RIP Sir Bobby

“I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I’m sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that.

“In my 23 years working in England there is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. I mourn the passing of a great friend, a wonderful individual, a tremendous football man and somebody with passion and knowledge of the game that was unsurpassed.

“His character was hewn out of the coal face, developed by the Durham mining background that he came from. His parents instilled in him the discipline and standards which forged the character of a genuinely colossal human being. He added his own qualities to that which then he passed on to his sons.

“The strength and courage he showed over the past couple of years when battling against his fifth bout of cancer was indescribable. Always a smile, always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems.

“The world, not just the football world, will miss him. Let’s hope it won’t be long before another like him turns up because we could never get enough of them.” – Sir Alex Ferguson

>He may be as shady as the rest of them but at least he is calling people out. Wait for the silence over the issue and the inevitable confirming of the commissioners.

Bobby Robson is on the TV. In a wheelchair with glassy eyes and one of those vacant smiles people in nursing homes have. I am sad.

Watching pro-celebrity matches also makes me sad. Occasional flashes of brilliance from portly, balding ex-players frankly is not worth the ticket. Get on youtube and watch the old magic.

These boys simply havent got it anymore. It’s desparate to witness the loss of touch, heaving chests and plodding pace from guys I used all my pocket money on getting their stickers as a kid!

Things ain’t like they used to be!

Surely the Worst Liverpool Defence Since Traore

Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard admitted throwing three punches during a row over music in a club, but said only one connected, a court has heard.

Police interviews with the player after the row were read out to a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

The video footage is even worse. Everyone else has admitted guilt except Gerrard who must feared being banned by the FA after this.

UPDATE: I dont f’cking believe it.

All Called Toppy!


Something odd and yet, when informed its in Korea it doesn’t really seem that surprising!

South Korea’s customs service says it has deployed the “world’s first cloned sniffer dogs” to check for drugs at its main airport and border crossings.

Six puppies cloned from a Canadian-born sniffer dog in late 2007 have reported for duty after completing a 16-month training programme. The clones are all called Toppy, a combination of “tomorrow” and “puppy”.

The customs agency says clones help to lower crime-fighting costs as it is difficult to find good sniffer dogs. Only about 30% of naturally-born sniffer dogs make the grade, but South Korean scientists say that could rise to 90% using the cloning method.

The new recruits are part of a litter of seven puppies who were cloned from a “superb” drug-sniffing Canadian Labrador retriever called Chase in 2007, officials said. One dropped out of the training due to an injury.

“They are the world’s first cloned sniffer dogs deployed at work,” Park Jeong-Heon, a customs spokesman at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, told AFP news agency. “They showed better performances in detecting illegal drugs during the training than other naturally-born sniffer dogs that we have.”

The cloning work was conducted by a team of scientists at Seoul National University, who created the world’s first cloned dog – an Afghan Hound named Snuppy. The state-funded project cost about 300m won ($239,000; £146,000).

>Who Wants to Live Forever?

>A drug discovered in the soil of a South Pacific island may help to fight the ageing process, research suggests.

When US scientists treated old mice with rapamycin it extended their expected lifespan by up to 38%. The findings, published in the journal Nature, raise the prospect of being able to slow down the ageing process in older people.

However, a UK expert warned against using the drug to try to extend lifespan, as it can suppress immunity.

We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the ageing process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age.” according to Prof Randy Strong of the University of Texas.

Rapamycin was first discovered on Easter Island in the 1970s. It is already used to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients, and in stents implanted into patients to keep their coronary arteries open. It is also being tested as a possible treatment for cancer.

Researchers at three centres in Texas, Michigan and Maine gave the drug to mice at an age equivalent to 60 in humans. The mice were bred to mimic the genetic diversity and susceptibility to disease of humans as closely as possible. Rapamycin extended the animals’ expected lifespan by between 28% and 38%. The researchers estimated that in human terms this would be greater than the predicted increase in extra years of life, if both cancer and heart disease were prevented and cured.

Researcher Dr Arlan Richardson, of the Barshop Institute, said: “I’ve been in ageing research for 35 years and there have been many so-called ‘anti-ageing’ interventions over those years that were never successful. “I never thought we would find an anti-ageing pill for people in my lifetime; however, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that.”

Professor Randy Strong, of the University of Texas Health Science Center, said: “We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the ageing process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age.” 

Rapamycin appears to have a similar effect to restricting food intake, which has also been shown to boost longevity. In no way should anyone consider using this particular drug to try to extend their own lifespan, as rapamycin suppresses immunity.

It targets a protein in cells called mTOR, which controls many processes involved in metabolism and response to stress. The researchers had to find a way to re-formulate the drug so that it was stable enough to make it to the mice’s intestines before beginning to break down. The original aim was to begin feeding the mice at four months of age, but the delay caused by developing the new formulation meant that feeding did not start until the animals were 20 months old. The researchers thought the animals would be too old for the drug to have any effect – and were surprised when it did.

Professor Strong said: “This study has clearly identified a potential therapeutic target for the development of drugs aimed at preventing age-related diseases and extending healthy lifespan. “If rapamycin, or drugs like rapamycin, works as envisioned, the potential reduction in health cost will be enormous.”  

Dr Lynne Cox, an expert in ageing at the University of Oxford, described the study as “exciting”. She said: “It is especially interesting that the drug was effective even when given to older mice, as it would be much better to treat ageing in older people rather than using drugs long-term through life.” However, she added: “In no way should anyone consider using this particular drug to try to extend their own lifespan, as rapamycin suppresses immunity.”

“While the lab mice were protected from infection, that’s simply impossible in the human population. What the study does is to highlight an important molecular pathway that new, more specific drugs might be designed to work on. Whether it’s a sensible thing to try to increase lifespan this way is another matter; perhaps increasing health span rather than overall lifespan might be a better goal.”

Happy Alone

Had an awesome time over the past few weeks with Kaz and Gab and all the others we pulled along with us. The festival and times in Gdansk, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden were top class but I am happy to be alone for a few days, eyes wide open, looking for sights, sounds, smells and fun. Its great to be striding down the street again, happy alone.