Russia open online course

Is anyone interested in collaborating on this for a 6ish free open online course in 2017.  If others aren’t already doing, am happy to do the behind the scenes admin/development to get it into the public domain.

Please contact me or reply below if it appeals

Immunity and drinks / brews

Lots of recipes around including one with turmeric and another with pumpkin.

Haven’t done for a few years but England has good types of different apples, so I will drink 1/3 cider vinegar in 2/3 water (or up to 1/2 each) every day too.

When humanity opts out of humanity 

​Apparently it’s ok to be silent when Russian medical staff are killed or injured. 

Does their military training make it easier to be blown to pieces?

Does it mean their principles and careers dedicated to caring and treating people are worth less than UK/US/Syrian principles?

Does it make it easier for someone to have to tell their families the horrific news?

Do their families not matter because they are getting news they never want to hear?

Do Syrians not getting medical treatment not matter today as much?

Film – Moscow never sleeps

Just seen as part of Russian Film Week in London. I rarely go to cinema or spend lots of time in cities, but I liked the film. Beautiful views of Moscow and the human stories and tragedies of life delicately woven in different threads. I got drawn in and forgot to listen to the Russian but I recognised a few words.

I chatted to a lovely, delightful lady who is originally from Moscow but has spent a few years living in Europe. She misses Moscow and Russia so when she heard about the film week, she bought tickets so that she could spend all day watching the films.

Mhairi Black at 20 understands accountability and responsibility better than many senior MPs

Mhairi Black  entered the House of Commons as the youngest MP at 20 years old, She has been holding the government and some parts of the opposition accountable ever since. She represents her constituency well, speaks up for those who are suffering through the government’s austerity and other policies choices that provide for a few at the expense of many. Just this week with a storming speech about pensions before palaces. I don’t agree with absolutely everything she says but I am so impressed with her attitude and ideas. A future prime minister if we have such things – certainly a powerful representative voice.

Her maiden speech



Emerging technologies research to catch up on

I recently bumped into a Surrey University colleague who specialises in interaction design – we may possibly work on some projects together in 2017. There are only simplistic lines where emerging technologies, new media, computer-human interaction begin and end. In the meantime:

  1. iJET journal of emerging technologies
  2. SIG Computer Human Interaction conferences
  3. Jan Chipchase

And defining emotions in chocolate presents, this isn’t for me as I’m going chocolate free but I have several friends who may like this:

Royal Marsden case study phase 1

This is now live on Totara’s case studies section of their website

In it I describe our journey to implementation. I was unintentionally checking last Christmas day because unknown to us in advance, our COO sent an all staff email to people inviting them to do their mandatory training over Christmas when it might be quieter. That’s one way of doing UAT and it worked out fine. My brother did Safeguarding training on Boxing day as part of an iPad test.


Back to basics – plank

So internal abdominal and sacral muscles seem either asleep or non existent, so going back to basics.

Used to be able to hold a plank position comfortably so starting again. the one I was taught in taekwondo is where you keep your stomach as low to the ground as possible or lower in phases if not possible for full hold.

Will continue up until end of 2016 and hope to successfully practice and hold different bridge postures in 2017 if not before.

Similar to mid section roundhouse where you stand & keep yourself as flat against the wall as possible then kick the wall. You can do it without abdominal strength but you won’t be turning as efficiently.

I prefer these older basic methods of training.

Brick update – got some bricks,my landlady begged me to start with brick roof tiles. Tried a few cautious punches and made one tiny crack. May tape up knuckles before trying again, having re-acclimatised to being a soft southerner 🙂 

Not a stranger to knuckles with blood esp from my third fight & general punching practice but immediately opening old wound is tedious. Cannot afford to completely go for it because need fingers for typing more than recovery of broken ones delaying everything.

Marc Chagall – Fables exhibition – London


Cannot believe that I was standing looking at Marc Chagall’s paintings in the flesh earlier.

I can see why he appeals to many of us who don’t have an artistic career with the tenderness of gestures in vivid colour, contrasted with some much sharper images in late 1930s-50s.

A friend who joined me mentioned some stained glass windows he has created in Kent too

Why “a good war” won’t “sort things out” – one off geopolitical post on Turkey, Russia & European relations

I write these blogs for personal reflection as well as an online writing space that is not necessarily discoverable. To clarify, I don’t support fascism or the ideologists that try and practice it in any country. I’m not going to say what I think Russia should or shouldn’t do, just explain it as I see it this week in 2016.

A well intentioned & very mild mannered chemist said to me recently that he believed that a good war will sort things out. Well history has told us about well intentioned chemists that become rich by making bombs or other lethal weapons.

He grew up after WW2 so how could he know? I don’t know of anyone who still lives to talk about wars, has fought in wars, has supported wars, has studied wars – who says they’re a good thing. So:

With it’s unique size & location has more complex relationships with its neighbours and history of how Russians have lived and worked in and out of these countries. Much has been made of Vladimir Putin’s statement about Gorbachev’s policies in the 1980s and 1990s but as far as I’m aware that has not ever been clarified in independent English language media. Vladimir Putin’s statement/interview (in English) following G20 this summer mentions that Russia does not trade territories, that discussion of territories in Europe with WW2 agreements is a Pandora’s box and that Russia has enough land.

