Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Questions over statin prescribing

This drug is always in and out of the news, questions have been raised over their effectiveness in healthy people. I blogged about this 5 years ago when they became available over the counter. In fact I'd argue that for people without famialial hypercholesteroleamia they will result in an increase in cholesterol upon ceasing to use the drug.
So if you want to really know and understand the benefits of statins I'd suggest reading my earlier post

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BBC Book List

Hmmm much fun, though I should be doing more productive things

"The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt."

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

read 25 and partially read or read abridged versions of another 8

Monday, September 13, 2010

Learn to speak chinese online

Just come across a great new podcast to help me learn how to pronounce words in mandarin chinese. Check it out for an introduction to pinyin. I'm looking forward to being able to learn mandarin chinese online following this course.
i think the teacher is cute :) and danni agrees

btw the rest of my greenbelt review will follow soon....

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Greenbelt 2010 review

I love greenbelt, there is always so much to inspire and this year was no exception. The drive down was great and was punctuated with the now traditional stop at strensham services for a bite to eat before joining the queues at GB. The wristband was adorned and we moved from one holding queue to another, which included a perplexing and frustrating journey as car after car in front of me seemed to be stopping for an in depth conversation with the steward. IMG_5043Surely it was obvious you just went in the direction they were pointing without the need for winding down the window and checking that they had understood the direction of pointing was towards the next illuminous jacket adorned steward. But that seemed to be exactly what was being discussed, with that or it was some confused punters looking for the Reading festival. Eventually we were onto the campsite and began pitching the tent to be followed by festival guide procrastination and a stir fry. The stir fry has become the staple first meal of greenbelt and is usually delicious as the ingredients are still fresh. And then it's time for the festival to begin. I started with a talk by Richard Rohr on the art of looking sideways at the bible. It was fairly informative re-asserting the need to re-read the bible with different coloured glasses (symbolic, cultural, eschatological and historical to name a few) and to recognise that our reading is steeped in our own culture and experience. A reminder that arguing over the meaning of greek words to fully understand what Christ was saying is, in a way, futile, as Christ didn't even speak greek. What was fascinating was the idea around contemplative thinking as opposed to dualistic thinking. Dualistic thinking being the kind of way of assessing if something does not fit x then it is y. Language has developed in a dualistic way - tall and short for example. But then when you think about it, tall and short are relative and it's not that straight forward. Apparently dualistic thinking cannot be applied to love, death, god, suffering or the infinite. Which kinda of makes sense, but what contemplative thinking actually is I am none the wiser, but i think i need to go and try it out. I didn't get IMG_5051to any of Richard's other talks as i guessed they would be much of a muchness. Followed this talk with a decision to investigate zic zazou at the centaur, purely based on the fact that the picture in the GB guide looked interesting. Whilst queuing it began to drizzle and the setting sun cast a wonderful rainbow over the festival towards the camping area. People clambered for their cameras and pretty much everyone at GB will have taken a picture of this beautiful image. The only disappointment was a lack of pot of gold in my tent when i returned. Zic Zazou were a kind of stomp style theatre making music from borrowed items and 'apparent junk'. Quite good fun, and every time i was just beginning to tire then they would re-awaken my interest with sounds from the most unlikely of places.
My first night's sleep was punctuated with snaps of wakefulness as my body revealed it was actually freezing and i began to re-assess my choice of a one season sleeping bag with added blanket. Despite the depths of cold the sleeping bag claimed to remain comfortable i conclude that the one season for which it is fit is summer, inside a house. Not inside a tent. Despite my erratic sleep i was up bright and early to see the start of a beautiful day. Had a good wander around the festival village before setting out my camping blanket at the grandstand to listen to Mark Yaconelli, he had a great story telling ability and i was engrossed in his story about meeting his wife and then the warm sun took hold and i drifted in and out of sleep. But that didn't matter, i was enjoying the atmosphere. Then at 1pm there were literally one million things i wanted to do, beer and hymns, martyn atkins, keith skene. In the end i opted for engage worship to see if i could pick up any ideas for cvm. It was ok, but nothing new was greatly learned, apart from the fact that there seemed to be a great interest in 'doing church' differently. Particularly with regard to making the experience more open to participation and dialogue. Something we have been doing successfuly at cvm for some time. A quick dash to the underground for 10 minutes of 100 philistine foreskins who are truly awesome. Probably one of my musical highlights of the festival. A raucous racket which had people charging for the exits and pleading to be let out whilst sweaty teenage boys crashed into each other with shoes flying overhead. I would've loved to have stayed longer but another clash was coming up, but i was there long enough to hear the lead singer say how amazed he was that anyone had turned up at all to listen to them. The bass player added it was like people buying broken things on ebay. We left after a passionate anti-bnp poem. the raw energy of this band and the amusing between track banter would have me put these on the mainstage. It would be a riot!
IMG_5062Late afternoon we went to see Lou Rhodes, i was a big fan of lamb and was relishing the opportunity to hear her solo stuff. The venue was running late and she was on later than billed, however it was worth the wait. Pleasant folk musings, though i really missed the erratic beats and trip hop feel of lamb.
The music line up this year hadn't really grabbed me, and although the festival is so much more than the music, over the years i have always enjoyed going to see something on the mainstage. This year the biggest name seemed to be shed seven who were appearing on saturday night. I have fond memories of dancing to their tunes at indie discos in the past and so was quite looking forward to it. However they never really seemed to ignite the crowd, perhaps as the majority of the eager teenagers at the front had never heard of them. Without a particularly strong stage presence there wasn't really anything to get excited about, and as the tunes played i began to realise why i had only ever danced to them at discos and never gone out my way to purchase any of their material. more later i guess, more images are on flickr

