Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunscreen vs. Cancer vs. Vitamin D ~ via Ryan Wanger.



Too Tan
My entire life, I’ve been told over and over and over: exposure to the sun causes cancer. But what if it were the other way around? Exposure to sunlight actually prevents cancer?!?
I’ll describe this in more detail shortly, but first, a quick summary:
  • Plenty of studies have reported that Vitamin D prevents many types of cancer
  • Sunlight accounts for up to 75% of our daily Vitamin D intake
  • Skin cancer rates for Caucasians in the US have almost tripled in the last 30 years. The rate for African Americans has actually decreased.
  • On a state by state basis, the sunniest states do not have the highest rates of skin cancer
Now clearly, I am not a doctor, so consider this information and do your own research. And don’t necessarily trust doctors! For years they’ve recommended products which are later shown to be horrible for your body (cigarettes anyone?).

Vitamin D Seems to Prevent Cancer

While no one is staking their reputation on this, over and over and over again, studies are showing decreased cancer rates (for MANY types of common cancers, not just skin) in people with higher Vitamin D intakes. Many of the stories seem to hedge their bets (Vitamin D “may” prevent cancer), which I can understand. It’s hard to prove definitively in a study that spans decades and has an almost impossibly complex set of variables to control for.
Although the American Cancer Society says “evidence isn’t conclusive”, they admit the majority of studies they’ve analyzed agree that Vitamin D prevents cancer. They go on to say:
Many studies have looked at the relationship between cancer and vitamin D, but they have not been able to pinpoint exactly how vitamin D might influence cancer development..
Which leads to their specious conclusion that: “…it’s too soon to recommend taking vitamin D supplements for cancer prevention.” Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be too much risk of overdosing on vitamin D from exposure to the sun or a regular diet. Only excessive amounts of dietary supplements seem to have any potential downside. (Google “too much vitamin d”).

Caucasian Skin Cancer Rates Are Skyrocketing

Sunscreen started to become widespread in the 1950s, and our skin cancer rates (as well as all other types of cancer) have been exploding ever since. With all we “know” about skin cancer, why is a product like sunscreen, which is designed to prevent skin cancer, actually failing to do it’s job? Well, guess what? Sunscreen is filled with chemicals, often allows UVA rays to get through (which are primarily responsible for skin cancer), while blocking UVB rays – which provide us with lots of healthy vitamin D.
African American skin cancer rates have actually dropped during that time frame, and stand at about 1/17th of the incidents found in Caucasians. Remind me again why having darker skin is a sign of skin cancer?

More Sun Does Not Equal More Skin Cancer?

This map shows the daily amount of sun radiation received in a given location:

The next map, shows the rate of skin cancer by state:

Why don’t the states with more sun have more skin cancer? In fact, you’ll notice that many of the least sunny states have the highest rates of skin cancer (particularly the northeast and northwest). Perhaps the real problem is lack of sunlight?

How I Plan to Fight Cancer

After doing this research, I have a new plan: instead of fearing the sun, and applying sunscreen by default, I will only use sunscreen when I will be in the sun long enough to burn. Sunburns are definitely still something to avoid. Getting color in small doses is not. The sun is particularly less harmful early and late in the day, so I’ll probably only use sunscreen between 10am and 3pm.
When I do use sunscreen, I plan to use the most natural kind possible. The fewer chemicals that get absorbed into my skin the better obviously.
Anyone else following a similar plan?
This article first appeared August 31, 2009 at thereluctanteater.com

Oleocanthal, Compound In Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Could Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease

Here’s one more possible benefit of eating a Mediterranean diet.
Researchers from the University of Louisiana are a step closer to understanding why Alzheimer's disease seems to be not as common in Mediterranean countries, and the possible role olive oil may play in protecting against the memory-robbing disease.
Since previous research had shown that a compound in extra-virgin olive oil called oleocanthal protected nerve cells from the damage that Alzheimer’s inflicts, the scientists led by Amal Kaddoumi set out to see if oleocanthal could decrease levels of amyloid beta -- known to play a role in Alzheimer's -- from accumulating in the brain.
The researchers examined cultured brain cells from laboratory mice, who for two weeks were administered a dose of extracted oleocanthal from extra virgin olive oil twice daily. They found that oleocanthal seemed to increase production of proteins and enzymes necessary to remove amyloid beta from the brain.
The new findings are published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
The Mediterranean diet is already known to be heart-healthy and possibly even life-lengthening, so add this newest finding to the list of reasons to eat a diet high in fish, produce and olive oil.

