Is our food less nutricious? (First posting of four)

Have modern intensive farming methods – many of which solved malnutrition problems when they were first introduced –  affected the mineral and vitamin content of what we eat? In 2011, Donald Davis, a now-retired biochemist at the University of Texas, compared the nutrients in US crops from 1950 and 2009, and found notable declines in …

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Warning: don’t fall in love with a foreigner

The Tories pride themselves on being “family-friendly”, says Giles Fraser. Yet their belief in nurturing this precious institution doesn’t extend to “those of us who fall in love with foreigners”. Under a policy introduced in 2012 – and upheld last week by the Supreme Court – Britons applying to bring a non-EU partner or spouse …

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France – the new overwhelming the old

My father spoke excellent French, good enough for him to be an  RAF liaison officer between the British and the Free French forces after D- Day.  He loved France, as my wife and I do, and would have been devastated, not only about the current state of French politics, but about the fate of smaller, …

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An introduction via quotation.

As a new contributor to this blog, I’ve yet to introduce myself properly. But instead of writing about my life story in a rambling sort of way, I thought I’d instead present to you my favourite quotes. They cover a range of topics, from religion, to philosophy, to poverty and even love. I hope they …

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Will many small American colleges fail? No.3 of 3 posts

About 40% of American colleges enroll 1000 or fewer students.  Another 40% enroll 1000 – 5000 students. Most are dependent on tuition fees and don’t have decades of giving by alumnae behind them.  The smaller colleges are competing for a shrinking number of students.  The huge amount of money spent by their larger competitors on …

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How we do a disservice to education, number 1 of 3 posts

From Merrill Lynch’s “Investment Doctor”, under the heading ” the 11 worst degrees if you want a job in today’s job market”: “Surveys of hiring managers have found that having no degree may be better than getting a liberal arts degree. One survey question asked hiring managers what degrees they preferred, and just 1.6 percent …

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The plight of British civility.

In the American imagination, Britain is an old-fashioned country, where the rules of chivalry, courtesy, civility and general politeness are rigorously enforced. The myth of a kind Britain is sometimes believed by the British, who contrast our manners with the boisterous, rude and unnecessarily outspoken personalities of our American cousins. This is certainly the myth …

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A world of ever-increasing complexity

There was an article in The Guardian Weekly  in early January pointing out that our lives are more scrambled and complicated than they have ever been.  The writer, John Harris, called modernity “a mess: multiple user accounts, endless password filling in, smartphone contracts, computer and internet problems that so few of us really understand” and …

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