The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail: Report Finds Not Enough Money To Finish Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The cost of completing Crossrail exceeds available funding, the government spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) estimates the cost of the new rail link will be between £30m and £218m above the current funding.

After such a good start with the tunneling and surface line going well, how did we get here?

My main business for nearly forty years was writing project management software and that gave me a deep insight into the dynamics and mathematics of large projects.

The software, I created in the 1970s; Artemis was deeply involved in the most important project of the time; North Sea Oil.

But then more by luck, than any judgement on my part, it was well suited to solving the management problems of North Sea Oil.

The software ran on a small Hewlett-Packard mini-computer with an attached display and a printer, whose footprint, gave Artemis an advantage over competitors who needed a mainframe, for which there was no office space in Aberdeen.

I had first got involved in scheduling resources at ICI about five years earlier and because from previous experience I knew resources would be critical, I gave the program extension resource aggregation and scheduling capabilities.

I have been told that the latter proved invaluable in successfully developing North Sea Oil. People may have been flattering me, but I do know that Shell used to ensure that all their suppliers used Artemis, so they could check easily if they were being told the truth.

I suspect that Shell and others used the aggregation capability to see that they weren’t overloading the pool of labour available.

Artemis definitely proved itself capable of handling the various projects in the North Sea.

We have now moved on forty years, but has project management moved on to cope with the advances in technology of the modern world?

As with North Sea Oil in Aberdeen, in the 1970s, Crossrail and other large projects like Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport will always have a need for large numbers of resources, be they men, materiel or machines.

I have some questions.

  • Do all contractors working on Crossrail use the same software?
  • Does Crossrail have the right to inspect the contractors project management systems?
  • Is the upward reporting what it needs to be?
  • Does the software the contractors use, have an aggregation capability?
  • Do Crossrail track and predict the resources needed?

Someone I respect told me, that a lot of modern project management software doesn’t even have an aggregation capability- Enough said!

I must admit, aggregation and scheduling software is difficult to write, so it might be easier to cut it out and let your clients muddle through!

Worsening The Resource Problem

Crossrail,the Greater London Authority and the Boroughs should have been monitoring this growing resource problem, but I doubt they were in anything other than a perfunctory way!

Instead the politicians were giving planning permission to anybody with money, who wanted to build a shiny new development close to a station.

These project would need more men, materiel or machines.

As many of these new developments are backed by companies or funds with bottomless pockets to get their developments finished they are prepared to pay more for their labour.

So labour has been deserting Crossrail in droves, thus further delaying the project.

Senior politicians in the Greater London Authority and the boroughs should accept some responsibility for Crossrail’s delay.

They didn’t need to withhold the planning permission, just say that construction could’t commence until an appropriate phase of Crossrail was open.

In some parts of the world, brown envelopes will have changed hands, but it would be nice to know how many mayors and senior politicians have had holidays in places, they would not normally visit.

Senior project managers tell me, that they would not be surprised if developments along Crossrail had delayed the project.

The Covid Problem

No-one saw Covid coming, except possibly the Chinese.

But good project management is all about negotiating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

There is the story of the miniMetro production line.

The first body shells coming out of the automated welder were crooked and it turned out that the machine had hit a motorway bridge in Germany. But by good project management using Artemis, British Leyland engineers were able to get the second line working before the first and the car was launched on time.

With Covid, the Mayor shut construction, and it was some months before it restarted again.

I am certain, that with good project management we could have done better.

Covid is also a good excuse for lateness.

On the other hand good project management got the vaccines developed, manufactured and delivered into arms.

Covid also blew a big hole in Transport for London’s finances.

But then so did Sadiq Khan’s Fare Freeze, that brought him to office.

Could Crossrail Have Part-Opened Earlier?

I often ponder this and others ask me if it would be possible.

The Victoria Line was built with crossovers and it was able to open in phases.

Crossrail has crossovers in the following places.

  • Either side of Custom House station
  • To the West of Whitechapel station
  • Between Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations

Note.

  1. It doesn’t appear to have been built for part opening.
  2. From media reports, it appears Whitechapel station is the basket case in the East.

