Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'm sure all you researchers out there must know about these...
For you non-scientists, we all thinks this is very funny. Sad, I know...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

London days

So what's been happening?
I have been spending the last days sneezing and with itchy eyes and drowzy through the non-drowzy anti-histamines. After my drug-filled (this was discussion on legally-prescribed ones, mind) Vienna conference, am now seriously considering makinhg a systematic study of which brand has less side-effects on me, while still making me able to sort of walk around.
I still managed to fill up my last weekend with the discovery of a place near my house that does proper coffee and also a wonderful afogato. And then a beautiful hidden garden with water features and a tennis court. Shepherd's Bush, despite the dirt, is looking better and better.
Saturday night had to choose between three parties - Rita, Nuno and Vania were cunning enough to roll there birthday parties into one, thus leaving me no choice.
Sunday was Taste of London, and in case you might have erroneously thought by the name or blurb that this was strangely about food, it wasn't really but in true English spirit about drink instead. So with the red and white martinis,polish vodka, toffee vodka, cream vodka and grass vodka combining with the sun and the anti-histamines to induce me into a comatose state, I then proceeded to Darrin's barbecue. Which went mainly to show that if you want a quick and efficient barbecue ask an Australian.
Monday went to see 'The way to Heaven' at the Royal Court - worth it for the script.
Wednesday to Ronnie Scott's to see Regina Carter - keep an ear out for her if you like world/jazz fusion. Tuesday and Thursday Capoeira lessons. So on the whole I think these last 7days were truly representative of life in London.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


There are some things that just reconcile you with life.
They have put up a ping-pong table in the coffee-room on the 5th floor of the hospital where I work. 5.30 you put the chairs and tables to one side, unfold the table and the game begins.
I'll let you know how the 'round the world' game goes on Friday.

Some things are just so right.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mood of the past week

Definitely been running up and down a lot of roads these last10 days. But before the past, the future!

For those of you who are fans of the Institute of Contemporary Arts or of communication of Science to the public or just wonder what the hell I do all day (I know this last thought occurs to many of you) I am going to be at the ICA on Saturday 16th of July demonstrating genetic work to the public. There are a few interesting talks as well, all part of the initiative 'Talking Genes' which starts on the 4th of July. They say that the audience will be intelligent so as I am blessed with truly intelligent friends please show up and prove the organizers right.

And continuing on to the present: for those of you who thought they missed it, there's still a chance to see part of the 'onedotzero' exihibition at the ICA. Basically about digital images and fascinating.

Have now little time to talk about the past: Conference in Vienna showed me the enormous amount of money and thus power that drug companies deal with and in this case that there is no such thing as a paid lunch. Vienna itself was contradictory and not at all what I expected - definitely not German (not organized), not Mediterranean (not friendly), maybe Eastern European? (but with a rich downtown). The museums are definitely worth it though, and the coffee-shops as well but try and pick up some German beforehand.

Came back on Saturday evening and Sunday had a lovely, lovely wine-tasting belated birthday-party for Ana. Australian Barossa Valley is the way to go we say. On Monday I discovered that I had to have a poster ready by Tuesday evening and also confirmed that no one here has heard about last-minute cheap specialist printing. As the sight of Architecture and Graphic Design students printing work at midnight was a comfort throughout my studying nights in Porto, I felt a bit bereft.

Have also published a new piece on ContaNatura (Tuesday). For you Portuguese readers out there, check it out.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Mood of the day

Have to do my advertising assignment (nine different bits of work) by Monday evening

Have to prepare the talk I'm going to give in Vienna by Tuesday evening - my first international talk.

A few things too nice to be missed this weekend.

Plus a million bits of paperwork way past their sell-by date.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On autism

Mood of the day

(Things have not been going well on several fronts for the last few days)

Read two articles on autism in the last days. In a way they reflect two different approaches to this aspect of mental health. I don't say problem, or disease, because you can't eliminate the hypothesis that human mental function works on the basis of spectra. A bit like I (or Kinsey, or several other people) consider sexual orientation - a range from absolutely and solely homossexual to completely and only heterossexual with most people somewhere in the middle.

So you'd have totally autistic and totally empathic (although maybe that's not the opposite, read on) in the extremes, with most people somewhere along the connecting line.

And since we're on to graphs, can anyone tell me the mathematical meaning of "normal"? I was wondering about this the other day as I was thinking that most people I know are screwed up in some way and probably wouldn't be considered very mentally healthy. (If you know more healthy people than screwed up and live in this world tell me). So to my reasoning this means that to be mentally unhealthy is normal. And to be mentally healthy is abnormal. What do you think?

Well, on to the two articles already:

The first one was about this village that is inhabited just by people with learning difficulties, ranging from mongoloid to autisitic and their carers. They get an allowance and in turn produce things that are sold to the 'outside' world. Good idea, or almost eugenics? The people there seemed quite happy. (But I think a TV documentary is coming up so see for yourselves).

The second one is about this autistic vet. Due to the fact she sees things differently from most humans, she manage to notice several things that would frighten animals on their way to the slaughterhouse and that were making things more miserable for everyone and mostly the animals. This could be something as simple as a brightly coloured mac hanging on the fence, which most of us wouldn't even notice. But both animals and autistic people see this as a jarring note and therefore frightening. Result: because people listened to this lady, animals have a much more peaceful end.