7 Things I've Let Go of Stressing Over

Posted: 03/29/2013 8:20 am
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-gregoire/stress-management_b_2972353.html


For more than a year after I graduated from college, I had a recurring dream in which the school called to notify me that I had forgotten to take a final exam and had been given my degree in error. In the dream, I discover with horror that I never actually graduated. I am then forced to quit my job, leave New York, and return for another semester.
Unfortunately, panic-inducing dreams aren't the only way I internalize stress when I'm feeling overwhelmed: During stressful periods, I also struggle with a laundry list of health complaints, including insomnia, poor digestion, shallow breathing, and breakouts. Eventually it dawned on me that the best way to change my body was to change my mind -- practicing mindfulness and actively choosing not to be stressed actually worked. I started sleeping and breathing more easily. The final exam dreams went away.
Admittedly, I still have a long way to go in tackling the more deep-seated anxieties and insecurities that often cause me stress. But I am slowly beginning to let go of some of the "small stuff" that add unnecessary anxiety to my life. Here are seven things that I'm no longer stressing over.
1. Quitting A Raw Food Diet.
In a recent attempt to purify my diet, I started eating almost exclusively raw foods: big salads, tons of fresh and dried fruit, nuts and not a whole lot else. Although I notice improved digestion and energy, ultimately, it was just too rigid for me -- I had to admit to myself that I don't have the time to sufficiently prepare balanced meals with such limited ingredients, and I wasn't ready to build my lifestyle (and social life) around it. As much as I hate being a quitter, especially when it comes to personal resolutions, I realized that no diet was worth forgoing so many things I love to eat -- and potentially developing an unhealthy relationship with food.
But instead of stressing over my raw food failure, I've decided that you don't have to eat an all-kale diet to be healthy. I've incorporated more fresh fruits and greens into my meals, and that's enough -- sometimes, it's better to do things in half measures.
2. Being "Bad" At Meditating.
I've been practicing meditation for years but have always felt that I'm somehow failing at it because I have a hard time quieting my mind. I remember participating in a half-day meditation at Green Gulch Zen Center when I was 17 and struggling the entire time to force the "inner peace" that I thought I should be experiencing. Since then, I've continued to practice meditation -- and to frequently criticize myself for not being very good at it.
But earlier this month when I was moderating a panel on stress management at the Harvard Forum for Public Health, mindfulness research pioneer Ellen Langer said something that really stuck with me: "The mindfulness practice that works is the one that you do." And she's right: You don't have to maintain a strict twice-daily routine (or be able to magically clear out negative thoughts) to become more mindful. Just a couple minutes a day of focusing on your breathing can make a difference. My practice must be working, because I've learned to stop judging and simply appreciate my own effort to be more present every day. Meditation, I've realized, isn't about being good or bad at it -- it's just about being.
3. My Morning Coffee Ritual.
In another attempt to purify my diet and become healthier, I've repeatedly attempted to give up caffeine, and then stressed over my inevitable decision to return to it again. But the minor benefits of going caffeine-free -- slightly more natural energy and lower sugar consumption -- just don't outweigh the simple joy and comfort of drinking a warm cup every morning in my favorite mug or enjoying a dark roast from the organic cafe downstairs from my apartment.
4. My Relationship With My iPhone.
I'll be the first to admit that my phone is nearly always by my side. Working in online media, I'm constantly connected. But writing about stress reduction and mindfulness, I'm also acutely aware of the negative impacts of 24/7 connectivity. I often feel torn between the conflicting needs to be plugged in at all times and also to unplug and recharge. At this point, I've accepted that technology is central to my lifestyle, and instead of stressing about how it might be destroying me, I've decided to try to use technology to become more mindful. In addition to sleeping with my phone far from my bed and keeping it off the dinner table, I de-stress using GPS for the Soul, get daily meditation reminders from The Mindfulness App, and unwind with guided meditations from Headspace.
5. My (Slightly Embarrassing) Horoscope Habit.
I know, I know: In all likelihood, planetary movements have no actual bearing on the daily events of my life. But still, I check my Elle Astrologer app almost as much as Facebook, and I love reading my daily "forecast," regardless of how frivolous it may be. (For the record, I also keep all of my Chinese cookie fortunes.) It's OK to have a few silly habits.
6. Being An Introvert.
Growing up, I always felt insulted by being called shy or told that I needed to "come out of my shell." But after years of worrying that enjoying time alone made me a loner, I've gradually come to realize how untrue that equation is -- and learned to appreciate the many benefits of having an introverted personality type, like self-awareness and independence. Being introverted doesn't make me antisocial; I love going out and meeting new people, and I really enjoy public speaking. But at the end of the day, the way I restore my batteries and gain energy is by being alone -- and a little alone time is not worth stressing over.
7. Using The Nap Rooms.
One of the many perks of working at The Huffington Post is being able to use the two nap rooms in our New York office (Napquest 1 and Napquest 2). But my entire first year on the job, I was afraid to use the rooms for fear of seeming lazy and unproductive. One particularly stressful day, I finally decided to sneak in when nobody was looking -- and I then spent the full 20 minutes stressing about the work I wasn't doing. But having personally experienced many of the health benefits of napping, I'm a big advocate of taking a quick refresher to boost your creativity and productivity. Now, I regularly book nap room sessions -- and I don't bring my work stress with me.
For more by Carolyn Gregoire, click here.

