Lavender is relaxing (yes, really)

3 articles

1. Lavender’s genome has been sequenced. I am going to check this out with our lavender wizard next weekend but they think they know what is ideal in a lavender oil

“The quality of lavender’s essential oils greatly depends on the characteristic scent of the oil, which is determined by certain phytochemicals called monoterpenes,” explains Mahmoud. “Camphor contributes an off-odour, and its presence in the oil lowers quality and market value. On the other hand, high levels of linalool and linalyl acetate are desired in lavender oils.”1

2. Relaxed mice. In one of the nicer animal experiments, they gave mice lavender to smell 2 (sidetrack – the brilliant Fulvio D’Acquisto now at Roehampton massaged mice in one of his at St Mary’s, below ) This is lavender though – if successful in humans it may help with pre-operative stress and anxiety. They should come to our lavender field on open day and see some very chilled out humans except the ones on the stall 🙂

3. Relaxed horses. They held essential oil near the horses noses and tracked heart rates. Observations also included horses’ neck lowering, chewing and licking 3. They tried with water vapour and camomile but didn’t get the same relaxed effect.


  1. Wellborn P (2018), Getting to the root of lavender’s secrets, Science Daily, available at
  2. Hiroki Harada, Hideki Kashiwadani, Yuichi Kanmura, Tomoyuki Kuwaki. Linalool Odor-Induced Anxiolytic Effects in Mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2018; 12 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00241
  3. Ann Linda Baldwin, Isabelle Chea. Effect of Aromatherapy on Equine Heart Rate Variability. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 2018; 68: 46 DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2018.05.213

Autumn at Denbies and nearby

Beautiful sunshine lighting up the stunning scenery:

Carbon dioxide extraction costs

Since 2013 the estimate of tonnes of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere is between 36 – 40 billion tonnes per year.

With an average of 33 billion tonnes per year – there are different companies who have engineered solutions to extract tonnes of carbon dioxide. Different solutions can vary between $90 per tonne to around $600 per tonne.

In total the cost would be

$19.8 trillion with a $600 cost per tonne (and not including data about whether the extraction causes any additional carbon dioxide to return again to the atmosphere – I don’t know enough yet)

For UK/US – trillion represented with short scale:


For Europe and I don’t know where else with long scale:


For $100 cost it’s $3.3 trillion i.e.

$3,300,000,000,000 or


We are covering maths and science notation to represent this as e.g n=10^n

A lot of whatever currency anyway. And based on the rates of warming and many other factors – how much does the planet need up there and how much will undo existing damage on a yearly average.

Will no doubt be returning to this soon.

DICATS submissions deadline extended to 5th November

We have a number of very exciting submissions but some colleagues would like a bit more time due to summer and busy start to autumn term.

If we were a large existing conference, this may not be possible but this is about building a DICATS community and also our first venture so we can squeeze the timeline a little further.

To get hive sites operational in terms of technology any further extensions will not be possible after 5th.

experimenting with subtitles for short videos

Various small video projects on the go at the moment including a non-work one where we have English subtitles from a Russian video. With the help of a friend, we’ve completed the translation and now deciding which options to go for. We haven’t found a Russian only speech to text that would do this quickly, to be honest we haven’t really looked and this is not a major issue for now as all videos under 5 mins and not continuous speech.

Subtitle horse is an option now we have the translation, also you can write directly into youtube if uploaded there. With a translated video, there are placement considerations for subtitles and renamed captions and whether they should be in lower thirds or not, with a potentially a lot of visual clutter especially if using a mobile device. I would use both of these especially with subtitle horse where you can use video from different URLs such as Vimeo videos etc. A lot to still play with.

screenshot of youtube editing options for subtitles screenshot of subtitle horse editing options












Thoughts with everyone in their grief to find strength and peace over the next few days X

Interlaced rainbows – from Cinque – Anna Akmatova

On the to read but not yet list is Natasha’s Dance by Orlando Figes, a present from a beautiful friend whose daughter lived in Moscow and St Petersburg during 1980s I think.

Orkando quotes a cycle from a poem Cinque about Anna Akhmatova’s meeting with Isaiah Berlin who was secretary of British Embassy in Moscow and how she felt as a Russian talking to an English person:

Sounds die away in the ether,

And darkness overtakes the dusk.

