, or something that takes thinking like balancing a checkbook, I just don't feel like doing it. Trying to concentrate feels uncomfortable to the point that I can't do it. I tend to do a lot of reading, if I didn't, I might not even notice the problem, it's sort of subtle. I'm not sure exactly what it is, maybe not enough sleep or low blood sugar? Usually by the next day I'm back to normal after a couple of meals and some sleep."
NaturalBeasting talking on Testosterone Nation made this post:
"It is extremely difficult for me to do critical thinking after a really ball-busting tough workout. I completely space out and can't focus.

This effect usually lasts for the remainder of that day and sometimes 1-2 days afterwards. (It affects my performance in school/work.)

If I don't workout for a week or so there's a dramatic difference in my mental capabilities.

It's been happening my entire life, despite good sleep, nutrition and overall health.

Anyone else experienced this?

And "strawberry" asked this question on yahoo Answers:

After doing my morning exercise I can't concentrate in lectures..will I just 'outgrow' this?

 I'm 22. I love my exercise. In my summer holidays (I'm at uni), I always start my day with a half-hour workout. But if I'm in the middle of a university term, I find that after doing my morning workout, I find it difficult to concentrate in lectures due to feeling tired from the workout.

So today, I did a short run and some weights, after a bit of a layoff, and right now I am feeling completely unable to work.

I've eaten a good breakfast since, so I think that rules out low blood sugar.

I don't feel tired right now, and I wouldn't be able to doze off, which is unusual for this time of day, whereas normally I could easily have an hours kip.

There are a few theories on the acute changes brought by exercise, both aerobic and muscular;

for example copper and zinc blood levels;

Elevated brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels;

This paper seems to suggest, that you benefit from CV fitness, but not from the exercise itself;
These findings suggest that cardiorespiratory fitness, but not acute aerobic exercise, may be beneficial to behavioral and neuroelectric indices of action monitoring following errors of commission by increasing top-down attentional control.


How to make zotero format organizational creators correctly when fields are parsed from metadata.

I puzzled over this one for a while, and given the answer was fairly simple I thought it was worth a write-up.

When I generated my bibliography for an assignment I was writing, I noticed that Zotero has made a mess of the author credit in some references. For example:
Nutrition, C. for F. S. and A. (n.d.) ‘Laboratory Methods - BAM: Staphylococcus aureus’, WebContent, [online] Available from: (Accessed 10 February 2014).
The credit should actually be to the institution named "Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition".

Research Log: rereading course text

I reread the Antibacterial Agents chapter from the course book;
Patrick, G. L. (2009) An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry, New York, Oxford University Press.

They are cheeky little things, those bacteria.

I was particularly looking for articles from Medicinal Chemistry journals, however I found this one from the "one stop search" at the OU library;
Kalia, Vipin Chandra (2013) ‘Quorum sensing inhibitors: An overview’, Biotechnology Advances, 31(2), pp. 224–245.

It's quite a lot of reading,  but it seems pretty comprehensive for a review of the mechanisms.

Research Log: Cardiac Glycosides

I am currently researching Cardiac Glycosides, and need to keep a "research diary" for an OU module

The final 3 papers I chose were these;

Gayed, Bishoy A., O’Malley, Katherine J., Pilch, Jan and Wang, Zhou (2012) ‘Digoxin Inhibits Blood Vessel Density and HIF-1a Expression in Castration-Resistant C4-2 Xenograft Prostate Tumors’, CTS: Clinical & Translational Science, 5(1), pp. 39–42.

Jensen, Marie, Schmidt, Steffen, Fedosova, Natalya U., Mollenhauer, Jan and Jensen, Henrik H. (2011) ‘Synthesis and evaluation of cardiac glycoside mimics as potential anticancer drugs’, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 19(7), pp. 2407–2417.

Slingerland, M., Cerella, C., Guchelaar, H. J., Diederich, M. and Gelderblom, H. (2013) ‘Cardiac glycosides in cancer therapy: from preclinical investigations towards clinical trials’, Investigational New Drugs, 31(4), pp. 1087–1094.

The paper by Gayed et al (2012) reports on an in-vivo experiment in which where tumour cells are grafted into adult male nude mice.

Jensen et al (2011) describe some novel synthetic cardiac glycoside compounds in a in-vitro cell line.

Slingerland, M. et al (2013) is a review article of the use of cardiac glycosides in anticancer medicinal chemistry.

statistically speaking... guardian writer is confused about statistics

This piece by guardian writer Barbara Ellen probably needs to be rechecked by their sub-editors for statistical correctness.

If you really think you're gay, guys, why not act on it?

The latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles revealed many things (from unplanned pregnancies to unreported sexual assaults), but also that there has been a 400% increase in (mainly younger) women, some fully lesbian, declaring same sex sexual experimentation – around 16%. By contrast, the number of men who'd had a same sex experience had only gone up 1% (to 7%) since 1991.

The data that Barbara Ellen is quoting appears to be this:

Percentage of the population who have ever had same-sex experience (people aged 16-44)



So I think there are two problems with the quoted statement above.

1) There has been a 300% increase in women declaring same sex experimentation.

The absolute increase of 4% to 16%, is 12%... and 12% is 300% of the 1991 figure of 4%.

2) Barbara is also comparing the change in the proportion (of women declaring same sex experimentation) as a percentage of the original 1990-91 value (which should be 300%), to the absolute change (of men declaring same sex experimentation), from 6% to 7%, which is 1%.

However these are not equivalent values. The correct comparison figure for men (of percentage change in proportion of population), to the 300% figure would be 16%, i.e.  

The change from 6% to 7% is a 16.66% increase, when looked at as a percentage change in the proportion.

So the correct way of describing that would be:

"also that there has been a 300% proportional increase of (mainly younger) women, some fully lesbian, declaring same sex sexual experimentation – around 16%. By contrast, the proportional change in percentage of men who'd had a same sex experience  was only 16.66% (to 7%) since 1991."

However, it would also be possible to look at both figures as absolute changes, and that would result in the following correct version:

"also that there has been a 12% absolute increase in (mainly younger) women, some fully lesbian, declaring same sex sexual experimentation – to around 16%. By contrast, the number of men who'd had a same sex experience had only gone up 1% (to 7%) since 1991."

I might be wrong about the interpretation, if I am using the wrong source data...

"In Florida one in three death row prisoners are subsequently proven innocent. "

The following quoted proportion of judicial failure seemed unlikely, even for Florida:
In the US one in ten death row prisoners are subsequently exonerated.
That's not let off the punishment and put in prison instead, or found not guilty on a technicality;
that's proven innocent.
In Florida it's one in three.

So I decided to determine a more realistic estimate of that proportion.