Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Friday, 26 April 2019

Slightly strange ICC Cricket emails from ExAccess Group

Seeing Action Fraud's tweet just now "Looking for tickets to the Men's Cricket World Cup? They can only be purchased directly from the official ticket website: Tickets for sale on other platforms may not be genuine and could leave you out of pocket" reminded me that I'd meant to post something about emails I received on the topic a few weeks ago.

I've no interest in cricket (or watching sport generally) and wouldn't use my work email address to sign up to anything like that so was a bit surprised to get this email on 8 March 2019.

"Subject: England vs Australia - ICC Cricket World Cup - Last Table

Good afternoon,

I have a note to keep you posted on any Cricket deals that come up and I was just wondering on your plans for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

We've just had a private table for 10 guests with full hospitality come in for the sold out England  vs Australia fixture taking place at Lords on Tuesday 25th June 2019.

We can offer you this private table for just £599 per person (+VAT).

Package includes:

  • A Q&A session with former international cricketers
  • Unique views of the players’ practice area
  • Breakfast, three-course lunch and afternoon tea
  • Complimentary drinks, including Champagne
  • Lower Mound Stand or Lower Grand Stand seats (Category 1)
  • Match day programme

Sample itinerary:
  • 9.00am Gates open, breakfast is served
  • 10.30am Play starts
  • 2.00pm Three-course lunch with selected fine wines and coffee
  • 2.45pm Play resumes
  • 6.15pm Scheduled close of play
  • 6.45pm Bar closes
  • 7.15pm Nursery Pavilion closes, guests depart

Demand for hospitality at the World Cup has been unprecedented, with only a limited number of packages remaining available, so if you have an interest please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,"

The email ended with a name, phone number and link to the Exclusive Access Group website which you'll need to copy, paste and delete the ^ to visit: www^.exaccess^group.^

I asked why I'd been emailed as I'd never signed up and didn't hear back. Then I received an identical email on 18 March 2019 from another person working there. At which point I played along, indicated my interest and - of course - someone got back to me. They didn't know how my work adress had been added to their database but eventually promised it would be removed, though it took several emails until 10 April 2019. I also tried the phone number (020 7157 9511) but no-one answered. Perhaps they are a genuine company but it was an odd series of exchanges and when buying sports tickets I'd be extra cautious about where you buy them from.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The Professional Standards Authority has re-accredited the Society of Homeopaths - CEASE therapy for autism

Reaccreditation document (PDF)

This one is a little surprising. A number of us have been expressing concern to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) about the response by the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) to those of their members who are offering "CEASE" therapy for autism.

The SoH keeps a register of its 997 members (at Sep 2018, all of whom are allowed to use the term RSHom in their marketing material) and the PSA accredits a variety of society registers, including SoH's. SoH therefore runs an Accredited Register (AR) of homeopaths, though accreditation isn't meant to imply that homeopathy works.

Last year the PSA re-accredited the SoH with some provisos that the society would need to satisfy some additional monitoring requirements about those of their members offering CEASE.

Yestesrday the PSA published the latest accreditation and I've not read it all yet but wanted to add something here about it as I've written several times on this topic.

The 21 page PDF from the PSA is here - Society of Homeopaths Annual Review 2018

What surprised me is that the PSA highlighted a problem with members of an AR offering any treatment (whether real or bogus) that claims to treat a protected characteristic such as autism. The SoH still has members offering this, with a range of claims.

Thanks to @UKHomeopathyReg for alerting me.

Also of interest and relevance is that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has referred five homeopaths (I don't know if any of them are SoH members, no reasons to assume that any are) to Trading Standards for further investigation. Last year the ASA sent an Enforcement Notice to 150 UK homeopaths who were making misleading claims to treat or cure autism. Homeopaths should not write CEASE out in full (it stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression) as the full name is an implied health claim, which is misleading.

Why so-called CEASE Therapy claims to 'cure' autism really have to stop - Guy Parker, CEO ASA

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Open air cinema screenings in London 2019

Last updated: 13 April 2019

Every year I get terribly excited at the prospect of open air movies in London and trawl the various listings, trying to capture them all. It's almost impossible to succeed because there are so many (hooray!). If you know of one I've not listed please let me know @JoBrodie on Twitter.

For the last couple of years I've made the list as a Google Spreadsheet as it's easy to sort and manipulate, though not very searchable on Google and other search engines so I do an additional blog post. I miss doing it on Storify but it closed.

The current list lives at Open air cinema screenings in London 2019 and will be updated throughout the year; the 'season' generally runs from late April to late September. There are free screenings too, some during the daytime (using screens unaffected by bright sunlight) and some screenings are part of other events.

Table of Contents
1. General advice
2. List of films so far
3. List of venues so far
4. Previously...

1. General advice - think about bringing the following
Tickets! Make sure you print in advance, or have the e-ticket visible on your device - and make sure you know where the venue actually is (!)
Something warm to wear (even if it's boiling hot in the day it can be surprisingly cool when sitting outside at 10pm)
Something to sit on (plastic bag as a minimum, blanket or cushion better) as you could be sitting on damp grass or hard stone / concrete or pavement
- Pop Up Screens let you bring camping chairs but many other venues don't (some venues already have seating) - check
• Something to avoid rain (umbrellas are generally a bit of a no-no, I'd recommend rain hat or one of those 'pac a mac' things)
• Something to eat and drink and something to eat it off / drink it out of (most films are in public spaces so you can bring your own picnic, check though as venues like Syon Park and Alexandra Palace might not, always check the website's FAQ) - don't forget a bottle opener if you need one
• A plastic bag to take away rubbish / and for sitting on grass
• Loo roll (public toilets being as they are...)

