Fraudulent Passport Price List

This is a list (URL acquired from spam) of prices for fraudulent (but perhaps “genuine” in terms of the materials used, I don’t know) passports, driving licenses and ID cards. It is a fascinating insight into the relative security of the identification systems of a number of countries. Of course, the prices may also factor in the economic value of the passport, but it’s interesting that a Canadian passport is more expensive than a US one. That probably reflects difficulty of obtaining the passport rather than the greater desirability of Canada over the US. (Sorry, Canadians, I know you’d disagree! Still, you can be happy at the competence and lack of corruption in your passport service.)

One interesting thing to note is that one of the joint lowest-price countries, Latvia (€900), is a member of the EU. A Latvian passport allows you to live and work in any EU country, even Germany, which has the most expensive passports (€5200). The right to live anywhere in the EU – yours for only €900…

Also interesting is to sort by passport price and look if the other prices follow the same curve. A discrepancy may indicate particularly weak or strong security. So Russian ID cards are cheaper than one might expect, whereas Belgian ones are more expensive. Austrian and Belgian driver’s licenses also seem to be particularly hard to forge, but the prize there goes to the UK, which has the top-priced spot (€2000). I wonder if that’s related to the fact that the UK doesn’t have ID cards, so the driver’s license often functions as one?

Here is the data in spreadsheet form (ODS), so you can sort and analyse, and just in case the original page disappears…

Why Do Volunteers Work On Free Software Projects?

Why do volunteers work on free software projects?

When asked, many claim they do it because they want to produce good software, or want to be personally involved in fixing the bugs that matter to them. But these reasons are usually not the whole story. After all, could you imagine a volunteer staying with a project even if no one ever said a word in appreciation of his work, or listened to him in discussions? Of course not. Clearly, people spend time on free software for reasons beyond just an abstract desire to produce good code. Understanding volunteers’ true motivations will help you arrange things so as to attract and keep them. The desire to produce good software may be among those motivations, along with the challenge and educational value of working on hard problems. But humans also have a built-in desire to work with other humans, and to give and earn respect through cooperative activities. Groups engaged in cooperative activities must evolve norms of behavior such that status is acquired and kept through actions that help the group’s goals.

– Karl Fogel, Producing Open Source Software

The Latest Airport Security Theatre

All passengers flying into or out of the UK are being advised to ensure electronic and electrical devices in hand luggage are sufficiently charged to be switched on.

All electronic devices? Including phones, right? So you must be concerned that something dangerous could be concealed inside a package the size of a phone. And including laptops, right? Which are more than big enough to contain said dangerous phone-sized electronics package in the CD drive bay, or the PCMCIA slot, and still work perfectly. Or, the evilness could even be occupying 90% of the body of the laptop, while the other 10% is taken up by an actual phone wired to the display and the power button which shows a pretty picture when the laptop is “switched on”.

Or are the security people going to make us all run 3 applications of their choice and take a selfie using the onboard camera to demonstrate that the device is actually fully working, and not just showing a static image?

I can’t see this as being difficult to engineer around. And meanwhile, it will cause even more problems trying to find charging points in airports. Particularly for people who are transferring from one long flight to another.

Spending Our Money Twice

Mozilla Corporation is considering moving its email and calendaring infrastructure from an in-house solution to an outsourced one, seemingly primarily for cost but also for other reasons such as some long-standing bugs and issues. The in-house solution is corporate-backed open source, the outsourced solution under consideration is closed source. (The identities of the two vendors concerned are well-known, but are not relevant to appreciate the point I am about to make.) MoCo IT estimates the outsourced solution as one third of the price of doing it in-house, for equivalent capabilities and reliability.

I was pondering this, and the concept of value for money. Clearly, it makes sense that we avoid spending multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars that we don’t need to. That prospect makes the switch very attractive. Money we don’t spend on this can be used to further our mission. However, we also need to consider how the money we do spend on this furthers our mission.

Here’s what I mean: I understand that we don’t want to self-host. IT has enough to do. I also understand that it may be that no-one is offering to host an open source solution that meets our feature requirements. And the “Mozilla using proprietary software or web services” ship hasn’t just sailed, it’s made it to New York and is half way back and holding an evening cocktail party on the poop deck. However, when we do buy in proprietary software or services, I assert we should nevertheless aim to give our business to companies which are otherwise aligned with our values. That means whole-hearted support for open protocols and data formats, and for the open web. For example, it would be odd to be buying in services from a company who had refused to, or dragged their feet about, making their web sites work on Firefox for Android or Firefox OS.

If we deploy our money in this way, then we get to “spend it twice” – it gets us the service we are paying for, and it supports companies who will spend it again to bring about (part of) the vision of the world we want to see. So I think that a values alignment between our vendors and us (even if their product is not open source) is something we should consider strongly when outsourcing any service. It may give us better value for money even if it’s a little more expensive.

Success Is Not Inevitable

Last week, the Policy, Legal and Business Development teams had a 2-day get-together, and one thing I came to understand much more clearly is something I think that many Mozillians need to take to heart: success is not inevitable.

For the first few years of Mozilla’s life, we didn’t have much success. Then, a combination of good code, good grassroots marketing, sleeping or absent competitors and favourable market conditions saw Firefox take off and reach a desktop market share north of 25%. That was five years ago, and we’ve been trying to hold on to it since. We haven’t entirely succeeded, but it might be easy to imagine that Firefox on the desktop will be around and relevant forever.

But working really hard, and knowing that what you are doing is the right thing for the world, are not enough by themselves to guarantee that you succeed. There’s no law of the universe which says that Google have to keep giving us a search deal on better (or even the same) terms, particularly if our market share falls. That may happen, or it may not. And there’s no law which says that Firefox OS has to be a success. If what we build isn’t the right thing, carriers will stop stocking and promoting Firefox OS phones, and the world will be left with a choice of Apple, Google or Microsoft.

Mozilla’s way of working has always been to get market share by making great products, and use that to make our voice heard. We aren’t an advocacy-only organization.

Back when we did Firefox, our future, and our ability to get that market share, was in our own hands. If we wrote great software, users could download and install it themselves, and that was it. No-one was stopping consumers from installing any software they wanted. No-one was stopping OEMs from shipping copies of Firefox with their machines. We didn’t have to worry about proprietary hardware. There were no web features which couldn’t be implemented in open source code.

In the new world, our future and our ability to gain market share are not entirely in our own hands. We need partnerships to reach consumers. Business partnerships involve giving someone something they want in return for something you want, and they mean that usually you don’t get everything you want, but have to compromise. The need to partner and the need to compromise are relatively new and difficult things for Mozilla. Such agreements often come with obligations – which, in its most general form, is the loss of the ability to choose exactly what we are going to do because we are constrained by our promises. As an organization, particularly as an engineering organization, we don’t like that.

But operators are only going to carry and promote Firefox OS phones if they think it’s in their best interests to do so. And consumers are only going to buy them if they think they are better for what they want to do than the alternatives. “Why this rather than Android?” is a question to which we need a good answer.

If we want Firefox OS to be a success, we need partners, and we need to provide what those partners want, while holding on to our principles. What they want may well not be “software for us”, or even “software for people we know”. And that means we need to listen to the people within Mozilla who talk to them and report back to us. That’s the Business Development team – who currently have a pretty low community profile. Perhaps that needs to change.

Success is not inevitable – but it is still possible, if we carry on producing software that succeeds in the market. But how we find out what that means has changed, and we as Mozilla need to make sure we adapt to that, and listen in the right places.


I got the following (presumably misdirected) email at

If i go on several sites that shows adult videos for free on streaming it’s because i need to see that kind of things ! just don’t ask me why ! I don’t intend to hurt anybody I just want to get fed up to it ! As you know,i never download and i’ve been said it was free to see as long as you don’t share !
Please, let me see what i want ? I’m completely out of money

How sad :-(

Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:34-36

To Serve Users

My honourable friend Bradley Kuhn thinks Mozilla should serve its users by refusing to give them what they want.

[Clarificatory update: I wrote this post before I'd seen the official FSF position; the below was a musing on the actions of the area of our community to which Bradley ideologically belongs, not an attempt to imply he speaks for the FSF or wrote their opinion. Apologies if that was not clear. And I'm a big fan of (and member of) the FSF; the below criticisms were voiced by private mail at the time.]

One weakness I have seen in the FSF, in things like the PlayOgg and PDFReaders campaigns, is that they think that lecturing someone about what they should want rather than (or before) giving them what they do want is a winning strategy. Both of the websites for those campaigns started with large blocks of text so that the user couldn’t possibly avoid finding out exactly what the FSF position was in detail before actually getting their PDF reader or playback software. (Notably missing from the campaigns, incidentally, were any sense that the usability of the recommended software was at all a relevant factor.)

