Saturday 25th March 2023
  • How to Survive Hopelessness

    Dougal Robertson (January 29, 1924–September 22, 1991) was still a teenager, the youngest of a Scottish music teacher’s eight children, when he joined the British Merchant Navy. After a Japanese attack on a steamship during WWII killed his wife and young son, he left the navy and moved to Hong Kong, where he eventually met and married a nurse.

    Together, they began a new life as dairy farmers in the English countryside, on a farm without electricity or running water. Eventually, they had a daughter, then a son, then a pair of twins.

    After nearly two decades on the farm, the family had an unorthodox idea for how to best educate their children, how to show them what a vast and wondrous place the world is, full of all kinds of different people and all kinds of different ways of living: They sold everything they had, bought a schooner, and set out to sail around the world, departing on January 27, 1971.

    Continued here

  • Soutzoukakia: The Greek meatballs packed with history

    Soutzoukakia are more than their literal translation: meatballs. They are undeniably rich and comforting, laced with hints of red wine, cumin and garlic and swathed in a hearty tomato sauce. It's a dish packed with flavour as well as history. The origins of soutzoukakia trace back to the Greek population of the early 20th Century Empire. This is a dish that was created by a minority population and survived atrocities, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of survivors who carried the recipe with them from Turkey to Greece.

    Carolina Doriti, brings its history and recipe together in her new cookbook, Salt of the Earth: Secrets and Stories from a Greek Kitchen (March 2023). Born-and-raised in Athens, Doriti has spent most of her life in the Greek capital. She started cooking at a young age, with food playing an integral part in her life. She began cooking professionally in 2005 and has since worked as a private chef, recipe developer, food journalist and restaurant consultant. She's also the culinary producer of the celebrated Greek American chef, Diane Kochilas' PBS program, My Greek Table.

    Continued here

  • Super Mario Bros: The ultimate video game icon

    Back in the mid-1980s, I was thrilled to unwrap a hi-tech gift for my ninth birthday: a handheld Game + Watch version of the arcade hit Donkey Kong. I played the game obsessively, captivated by its split screen liquid-crystal display, and the simple expressiveness of its hero character: a plucky monochrome figure called Mario, who would scale a construction site to rescue a captive princess. Mario had three lives in this platform game, but an apparently infinite appeal beyond it.

    - The 1991 video game that packs a punch - The music most embedded in our psyches? - How gaming became a form of meditation

    Continued here

  • Soaring interest rates contributed to recent bank failures - and there could be more to come

    US bank regulators closed Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on March 10 2023, after it suffered US$42 billion (£35 billion) of deposit withdrawals in a 24-hour period. This was the largest bank failure since the 2008 global financial crisis and was not supposed to happen again.

    Since the 2008 crisis, international bank regulations have been greatly tightened and, among other measures, banks now have more capital to absorb losses and protect themselves from insolvency. Yet, even though SVB’s capital was above the minimum level required by regulators, this was not enough to keep it alive.

    Continued here

  • Misophonia: nearly one in five UK adults have the condition causing extreme reactions to certain sounds

    Many of us have sounds that we find to be annoying. But for some people, certain sounds actually trigger extreme reactions. It’s a disorder known as misophonia, where sounds like chewing, sniffing and pen clicking can cause intense emotional reactions – and sometimes even physical reactions, such as an elevated heart rate and spike in blood pressure.

    As it turns out, this condition is more common than many realise, as our recent study showed. We estimate that nearly one in five adults in the UK may have misophonia.

    Continued here

  • Naked women have long been seen as a threat - today's puritanism is just the latest cycle of western history

    In the middle of the fourth century BC, an ancient Greek woman named Phryne cast off her clothes and walked naked into the sea at the Festival of Poseidon. While it earned her a job as nude model for one of Greece’s top artists, it also landed her in court on the charge of impiety, for which the punishment was death.

    Today Greece plays host to many a scantily clad holidaymaker, and with the sexual revolution behind us, many would like to think that women are free to do whatever they like with their own bodies.

    Continued here

  • Succession planning: not all family businesses feud - here's how they help younger generations take over

    Director, Centre for Family Business, Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Lancaster University

    When the world’s richest and most powerful families deal with the tricky task of succession planning, it can attract a lot of interest. Think of news reports from the Murdoch’s media empire or, more recently, luxury goods company LVMH. Even fictional clans such as the Roys of TV show Succession attract massive global audiences with tales of dysfunction as members battle for control of the family firm.

    Continued here

  • Plastic fibres stunt growth in mussels by more than a third - here's why this is a concern

    Plastic pollution poses a threat to marine wildlife. The plastic bags, bottles and straws that we see strewn across beaches have long been identified as a danger. But tiny fragments of plastic – called microplastics – that are less than 5mm in size are also a major source.

    Microfibres are the most common type of microplastic and account for up to 91% of the microplastics that float around our seas. These minuscule fibres are shed from textiles as a result of the wearing and washing of clothes, and from the weathering and abrasion of marine equipment.

    Continued here

  • Why elite athletes should develop mindfulness to up their game

    Athletes at the very highest level of their sport face the challenge of performing consistently under pressure amid many potential distractions, including performance anxiety, crowd behaviour, their own and others’ expectations, and the responses of their opponents.

    The performance of players in the 2023 Australian Open, for example, demonstrated the psychological factors needed to succeed at elite-level tennis.

    Continued here

  • How 'misogyny influencers' cater to young men's anxieties

    Parents, teachers and politicians are worried about the appeal of so-called “online misogyny influencers” to boys and young men.

    These influencers post content to thousands of followers in videos and podcasts, offering advice about relationships, mental health and wellbeing, and achieving material success and status. They are believed to be having a negative effect on young men’s attitudes, beliefs and expectations, including about gender roles and relationships between men and women.

    Continued here