August Wrap Up

August has been a busy month.

I wrote about obesity and the fact that diet and laziness is more to blame than your genes.

My monthly Postdoc Problem involved the difficulties of trying to publish.

But here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve read this month which I didn’t have time to write about.

Breast Cancer
A genetic test can be used to identify whether or not breast cancer sufferers need to undergo chemotherapy. “[N]early half of women with early-stage breast cancer who would traditionally receive chemo can avoid it, with little risk of the cancer coming back or spreading in the next five years.”
For those who do have to take chemotherapy, a small study suggested that having a positive outlook can improve side effects. “Women taking hormonal therapies as part of their breast cancer treatment experienced twice as many side effects if they held negative expectations, compared to women who believed the side effects would not be as bad.”

In-Vitro Fertilisation
A new method called in-vitro maturation may help improve IVF, removing the drugs necessary for effective fertilisation. “IVM is likely the future of reproductive medicine, avoiding the need for costly drugs and any detrimental effect of those drugs on the mother or offspring.”

That’s right!  I could have written a whole bunch more about obesity.
A study coming out of Texas A&M University Health Science Center has suggested that standing desks should be present in schools, potentially lowering obesity in children. “[S]tudents who had the standing desks for two years averaged a three percent drop in BMI while those in sitting desks showed the two percent increase typically associated with getting older. Even kids who spent just a year with the desks were found to have a noticeable drop in BMI.”
It’s important to keep a healthy weight, as it can have life long effects. It turns out being fat in middle-age can affect your brain a decade later! Overweight people have less white matter, which is important for efficient signalling. “The volume of white matter in the brains of overweight people at 50 were similar to that seen in the brains of lean people at 60.” Although, the study found no differences in cognitive ability, white matter is affected in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Surgery is a severe treatment for obesity. A very recent abstract from New Zealand looked at gastric bypass vs a sleeve gastrectomy, with regards to weight loss, diabetes remission and interestingly gut microbiota. The microbiome is currently a sexy beast, and there are plenty of studies looking at the effects of diet on the bacteria which live in your gut, as well as the effects that the bacteria can have on your body. Murphy et al. found that there is a greater difference in the microbiome after a gastric bypass. This coincided with an increase in diabetes remission, potentially because the bacteria can produce “metabolically favourable” short-chain fatty acids.

Diabetes increased mortality risk for cardiovascular death; cancer death; and noncardiovascular noncancer death” Sad face doesn’t even really cover it. A huge study looking at 55,292 people showed that diabetes is directly correlated with a higher rate of mortality.
However, it’s probably not because of a fatty pancreas. “Fatty pancreas was not independently associated with future [Type 2 Diabetes] T2DM.”

So when are you dead? Seeing as you can keep people alive by manually keeping their heart beating, and people survive after being “brain-dead” so who knows really? I don’t know, but there was a recent article in New Scientist that showed that “hundreds” of gene are switched on after death. Normally, DNA breaks down, giving “chaotic” unpredictable results. However, “548 zebrafish genes and 515 mouse genes saw one or more peaks of activity after death;” up to 96 hours after death. Interestingly, this suggests a hugely accurate way of determining the time of death.

Postdoc Problems
Turns out short-term “temporary” contracts aren’t conducive to a happy life. “PhD graduates are not exempt from the negative influences of temporary employment” and that a permanent contract increases job satisfaction. No wonder people are turning away from an academic career. Good news for me hey?..

I have to keep going, as there are always people on my track. I have to publish my present work as rapidly as possible in order to keep in the race

The other day I received an email from EMBO Molecular Medicine informing me that they have received a manuscript with me as an author. This paper is one I’ve snuck on from my work in San Diego. So, a few days later, when I saw a talk from an EMBO chief editor I thought that’d be too good to pass up. It was titled ‘Transparent Publishing & Open Science: how to share reproducible data’ but the part I was most interested in is the editorial process.

If you’ve never had the joy(?..) of submitting a paper, here’s how it is supposed to go.

