Friday, 28 December 2007

Legal File Sharing Experiment V3.6


Here is a random MP3 which I like.

Can I share it? After all, this file was from restricted access territory.

Hopefully I can but rightly so, no download without paying the artist/creator of any such works.

This worked, so if you want more, sign up to

Have fun......



Sunday, 23 December 2007

"Dissing Pissing, Missing Hissing"

Go check this great blog by Henry Gee over at Nature Network's The End Of The Pier Show

Classic British Humour......

Friday, 21 December 2007

Jukebox? - No, this is a McBlawg production

Go check (L) if you is Inventive and (R) if you is lazy

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Vid 6.99

Is it in our Nature to Network?

But of course !! We have being doing this since Adam and Eve et al.

Some entries from Wikipedia here, here and here.

Now, McDawg is interested in science, networking, social networking, scienceblogs, making contact with researchers and so on so forth.

What if we were to Get Creative and combine all of these entities.

It's happening all over the world if you know how and where to look on the internet.


The latest resource that I am road testing (10 days in) is Nature Network (NN for short).

Can I suggest watching this short explanatory video from the folks at NN.


McDawg for one thinks this is certainly an interesting new development.


Monday, 10 December 2007

McDawg was on the Nature front page for 2 days

Well at least for 48 hours.

1/2 way down in the middle to you will see a small picture of me in a bright orange Adidas t-shirt.

Glycobiology - 21st Century Style

Glycobiology 21st Century Style

I've been thinking about an 'appropriate' image for this for quite some time, so here we go. All that I added was '21st Century Style'.


Follows some thoughts I had last year.

If accepted for publication, my co-authors and I will deliver something of substance in the New Year.


Complex sugar chains and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains
make up an integral part of our mind and body.

It was an Albrecht Kossel who was awarded a Nobel back in 1910 as the first to recognize that nucleic acids contained a carbohydrate. Due to its 5 carbon molecular structure, he called it pentose “the stuff of genes”.

During the first half of the last Century, the chemical and biological structures of carbohydrates were very much a point of focus. Whilst this was to become an integral part of modern day molecular biology, at the time, they were not forerunners unlike other major classes of molecules. Largely, this was due to their (very) complex structures, difficulty in understanding their sequence(s), and the fact that their biosynthesis could not be directly predicted from the DNA template.

53 years ago Nature magazine published a scientific Paper by Maurice Wilkins and his two colleagues at King’s College, London, called “Molecular Structure of Deoxypentose Nucleic Acids” Wilkins M.H.F., A.R. Stokes A.R. & Wilson, H.R. Nature 171, 738-740 (1953)

Something called heparin was “discovered” by a second-year student at John Hopkins University in 1916. By the 1930’s, heparin came into use namely as an anti-coagulant. Essentially, this was made using animal ‘by products’ such as pig, dog and later, bovine gut material. By the early 1940’s, “purified” heparin was available for clinical and experimental use.

Post WW2, Germany was unable to import heparin and there was also a shortage of many basic resources such as sugar. A novel method of deriving synthesized heparin type substances led to the development of sulphanated pentose sugar made essentially from the bark of beechwood trees. The most commonly used term these days for this particular (Polyanion) substance is Pentosan Polysulphate or PPS. Its most common broad (oral) usage commenced in the 1960’s and continues in many countries (namely USA and mainland EU) in relation to the management of the common bladder complaint, internal cystitis (IC). SP54 (the purest form of PPS known continues to be manufactured by a small family run German company, Bene. Here is a page from the Bene website that lists it's currently known broad usages.

Around the same time, Germany, Japan and the (former) Soviet Union also focused on Xylitol which is a five-carbon sugar alcohol, a natural carbohydrate which occurs freely in certain plant parts (for example, in fruits, and also in products made of them) and in the metabolism of humans. Xylitol has been known to organic chemistry at least from the 1890's.

Where there is deficiency or excess of (Proteoglycans) PG’s this can play a lead role in the pathogenesis of a substantial range of common and rare conditions ranging from arthritis, diabetes, cancer, HIV/Aids through to protein folding neuro degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Semi synthesized HSPG’s (Heparan Sulphate Proteoglycans) over the last few years in particular are now referred to as Glycans. There are 14 Glycans in the family including Glypicans.

In 2005, Nature published a seminal Paper by Professor’s Fuster and Esko (5) entitled “The Sweet and Sour of Cancer: Glycans as Novel Therapeutic Targets” which reported on several significant developments.

