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Serrated Cascade

The idea that populations of people living with HIV ‘cascade’ over the steps towards controlling the virus with medication – testing, initiating treatment, suppressing the virus by adhering to the correct treatment – has been around for a long time.

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Writing Word documents in RStudio

For collaborating in research it is often necessary to produce Word documents (.docx format) for sharing with co-authors for comments and changes. To produce research outputs that are reproducible, and to avoid spending any more time than is necessary in Word (plus having a system that doesn’t ‘corrupt’) we can use RStudio, BibDesk, and a few setup steps to write documents in markdown and output in Word. (I’m assuming that you have a Mac, but if not then I think everything works the same except for the reference manager).

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Cheap Cheap Free!

I’m becoming more and more taken with the availability of free, reliable, and in many ways superior software for doing academic work. For anyone starting out, here are my suggestions.

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Non-disclosure

This morning I was listening to the latest podcast from the excellent Planet Money team. They were looking into the history of non-disclosure agreements, in particular how they came to be used to gag whistle-blowers from revealing misconduct, corruption, discrimination, and harassment.

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American question

How would the creation of America be viewed through modern eyes? Even Americans would surely oppose British imperialism, and the audacity of landing on and claiming a small part of an inhabited continent. Despite oppression at home in Europe, we would condemn settlers who chose other people’s land as the setting for their own states of religious (un-) freedom. And, when the British were thrown off, we would be horrified by the expansion from the original thirteen colonies, perched on the east coast, westward to the other ‘shining sea’. (Compare the 1,080,465 km² United States at independence* with the 9,841,955 km² country now – a 9 times increase.)

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Why I’ve been on strike

I, along with staff at over 60 universities in the UK have been on strike for 14 of the past 30 days. The action was called because an evaluation of the USS pension fund showed a shortfall, and the proposed solution was to change the scheme from a defined benefit pension — where you know what you’re going to get when you retire — to a defined contributions pension, where what you retire on will be subject to market performance. An independent evaluation of the proposal put the effect of the change in stark terms: a 40% reduction in pension income, or around £10,000 per year for the typical lecturer.

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Podcasts

I often seem to get asked to recommend podcasts. Probably because my half-remembered anecdotes often start, ‘I heard on a podcast that..’. Here’s what I listen to regularly (in no particular order), which I’ll try to update if anything changes:

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First post

Hi. This is my first post on my very own Git-Hub-based Jekyll-powered website. It took me a little while to patch it together from things that I mostly understand on the internet. If you would like to make your own site, you’re very welcome to ‘fork’ from my GitHub repository (not as horrible as it sounds – useful introduction here), and get into using git for managing your work (or at least your website). Final piece of the set-up: I am using iA Writer with markdown, both of which are simple and great to use.

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