Who is the “Eastre” Rabbit?




Did you ever wonder why rabbits and eggs are symbols of Easter..? Before Passover and Easter, many ancient cultures

celebrated the Rite of Spring…
Before Christianity, Easter, Eastre, Eostre was goddess of dawn, spring and fertility.
No, it’s not a typo: Eastre is a Goddess and she loved rabbits. Did you ever wonder why we associate rabbits and eggs with Easter..? It goes back to a Beautiful, Bountiful Pagan Goddess…
This time of year is Passover and Easter, and many ancient cultures have celebrated the Rites of Spring…
Our Mother and Father

Earth is referred to as Mother since ancient times: “Mother Earth” and “Mother Nature.” Watching the cycles of Nature one sees that rain falling brings life to Earth, so ancient cultures saw Father as Heaven, and Earth as Mother.
The union of this heavenly Father and earthly Mother brought forth abundant crops, as the rains from the sky met the welcoming earth. Festivals like “The Marriage Feast of Canaan”  were Spring fertility rites in ancient times which celebrated this intercourse.
Christian Easter falls around the same time as Pagan Easter and after the Judaic Passover, which is fixed by a lunar cycle. The Jewish Passover was known as “Pasch”,  taken from the Hebrew  “Pesach”, meaning “to pass over”. It commemorates emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The rituals of Passover remind us to honor freedom as Easter symbolises new life and the potential of renewal. Spring abounds with reminders of change and promise everywhere!
Eastre, the Goddess

Before Christianity, “Easter” (Eastre, Eostre) was a Teutonic goddess of dawn, spring and fertility. She is also called Ostara, goddess of dawn, with sunrise celebrations centered on growth and renewal. Prayers to her assured abundant crops, and eggs were eaten and exchanged as talismans.
Other Names of Spring Goddess:
  • Ostara
  • Ostare
  • Ostern
  • Eostre
  • Eostra
  • Eostur
  • Eastra
  • Eastur
  • Austron
  • Ausos
  • Ishtar
  • Ashtur
Symbolising the beginning of Spring, with brightening and longer days after vernal equinox, Eastre is full of growth and  passion of new life. She was the Great Mother Goddess of Northern Europe. She is a goddess of  dawn and spring, and her name derives from dawn, the light arising from East. The word, East is related to her and the female hormone, estrogen is named for her.
The Rite of Spring
Eastre’s male consort was the Sun god, and rites of spring were celebrated in her honor on the first day of spring. Pagan celebration were on the first full moon following vernal equinox. The full moon represents a “pregnant” phase of Eastre, passing into fertility to give birth to the Sun’s offspring.

