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2017 Resolution


A little late this year, but then there are many calendars, so it is surely the start of the New Year for someone, somewhere, today. Continue Reading »

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Back to the trees


The state of the Brexit debate reminded me of “The Evolution Man” (a very funny read by Roy Lewis, also entitled “The Evolution Man or why I ate my father”), which is centred on a protohomonim family that invents many new things, including fire and cooking. Uncle Vanya, whose teeth are not what they were, loves to come down from the trees and eat cooked meat, but he castigates all progress and his catchphrase is “Back to the trees”. Continue Reading »


Monty Python sum up what I think here. Leave voters?  A dose of Derek and  Clive might be useful.

Otherwise, some thoughts on the Brexit referendum Continue Reading »


Thank you Liverpool

Liverpool, like some, but not all Northern cities, voted to Remain. My adopted city for 28 years has once again stood up against fascism. Remember, this is the part of the country that was most heavily bombed in WW II, not Coventry not London. Liverpool, Bootle…. Continue Reading »


My late father was a Desert Rat. He didn’t have to fight, the South African army was comprised entirely of volunteers. He recounted how in the 1930s, listening to Hilter on the radio gave him more than sufficient evidence as to the deep evil of fascism. So when South Africa declared war on Germany (itself an interesting political event), he left his job as a primary school teacher for the uncertainty of life as a soldier. There were hundreds of thousands like him across the world. The monuments on Liverpool’s waterfront to the sailors of different nationalities who died in the merchant navy during the battle of the Atlantic provide an everyday reminder to these volunteers. Continue Reading »


I made my first New Year’s resolution on December 31, 2013: to only undertake reviews for open access and learned society journals.  This I have stuck to well, as I noted a year later for the simple reasons that it makes sense and it frees up my time.

Today I had a request to review a manuscript for Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports, and I realised that I need to clarify my position.

I am on strike. Continue Reading »


Changye Sun and Yong Li, who successfully defended their PhD theses in November have published a paper each in Open Biology on the interactions of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) with glycosaminoglycans:

Heparin binding preference and structures in the fibroblast growth factor family parallel their evolutionary diversification

and

Selectivity in glycosaminoglycan binding dictates the distribution and diffusion of fibroblast growth factors in the pericellular matrix.

Continue Reading »