The answer is probably that Crossrail can’t be part-opened, but there are reasons, why it could be opened earlier.

  • To generate a small amount of revenue.
  • To give travellers and Londoners in general a lift.

The only practical service would be a few trains turning at Farringdon.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My INR Readings Before And After My Second AstraZeneca Jab

I am on long-term Warfarin after a serious stroke.

I also measure my own INR using a simple hand-held meter.

So with all the fuss about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, I thought I’d do an experiment around my second dose of the vaccine.

I maintained a constant Warin dose of 3.5 mg, which is the daily dose, I have agreed with my GP.

I maintained a reasonably constant diet. That is fairly easy if you’re coeliac and on a long-term gluten-free diet, as I am.

measured my INR every morning.

These are my results.

  • April 12th – 2.3
  • April 13th – 2.8
  • April 14th – 2.8
  • April 15th – 2.9
  • April 16th – 2.5
  • April 17th – 2.3
  • April 18th – 2.3
  • April 19th – 2.4 – 2nd Jab
  • April 20th – 2.2
  • April 21st – 2.2
  • April 22nd – 2.6
  • April 23rd – 2.5
  • April 24th – 2.4
  • April 25th – 2.7
  • April 26th – 3.0
  • April 27th – 2.7
  • April 28th – 2,5
  • April 29th – 3.0
  • April 30th – 3.1
  • May 1st – 2.9
  • May 2nd – No Data
  • May 3rd – 2.8

It would appear that the results have been less stable since the second jab.

I am a Control Engineer with a B. Eng. from Liverpool University and I’m not surprised at these results.

It’s just like the bounce you get when the wheel of your car hits a pothole.

I would suggest that more research needs to be done.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blood Clot Risk Eight Times Higher From Covid Than AstraZeneca Vaccine, Study Finds

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Telegraph.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The risk of a rare brain clot from coronavirus is approximately eight times greater the risk presented by the AstraZeneca jab, a University of Oxford study has found.

The research, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, and compared blood clot rates among 500,000 coronavirus patients with data from the roll-out of 34 million vaccine doses across Europe.

I will certainly be having my second AstraZeneca jab next Monday.

This press release on the Astra-Zeneca web site is entitled Oxford Phase III trials interim analysis results published in The Lancet.

This is an extract.

In addition to the Oxford led programme, AstraZeneca is conducting a large study in the US and globally. In total, Oxford University and AstraZeneca expect to enrol more than 60,000 participants globally.

The Telegraph article also says this.

The incidence of rates for cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) – a rare blood clot on the brain – is 39 per million coronavirus patients, while it is five per million recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Note that five per million is 0.3 per 60,000.

Any participant, who got a blood clot in the AstraZeneca Phase III trial would have been a very unlucky person.

Those who say, that the AstraZeneca vaccine was rushed and that many more people should participated in the trials may have a point.

But countering that is my belief that data analysis has improved so much in the last twenty years that all the data on all the vaccines has been so thoroughly analysed by some of the best data analysts and analytic software, that most more common problems have been identified.

 

 

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 8 Comments

UK Medicines Watchdog ‘Considers Limiting Use Of Oxford-AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine In Young’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The medicines watchdog is considering restricting use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in younger people, it was reported last night.

Channel 4 News said sources had told it that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) could decide as soon as today after concerns about very rare cases of blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine.

I’m, no medic, but I do find, I got a different reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine to that of my friends.

But I am coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet and have therefore got a strong immune system.

I believe my immune system gave the vaccine and its carrier a bit of a kicking.

But then it did that four months ago, with a pneumococcal vaccine.

There is a peer-reviewed Danish study, which I wrote about in A Danish Study On Links Between Coeliac Disease And Blood Clots.

I just wonder if there is a link in there somewhere.

All those, who have suffered blood clots after having the AstraZeneca vaccine should at least be tested for coeliac disease.

 

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Have I Got Thrombophilia?

I was chatting on-line on The Times last night with a guy or even a girl, as their nick didn’t indicate gender.