In this Paper, Fuster and Esko et al demonstrated the potential use of Glycans in the treatment of many types of cancer/tumor and concluded the Paper with a “(this) might represent the ‘tip of an iceberg’ of therapeutic potential that awaits future discovery” type ending.

Have matters progressed since then?

Glycans have now been brought into real time Clinical usage, namely as surrogate markers in the treatment of a number of cancers.

How far are we from human trials of Glycan use for the likes of HIV, Cancers and Alzheimer’s disease?

Book, ‘Essentials of Glycobiology’ is available online and can be (Open Source)accessed via this book is currently being revised with an updated version was released this year via TA.

The Journal of Glycobiology published its first online Journal in September 1990.

Whilst there has been an increasing wider focus of attention in the Glycobiology field over the last few years in particular, some of the core principles from a cellular level stretch back over a Century.

In Australia and (limited extent) New Zealand in particular, Glycans continue to be used safely and successfully in the treatment of the arthritic joints (osteoarthritis) in both animal and man (1).

The latest reported commentary (2) from the most recent Global Conference on AD in Madrid is highly suggestive that diabetes, whilst certainly not the cause, has a degree of interlinkage with a number of neurodegenerative diseases.

With regards to Alzheimer’s (Amyloidosis generally) despite a substantial number of Peer reviewed published Papers showing Glycan promise in vitro and in vivo, there has been little/no interest from the Pharma Industry.

To sense the ‘sweet flavour’ of the future of Glycobiology in the 21st Century, the word Glycomics comes to mind (3,4).

Are such Generic based approaches deemed as potentially large threats to large Pharma?

(1) PMID:12014849PubMed
(5) PMID: 16069816 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Friday, 7 December 2007

Playing Ball With Publishers

Towards the end of October, I was alerted to a particular article of interest published in the subscription based magazine, Scientific American (Sci Am). I was unable to freely access it.

I contacted the leading author (*) to see if they would consider self archiving a copy in an Institutional Repository.

It transpired that Professor Aebischer (*) "has been President of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne (EPFL)in Switzerland for the past seven years".

The Swiss are OA compliant !!

A rather helpful Librarian at EPFL (David Aymonin) after a few weeks, managed to obtain express permission from Sci Am to archive a version of the article. This was done yesterday and I was provided with a note of the relevant url by David.

I have now been able to make a large (and growing) number of people potentially interested in reading the article aware of how to freely access it.

"Playing Defense Against Lou Gehrig's Disease" can now be accessed via two methods:-

Open Access


Toll Access


The message here is that I would encourage people generally to where there is no mandate in place to do so, encourage individuals to archive their work regardless if it is published via the TA or OA model.


Thursday, 29 November 2007

Scanners in the Works?

And first, an advert from Philips.


I spotted this on the BBCi website yesterday.

I found this an interesting read, but if these *animated* images are real and re-producible, this would make this even more interesting.

As the BBCi report says though:- "The cost of the equipment - known as the Brilliance CT - is unclear."

True as laid out here from Philips.

Moreover, this is the only one in (trial) operation of it's kind in the world.


Zip across to England.

Last year, thanks to the inventor of the MRI, we we're given access to data such as this 7T (Tesla) image.

Then there is fEITER which continues to be developed by researchers at the University of Manchester.

Since the latter is portable/hand-held/inexpensive, whilst not a gambling man......

All in all, there is a lot happening out there with regards to these types of technologies !!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Scientists make a number of important breakthroughs 100 years after the discovery of Alzheimer's Disease

I wrote and prepared this in Sept '06. It did not get published and may most probably now be outdated. That said this was the writers review of a review of a 100 years of research, so is this completely out of date?

By Graham K Steel 26th September 2006

21st September '06 marked the 100th anniversary of the *discovery* of Alzheimer’s disease. 100 years on - are we any forward?

One of the most important factors is the preventative measures that can be taken in an attempt to prevent or decrease the likelihood of the onset of an invariably fatal disease that affects millions of individuals globally. The rise in the number of cases is extremely concerning as are the emotional and financial costs of caring for patients. Evidence continues to grow that a healthy balanced diet plus physical and mental exercise can vastly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Evidence continues to emerge of the link between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s; researchers are focusing on insulin (and other) based therapeutical strategies.

However, unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes where insulin is self administered by injection and in the case of diabetes mellitus, by infusion pump, as Alzheimer's disease is an encephalopathy (brain disorder), matters will not be so straight forward.

