Category Archives: Insights

Insights and a focusing on crucial information and ideas.

Human Nature

Despite our complex physiology our Basic Needs are met by an apparently elementary operating systems

Abraham Maslow, an American Psychologist, proposed a Hierarchy of Human Needs


Maslow called the bottom four levels of the pyramid ‘deficiency needs’ because a person is not aware of anything missing if they are met, but becomes anxious if they are not.

In contrast, Maslow called the fifth level of the pyramid a ‘growth need’ because it enables a person to ‘self-actualize’ or reach his fullest potential as a human being.

Clearly many are Complex Needs (Aspirations?, and many also particularly apply to certain individuals and in certain circumstances.

The Harvard Medical School describes us as having “a dog-brain with a human cortex stuck on top” — and that “not a second goes by that our animal brain isn’t seeking to influence our options”.

The dog-brain mainly concerns itself with the lower 3 levels of the Needs

The “dog-brain” can respond much faster than the “thinking brain” — so if a “flight-or-flight” situation arises we depend on the fast reactions of the motivational/emotional “dog-brain”.

Our uniquely human aspirations can transcend our basic Needs. However, Humans have not generally been adept at aspects of nurturing, educating and encouraging the development of our next generation.

Our Nervous System enables us to be “aware” through a range of Senses — See Ref79

The Senses let us know when we are hungry, thirsty, etc. — and we then motivated by our emotional system to do something about it. Of course fixed meal times anticipate hunger.

The simplest functional model of the human Mind envisages:
• A Conscious part dealing with a complex of impressions through our Senses.
• An Unconscious part comprising our memories of experiences, associated emotions, competences, etc.

There is a little understood regarding interchange between the two parts.

Buddhist Philosophers imagined a “stream of consciousness” as the model of a link from Conscious to the Unconscious — It is intuitively appealing. The names of the Moods and Emotions in the stream are Hell, Hunger (craving), Instincts, Anger, Tranquillity, Rapture, Learning, and Realization, and Helping.

The Instincts are the

Thus, physiological needs such as eating, drinking, and sleeping are potential deficiency
needs — as are safety needs — social needs such as friendship — sexual intimacy, and ego needs such as self-esteem and recognition — They vary considerably in source, intensity and duration — such as Domestic Abuse, Infection, Chronic Stress, etc.

Where Hell includes the following:


However thought processes seem to yield enthusiastic responses from the Unconscious

Such Emotions, whether triggered from without or within, produce major changes all through the body, most notably in muscle-tone, energy level, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

Emotion can be considered the result of:
• Mood — the inner, subjective feelings
• Affect — the outer, objective manifestations of feeling,
• Drive, and
• Cognitive control.

Emotions are chemicals released in response to our interpretation of a specific trigger.
Emotion chemicals are released throughout our bodies, not just in our brains, and they form a kind of feedback loop between our brains & bodies.
In general, only changes in the body or environment that produce emotion are notice.
Feelings happen as we begin to integrate the emotion, to think about it, to “let it soak in.”
In English, we use “feel” for both physical and emotional sensation — we can say we physically feel cold, but we can also emotionally feel cold. This is a clue to the meaning of “feeling,” it’s something we sense. Feelings are more “cognitively saturated” as the emotion chemicals are processed in our brains & bodies.
Feelings are often fuelled by a mix of emotions, and last for longer than emotions.
Emotions have enormous power to enhance, distort, or totally disrupt other mental processes. For instance, intense interest can make thoughts and ideas flow profusely, while shame makes it all but impossible to concentrate.

Moods are an aspect of our Emotions. In effect they place a restriction on our emotional responses. A “Bad Mood” tends to focus on Negative Emotions.

An Angry reaction seems to reduce our options with regard to dealing with a situation.

Intense study, creativity, etc. can stifle our basic Needs – we ignore hunger, etc. but enhance our ability to learn and realise.

Depression seems to shut-off our understanding, and motivation regarding much of our Needs — leaving us with emotions of despair.

Likewise, Anxiety blocks our judgement and composure.

Severe trauma can damage our Emotional reactions and judgement, so that we respond with anger out of proportion or misinterpretation of the circumstances.

From — ref791 emotions-energy-create-transform-us and reward system

If human beings are capable of accumulating numerous positive emotions, they will acquire more competent basic tools for dealing with difficult times.

