Wednesday, 13 September 2017

IBM Crowdsourcing Study on Human Microbiome

Can the bacteria that resides inside us help tackle diseases that run rampant with our immune system? This is a question IBM hopes to answer; with help from a variety of academic institutes including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T), Harvard, and the University of California. The multinational technology giant has launched "The Microbiome Immunity Project" an initiative that will feature these institutions collaborating with IBMs largest crowdsourcing platform the "World Community Grid" to create a map of the human microbiome. The effects of bugs and bacteria inside the body on human health is still a mystery one which this project could potentially uncover and discover life changing treatments and cures.

The human microbiome is a collection (or community) of bacteria that live in the intestines influencing everything from the workings of our metabolism and immune system to moods and behaviour. Many studies are carried on the microbiome including the very possibility that certain strains of bacteria are in fact endangered. According to a study carried out by Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University, these bacteria are disappearing fast, with western lifestyle, namely our diet of processed and refined foods being the main cause. "the Microbiome Immunity Project", IBM's crowdsourced initiative seeks to better understand how the microbiome works and its affect on the human autoimmune system.

Along with with top academic institutions, IBM is tapping the knowledge of its "World Community Volunteer Grid" one of the world's largest collaborative crowdsourced platforms. It currently accepts contributions from over 740,000 individuals, and 460 organisation around the world all dedicated to help in the search for scientific advancement. To date it has supported over 29 ground breaking projects. The grid harnesses such high volumes of the online crowd's vast knowledge it has proven itself to be as powerful as some of the world's fastest supercomputers. 

The microbiome project will attempt to map over 3 million bacterial genes found in the human gut in the hopes of better understand their affect on diseases such as type 1 diabetes and crohn's & ulcerative colitis and to find a way for these bacteria to treat these increasing diagnosed illnesses. The project is inviting you to participate; simply download this secure software program  which will allow IBM to tap your machine and run virtual experiments on behalf of the scientists. The data gathered from these experiments will becollated and analyzed by the project’s team, and be made publicly available to other scientists with the aim of better enabling the capacity to treat autoimmune diseases.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

[Interview] Rob Hill - The Bad Movie Bible

Let's face it; we all love bad movies in some shape form or fashion. It's okay to admit it because we have all watched one or two movies where we knew the plot wasn't great, the quality just a touch shabby, and the acting at times as dire as the dialogue. Yet in their "badness" there is something inherently enjoyable otherwise the phrase "so bad it's good" simply wouldn't exist. So in the vain of Kim Newman's encyclopedic horror tribute "Nightmare Movies" and Mike Fury's explosive examination of the the action genre "Life in Action", author Rob Hill has brought together some of your favourite titles (and his) in the epic "Bad Movie Bible". If you love reading insightful and fun-filled books on the subject of films then this is definitely the one and you can read my review of it here.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Fighting Spirit Film Festival Returns

After a successful kick-ass debut last year the "Fighting Spirit Film Festival" returns for another celebration of the best martial arts has to offer. This year the event will be held on 16th September at the Boleyn Cinema in East London for which the organisers are using crowdfunding to ensure a fun filled action packed festival. 

Launched in September 2016 the Fighting Spirit Film Festival promised to showcase the best talent in martial arts performance and film making. Held at Cineworld multiplex @ The O2 the festival featured 12 screenings of short action films and documentaries showcasing some of martial arts' finest talents in front of and behind the camera. Throughout the day the festival also featured live performances and demonstrations from top clubs and dojos around the country. The festival also screened three classic and contemporary feature length martial arts films for all ages; the Jackie Chan epic "Drunken Master", "Kung-Fu Panda 3", and" Ip Man 3". 

This year, the festival once again is working in partnership with marketing and management agency Fighters Inc. and publication, for an even bigger event featuring 22 short films this time, as well as more live martial arts performances and demonstrations. The festival will also include three feature films two of which have been announced and centre on the rise of the underdog. First up, and in tribute to the late John G Avildsen, there will be a screening of the 1984 classic "Karate Kid" starring Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Also screening will the Shaw Brothers classic which is the ultimate underdog story that features a multitude of intense training scene - Lau Kar-Leung's "36th Chamber of Shaolin" starring Gordon Liu. 

The festival certainly promises to be a larger event and to make it happen the organisers are running a crowdfunding campaign for £1,500 through Indigogo. The sum will cover the costs such as venue hire, film fees and promotional materials. In return for their pledges, supporters will receive a variety of rewards including short film compendiums, free day passes, film location visits and a chance to meet the film makers, even a chance to sit on the judging panel as one of the events patrons. To date the campaign has raised around 30% of funds with fifteen days left to reach their target.

Fighting Spirit might seem like a low key event but the brains behind it have big goals and the means to make this more than just a film festival but an event for martial arts communities the world over. In creating this global community Fighting Spirit looks to become THE event to feature in the martial arts calendar. For more information and to make a donation click here to visit the campaign's Indigogo funding page.
Through martial arts cinema we aim to entertain and inspire people, promote martial arts culture, and support those who have chosen it as a career. Soo Cole, Director and Co-Founder Fighting Spirit Film Festival

Saturday, 5 August 2017

[Interview] Harry Markos - Putting the Comic in Comic Con

July is the time of year nerdists the country (and even the world) over converge to the city of London for Showmasters’ annual extravaganza, London Film and Comic Con. From Friday to Sunday the Olympia Exhibition Centre is taken over to make way for floods of merchandise dealers, props, stages, photo booths and signing areas whereby eager fans can collect autographs of their icons of yesteryear and today. It was whilst strolling along the event’s “Comic Zone" that I met the humble brains behind a small publisher that is a giant in the field of graphic novels in the UK.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

[Review] - The Bad Movie Bible

If you're looking for the definitive guide to some of the best bad movies of the last 50 years look no further than Rob Hill's "The Bad Movie Bible" (BMB). We've all heard the expression "so bad it's good" well in his book Hill takes a more detailed look at the moniker to challenge the notion of what makes a good movie bad which makes it good.Rob Hill knows a thing or two about this having worked over 15 years in post production on films such as "28 Days Later" and "Jupiter Ascending. Bringing his experience along with knowledge and passion for film into the fore Hill looks at this phenomenon  with an in depth analysis that is as a tongue in cheek as it is insightful.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Some Advice on Social Media Success

In this day of modern technology social media has become a vital tool for businesses to promote projects, build customer bases and raise brand awareness. Yet with so much learning materials, resources, and individuals like myself on hand as guides to connecting through the world wide web, many businesses and organisations seem still unsure how to use social media effectively. From some extensive reading and conversations with fellow professionals in my local coffee shop the mistakes made are quite commonplace. So if you want to reap the benefits of Twitter, Facebook or any of the other social media platforms here are some tips that will help your business.