Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

At the Red Deer with the Founder of Xlear (pronounced Clear)

June 6, 2018

 

A memorable informal meeting from April 2007. Time to blog it. Having transferred from email to word to blog, this is McDawg’s longest post to date.

After downloading numerous maps about how to get from a railway station I had not been to before and walk about 1.5 miles to a travelodge that I had not been to before, I thought I was well equipped ahead of this meeting.

After getting off the train in no mans land, I only had one fellow passenger who got off the train with me to point me in the right direction. Getting from A to B on foot was obviously possible (they are both on land as far as I am aware) but would involve traversing motorways and the like. He pointed to a phone box and suggested I call a cab. Excellent idea but us Scottish are notoriously tight fisted. With no taxi numbers on me and none in the phone box (rare to even find a phone box these days) Hhmm.

After a few minutes, my taxi arrived from nowhere. £4 later – I was transported from A to B.

Not anticipating this 30 minute time warp into the future, I scoured the travelodge for Dr Lon Jones and his wife but the results came back negative. I went out for a smoke. 3 puffs in and a gentleman came round the corner. When I spoke with Lon on Tuesday, I told him that I had seen his picture on the web and as such, I would be able to recognise him. This gentleman certainly looked like him from a distance. As he came closer ……………. yep, that’s him. “Hi Lon” I said as he sailed by me. “Graham?” he said. “Your early” he said looking at his timepiece. I explained (pointing at map at the time) how I had just had a time warp experience in a mystery vehicle called a taxi (a little travelled in but handy vehicle used sparingly by Scotsmen unless blind drunk with no other option to get from B to A).

He left me to finish my cigarette but clearly was unaware that such an experience at a leisurely pace not uncommonly can take a few minutes. As I stubbed out the offending substance, he re-appeared at the door as I entered the Travelodge in no mans land.

He was quizzical about precisely where I had seen his photo. (Ed – from the Xlear website !!)


Dr Lon Jones and Jerry Bozeman

I said that I could not recall where I had seen it. Clearly, he and Mrs Jones had had a conversation vis a vis this issue whilst I had been puffing away outside. He said, “you probably wouldn’t have recognised my wife then (as I shook her hand) as she’s grown her hair.” Indeed this was a factually correct statement to make.

Chapter 1

We proceeded to move to a quiet table away from the burl of the current residents and visitors of the Red Deer Village, Innkeeper’s Lodge, Cumbernauld, Glasgow. Being situated (Ed – A80 actually) just 200m away from the busiest Motorway in Scotland, no deer were visible but they certainly would have been coated in red were they to roam around such a highway.

Mrs Jones was supping on the last drops of a pint of fine ale. After some brief opening pleasantries, Lon asked how I had become involved in CJD. I said that I thought he might ask that and had flung together the previous night some documentation that might be useful during our discussion. I responded with “what sort of music are you guys into?” and proceeded to ruffle through my rucksack for a CD that I thought would be a good closer but turned out to be a great ice-breaker. A copy of “Steck – The Best Bitz” (20 track compilation of work I recorded from 1985 – 2000). Took them both completely by surprise by this. Mrs Jones now known as Jerry mentioned that their hire car has a CD player but they have no CD’s. As such, whilst Lon’s musical taste in particular not in line with the content of the CD, at the very least, this will get listened to. They’re off to Iona the day after this discussion and after that, Eire and N Ireland.

Chapter 2

In contrast to previous face to face discussions with newish contacts, surprisingly, I took little notes – indeed, less than a page over the space of three hours intense conversation. Jerry I sensed was also a PhD. Indeed, she is a registered and practising psychotherapist. After revealing the nature of my day job, I jokingly suggested that maybe I could refer some of my clients to her. In part this was taken seriously until they both realised the irony of my remark. Both are clear thinkers.

Down to business and more ruffling of aforementioned rucksack or “rucky” as is referred to in this locale.

Now back home, the content of my rucky is much lighter and out of sync (content wise) than when it left these four walls this morning. I would add that I am pleased to still have four walls and a floor after my downstairs neighbour removed a large wall yesterday. Stewards’ enquiry is currently at stage two. Not as bad as initially suspected.