  1. Discover something.
  2. Write a manuscript explaining what you’ve discovered.
  3. Edit the manuscript in-house, with all authors contributing to a final draft. (The authors are basically anyone who has contributed to the work in the manuscript, with the first author being the person who has contributed the most. Other authors are listed to the amount of contribution they have made, with the supervisor/senior member is usually the last author. For example, the paper “Why won’t Arsenal spend any money on players?” would be authored by Wenger, A., Usmanov, A., Moshiri, F and Kroenke S.)
  4. Submit to a journal.
  5. An editor at the journal assesses the merits of the manuscript and if it’s good enough, they then send the manuscript to 2 or 3 referees (also called reviewers).
  6. These referees critique your work, comparing it to previously published work, checking your conclusions are valid and providing feedback and improvements to the paper.
  7. Based on the referees’ comments the editor decided to; accept your manuscript as it is, tentatively accept it on the basis that you make a few changes, suggest a whole bunch of changes and reserve the right to reject it later, or outright reject it.

Here’s how it really goes.

  1. Set out to change the world.
  2. Spend far too long trying to discover something huge.
  3. Get towards the end of your contract and panic about what to publish.
  4. Work long, stressful hours. *
  5. Focus on getting the necessary results to finish your paper.
  6. Scrabble together a manuscript full of hyperbole.
  7. Have said manuscript demolished by your supervisor. *
  8. Re-write manuscript.
  9. Repeat 6 and 7
  10. Have manuscript destroyed by co-authors. *
  11. Repeat 6 and 9
  12. Argue about positioning of authors.
  13. Include any and all collaborators to keep them happy.
  14. Include idiots who may have attempted to contribute at some point.
  15. Ensure all authors have the chance to look through the manuscript, but ignore any changes they suggest.
  16. Submit to a high impact journal.
  17. Get rejected. *
  18. Submit to a journal with a lower impact
  19. Get rejected.
  20. Repeat 17 as necessary, until your manuscript is sent to reviewers.
  21. Get rejected. *
  22. Back to 17.
  23. Receive corrections from referees, outlining complicated experiments which take a lot of money and time to carry out. Most of these will be unnecessary additional experiments. *
  24. Attempt corrections, update manuscript and resubmit.
  25. Get rejected. *
  26. Re-write paper fully to include corrections, and make it seem like these were always part of the plan and not hurriedly added on after referees’ comments.
  27. Submit to terrible journal with a low impact.
  28. Receive corrections from referees, and get manuscript tentatively accepted.
  29. Carry out additional experiments, and make changes to the manuscript.
  30. Eventually get accepted. *
  31. Pay huge fees to publish your work.

* If necessary “cry” can be inserted here.

Also this process may well take longer than I have suggested here. I’ve not gone into how awful referees or editors can be. (Although I’ve talked about referees before.)

However, that’s not what the EMBO journals are all about. They have a high rejection rate at first, which means that they can put a lot of effort into the papers which they do like. The first questions they ask are “Is it publishable?” and “what is the minimum changes to make it publishable?”

Afterwards, they carry out “cross referee commenting”, which means that the referees can see what other reviewers have written. They can comment on each other’s comments, and communicate with each other. This means that the reviewers have a dialogue with each other and can give you more constructive feedback.

Furthermore, they keep track of the comments, and these can be accessed after a paper has been published. Officially this is great as it means you can get up to 4 expert reviews on each paper. Not only is this good because of the expertness, but because you get an insight into the what referees look at, and the types of comments successful manuscripts get. This is crucial to early-career scientists as they are unlikely to see many of them up close and personal. It encourages you to take a more attentive look at your own work to see if you can pass muster.

And unofficially it’s great because it means referee’s are held accountable for any mean things they say. You probably won’t call someone a “dick weasel” if it’s going to be stuck on the internet forever.

Also, they encourage an open dialogue between reviewers and the researchers. This even comes down to allowing the authors to respond to referees’ comments and defend their paper, before an editor makes their decision.

Ah, the paper’s been rejected… erm ignore all of that nice stuff I wrote above

Today’s quote is from Ernest Rutherford.

Week Two – 85 Points

Well that’s more like it! 85 points!