There are two types of diabetes mellitus. Type 1 (insulin dependent) is the less common form of the disorder and usually develops in children or adolescence. Type 2 (noninsulin dependant) generally develops gradually mainly in people over the age of 40. Type 2 diabetes which is now treatable used to be a terminal illness.

Researchers in America (Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University) have now coined the expression type 3 diabetes with regards to Alzheimer’s disease.

Onset of Alzheimer’s is uncommon under the age of 60. Early onset Alzheimer’s disease, in which symptoms develop before 60, (commonly referred to) inherited as a dominant disorder.

In a separate development, two German research groups (Munich and Berlin) in collaboration with US and other EU researchers, have published reports supporting the view that amyloid-beta (Aß) appears to be the ‘evil’ molecule. New reports confirm that Aß is what starts Alzheimer’s and this ‘seed’ grows into a continued cycle of protein misfolding leading to fully blown symptoms and over time, invariably, death.

In a separate development, German and American researchers (University of Tübingen and Emory University in Atlanta) have shown that in a laboratory setting, it has been possible to ‘transmit’ the disease to ‘humanised’ transgenic mice using material from diseased human (Alzheimer’s) brain tissue, meaning that theoretically, Alzheimer’s is even more similar to TSE’s (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) sometimes referred to as Prion diseases as was already known. TSE’s are very much like Alzheimer’s but “in fast forward”. However, scientists are not suggesting that humans can ‘catch’ a disease like Alzheimer’s and are overly emphasizing that this finding should not be misinterpreted.

Is has been known for some time that pathologically, there are a number of similarities between Alzheimer’s and other protein misfolding diseases. Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds have been the most recent to publish a Paper in this regard. They have emphasized the great importance of collaborations between TSE and Alzheimer’s researchers in particular. Other conditions such as Motor Neurone disease (ALS), Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease are also protein misfolding disorders.

Collectively, it is hoped that a greater multidisciplinary approach between researchers will induce much better understanding of these conditions and ultimately, aided with ever improving methods of disease diagnosis’s, find truly effective treatments for some, possibly all of them.

Trends in Neuroscience

*Trends in Neuroscience*

At least once a week, I check New Scientist for items of interest. I spotted this item earlier today.

As you can see, only subscribers can access the full article. I ain't a subscriber.

You will note on the r/h/s, there is a link to here. This takes you to the homepage of Professor Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D.

On the site there are many links. There is a link to this video on YouTube prepared by the well regarded BBC's Hoziron programme.

Scientifically, I find this extremely interesting.

Groove around Prof Nicolelis's Lab based webite - loads of great stuff there.

Picking up brain signals that can be used in various formats?

That's what I call well cool.


Saturday, 24 November 2007

Virtual Kebabs via the worldwideweb

As I discussed with my ever so polite and generous (servings wise) Kebab seller here in the South-side of Glasgow, when he's off work, he can do it virtually.

Surely this can't be so?


Check out

the game*Kebab Van* -

The secret me thinks might be in the sauce. Go check......

Best regards,

Aunt Mildred, 23c Broomswept Crescent, Norfolk.

Friday, 16 November 2007

*Jetlag* or *Jetshag* - The Rise of Mid-Air Viagra?

A friend of mine brought the following to my attention earlier today. Thanks DS.

Viagra (aka "sildenafil") may be *a treatment* for Jetlag apparently.

Where did this stem from?

Evidence based medicine?

Of course not - that's not where most *discoveries* are made in reality.

Dr Patricia Agostino discusses her Hamster work here:-


Like any minded regular (geek) flight orientated person, I conducted a small controlled *experiment* when folks were not looking.

5 minutes later, I managed to (quickly) convince my "n" of 1 that "further research is required".

Becky (or was it Vicky?) & I are doing further long haul mid-Atlantic *in-vivo* work next Summer and once "Peer Reviewed", will be publishing our data via the most commonly used *Publisher* these days of such material - YouTube or was it SciVee ?

Carbon Footprint? Dunno, but I will re-trace my mid-air steps for the common good of science - but of course.

It's a hard life.


Friday, 9 November 2007

YouTube Vid's, Nov 07

Here's McDawg's pick from this week.....

(If you are newish to YouTube, click on the bottom right button for full screen mode)

Let's kick off with "Business Time" from Flight of the Conchords - ~ 4 million viewers can't be wrong !!

Very nice....