“Eastre” is derived from the direction East, and the Spring Goddess is associated with  dawn. Eastre is related to the Indo-European Hausos, Goddess of dawn, and the Roman and Greek Godesses, Aurora and  Eos. In German Austron means dawn,  derived from Aus, “to shine”. The ancient word for Spring was Eastre, and Goddesses in many  cultures are celebrated as the bearer of springtime.
Aphrodite ~ Cyprus
Ashtoreth ~ Israel
Astarte ~ Greece
Demeter ~ Mycenae
Hathor ~ Egypt
Ishtar ~ Assyria
Kali ~ India
Ostara ~ Norse Goddess of fertility
The middle east celebrates many Spring festivals, including the Iranian Nowruz, ascension of the mythological king of Persia. Commemorated by Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Zanzibar, Albania, Kurds, and central Asia, it is a Zorostrian holiday, and celebrated by Baha’i’ and Nizari Ismalili Muslims.
Sham El Nessim has been celebrated since 2700 B.C. and ancient Egyptians celebrated this creation story with a feast at the Great Pyramid. The feast of Shemu, means ‘renewal of life’ later changed to ‘shamm’ (smelling or breathing) and ‘nessim’ (breeze). Sham El Nessim is celebrated as a national holiday, and is celebrated by Christians and Muslims as “Easter Monday”.

Rabbits & Eggs
Eastre represents renewal and fertility, and eggs and rabbits were sacred to her. Rabbits are potent symbol of fertility, as a female can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with the first! The markings of the full moon were believed by some Eastern cultures to be  an image of a rabbit pounding a mortar.

Some Asian folklore has rabbits living on the moon. Chinese Goddess Chang’e lives on the moon, because an overdose of immortality caused her to float up, and the Jade Rabbit continually pounds the elixir of life for her. In Japanese and Korean folklore,  rabbits pound mochi and tteok. a mashed sticky rice.
The Earth in Spring is full of fertility and awakening, so the egg is an obvious symbol, and it has been a symbol of rebirth since ancient times.The hare was sacred animal of the Spring Moon. At vernal equinox one of Eastre’s hares laid an egg, the Egg of New Life.

Egyptians and Greeks buried eggs in tombs of the dead as a sign of resurrection, and the egg is a symbol of nature rebirth and regeneration. Eggs were  decorated and given as gifts, and dyed eggs were part of early rituals in ancient Near Eastern civilizations. These could have been the first Easter eggs!
Easter egg decorating is an art in Germany and Russia, and old Spring rituals in  Germany and Sweden consist of throwing an egg into the air “to ensure grain will grow as high”

With all this growth and abundance around us, it might be a good time to create intentions for this year. Imagine yourself reborn anew,  filled with Spring energy, and use it to clear away something that no longer serves you.
Things to Energise You!
  • Decorate your home with Spring flowers; crocuses, daffodils, violets, lilac, lilies, roses, iris
  • Add something green: a plant, candles, soap to represent growth and expansion
  • Work on projects and ideas initiated around Winter Solstice
Here are some favourite Spring Flower symbols. Add some to your home!
  • Dogwood:  4 petals symbolize 4 directions
  • Iris:  Purity, wisdom, faith, birth blessing, life and resurrection
  • Honeysuckle:  Rebirth, renewal, spiritual sight, versatile mind
  • Jasmine:  Lunar, psychic, spiritual love
  • Lily:  Strong associations with fertility, purity, rebirth
  • Rose:  True love, joy,  yellow roses for Eastre
The soil is prepared, planting season has begun, so sow your seeds and hard work will bring you full bloom!

Embodying Erotica: Purr, Growl & Sex Talk.



sexymultiethniccoupleresized

“Be no longer tender. Cover me with frenzied kisses—even as I would drench my body in the cruel torrents of the rain. Envelop me from throat to ankle in delirium intolerable….” ~ Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff

Accessing our deepest erotic selves can be as simple as tapping into the power of our own voice, exploring the range of sounds we create in the throes of intimacy and getting comfortable uttering dirty words.

Silencing our sexual sounds is an odd and yet remarkably common holdover from our earliest sexual experiences that can shroud our lovemaking for decades. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was nearing my second decade of marriage before I gave up repressing the noises that wanted to erupt out of me during sex. There is something primordial about the sounds that sex generates, and whether you are with a new partner or one that you have loved for a long time, sounding out in sex brings you to both a new level of vulnerability and intimacy.
Our sexy voice is usually different from our every day communicating voice. Try out different ranges in your voice from low guttural whispers to high—pitched squeals. Experiment with the tenor of your voice—moving between uncertainty and commanding carries its own thrill…Allow touch and sound to co-mingle and it will undoubtedly surprise both you and your partner how tapping into the sounds that your intimacy generates heightens both your passion and connection.
Paying attention to the layer of sound in your lovemaking not only provides a deeper texture to your pleasure but also clues you into how clear our communicating can be without words. I have also found that sounds surrounding orgasmic pleasure balance the energy vibrating through me and open the way to a deeper release. Freeing your voice is also a gateway to finding the language to ask for what you want in a multitude of ways in sex.