I had said that a Danish study had shown that there were links between coeliac disease and blood clots. I wrote about this study in A Danish Study On Links Between Coeliac Disease And Blood Clots. Two of my on-line friends have since responded to that post with stories of coeliacs and blood-clots.

I got this reply from the person, I was chatting with.

There are some studies linking coeliac condition and the Factor V Leiden thrombophilia mutation. Several members of my family have (or had, since some have passed away) both conditions. I have the Factor V Leiden, as have both of my children. I do a lot of family history and have traced the Leiden mutation through triangulation of DNA matches and shared chromosome matches (via Family Tree DNA which goes into such detail) and I believe this is pointing to my Swedish ancestry.

I replied  and asked if the person had coeliac disease.

This was the reply.

I had some tests and a biopsy about 30 years ago to see if I had inherited the coeliac condition which had cut a swathe through my mother’s side of the family. It was negative, but I do suspect that I may have passed it on to my son. He’s not keen on getting tested although he did get a Leiden Factor V test and he is heterozygous for that. My mother, aunt, grandmother and cousins have coeliac and Leiden. Some have both and some have one or the other.

My mother was young enough to get proper advice, but my grandmother had a terrible time. She just literally faded away. Her treatment was eating raw liver and having injections of liver which left lumps under her skin. Awful.

I then looked up thrombophilia on Wikipedia. The picture of a red leg in the entry could have been of me, except that with me, It’s the other leg.

The NHS web site also gives useful information.

I need to see an expert urgently!

But at least, I’m already on the likely medication – Warfarin.

So it’s hopefully just a case of keep taking the tablets.

I must admit, I’m slightly annoyed with the medics. I have never been told, that there is a link between coeliac disease and blood clots, when evidence from the Danish peer-reviewed study and people I’ve met on-line clearly shows there is a link!

Given, all the arguments about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, more research needs to be done.

April 3, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Danish Study On Links Between Coeliac Disease And Blood Clots

I am a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet.

I am worried that the covids might prey on people like me, so I am researching hard to find out the truth.

Note that in much of Europe, North America and Australasia, coeliacs are at least 1-in-100 of the population and could be higher.

This morning I found on the Internet, a peer-reviewed Danish study which was entitled

Coeliac Disease And Risk Of Venous Thromboembolism: A Nationwide Population-Based Case-Control Study

The nation in the study was Denmark.

This was the introductory paragraph.

Patients with coeliac disease (CD) may be at increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and its complication pulmonary embolism (PE), because they are reported to have hyperhomocysteinaemia, low levels of K-vitamin-dependent anticoagulant proteins, and increased levels of thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor.

One thing in this summary screams at me. The mention of vitamin-K!

Ten years ago, I had a serious stroke, that because of modern clot-busting drugs failed to kill me.

I am now on long-term Warfarin and know I have to eat a diet without Vitamin-K.

Given that in a nation like Germany with a population of eighty-three million, there could be nearly a million coeliacs, many of whom will be undiagnosed, this Danish study should be taken seriously, as it should be able to predict the number of clots down to coeliac disease in Germany. But I’m just an engineer and statistician and no medic. Although after the medical troubles of my family, I know a lot more medical knowledge than I did twenty years ago.

An article in The Times, also says that all but two who suffered clots after having the AstraZeneca vaccine were women.

It should be noted that the NHS states on its web site, that women are three times more likely to suffer coeliac disease than men.

I am absolutely certain, that more research needs to be done.

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blood Clots In Young German Ladies After AstraZeneca Vaccine

There have been various reports that young ladies in Germany have suffered blood clots after having the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I am coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet.

The UK, Ireland and Italy are generally fairly good at identifying coeliacs, as they suffer from so many side effects, one of which is strokes.

I had a stroke and a cardiologist thought it could have been because I wasn’t diagnosed until fifty, so my diet damaged my heart muscle causing atrial fibrillation.

My father, who I now believe was coeliac, died of a series of strokes.

I do wonder, if Germany doesn’t look for coeliacs, as they should, partly because it is a Jewish disease in their minds. Certainly finding gluten-free food in Germany can sometimes be difficult.

