I started following the conversation around this tweet:
when I saw
The rest of the conversation from Sinéad (@phrenohead) and Chris (@stunt_penguin) is very interesting and I just wanted to add some background on two points:
- The article content sourcing
- Dr. Isaac Eliaz
Article content sourcing
The article is at http://www.alustforlife.com/mental-health/mental-nutrition/trust-your-gut-for-better-brain-health (Google Cache) and I’ve taken a screenshot of the portions I want to talk about:
- This is a copy and paste of text for which the original source appears to be http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/03/probiotics-impact-brain-performance.aspx (Google Cache – unfortunately the site’s popover throws a 404, but you read the paragraph around the Google pop-up). This piece of copy is used quite a bit and can be found with a Google search . Mercola is a quack site: http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.html
- This time it’s not a direct lift from the mercola.com site mentioned in the last point but changes the specific foodstuffs mentioned.
- Finally the last two paragraphs are a copy and paste from the Udo’s Choice product page (Google Cache)
Dr. Isaac Eliaz
One of the pieces of supporting “evidence” that the “A Lust for Life” twitter account posted was:
This is an interesting choice as a reference for the claims in their post. You see, Dr. Isaac Eliaz makes a lot of claims including:
- Use of Modified Citrus Pectin in treating cancers (prostate, ovarian and breast cancer are mentioned). Most of the clinical studies on pectin are in-vitro and yet products based on it are being actively marketed for prevention and cure. You can read what information Cancer Research UK have here and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre here. Some potential benefits of pectin are mentioned by both but those benefits are a long, long way off what’s being touted.
- MCP for treating autism based on heavy metal detoxification
- Homeopathy for the treatment of cancer
In conclusion, there are a lot of people out there who are happy to make claims about various treatments. A lot of these fail to have any benefit in large scale, properly designed human trials.If “A Lust for Life” are to be a credible contributor to the mental health discussion then they need to stay clear of the unproven treatments and the outright bullshit treatments.
Because I’m a cranky git who is largely distrustful of economists, I couldn’t let go of a sense of distrust of what was being presented in this graph:
The Irish economy has increased employment more in the past four years than in the 70 years from 1926 to 1996.pic.twitter.com/Ps6JFnduH6
I’m suspicious that this is simply “bigging up” Fine Gael and being misleading in doing so.
For me, the number at work on its own doesn’t give a complete picture; particularly over a 90 year period. Ireland’s population has changed significantly over that period of time and can’t be omitted when considering economic performance (I reckon, anyway). On that basis I argue that employment rate is the appropriate indicator of labour market performance for a national economy.
So I’ve taken the various data with which to present the employment rate over the period 1926 to 2016:
|Population 15 years and Over (Number) by Sex, Industrial Group,
Employment Status and Year
||Total at Work
- I’ve then used the population data from CNA15: Population by Age Group, Sex, Year and Statistic to get the population for 15-64 year olds over the same time range and selecting the same years (so that means not selecting 1979, 2002, 2006 or 2011 as the latter three are in the QNHS dataset)
|Population (Number) by Sex, Age Group and Year
||15 – 19 years
|20 – 24 years
|25 – 29 years
|30 – 34 years
|35 – 39 years
|40 – 44 years
|45 – 49 years
|50 – 54 years
|55 – 59 years
|60 – 64 years
- Combining the CNKL1 and CNA15 data I get
|Number at work
- QNHS Table8a-EmploymentRates shows data by quarter so I took a simple average for the year and get
We can then plot this combined data: Primary y-axis show employment rate (a percentage) and the secondary y-axis shows number of jobs and population (all ages) in millions.
(click to enlarge)
The points to note here are:
- The employment rate and the “numbers at work” chart show somewhat similar trends over the last 20 years but the interpretation should be markedly different.
- The increase in population which show that comparisons with the early and mid parts of the 20th century shouldn’t ignore the impact of population change i.e. absolute job numbers don’t have context.
- The employment rate today is back at end of the century levels; we’re barely midway to recovering to peak levels. Since the 2012 minima, the employment rate is only up ~8% over the period to now. That recovery is obviously good news but it’s not earth shattering.
- That increase in employment rate needs to be viewed against the overall state of the economy as it affects the nation; the health service is teetering towards collapse and we have a homelessness emergency. Vanity metrics fed to the people in this manner are misleading at best, in reality insulting to people who know the recovery is fragile and not omnipresent.
I originally put up a quick video review on the day I brought the bike home from the bike shop and it follows. However, now that I’ve put up some mileage (~750km) I thought it was time to get into a bit more detail. The bike comes in at ~€1,379; additional cost due to my customisations are shown below.
If you watched the video you’ll see that I was quite excited by the bike. Since then, nothing’s changed: I love this bike and it’s perfect for me right now.
I posted this on Twitter but I also wanted to add it here because it’s important and there seem to be an awful lot of product people who don’t understand the concept of MVP:
Throwing together a minimum viable product, or MVP, is a great way to test your concept and find out what customers really want before you sink more money into the game. However, there’s a fine line between tossing something together and a MVP that’s too buggy to launch.
I’ve moved from having a full
XBMC Kodi install on my Raspberry Pi to just Raspbian with tvheadend as all I want is to capture content for consumption elsewhere e.g. RTÉ Pulse shows.
Recently, I had the bright idea of moving to Jessie and in the process discovered that all no longer played well and I wasn’t recording the actual shows I wanted. Two things were happening: the EPG which is pulled from EIT OTA was +1 hour out – most discussions on this issue being observed on TVH centre around there being an issue with the provider. So I went down the rabbit hole of trying to get DVB scanner tools to work to inspect the Saorview EIT data – a successful endeavour. It was then by chance that I saw TVH when debug mode was enabled was logging events with a -1 hour difference.
This is where how time is handled on Linux gets confusing. I looked at the timezone per user (so setting via .profile) and at system level which I naively assumed was /etc/timezone. I wasted lots of times between these two until I discovered /etc/localtime and then this information: https://wiki.debian.org/TimeZoneChanges.
dpkg-reconfigure tzdata is your friend.
We’re back to using Slack for product development communication again, so I’ve been keen to tie in the documentation updates I do via Dexy & Asciidoctor to Slack. What I wanted was to notify the channels setup per product of a new version of the specification along with the URL to the documentation site.
Gitlab has Slack integration ‘out of the box’ as described here. Here’s what that looks like:
GitLab [10:30 PM]
James Gallagher pushed to branch master of etckeeper/gitlab (Compare changes)
629601425: saving uncommitted changes in /etc prior to apt run – James Gallagher
ea40dff39: committing changes in /etc after apt run
-adduser 3.113ubuntu2 Show more…
This works great where the audience for the notification is interested in code/configuration changes but doesn’t fit with the use case I described above. So that meant looking instead at a specific Gitlab use case: Web Hooks for tag push events. As I mentioned in the Dexy & Asciidoctor post I tag new versions of specifications – hence tying the notification to ‘tag push events’.
The rest of this post describes the high level approach I took and the [awful] code I used.
In the post Dexy & Asciidoc(tor): A Business Analyst’s documentation tool to look at I went through how I’m using the two tools at the moment. I promised to provide an example within a few days but this has turned into a month now. Anyway, attached this post are the HTML (image not included, you’ll need the ZIP) and PDF outputs along with the full Dexy ‘project’. The content is in a Gitlab git repository.