Then, check out Jim Breuer - "Alcohol"

Things get kinda crazy with *the Annoying Devil* (thanks to Anna K) 7 mins long but stay tuned.

Then I end this week on this fab ditty about *wonder drug" Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Journal of the California Dental Association (CDA) joins the Open Access Revolution

I loudly applaud the California Dental Association and very proudly hold
them up
as the (very) most recent example of simply one of the vastly growing
number of those
that realized it is much wiser and better to contribute to the mass of
literature to help doctors and the health of the public and significantly,
Open Access

California Dental Association- OA new policy

'Issues from 1998 and later are available online to anyone who wants to
look at them!'

Kudos to the CDA !! - Gotta love folks like them -

Graham Steel

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Conference Report


This is a personal blog which is completely unrelated to any of the writers' formal activities with any of the organisations that they are associated with.

Here is a report in relation to my attendance of a recent Conference.

Personal mission INCLUDING raising awareness about Open Access/archiving to the delegates present.

As this analysis is written post conference - let's start from the beginning, without reflection. To me, I think this remains a good example for others, so my note is comprehensive in nature. Parameters are likely to vary but some commonalities will/may remain.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Before reading, please note:-

1) I was formally in attendance at this event and the organizing committee waived registration costs for all family members attending such as myself. I also was lucky to have had the cost waived for the Gala Dinner

2) Since I had no *Paper* documentation about IR's/self archiving, it was impossible on this occassion to physically distribute information in this regard. I did however mention DEPOT/eprints/ROAR/ROARMAP etc. etc.


Since I had never been to such a large conference before, it took some time to take everything in. Given the approximate number (~ 800), clearly, it would not be possible to cover OA/IR’s with many on a one-on-one basis as originally planned. Having unfortunately previously *lost* my short podium slot, I started to consider other methods of getting my message across (second passage). Thankfully, with "Research Made Public" brazened on the front of my t-shirt all that day, this set the tone. A large proportion of delegates noticed this and I was the only person present with any *message carrying* clothing on that I was aware of.

Having never seen a *poster session* before, I thought this might be a good opportunity. Of the ~ 150 posters, hardly any of the researchers involved were standing next to them as I would have thought would have been the case during poster sessions. You live – you learn.

I had to return home with my packs of OA promotional material completely intact.


I chose my "I'm Open" t-shirt for day 2 since it was a much more visible and striking one.

More familiar with the surroundings/set up, I noted that there was a 2 hour lunch/poster session which appeared to be, on paper at least, the best time to swoop into action. One hour in though, the only manned booths were commerce diagnostic related - so I had to quickly think of something else. Gut reaction in most situations is always useful but not 100% specifically correct.

Since I clearly couldn't "post" on posters, I rapidly started to leave some basic "Open Access" posters and postcards on the tables where all the delegates were in discussion with one another. Process took only a few minutes and then *I vanished*.

Initial seeds planted.

The ~ 950 were all on the lower floor with only two means of exit to ground level:- stair or escalator. I decided to leave a trail of the same "Open Access" postcards meaning that almost all (delegates) of them would see them. Precision timing (v. important) meant that by the time they were noticed by staff their purpose had been fully served. On the tables on the ground floor, I chose to leave some more of the same posters along with a few dozen DOAJ postcards. Again, this process was most swift.

To a smaller extent, a few seeds were dropped up to level 3 where the main auditorium is situated. Whilst not a watch wearer, I had around 40 minutes left before the empty auditorium (other than one lone delegate) was filled again. I still had ~ 800 leaflet/poster/postcard & misc. items left. Within 20 minutes, I managed to place *something* on ~ 800 seats/armrests. Armrests are great since they cover two seats at once. I left out most end of row seats in case such items simply got bumped to the floor.

A trickle of delegates started to arrive just as I was finishing so *I vanished* again.

Delegates were arriving in droves now. Time to nip outside for a quick cigarette (filthy habit).

Upon my return, I could see hundreds of delegates reading/looking at what had *appeared* whilst they were away. The conference was now split with a sub-conference in a much smaller suite. The content of the smaller session was quite specific to a topic of personal interest. When I returned to the main auditorium, without invasively *snooping around* mid-session, it was impossible to judge how much material was likely to be taken away by the delegates - we'll never know. Bearing in mind the earlier seeds though, I remain hopeful. At the very least, they will have been looked at/read.