Dipping into sections 3 & 4 of rucky yielded the best documentation. In the meantime, “Pentosan Polysulphate by Linda Curreri” was eloquently passed over to Lon. This was my own personal copy as I was unable to locate the second copy that Linda sent to me which was originally destined for Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull who gets a mention in the foreword.

The “Timeline” of events document from 2000 to the current day was a great guider from time to time during the discussion. To answer Lon’s gambit, I briefly mentioned my brother and after a two year time lag, my band split up and it was maybe time (after 20 years in the semi-prof and amateur business) to try something else. I explained how I had been called a week after the band break up to consider being Vice-Chair of a (later to become Charity) CJD Support Group. I went onto explain that at the tender age of 32, to me, it seemed like an interesting but challenging role for me to consider, let alone accept. How right I was!!

Chapter 3

Lon intensely read Linda’s book and recalled that he had first heard from her (from memory) around 1999 – 2000. I remarked that I had not connected with Linda until 2003 but had remained in contact with her on a very regular basis right up to the current day. It became Xlear, sorry, clear that Lon had missed an opportunity to drop by and meet Linda face to face when he and Jerry were in New Zealand two years ago. They do however plan to return and most certainly will wish to meet this courageous and intensely interesting individual next time around. Not that it seemed to be required but the writer encouraged such an operchancity.

With Lon still engrossed in Linda’s book, I spoke at some length with Jerry about music and Church organs none the less. Personally, I had only played one about twice back in the Eighties when our, at the time Rev’d, was not in the building.

After a brief (but it ties in) relapse into the beginnings of my musical training at the piano and more importantly, keyboards etc etc, we went back to business and Jerry picked up again, her copy of today’s “The Independent” courtesy of the travelodge. Later on, I myself picked a free copy of this 70p ‘newspaper’, found little news but pages upon pages of advertisements. (These days, If I want news, I usually use the Internet.)

Chapter 4

My guests are both Vegetarians – I am not – omnivore. Having studied the menu, this was a vegetarian’s nightmare. Being polite (the cheeseburger option was most tempting), I went with the flow and three carrot/coriander/leek soups and crusty bread were swiftly delivered and quickly consumed. A second round could easily have been eaten up.

Unexpectedly, our (three hour) discussion transpired to be led namely by myself. It turned out that Lon was namely interested in anatomy related matters, but also very interested in issues namely such as preventative measures and how to rebalance internal human environments when faced with rogue bacterium and proteins.

I mentioned my contact with Dr Ellie Philips and how she had kindly sent me a shipload of Xylitol products and brought out some mints and gums. Lon quickly produced his own supply of Xylitol gum and an all round teeth cleansing moment took place. After all, in dental terms, this was one of the direct points of having this discussion. We practice what we “preach” type thing I suppose.

Lon knew a bit about ‘Prion disease’ but not much on the anatomy. The best way to respond was to describe the apparent misfolding of normal protein PrPc (of which little but some is known about) and the “misfolded” version until recently described as PrPsc. Now knee deep into scientific matters, Jerry walloped down a rather tasty looking Irish Coffee and went upstairs for a well earned rest judging from what I could gather.

With Lon now interested in “Prions” and the Nobel Prize Winner who coined a name for something that does not appear to actually exist (with certainty), he became more than interested on what we were trying to do to stop the relentless progression of the disease (PrPd) in humans specifically in Pentosan terms.

At this point, it was reasonable to re-dig my rucky and pull out further documentation. In the end, all “cards” were on the table (literally) and I told him to take away whatever he wanted. He did and thanked me for being so open.

Chapter 5 – The Book

My Xylitol contact list. This was and still is a working document, i.e., it is incomplete and subject to change. This was of immense interest to Lon. Lon (as I knew already) has a Patent on his Xlear Nasal Spray. Osmotically speaking, this is where everything made total and complete scientific sense. So, fighting bacterium is what mainly drives Lon. If I spin back to part of what he wrote to me if February, this now makes better sense.

“I am working on a book that deals with shifting our paradigm from the mechanical model to a complex one that honours the adaptations we and our evolutionary ancestors have made that helps us to deal more effectively with hostile agents in our environments. The billion dollars made by blocking such adaptations (fever, diarrhoea, rhinorrhea, to name just a few) is a large force that will not take this kindly”.

Around this time, Lon expanded upon his current book. This largely is complete pending a publisher that is sufficiently interested in making this widely available.