The average was 57, and I’ve shot up my leagues. I’m even second in one! Admittedly it’s a league mostly made up of Americans so their grasp may not be the highest; although my mate Aniket is consistently good at fantasy football and now I’m ahead of him. Potentially by alphabetical order, but still.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status Points
David de Gea 5.5 46.2 8.40 6
John Stones 6.5 36 7.20 1
Hector Bellerin 6.5 28.5 4.38 9
Wes Morgan 5.0 24.9 4.98 6
Kyle Walker 5.5 21.4 3.89 7
Riyad Mahrez 9.5 2.92 3.07 3
Philippe Coutinho 8.1 27.5 3.40 2
N’Golo Kante 5.0 25.1 5.02 2
Alvaro Negredo 6.6 16.8 2.55 10
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.5 45.2 3.93 13
Sergio Aguero 13.0 47.1 3.62 26
Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 15.9 3.98
Eric Dier 5.5 14.7 2.67
Darren Fletcher 4.5 15 3.33
Juan Carlos Paredas 4.0 17 4.25


And I could have got more if I’d had Jakupovic in my team! Although that goes against the algorithm, so never mind.

So now for some changes.

Or not. Midweek updates suggest that I already have the most popular players. Using my wildcard last week may have been a stroke of genius, if I don’t mind me saying so…

Interestingly, we now have out first 50% players. I didn’t get a chance to see which was first, but both Ibrahimovic and Aguero are now chosen by 51.1% and 50.2% of teams respectively. Is it fair to say they are now in “most” teams. I mean they are in more teams than they aren’t so most yeah?

I don’t know what Alderweireld has done to upset you, but he is getting chosen in consistently less teams week after week. And for some reason James Collins has surged up the rankings!

For some reason Coutinho has gone up in value again, despite a fairly poor showing this week. He still has a FFSS of 4.13 though, making him second behind Kante. Eden Hazard is sneaking up on the top 5, but his price is making him probably unattainable. Etienne Capoue is also storming up. It’s as if people have forgotten his 1 in 57 ratio before this season started. Maybe he’s pulling an Aaron Ramsey, but I personally can’t see it.

Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Andy Carroll and Marcus Rashford including the first week, have decreased in value, showing how high expectation on English players perhaps? Probably not… It’s also interesting to see Andre Gray is now in 11.2% of teams after his homophobic tweets came to light. Despite decreasing in value Cristhian Stuani is now in the top 30 forwards. I assume after his performance last week, which is a bit generous considering Sunderland are woeful.

A Saturday morning check shows that Luke Shaw has leapt above Paredas to become the joint 3rd most popular defender. And Capoue is not ahead of Dier. Crucially the money saved for changing Dier to Capoue frees up enough for me to stick Shaw in ahead of Paredas. I bloody love my system. In other news Zlatan is now captain, being in 55.7% of teams!

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status
David de Gea 5.5 46.7 8.49
John Stones 5.0 35.1 7.02
Hector Bellerin 6.5 27.5 4.23
Wes Morgan 5.0 23.5 4.70
Kyle Walker 5.6 24.0 4.29
Luke Shaw 5.6 23.7 4.23
Philippe Coutinho 8.2 31.6 3.85
Riyad Mahrez 9.5 27 2.84
Alvaro Negredo 6.7 25.6 3.82
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.7 55.7 4.76
Sergio Aguero 13.1 53.1 4.05


Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 18.8 4.70
Etienne Capoue 4.6 13.9 3.02
Darren Fletcher 4.5 13.6 3.02
N’Golo Kante 5.0 22.9 4.58

Week 1 – 32 Points

So, that wasn’t very good was it? I am in 6 leagues, and a haul of 32 points makes me comfortably in the bottom quarter of every one.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status Points
David de Gea 5.5 42.7 7.76 4
Hector Bellerin 6.5 31.2 4.86 0
Wes Morgan 5.0 25.4 4.86 1
Toby Alderweireld 6.5 25.7 4.05 2
John Stones 5.0 29.9 4.80 2
Juan Carlos Paredas 4.0 19.0 4.78
N’golo Kante 5.0 25.5 5.10 1
Dimitri Payet 9.5 26.2 3.14 1
Eric Dier 5.5 16.5 3.00 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.5 39.4 3.43 9
Sergio Aguero 13.0 40.8 3.14 9


Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 13.6 3.40
Shane Long 6.5 15.1 2.32 2
Darren Fletcher 4.5 15.7 3.49
Danny Drinkwater 5.5 10.4 1.89


Let’s make some changes shall we. You get one free change a week, and are charged four points for each extra change. You can use one wildcard to make unlimited changes, so that may happen. My first instinct is to change everyone for the first couple of weeks as the league settles down, and then try and make my first 11 the best I can possibly be, limiting the amount of changes I’d need to make to the rest of my squad. I’ve also decided to only pick from the top 30 players in each position, as it was a nightmare going through everyone.

