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I’ve just received the latest National Geographic E-magazine and there is a timely article in it about Malaria. There’s also a great multimedia presentation here. It not only charts the course of the disease within the human body and the history of it but gives an account of the fight to overcome this killer. It has been around for thousands of years, with some Egyptian mummies having signs of malaria. It is thought likely that Alexander the Great died from it and it was instrumental in stopping the armies of Attila the Hun and Ghengis Khan. I know I’ve posted on this before but it is the biggest killer on Earth. This year one billion people will be struck down by it and at least a million will die – mostly children under the age of five. The main article is here – there is a lot of it, but it is worth reading.
These leads nicely to a new initiative that my brother is setting up with Tukae in Tanzania. Just before I arrived there in February Dr Linda Barry spent two months working with the locals at the health post on Emau Hill. During this time she saw and treated many children with malaria. In discussion with Steven and Father Baruti in Emau Hill they decided to set up a one year project to effect the local situation. They are aiming to raise £5,000 to pay for a clinical officer and a technician for one year, to provide effective treatment for all children under the age of 13, provide adequate drug supplies and follow WHO and Tanzanian government guidelines.

Protecting against malaria is not cheap. When I was there in February/March this year it cost me nearly £100 for prophylactic drugs. You can get cheaper ones but they are not as effective.

The project has a justgiving site – here.

Well I’m back after a totally exhausting conference at the Blackpool De Vere Hotel. Whatever conceptions you have about Blackpool, the De Vere Hotel will challenge them. It is a haven of good taste, luxury and calm. Well calm till we got there – 25 exhibition stands, 16 workshops two keynotes made for a very busy day. Most of our team even managed to wear corporate (JISC) colours – orange and blue.

So hi to Ian, Kevin, Dave, Mick, John and Neil (who kindly put a comment on the previous post) Dee, Sue and Emma and John B – it was a ball.

I spent the night at a rather nice country house hotel outside Poulton (the respectable and rather posh part of Blackpool!) having been shopping in the town for suitable adornments for our stand (buckets and spades, beach balls, deckchairs and yes pink stetson hats) I was pretty tired and went straight to the bar. It was the annual dinner for the flower club and also rotary night. I have never seen so much diamante, chiffon and pearls. These strong fearsome women strode in and out of the bar with vigour. I sat in the corner exhausted. Today will be just physical carting stuff from the office to the conference Hotel – sigh.

I’m heading over to Blackpool for three days today for work and to prepare for our annual conference at the De Vere Hotel on Friday. I’ll still be updating this and will be posting various short messages on Jaiku. There are some definite advantages of being in Blackpool – one being some good shopping – second largest Primark in the country!

I’ve also just received an email from Althea for Tukae. They are hoping to run a 12 month malaria project at Emau Hill – more details here. I’ll write more about this in a day or so.

I’ve just checked the stats for the blog and it’s number 53 in the WordPress ‘Growing blogs’ table – wow.  Not sure exactly what that means but hey – yesterday  was the highest hit rate ever.

There is a comment on my post with pictures from the Appleby Horse Fair which took place earlier this month. I was quite upset when I first saw it and my immediate reaction was to delete it. However, on reflection I decided to leave it as it illustrated perfectly the person who posted it. I think that’s quite enough really.

I have a number of RSS feeds that I check on a regular basis, mainly work but some just from interest. One of these is a blog ‘Green Gathering’ and it’s by Ian Green an ex-journalist and now a partner in a communications company. As a PR company they frequently get requests from journalists for copy or even pointers to stories.

A recent post of his highlights the astonishing requests that PR companies get from lazy journalists. “We’re looking for genuine members of the mile high club” or “I would like to speak to women who have had at least two abortions”. Which companies that he may be promoting might be able to produce these do you think. The most alarming thing of it all is that as these requests continue to roll in, they must in part be successful. The full text of the post is here.

So Ian if you read this – I’d like a holiday too and I promise to write all about it and give the holiday provider all the credit for their stupidity!

I know I’ve mentioned Jaiku before and it is very interesting this weekend.  I’m getting posts from both Glastonbury and someone on a motivational weekend which culminated in walking on hot coals last night.  I’ll explain – again – Jaiku is like Twitter and you can link them together, a sort of micro-blog.  You post messages up to the site and you can only use 140 characters.  So there are posts such as ‘Mud thin enough to swim in’ followed by ‘Fratellis brilliant’ from Glastonbury and ‘Yay – managed the firewalk fine’ from the Tony Robbins event.  You can either look at every post (impossible) or you just limit your viewing to people you know.   Go along and sign up – its free.

Well it’s that time of year again and astonishingly the weather has turned nasty. What is it about the Glastonbury festival that attractc rain. Two years ago the storm knocked out the power supply and even the good old BBC couldn’t transmit for about half an hour. It has come a long way from the Pilton Pop Festival in 1970 – in fact it is totally mainstream now. Even the Today programme from BBC Radio four is covering it as well as the usual wall to wall coverage from Radio 1. Jo Whiley is arranging a ‘wedding‘ for a lucky couple in the Lost Vagueness tent. The hen night is to be arranged by Mika – I’d go for that. In fact a pal and I applied but I don’t think two middle aged women were quite in their ideal demographic. Anyway, hope it all goes well and there isn’t too much mud.

I’ve seen a couple of photos of the interactive billboards that the BBC have installed in New York city.

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If you look at the screens on either side of the photo you will see a number to text and say whether you consider the soldiers to be  ‘Occupiers’ or ‘Liberators’   I took this photo from the BBC Editors blog and thought it was interesting to see that they had used a photo with the votes pretty even.  A quick trawl through flickr will show different results.

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It’s an interesting marketing idea for BBC World but not a relevant poll.  I wonder what the results in the Mid-West would be?  I’m not sure if I could be bothered to text my views to a billboard.

I happened to catch the last few minutes of the Falklands Ceremony on the TV yesterday. A few thoughts, who on earth thought it was a good idea to have everyone singing ‘Sailing’ . It was fine as a theme tune to a reality TV show but for massed voices – dear me, it sounded dreadful. Then there was the march past of all the troops and veterans. Do you think it might have been a good idea to remind Prince Andrew about being in step? He was mostly out of time and when he was in time, he was out of step – the poor senior officer next to him had to keep skipping to try to stay in time with him. I suppose if you are marching next to a Royal Duke, the Royal Duke is right, but he looked a bumbling prat and put to shame the smart sailors next to him.

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Finally the fly past was good and the Red Arrows were a fab finale but I was disappointed not to have a Vulcan there. I’m not even sure if there is a serviceable one left but it would have been nice to see one.

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