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Remembrance Day 2018; remembering my grandfathers and remembering who profits from war

My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield
My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield.

Last weekend, Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2018, was the 100th anniversary of the armistice and the end of fighting in the First World War, and I spent time thinking about my lovely grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield. Both of them, thankfully, and unlike many, returned home after military service in that appalling conflagration.

During the Remembrance ceremonies on the TV and radio, I heard ‘Rule Britannia’ being played, and some of the words stuck in my mind;

“Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. And Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

But we are slaves. We are all slaves, like most of the world, to the vast corporations and the obscenely wealthy and powerful who set the agenda, who promote wars and profit from them, who set us against each other to distract us from their activities, who own and direct the majority of our media to spread lies and misinformation in furtherance of their own greedy, self-serving schemes, schemes that are to the detriment of the majority and that add to the destruction of our environment.

Those of us who are fortunate, through accident of birth, to live in relatively wealthy countries and to have a certain amount of personal freedom, must take more care in choosing who to vote for. We must look carefully at our choices and try to select candidates who are independent of the rich and the corporations, or of those who are stoking the flames of nationalism, xenophobia and false patriotism for their own personal gain.

Remember who profits from war, and remember who suffers from it, because they are not the same people.

 

The Old Soldier by Harry Fellows 1987

 

‘The Old Soldier’, shown above, is a moving poem by Harry Fellows that I posted on social media for Remembrance Day. The poem was written in 1987 by Harry Fellows about his friend Walter Smith; they were both living at the Willows Elderly Persons Home where my wife Sue worked at the time.

 

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A selection of jokes and one-liners from the last ten years of the Edinburgh Fringe.

 

Fringe festival logo“Whenever I see a man with a beard, moustache and glasses, I think, ‘There’s a man who has taken every precaution to avoid people doodling on photographs of him’.”

Carey Marx  (2008)

 

“The anti-ageing advert that I would like to see is a baby covered in cream saying, ‘Aah, I’ve used too much’.”

Andrew Bird  (2008)

 

“I like Jesus, but he loves me, so it’s awkward.”

Tom Stade (2008)

 

“My granny was recently beaten to death by my grandad. Not as in, with a stick – he just died first”

Alex Horne (2008)

 

“Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge?”

Dan Antolpolski (2009)

 

“I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: ‘This could be interesting’.”

Paddy Lennox (2009)

 

“I’m sure wherever my Dad is, he’s looking down on us. He’s not dead, just very condescending.”

Jack Whitehall (2009)

 

“As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn’t afford a dog.”

Gary Delaney (2010)

 

“I was playing chess with my friend and he said, ‘Let’s make this interesting’. So we stopped playing chess.”

Matt Kirshen (2011)

 

“I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

Nick Helm (2011)

 

“I was very naive sexually. My first boyfriend asked me to do missionary and I buggered off to Africa for six months.”

Hayley Ellis (2012)

 

“My husband’s penis is like a semi colon. I can’t remember what it’s for and I never use it anyway.”

Mary Bourke (2012)

 

“I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister.”

Will Marsh (2012)

 

“You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case.”

Rob Beckett (2012)

 

“I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!”

Stewart Francis (2012)

 

“I used to be addicted to swimming but I’m very proud to say I’ve been dry for six years.”

Alfie Moore (2013)

 

“I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.”

Rob Auton (2013)

 

“I bought myself some glasses. My observational comedy improved.”

Sara Pascoe (2014)

 

“Most of my life is spent avoiding conflict. I hardly ever visit Syria.”

Alex Horne (2014)

 

“Life is like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t last long if you’re fat.”

Joe Lycett (2014)

 

“You can’t lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon.”

Sara Pascoe (2014)

 

“My Dad said, always leave them wanting more. Ironically, that’s how he lost his job in disaster relief.”

Mark Watson (2014)

 

“Money can’t buy you happiness? Well, check this out; I bought myself a Happy Meal.”

Paul F Taylor (2014)

 

“I wanted to do a show about feminism. But my husband wouldn’t let me.”

Ria Lina (2014)

 

“One thing you’ll never hear a Hindu say… ‘Ah well, you only live once’.”

Hardeep Singh Kohli (2014)

 

“I’m learning the hokey cokey. Not all of it. But – I’ve got the ins and outs.”

