Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz

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Animated Science

One of the best aspects of the the science communication-type roles I’ve had can be the variety.

Depending on where you are and how established the team is (the team ‘me’ was the best!); one day writing articles, the next editing photos/doing some graphic design, web editing, interviews, filming prep, answering questions – or something new.

I’ve been lucky to work on some digital animations with a London-based company, Phospho and will share them here – please note that I don’t own them, however (details in the credits).

I worked with Phospho to write scripts, refine storyboards, and voice these videos – with help from other cancer experts. Happy to answer questions below!
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Are you transphobic? Am I?

Edit 2020: Transphobia is in the news cycle because the wizard book lady has been doing it again. The Tl;dr of this post? Yes, I was. And I went and learned more; taken some sociology of gender, feminist philosophy, and above all – listened to trans people. Who shouldn’t have to be out here telling us they exist and are being hurt by our ignorance.
I’ve made this collection to address the comments by JKR. Continue reading


Scientists cure cancer but no-one notices

The Cancer Research UK Science Update Blog has published an excellent post by Kat Arney on cancer conspiracies – here it is, plus some other excellent pieces:

Licenced under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0 (Image B0002108)

Wellcome Images: Human breast cancer cells dividing

It has prompted me to look back through my posterous archive for something I remember writing but couldn’t find on here – about how offensive it is when people accuse us (people working in cancer research in any capacity) of being part of some great conspiracy to hide cures. I’ve edited it a bit as it’s from 2011.

Let us not forget that many people are living examples that we can and do cure cancer, it’s just difficult to define “cure” – 5 years free? 10? We all die of something. But particularly “treatable” diseases include some forms of leukaemia, or breast, skin and testicular cancer – surgical techniques, chemo- and radiotherapy have come a very long way in the last 50-60 years, since DNA was discovered and we started to learn a lot more about this hugely varied set of diseases.

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I don’t know why I suddenly started thinking about this (and asking Twitter about it) today. But I did, and the conversation was quite good, so I wanted to write a post. It’s kind of about labels and acronyms and diversity and inclusivity and other things – choice, importantly. A bit of privilege. All those words that crop up a lot when you move in “liberal” kinds of circles. And like thinking about issues. Also I propose a competition! Read on…

logo_lgbtFor the uninitiated, if you have no idea what I’m banging on about and need some definitions, I wrote a Background section at the end for you – if you’re open to learning something today, that is.

So, somehow there began a tendency to define some sexualities and gender identities (I find it interesting that the two seem to go hand-in-hand still, despite the increasingly clear message that one need not follow the other) and lump those definitions together in acronyms/initialisms. I don’t profess to know why that happened, but I have some of my own thoughts on a) why people choose to identify with certain labels and b) how that can be useful to them.

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Helpful Poisons

Cancer Research UK runs the Race For Life events, in which thousands of people from all walks of life, young and old, go out and run/walk to collect sponsorship money that’s donated to CRUK.

My supervisor [at the time of writing] – known in the building as one of the many PIs (Principal Investigators) who head the lab groups in the Institute we work in – went along with her 6 year-old daughter to go up on stage and thank people for participating.

I spoke to her about it a while ago and she told me how moved she was to see so many people come out to do their best on a Sunday morning, raising what money they can so enthusiastically. That she was very emotional surveying the sea of people in pink who had turned up to support each other and by raising that money, the scientists whose work aims to improve the treatments we have for cancer. That includes our lab. Plus the patients and their families who have to go through all of it.

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