How is Caballero only chosen by 0.5% of teams?! Is it because Man City’s defence is occasionally a massive pile of ridiculousness? Not that is really relevant as de Gea and Jakupovic have both increased their FFSS. Obviously Lloris’ and Hart’s have gone done.

My defence and midfield all did fairly poorly this week, so may need a bit of a shuffle. Kyle Walker now has a greater FFSS than Alderweireld. Mahrez is now the most chosen midfielder, and his FFSS has increased a whole chunk, taking him above Payet. But the big winner, and one of the few players to increase in value after only one week, is Philippe Coutinho. He is now chosen in 27.5% of teams, up from a lowly 13% in week. Not surprising really. He was very good against us. Somewhat annoyingly, if he didn’t increase in value a quick swap for Drinkwater would have kept me happy, but that extra £100,000 takes me over £100 million. So getting rid of Alderweireld, and freeing up that million quid is probably a good shout.

My main issue is whether or not to swap Payet for Mahrez. I can’t afford the top 5 midfield of Kante, Coutinho, Fletcher, Mahrez and Payet, but I can afford four of them with 6th choice Dier making up my midfield. In terms of keeping it consistent I think I’ll have to stick Mahrez in, even though I hope Leicester bottle it against us this weekend. West Ham have Bournemouth, so I feel like keeping Payet in will be preferable.

But you can’t argue with statistics. Even if you’ve made up a rather inane system yourself.

Now for forwards; Alvaro Negredo has gone up in value as you’d expect, and has been chosen in 16.8% of teams rather than the 10.5% who put faith in him last week. I guess it can’t be hurt by the fact that Middlesborough are playing Sunderland. North-East derby aside, Sunderland are terrible. Shane Long has dropped down to 5th on the FFSS, so I guess I should replace him with Negredo.

Looks like I’ll be playing my Wildcard after one week.

A couple of weird think I’ve noticed is that only Joe Hart has decreased in value for goalkeepers, despite Cech conceding four. After last week’s performance Mané’s FFSS increased from 1.6 to 1.86 midweek, before dropping down to 1.59 now. He has a slight injury and only a 50%  chance of playing, but it’s still a strange one. Pogba is still not justifying a place in my team, he’s the 9th most chosen midfielder, but his FFSS is only 1.46 putting him below Nathan Redmond. He’s still the highest ranked Manchester United player though, and in fact Mkhitaryan is one of only 3 of the top midfielders to decrease in value (the others being Cesc Fàbregas and André Ayew).

So, week 2 here is my team.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status
David de Gea 5.5 46.2 8.40
John Stones 6.5 36 7.20
Hector Bellerin 6.5 28.5 4.38
Wes Morgan 5.0 24.9 4.98
Kyle Walker 5.5 21.4 3.89
Riyad Mahrez 9.5 2.92 3.07
Philippe Coutinho 8.1 27.5 3.40
N’golo Kante 5.0 25.1 5.02
Alvaro Negredo 6.6 16.8 2.55
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.5 45.2 3.93
Sergio Aguero 13.0 47.1 3.62


Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 15.9 3.98
Eric Dier 5.5 14.7 2.67
Darren Fletcher 4.5 15 3.33
Juan Carlos Paredas 4.0 17 4.25

I’ve gone for 4-4-2 this week, and Aguero has taken the captain’s armband. After Paredas didn’t play last week, I’ve decided I would rather have Negredo. It would be stupid to make a transfer for him and then not bother playing him. I may regret this…

Crowd Sourcing my Fantasy Football Team

Right, so the time has come around again. The summer isn’t even over, and it’s time for the Premier League to start again, which means my humiliation is soon to begin.

