LogoBee Graphic Design blog: My posts for September

30 09 2010

Only one of my articles made it to the LogoBee blog this month, but it’s a fun one! In case you missed it, here’s an article about Google’s “doodle” on September 7th, and why it caused a stir in the logo design world. How did they do that?

Google’s Doodle Mystery

Science is Vital

29 09 2010

Ok, so the state of the UK’s finances is in a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment and Government cutbacks are clearly a necessity – love it or hate it – in order to get us back in the black, but when it was announced that Cameron & Clegg would be tightening their belts in terms of funding for Science, Technology and Engineering, like so many of these public spending cutbacks, it got people’s knickers in a twist. And on this issue, my knickers are also quite twisted. (Urgh, that’s quite a gross image. I do apologise.)

In sympathy with the Science Is Vital movement, I have today signed this petition in support of a campaign to halt the destructive levels of funding cuts to Science education, research and innovation in the UK. Unless you’re directly involved with Science yourself, you probably don’t realise what a huge impact it has on our lives, and you might not care. But you should. New treatments, drugs, surgical procedures and therapies are being developed in laboratories all around the country, many to the point of clinical trials to test their effectiveness and safety. Research into new technologies and alternative energies, which will save our bacon when we’ve greedily used up all the oil, needs funding. The roads, bridges, tunnels, runways and tracks that we travel on every day need expert engineering skills and constant maintenance to ensure that the country doesn’t grind to a bumpy, potholey halt. And at grassroots level, we need skilled, motivating teachers and lecturers to inspire and lead a new generation of scientists into these very professions that keep the country not only running, but leading the race.

As the Science is Vital website declares, “the UK has a proud history of scientific excellence, and produces over 10% of global scientific output with only 1% of the global population”. It was in the UK that steam engines were invented. Charles Darwin, the great evolutionist, was a young lad from Shropshire. British scientists developed the DNA fingerprinting technique used at crime scenes all over the world, and it was here that a large part of the human genome was sequenced, with all its potential of finding cures for cancers and genetic diseases and understanding more about this DNA stuff that makes up our very humanness. Normally, I’m not one who goes in for traditionalism, but I believe that the strong history of scientific leadership in the UK is one that should not be tossed aside. Above all, if cuts are made now, the research projects that are already underway and will have to be scrapped will be a great waste of resources and will severely limit scientific progress, especially progress into areas that will ultimately save the country both money and lives.

The private sector can and does invest heavily in science, technology and engineering, but the majority of research and development is done in public institutions – colleges and universities – where there is high academic skill and knowledge, but already below-average monetary resources compared to the US and other countries in Europe. To slash this funding even further would reduce the UK to a region of scientific standstill. This cannot happen.

If you are in London on the 9th October and fancy waving a placard in support of Science is Vital, please visit the Science is Vital website for more information, and march your feet outside the HM Treasury in support of this worthy campaign. If, like me, you can’t be there (why does London always have all the fun?!) then please sign the petition, write to your local MP and spread the word!


27 09 2010

Hello everyone, I’m back from a wonderful week away in Corfu and after my relaxing break I’m raring to go with new and exciting projects in store. In my continuing collaboration with  Kaus Media Group, I’ve got a couple of big websites to write copy for in the next few weeks, as well as more editorial work for Just In Time publishing, Artesian Spas and The Art of More. I’m also going to be busy as acting co-editor of BioMed Central’s staff magazine, The Word. Talking of BioMed Central, it was my turn again to moderate the BMC Blog in the week before I went on holiday, so here are a few of the interesting posts that have been added to the blog in the last couple of weeks.

I am away from my mail.

17 09 2010

Dear friends, family, colleagues, fans, passers-by and random weirdos. Just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to be away from my site and my email for a few days. In fact, I shall be in Corfu, right about…

Don’t worry, Lisa Martin Freelance will be back in business on the 27th September and I’m already plotting a new series of posts for all you Freelancer users out there. Until then, please don’t rob my house while I’m gone. Thanks.

Are white homosexual men still taking too many HIV risks?

9 09 2010

This controversial press release that I wrote for the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases looks at a study carried out in Belgium in which researchers used genetic profiling to link “clusters” of people infected with the same strain of HIV. Their results showed that the largest clusters of HIV infection, i.e. those people who had all been infected by the same strain of the virus, indicating relationships between the people within the cluster, were made up of young, white, homosexual men. In other words, it seems that of all the people with HIV, it is this group who are most likely to infect others.

This findng points worryingly at the idea that despite education and the wide availability of barrier contraception, gay men – in Belgium at least – are still taking too many risks when it comes to their sexual behaviour.

Read the press release at EurekAlert: Are white homosexual men still taking too many HIV risks?

Read the original article at BMC Infectious Diseases: Epidemiological study of phylogenetic transmission clusters in a local HIV-1 epidemic reveals distinct differences between subtype B and non-B infections

And some of the media sources that picked up the story:


7 09 2010

For all those based in the Warwickshire/West Midlands area, I’ve now added myself to the Alcester.co.uk directory here. You can find me under the Advertising & Marketing, Business Services and Internet Services sections. I found my netball team through this nice little local site for local people, so who knows what may come of it! 🙂

My name is Lisa and I’m a workaholic.