Iain Stirling (2014)

 

“People say I’ve got no willpower but I’ve quit smoking loads of times.”

Kai Humphries (2014)

 

“My friend got a personal trainer a year before his wedding. I thought: ‘Bloody hell, how long’s the aisle going to be’.”

Paul McCaffrey (2014)

 

“Feminism is not a fad. It’s not like Angry Birds. Although it does involve a lot of Angry Birds. Bad example.”

Bridget Christie (2014)

 

“Miley Cyrus. You know when she was born? 1992. I’ve got condiments in my cupboard older than that.”

Lucy Beaumont (2014)

 

“Red sky at night: shepherd’s delight. Blue sky at night: day.”

Tom Parry (2015)

 

“My Dad told me to invest my money in bonds. So I bought 100 copies of Goldfinger.”

Nick Hall (2015)

 

“The first time I met my wife, I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves.”

Alun Cochrane (2015)

 

“My cat is recovering from a massive stroke.”

Darren Walsh (2015)

 

“I went to Waterstones and asked the woman for a book about turtles, she said ‘hardback?’ and I was like, ‘yeah and little heads’.”

Mark Simmons (2015)

 

“If you don’t know what introspection is, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.”

Ian Smith (2015)

 

“I learned about method acting at drama school, when all my classmates stayed in character as posh, patronising twats for the entire three years I was there.”

Bridget Christie (2015)

 

“I usually meet my girlfriend at 12:59 because I like that one-to-one time.”

Tom Ward (2015)

 

“‘Son, I don’t think you’re cut out to be a mime.’ ‘Was it something I said?’ asks the son. ‘Yes’.”

Damien Slash (2015)

 

“One in four frogs is a leap frog.”

Chris Turner (2016)

 

“Is it possible to mistake schizophrenia for telepathy? I hear you ask.”

Jordan Brookes (2016)

 

“I was thinking of running a marathon, but I think it might be too difficult getting all the roads closed and providing enough water for everyone.”

Jordan Brookes (2016)

 

“Golf is not just a good walk ruined, it’s also the act of hitting things violently with a stick ruined.”

John Luke-Roberts (2016)

 

“It all starts innocently, mixing chocolate and Rice Krispies, but before you know it you’re adding raisins and marshmallows – it’s a rocky road.”

Olaf Falafel (2016)

 

“I have the woman-flu. Which is like the man-flu, but worse, because I also regularly have periods and I get paid less.”

Sofie Hagen (2016)

 

“I think the bravest thing I’ve ever done is misjudge how much shopping I want to buy and still not go back to get a basket.”

Stuart Laws (2016)

 

“Drug use gets an unfair reputation considering all the beautiful things in life it has given us like rock ‘n’ roll and sporting achievement.”

Jason John Whitehead (2016)

 

“I’m not a very muscular man; the strongest thing about me is my password.”

Rory O’Keeffe (2016)

 

“I don’t have the Protestant work ethic, I have the Catholic work ethic; in that I don’t work, but I do feel very guilty about that.”

Rory O’Keeffe (2016)

 

“I love Snapchat. I could talk about classic card games all day.”

Aatif Nawaz (2016)

 

“People who use selfie sticks really need to have a good, long look at themselves.”

Abi Roberts (2016)

 

“I think children are like Marmite. You either love them or you keep them at the back of the cupboard next to the piccalilli.”

Abi Roberts (2016)

 

“Jokes about white sugar are rare. Jokes about brown sugar, Demerara.”

Olaf Falafel (2016)

 

“A rescue cat is like recycled toilet paper. Good for the planet, but scratchy.”

Chris Turner (2016)

 

“I bumped into my French teacher the other day who asked me what I’m up to now. I told her I go to the cinema and play football with my brother.”

Adam Hess (2016)

 

“Hey, if anyone knows how to fix some broken hinges, my door’s always open.”

Paul F. Taylor (2016)

 

“I’m very conflicted by eye tests. I want to get the answers right but I really want to win the glasses.”

Caroline Mabey (2017)

 

“Insomnia is awful. But on the plus side – only three more sleeps till Christmas.”

Robert Garnham (2017)

 

 

 

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Humour

Puns and word-play

Quotations

Resistance Persistence

Resistance Persistence
“Requesting unnecessary antibiotics will not only be of no benefit to you, but could also endanger those that really need them.”