No, not Arsenal Arsenaling it up again, I mean my fantasy football humiliation. A terrible combination of bad decisions, inflexibility and anger usually means my teams are awful. Sure one or two weeks I’ll pull off some managerial masterclass, but then I’ll spend the rest of the year cursing my team, and hoping against hope that if Arsenal are going to beat Stoke, that some clumsy oaf of a defender I made the mistake of leaving in the squad will at least score against my own team.

So, this year I’ve decided to do something different. I’m not going to pick a team; everyone else is. Recently there was a Cracked podcast talking about The Wisdom of Crowds. The premise of which is that as a group the median is best, and that individually we’re all just idiots.

There are a few things which are crucial to effectively crowd-sourcing a team.

  1. You need people to independently choose.

    Social influence can affect crowd choices, and it is easy to
    Well you hardly find anything more independent than fantasy football. Everyone wants to win, and if other people have your players then they can beat you, so you keep it all a secret. Admittedly, you can very clearly see how many teams have chosen players, and there is advice from “experts” almost everywhere, so this may complicate matters. So, I’m hoping that the variation in the game players will help me, which brings me to my next point…

  2. People must be diverse

    A study (that I can’t actually get proper access to, so apologies if this all lies. But once you hear (read) what I’m trying to say (write) I think you’ll let me off) claimed that American football fans are terrible at predicting scores. Shockingly this is because fans are biased, believe it or not! Apparently fans are over-confident in predicting certain results based on which teams they support. Crazy, hey?
    Luckily with almost 500 there should be a lot of diversity; contestants from all over the world, and more importantly those who support different teams. I mean I’m a fully fledged adult but I still struggle picking players I don’t like. I am 29 with a PhD, I own a house and almost a woman, and I think I’m being a good person by picking more than one Spurs player. Although I still loath putting Chelsea players in my team.
    But with this level of irrational hatred my population should provide me with enough variation.

  1. Add random, independent people to the group

    Again, not a problem for Fantasy Football. As the format allows you to simply reactivate your league from previous seasons, people you are no longer in contact with are automatically added to your new league, assuming they make a new team. Bearing in mind this is only a small scale example, and that new people join every year I think it’s a good place to start.

Right, so before I start choosing the players I’ll just explain the format of our league. You have £100 million to spend on 15 players; 2 goalkeepers, 5 defender, 5 midfielders and 3 strikers. Out of these 15, you pick 11 to make up the team you actually get points on. Of these 11, you select a captain, who gets double points, and a vice-captain, who gets double points if the captain doesn’t play. And you can only choose 3 players from a single team. Hope that makes sense.

Team One
Let’s start choosing the most chosen players. As I write this the 15 most selected players are

David De Gea
Petr Cech

Hector Bellerin
Toby Alderweireld
Wes Morgan
Luke Shaw
Laurent Koscielny

Dimitri Payet
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Riyad Mahrez
N’Golo Kante
Mesut Ozil

Sergio Aguero
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Romelu Lukaku

Which I think you’ll all agree is a pretty awesome team.

Unfortunately, this leaves me with a few problems. First I have overspent by £17 million, and secondly I have 4 Manchester United players and 4 Arsenal players. So let’s think about this. In order to keep with as many of the most popularly chosen players as possible I’ll get rid of the 4th choices from Manchester United and Arsenal, so bye bye Lolo and Lukey Boy. The next most popular defenders are Juan Carlos Paredas and Kyle Walker. So boom, there’s my team.

Almost. I am still £15 million over. So how do I pick my players?..

Team Two
I decided to simply divide my £100 by 15 to allow me to pick a team of valid players. So I have a maximum value of £6.66 million per player. As all players are valued as either a round number, or a half, I’ve rounded down to £6.5 million. Here we go;

David De Gea
Petr Cech

Hector Bellerin
Toby Alderweireld
Wes Morgan
Luke Shaw
Laurent Koscielny

N’Golo Kante
Eric Dier
Darren Fletcher
Danny Drinkwater
Andros Townsend

Shane Long
Andre Gray
Alvaro Negredo

Not bad hey? I keep under £100 million, and don’t have any problems with picking too many players from a single team. It’s not even that bad a team; my defence is identical to my spenny team. However, my midfield is definitely geared towards defending so not many points there, and my forwards definitely leave something to be desired. As an Arsenal fan I know more than most that without a world class striker it makes it very hard to actually win anything. Furthermore, I’m left with £13 million which seems an inefficient way of really selecting my squad.

