Showing posts from 2013

Conference App to support the Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference 2014


'The drugs don't work': And neither do sports suppliments

A paper published last year in the BMJ carefully considered the evidence underpinning sports performance products. It concluded:  'The current evidence is not of sufficient quality to inform the public about the benefits and harms of sports products. There is a need to improve the quality and reporting of research, a move towards using systematic review evidence to inform decisions.' Despite this, health and fitness magazines continue to  proclaim that I and others should embrace supplementation. These adverts are particularly prevalent for whey protein and creatine.* Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that helps supply energy to all cells in the body. Of course, oxygen is also a naturally occurring substance that helps supply energy to all cells in the body, but it doesn't mean I carry an oxygen tank while running. Not yet anyway. There remain colossal problems behind research involving the use and effectiveness of creatine and other supplements. Companies suc

Tracking CPU temperature over time

Temperature Gauge is a neat little app that logs the temperature from every sensor in any Mac. From around 2007, Apple has continued to include a bewildering number of these sensors, but I'm just going to look at a single example that can be found on any computer - The CPU . Experiment 1: iMac (2013) vs Macbook Pro (2010) Taking an iMac from 2013 (quad-core Intel Core i5) and a 13 inch Macbook Pro from 2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo), I compared their temperatures from switch on. After the operating system was loaded, each computer played a standard definition video lasting 5 minutes. To keep things as controlled as possible, both computers were running the same version of Mac OS X and were tested at the same time in the same room to keep the ambient temperature constant. The fans in each machine were kept at a fixed rate using smcFanControl . As expected, the iMac consistently runs at a reduced temperature because it contains a more efficient processor and provides more volume

How predictable is English Football? Using linear regression to forecast future league positions

Sport produces a lot of data that pundits generally ignore. Somehow, they manage to spend hours debating how a season of football was hampered or improved by the actions of a few individuals. Usually referees. My gut feeling has always been that success for any English Premier League football team is highly dependant on financial management. This varies considerably between clubs. Curiosity got the better of me on this one. In statistics, linear regression is an approach to modelling the relationship between a scalar dependent variable y and one or more explanatory variables denoted X. It was the first type of regression to be studied seriously and the first to be used extensively in practical applications. In this instance, my dependant variable is league points awarded this season, and my predictors are turnover, profit/loss before tax, net debt, interest owed on any debt and the club's wage bill. These predictors were all taken from the previous season.* Multiple r

A Wordle of my PhD thesis


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Going beyond the 'nudge': Could supermarkets do more to encourage a balanced diet?

It is well acknowledged that what we eat is important and UK Governments have spent a small fortune on campaigns  that encourage people to think carefully about what they eat. These are typically known as nudge strategies. As the name suggests, they attempt to 'nudge' the public into changing their behaviour. Whether this actually works remains open to debate . For example, most people who smoke know it is bad for their health, but reminding them of that fact will not always have the desired effect on their behaviour. On the other hand, the public smoking ban has been very  effective  in helping people kick the habit because it removes temptation and encourages people to adopt effective coping strategies. I guess that could be described as a bit more than a nudge! Anyway, this got me thinking about diet as I was walking around the supermarket. Glancing at the shelves, it struck me that temptation is everywhere. Every aisle is packed with products that contain too much fat, s

The evolution of mobile phone design

*Updated 6/01/2014 [12th mobile] Hard to believe that I am now on my 11th mobile phone. Trying to convince my parents that I ' really needed ' a mobile phone at 13 years of age was a challenge in 1999. I also remember my mum being mortified as she contemplated the idea of me walking down the street ' talking to someone on the phone like a right poser'.  Anyway, after a quick Google image search, I have compiled my own mobile phone timeline. Enjoy.

DSM 'Field Study' Results

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM ) published by the American Psychiatric Association is tasked with providing a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders . In theory, this has many benefits for those working across different disciplines. Version 5 has taken a decade to compile from 1,500 experts in psychiatry, psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, paediatrics, neurology and other related fields from 39 countries. Results from the DSM 'field trials' have now been published [1].  In several studies, the reliability of the new diagnostic criteria for different psychiatric disorders was measured. Two different psychiatrists assessed each patient, and the agreement between their diagnoses was calculated using the kappa statistic , where 0 indicates no correlation at all and 1 is perfect. Unfortunately, the reliabilities of most DSM-V disorders were not very good. This included s

Favourite PowerPoint Quotes

' I hate the way people use side presentations instead of thinking ' ' People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint ' Steve Jobs ' PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play - very loud, very slow, and very simple. ' Edward Tufte 'UsingPowerPoint is like having a loaded AK-47 on the table: You can do very bad things with it.' Peter Norvig ' The genius of it is that it was designed for any idiot to use. I learned it in a few hours '  David Byrne ' Trust yourself to be a bridge between simple content and complex ideas. ' Mac Logan