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Thursday, 29 September 2016



Dr. Scott is a pioneering type of psychoanalytic psychotherapist, who is also politically active in the Scottish community, He actively campaigns against the psycho-mumbo-jumbo which is now endemic in Workfare and Sanctioning,

"The psychotherapeutic relationship is therefore a re-search. A search constantly reasserted and reconstituted for what we have lost, and which some can perhaps endure a little more easily than others. True, in the enterprise of psychotherapy there are regularities, even institutional structures, pervading the sequence, rhythm and tempo of the therapeutic situation viewed as a process.... But the really decisive moments in psychotherapy, as every patient or therapist who has ever experienced them knows, are unpredictable, unique, unforgettable, always unrepeatable, and often indescribable." R.D. Laing, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst; Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise, 1967, p47. 



                        I work with people with different needs under the rubric of mental distress. I have experience of working with people suffering anxiety, depression, addiction, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia type disorders. I also work with people who have feelings of low confidence, motivation issues, school/academic difficulties, and also sports people. 

I also offer clinical supervision, academic support, reflective practice, facilitation of support groups, debriefing and professional consultancy to individuals, groups and organisations

                                        FACE TO FACE THERAPY

Psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an open-ended conversation with no agenda and no time limit (i.e. number of sessions). The practice (Greek: Praxis) of psychoanalysis involves listening to and witnessing the concerns of the person who comes for analysis, and facilitating, if possible, some kind of loosening of the strictures that bind and contort experience. 

I am critical of commonly held assumptions about mental distress. I am cautious of the use of psychiatric terminology and diagnosis, and medical theories concerning mental distress. These kinds of ideas about dealing with mental distress close down other ways of seeing human suffering and other ways of dealing with life. 

                                   FREE PSYCHOTHERAPY NETWORK

As it stands today, the NHS provides free psychological therapies from the limited perspectives of time (e.g., 6-12 sessions) and modality (e.g., therapy based on the cognitive behavioural model or the currently endangered species/models of humanistic, psychoanalytic, and counselling type talking therapies). More alarming is the fact that talking therapies are now being dominated by the evidence based scientific discourse; that therapy, patient, and therapist are objects like any other, can be measured and predicted. Further, from the evidence based perspective, psychotherapy is based upon arbitrary reductive concepts defining mental health, based on the demands of a scientific/capitalistic discourse. However, even the concept of mental health can be challenged as it is a highly dubious concept.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

OMEGA FISH OIL for hyperactivity and ADHD


     An Edinburgh school teacher who has researched the topic carefully tonight advised me that OMEGA FISH OIL is an excellent non-toxic medication for treating hyperactive kids who are presumed to have ADHD. It avoids all the nasty side effects, including aggressive and violent behaviour which are associated with the much to be dreaded ritalin, adderall and other toxic psych meds. Be careful not to eat all the sweeties they give you, children!


Improvements were still being seen after the study ended, which suggests the fish oils may have long-term effects. When the researchers compared their results to studies of Ritalin and Concerta for ADHD, they found that fish oils were more effective.
ADHD drugs are known to carry serious side effects, including insomnia, changes in personality, cardiotoxicity, heart attack, stroke and even sudden death. In the UK, nine children have died after taking the drugs.

                               FISH OIL HELPS HYPERACTIVE KIDS  (Daily Mail)

                              ALTERNATIVE ADHD TREATMENT : FISH OIL

                                WHAT'S THE RIGHT FISH OIL DOSAGE?


                               SIDE EFFECTS RITALIN (incomplete list)

                               SIDE EFFECTS ADDERALL





Here is an excerpt from 'Children of the Spirit' a treatise for teenagers and adults which I am writing in collaboration with members of the Edinburgh All Comers Writers Club