2. List of films so far
10 Things I Hate About You
50 First Dates
A Star is Born
An American Werewolf in London
Back to the Future
Beauty and the Beast
Bend It Like Beckham
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody (sing-along)
Bridget Jones' Diary
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Crazy Rich Asians
Cruel Intentions
Dirty Dancing
ET The Extra-Terrestrial
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Finding Dory
First Man
Forrest Gump
Game of Thrones (TV)
Grease (sing-along)
Green Book
Highway Rat
Jurassic Park
Legally Blonde
Leon: The Professional
Les Miserables
Lost in Translation
Love, Simon
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns (sing-along)
Mean Girls
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Moulin Rouge!
Notting Hill
Pretty Woman
Pulp Fiction
Raging Bull
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Romeo + Juliet
Shakespeare in Love
She's All That
Some Like It Hot
Spice World
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Stan & Ollie
The Big Lebowski
The Breakfast Club
The Devil Wears Prada
The Favourite
The Godfather
The Greatest Showman
The Gruffalo
The Incredibles 2
The Jungle Book
The Lego Movie 2
The Little Mermaid
The Lost Boys
The Meg
The Notebook
The Young Victoria
Top Gun
True Romance
Withnail and I
Carmen (opera)
The Marriage of Figaro (opera)
Romeo and Juliet (opera)
Angora Love (Laurel & Hardy)
You’re Darn Tootin’ (Laurel & Hardy)

3. List of venues so far
Alexandra Palace
Arena Square (Wembley Park)
Battersea Park  
Bussey Building (Peckham)
Chiswick House and Gardens
Crystal Palace Park
Danson House (Bexley)
Dulwich Park  
Fulham Palace  
General Gordon Square (Woolwich)
Hampton Court Palace
Horse Hospital Stables Market (Camden)
Kensington Palace  
Kenwood House (Hampstead)
Lyric Square (Hammersmith)
Merchant Square: The Lawn (Paddington)
Morden Hall Park  
Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich)
Opera Holland Park  
Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch)
RAF Museum London (Hendon)
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre  
Roof East (Stratford)
Station Square (Herne Hill)
The Scoop (London Bridge City)
Tooting Common  
Trafalgar Square  
Victoria Embankment Gardens (Embankment)
Victoria Tower Gardens (Westminster)
Wandsworth Park  
Westminster Abbey  
White City (Shepherd's Bush)
Wimbledon Park

4. Previously...   

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Google could warn people who are searching for "how to buy bitcoin" about scams like this email

I've just received another one of those 'warning' scam emails telling me that some malware has been added to my computer to monitor my activity and a video of me is to be sent to all my contacts unless I pay up. It's twaddle.

These emails all ask for payment in bitcoin and include a search suggestion to find out how to do that as presumably most people have no idea (I don't). I ran the suggested search for "how to buy bitcoin" and was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a warning from Google to let people know that this search is often related to scams.


Subject: Fwd: ❗ ATTENTION! You are screwed now Jo Brodie...

Do I have your attention?
You are really screwed now and you better read this... !

Your device was recently infected with a software I developed,
and now you have a problem you need to solve,
because it has gone too far..

You probably noticed your device is acting strangely lately.
That's because you downloaded a nasty software I created
while you were browsing the Ƿornographic website...

The software automatically:
1) Started your Ƈamera and begun recoding you,
uploading the footage to my server...
2) Recording your device screen
3) Copied all your contact lists from mail program, facebook
and your device chain
4) Started logging what you write

The problem is that it has cought you while you have been
ʍasturbating.. and I didn't plan to see that.. but I did.

I now have the Jo Brodie.mp4 file with you
ʍasturbating to this hardcore stuff... ugly!! :((

Let me get straight to the point.

If you do not do what I ask you now, I will upload this
ugly video file with you ... and the stuff you were watching
to several video upload sites and I will send the links
to all your friends, family members and associates.

I am sure they will not like what they will see and I am
also sure you don't want me to do that, right ?

So do you want me to uninstall the nasty software from
your device and stop recording you?
Do you want me to forget about this whole issue??

I think 2,000 USD is a fair price for my silence. I know you
can handle to send me this money - and it is enough for
me to get lost. So how do you send the cash?? Bitcoin.

I checked right now and 1 Bitcoin is worth 4,960 bucks.

Send exactly 0.409482 BTC to my Bitcoin wallet.

This is my Bitcoin wallet address:

If you do not know how to send cash using bitcoin,
type 'how to buy bitcoin' in google. There's plenty
of guides.

Ok.. so what if you decide not to pay ?
Well if you want to test my patience - go on.
I will destroy your social life, you can count on that.

You think that visiting Police is a good idea ? Nope.
I don't live in your country and I know how to stay
Anonymous. I will send the compromising video to
everyone you know!

Just send me the 2,000 USD and we forget about
the whole thing. I have family to feed too.

Send 2,000 USD worth of bitcoin to this address:

0.409482 BTC
to this address:


(copy and paste it - it's cAsE sensitive)

After you send the money to my wallet (exact
amount!) - I will see it and I will remove the video
and deactivate the rec software.

I give you 5 days only to send the transfer..

The time starts ticking after you open this letter
(I included a pixel in this message and I will
know when you read it).

Don't try to contact me - I am using an untracable
email to deliver this message to you.

I am waiting for your cash.
And don't forget the shame if you ignore me.