The history of Russia and its relationships with its nearer and slightly nearer neighbours is continuously evolving and this is why I find some of the foreign policy statements that the Russian government more sensible – Russia is not an EU in itself but it is a federation with not completely dissimilar internal relationships from what I’ve understood so far.

From what I’ve read about the Russian President including some critics, there is an ultranationalistic far-right in Russia but he is not described in that category. However there is increasing evidence that he and/or advisors maintain relationships which benefit the European far right.

It is natural for citizens in the UK who have never lived abroad to view things that have a perspective that is similar with the views of US presidents and US corporations as that is what they are contiuously exposed to and vice versa in Russia. We are also aware that there have been throughout history, views held and supported by those with power in the US, UK and EU countries who maintain relationships that benefit the European far right. The UK and the US have not been invaded or occupied in the 20th century and that may be part of the reason why this ambivalence towards fascist ideas is again taking root – as well as Conservative (political party members) trading relationships with countries that produced these.

These relationships maintained by any country rightly bring into question the motivations behind other geopolitical intentions as the interests of the European far right have increased with large scale unemployment, inability to live with citizens who look different to them and fantasies about Hitler, Nazis or others who support/are fascists. A large geopolitical war won’t sort these out, the reality is not just far right but across all sections of political society, numerous smaller complex conflicts across the whole of Europe, Russia’s Eurasian neighbours and Russia which either escalate to military actions or don’t.

This is why I believe NATO needs reviewing but alongside European security and defence policy. I don’t think it is helpful to have an organisation in 21st century for which all military actions are steered by a US commanding officer, it is at odds with how the EU has evolved, attempted to evolve. Russia has a relationship with NATO and it’s not that there should be a gigantic geopolitical shift where suddenly instead of a US command or increased Russian interest being represented – that other countries become dependent on a Russian commander for example.

I don’t support economic sanctions either but that is not because I think Russia should be given freedom to use its size to score better deals for itself abroad, it is time to find useful agreements Russia, US, EU , China etc that recognise peoples’ countries’ rights to exist, agreements that don’t bankrupt their future and those of their citizens or the planet’s future. I don’t believe that agreement can’t be found, an agreement can be found that does not disadvantage a group of people territorially, economically, culturally.

There is evidence from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that Russian communities in those countries who have connections with families / friends / colleagues in what was the USSR are not given the same rights as others who live there. That is understandable considering the last few centuries where they have tried to define their identity, however that does not make everything ok.

Turkey for example. Recep Erdogan has changed significantly since the early 2000s where he was originally featured in Turkish media – visiting poorer people instead of taking holidays for relaxation and now in 2016, thinks it’s natural to a) want a 1000 room house, b) rights taken away from Turkish government and  given to him, whilst c) giving positions of power to relatives / friends. c) is not unique to him and happens in every country that I can think of.

I find some similarities between Russia’s relationships with its near neighbours and Turkey’s relationships with Turkmen in northern Iraq. When the second Gulf war broke out and the Kurdish conflict spread into areas where Turkmen were living and working, there was a huge response from Turkish citizens if military action was needed. There have been accounts of Kurdish people burning down offices and paperwork that shows the residential /  territorial rights of the Turkmen people. These actions are not acceptable but it doesn’t have to produce a military response if a diplomatic one can produce more long term stability.

There is also the issue of an English global language as highlighted by Andrew Monaghan in The Politics of New Russia where an agreement (trading, territorial or otherwise) is not necessarily the same thing for either parties. I know this at a very small level when I worked for PwC with my European colleagues – after sitting for several hours in a meeting, with even translators available, that doesn’t mean that the outcomes were what each party involved understood them to be or how they will be delivered.

A war won’t fix these, infinite patience might. And as a UK military commander said in a Remembrance Day service I was in yesterday in London, practice compassion daily – regardless of your situation.

Discoveries on your doorstep @university of Surrey

The university is delivering a 3 part showcase of research projects on delivering global wellbeing through science.

There were great posters including research on meditation, ehealth and lung cancer, autism & wellbeing and short talks including

Cardiology and ECG research from Dr Kamalan Jeevaratnam who discussed how reliance on QT for regulatory purposes causes challenges with pharma research and why regulatory guideline needs to change

Dr Sharkardokht Jafari, dosimeyry specialist and inventor of Trueinvivo – a new, exciting way to measure radiotherapy using glass beads.She gas kindly agreed to being featured as a case study in the People’s Uni module, which will be available shortly but she has also featured on international media. I spoke with her briefly, an incredible passionate lady dedicated to making treatment affordable back in Afghanistan.

Dr Milton Mermikides creating and producing amazing musical projects from often medical data including his own personal blood data during treatment for leukaemia

Taryn Smith studying vitamin D especially in teenagers, the differences in defining appropriate intake and use of fortified foods including eggs and mushrooms. I didn’t know that mushrooms process vitamin D from sun in very similar way to humans.