Currently dubbed “K C”, this book is about the Complex Adaptive System (previously dubbed CAS) When rogue bacterium enter their new “host”, they are extremely good at self replication and in certain terms millions of times over. Lon’s work deals with bringing internal environments back to their natural status and thus taming unwanted host particles. The rampant smart particles do not/never anticipate such a fight back and eventually go on to die. The system can therefore be restored back to normality not by fighting the bacterium, but by reinforcing the natural environment.

Does this work? It might do. Has this been tried? Yes. See here. Specifically, in relation to ear infection, a successful clinical trail (“n” of ~ 160 measured via similar “n” control) took place around 2005 but not accepted for publication. Since I am now aware that unpublished material can be less, equally and/or more interesting than published material, I look forward to viewing this section of the Author’s currently unpublished material. On the face of it, Xylitol as already very well documented in fighting off bacteria that causes dental decay is apparently effective when delivered intranasally.

Fully aware that Lon has patented this, this was not surprising. That said, in the commercial world that we live in, this was not surprising. Indeed, Lon mentioned a team in the US that cottoned on to “CAS” and intranasal Xylitol and carried out a clinical trial. Kind of handy for Lon when he found out and told them that he had the Patent.

Chapter 6

With the contents of my rucky pretty much now everywhere, but some still not on the table Lon looked at what was still in rucky. I told him to look through – no problem.

Around this time, we spoke about a number of issues but preventative measures came up several times. He mentioned a book that he and Jerry had just finished reading by a Dr Colin Campbell entitled “The China Study”. This I must check out.

My new friends seemed quite taken by their copy of handout “CJD Alliance Glasgow 2006” In particular; Lon was extremely interested in connecting with the Chair of that discussion, Dr Mark McClean. Moreover, Lon was I sense quite taken by Dr McClean’s summary from the Minutes of the discussion:-

“What have we achieved this afternoon?”

1. Three Medical Presentations. One on diagnostics, one on therapeutics and one on the problems inherent in tackling the different TSE strains. We asked today’s most important question – “what about systemic PrPd?”
2. The Legal Presentation – a vital branch in the past and present multidisciplinary approach to CJD/TSE. Mr Body’s success reflected his specialisation in the field – something our National Health Service should mirror.
3. Inevitable improvement of future research by our interested parties as they take away new knowledge acquired at this afternoon’s Discussion.
4. Further essential ‘networking’ between various interested parties – not to be underestimated.

Before closing this discussion, a number of points came to mind. Open Access in terms of medical research had been touched upon but I wanted to raise this again. Lon mentioned that he had received three requests for his first published Paper and zero for his second. We warmed superbly to the philosophy of Open Access via the Internet and asked how long I had been using the web. Six years. “Do you use Google to search for medical research?” Lon enquired. No, at the moment, PubMed but also now Open Access outlets and stressed the point that in Abstract form, it is impossible to fully evaluate a Paper. Having mentioned my recent conversation and contact with Peter Suber, Lon vigorously warmed to the OA philosophy and fully intends to make direct contact with him. Excellent news.

Having shared with Lon a copy of my Xylitol contact list, I sense he was a bit taken aback by this. Whilst he has a hard copy, I stressed that this was an e-document that contains many many active links. Copy now emailed to him.

Lon made mention of his Son Nathan and told me a bit about him. I asked if he had any other children. Thirteen. I thought he was being whimsical. No, he has fourteen kids via his first wife. Wow. For a period of around twenty odd years, he was certainly active. This man certainly has the largest family that I am personally aware of.

Chapter 7

As we closed up, I took stock. I had and indeed have a number of ‘action points’ that I will follow up. These were unexpected but much welcomed. Despite doing most of the talking, I had spent the afternoon with an extremely intelligent but somewhat reclusively mind mannered man. Whilst we may not meet again, we will certainly keep in touch – no question.

Would I require to conjure up another mystery taxi I was thinking? Thankfully no as Lon kindly offered to drive me back to the railway station in no mans land. As it happened, my main map came in rather handy after all and our direct route happened to be about twice as short at that of the one used by the mystery taxi driver !! This appears to be global phenomena. As such, the aforementioned comment about why Scotsmen only use such means of transportation sparingly. I rest my case.

As we arrived at my station, my twice an hour (I had no idea when) mystery train was there and just about to head off. A hasty goodbye and off I ran and JUST managed to board.

