FLAMBOYANT LOT…You learn something new every day. Apparently, the word “flamboyant” can describe more than an exuberant individual with a penchant for the limelight. When used in a press release to describe a former textile factory in Aber Park in North Wales this week, it referred to a French Gothic brand of architecture characterised by flame-like tracery. Who knew? The grade two-listed Enterprise House will go under the hammer this month in a virtual auction by SDL Auctions North West. Last month, SDL’s first virtual auction was attended by 1,850 people and raised £7.1m.
GETTING SHIRTY…News of natty dresser Martin Lucass’ appointment at GeoSmart was met with warm congratulations in readers’ comments but the conversation quickly turned from his new role at the environmental consultancy to his collection of extravagant shirts. Love them or loathe them, they make Martin happy as he revealed to THING that, even in these isolated times, where most of us are conducting business in slippers and not showering for days at a time, “I’m still wearing suit trousers and a shirt at home just to get in the work mindset”. Maybe we should all take a leaf out of his sartorial pages.
HAT TIP… Capital & Centric and Kamani have temporarily repurposed the building they will one day redevelop through joint venture into a hotel or homes in Manchester’s New Cross, opposite Mackie Mayor and Band on the Wall, as a Covid-19 emergency supplies depot for people living on the streets. The move is part of a recent appeal by the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity for essential supplies including food, such as cereals and microwaveable meals, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps and wet wipes, and even white goods and IT equipment so people can keep in touch with the outside world.
Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric and chair of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, said: “People living on the streets don’t have the option of staying at home and self-isolating. They don’t have the support of friends and family in the way most other people do.
“We’re asking businesses to give what they can to support our city’s most vulnerable people and help prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
Didsbury Gin is supplying hand sanitiser and other companies have tapped up too, including Vimto, Warburtons, Kellogg’s and The Hut Group. Though not possible to receive donations of individual items at this time, if any businesses or organisations are able to donate items in bulk they are encouraged to get in touch via gmmayorscharity.co.uk.
BANDWIDTH ON THE RUN… If you have any room left after downloading Zoom and Netflix on your home PCs you can join the supercomputers of SciTech Daresbury in the global search for treatments for Covid-19. The Science & Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre at Daresbury Laboratory is speeding up the search to find the best existing anti-viral drugs effective for treating the virus– and anyone with a personal computer can help.
The Folding@home project, led by the Washington University School of Medicine, is enabling people from across the globe to lend any unused background capacity from their personal computers to power simulations that will give a better understanding of proteins and how they behave. Understanding protein behaviour is critical to the understanding of disease and the discovery of potential treatments. For humans, proteins are responsible for many functions we associate with life, such as taste, smell and muscle function. But viruses also have proteins they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves.
Made up of many moving parts, these proteins can ‘fold’ and change their shapes to adapt their function and impact. While there are many experimental methods for determining protein structures, these only reveal a single snapshot of a protein’s usual shape. Seeing a protein in action could be key to identifying drugs already in existence that could potentially treat or disrupt the virus.
Through a global network of personal computers, the Folding@home project is now enabling mass simulation on an unprecedented scale of how proteins fold and interact with potential drugs to treat COVID-19. However, before the network can receive and carry out the simulations to see how potential drugs interact with the proteins, Folding@home needs to design the drug simulations, which requires a large resource of computing power.
Keeping up? You can find out more about Folding@home, including what you can do to help at their website.
LEGO LIBERTY...“Most footballers want to be rock stars and most rock stars want to be footballers,” everyone’s favourite footballer-turned-developer Gary Neville once said. Could the same be true of planners and construction workers? Ian Ford, principal town planner at Arup in Liverpool, has been spending his lockdown building famous landmarks out of Lego. He posted one on Twitter accompanied by a huge dose of irony.