A drilling rig in the South China Sea

Industry has always had a nasty habit of plundering the natural world “before science has understood its importance”, says Chris Packham. And that’s what’s happening right now on the ocean floor. We know more about the surface of Mars than about the deep seabed. On almost every mission “scientists discover new species”. Yet with almost …

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Nuts

On average, U.S. adults put on one pound of weight every year.  Researchers looked at the diet and weight of more than 280,000 adults taking part in three long-term research studies. Over more than 20 years of monitoring, participants were asked every four years about their weight and, among other things, how often, over the …

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Time to say farewell to steak?

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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Student mental illness (Part 2)

Statistic of the week:  75%  of diagnosable mental illnesses crop up by the age of 24, driven by fear of failure and the eternal chatter about how essential it is to get a job straight out of college. American psychologists are increasingly seeing children with ADD  and some kind of executive functioning problem among college students …

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Student mental illness ( Part 1)

A surge in anxiety, mental breakdowns, depression and stress is sweeping British university campuses. Above all, a growing proportion just seem terrified of failure, and experience the whole process of learning and assessment as an unforgiving ordeal that offers no room for creativity or mistakes,” says William Davies, lecturer at Goldsmiths and author of The …

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Thought for the day

Crises Eruptions Anxieties Stressful encounters Document losses House keys mislaid Dents in the bumper Disappointments Rain on your parade Promised phone calls never happening No less than five political fundraising calls in a day Netflix buffering for twenty minutes The local food store is out of milk, tea and cereal The boiling coffee pot has …

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The climate change protests

Thousands of people around the world joined a global climate change protest yesterday, with pupils walking out of schools and workers downing tools to demand action.  The British demonstrators numbered about 100,000. The British Education Secretary Gavin Williamson predictably said “every child” should be in school.   “They should be learning, they shouldn’t be bunking off and …

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Dynastic wealth and greed

When Cordelia Mellon Scaife was born in 1928 she was the world’s “richest baby”. Her grand-uncle, the industrialist-turned-U.S. treasury secretary Andrew Mellon, spent his lifetime squeezing workers and fighting to cut rich people’s taxes. But Mellon’s impact on American life didn’t end with his 1937 death. His heir Richard Mellon Scaife — Cordelia’s brother — …

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The back pain epidemic: Why popular treatments are making it worse

Chronic back pain is on the rise – in part because the way we treat it often does more harm than good. It’s time to think differently about our aches.  One in four adults are experiencing it right now, and 90 per cent of people having back pain at least once in their life. Nearly a …

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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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Sit less, move more, live longer

“You don’t need to go to the gym to benefit from exercise: even activities such as walking slowly or washing dishes can significantly boost a person’s longevity, a study has found. Researchers from Norway looked at data on 36,000 people with an average age of 63 whose activity levels were monitored over six years. Any …

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Try having a conversation about Brexit!

In reply to my posting about winning arguments, Carmen, a regular reader ( thank you, Carmen!) makes the following point: “A pre-problem which I’ve experienced before even reaching a “how-to-win-the-argument” mode, is  establishing an agreement–stated or implied– to commit to a conversation. People are adept at giving their political viewpoints but at the same time …

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Study links sleep deprivation with cardiovascular disease

People who struggle with sleep might be at greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems, according to Prof Hugh Markus, of Cambridge University.  Those (including the author of this posting) who are genetically predisposed to insomnia have a greater risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease. I think I must have personally tried every drug …

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The British crisis: MPs discover they have spines

In 1689 the Act of Settlement decreed that sovereignty lay with the King in Parliament.  By the turn of the last century the King had become a figurehead and Parliament reigned supreme.  Supreme over the executive as well.  More recently the executive has grown in power.  Why is that?  Because Parliament has allowed it to …

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