Humans possess very complicated brains, biologies, and chemistries, all of which work together in an exceedingly complicated way. For example, the birth of a child is very complicated in terms of the biology involved.
We all experience very subtle and highly imaginative dreams, sometimes as we are about to fall asleep. I sometimes wonder whether there is something inside my head which is far more intelligent than I'd previously imagined.
Overall we each seem to be as complicated as the Universe in which we live. As there are zillions of bacteria living in us, you could even think of yourself as being a Universe of your own!
Evolutionists think that we were created by natural selection. Others think that we were in some way intelligently designed.
I think that we could have evolved through some sort of intelligently designed process involving some natural selection, though I believe that how this would have actually happened is beyond current human understanding and not completely explainable by our geneticists.
All of our animals, birds, fish, flowers, and trees were also created in some way. They live with us in the natural process, in other words as parts of nature.
The movements of the tectonic plates below the Earth's crust affect the temperatures and movements of our oceans and influence our weather, as well as causing earthquakes. It's as if some grand Creator designed the geology inside Planet Earth for the purpose of helping to control our weather systems.
It seems to me to be far too incredible to assume that the billions of stars and planets in the Universe, each with their own geological system and chemical make-up, were created by random chance or a big bang out of nothingness. I personally think that big bang theory is extremely naive. Indeed, a number of scientists have recently come up with other more flexible suggestions.
Let's keep things simple for the moment, and define the Creator to be whatever intelligent force or forces created us, the Universe, and everything in it, including random chance and the evil forces which move among us.
There are a number of logical problems with this definition. For example, time may be circular, or have no beginning or end. In this case there would be no beginning of time at which things could be created out of nothingness.
An ancient philosopher, whose name slips my mind, pointed out that any Creator would need to be created by another Creator, who is created by a third Creator, and so on and so forth. So where does that get us? You may well ask!
Doubtful Duncan: Who was God's Daddy, Father Gabriel?
Father Gabriel: Creators don't need fathers, you silly boy.
Anxious Ailidh: If God had a Daddy, then who was his Daddy's Mummy?
Daring Deirdre: His Granny, stupid!
If we ignore these tricky problems and use our simple definition as a working proposition, then the proposition doesn't necessarily mean that the Creator is benevolent, or judgemental, or a God, or anything which communicates with ANY individual human being (including the Pope and the Queen!) in any sensitive way. For example, the Creator could be playing some very grand sort of game for reasons best known to itself. We may be the pawns in the game, or we may be here to create 'extra intelligence' which the Creator can suck into its own super-brain whenever it wants to.
Some people think that 'the Creator God controls our lives'. Like many other things in the Old Testament (like Moses believing that it is right to stone a man to death for collecting sticks on the Sabbath), I find this idea too hard to swallow.
Some old-fashioned philosophers and theologians believe in pre-destination, and that the Creator controls absolutely everything that we do and think. That would mean that you had no freedom of choice and no responsibility to try to modify your behaviour. It would be a bit like observing your life like an action movie. Now that's a crass idea!


Many of the old pagan spiritualities, including the worship of Baal, the Middle Eastern God of Light and Fertility, addressed a common spirit between everybody and everything in the natural process, including humans, our wild life, and the flowers and trees. Some modern religions have concentrated much more on human spirituality, while giving lip service to the needs of animals and nature itself. Nature worship can also be found in pantheism, animism, and shamanism, and it has been encouraged by certain types of witches as part of the Occult. The burning of witches until the late eighteenth century can be partly seen as an attempt by Christians to stamp out the worship of nature.
Many modern day witches are to be highly respected. For example, the members of a witch's coven in Lancashire honour, revere, and give thanks to nature, and celebrate the seasons. In spring, they celebrate life and rebirth, and then in winter they celebrate decay and death to make way for new life.
Anxious Ailidh: I'm a witch. I like stirring the pot.
Daring Deirdre: Me too. I brew potions from the leaves and herbs.
Sensible Cecilia: Is that to cure the sick animals and birds?
Daring Deirdre: No, it's to give to my Granny for afternoon tea.
Bishop Hotaway: That's enough of that, girls. Away to the ducking stool with you!