Published by Alice Manterfield, MSci Student at the University of Nottingham.

Snailtergeist

If you live in the UK like me, you will probably come across advertisements from the ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign by Public Health England. The campaign has featured billboards, TV, radio and online adverts including the following infographic:

taken from http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/news/a29096/phe-antibiotics-campaign/

Antibiotic resistance occurs over time as bacteria adapt and reproduce. For example, if there is a population of bacteria in a human body, some of which have developed a mechanism of resistance to a certain antibiotic, these bacteria will survive and be able to reproduce inside someone treated with this antibiotic. While this process will happen naturally it is greatly accelerated by the overuse of antibiotics when they are not needed. A large contribution to overuse in the UK is the insistence of patients to request antibiotics from their GPs when they experience flu-like symptoms. According to this review from Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, most infections that antibiotics…

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Meating Expectations

Meating Expectations.
Lab-grown meat is in the news again, but would you eat it?
“…the idea that the way in which meat is produced conventionally is ‘the way nature intended’ seems absurd and finding a viable alternative that can produce meat without killing animals is anything but disgusting.”
Published by Alice Manterfield, MSci Student at the University of #Nottingham.

Snailtergeist

jeremy lab meat Jeremy samples cultured beef without hesitation.

I have been following the technology behind lab-grown meat since I first saw an introductory article about it in The New Scientist as a teenager. In a nutshell, cultured meat is a form of cellular agriculture, producing meat from cell culture rather than by traditional livestock methods. The first step in growing cultured meat is to isolate animal cells that have a rapid rate of proliferation. While stem cells can be used for this, myoblasts are often favoured as they have already differentiated sufficiently and their proliferation rate, while lower, is high enough to be useful. These cells are placed in an appropriate growth medium and grown on a scaffold to promote a three dimensional structure.  A team of four scientists from the Netherlands headed by Mark Post created the world’s first burger made from cultured meat in 2013 from muscle strips derived from…

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The causes of behavioural handedness – Part 2: can it be learned?

Snail training; discover how and where to poke a snail with a stick (very gently to avoid sulking).

Snailtergeist

In the second part of my project, which I am now a couple of weeks into, I am exploring whether the innate turning preference of snails can be altered by training them to turn in a certain direction. To accomplish this, I have been given a group of inbred sinistral Lymnaea stagnalis raised in the lab, one of which has turned out to be a surprisingly majestic dancer.

These snails, like the famous Jeremy, also have reversed shells! Below is a photograph of one of the dextral snails from my first experiment and a sinistral snail from my second for comparison:

My new cohort of 23 lefty snails mostly got along fine in their new tanks with the exception of snail 11729 who hardly moved during initial observations and died shortly afterwards. We can only assume he has joined Jeremy in the sinistral snail afterlife.

Jeremy & E

To attempt to train the…

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The causes of behavioural handedness – Part 1: is it inherited?

Snailtergeist

Behavioural handedness is a part of everyday life that you probably don’t put much thought into. Roughly 90% of the population is right handed and prefer using their right hand for most manual tasks. As with most things handedness is not completely black and white and some prefer to use their non-dominant hand for some activities. Personally the only left thing about me is my political leaning. My left hand is useless and I favour my right for every task I can think of. As is common to right-handers, I also have a tendency to turn right upon entering a new environment. I share this behavioural bias with snail number 11714.

My masters project utilizes the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis as a model organism to study the causes of behavioural handedness. This is a different species of snail to the famous Jeremy, although the snails I’m using for the second…

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Are Vitamins Vital?

Snailtergeist

Jeremy supplementsLike many people my age, I have fond memories of taking my daily vitamins as a child. The opportunity to eat a jelly sweet with a smiley face on it before breakfast was a welcome one, my favourite being Bassett’s soft and chewy in orange. It is still recommended by the NHS that children between the age of 6 months to 5 years should take supplements of vitamin A, C and D on a daily basis based on clinical evidence. The same recommendation however, is not made for adults. Despite the huge public interest in vitamin supplements (with an estimated public spend of £364 million in the UK each year), their supposed health benefits for the general public are somewhat dubious. While useful in some subgroups or for those with diagnosed deficiencies, many vitamin supplements consumed by the general public are at best a waste of money and at worst…

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