It should also be noted that the NHS says that there are three times as many coeliacs who are female.

Conclusion

This adds to the circumstantial evidence that coeliac disease is the alligator in the swamp of Covid-19.

 

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

GSK To Manufacture 60m Doses Of Novavax Covid Vaccine In UK

The title of this post is the same as that as this article in the Financial Times.

As the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, that is enough for thirty million people.

Wikipedia gives brief details of the the manufacturing of the vaccine for Canada and the UK in this section entitled Deployment.

On 2 February 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has signed a tentative agreement for Novavax to produce millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Montreal, Canada, once it is approved for use by Health Canada, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to be produced domestically.

On 29th March 2021, the UK government announced an order for 60 million doses of the Novax vaccine, which will be manufactured in the UK. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and GlaxoSmithKline will manufacture and fill the orders respectively.

This Google Map shows Barnard Castle in relation to Teesside.

Note.

  • The red arrow in the South-West corner of the map indicates the GSK factory at Barnard Castle.
  • Teesside is the estuary at the Eastern edge of the map.
  • FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies are located in Billingham, which is on the North bank of the Tees.

The two sites are under an hour apart.

This page on the UK Government web site gives details of the vaccines ordered.

  • Adenovirus – Oxford/AstraZeneca –  100 million – Approved and in deployment
    Adenovirus – Janssen – 30 million – Phase 3 trials
    mRNA – Pfizer/BioNTech – 40 million – Approved and in deployment
    mRNA – Moderna – 17 million – Approved
    Protein Adjuvant – GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials
    Protein Adjuvant – Novavax 60 million – Phase 3 trials
    Inactivated whole virus – Valneva – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials

Note.

  1. Type, manufacturer, number and status are shown for each vaccine.
  2. This is a total of 567 million doses.

It looks to me, that backing four different technologies and seven different partnerships or companies was a successful strategy, as if the Novavax vaccine get approval, as serious commentators like Fergus Walsh of the BBC, think it will, picking four winners in a seven horse race.

GlaxoSmithKline appear to be a big loser in that they backed the French Sanofi Pasteur vaccine, which is still in Phase 1/2 trials. Wikipedia has a section entitled Deployment.

In July 2020, the UK government signed up for 60 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by GSK and Sanofi. It uses a recombinant protein-based technology from Sanofi and GSK’s pandemic technology. The companies claimed to be able to produce one billion doses, subject to successful trials and regulatory approval, during the first half of 2021. The company also agreed to a $2.1 billion deal with the United States to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Someone appears to have lost billions.

I wonder though, if GSK had developed a plan to fill and finish the sixty million doses for the UK.

So have the fixers in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) matched  FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies vaccine manufacturing to GSK’s fill and finish plan to give Novavax a 60 million dose capacity in the UK?

  • Both vaccines are of the same type, so can one fill and finish line handle both?
  • The Novavax vaccine was trialled in the UK.
  • Supplying Europe from Teesside would not be difficult.

Wikipedia seems to indicate, that Novavax like to spread production around. Spain, India and Poland are mentioned.

Conclusion

Every one of sixty million jabs helps.

President Macron was unavailable for comment.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

University Of Oxford To Study Nasal Administration Of COVID-19 Vaccine

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the University of Oxford web site.

These two introductory paragraphs outline the structure of the tests.

The Phase I trial, which will enrol 30 healthy volunteers aged 18–40, will investigate the level of immune system responses generated by the vaccine using this delivery technique, as well as monitoring safety and for any adverse reactions.

All of the volunteers will receive the same vaccine that is currently being delivered by intramuscular injection as part of the national roll out of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. The volunteers, who will be drawn from the local Oxford region, will be followed for a total of four months.

This is surely a very worthwhile study.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Blood Clots And Vaccines

I had a little bit of trouble with my Roche Coaguchek INR meter yesterday and had to phone Roche.

I indicated that I would soon be having my second AstraZeneca jab and measuring my INR before and after as a medical experiment.

I was then told that all vaccines can cause blood clots. That can’t be right?

But Roche should know!

March 26, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 5 Comments