Bradley’s suggestion is that, instead of letting users watch the movies they want to watch, we should lecture them about how they shouldn’t want it – or should refuse to watch them until Hollywood changes its tune on DRM. I think this would have about as much success as PlayOgg and PDFReaders ( 821 results).

It’s certainly true that Mozilla has a different stance here. We have influence because we have market share, and so preserving and increasing that market share is an important goal – and one that’s difficult to attain. And we think our stance has worked rather well; over the years, the Mozilla project has been a force for good on the web that other organizations, for whatever reason, have not managed to be. But we aren’t invincible – we don’t win every time. We didn’t win on H.264, although the deal with Cisco to drive the cost of support to $0 everywhere at least allowed us to live to fight another day. And we haven’t, yet, managed to find a way to win on DRM. The question is: is software DRM on the desktop the issue we should die on a hill over? We don’t think so.

Bradley accuses us of selling out on our principles regarding preserving the open web. But making a DRM-free web is not within our power at the moment. Our choice is not between “DRM on the web” and “no DRM on the web”, it’s between “allow users to watch DRMed videos” and “prevent users from watching DRMed videos”. And we think the latter is a long-term losing strategy, not just for the fight on DRM (if Firefox didn’t exist, would our chances of a DRM-free web be greater?), but for all the other things Mozilla is working for. (BTW, Mitchell’s post does not call open source “merely an approach”, it calls it “Mozilla’s fundamental approach”. That’s a pretty big misrepresentation.)

Accusing someone of having no principles because they don’t always get their way when competing in markets where they are massively outweighed is unfair. Bradley would have us slide into irrelevance rather than allow users to continue to watch DRMed movies in Firefox. He’s welcome to recommend that course of action, but we aren’t going to take it.

How We Should Be

Four weeks ago, I posted about Who We Are and How We Should Be. I wrote:

As I see it, the principle behind the [Community Participation Guidelines] was, in regard to non-mission things: leave it outside. We agreed to agree on the mission, and agreed to disagree on everything else. And, the hope was, that created a safe space for everyone to collaborate on what we agreed on, and put our combined efforts into keeping the Internet open and free.

Is that CPG principle still the right one? Are the CPGs the best expression of it?

Following on from Who We Are, here is my answer to How We Should Be.

I think the principle is still the right one, but the CPGs could express it better.

The CPGs have many good things about them, and I think that they did a good job of defusing the difficulties in our community at the time they were written in 2012. But they still very much bear the marks of the worldview of the person who wrote them. (This is not surprising or in itself worthy of criticism; it’s very difficult to write in a way which does not show one’s own worldview.)

The world the CPGs conjure up is one where there are two groups of people. There are those who are wholeheartedly for “inclusion and diversity” in every way – let’s call them group A. And those who “identify with activities or organizations that do not support the same inclusion and diversity standards as Mozilla” – let’s call them group B.

The CPGs seem to have the following assumptions:

  1. Attacks on Mozilla’s inclusivity and diversity will only come from group B;
  2. Anyone who supports exclusionary practices in some other sphere (i.e. those in group B) is likely to want to see them in Mozilla;
  3. The key thing is to keep support for exclusion out of “Mozilla spaces”, so they remain safe for people who would otherwise feel or be excluded.

Therefore people in group B need constraining, such that “support for exclusionary practices in non-Mozilla activities [is] not … expressed in Mozilla spaces”. And so that is what the CPGs say.

However, in the recent series of unfortunate events, the attacks on Mozilla’s inclusivity and diversity came from people who would self-identify with group A (not matching assumption 1) and were directed at someone who, by long example, clearly did not match assumption 2. Support for exclusion (or, at least, for restriction) was expressed by some Mozillians in a very public way, but it was not in a specifically Mozilla space – yet it clearly resulted in exclusion, and in damage to the project and its mission. So assumption 3 didn’t really hold either.

It is true that the CPGs also restrict people in group A, in that they are conditionally asked to “treat [support for exclusionary practices outside Mozilla] as a private matter, not a Mozilla issue”, and that was not done in this case. That is a matter of deep regret. But I don’t think the consequential and conditional statement here gives full and clear force to the strong need for both sides to understand that disagreements of this kind within Mozilla are deeply damaging to our unity and capability as a project.