Emotions are the score that orchestrates our daily lives Sometimes the music is happy, lively, and intense, but after a while, it envelops us in its melody, sad and full of disenchantment

According to work published by social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson in the “Review of General Psychology” (2008), positive emotions, in addition to giving us immediate satisfaction, act as learning mechanisms.

In other words, we would speak of the following relationship:– more satisfactory emotions, means better personal resources for dealing with times of crisis.

Emotions are capable of transforming our reality — Something that we must keep in mind is that an emotion is not just an inner state; it is a combination of various powerful elements:–

• Cognitions, that is, the way we process everything that surrounds us, what we see, feel, and experience. Everything acquires an inner meaning for us.
• Our feelings and the way we react. To understand this, we will give you a simple example: you are in love with someone and you do not dare tell them. In the end, it is too late and that person disappears from your life, taking with them the chance to at least try.

The main neurotransmitters that act as creators of our emotions are:

• Dopamine is related to pleasure and reward experiences in our learning process. In other words, when we do something good, we are gratified by the excretion of dopamine and we receive a pleasant sensation.
• Serotonin, in turn, is a neurotransmitter associated with memory and learning. So then, it is important to know that an imbalance of serotonin levels can increase anger, anxiety, depression, and the sense of panic.
• An adequate level of Norepinephrine keeps stress and anxiety under control.

Read More — ref791

Returning to Needs — A condensed version of Maslow’s — was proposed by Rick Hanson in his book “Hardwiring Happiness”

He observed::– We have 3 core Needs or Operating Systems:–
• Safety ——— Avoiding Harms
• Connection —– Attaching/relating to others
• Satisfaction — Using Rewards

These operating systems are defined by their function and not their evolved anatomy

Each operating system has its own set of capabilities, and they can be running at the same time.

Each has two modes of responding to circumstances:
• The Responsive Mode — Controlled, Mindful
• The Reactive Mode — Alert, Emotional, Stressed. — Insecure people, and those affected by trauma are more prone to this mode

These are much influenced by our experiences, from early nurture, family life, fortune, etc.

Our Reward systems motivate us to deal with each Need

CCP182 Sexual Reward Cycles

We have the ability to develop useful Habits and Competences by means of changes to the Brain called Myelination.

However, we can also learn bad habits..

We Humans are driven by our Needs and our Reward System. Unfortunately our Reward System can malfunction, leading, for some of us, to one or more Addictions

This seems to occur because the Resolution phase in the reward cycle does not work properly.

With alcohol the effects are related to Blood/Alcohol Content (BAC), that for a given alcohol intake, depends on gender and weight

A simple model explains what happens as we continue to drink. Though an alcoholic has a greater tolerance to alcohol.
• Alcohol first of all initiates pleasure by activating an excitatory neurotransmitter, thus stimulating the body.,
• However, above a BAC of around 0.33 mL/L an inhibitory neurotransmitter is activated as the nervous system decides that enough is enough – this is the depressive phase.
• However reduced inhibition and a much greater tolerance to alcohol cause the alcoholic to continue drinking – the inhibitory neuro-transmitter is ineffective
BAC (% by Volume) — Typical Behaviour — and possible Impairment
To 0.1———– Reduced inhibition ———— Reduced reasoning
0.1 – 0.2 ——- Boisterous/Angry————— Staggering
0.2 – 0.3 ——- Stupor—————————— Blackout
0.3 – 0.4 ——- Severe depression—————–Incontinence
> 0.4 ————Coma ———————————Risk of death, damage

Early Development

The Psychologist Oliver James in his book “They Fxxx You Up”, presents his version of Early Human Developments and relates these to Adult Personality Types. He considers Genetics and Nurtures but maintains that we can and should focus on Nurture – because it can be changed!

His main focus is on emotional and social aspects, developed over 3 early stages.
o Stage 1 Becoming aware – to 6 months
o Stage 2 Developing how to Relate to others – to 3 years
o Stage 3 Realising a Conscience (morality) – 3 to 6 yrs

Early care that lacks empathy creates an immature adult with arrested development, prone to the reckless and amoral acts of a young child, to the ‘me, me, me’ selfishness and inflated grandiosity found in the fantasy life of the toddler. But the cause of such personality disorder is not wholly due to the sort of care in infancy. Subsequent experiences, especially sexual and physical abuse, can also play critical roles.