Like the silence and secrecy that is often associated with our adolescent sexuality, it is not unusual to continue to long for sexual encounters that overwhelm us and tap a passion that is beyond or even out of our control.

Many of us struggle, long into our adulthood, to claim our sexuality and have an even more difficult time moving asking for the sex we want. Ironically, there is nothing sexier than discovering and giving voice to our desire for pleasure through an authentically true aspect of our sexual nature. Taking on the speak of a ravished submissive or a dominant boor, even, and especially if these are completely out of character in your daily relationship, can offer a surprising and passion-inducing twist for even the most familiar of lovers. Notice how the speed of your delivery can completely alter the message.
Expect a certain level of discomfort when you begin moving from guttural sounds and deep purrs into words. One easy way to begin is to describe the sensations of the moment. So, a purring sound could easily slip into “I love the feel of your fingers on my….”  Encourage your partner to find words as well, by asking questions like, “How do you like this motion on your….”   Suddenly, words that seemed dirty start to feel comfortable in your mouth, which by itself is a rush of sorts. Allow the excitement to build as you talk with anticipation about what you are going to do to them next.
Although most of us were taught to not swear, in this sexy lingo you share with your partner, some of the most forbidden of curse words take on new meaning. I never got the true intensity of the F. curse until I used it forcefully in sex. Likewise, exchanging the sanitary vagina and penis terms for slang words that hold secret power and meaning feels natural, almost instinctive and invites you into a whole new level of play. And suddenly, talking dirty isn’t really dirty at all.
Embodying your erotic potential begins with giving it a voice. How easy is that?

Like elephant journal gets sexy on Facebook.

 

 

Saturday, 30 March 2013






Bullie pillows







Lets start with a cup of coffee and a newspaper... 


A Letter to All Who Aspire.




(Maybe it’s actually just a letter to myself.)

We make great plans for all the things we’d like to do.

We write our lists and manifestos and offer up lots of advice. We send out inspiration over bits of wire like little paper boats on the water, hoping someone will unfold them and read our messages. But when does that moment arrive for us? When do we decide to actually dive in and be fully present?
I’ve been busy lately. So busy, that though this has been on my mind, it’s only shown up as snatches of thoughts mumbled in the shower and undecipherable scribbles made in my Moleskine at stoplights. I kept thinking, “I should write this. I should take some time and think about this.” But the thing about “should” is that the time for it never shows up. Those things we think we ought to do, we’d like to do…someday…never happen.
People make wish lists, bucket lists and boards on Pinterest full of things they’d like to do “someday.”

The sad thing in all of that aspiration is that someday doesn’t exist; there’s only right now.