Is there some entity somewhere e.g. a living creature, a god, creator, Messiah, force field, gigantic computer system, or intelligent life force, which watches and listens to each and every one of us as we live our everyday lives, though without necessarily controlling us? If there is, then some people would call it the All-Seeing Eye. Others call it the Eye of Providence.
Having faith in the existence of an all-seeing eye which is watching us from some other space is the basis of many religions around the world today, including Christianity and shamanism. This is very much a question of faith, since science has never proved that an (external) all-seeing eye actually exists.
Human beings do of course observe each other. So we could all be regarded as being parts of some sort of all-seeing eye. Alternatively, the spirit of human decency, which moves between compassionate people, could be regarded as an almost-all-seeing eye, as could the life force of everything which we also discussed in section 2.
Anxious Ailidh: There's a big eye staring at me from behind the Moon.
Doubtful Duncan: Maybe it's a fat giant who wants to see what you're eating for supper.
Daring Deirdre: Perhaps it's a spaceship from Orion. Maybe it's sneaking in to take a peek at the London Eye.
If there is an all seeing-eye watching us from some other space, then the questions arise as to whether we can communicate with him, her, or it, e.g. by supplication or prayer, and whether it sometimes reacts to things that we do, think, or say. It can sometimes be useful to think that it does. For example, such thoughts can help us to treat each other in caring and helpful ways. But, again everything is a matter of faith.
I personally believe in the existence of an all-seeing eye, though I don't know whether it comes from without (from another space) or from within (from the recesses of my own mind) and I believe that Jesus, a frequently used name for the Eternal Messiah, symbolizes the eye. But that is a matter of choice. People from different cultures find different ways of symbolizing the eye.


Monday, 26 September 2016



The decline of Soutra came quickly during the 1460s. The Master of the hospital had caused a scandal and, as punishment, the Crown confiscated most of the estates, leaving the hospital without a regular income. Soutra was reduced from international importance to only a local service almost overnight. The confiscated estates were given to support Trinity College Hospital in Edinburgh, which directly laid the foundations of Edinburgh's future status as a key international centre for medical research and practice.


                                THE HOUSE OF THE HOLY TRINITY AT SOUTRA


                                                       UNDISCOVERED SCOTLAND

The Holy Trinity at Soutra treated the sick and provided alms to the poor, hospitality to travellers and sanctuary to fugitives. It funded its activities through the extensive estates it had been granted by Malcolm IV for the purpose. Archaeological excavations since 1986 have found traces of medicinal products from all over the known world, including cloves from East Africa.
Also found in one of the cellars were traces of a mixture of the seeds of hemlock, black henbane and opium poppy, used as a general anaesthetic in the case of amputations. Calculating the correct dose of this highly poisonous mixture must have been fairly critical to the survival of the patient.

                                                              SCOTLAND'S PLACES
                                                          THE MEDICAL WORLD OF THE MEDIEVAL MONKS
One of the exciting finds was of the abundance of hemlock in the drains. Scientists think the monks had used this as a painkiller before carrying out amputations.
Next to this they found the remains of the heel bone of a man.
Tony Busettil, regus professor of forensic medicine at Edinburgh University who corroborated the Soutra find, said the bone had ridges on it, which indicated that the man had walked on the side of his foot.
"It showed that the person appears to have had a limp so they could have been suffering from some sort of congenital palsy.
"Next to it they found evidence of very strong pain killers."
Dr Moffat said the monks' knowledge of herbs was so great it could be used to influence medicine today.
"You would not bother with strange plants at a monastery unless they were going to be used and these medieval brothers knew what to do. They knew more about plants than anyone alive today," he added. 

                                7 MEDIEVAL MEDICATIONS THAT ACTUALLY WORK



                                        A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MEDIEVAL HOSPITAL


                                                 SOUTRA HILL, EAST LOTHIAN


Saturday, 24 September 2016




                                               Professor Didier Sornette

                                              Chair of Entrepreneurial Risk
                                                        ETH Zurich

Professor Sornette gave a highly impressive sounding talk(**** below) on Thursday evening, which was based on the strange premise that some catastrophic events are predictable from finite data sets, He said that all of the hard work had been completed by his research associate Spencer who was seating quietly in the corner. It took me some time to realise that there was very little apparent technical substance in the talk. Indeed the diagnostic statistics he proposed (ratios of sums of order statistics) seemed amazingly naive. Several of us were left wondering whether the scientific claims he was trying to make extrapolated on his actual achievements,

    I initiated the discussion by asking why the speaker hadn't referred to or exploited the seminal work during the 1970s by my friend Bruce Hill of the University of Michigan which pioneered the statistical ideas surrounding power law distributions and Zipf's law, He replied to the effect that 'if it was so important then why doesn't anybody remember him?' I responded to the effect that 'I remember him but you don't'