Goodbye Lon & Jerry

THE END

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Copyright can be confusing. Please make it less confusing !

December 18, 2017

copyleftcopyright image CC logo

copyright 1

Just stumbled across a paper licensed under an Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0.

I don’t recall seeing such a license before. My gut reaction from the name suggested this might be similar to CC0/Public Domain.

The wording however is not as straightforward as one might think…

confused

Academic Free License (“AFL”) v. 3.0This Academic Free License (the “License”) applies to any original work of authorship (the “Original Work”) whose owner (the “Licensor”) has placed the following licensing notice adjacent to the copyright notice for the Original Work:

Licensed under the Academic Free License version 3.0

1) Grant of Copyright License. Licensor grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicensable license, for the duration of the copyright, to do the following:

a) to reproduce the Original Work in copies, either alone or as part of a collective work;

b) to translate, adapt, alter, transform, modify, or arrange the Original Work, thereby creating derivative works (“Derivative Works”) based upon the Original Work;

c) to distribute or communicate copies of the Original Work and Derivative Works to the public, under any license of your choice that does not contradict the terms and conditions, including Licensor’s reserved rights and remedies, in this Academic Free License;

d) to perform the Original Work publicly; and

e) to display the Original Work publicly.

2) Grant of Patent License. Licensor grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicensable license, under patent claims owned or controlled by the Licensor that are embodied in the Original Work as furnished by the Licensor, for the duration of the patents, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, have made, and import the Original Work and Derivative Works.

3) Grant of Source Code License. The term “Source Code” means the preferred form of the Original Work for making modifications to it and all available documentation describing how to modify the Original Work. Licensor agrees to provide a machine-readable copy of the Source Code of the Original Work along with each copy of the Original Work that Licensor distributes. Licensor reserves the right to satisfy this obligation by placing a machine-readable copy of the Source Code in an information repository reasonably calculated to permit inexpensive and convenient access by You for as long as Licensor continues to distribute the Original Work.

4) Exclusions From License Grant. Neither the names of Licensor, nor the names of any contributors to the Original Work, nor any of their trademarks or service marks, may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this Original Work without express prior permission of the Licensor. Except as expressly stated herein, nothing in this License grants any license to Licensor’s trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets or any other intellectual property. No patent license is granted to make, use, sell, offer for sale, have made, or import embodiments of any patent claims other than the licensed claims defined in Section 2. No license is granted to the trademarks of Licensor even if such marks are included in the Original Work. Nothing in this License shall be interpreted to prohibit Licensor from licensing under terms different from this License any Original Work that Licensor otherwise would have a right to license.

5) External Deployment. The term “External Deployment” means the use, distribution, or communication of the Original Work or Derivative Works in any way such that the Original Work or Derivative Works may be used by anyone other than You, whether those works are distributed or communicated to those persons or made available as an application intended for use over a network. As an express condition for the grants of license hereunder, You must treat any External Deployment by You of the Original Work or a Derivative Work as a distribution under section 1(c).

6) Attribution Rights. You must retain, in the Source Code of any Derivative Works that You create, all copyright, patent, or trademark notices from the Source Code of the Original Work, as well as any notices of licensing and any descriptive text identified therein as an “Attribution Notice.” You must cause the Source Code for any Derivative Works that You create to carry a prominent Attribution Notice reasonably calculated to inform recipients that You have modified the Original Work.

7) Warranty of Provenance and Disclaimer of Warranty. Licensor warrants that the copyright in and to the Original Work and the patent rights granted herein by Licensor are owned by the Licensor or are sublicensed to You under the terms of this License with the permission of the contributor(s) of those copyrights and patent rights. Except as expressly stated in the immediately preceding sentence, the Original Work is provided under this License on an “AS IS” BASIS and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of non-infringement, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY OF THE ORIGINAL WORK IS WITH YOU. This DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY constitutes an essential part of this License. No license to the Original Work is granted by this License except under this disclaimer.

8) Limitation of Liability. Under no circumstances and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, shall the Licensor be liable to anyone for any indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or the use of the Original Work including, without limitation, damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses. This limitation of liability shall not apply to the extent applicable law prohibits such limitation.

