Big company mismanagement: don’t fly British Airways!

We were on our way home from Catania airport, Sicily, on a British Airways flight.  It turned out that BA had transported 18 disabled people from Gatwick airport – in wheelchairs –  to Sicily, and that these same people were on our return flight.  ( I hope they enjoyed themselves) Now you would think that …

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The war against antibiotic resistance: Part 2, the good news

The threat posed by antibiotic resistance has finally got through to governments.  98 new formulations are being tested in animals, and nearly two-thirds attack bacteria differently from older drugs, increasing their chance of success. In May this year, the UK government will  pay two companies to bring new anti-microbial drugs to market. The price of …

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138 surgeries close their doors

GPs have blamed under-resourcing and recruitment difficulties as surgery closures across the UK reach an all- time high, affecting an estimated half a million patients last year. According to research by the medical website Pulse, 138 surgeries shut their doors in 2018, compared with just 18 in 2013. Data released under freedom of information by …

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The NRA is now an extreme political party

Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association opposed a bill that would prevent convicted stalkers and abusive boyfriends from possessing guns. “Why? Because any gun purchase increases profits for gun manufacturers, and any regulation – even common-sense measures – is to be opposed.” Having brought the group to this indecent and immoral policy the NRA …

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The end of days for the family farm

Publicity for Blue Apron, a company selling pasture-raised, slow-growth, heirloom chickens direct to consumers as meal-kits, weekly if you want them, is a welcome development that  points up the disaster that is now ubiquitous factory farming, In the Midwest, rural towns are being (have been) destroyed by huge corporations buying up land and building vast …

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Something to make you smile

This notice can now be found in all French churches: En entrant dans cette église, il est possible que vous entendiez l’appel de Dieu. Par contre, il n’est pas susceptible de vous contacter par téléphone. Merci d’avoir éteint votre téléphone. Si vous souhaitez parler à Dieu, entrez, choisissez un endroit tranquille et parle lui. Si vous souhaitez le voir, envoyez-lui un SMS en conduisant. Translation: It is possible that on entering …

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To see British politicians as others see them

 Bloomberg reports this comment from Germany’s deputy foreign minister: “The U.K. government consists mostly of clueless boarding-school graduates. “Brexit is a big shitshow, I say that now very undiplomatically,” Michael Roth said at an event of his Social Democratic Party in Berlin on Saturday. He accused “90 percent” of the British cabinet of having “no …

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A depressed nation

There were more than 70m prescriptions for antidepressants in England in 2018 to treat conditions including depression and anxiety, according to NHS Digital. The 2016 and 2017 figures were 64.7m and 67.5m respectively. In 2008 the figure was 36 million. Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “For many people antidepressants …

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25 visitors with snow on their boots

I don’t do it often (it’s the quality of visitor to this blog that is important, not the number), but yesterday I had occasion to inspect the statistics associated with this blog.  25 Russians are  shown as visitors to the blog, just yesterday. Now why would 25 Russian citizens visit a blog called Epicurus.Today, presented …

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A passage worthy of Epicurus and appropriate for our roiled-up times

“There are among us still those who would deny to others the right to hold a different understanding of the fundamental issues of our time.  Thus, if we look around us , we see dogma still in conflict with rival dogma; we see people of one culture or belief at odds with their human neighbours …

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Womb rental: a racket for the rich

Kim Kardashian is having another baby. Well she’s not actually “having” it herself. She and her husband, the rapper Kanye West, are paying another woman to give birth to it. “I’m totally gonna forget,” she explains. “Then a month before I’m gonna be like holy shit, we need to get a nursery.” Rent-a-womb is legal …

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Some good news? A second green revolution?

Photosynthesis – the process used by plants to convert light energy into the chemical energy that fuels growth – is one of nature’s most crucial chemical reactions. And an international team of scientists (mainly from US and British universities) now believe they can use a genetic “hack” to make the process more efficient, and, in …

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Street philosophy. No.1

Three philosophers were stationed on a New York street, prepared to take questions from the passers- by. A little girl, six years old, approached the group and asked, “How do I know I’m real?” Suddenly I was back in graduate school, reported one of the philosophers later. Should I talk about the French philosopher Rene …

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