       I have now had time to refresh my memory further. Bruce also extended his analysis to other long tailed distributions and provided both Bayesian and frequency justifications. (in order to investigate deviations from power law distributions it would appear essential to first perform a technical sound parametric analysis within this family, and I believe that this analysis would need to be effectively Bayesian with some prior distribution or other):


                                                       Bruce Hill (Retired 1998)

                               Bruce M. Hill, Faculty History Project Michigan


Bruce M. Hill
Regents' Proceedings 202
Bruce M. Hill, Ph.D., professor of statistics, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 1998.
Professor Hill received his B.S. degree from the University of Chicago in 1956 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1958 and 1961, respectively. He joined the University of Michigan in 1960 as a lecturer in biostatistics. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1961, associate professor in 1964, and professor in 1970.
Professor Hill has conducted research in a number of different areas, including Bayesian nonparametric statistics, the probabilistic theory of urn processes, modeling of long-tailed distributions such as the Zipf-Pareto law, inference about the tail of a distribution, variance components models in the random effects model, decision theory, and the likelihood principle. The article in which he proposed what is now called the Hill tail-index estimator is widely cited and his estimator is applied in a variety of substantive areas dealing with extreme values. In decision theory, he showed how any non-Bayesian real world decision procedure can be routinely improved upon by means of a simple computational algorithm. He also demonstrated the invalidity of the likelihood principle.
Professor Hill is the author of 45 research articles and of 5 articles that appear in encyclopedias of the physical sciences and of statistics. He has also written biographies of Professor L. J. Savage (formerly of the University of Michigan) and Professor Bruno de Finetti (formerly of the University of Rome). He has chaired the doctoral committees of 14 doctoral students, including students from the Departments of Mathematics, Economics, Political Science, Business Statistics, and Biostatistics, in addition to Statistics. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the International Statistical Institute.
The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Bruce M. Hill professor emeritus of statistics.
Here are the references which I've managed to trace so far:

                           (Annals of Statistics 1975, over 2000 citations)

                           (Journal of the American Statistical Association, 1970)

                           (Journal of the American Statistical Association 1974)


(Springer, 1992), This references an earlier paper, in 1968 which I have not as yet traced.

Hill's tail-index estimator[edit]

Let  be a sequence of independent and identically distributed random variables with distribution function , the maximum domain of attraction of the generalized extreme value distribution , where . If  is an intermediate order sequence, i.e.  and , then the Hill tail-index estimator is[15]
where . This estimator converges in probability to , and is asymptotically normal provided  is restricted based on a higher order regular variation property[16] .[17] Consistency and asymptotic normality extend to a large class of dependent and heterogeneous sequences[18][19]

       By taking logs of the observations, this estimator is quite resistant to the effects of outliers. Observations which Professor Sornette thinks are outliers with respect to a power law distribution will not obviously be outliers with respect to a distribution whose tail is estimated in this way. Maybe Professor Sornette should ponder about this when he asserts that some observations are Dragon-Kings. Even if Dragon-Kings can be shown to be outliers, I don't see how it can then be inferred that they can be predicted from finite data sets.

According to my memory, there may well have been some earlier references, during the 1960s

   This all seems to be related to a modern trend. Other modern entrepreneurs and some  'Big Data Analysts' seem to be developing a serious tendency to pour s**t on the seminal pioneers who developed the proud history of Statistics, by not even bothering to research the literature (and sometimes by not even bothering to cite anybody of note), What's more,many come up with vastly inferior versions to what has gone before, and this seriously damages the credibility of our ever expanding discipline.

FROM IAN MAIN, Professor of Geophysics:

Dear Tom - Likewise! You also have an interesting and wide-ranging blog. 

Just for info we have carried on some of the model selection work, especially in trying to detect non-stationary changes in the underlying rate of earthquake events at

for an Italian sequence (including triggered events) and

for global megaearthquakes (where triggering is less important)

In the latter it is interesting that BIC performs just about as well as the full Bayes factor in detecting changes in the global rate of mega-earthquakes, and also that we cannot yet the hypothesis that the recent cluser of mega-earthquakes is significant above chance. 

