Inequality in the UK

The five richest families in the United Kingdom own more wealth than the bottom 13 million people.  The extreme inequality these numbers illustrate will likely be a motivating factor for UK voters in the imminent general election. These voters have a clear choice: accept the years of austerity that have deepened UK inequality or set …

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Optimism boosts longevity

People with optimistic outlooks tend to live longer than their more negative peers, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have found. The study drew on data from two long-running studies of Americans aged over 60: one of 1,500 male war veterans, and one of 70,000 female nurses. At the start of both, the participants …

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More on self-perception

9% of British men consider themselves handsome; a further 7% regard themselves as good-looking. By contrast, just 1% of British women describe themselves as beautiful and 2% as good-looking. (YouGov/The Times,  21 September 2019). Epicurus would no doubt have commented that it is what is in the hearts and minds of men and women that matters, …

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When God lost our planet – a poem

Each day unfurled, Another world! God sits up there and gently nurses Spanking, brand new universes.   Purblinding flash! Oh, boom, oh, crash! A zillion atoms spun in space. Where did they fly? Some place, some place.   For thirteen billion years, we’re told, Did God his galaxies unfold With neutron stars and cosmic rays. Thus …

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A brilliant Epicurean put-down

Multimillionaire Donny Deutsch on Medicare For All: “[My parents] worked really hard to put me in a position where I can buy the kind of insurance I want… If I can’t buy it for my children, we are going backwards. We’re fucking Denmark.” …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. To: Donny Deutsch From: Djaffar Shalchi, Danish millionaire and founder, Human …

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Time to say farewell to steak and chips (fries)

Soon, most of us will stop eating beef,  and it won’t be because we’ll all agree with vegans that meat is murder. It’ll be due to the logic of advanced capitalism. The alternatives to meat now being developed – plant-based substitutes and vat-grown meat produced from cultured animal cells – will taste the same as …

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Almost too ridiculous

From The Times. 12 July 2019: “Please beware. There may be nudity. Or loud noises. Or cigarette smoking”  “Theatre productions issue all sorts of health warnings to ticket buyers these days.  But London’s Donmar Warehouse has gone a step further: it is protecting audiences from any possible distress by giving detailed information in advance about scenes …

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The allure of handwriting

“We are collectively more than ever obsessed with individual identity, our personal brand, putting our stamp on the world. But we bow to the plain text of the smartphone, bland and unblotted. A WhatsApp message will never have the personality of a sibling’s spider-scribble. Digital communication can never match the intimacy of a handwritten letter. …

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How to behave on a date

Unbelievably, The Independent newspaper recently offered the following tips on dating behaviour: Even if the conversation has run dry within 15 minutes, do not do a runner. It’s just mean and rude. No “negging” – handing out backhanded compliments to gain the psychological upper hand. Although recommended by pick-up “experts”, it usually backfires for those …

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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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