In a world become mute for all time,

There are only two voices: yours and mine.

And to the almost bell-like sound

Of the wind from invisible Lake Ladoga,

That late night dialogue turned into

The delicate shimmer of interlaced rainbows1

Here’s to interlaced rainbows – of all English who visit Moscow and talk with Russians!

1.Figes O (2002), p454, From the complete works of Anna Akhmatova, Natasha’s Dance, published by Penguin Books

20 years since Chavez Election: a global spark for 21st century socialism & Latin American liberation

Went with a friend today

Really powerful contributions from ambassdors for Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua – reflecting on the legacy of Hugo Chavez. Also amazing heartfelt contributions from the great Ken Livingstone and George Galloway.

Ken Livingstone hosted Chavez in 2006 in London. What struck Ken most was how as a president he was an ordinary guy committed to helping and empowering ordinary people. He achieved that but you never hear this in mainstream media.

The multiple ideological pronged assault on Latin America by its Northern neighbour through military coups, assassinations, sanctions, propaganda, now NATO (Colombia) and attempts to force trade agreements.

Speeches by the distinguished female ambassadors referred to the great solidarity between Latin American countries – establishing their own regional relationships, cooperation and peace.

A letter from Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez was read out (the event was being recorded) and Fidel Castro reflected on their genuine friendship, shared goals and relationships in spite of very different life backgrounds.

Social programs with their own regional unity and cooperation have achieved in Venezuela during Chavez leadership:

  • 3.5 million saved from blindness
  • 1.2 million low cost homes for the poorest
  • Tenfold increase in entitlement to state pension
  • Massive provision of education and literacy programmes
  • A national health service
  • By 2015 the exclusion gap in ability to vote 1.7% through widescale implementation of voting centres in poorer neighbourhoods and electronic identity registration
  • Named social programs after national heroes to successfully encourage implementation.
  • Gender gap reduced from over 60th in the world to 6th
  • Reduced poverty from 48% to 24%

Ken Livingstone “All you can do is plough on and don’t let lies and smears get to you”

Without the right movement, the right ideas, this could not succeed. Those who hated Chavez did so because he empowered those without power. He renewed faith, hope and dignity.

Hugo Chavez in London:

Mac discussion area for students and staff

Just putting out feelers at the moment. I originally planned to set up an induction for students this year but this was not possible. So I am probably setting up a blog area for students or staff, with comments to promote helpful practices, share and resolve issues and other questions. Usage of Apple products continue to increase and it may be helpful for a short time to pool knowledge which can then be distributed in more timely and efficient ways. I don’t have one but will get occasionally access to a small Macbook over the next few weeks. I will be co-running another digital artefacts workshop soon and with more digital art tools starting to appear, it’s useful to explore in a creative setting.


Arina Lazgiian – stunning Russian pianist

She played a recital at Rossotrudnichestvo in Kensington tonight. Hugely talented and multiple award winner.

In September on Olkhon Island I listened to an amazing recital by suxh a brilliant pianist that his fingers seemed to fly from one end of the keyboard to another.

Tonight’s performance was equally brilliant. I imagine she will go very far.

newbie journalist

One of my friends who is also a better martial artist than me – has worked with refugees in Calais and in a Mediterranean lifeboat project. She has been so horrified by what she experienced that she started asking questions about many issues.

She has started to research controversial areas that some others may not have time to look at.

Her first article is about NGOs and Colombia / Venezuela:

Martial arts and extremists

Will be flying through reading list of articles bookmarked over next week as I start Environmental Science course.

Kung Fu tea talks about this esp white nationalists and MMA

I’ve come across both in every club I’ve trained in. Master Worsfold said that most people come to martial arts are the ones not kicking people’s heads in on the street or paying people to do it for them.

However a lot of people join who have military or fighting experience. Some (adults and children) are more aggressive than they realise and they will either use their skills they learn – to amplify that aggression or they will try to adapt.

Same as having a military experience may stop you behaving a certain way in a certain situation or it may not.

It seems more possible within MMA as they are non traditional clubs and personally, learning a traditional art involves learning a different way of discipline and respect.

Up to each individual.