Maybe this will be more complicated than I thought..

Team Three
How about eliminating the need for picking my starting 11? I can choose the top 11 players (that make a valid formation) and then make up the rest of my squad with cheap dross. So here goes, my top 11 are

David De Gea

Hector Bellerin
Toby Alderweireld
Wes Morgan

Dimitri Payet
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Riyad Mahrez
N’Golo Kante

Sergio Aguero
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Romelu Lukaku

You’ll notice as well that this instantly removed my Arsenal and Manchester United problems. Unfortunately this team leaves me with only £9.5 million to fill four positions, so is not a real solution. I’ll have to think a bit harder.

Teams Four and Five
I decide to choose my crappy players first, adding the most popular players with the cheapest values (i.e. £4 million) that still allow me to pick a valid team 11 players. Welcome to the team Eldin Jakupovic, Jordi Amat and welcome back Juan Carlos Paredas. Unfortunately, midfielders and forwards tend to cost more, so I have to up my minimum value to £4.5 million. So get back here Darren Fletcher, I hope the colitis is in check. Increasing my minimum to £4.5 million does open the door to Gareth McAuley, Federico Fernandez, George Friend, Erik Pieters and Jonny Evans to my defence. However, in keeping with my cheap plan I decide to keep Jordi knocking about.

This gives me a grand total of £83.5 million. So, how do I do this then?.. Divide the rest by 11? Let’s give that a go, giving me just over £7.5 million a player. De Gea keeps his place, as does Bellerin, Alderweireld and Morgan. My midfield becomes Kante, Dier, Michail Antonio and Erik Lamela. Up top we have Long, Odion Ighalo and Gray.

Leaving me with £15 million spare!

Maybe I get rid of the least popular and trade up? Sorry Jordi, you’re going to have to sit this out, Lukey Boy you’re back in. So £13.5 million left, next least popular? See you later Andre, I’ve just signed Aguero. £7 million to go, Erik time to leave. No, not you Erik, other Erik. Lamela, get out, Payet is back in. £4.5 million to go, can I stick with this system? Who’s next for the chopping block? Ighalo see you later, time for Zlatan. (Time to Zlatan?). And with only £500,000 left this makes sense right?

So my squad is

David De Gea
Eldin Jakupovic

Hector Bellerin
Toby Alderweireld
Wes Morgan
Luke Shaw
Juan Carlos Paredas

Dimitri Payet
N’Golo Kante
Eric Dier
Darren Fletcher
Michail Antonio

Sergio Aguero
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Shane Long

However, am I valid to select my team this way? It still involves me having to pick my starting 11, so why not take a step back literally. To Team Two and spend my excess money in the same way.

Team Six
Well this got instantly more complicated. After swapping out Negredo for Aguero, and Townsend for Payet I ended up having to break my rules. I removed Gray and and was left with £10 million, but the next most popular choice was Ibrahimovic, who at £11.5 million was out of my price range. However, the third choice of Lukaku wasn’t.

I’m in the weird position now, where I have players to choose from, but how can I justify not choosing Ibrahimovic, whose selection percentage is higher than 10 of the 14 other players?

This is getting a bit tedious, and very difficult. In the back of my head I can remember doing something like this in A Levels maths. I’m sure it involved having multiple “teams” though.

So, next plan. Bearing in mind this is the most effort I think I have ever put into fantasy football

Team Seven
So, why not put more effort in. I have developed a system; similar to how a horse racing addict might. I have created an Excel spreadsheet with some information about the players, namely their price and the percentage of teams who have chosen them. This gives me an opportunity to normalise the data (percent selected) to their value, giving me a value I have called “Fantasy Football Superhero Status”, so let’s see how this goes. At the time of writing my team is

David De Gea
Eldin Jakupovic

Hector Bellerin
Wes Morgan
Juan Carlos Paredas
Toby Alderweireld
Luke Shaw

N’Golo Kante
Dimitri Payet
Eric Dier
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Darren Fletcher

Sergio Aguero
Romelu Lukaku
Shane Long

As more and more people choose their team, Shane Long and Zlatan keep swapping places. However, adding Zlatan to my team gives me four Manchester United players, and De Gea, Shaw and Mkhitaryan all have higher Superhero Statuses, so that makes it easy for me, and my team equals a smooth £99.5 million. Take that fantasy football!