I also agree with you it can be hard to detect Didier's 'Dragon Kings' in power law statistics  - see our chapter in his book with Guy Ouillon

We conclude "There is no compelling evidence for dragon-kings in the sense of outliers from the power-law size distribution of earthquake event size. In contrast, some volcanic sequences show clear characteristic behaviour, and nearly all laboratory tests show an extreme event at the sample size, well outside the population of acoustic emissions that largely indicate grain scale processes until very late in the cycle".

Cheers, Ian.

****Thursday 22nd Sep. 2016 Dragon-kings: extreme risk events, prediction and control
Venue: ICMS
Address: 15 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
Time: Tea & coffee available from 17:30pm; talk between 18:00-19:00. 
Speaker: Prof. Didier Sornette
Affiliation: ETH Zürich, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTES)
Title: Dragon-kings: extreme risk events, prediction and control
In many complex systems, large events are believed to follow power-law, scale-free probability distributions so that the extreme, catastrophic events are unpredictable. In the last decade, I have spearheaded the concept of "dragon-kings'', these outliers of large sizes and unique origins [1,2]. Our research has shown that most extreme events in fact do not belong to a scale-free distribution. Called dragon-kings, these events are outliers that possess distinct formation mechanisms. Such specific underlying mechanisms open the possibility that dragon-kings can be forecasted, allowing for suppression and control [3]. For certain dynamical systems, it is possible to illustrate the statistical evidence and predictability of dragon-kings.
The approach can be generalised to obtain a conceptual framework to quantify, model and predict crises in out-of-equilibrium open heterogeneous dynamical systems (ie almost all systems of interest) based on a synthesis of the theory of the renormalization group in statistical physics and bifurcation theory in mathematics combined with systematic empirical data analyses. We have recently reviewed the state of the art and some recent progress on the best statistics to detect the dragon-kings in sparse data (the outlier detection problem) [4]. The obtained insights have important implications to address the challenges facing mankind, including finance induced instabilities in worldwide economies, debt instability, cyber-risks [5], industrial and nuclear risks [6], epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases, aging and financial retirement liabilities, the energy challenges, the water problem, the soil erosion run- away, the on-going sixth largest biological extinction, extreme industrial disasters, coupled with geopolitical risks, the problem of the stability of societies that need to steer responsible management of our complex industrial systems. We propose a novel quadrant formulation of risk management along the dimensions of stressor severity and level of predictability [7], in which the dragon-king regime plays a prominent role.
[1] D. Sornette, Dragon-Kings, Black Swans and the Prediction of Crises, International Journal of Terraspace Science and Engineering 2 (1), 1-18 (2009) ( and (
[2] D. Sornette and G. Ouillon, Dragon-kings: mechanisms, statistical methods and empirical evidence, European Physical Journal, Special Topics 205, 1-26 (2012) (special issue on power laws and dragon-kings) (
[3] Hugo L.D. de S. Cavalcante, Marcos Oria, Didier Sornette, Edward Ott and Daniel J. Gauthier, "Predictability and control of extreme events in complex systems", Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 198701 (2013)
[4] Spencer Wheatley and Didier Sornette, Multiple Outlier Detection in Samples with Exponential and Pareto Tails: Redeeming the Inward Approach and Detecting Dragon Kings, ( and
[5] Spencer Wheatley, Thomas Maillart and Didier Sornette, The Extreme Risk of Personal Data Breaches & The Erosion of Privacy, Eur. Phys. J. B 89 (7), 1-12 (2016)
[6] Spencer Wheatley, Benjamin Sovacool and Didier Sornette, Of Disasters and Dragon Kings: A Statistical Analysis of Nuclear Power Incidents & Accidents, Risk Analysis DOI: 10.1111/risa.12587, pp. 1-17 (2016)
[7] Tatyana Kovalenko and Didier Sornette, Risk and Resilience Management in Social-Economic Systems, IRGC Resilience In And For Risk Governance (RIARG) resource guide (in press 2016) (

Thursday, 22 September 2016



                                                   WORLD RANKINGS

      I have either worked or studied at 4 out of the top 50: Imperial College London (8) University College London (15), Edinburgh ( 27 ) and Wisconsin-Madison (45). My first appointment was at Warwick (82).

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