Lovecraft love and the ol’ Miskatonic formula

On reading the Lovecraft short, ‘The Shadow Out of Time’, I was reassured by the warm, sinister embrace of the Lovecraftian formula.

The formula runs with some chap or other who survives a weird cosmic experience when meddling with ancient forces – insert magic, the undead, demons, ancient beings.

Something far-out will occur like a lady with squirrel familiar chasing him through triangles, or a dream about a tentacle city, or his friend acting weird only to culture a Yeti in a bell jar.

Things will come to a head and the narrator will be running through a tunnel, lost in a dream city, or will be roundly slapped in the face with a triangle.

At then end the narrator relates how he, or his subject, is still proper scared.

And then I can go to bed, lulled by the Lovecraft.



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Working on new site,

Quick mention here – working on a new digital health consultancy called Curio Health, see

We offer consultancy and builds for projects falling under the digital health banner, including public health microsites, web presence for GP practices and health service providers, SEO for online health campaigns, app design, information audits (email, web, intranet etc) and much more.

See the site for more detail, the Curio Health Blog, Twitter feed and contacts.

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Sorting stuff : stuff in reality, stuff we think about, and sorting stuff in molecular biology

Some finding from my PhD have been published in the Journal of Documentation under the title ‘Ontological realism, concepts and classification in molecular biology: development and application of the Gene Ontology’.

Put simply – how do we classify stuff, and do scientists classify stuff differently to the rest of us?

It is remiss of the publisher to not capitalise the proper name ‘Gene Ontology’.

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Forty-something, drunk, and an expensive visit on the NHS

Dr Foster Intelligence – a health data intelligence company – has pushed out some numbers on drug and alcohol-related admissions to Accident and Emergency departments, and forty-somethings get fingered in the headline. The results seem to be sucked from HSCIC data drawn from A&E departments across the country, where admissions get coded, and a patient’s inebriation / highness will be recorded if evidently linked to a visit.

The interesting bit is this hump in the graph below – as a proportion of total visits, there’s a disproportionate number of emergency admissions of the drunk and wasted as you approach the middle-age group, and this tails off again as you get older. Oh, and a lot of people getting admitted are poor. But poor people don’t make such an exciting headline.

How could you act on these sorts of numbers? Trips to A&E are expensive, so the implication is that targeted public health interventions for middle-aged adults might be helpful. What is so bonkers though is this general upward trend in people drinking so much, they end up in an emergency department.

If you do have an alcohol or drug problem in Camden, there are lots of local organisations that offer help.

Infographic showing drug and alcohol-related admissions

Dr Foster A4 shareable graphic of drug and alcohol problem in UK NHS Accident and Emergency

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December 9, 2013 · 2:50 pm

New Surly Cross Check naming ceremony

I think I’ll call her Sharon.

sharon-surly-cross-check-singleI think I’ll call her Sharon.

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December 6, 2013 · 5:35 pm

Kings Fund animation explains the inexplicable – what is commissioning?

Natty animation produced by the Kings Fund explaining the new NHS commissioning landscape for primary care.

It even has a go at describing what a ‘Commissioning Support Unit’ is, which is a bit like having a bash  at solving Fermat’s Last Theorem.

Take from:

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December 4, 2013 · 10:43 am

Camden scoring well on drinking itself to death

Bottoms up! Whilst Camden is losing the race to smoke itself stupid against many rival boroughs on the Public Health England Smash Hits Mortality Ranking, we can take heart from the stirring statistic that we rank way down the table for liver disease at a hepatic-tissue-hardening 130th in the country.

I’m quite sure we could pass many an hour pondering the reasons, or perhaps simply walk up and down the High Street at the weekend and try and calculate just how much booze is swilled from Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm between Friday night and Sunday morning.

Answers on a postcard –  or guestimated from Oystercard trip data and wholesale alcohol trade to registered vendors in Camden.



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