A recent Observer included two pages on world hunger and the global food crisis. There was a lot of material, some negative, some more positive, including suggested ideas for tackling the problem.
Even a broadsheet needs to encourage its readers, and this is achieved through a notable quote or two, one of which did catch my eye. It’s from Professor Tim Lang, a former UK government adviser on sustainable development. It doesn’t necessarily summarise the whole piece, but is pretty powerful:
The unpalatable truth is that there are 870 million people starving, 2 billion malnourished,
and 1.4 billion overweight and obese.
Yesterday’s Pick Of The Pops was from May 1977 and included Carole Bayer Sager’s (only) hit: You’re Moving Out Today.
Today I drove two lots of 180 miles to help daughter L move out of her student flat in Portsmouth. A highly symbolic moment as she has just finished her degree. Now L has no forty-fives and not one cassette – let alone 61 – but the song fitted the moment perfectly.
70s pop is ubiquitous: it’s easy to assume that the youtube generation has heard it all. When I tested L with the name Carole Bayer Sager it was unfamiliar, so we enjoyed a rather tinny rendition courtesy of her smartphone.
Before today I’d have said I was no great fan of Father’s Day. But there’s been some interesting commentary about fatherly matters on the radio – and I’ve actually had a pretty good day. In fact – running this errand for my daughter – being a dad – was a great way of spending Father’s Day.
On the run back in the car, (Radio 2′s) Johnnie Walker was good enough to play Hong Kong Garden (Siouxsie and the Banshees). And when I got home I was pleased to receive a genuinely laugh-out-loud card from daughter J.
I’ve been studying maths with the Open University for over a decade, and an annual 3-hour exam has become part of my routine. I don’t actually like exams, but there is something pleasing about the ritual, and they are so unlike anything else, that they make good place markers with respect to the passage of time.
The great thing about maths is that exam preparation doesn’t require revision as such, it’s more about identifying the problem types that may come up, and practising – by doing. Another positive aspect of exam preparation is – in some cases – you are forced to investigate some parts of the course that you failed properly to get to the bottom of first time round.
These exams are pretty demanding: even if the right questions come up and you’re on top of the material – there’s a lot to be done, and to get right, in the time available. Typically with maths exams you have a pretty good idea about how well you are doing in any particular problem: very much a two-edged sword.
Exams require you to shed much of your day-to-day paraphernalia. Here’s what I did take:
- Umbrella (not needed).
- House keys.
- Reading glasses (on which I am 100% dependent).
- Two black biros.
- Calculator (not needed – thankfully as using one is a real weak spot).
- Passport (picture ID – checked).
- Printout of exam logistics and venue.
- Murray Mints (6 eaten).
- Kit Kats (not eaten).
- Water (300ml drunk).
Plus MST326 (Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics) handbook, annotated with my crib notes on:
- Line integrals in cartesian coordinates.
- Steps for second order partial differential equation with change of variables.
- Derivation of some water wave results.
- Wave parameters (λ=wavelength; ω=angular frequency; κ=wave number).
- d’Alembert’s solution to the wave equation; role of characteristic curves.
Wave parameters is a good example of something really very easy that I simply cannot remember. And the role of characteristics in interpreting d’Alembert’s solution is a (small) topic I only really to grips with in the immediate run-up to the exam.
In a recent post I mentioned how much I’d enjoyed a tribute band – Rainbow Rising – clearly indicating my long-term enthusiasm for (Ritchie Blackmore’s) Rainbow.
What’s interesting is that in coming up for two years of blogging, this is my first reference to Rainbow, despite quite a bit of my blog being music-related.
I suppose the rationale is that I’ve concentrated on ‘pop’ music – where ‘pop’ is interpreted pretty widely – because pop songs are short, snappy, and potentially have instant appeal – subject to individual taste. And I’ve steered clear of ‘rock’ because the songs are longer, and the genre lends itself less well to the world of youtube and the like. In the case of Rainbow, we are into ‘heavy rock’ or ‘heavy metal’: a step yet further away from the mainstream.
There’s more to say on Rainbow. Who knows – I may even try to find a suitable youtube clip or two, just to illustrate how brilliant they were – while acknowledging that they may lack universal appeal.
Rainbow had a number of iterations, but my focus is a narrow window in the mid-1970s: in particular on two astounding studio albums, and live performances corresponding to that era. And I really should name the singer: a certain Ronnie James Dio.
The great advantage of 5:2 is that it’s a diet that can easily be sustained. However it is necessary to take breaks every now and then. Since starting in Oct 2012 I’ve had three: 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week at Easter, and 1 week last week when we enjoyed a UK cottage break.
On breaks I eat normally. Actually that’s not true: breaks either mean extra time at home – which leads to grazing, or time away – which means eating out. The cottage holiday last week featured: plenty of sitting around; driving substituted for walking; some excellent pub meals; and a steady supply of pastries / donuts / muffins / turnovers from the local Tesco. After all that I even felt heavier.
So it was no surprise that to find that my weight had indeed gone up quite a bit, from 87.6 kg on 25 May, to 90.1 kg on 1 June.
Interestingly though, body fat remained low, and had even gone down over the same period: from 24.2% to 23.7%.
Now on a day-to-day basis body fat changes quite a bit – often with no rhyme or reason – so there’s not much to be read into individual readings. However it’s certainly true – for me – that the downward trend in body fat is much less affected by diet breaks, than weight.
From this morning’s Sounds of the 60s came this quite extraordinary track:
Never heard of the band, the song, or anything quite like it – so this represents a terrific discovery.
Modern Folk Quartet (MFQ) got started in Honolulu in 1962. The single, Night Time Girl, dates from 1966. As you will see, there’s quite a bit of background information included in the youtube video. Additionally there’s a brief wikipedia entry: I enjoyed reading that on re-forming in 2003, they toured Japan, and remain popular there, meaning that their official website is mostly in Japanese.