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chinese cultural awareness and mandarin

We have also just started a blog to update news regarding wei lai enterprises. This blog can be found at So any requirements for chinese cultural awareness courses or mandarin interpretation, translation or tutor services in the yorkshire area, especially sheffield, this is the place to look.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

wei lai enterprises

I've recently been helping danni set up a company as a vehicle to utilise her talents. We have just finished our the web site for the company which is I think it looks pretty smart. Working for yourself must have some advantages, like using your own skills for your own benefit rather than for someone else. Let's see what the future holds, for wei lai is mandarin for future :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Election stats

Well that was an eventful election. Stayed up to about 1230 watching the initial results come in, which was as pointless as ever. Sunderland results are never going to tell you anything leaving paxman and dimbleby to discuss pretty much nothing for hours attempting to make it sound valid. Jeremy Vine engulfed in his virtual house of commons trying desperately to extrapolate results from one constituency into a government. I got up again around 3am expecting results from sheffield but it seemed they weren't forthcoming, instead i endured the excitement of party leaders getting into a car, driving in a car and getting out of a car again. Gave up about 4:30 and got up again at 6:30 just in time to see nick clegg win his seat.
The best result of the night definately goes to Caroline Lucas winning a seat for the green party in brighton pavilion. I've heard her speak on numerous occasions and she is adept and focussed on raising the green agenda and will be an excellent addition to parliament. Disappointing to see UKIP and BNP in 4th and 5th position in terms of proportion of votes throughout the uk, though thankfully they didn't win a seat, it does show that there is a strong lean towards exclusive right wing policies from the electorate and this is something that still needs to be addressed.

But what happened to Rod Rodgers in sheffield central? well unsurprisingly he didn't really make any impact, claiming only 40 votes. I think if i was a counter i would have been quite excited to have come across a ballot paper with a vote for him, it would feel like a golden ticket. Paul Scriven narrowly missed out to Paul Bloomfield, probably due to tactical voting from the anti-tory majority in sheffield. In the end a vote for LD would have been better to increase the left of centre proportion of a coalition government.

Anyway, poor rod got me thinking, did he poll the lowest number of votes out of all the candidates nationally? Well thankfully the guardian have provided the entire results for all constituencies in downloadable format here. There were 16 people who returned fewer votes and outlined below is a series of interesting numerical data from the election

Who polled the least votes at the 2010 election

This accolade goes to Godfrey Spickernell who stood for the Blue Environment Party in the Chelsea and Fulham constituency who polled just 17 votes. I feel a bit sorry for Godfrey, for unlike rod rodgers he has a website and appears to be able to spell and have policies that aren't completely off the wall

who polled the most votes at the 2010 election

This goes to Stephen Timms standing for labour in east ham, polling over 70% of the constituency vote, 35,471 people voted for him. He is followed in second place by our new leader mr cameron who collected 33,973 votes, but only 59% of the vote. The top 50 candidates in terms of votes received are broken down as 32 seats for conservative, 5 seats for labour and 3 seats for the Lib Dems. Due to differences in constituency sizes and turnout this is not an entirely accurate measure of success so....

who polled the most votes in terms of percentage of voters at the 2010 election

When we analyse the results like this we get Labour candidate Steve Rotherham standing for liverpool walton as the most popular candidate with 71.96% of the vote, followed by Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein standing for Belfast West with 71.08%. Reviewing the top 50 most popular candidates in terms of votes we have 24 seats for labour, 22 seats for conservative, 2 seats for lib dem, one for Sinn fein and one for independent (Sylvia Hermon, Down north - previously UUP but recently standing as an independent due to UUP alliance with the conservatives)

which candidate got the most votes but didn't win a seat

Somerton and Frome: Annunziata Rees-Mogg received 26,976 votes and 44.51% of the vote for the conservatives but still lost the seat to David Heath of the lib dems who polled 28,793 votes 47.50%
Rodney Conner standing for independent in Fermanagh and South Tyrone polled 45.51% of the vote (21,300) but still missed out on a seat to Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein who polled 45.51% (21,304) a difference of just 4 votes which must've been the closest fought seat.

which candidate polled the fewest votes to win their seat

Angus MacNeil representing Scottish National Party polled just 6,723 votes to win the Na h-Eileanan an Iar seat, however this was 45.68% of the vote

which candidate polled the smallest percentage of the vote to win their seat

Simon Wright of the lib dems won Norwich South with 13,960 votes which represented 29.36% of the vote

interesting numbers

100 votes

Haji Choudhury, independent - Bethnal Green and Bow
Margaret McMahon-Morris, Lawfulness Trustworthiness and Transparency - Great Yarmouth
Paul Swansborough, independent - Redditch
all polled exactly 100 votes

1000 votes

Jo Willcott, green - Norfolk South
Bill Manwaring, UCUNF - Belfast West
all polled exactly 1000 votes

Prime numbers

There were 533 candidates who polled a prime number of votes, the largest prime number being Conservative candidate David Gauke of Hertfordshire South West who polled 30,773 votes

other numbers that are interesting

David McBride for Lib Dem Orpington polled 12,000 votes
Thomas Simpson for DUP Upper Bann polled 14,000 votes
Andrew Robathan for conservatives Leicestershire South polled 27,000 votes

candidate with the longest name

Zahra-Melan Ebrahimi-Fardouee of the Green party standing in Kensington has 28 characters in her name, she polled 753 votes

candidate with the shortest name

was ANON standing for the 'no description' party in Bath polled 69 votes

the constituency with the longest name

is Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East with 38 characters

the constituency with the shortest name

there are two with 4 characters: