Wednesday, 21 March 2018

No Blacks, No Jews, No Gipsies, No Children, No Pets

The housing market in the UK has become an issue with no active solutions on sight. And there is only two things to blame: the lacking of political drive and the construction companies backing the lack of political drive (meaning, the lobby). There isn't much to analyse and even though the House of Commons (at least they have a house, poor ones) decided to approach the issue and discuss the very important housing problem in the UK, there is noticeably very little will from the people in power to do things differently and sort this malfunction once for all.

The Members of Parliament sat for hours discussing the housing unavailability and the lack of incentive to build affordable houses, and finally analyse what really promotes the nonexistence of houses and how to tackle the problem, so the present and future generations can have something so basic as a safe place to live.

This political (alleged) initiative is more than welcome, but sitting for hours clapping your members' frigid speeches (from both political arms) to come to the conclusion that:

1) There is a housing problem in the UK, no affordable houses are being built and the current prices are unbearable for the mid-class pockets;

2) There is an emergent epidemics of people sleeping rough, and maybe... just maybe that is also arising from and going to add a few additional points to the housing-problem debate.

Two assumptions any of us could have made without having to belong to any political arm, without having to major in an Oxbridge Campus on degrees that just because they're 'Oxbridgian' will fly you to a very successful career and few concerns about one's future.

However, the real world, the world made of mid-class people who really struggle to afford to pay increasing insane mortgages or rents for houses that arbor many other problems, like the lacking of space - I have never seen in my whole life houses with rooms so tiny as in England that would be called food storage cupboards anywhere else in Europe - or poor construction quality, is here to last.

By the end of my street, in an area known to Nottingham as one of the poorest and more socially complicated, the council is building affordable houses!!!, so affordable that the space takes on the conceptional affordability of the idea and is ever so small. But the prices are not affordable at all, they are £200K a piece and any mid-class family with two kids would struggle to save enough for even initiating the mortgage process. Two blocks away there is another area I don't want to name, but lives on this rhetorical assumption that it is an incredible place to live due to the social fabrics that inhabit it (basically cocky arrogant people with wages well-above the mean who behave like they're the best thing in the world after the invention of the microwave). A 3-bedroom house in this fallacy of heaven costs half a million pounds to buy! Half a million! Super affordable. Anyone can go pick a Neymar Jr. from their bank accounts and personal savings and just pawn their existence like that. Easy!!!

I can understand that the housing issue is now a monster so difficult to resolve that could take longer than a decade to actually see some positive changes. Shared ownership is a fantastic idea, seldom promoted by councils but a great idea indeed. In the meantime, in cities so academic like Nottingham is, the housing market became ever more complicated for families because increasing numbers of students rent basically everywhere, houses that accommodate many people but are framed and shaped for quick occupancy. Not a legacy for the future with family and familiar environments. When looking for a house to rent, like we as a family have been doing for about 5 years now, you have narrow options and must accept conditions you wouldn't normally accept for the fact that if you do not want to live under such conditions, you won't have a place to live at all. There is a queue waiting for those four walls with a roof on top and the landlords are thriving on this market. 

A month ago we visited a house in that same complicated area of Nottingham that I referred to, above. One with mold everywhere, rusty pipes, lacking space for a normal living and there was humidity and holes (serious holes) on the ceiling - £700 they asked for a place that shouldn't be charging more than $400-£450 considering the area and the quality.

I'm not even mentioning London, that is a bubble on itself obeying to much stricter/ridiculous conditions. This is East Midlands where people still want to live in normal, acceptable, safe, affordable houses. Not zoo cages!

Landlords got to a point where they can demand obnoxious things fully accepted by the regulators. Things embedded in such prejudice that any normal government would determine these as unlawful and criminal. The last agency we contacted didn't even book us a house viewing because the landlord clearly stated he wanted No Children. The moment we said we were a family of working parents with money to pay the monthly rent, this person 'cryed' No Children allowed in the house. Like if he was talking about some family of wild boars with cubs ready to destroy a house the moment they were granted access. Like if he wasn't protected by a deposit safeguarding scheme and a contract that makes tenants responsible for any damage on the property. The reason for that is just quick quid, making money easy on students and making sure that the house is for a tenant-in tenant-out system whilst collecting deposits based on some ridiculous structural assumptions. I know what I am saying as I had to 'battle' my share of rogue landlords and their greedy claims when I was a student myself.

If the local councils and even the national government allow such 'legal' prejudice we will return to wild times where landlords could clearly and lawfully announce on their property doors "No Blacks, No Jews, No Gipsies, No Children, No Pets". Can anyone else see the incredible prejudice that is emerging once again from a problem that is itself a prejudice against the mid-class people? Can this be more blatant than what it already is?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76

Read original piece at

Read about the only book I read from his genius HERE.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Why is adrenaline prescribed in an anaphylactic shock crisis?

As a Medical Information Officer I am constantly bombarded with situations where, among several other possibilities, allergic reactions are eventually reported as adverse events. However, I never got to be confronted with a patient undergoing anaphylactic shock. What I realised though is that most people out there do not have a precise or at least mildly accurate idea of what an anaphylactic shock is. They just know the term but lack the understanding. In addition, if you ask most of your friends and relatives why medical doctors prescribe adrenaline (epinephrine) to counteract an anaphylactic shock crisis, well above 90% will roll their shoulders in ignorance.

It's understandable that we cannot know it all about everything, but I have always been a curious bee. And the moment this question popped up in my head a few years ago, I had to research to address it immediately. By surprise, it happened to me today to find someone (outside work) who didn't know about the reason behind the use of epinephrine (adrenaline) as an antagonist of such systemic allergic chain of events.

As usual, I don't dwell on questions that have been vastly and adequately addressed in different websites through the Internet. When that is the case I refrain to comment on the matter. But this time I decided to just simplify the very good explanations you can find online, so that even those not naturally versed in the slightest medical science and terms, can make sense of all the jargon and conceptualizations involved. Thus, quite simply put, let us imagine:

  • A bee stings your child in the neck... let's go for neck rather than hand to add a bit of a physical oddness and proximity with the heart that will enhance the emotional atmosphere of scare.

  • Your child is allergic to the substances present in the bee sting injection and the body starts producing an allergic reaction. Don't forget that an allergy is just the immune system considering a substance to be foreign to the system and therefore an attack on that substance (known as allergen) is initiated. But sometimes the response is inappropriate and imbalanced leading to a systemic chain of events that put the whole cardio-respiratory system in alert.

  • What happens next in the hypersensitive body is an anaphylactic response that, by means of biochemical and physiological procedures in your child's body, will try and block the access of that substance (allergen) to the vital organs. 

  • Naturally, your child's body produces adrenaline that will ease the physiological extreme responses of her/his body to the allergen, meaning his/her body will try and block the effects of the allergen by reducing the blood flow and consequently constricting the airways. However, in a person with hypersensitive immune system the body needs a lot more adrenaline because it is in severe shock already, hence an immediate action is deemed necessary.

  • The only available option is the epinephrine injection that is usually administered to the patient as an urgent first aid approach. 

  • Why an injection? Simply because adrenaline is a natural hormone produced in humans and is easily degraded by the stomach acids. In the event of an anaphylactic shock your child will need higher doses of adrenaline than normal, and quickly accessed. The intramuscular injection of adrenaline with what is known as an EpiPen operates miracles.

  • What does it do? Adrenaline will reduce the throat swelling and open your child's airways allowing him/her to breath naturally, it will normalise your child's blood pressure and overtime bring your child's impaired cardio-respiratory system to a normal point where medical intervention (if necessary) will be monitoring his/hr health.

I hope this quick-fix worked as an EpiPen for your questions in case you had any! Thanks for visiting The Toxicologist Today. Now, do you know what you can use if you're in the wild and have no access to a much needed EpiPen? Stick around and you'll find out in the coming post.

1st image kindly taken from EpiPen prescribing information, [].

2nd image kindly taken from The Telegraph, [].

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know

Information for European Union citizens living in the UK.

Published 7 April 2017
Last updated 28 February 2018 — see all updates

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Nine years helping change lives

Today at Kiva we celebrate YOU!
Nine years ago today, you joined Kiva to change lives around the world.
A cake to celebrate your Kiva anniversary
Your commitment to Kiva’s mission is a cause for celebration!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

DNA manipulation at the tip of your fingers TOTALLY FREE

Adna's Lab can help students become more familiar with basic techniques, reagents, products and machinery that is used in a genetics lab.

The main goal in the game is to build up a 25 bases chain from 5' to 3' to win the race. Players enhance their own DNA chain, but can also destroy the opponent's DNA chain making use of different single cards or combinations of cards.


 10 total


I'm writing a book

Seriously! No joke. To be honest if you knew me personally you would understand that creative writing has been part of my life since ever. I remember writing comics from the age of 6 years old, untypical stuff, totally earthed, nothing involving super heroes or spaceships and the like. Actually my first comic was made during the Summer of '86 with three other colleagues of mine. Two of them had nothing better to do for the whole first month of Summer vacation. But I recall vividly the other third guy, a very clever, astute, curious, intelligent, bright young child that was terrible at school (he couldn't even spell maths!!!). However, this paradoxical breath of life was so urgent in him!!!!!!! I remember this kid so well, but for the sake of privacy I won't disclose his name. I used to look at him with some perplexity for he was always watching documentaries and was crazy addicted to the Jacques Cousteau's ones. His house had this moldy smell although he never allowed us to cross the front door to get inside, the baffle could be easily scented from afar. Their windows were always shut, the TV was always on (we could see it from the main door area) and he had very little money, used always the same clothes, a bunch of younger siblings jumping around and a dense atmosphere surrounded his existence. I'm not kidding, he was special in the sense that he was not at all fit to school and at the same time he was an incredibly intelligent individual with many qualities teachers could not really operate with. Traditional busy educational systems totally unfit for those who are off boundaries and do not represent the standards! What else to say...? I honestly hope he got to be a successful adult with loads of incredible interesting projects on his lap. I miss the times the two of us created that comic about a migrant who traveled abroad for some better opportunities and ended up dead, hung by some far-right extremists. Woooowwww, a bit edgy for some snotty kids, I know! Don't take me wrong, the subject topic was dark and far too real for some 6 year old kids, but at the same time represented the pre-grunge times with a desperate cry for help and attention in a neighborhood that could have used some proper state investment in regards to educational and cultural projects. By that age we were providing an 'exaggerated' x-ray of the society we could feel orbiting around us.

My writing then progressed to a bunch of grunge songs I wrote from the age of 12 to the age of 18. I also wrote two novels, one on depression that actually nearly made it to the first places of a national contest (I was 16). This other book called 'The Queen of Hearts' beat my "Grey Mosquitoes", but my real prize was the look of the people who judged it when I popped over to their premises to collect back my copies. The lady looked at me like she had seen either a miracle or a farce whilst asking me with a mouth hit by surprise - Did you write this book???

The other novel "Nayf", on a near-death experience when I didn't even know what a near-death experience or Raymond Moody and the IANDS were oblivion to me, was also written before the age of 20. And that was it for the long narratives. I then dedicated myself to blog posts until the age of 26, on politics, on animal welfare, on society. Then, during Spring time a friend of mine let me know that she forgot to tell me about a literature contest she prepared with the Student Society. I had two hours to write different texts for three different categories, namely short story, poem and essay.

In two hours I wrote a poem on the Portuguese revolution of April 1974, two short stories on something I can't remember (I filed them somewhere inside the many boxes in this house!!!) and an essay on psychology or something related to that. I got a third place and two 'honorable mentions' (is that the way to say it???).

Again I could see the astonished faces of the judges (a panel of very well dressed journalists and writers that all they did during the prizes' session was to basically humiliate everyone by saying we had to try harder, it wasn't good for a professional level, we needed a lot more quality - typical anal retentive judgmental presumptuous unnecessary crap). I really wanted to go to them and explain that when a person has nothing of valid to say to the next one, shouldn't say nothing at all. As I walked there on my Jesus sandals and white linen pants and shirt, the only African descendant in a room crowded with white people, once again I could see their faces in aw!

Please don't think I am so full of myself, you couldn't be farther from the truth. I sincerely and simply love writing. It's a passion, it's a pleasure.

I then moved to England in 2006 and my writing since then has been about Toxicology here in this blog. But 2018 started and with it a rejuvenated resolution. I want to write a science book. I want to write it in English (not my native language ergo a challenge). And I want it to be a fresh approach that can serve not only the typical science professional but also the mother at home worried about her health and her family's health, and the curious children. I already have the topic and I just need the planning and the proper time to fulfill it.

I'll write about the Toxicology of Nosocomial Infections, nosocomial as in a disease originating in a hospital. Then I will try to publish it independently on the web and I will dedicate it to that colleague of mine that at the age of 6 shared my love for biology.

Wish me luck, guys!