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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 2020

The Pixsy Experience

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As a PRO member of flickr (something I pay for) I get a complimentary subscription to Pixsy a service which matches pictures online. It is used to track copyright violations. Some people copyright everything they post online. Other use a Creative Commons license which attempts to restrict some of the uses pictures are put to.

At one time I was posting my pictures directly to this blog – now I try to post only links to my flickr photostream – as everything that is on this blog is covered by my copyright notice. But of course I also use plenty of illustrations from other people. I regret that I was not always as careful as I should have been over identifying the source of the images I used. So in using Pixsy I have discovered not just those pictures that others have used, but also pictures that I should have labelled.

In an attempt to speed up the effectiveness of my use of Pixsy I have now removed this blog as a match in the hopes of removing a lot of duplicates. It would also be nice if I could have got rid of a lot of old matches when I was not bothering dealing with on Pixsy. Unfortunately that still leaves me with a 2,363 matches – or which 2,266 “unseen” that need to marked ignore, approved use or not my image or followed up – send takedown or submit case.

Pixsy also identifies domains that are “not viable for commercial resolution” or those outside jurisdictions that they support . You can send them a takedown notice – which in my experience has been completely futile – although the number of those you can send through Pixsy is also limited. It is also pointless pursuing sites which are simply hotlinking back to another site which hosts the image. In that case you have to go after the not site but the host – which again usually means a takedown – but I have had some success with removing my images from such sites. Not so much in the way of reward for use of course. What is annoying is that it too often takes me time to fill in the necessary details, file a claim and then have it rejected because is in the wrong jurisdiction. It would be far better if their software detected that and did not waste so much of my time.

In fact so far in the course of three years, I have actually been paid twice. Not enormous sums, but worth some effort. Since I only get 1,000 images monitored on my free plan and on flickr alone I have 18,439 images I do want to get rid of the useless ones even if that does take a lot of time. Comparing what I would have to pay every month to upgrade with how much I have been paid in the last three years, I find it hard to justify an upgrade.

There are also many images on my photostream that are very similar to those of others. After most of the places I have visited are now highly accessible and – before COVID19 – everybody now travels and carries a camera or smartphone and often both. So lots of people post pictures that are remarkably similar. Good luck if you can actually demonstrate that your photo of the front elevation of Sacre Coeur is unique – and anyway France is one of those jurisdictions where Pixsy has given up altogether.

But the Good News there are sites which do indeed use my images but comply with the strictures of the Creative Commons license and get the Approved sticker!

POSTSCRIPT

I have also come across sites that go to great lengths to make sure they do not have to respond to DCMA takedown notices. Since these are commercial operations, that go to great efforts to avoid their responsibilities to people whose work they exploit, you have to wonder how they treat their customers. I would not want to spend my money on the services or products of those who have demonstrated such determination to avoid the consequences of their actions.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 23, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Posted in photography

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Promising new approach

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Elsewhere the orange idiot is pushing drugs that have not been proven safe or effective. The following press release arrived in my in box this morning, and may not be noticed by our mainstream media because they are busy cutting staff pay – or even shutting down altogether. The idea that the government – or their readers – should now ride to their rescue seems really strange to me since the reason they have nothing to fall back on is that they have been bleeding the companies dry. I have no sympathy whatever for these vultures.

Queen’s University leading cell therapy clinical trial to help improve outcomes in COVID-19 patients

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast are leading a UK-wide clinical trial, offering an innovative cell therapy treatment for COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure.

This clinical trial, led by Professor Danny McAuley and Professor Cecilia O’Kane, both researchers from the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s, is investigating the use of allogenic Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in patients with a complication known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19.

In the most critically unwell patients with COVID-19, many develop a complication known as ARDS. In ARDS the lungs become inflamed and leaky so they fill with fluid. This causes respiratory failure and patients may require admission to intensive care and a ventilator machine to support their breathing.

A recent statement from the four UK Chief Medical Officers outlined the importance of clinical trials amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Professor Cecilia O’Kane said: “It is only through clinical trials we will be able to determine if new treatments are effective and safe in critically ill patients.”

The trial involves the use of MSCs, a type of cell derived from human tissue such as bone marrow or umbilical cord (which is otherwise discarded after the baby is born), to treat the injury to the lung caused by COVID 19. MSCs are a novel treatment that have been shown in experimental models to reduce inflammation, fight infection and improve the repair of injured tissue.

Patients in this trial, which is known as REALIST COVID 19, will be treated with a purified population of MSCs derived from umbilical cord tissue called ORBCEL-C. The ORBCEL-C therapy has been developed by scientists at Orbsen Therapeutics in Galway, Ireland. The ORBCEL-C therapeutic is manufactured under licence by the UK NHS Blood and Transplant Service for the REALIST COVID-19 trial.

The trial is being introduced as part of an existing programme of research investigating the use of MSCs in patients with ARDS. The first patient has now been recruited with plans to recruit at least 60 patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at multiple sites across the UK including Belfast, Birmingham and London.

Professor Ian Young, Clinical Professor at the Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Director of HSC R&D and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health, said: “The Health and Social Care Research & Development Division has been working with researchers across HSC to address the global problem of Coronavirus.  We have contributed £230K for this vital research which will provide important evidence regarding a potential new treatment for respiratory failure, a leading cause of mortality in COVID-19.  We will continue to support health research and encourage people to participate in research trials and other studies so patients can get the best possible treatment to help tackle the spread of COVID-19.”

The trial has been identified by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as a national urgent public health study. It is one of a number of COVID-19 studies that have been given urgent public health research status by the Chief Medical Officer/ Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.  The study is funded by the Health and Social Care Research & Development Division and the Wellcome Trust, sponsored by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and supported by the NI Clinical Trials Unit, the NIHR Clinical Research Network and the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network.

Orbsen CSO Steve Elliman noted: “While there are over 100 vaccines and therapies in development targeting the SARS-CoV-2 infection – at present there are no disease modifying therapies approved for ARDS.  We’re delighted the REALIST trial was approved and listed by NIHR as an Urgent Public Health Research Study so we can continue assess the safety of the ORBCEL-C therapy in patients with ARDS.”

Sir Professor Alimuddin Zumla of University College London, a global coronavirus and infectious diseases expert said: “This is an exciting and important trial which targets rectifying the underlying causes of lung damage and has great potential of saving many lives from COVID-19. The team should be congratulated for their leadership of host-directed therapies, a concept which has not yet been explored to its full potential.”

Professor Danny McAuley is also part of an international network of researchers who are taking forward trials of umbilical cord-derived Mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of COVID-19: UK: (UCL- Sir Professor Azumla); Portugal (Champualimud Foundation – Professor Markus Maurer; Italy (INMI-Professor Giuseppe Ippolito) and China (Fifth Medical Center- Professor Fu-Sheng Wang.)

-Ends-

  1. Media inquiries to comms.officer@qub.ac.uk  
  2. About NIHR: Please visit  https://www.nihr.ac.uk/covid-19/ to learn about other studies that have been given urgent public health status and the single, national prioritisation process that has been established to prevent duplication of effort and to ensure that the resources and capacity of the health and care system to support COVID-19 research are not exceeded.
  3. About Wellcome: Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation. For more information please  visit: http://wellcome.ac.uk/
  4. For further information about HSC Research & Development Division work, please visit: www.research.hscni.net

Written by Stephen Rees

April 7, 2020 at 10:00 am

Posted in good news, Pandemic

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