Saturday, March 25, 2006

That's not you!

Something a bit strange happened today while I was on transit in Finland. I got a call on my mobile asking for Moc. “Speaking”, I replied. “Are you sure?” “Yes, it’s me Moc.” “You don’t sound like Moc”, he retorted, and promptly cut the phone. To be fair the reception wasn’t great, but it was the first time someone has ever hung up on me because they refused to believe my identity. I didn’t recognise the caller’s voice either and still don’t know who it was.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Density times volume times g equals...

This might seem like a bit of a random post, given that it's so long since I regularly updated the blog. Sorry about that.

So, this week I've been in Oxford on a Medical Image and Signal Analysis Spring School for PhD students. And boy is it intense. Probably the most intense academic experience I've had, given that the lectures are geared towards engineers and physicists and included slide upon slide of challenging maths. Anyway, this evening was the formal dinner, and we were in frivolous mood. During one of the unusual conversations, someone asked my lab mate how much she thought that he weighed. She considered for a second, looked confused and replied with the classic quote
"How can I guess how much you weigh when I don't know your density!"
Spoken like a true physicist.

P.S. How much do you think I weigh?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


As part of the course, we had to prepare a poster on the aims of our PhD project. Here's mine.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Oxford Spring School

In Oxford, on the first night of a Medical Imaging and Signal Analysis Spring School organised by the Interdisciplinary Research Council for PhD students working in the field. The actual talks start tomorrow and I’m looking forward to hearing those on validation methods for non-rigid registration algorithms.

Whilst we were waiting in Marble Arch for the coach to Oxford, we were passed by London’s largest Arba’een (Chelum) procession of Iman Hussain. Chelum is commemorated forty days after Ashura, and remembers the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson. Iman Hussain, along with over seventy of his supporters, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680AD (61AH)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

LINKS committee training weekend

This weekend the IC LINKS committee are in Strood, Kent, for a training weekend. The aim is to get the resources and learn the skills required to perform our roles, as well as to meet the rest of the LINKS teams in London. I’ve learnt a lot about what’s going on within London District, and also got to gel with some of the new committee members. This was helped by some of the team games we played. In one, we had to go roam round the streets of Strood trying to find objects beginning with each letter of the word ‘ambulance’. It was tough, but for ‘b’ we lugged back a blue door from a cul-de-sac twenty minutes away, which won it for us. :o)

The venue

The view

The games (Polar bear!)

The team

Thursday, March 16, 2006

New CPR protocols

Gave a talk on ‘Poisons: First aid in the home’ at College today, which I can email to you if you’re interested. At the end, I talked about the new adult, child and baby cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) protocols that are being introduced. A major study in the US found that “half of chest compressions given by professional rescuers are too shallow, and chest compressions are interrupted too often during CPR”. On the basis of this and other findings, the new guidelines simplify CPR and call for an increased ratio of chest compressions to rescue breaths. This could save more lives than our current protocols, so please check out the sites of the Resuscitation Council UK and the American Heart Association for the complete recommendations (there’s much more than I’ve outlined in this short paragraph).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

WorldMUN position paper II

Here's my position paper for topic B in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees simulation: Unaccompanied minors.

Committee: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Topic: Unaccompanied Minors
Country: Nigeria
Delegate: Moc, Imperial College London, UK

Nigeria has ratified both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and embodies the principles outlined in these. Being acquainted with the unique and extremely difficult problem faced by thousands of accompanied minors, Nigeria welcomes initiatives to nurture and protect the full entitlement of human rights and liberties of this vulnerable group. In a part of the world where mass migration for political, cultural, economic or social reasons is becoming increasingly common, Nigeria recognises that unaccompanied minors are often the subjects of abuse, neglect and human trafficking, and are sometimes unwilling combatants in armed conflict, and in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has taken steps in line with to ensure this does not happen within its borders. With funding from the UNHCR’s Regional Support Hub in Accra, Nigeria has been able to strengthen its “protection capacity” and “pursue durable solutions for both camp-based and urban refugees”. By doing so, Nigeria has been able to afford assistance and shelter to refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Sudan.

Unaccompanied minors from Nigeria are also victims in other countries, and Nigeria recognises that minors are used as “anchors” to obtain asylum in other countries of refuge, where they are often subject to exploitation. One of the major reasons for this is the frequent lack of any documentation in refugee situations, which is exacerbated by minors often finding themselves in new surroundings where they do not understand the language, culture or bureaucracy of their country of refuge and may not be aware of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These minors often require especial care and support, and Nigeria feels that the mandate of the UNHCR requires this body to provide all the support necessary for member states to provide for this vulnerable group.

The burden of care for unaccompanied minors mainly lies with developing countries, in particular those in Africa and Asia, and Nigeria feels that the successful programs already being implemented by the UNHCR all over the world could be specially tailored to the needs of unaccompanied minors in these regions. In particular, Nigeria feels that extra funding to countries of refuge to help with education, vocational training, income-generating activities, repatriation (where appropriate) and asylum processes are critical so that these often marginalised children can have their material and psychosocial needs met. Nigeria is very pleased that this issue is being discussed by the UNHCR and welcomes efforts from all member states concerned with this issue to help provide for all unaccompanied minors.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Last week I had lunch with one a friend I’d made at a College event I’d attended. He’s a nice guy and travelled all the way to Hammersmith Hospital to meet me, but I feel a bit mislead as to his motives. Rather than a friendly lunch, he spent his time trying to convince me to join a new society he was forming. I declined and haven’t heard from him since.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

St Patrick's Day Food Fair

Next Friday is St Patrick's Day, and the Irish community in London geared up with a food fair in Covent Garden yesterday. We were there in our capacity as first aiders and got to sample some free Celtic delights, which was nice.

No one to treat today. Whilst we were on foot patrol one little girl went to the the first aid station for some treatment for a sore head, but other than that a plaster (band-aid) was the only thing we gave out. Was nice to see some friends before the imminent exam season though. It's gonna be tough.

Covent Garden

Saturday, March 11, 2006

WorldMUN position paper I

I’ve now finished my position paper for topic A in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees simulation. The committee aims to find a solution to the problem of (predominantly Hutu) Rwandan refugees residing in Burundi. Here is the position I think Nigeria would take regarding this. As always, any advice, comments or criticisms would be welcome.

Committee: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Topic: Rwandan Refugees in Burundi
Country: Nigeria
Delegate: Moc, Imperial College London, UK

As a signatory of both the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 Convention Concerning the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Nigeria watched in horror as events unfolded in Rwanda in 1994. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and even more were forced to flee their homes fearing persecution as violence broke out between Hutus and Tutsis. However since the return of relative stability to the region many have returned to Rwanda and have, with the assistance of governments throughout Africa’s Great Lakes region, begun rebuilding their lives.

In the aftermath of the violence, an independent report on the United Nations’ role in the conflict cited the UN peacekeeping mission’s “lack of resources” and stated that “Rwandans in need of protection had been abandoned”. Since then, attempts to hold those accountable for the atrocities have been initiated by the Rwandan government, whilst the international community has made its efforts in the form of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In addition, Gacaca tribunals, dispensing community justice, have been established officially within Rwanda to punish perpetrators of the violence. However, fearing punishment for their actions or retaliation for the actions of others, since April 2005 approximately 10000 Hutus have fled Rwanda for neighbouring Burundi.

Both Rwanda and Burundi are obliged under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 Convention Concerning the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa to prohibit the return of persons to territories where they could be at risk of serious human rights abuse. That said, both governments have stated that repatriation of refugees is their common goal, and the Rwandan government has publicly assured all Rwandan refugees of their safety and right to a fair trial. Nigeria has the utmost confidence in the two states to uphold their obligations and fulfil their promises. Nigeria welcomes the steps being made towards peaceful democracies in the region and is convinced that recent dialogue between the two states will further this process. Many in Rwanda are still haunted by the hostility that has erupted since ethnic divisions were first encouraged in the region, and Nigeria feels that the proposed goals of fair trials for those involved as well as the paramount protection for all those that are innocent is the best way forward. On this note, and given the mistrust many Rwandans feel towards UN peacekeepers and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Nigeria believes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should primarily play the crucial role of providing refugees with humanitarian assistance. Many Rwandan refugees are currently living in overcrowded, disease ridden camps, and Nigeria is sensitive to the fact that Burundi faces understandable difficulties in providing for these people given its current economic situation. By partially alleviating this burden the UNHCR would build many bridges with all peoples and contribute to a more stable future for all nations in the region. However, Nigeria believes that a local approach, under the auspices of the African Union and relevant UN bodies, would be the best approach in resolving the political and social problems of Rwanda and Burundi.

Nigeria is a friend of all peace loving nations and all member states working to ensure security and stability in the region. Like many African nations, however, Nigeria hosts significant numbers of refugees, and is convinced that the only way to achieve long-term stability is through regional dialogue and leadership.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Recurrent miscarriage

The Consumers’ Forum of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) organises regular talks for members of the public affected by or interested in issues in the specialty. I attended my first one today on recurrent miscarriage, defined in the UK as three or more miscarriages. This is an unfortunate fate suffered by around one in a hundred women, and can have profound physical, mental, emotional and social consequences. However, most couples who have had recurrent miscarriages still have a good chance of a successful birth in future, and Prof Regan talked through the “most important causes of sporadic and recurrent pregnancy loss, useful investigations, available treatments, the emotional and psychological aspects of miscarriage and getting ready for the next pregnancy”.

I found more good information on the condition on the website of the St Mary’s NHS Trust’s Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic, where Prof Regan works.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I just got a rollicking from my supervisor. And I deserved it. :'(