So, I think we would do well to redefine our alliance as a community. This would involve rewriting the CPGs in a way which expresses the principle of “agree to disagree on non-mission things” more evenhandedly and broadly, and making it clear that it applies to everyone, in all the Mozilla-related communications they make, wherever they are made. I think we must abandon the distinction between Mozilla and non-Mozilla spaces. It clearly wasn’t useful in staving off the damage in this case, and as a definition it always had boundary problems anyway. On today’s internet, it doesn’t matter where you express something – it can be around the world in an instant. And if we move to that model, in order to avoid unfairly restricting people’s speech wherever they may be talking, we would also need to change our attitude to the content of what people say. Instead of “don’t talk about that here”, we should instead affirm the principle of “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

That is not to argue for carte blanche for people to fill up Mozilla communications channels with political advocacy of one sort or another. Most of our channels have a concept of “off-topic”, and that would not change. But only a project dominated by a small group of people from a single consistent political ideology could ever hope to have and maintain a policy of “do not ever even expose me to ideas with which I disagree”. And, as an international project with big growth ambitions, Mozilla is and should not be such.

Respectfully expressing opinions – in any space – should be fine; calling for exclusion from or demotion in Mozilla due to those opinions – in any space – should not be.

Independent Film about Kermit Gosnell

Some filmmakers want to make an independent film about the USA’s most prolific serial killer, Kermit Gosnell, and the relative media silence about him. Over a 30-year career, he is suspected of killing 1000s of live, born, viable babies – which should horrify anyone who doesn’t believe in infanticide, whatever their stance on abortion. The filmmakers are trying to raise $2.1M, they need another $125k, and have only 5 days to find it. If you’d like to see this film made, please support them on Indiegogo, and spread the word.

Software Project “Politics”

Speaking of politics, this is as good a time as any to drag that much-maligned word out for a closer look. Many engineers like to think of politics as something other people engage in. “I’m just advocating the best course for the project, but she’s raising objections for political reasons.” I believe this distaste for politics (or for what is imagined to be politics) is especially strong in engineers because engineers are bought into the idea that some solutions are objectively superior to others. Thus, when someone acts in a way that seems motivated by outside considerations—say, the maintenance of his own position of influence, the lessening of someone else’s influence, outright horse-trading, or avoiding hurting someone’s feelings—other participants in the project may get annoyed. Of course, this rarely prevents them from behaving in the same way when their own vital interests are at stake.

If you consider “politics” a dirty word, and hope to keep your project free of it, give up right now. Politics are inevitable whenever people have to cooperatively manage a shared resource. It is absolutely rational that one of the considerations going into each person’s decision-making process is the question of how a given action might affect his own future influence in the project. After all, if you trust your own judgement and skills, as most programmers do, then the potential loss of future influence has to be considered a technical result, in a sense. Similar reasoning applies to other behaviors that might seem, on their face, like “pure” politics. In fact, there is no such thing as pure politics: it is precisely because actions have multiple real-world consequences that people become politically conscious in the first place. Politics is, in the end, simply an acknowledgment that all consequences of decisions must be taken into account. If a particular decision leads to a result that most participants find technically satisfying, but involves a change in power relationships that leaves key people feeling isolated, the latter is just as important a result as the former. To ignore it would not be high-minded, but shortsighted.

– Karl Fogel, Producing Open Source Software

Bugzilla 1,000,000 Bug Sweepstake Results

Milestone bug 1,000,000 was filed on 2014-04-23 at 01:10 ZST by Archaeopteryx (although rumour has it he used a script, as he also filed the 12 previous bugs in quick succession). The title of the bug was initially “Long word suggestions can move/shift keyboard partially off screen so it overflows” (a Firefox OS Gaia::Keyboard bug, now bug 1000025), but has since been changed to “Celebrate 1000000 bugs, bring your own drinks.”

The winner of the sweepstake to guess the date and time is Gijs Kruitbosch, who guessed 2014-04-25 05:43:21 – which is 2 days, 4 hours, 33 minutes and 5 seconds out. This is a rather wider error, measured in seconds, than the previous sweepstake, but this one had a much longer time horizon – it was instituted 9 months ago. So that’s an error of about 0.95%. The 800,000 bug winner had an error of about 1.55% using the same calculation, so in those terms Gijs’ effort is actually better.

Gijs writes:

I’m Dutch, recently moved to Britain, and I’ll be celebrating my 10th “mozversary” sometime later this year (for those who are counting, bugs had 6 digits and started with “2″ when I got going). Back in 2004, I got started by working on ChatZilla, later the Venkman JS debugger and a bit of Firefox, and last year I started working on Firefox as my day job. Outside of Mozilla, I play the piano every now and then, and try to adjust to living in a nation that puts phone booths in its cycle paths.