I can’t make some brilliant manifesto of who I want to be someday or where I think you should go or what we could do. I can only make a manifesto of now.
Right now, here’s what I know:
It’s not the tales we tell—it’s the details. The broad strokes and big deals we worry about aren’t what make our lives beautiful. It’s the rainy afternoon conversation over a cup of tea. It’s being with people who make your heart swell, who make it so full of laughter that you can’t keep it in. It’s sitting at the end of a long day, in silence, and letting the satisfaction of being physically spent wash over you. It’s cold toes touching under the blanket at night, or a cat curled up behind your knees. It’s bare feet in wet grass. It’s crying—crying so hard that you think it will never stop. It’s the spaces in between all the big things that transform our lives from noise to music. The moments make the melody. Don’t miss out on noticing them in pursuit of the broad strokes that seem so important.
When we aren’t present, we end up in the wrong place. I learn this over and over. Maybe I’ve finally learned it. I was driving earlier, mindlessly, and ended up somewhere I often go, but not where I intended. If we just go through the motions in life, we end up in the same place again and again, and usually not where we need to be. Take a breath. Open your eyes. Wake up a little more than you were a few minutes ago. Walk backwards a bit and shake some sense into yourself. And if, like me, you find you’ve wandered into where you don’t belong, it’s never to late to choose a different road.
It’s never the right time for anything. The best stuff, the most essential stuff, seems to happen at the most inconvenient time possible. We fight it. We want to feel settled. Settled is an illusion. The truth is that things are never all settled. Even when life is on an even keel, it’s the things that interrupt us, that disrupt us and challenge us that are the most important. We think that it would be easier if we knew how everything was going to turn out and had both feet planted on the ground. If it weren’t for those times where we get tossed up in midair, we’d never learn how to fly.
Good enough is the enemy of great. There are times we get tired. There are times when all the busyness and all the battles wear us down. And if we aren’t careful, complacency will sneak up on us. When we aren’t looking, it can devour us. I have a secret: the people I talk with the most, trust the most and take delight in? They aren’t the people who tell me to take it easy. They aren’t the people who tell me I’m “good enough.” They are the ones who fire me up. They are the ones who inspire me to be great, who whet my appetite to be more, to do more. They are the ones with lust for life. If you are happy punching a clock and rolling along through a “good enough” life, you don’t want friends like that. But if there’s that thing inside you, that fire, that part that wants more—you need friends like that.
tomorrowAll we have is now. I don’t mean we should embrace the idiot YOLO attitude and throw out personal responsibilities. I mean that the list of things for someday needs to happen a lot sooner, or it will never happen at all. And all the time we’re wasting in this moment thinking about someday—we’re missing it! We’re missing now. What if this was it? What would you do right now? I’ve realized lately that I’ve been so stuck in the before and the not yet, that I’ve speeding right through now, sometimes missing things that I really need. Slow down. Look at all of it another way. For me, I decided it was time to take a little trip. Five days—to wander, to visit some people I love—but most of all to remind myself of some things I’ve almost forgotten. I’ve forgotten, in my busyness, how to love right now.
When we were children, we knew it. We knew that bliss wasn’t something we had to chase. We just enjoyed everything. We didn’t have to think about being present or seizing the moment. Children don’t have to be told to stop and pick a strawberry and pop it into their mouth; they just do it. We used to know, instinctively, how to fall in love with now, without even realizing it. We used to believe that we could do—anything.
Skip the bucket list. Go. Do. Stretch your heart. Use it all, and then some. Don’t be afraid. You’ll survive. You’ll have some new scars and a few new songs.

We should always know, we can do anything.

 

 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Facebook complaints procedure has been initiated due to us posting a Deed not Breed message. Here is an article I have written for tomorrow's Sunday Express that is a fuller explanation while knee jerk legislation will not help save anyone, quite the opposite. We all grieve for Jade and a young life lost, but mass slaughter of dogs is not going to bring her back.

In 1991 we had a succession of horrific dog attacks followed by the Government’s knee-jerk reaction - the much-flawed Dangerous Dogs Act.
When they vilified a specific type of dog instead of the irresponsible owners we completed missed the opportunity to make children and vulnerable people any safer.
This act planned to eradicate a breed - every Pit Bull was supposed to be neutered. But there’s very many more Pit Bulls alive today than ever before and an infinite variety of big powerful crosses.
Yet, contrary to public perception, more people are bitten by Jack Russells than bull breeds – but did you know that many more people are killed by balloons than dogs? And that even more people are killed by their own parents or grandparents… but there’s no chance of a Dangerous Grandparents Act.
Consequently the only time politicians and the police take dog issues seriously is when there is a media storm. Like now.
We are in danger of even more breeds being added to the ineffective DDA.
In other countries things happen differently.
In France, when a baby was recently killed by a German Shepherd the adult (who was drunk) was prosecuted for not adequately supervising and the dog was taken away for assessment and possible rehoming.
No one called for German Shepherds to be banned.
In the UK however, when Ellie Lawrenson was killed by the family Pit Bull the grandparent who was supposed to be supervising dog and baby walked free from court even though she admitted in court to having drunk two bottles of wine and smoking 10 joints of cannabis and possessing heroin.
BSL is as crazy as calling for the routine ban of a make of car after a fatal car crash without even looking at driver error.
We need more joined up thinking on dog legislation, something that slows down the breeding and importation of puppies – we’ve never had so many dogs in Britain.
If we have any new legislation let’s have something that makes a tangible difference – that stands a chance of being enforced.
Let’s bring in the Puppy Contract so that breeding badly stops having no consequence. Stops churning out pups being a no-risk way of making untaxed income. Something that dissuades people from turning their domestic homes into shoddy puppy farms when money is short.
And we need to enforce our border controls so we no longer have all these van loads of underage cheap European imports flooding the Internet and pet shops with even more badly bred dogs for people to impulse purchase.
We should look to countries that don’t have the dog problems we have and emulate them. Make humans responsible for their dog’s actions instead of just blaming the dogs – it’s not as if these dogs can home educate themselves!
Look to Sweden and Switzerland where dogs are seen as significant and important enough to have well thought out legislation that is enforced year in and year out – instead of lurching from one crisis to enough with ill-considered legislation that always looks to blame the wrong end of the lead.
 