9) Acceptance and Termination. If, at any time, You expressly assented to this License, that assent indicates your clear and irrevocable acceptance of this License and all of its terms and conditions. If You distribute or communicate copies of the Original Work or a Derivative Work, You must make a reasonable effort under the circumstances to obtain the express assent of recipients to the terms of this License. This License conditions your rights to undertake the activities listed in Section 1, including your right to create Derivative Works based upon the Original Work, and doing so without honoring these terms and conditions is prohibited by copyright law and international treaty. Nothing in this License is intended to affect copyright exceptions and limitations (including “fair use” or “fair dealing”). This License shall terminate immediately and You may no longer exercise any of the rights granted to You by this License upon your failure to honor the conditions in Section 1(c).

10) Termination for Patent Action. This License shall terminate automatically and You may no longer exercise any of the rights granted to You by this License as of the date You commence an action, including a cross-claim or counterclaim, against Licensor or any licensee alleging that the Original Work infringes a patent. This termination provision shall not apply for an action alleging patent infringement by combinations of the Original Work with other software or hardware.

11) Jurisdiction, Venue and Governing Law. Any action or suit relating to this License may be brought only in the courts of a jurisdiction wherein the Licensor resides or in which Licensor conducts its primary business, and under the laws of that jurisdiction excluding its conflict-of-law provisions. The application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is expressly excluded. Any use of the Original Work outside the scope of this License or after its termination shall be subject to the requirements and penalties of copyright or patent law in the appropriate jurisdiction. This section shall survive the termination of this License.

12) Attorneys’ Fees. In any action to enforce the terms of this License or seeking damages relating thereto, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its costs and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with such action, including any appeal of such action. This section shall survive the termination of this License.

13) Miscellaneous. If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.

14) Definition of “You” in This License. “You” throughout this License, whether in upper or lower case, means an individual or a legal entity exercising rights under, and complying with all of the terms of, this License. For legal entities, “You” includes any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with you. For purposes of this definition, “control” means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.

15) Right to Use. You may use the Original Work in all ways not otherwise restricted or conditioned by this License or by law, and Licensor promises not to interfere with or be responsible for such uses by You.

16) Modification of This License. This License is Copyright © 2005 Lawrence Rosen. Permission is granted to copy, distribute, or communicate this License without modification. Nothing in this License permits You to modify this License as applied to the Original Work or to Derivative Works. However, You may modify the text of this License and copy, distribute or communicate your modified version (the “Modified License”) and apply it to other original works of authorship subject to the following conditions: (i) You may not indicate in any way that your Modified License is the “Academic Free License” or “AFL” and you may not use those names in the name of your Modified License; (ii) You must replace the notice specified in the first paragraph above with the notice “Licensed under ” or with a notice of your own that is not confusingly similar to the notice in this License; and (iii) You may not claim that your original works are open source software unless your Modified License has been approved by Open Source Initiative (OSI) and You comply with its license review and certification process.

Quite a lot of text right ?

copyright

After a quick search, the AFL license dates back to 2002 and was released in the same era as the launch of the Creative Commons ones.

The wording (human-readable summary) as below of the Creative Commons CC0/Public Domain one is much more easier to understand.

public domain

Chatting with the Guardian Science Podcast – a Pod Delusion Special

September 12, 2017

pod delusion extra

Originally posted here September 9, 2011. The audio file no longer works. Thankfully, I found a copy on my hard drive, hence this post.

Ahead of last week’s Science Online conference in London, Graham Steel and James O’Malley sat down with Alok Jha, Mo Costandi and James Meikle from the Guardian to discuss science reporting and related issues.

Topics tackled include churnalism, linking to papers, and the changes in the landscape of science journalism over the last couple of years.

03:09 – 13:27 Discussion about the background of the Guardian’s Science Weekly Podcast
13:28 – 17:44 How much science literacy can you assume in your audience when reporting on science?
17:55 – 32:07 Churnalism.What is it and how common is it in terms of Journalism and Blogging?
32:10 – 36:10 Including links to Science Manuscripts in online news articles
36:11 – 42:15 George Monbiot’s Guardian article “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist”
42:16 – 52:01 The change in the landscape/ecosystem of science blogging over the last 12 months or so
52:07 – 52:44 The use of social media during the recent riots in London and elsewhere
52:50 – 58:37 World’s first clinical trial of stem cells to treat strokes is set to move to its next phase