6 09 2010

I’ve been working really long hours lately, sometimes staying up until midnight or 1AM to finish off some copy for a client, and working at the weekends rather than taking a much needed break. It’s not big and it’s not clever to be stressed, but I’ve always been the same – I’m just not happy being un-busy and because it’s so flattering when a client comes back for more, or recommends me to their friends, I just can’t help but say yes to new projects.

There are 2 things to do when things get on top of you: 1) relax and 2) look at the positives.

For the last two weekends I’ve managed to not work at all (well, almost) and have really enjoyed some me-time, family-time and friend-time. Over the August Bank holiday I spent 5 glorious days camping in Cornwall with my boyfriend and 9 of our friends, and then although I worked on my birthday (last Wednesday, fyi – yes, I know your card’s in the post…), I made up for it this weekend with back-to back revelry including a delicious meal at Connolly’s Deli Tapas Bar near Stratford-on-Avon (highly recommended!), ludicrous amounts of dancing and jumping around at The Assembly Rooms in Leamington Spa and a day at the Moseley Folk Festival, courtesy of boyf winning tickets just for “liking” the Purity Brewery Co. on Facebook.

Looking at the positives, despite being overworked for the last few months, I do really enjoy the challenge of freelancing and, to blow my own trumpet just a little bit, I’m pretty good at what I do! To back up this claim, today I’m celebrating my 20th positive feedback comment on Freelancer.com. It may only be a small milestone, but the best part is that I got there through sheer hard work, honesty and professionalism, unlike many of the so-called providers on Freelancer. I’ve actually completed about 60 projects since I started freelancing, which considering that was only about 7 or 8 months ago, is pretty good even if I do say so myself!

Anyway, therapy session over. Back to work. 🙂

The Science Bit: Part 4 – Sunlight – Friend or Foe?

2 09 2010

At this time of year, when the sun is (hopefully) shining and we’re looking forward to our summer holidays, messages about sun safety abound. In this seasonal Science Bit, Lisa Martin examines new research that suggests some of us play a little too safe in the sun.

In Australia, the oft-quoted “Slip, slap, slop” slogan, reminds us to slip on a t-shirt, slap on a hat and slop on the sunscreen in an effort to educate the public about the dangers of too much exposure to ultra-violet light. It’s common knowledge that this is the single most frequent cause of skin cancer, and has a premature ageing effect as well, but less well known it seems, are the positive effects of exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D, actually a group of chemicals called secosteroids, is vital for our health.  Vitamin D is used to activate a hormone that performs a number of essential roles in the body, the most significant of which is to fix calcium in the bones, thus making them hard and strong.  A very small amount of vitamin D can be taken in through the diet, but in order to gain enough, we’d have to eat oily fish – even the skin – 3 times a day, every day! I don’t know many people who like sardines that much! Instead, the majority of our vitamin D is actually made as the result of a chemical reaction that uses sunlight.

A substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol, found naturally in the epidermis of the skin, absorbs UV light and is then broken down into vitamin D. If we do not obtain enough vitamin D, a deficiency can lead to several bone disorders, most notably, osteoporosis (brittle bones) and Ricketts (soft bones). People who spend all day indoors, those who work night shifts and those who cover their whole bodies for religious or cultural reasons, as well as children and the elderly, are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

A recent article in the Independent newspaper revealed that Cancer Research UK, the country’s leading cancer research and education body, is currently drafting a new position statement to reflect emerging research findings in this high profile area. Traditionally, the advice has always been to avoid going out in the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm when the intensity of UV radiation from sunlight is strongest, to cover up and to wear a high factor sunscreen. All of these things however, are a barrier to vitamin D production in the skin.

Is it estimated that more than half of the UK population produce insufficient levels of vitamin D. We’re not helped by the fact that the UK is located in the far north of the hemisphere, where the UV radiation in sunlight is weak, but according to health writer and vitamin D campaigner Oliver Gillie, inappropriate sun safety advice is also largely to blame for the state of the nation’s vitamin D levels.

Recent research has shown that vitamin D deficiency could be a major contributing factor to several serious diseases, including heart disease, arthritis and susceptibility to infections. Gillie even believes that multiple sclerosis and insulin-dependent diabetes could both be completely eradicated if breastfeeding mothers took vitamin D supplements or spent enough time in the sun.

Clearly, recommending that people go out in the midday sun without sunscreen is dangerous advice if not communicated properly. It is still more pertinent than ever to prevent burning and the risks of skin cancer and premature ageing should not be underestimated. It only takes a few minutes of unprotected exposure to sunlight in order to make enough vitamin D, so for most people sitting outside for 3 or 4 minutes a day before applying sunscreen will be more than enough to maintain your vitamin D levels and keep you healthy.

%d bloggers like this: