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A single shot tour of LSE

Impressive video from the student union of my alma mater. I try not to let myself regret much but I do regret not knowing when I was at university what I do now. I had a great time at university but I’d get a lot more out of it now. Anyway, I’ll stop before this turns into a horrific ‘youth is wasted on the young’ musing,


How dietitians tested if Britain would be starved into defeat

In December 1939, Britain had been at war with Germany for three months. U-boat attacks threatened incoming food shipments. And, armed with bicycles and walking boots, a group of medical researchers headed to the Lake District to conduct a secret study: if Britain was totally cut off from food imports, would starvation hand victory to Germany?

Fascinating article in the Guardian about some research done during the opening months of the second world war on whether the rations that would be necessary if Britain’s external food supply were cut off would be sufficient to keep the nation healthy. Maybe I’m finding it more fascinating because I’m on a fasting day, but I wonder if we were forced today to stick to the rations that the researchers tested – “one egg a week (a third of the pre-war consumption); a quarter of a pint of milk a day (half the pre-war consumption); a pound of meat and 4oz of fish per week” – would we as a nation actually be healthier? Of course, food is only one side of the equation; the research took into account the need for food to provide energy for the war efforts.

My favourite line in the article: “All the fibre in the diet caused 250% bigger poos.”

I still find it so hard to say what I need to say…

It was Blue Monday in full force today – a delayed comedown from Festival Number 6. I took last Monday off as a travelling day so I suppose the four-day week helped me concentrate on enjoying the endorphins from last weekend but today, for some reason, I really wished I were back in Portmeirion. Actually, the lovely weather – 20ºC and sunny – was probably a contributory factor. When the rain and wind starts lashing down again, maybe that will bring back the less favourable memories.

That said, I think I’m going to save up and treat myself to a tipi at Festival Number 6 next year, or maybe even a hotel room if they start off charging reasonable (relatively speaking) prices, instead of the last-minute deals that came up.

Everything you need to know: September equinox 2013 | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

It’s the autumn equinox today/tonight, so and EarthSky has everything you need to know about it.

This is our autumn equinox, when the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway. South of the equator, spring begins.

If you want to get a bit more mumbo-jumbo about it, EarthSky’s also got an article about the autumn equinox, cycles of nature and Chinese philosophy.

Newsreader pronounces 35-character surname… twice

On the one hand, the BBC does have its pronunciation unit, a department dedicated to helping its employees pronounce words properly. On the other hand – well, actually, use both hands to applaud this excellent bit of broadcasting…