Starting Lineup
In keeping with my rules I guess I have to choose those with the highest percentage chosen. FFSS isn’t really relevant here as some players – I’m looking at you Darren and Juan – may well have been chosen as they are cheap to act as benchwarmers. So with that in mind, my starting 11 becomes;

David De Gea
Hector Bellerin
Wes Morgan
Toby Alderweireld
Luke Shaw

N’Golo Kante
Dimitri Payet
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Sergio Aguero
Romelu Lukaku
Shane Long

So, 4-3-3 is my formation. For now, anyway, there is a very real chance all of this will change over the next two weeks before the season starts.



Two weeks to go, and let’s see if I have to change owt.

Wow Kasper Schmeichel has leapt from 3.3% of team all the way to 11.3%. I think I’m going to have to do some tinkering. It’s also important to note that Walcott is chosen in less teams now that he had a terrible game against the MLS All Star, but Cesc has been chosen by more folks after his red card. It’s strange that both Sagna and Zabaleta, as well as Clichy and Kolarov, are now chosen by more teams. Gomis is still Swansea’s most chosen forward, despite going on loan for the season. Chris Brunt is now chosen by 0% of teams, and people still trust an injured Smalling over Phil Jones.

Damn you other people choosing players! Cech is now ahead of Jakupovic costing me another £1.5 million; Shaw is swapped for John Stones, saving me £500,000, Riyad Mahrez in a straight for Mkhitaryan, and then Zlatan now have greater Superhero Status than Shane Long, taking my grand total to £105.5 million, so I’m over.

I’m leaving it until later.


3 Days to go

Updating my spreadsheet is throwing up some interesting information. Mostly that everyone is dropping Arsenal players like nobody’s business. Koscielny is injured, but Ozil, Monreal and Giroud are all getting dropped. Although Chuba Akpom has been added to the game, so way to go Chuba…

Wow, in the amount of time it’s taken me to write that Bailly’s stock has gone up by 0.1%. Is the right way to say that? From 9.9-10%, technically that’s a 1% increase, I guess.

Zlatan has risen crazily as well after the Community Shield. 38.2% of teams have him. There’s only 2 players chosen in more teams; De Gea and Aguero.

Making all of these changes is killing me to my spreadsheet is killing me. I really don’t think it matters is no-one has chosen Carl Jenkinson. I think I’ll only choose from the top 15 chosen players in each position.

De Bruyne and Mkhitaryan have been brutally dropped; 18 to 8.6% and 21.1-10.6% respectively. Lallana, Coutinho and Firminho have also been selected in less teams, but Mane has been picked up by a whole bunch of folks. That move must have done wonders for him, or Liverpool fans are just a bit fickle.


0 days to go

Right so it’s Saturday morning, football starts this afternoon. That’s right I said it! I don’t care about the rest of the football league or foreign countries. The Premier League starts today, and as such football is back again.

And the website is down…

Luckily I sorted my team last night, so here it is; my final team (using my FFSS).

Player Cost % of teams FFSS
David de Gea 5.5 42.7 7.76
Hector Bellerin 6.5 31.2 4.86
Wes Morgan 5.0 25.4 4.86
Toby Alderweireld 6.5 25.7 4.05
John Stones 5.0 29.9 4.80
Juan Carlos Paredas 4.0 19.0 4.78
N’Golo Kante 5.0 25.5 5.10
Dimitri Payet 9.5 26.2 3.14
Eric Dier 5.5 16.5 3.00
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.5 39.4 3.43
Sergio Aguero 13.0 40.8 3.14
Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 13.6 3.40
Shane Long 6.5 15.1 2.32
Darren Fletcher 4.5 15.7 3.49
Danny Drinkwater 5.5 10.4 1.89


I chose my starting 11 from the highest picked players of my 15, and De Gea became my captain as the most chosen player. I only had to make one compromise from my system. The 13th valid player with a FFSS of 2.76 was actually Riyad Mahrez, but he cost too much to fit into my team, especially as the lowest ranked midfielder. Admittedly he would get into my starting 11 as the 7th most chosen player, but I can’t justify spending so much on him. So that means Danny Drinkwater became my 5th midfielder. They’re basically the same right?..

