Why is it everywhere and why is that a problem?
Forget the adage that you never more than 6ft away from a rat. In all likelihood, you are never more than 6ft away from palm oil in some shape or form, which may in fact be a scarier thought than those rodent residents. Palm oil is the most popular edible oil in the world. Check the back of the nearest packet of biscuits, your tube of shampoo or your daily makeup and in all likelihood you’ll see it there — PKO or Palm Kernel Oil. …
A short story of the land
The buttermilk flanks of the White Park cattle scattered the pasture’s western edge by the beech copse, unmoving in the morning mist, as if a loose huddle of field-mushrooms had sprouted overnight. As the rising sun began to burn off some of the fog and the chill, distinctive black noses and ears bobbed up as the entire herd looked to my arrival and the coming feed. They were fantastic grazers and mostly self-sufficient, but with the diminishing numbers I was determined to ensure that the calves and bullocks had the best chance of thriving…
COVID-19 and the rise of rapid dissemination of research.
Covid-19 has changed the dissemination of science, with scientists favouring speed when it comes to publishing their findings on public health research, to share findings and data quickly during the crisis to combat the virus.
A clear example of this drive towards open and sharable research was a recent request from science leaders to the publishing community to make their content open and re-usable, sent on behalf of the chief science advisor or equivalent representing 12 countries. Over 40 journals and publishers also signed the statement “Sharing research data and findings…
Once, a bedroom window was smashed;
cricket in the garden, single-pane windows, a beer or two.
All I remember is joy;
The mischief felt at the consequence
of a fun and carefree night.
The laughs faded as the world closed in.
I think I could be depressed, he said,
But I knew.
I had met that black dog, and it stole different things.
What we were losing was he himself;
My father, as dementia took hold.
Time has stretched out,
the distance to those memories has grown for us all.
Their weight and colour fades,
revived in photo prints but little else.
A story of time.
We watched while the logs were licked and caressed and eventually consumed by the sinuous dance of the fire. Daring flames occasionally leapt out, and my skin reddened under the heat. Notes lifted with the smoke to drift over the small crowd, as the guitar player’s fingers lazily plucked the strings. We had come to the end of our time together; exploring the formation of this small island, clambering over rocks that had been bent, ripped, and pulled back into the depths only to erupt anew, all in a past beyond our sight.
Now, gathered on…
A story from Oxford.
So far 2020 has lived up to a growing infamy for the capricious. After witnessing its spread around the world in the wake of COVID-19, on the 23 March the once-unthinkable notion of a quarantine of society finally hit UK shores. Along with the rest of the UK and the world, the city of Oxford I have called home for six years has changed and emptied; an unpopulated picture postcard of itself.
Many of us lost much of the comforting structure around our lives — of work, home and family routines, socialising, travel, or merely ambling…
A lockdown poem.
I push open the windows.
Sun-warmed air flows to forgotten corners;
turbulating sensory vignettes, emotions, memories,
evoked in scents of a world held distant.
At the collapse of what I thought was life,
I would stand protected behind glass,
watching the garden’s green threshold:
fences veiled simply in ornaments of ivy.
Both steadfast and changeable,
they would thrum with Spring’s thrashing blue tit chicks
or lie ponderous under fresh winter snow,
but always present.
A buttress against the tumult of life beyond.
I yearn to recapture that comforting structure,
the constants, trodden paths and rituals of…
As the days lengthen over the empty streets of Oxford, the distinctive golden oolitic limestone stands brightly in the spring sunshine. The cobbled streets, normally shadowed by crowds of tourists, students and locals, lie as exposed and bare as the rest of the city. Oxford feels frozen in time — turned to stone by the continuing lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus responsible — severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — is a novel coronavirus that has reached across the world and forced unprecedented alterations to our lives and freedoms. Due to the observed genetic similarities…