Open Access Stall

Since the entrance area to both suites was quiet - I set up an "Open Access" stall on the most prominently placed empty (nice fluke) table. One of the most eye catching *goodies* I had was the blue/silver PLoS goblet which I proudly placed at the centre of *my stall* which contained a broad selection of what I had left. I also left a couple of our glossy "ABC Alliance" ring-bound *brochures* briefly on display so that passers by got the connection to what I was doing. It was cool to sit at *my stall* with the ever so fitting "I'm Open" message across my chest.

I then *vanished* again.

My *activities* calmed down during afternoon tea/coffee break. My final activity was to clear my stall and then stick up a final "Open Access" poster on the back of the prominently placed entry sign to the main auditorium. This meant that when all left it that day, they had their final reminder.

All took the evening off to attend the Gala Dinner/Ceilidh at the rather grand venue.




Despite my *unconventional methodologies*, I achieved much more than I set out to do. At a rough guestimate, I would say that > 60 % of the delegates fall into the age-bracket that are much more likely to seriously consider choosing an OA Journal/Publisher as matters stand.

We now know that this was the largest ever conference in this particular field with ~ 950 delegates present.

Of those that I was able to discuss OA/IR’s with, almost all of the feedback was positive in nature. I was easily able to respond to any less positive feedback

A large proportion of these delegates are involved in STM research generally so any knock-on effect applies across the board.


Gate of entry to Conference = £350

Gate of entry to Conference Gala Dinner = £50

Reasonably priced located Hotel accommodation = £120 @ night x 3 = £360

Transportation costs = £35

TOTAL = £795


Actual cost for me to participate in this instance = ~ £35

I would like to equally thank DOAJ, Biomed Central and PLoS for kindly supplying me with all of the OA promotional material. I also wish to thank a number of contacts from the OA Movement, friends and colleagues for their full support and excellent advice ahead of the event itself.



Friday, 7 September 2007

Thinking of words can guide your wheelchair

This is my 1st entry into blog territory so don't bite.

I have much reading material to mull over real soon.


Neuroscience is an area that I am particularly interested in both historically and practically.

Since I have a general interest in neurology, this item published yesterday by New Scientist caught my eye.

I would much appreciate some commentry since the specifics are out of my depth as a layman.

Kind regards


Saturday, 25 August 2007

Upload Experiment part 2

Now that I am getting used to uploading stuff on my own, time for a new experiment.

Thanks to the Jamendo website, I should be able to upload one of my songs in WAV format rather then just MP3.

Let's see if this actually works.

This forms part of an online version of a CD I burned in 2002 called Steck - The Best Bitz.

Using a Creative Commons Licence, it should be possible to share this material with a much wider audience.

This song was not on the original compilation.

From 1991, I (hopefully) bring you "White Lies" by Catch.

Link to follow...........

Jamendo : Free music

Friday, 3 August 2007


Earlier in the week, an old friend alerted to me to a musician community called MacJams.18,000 musicians are currently members.

The purpose of MacJams is to allow musicians to upload their material and to share and comment on each others material.I've uploaded 6 tracks so far:-

Using a Creative Commons Licence, contributers keep the copyright to their work but can legally upload and share this with anyone who has internet access. This is simply brilliant and I wish I had known about this before.Since I'm already in contact with people at Creative Commons in other areas (science), and will certainly be mentioning MacJams. I hope that as word spreads, by this time next year, the number of members at MacJams will have risen dramatically.


Earlier in the week, an old friend alerted to me to a musician community called MacJams.

18,000 musicians are currently members. The purpose of MacJams is to allow musicians to upload their material and to share and comment on each others material.

I've uploaded 6 tracks so far:-

Using a Creative Commons Licence, contributers keep the copyright to their work but can legally upload and share this with anyone who has internet access. This is simply brilliant and I wish I had known about this before.

Since I'm already in contact with people at Creative Commons in other areas (science), and will certainly be mentioning MacJams. I hope that as word spreads, by this time next year, the number of members at MacJams will have risen dramatically.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

I don't like jam , but I love *Pearl Jam*

Cookery Sketch

Click here

My lawyers are still hard at work to identify who posted this sketch on the web.

This was nothing to do with me like.

Ian Hamilton Blog

See here

McDawg House

For some reason(s), I sit in my Dog House and am refrained from even woofing at the moment ...

It Bites...

Saturday, 21 July 2007


Whilst I'm not new to blogging, this is my second attempt at creating my own blog spot.

Bear with me during construction.