 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Otherworldly Books

by Beth Carswell

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Can’t afford to get away at all, let alone to another planet? Pick up a book. One of the best things about reading is the reader can experience strange and wonderful times, places and situations without leaving the comfort of their easy chair. In fiction, people and scenarios are invented, but some authors take escapism a step further and create entire cities, planets and universes. A creative and skilled writer can build geography, languages, races of people, musical instruments, regional cuisine, traditions and more, unlike anything we see in reality, and the detail can be impressive.
Perhaps the best-known example is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the fictional setting for most of his works. Populated by elves, talking trees, hobbits and more, Tolkien even included maps. When writing about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, JK Rowling went so far as to invent an entire sport, with its own rules and equipment.
Some authors invent not only unique worlds, but unique atmosphere to go with them. When constructing the planet of Pern (seen in the Dragonriders of Pern series), science fiction great Anne McCaffrey imagined a dangerous weather phenomenon called Thread. On Pern, Thread falls from the sky like rain, but is a deadly spore that destroys everything organic it touches, including humans. Those caught unawares risk being Threadscored or even killed. But since Pern had to be realistically inhabitable, McCaffrey combated Thread with the addition of fire-lizards and dragons, which, after chewing a specific rock called Firestone, are able to breathe fire and burn the thread before it falls low enough to endanger those on the ground. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
And McCaffrey is far from unique in her ability to conjure up astonishing animals. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy involves numerous worlds populated by talking, armored polar bears, animal representations of the human souls, nightmarish creatures called cliff-ghasts, and a fascinating species of animals called Mulefa, which have evolved the ability to use giant seedpods as wheels, increasing their speed and mobility in the world which has extensive dry lava beds to act as roads. Just to name a few.
In worlds parallel to the real one, how do characters navigate from one world to the other? In the Pullman books, Will and Lyra cut windows from world to world using a magical knife. In C.S. Lewis’ famous books, the children first stumble upon Narnia by way of an old wardrobe. In Pamela Dean’s The Secret Country, the Hidden Land is revealed by accident after a fall through a hedge. L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz sees Dorothy and Toto deposited in Oz by a wayward cyclone.
It’s easier for the readers. Even without enchanted wardrobes and knives, we visit these make-believe worlds just by opening a book. From fantastic flora and fauna to weapons of mass imagination, these are some of the books that best let us step outside reality and go somewhere magic.

25 Out of This World Books

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Alice falls down the rabbit hole to find a bizarre tea party, an unusual game of croquet, a hookah-smoking caterpillar and more.

Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune
Frank Herbert


On the desert planet of Arrakis, Spice is the most precious substance in existence. He who controls the Spice controls the universe.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. LeGuin

In the island archipelago of Earthsea, legend says that humans and dragons were once one race, and magic is a real part of everyday life.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline
Neil Gaiman

In The Other World, the parents with buttons for eyes seem ideal, at first - until Coraline explores and learns the sinister truth of their intentions.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle

The book's main characters 'tesser' to the alien planet of Camazotz, which is shadowed by The Black Thing, and has become a dark planet steeped in fear.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

Middle-earth is a vast and complicated place, with as many dangers, brutal terrain and evil forces as magic, wonder and creatures that defy belief.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

The illustrious planet of Magrathea is home to the now-defunct society of builders who created luxury planets for the ultra-rich of the universe.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint Exupery

