What a mess we are making of our planet!

Microplastics have been found dropping from the sky in a remote stretch of the high Pyrenees – a stark illustration of the way that the pollutants, carried on the winds, have the potential to accumulate “anywhere and everywhere”.  Humans and other animals are consuming microplastics via food and water (including tap water), and there is …

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One person’s (very personal) journey towards Epicureanism

When I was seven years old I was sent to a boarding school.  There I was cheek by jowl with the other little boys, sharing ice-cold baths in the morning and crammed into small rooms with eight other boys, teasing and being teased. There was no privacy whatsoever. On to the next school at 13, which …

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Five things you shouldn’t do

Don’t smoke The Hisayama Study, an ongoing investigation of a suburban Japanese community, has found that smoking in mid to late life not only raises the risk of lung cancer, but also ups the chance of developing dementia. Smokers who quit, even in their 40s or 50s, didn’t see the same rise in risk. Don’t …

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“Climate change – an apology”

The following poem is excerpted from “ The Rueful Hippopotamus”, an anthology of light verse  by the present author, published by ByD Press and available on Amazon: What will they say of us when we are gone, When it dawns on them all that their grandparents knew (As they wrestle with flooding, starvation and storms), …

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From Seneca: on protecting our time

Seneca  commented on what is at stake when a person asks, not to mention demands, another’s time — an admonition that applies  to the incessant requests for meetings, for donations and the barrage of People Wanting Things: “All those who call you to themselves draw you away from yourself.” I am always surprised to see …

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Semi-comprehensible soundtracks on modern movies

Is it just me, but do other people understand what actors are saying in modern movies? When I was younger I did a lot of amateur acting.  We performed in the massive great barn of a place called the Wimbledon Theatre in London.  Our director was great, but a bit of a tyrant.  She used …

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Liberty and licence: a moral and ethical question.

The  posting below about Big Soda trying to persuade the government that consuming excessive sugar is fine as long as you take plenty of exercise raises the issue of Liberty. The Obama Administration was taken to task for what some regarded as too many regulations protecting consumers, the environment etc.  The current Administration is scrapping swathes …

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“Stress” interviews: hiring by humiliation

Job interviews are rarely a pleasant experience but the one Olivia Bland recently endured appears to have been particularly hideous. The 22-year-old graduate says she was left in tears at the bus stop after a two-hour grilling by Craig Dean, the boss of a tech company in Oldham where she had hoped to become a …

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Young people – how they might live

In the old days there was almost full employment for the majority of ones working life, a final salary pension, health benefits, sick leave, and a paid holiday entitlement. These benefits have evaporated, and in their place has emerged the short-term contract, which offers no security and few benefits, and large education debts that are hard to …

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Why is modern culture so awful?

In the contemporary era, with our record levels of wealth, technological advancement and scientific understanding, it follows that our culture should be as groundbreaking as everything else. We should be composing the best ever music, building the best ever buildings, and painting the best ever art. Yet in most ways, the culture of the past …

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Fitness and insomnia

Insomniacs have one less thing to worry about: harmful as their condition can be, it probably won’t shorten their lives, according to the latest research. A team at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, reviewed 17 previous studies involving 37 million people, and found that while sleeplessness may be associated with diabetes, depression and dementia, it …

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Social media sours the soul

“There’s no such thing as the season of goodwill when it comes to political debate on social media. It’s all about fury and outrage. Even when tweets are funny, you can taste the “anger inside the sugar coating of smug satire”. Rage is contagious – it spreads like an infection across online forums, which have …

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Are American men in crisis?

According to some commentators, American men are in crisis. For Democrats declining workforce participation rates, rising suicide rates and increasing drug use are symptomatic of an economy that is too weak and rigid to offer men the opportunity they need to thrive. Republicans prefer to focus on social causes of men’s woes: the rise of …

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