So there’s my team. Fingers crossed everything works out for me!


I think part of being a parent is trying to kill your kids

So, I’ve covered a couple of things before about obesity; specifically watching Dr Giles Yeo and leptin. If you don’t know type 2 diabetes is kinda my jam, and obviously obesity can play a big role in causing type 2 diabetes. So obviously I was interested in this article stating that a modern lifestyle is to blame for making y’all chubby.

I’ve covered before (in those links above) that your genes play a massive role in if you put on weight. But Dr Yeo compared them to poker. “You can win with a bad hand, and you can definitely lose with a good hand.” And this study seems to show that especially.

Basically the incidence of the mutated genes isn’t increasing. So why are we getting fatter?

Walter and folks looked at the genes of almost 9000 patients born between 1900 and 1958. They compared 29 mutations, which have been linked to obesity, to generate a Genetic Risk Score (GRS) combining all changes. I won’t go into too much info, as it uses very complicated maths. Basically mutations can take away or add to the risk of obesity, so the GRS is a sum of the positive and negative influences. Get it?

The first cohort of subjects were the oldest, so basically people born before we began feasting for every meal. Interestingly, here was no significant connection between the GRS and the BMI of people. Even though the incidence of mutations and the value of the GRS was the same as for people born later, for some reason people didn’t get fat. As you work your way through the cohorts, looking at people born later, the association increases. This means that the GRS starts to mean more as you get younger patients. Also, the older people got the more likely they were to be obese, potentially due to the increased availability of high-calorie foods, and the sedentary lifestyle old folks tend to have.

This suggests that the modern environment plays a bigger role in whether or not you develop obesity.  So, what’s the happy haps?

The authors suggest a few things. The average calorie intake in the States has increased by a whopping 22% (in woman; only 7% in men – still bad though). Sugar-sweetened drinks increase the risk hugely, and consumption of these bad boys has increased rapidly. I’ve just watched a live cast from Physiology 2016, where Prof John Blundell showed that when given a choice people choose energetically dense food.And now we live in a time when folks can access calorific food simply, and cheaply. Another reason may be because we’ve gotten lazy. Although Prof Blundell mentioned that even exercise cannot undo a high calorie diet. Demereth et al carried out a similar study, but had a more complicated explanation; epigenetics!

I have talked about epigenetics before, but probably in real life rather than here as it’s a bit of a head scratcher. Simply put your DNA contains all the data needed to make you. However, to stop DNA from just being accessed all of the time you need something to control it. This can involve modifying the DNA directly, usually by sticking something onto it. This can increase or decrease the rate of which genes are transcribed (i.e. made) (kind of…). Crucially epigenetics don’t actually change the DNA, just the way it is read. And obesity can cause quite a few epigenetic changes. This means that the expression of the proteins involved in obesity and other nasty things can be changed, simply by becoming obese. It’s like an ironic* perpetual motion machine.

Think of your DNA like a fancy library, like one with a museum. All of the day-to-day books for children and idiots are accessible all the time. But those old, fragile books are kept under lock and key, and can only be used in a controlled environment. Now the easiest way to get access to the books is to bribe the librarian with a pile of greasy donuts. Most of the time anyway; perhaps sometimes the librarian shuns your treats and tells you to do one.

Now imagine your big fat grandad has gone around opening and locking doors and eaten the keys. That’s right, epigenetic changes can pass from one generation to the next. Someone at ENDO 2015 said it can pass over two generations, but I can’t remember who, so let’s just let that hang there…

(Since I originally wrote this piece, this came out. The study shows that incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is increasing, and that the percentage of younger people getting the disease is increasing. If you don’t know, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes usually go hand in hand.)

*American ironic. Not proper ironic


Today’s quote is from Stephen King.