The two runners-up are Håvard Mork (2d 14h 50m 52s out) and Mark Banner (8d 8h 24m 36s out). Håvard writes:

My name is Håvard Mork. I’m a Java software developer, working with Firefox and web localization to Norwegian. I’ve been involved with localization since 2003. I think localization is rewarding, because it is a process of understanding the mindset of the users, and their perception of IT.

I’m surprised that my estimate came that close. I spent almost an hour trying to figure out how much bug numbers grow, and estimate the exponential components. Unfortunately I lost the equation, so need to start over for the 2,000,000 sweepstakes…

Mark writes:

I’m Mark Banner, also known as Standard8 on irc, I work from home in the UK. I came to Mozilla through volunteering on Thunderbird, and then working at Mozilla Messaging. I still manage Thunderbird releases. Alongside those, I am working on the Loop project (formally Talkilla), which is aiming to provide a real time communications service for Mozilla products, built on top of WebRTC.

Gijs will get a Most Splendid Package, and also a knitted thing from Sheeri as a special bonus prize! The other winners will receive something a little less splendid, but I’m sure it’ll be worth having nevertheless.

Who We Are

Two weeks ago, I posted about Who We Are and How We Should Be. I wrote:

But before we figure out how to be, we need to figure out who we are. What is the mission around which we are uniting? What’s included, and what’s excluded? Does Mozilla have a strict or expansive interpretation of the Mozilla Manifesto?

Here is my answer.

I think Mozilla needs to have a strict/close/tight/limited (whichever word you prefer) interpretation of the Mozilla Manifesto. To quote that document: we need to focus on “the health of the Internet”. We need to work on “making the Internet experience better”. We need to make sure “the Internet … continue[s] to benefit the public good”. As well as the 10 principles, the Manifesto also has a Mozilla Foundation Pledge:

The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:

  • build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto’s principles;
  • build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto’s principles;
  • use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
  • promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
  • promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.

Some Foundation activities—currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products—are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.

I think that’s an awesome summary of what we should be doing, and I think we should view activities outside that scope with healthy suspicion.

It seems to me that this logical fallacy is common:

  1. Mozilla supports awesome things X and Y.
  2. I, and many Mozillians, also support awesome thing Z, and we use the same type of language to talk about X, Y and Z.
  3. Therefore, Mozilla does/should support awesome thing Z.

It can also appear as:

  1. Mozilla is an activist organization.
  2. I am an activist, and I’m in Mozilla.
  3. Mozilla does/should support me in all my activism.

Given the diversity of Mozillians, these cannot be good logic if applied equally and fairly. Mozilla would end up supporting many mutually-contradictory positions.

Some people believe so strongly in their non-open-web cause that they want to use the power of Mozilla to attain victory in that other cause. I can see the temptation – Mozilla is a powerful weapon. But doing that damages Mozilla – both by blurring our focus and message, and by distancing and discouraging Mozillians and potential Mozillians who take a different view. Those who care about Mozilla’s cause and about other causes deeply may find it hard to resist advocating that we give in to the temptation, but I assert that we as an organization should actively avoid promoting, or letting anyone use the Mozilla name to promote, non-open-web causes, because it will be at the expense of Mozilla’s inclusiveness and focus.

We are Mozillians. We need to agree on the Mozilla Manifesto, and agree to disagree on everything else. Stats At 1,000,000

Thanks to glob, we’ve got some interesting stats from BMO as it crosses the 1M bug mark.


NEW          103655
ASSIGNED       8826
REOPENED       3598
RESOLVED     640326
VERIFIED     220235
CLOSED         1628



DUPLICATE    119242
EXPIRED       10677
FIXED        303099
INVALID       58096
MOVED            27
WONTFIX       36179


DUPLICATE     64702
EXPIRED          27
FIXED        108935
INVALID       17099
MOVED           150
WONTFIX        6105
  • Total bugs fixed (RESOLVED/FIXED + VERFIED/FIXED): 412034
  • Total duplicates: 183944

Bugs Filed Per Day (April)

2014-04-01    519
2014-04-02    531
2014-04-03    620
2014-04-04    373
2014-04-05    133
2014-04-06    132
2014-04-07    544
2014-04-08    622
2014-04-09    597
2014-04-10    571
2014-04-11    467
2014-04-12    156
2014-04-13    170
2014-04-14    573
2014-04-15    580
2014-04-16    574
2014-04-17    619
2014-04-18    356
2014-04-19    168
2014-04-20    118
2014-04-21    445
2014-04-22    635
2014-04-23    787
2014-04-24    562
2014-04-25    498
2014-04-26    173

