There is an apocryphal story about a London taxi driver talking about celebrity fares (as they do): "I had that Bertrand Russell in my cab the other day. I asked him 'So Bertie, what's it all about then?' and you know, he couldn't tell me." If that is true, then what hope for the rest … Continue reading What’s it all about, then?
I have just started reading A Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe by Steven Novella, and although I am only part-way through it I can see already that it is an important book, as well as being an entertaining read. He starts by getting us to question how we know the things that we think we … Continue reading Seeing faces
A few days ago I found myself looking at the Moon, as one does. It wasn’t full enough to be worth howling at but it was nearly there, and it put me in mind of three similar words of which I am quite fond. They are gibbous, glabrous and glaucous. Gibbous I had been looking … Continue reading Glug-glug-glug
A little under three years ago I fractured my T12 vertebra while squatting in the gym with a 70Kg barbell on my shoulders. At the time I didn’t know that the bones had been weakened by myeloma (a form of bone marrow cancer). It was remarkably painful. They gave me some paracetamol (personal trainers are … Continue reading What they don’t teach you in medical school about pain-killers
On the label ... it was described as being in the highest sense carminative ... It seemed so wonderfully to describe that sensation of internal warmth ... which followed the drinking of cinnamon ... "And passion carminative as wine" was what I wrote ... And then suddenly it occurred to me that I had never … Continue reading Passion, carminative as wine
Glory, Glory, Alleluia! I'm the luckiest of femalesFor I've danced with a man, who's danced with a girl, who's danced with the Prince of Wales.Song by Herbert Farjeon, 1927 When it comes to social connections it is said that there are only six degrees of separation between any two people in the World. This idea … Continue reading Odd jobs
Patients always complain of backache. Nobody ever tells you they've got frontache. Harold Ellis, Professor of Surgery, Westminster Medical School When I was a student the emphasis was on the diagnostic information that you could get from pain. Where is it? What brings it on? Is it sharp or dull? Is it constant or does … Continue reading What they don’t teach you in medical school about pain (and some of what they do)
If you ever find yourself eating out in New Zealand you will probably not be disappointed as fresh, high-quality ingredients are easy to come by and a good starting point for any recipe. But you may be a bit baffled by some of the terminology. Take peppers, for instance (or sweet peppers as we used … Continue reading Showing off your mussels