B612 is an asteroid roughly the size of a house, and is home to three volcanoes and a number of Baobab trees which threaten to overwhelm it.
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
The Colour of Magic
Terry Pratchett


Discworld is flat, so yes, there is an edge one can fall from. It is balanced on the back of four elephants. The elephants stand atop an enormous turtle.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie


Neverland is an island in the minds of children where children don't have to grow up. It is reached through flight via happy thoughts.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

After a cyclone lifts Dorothy's house (with her and Toto the dog inside), she finds herself in Oz - land of munchkins, witches and flying monkey slaves.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon
Christopher Paolini

Alagaƫsia is a mountainous and highly-forested continent where one can find creatures like shades, elves, werecats, urgals and the very occasional dragon.
The Secret Country by Pamela C. Dean
The Secret Country
Pamela Dean

The Hidden Land is the mystical realm physically manifested by the game played by five young cousins. In it are witches, a magic ring, and frustrating unicorns.
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
A Spell for Chameleon
Piers Anthony

In the fantastic world of Xanth, one can find centaurs, mermaids, nymphs, curse fiends and more, and every human is born with a unique magical gift.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis

Narnia is a magical land created by the revered lion Aslan. Its inhabitants include animals (many talking), dryads, centaurs and other mythical creatures.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
J.K. Rowling

In the wizarding world, sports are played flying on broomsticks, the forest is full of talking spiders, mandrake roots scream, and one can learn to ride a Hippogriff.
The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Summer Tree
Guy Gavriel Kay


Fionavar is the first of all worlds. It is home to gods, demigods and myriad supernatural beings, including the weaver, who creates the tapestry of all stories.
Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber
Swords and Deviltry
Fritz Leiber


Visitors to the city of Lankhmar in the ancient world of Nehwon: beware of thieves, corruption, bandits, smugglers. Have a drink at the Silver Eel Tavern.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster

A bored little boy named Milo takes a trip to The Kingdom of Wisdom by way of a toy car and a magic tollbooth, and suddenly finds the world fascinating.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Salman Rushdie

In the magical story world of Kahani, the ocean is becoming polluted by sadness, tangling the story streams and making the world unhappy and frightening.



Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Lord Foul's Bane
Stephen R. Donaldson

The Land is home to numerous races of sentient beings, cave-dwellers, parasites, the half-human merewives, and the monstrous, partially-formed Soft Ones.


The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Tamora Pierce

The people of Corus, capital city of Tortall range from knights and noble-borns to peasants and farmers, to sorcerers - and their enemies.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Philip Jose Farmer

The futuristic planet of Riverworld is covered in lush vegetation but has no visible moon, or animals besides fish and worms - until the resurrection of humans.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

The continent of Westeros is populated by humans, giants, lizard-lions, direwolves and more. It also has unpredictable, irregular seasons, lasting indeterminately.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Princess of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Barsoom is a wild frontier planet, loosely based on the real planet of Mars.The terrain is desert and dry seas, and its inhabitants are Earthlings and natives of Barsoom.

37 Home Library Design Ideas

 

37 Home Library Design Ideas
home library furniture  37 Home Library Design Ideas With a Jay Dropping Visual and Cultural Effect
Probably the most “sacred” room of the entire crib, the home library combines relaxation with personal growth and completes the genuine atmosphere of a modern residence or apartment. As a tribute to these contemporary indoor oases, we put together a post with 37 beautiful home libraries, bearing within knowledge and acting as a refuge from the hectic lifestyle characterizing big cities. There are many ideas from the photos below we find inspiring, starting with the circular bookshelves in the shape of an indoor dome, the attic room library or the suspended above-the-stairs shelving system. The fireplace bookshelf is also an intriguing and daring idea, provided it is never left unsupervised.
home office library  37 Home Library Design Ideas With a Jay Dropping Visual and Cultural Effect
We also love reading nooks and window seats surrounded by books, which make for great relaxations spots. Depending on the features of each home, a library can be extended horizontally or vertically. Some of the photos below present seamlessly infinite walls, with a jaw-dropping effect-just imagine the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of books in the comfort of your own home! We invite you to have a look at the home library designs below and choose your favorite. What are the ideas you find most appealing and how would you integrate them in your own crib?
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You’re reading 37 Home Library Design Ideas With a Jay-Dropping Visual and Cultural Effectoriginally posted on Freshome.