Busiest Days Ever

2013-12-30    1360 (bulk import from another tracker)
2013-12-29    1081 (bulk import from another tracker)
2008-07-22    1037 (automated security scanner filing bugs)
2012-10-01    1013 (Gaia bugs import)
2014-02-11    805
2014-04-23    787
2014-02-04    678
2013-01-09    675
2013-11-19    647
2014-04-22    635

User Activity

  • We think the earliest bug filed by someone who is still involved with Mozilla is bug 283, which was filed by Wan-Teh Chang on 1998-04-29.
  • 2263 people who logged into Bugzilla at some point in April (i.e. are active users) have filed more than 10 bugs.
  • The most active user by far is bz:
    Bugs filed           4351
    Comments made      148493
    Assigned to          4029
    Commented on        56138
    QA-Contact              8
    Patches submitted    8080
    Patches reviewed    14872
    Bugs poked          66215

(You can find these stats about yourself by going to your own user profile. If you are logged in, you can search for other users and see their stats.)

Top 10: Assignees         349671          16385      15056             13350        11974         10995         4768             4697            4672    4273

Top 10: Reporters          8037          6129      5032            4789             4351      4348     4038            3680            3651         3528

Top 10: Commenters          347695           148481     65552           58588            50560         48840            48704           47453           43596         42885

Top 11: Patches Attached             8080            4879            4502            4397        4079                3930    3890          3739          3659               3530               3411

Top 11: Reviews           15581            14869                9424              8352            8103        7272    6198          5983              5499        5346        5126

PDX Biopsy

(Those who faint when reading about blood may want to skip this one.)

On Tuesday, I went down to London to have the biopsy for the PDX trial in which I’m taking part. The biopsy happened at the Royal Marsden hospital in Chelsea on Wednesday morning. It was a CT-guided needle biopsy, which means that they use a CT scanner in near-real-time to guide a hollow needle towards the lump to be sampled, and the sample extraction needle is then passed down that needle to take multiple samples.

At least, that’s what happens when it all goes well. :-)

The target, I found out on the day, was an isolated tumour in the top corner of my left lung. As they were biopsying my lungs, which are not a stable target, I had to both stay very still, and achieve a consistent size of “held breath”, so that when they moved the needle or did a scan, everything was in pretty much the same place. I was placed on the CT scanner table, and they used a lead-or-similar grid placed on my chest to find the optimum point of entry. They then injected generous quantities of local anaesthetic (a process which itself stings) and started inserting the needle. After each movement, they stopped, slid me into the scanner, told me to take a standard breath, and used the scan to see where the needle was and whether the track needed correction.

All went fairly smoothly until the needle passed through the outer wall of the lung itself. At this point, I started bleeding into my lung, which (although I tried to suppress it) led to significant amounts of convulsive coughing. They had to use suction to remove the liquid from my mouth. One nurse said afterwards that she thought they might well have abandoned the procedure at this point. In someone as young as me, this complication at this point is fairly rare. Of course, coughing so much, I was not able to hold still or take the standard breath, and it was dangerous to move the needle any further.

After a couple of minutes, I managed to get the coughing under control, although later I opened my eyes for a short time and saw blood spatters all over the inside of the CT machine! Once I was stable again, they were able to continue inserting the needle and were able to get 8 good “cores” of sample for use in the PDX trial.

However, a final whole-chest scan revealed that all that jerking about had given me a small pneumothorax, which is where air gets into the pleural space, between the lung and the chest wall. So I had to stay there for longer while they inserted a second needle into a different part of me and attempted to suck out the introduced air. This took less long, and was mostly successful. Any remaining air should, God willing, be reabsorbed in the next week or so.

Towards the end, I asked what my heart rate was; they said “66″. That’s the peace of God in action, I thought. The nurses joked that we should measure the heart rate of the surgeon! :-)

I was sent to the recovery room and then to the Clinical Assessment Unit. After 3 hours, they did a chest X-ray, then after another 2 hours another one, to check that I was stable and the remaining tiny pneumothorax was not growing. It wasn’t, so they let me go home. But I have another X-ray in a week, here in Sheffield, to make sure everything is OK and I’m fine to fly to the USA the following Monday :-)