See Attachment Theory — Ref 492 and Personality Research — Ref 484

Another major development stage is Adolescence, with Puberty:

See Development of Values — Ref 391

The Mature (Secure) Adult is described the Psychologist Oliver James, as follows:

If you are this type it is relatively easy for you to become emotionally close to others. You are comfortable depending upon others and being depended upon by them, and don’t worry greatly about being alone or having others not accept us.

Adult romantic partners tend to be secure. When set a problem to solve with their partner, secure men are positive and supportive, trying to help rather than acting as a competitor or getting annoyed. Secure women are likely to seek emotional support from their man and to be happy to receive embraces or other physical expressions of affection and encouragement.

Secure couples have the least negative relationships of any combination of patterns – less critical, less conflict-ridden, more warm and friendly. The most common causes of rancour, like the man not spending enough time with the woman or disputes over the division of domestic labour, are less likely to be a problem. Followed over time, their relationships last longer and, if they include marriage, are less likely to end in divorce.

Such a paragon is the result of a Secure Attachment to fellow beings, with no Personality Disorder and a Benign Conscience in the years 3 to 6).

About 50% of Adults in Civilised Societies are “Secure” — the rest are criminals, comedians and politicians — even Prime Ministers

Turkey — A Nation Born in Blood

A nation born in blood – The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924
Review by James Robins in the Spectator

It’s arguable that there would be no Turkish nation without the destruction of its Christian peoples

Turkish citizens regard Mustafa Kemal reverentially: the nation’s first president, courageous leader of the 1919-1922 war of independence, deliverer from the great powers’ imperial cleaver.

An impenetrable cultish mythos envelops him.

Even for Istanbul’s young cosmopolitans, any word against Kemal spurs a visceral reaction.

Recep Erdogan, the current president, whose politics are anathema to Kemalist ideology, still has to invoke him for the purposes of propaganda.
To an American intelligence officer who met the man in the fraught summer of 1921, however, Kemal was a ‘clever, ugly customer,’ with the look of ‘a very superior waiter’.

It’s little wonder that an American would view Kemal in such a way.

His nationalist movement was waging a quasi-guerrilla insurgency against the victors of the first world war, who sought to carve up the moribund, defeated Ottoman empire. In the process,

Kemal completed what his predecessors had already begun — the definitive slaughter and removal of the empire’s remaining Christian population — Pontic and Ionian Greeks, Assyrians and, of course, Armenians.

In their expansive and detailed new volume The Thirty-Year Genocide the historians Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi depart from well-established accounts of the Armenian genocide.

These accounts often consign earlier and later frenzies of slaying to introductions and conclusions — They roll three crimes into on:–
• First, the Hamidian Terror (1894-96) under the sclerotic rule of Sultan Abdiilhamid II.
• Secondly, the obliteration carried out by the formerly liberal Committee of Union and Progress (1914-18).
• Thirdly, the Kemalist ‘cleansing’ campaigns during and after the war of independence (1919-24).
Morris and Ze’evi document each period well, if often gruellingly. They include a distressing but accurate summary:

An Armenian woman from eastern Anatolia, born in the 1880s, would likely have seen her parents killed in 1895 and her husband and son massacred in 1915. If she survived, she probably would have been raped and murdered in 1919-1924. Certainly she would have been deported in that last genocidal phase.

They are right to draw a link between all three in the sense that, no matter the ideological motive, the result was the same: a complete eradication of ethnic and religious minorities, leading to a death toll that approaches two million.

But it is the ideological motives that the authors encounter trouble with. To their credit, they admit that ‘the bouts of atrocity were committed under three different ideological umbrellas’.

Yet for their thesis to work, there must be unity of purpose. And they’ve picked the wrong one.

They find an ‘over-arching. banner’ in Islam, which, they say, ‘played a cardinal role throughout the process’. Partly, their misreading is down to relying extensively on the accounts of Allied officers or western missionaries — quick to attribute bouts of savagery to ‘fanatical Mohammedanism’.

This skips over the fact that ‘Christians lived in relative security under Ottoman rule for centuries’. What changed?

The only theory that could explain all three fits of carnage is this: a siege mentality.

Abdiilhamid II, the Committee of Union and Progress and Mustafa Kemal (also a CUP member) were all gripped by a fear of the state’s disfigurement and collapse, and they directed apocalyptic violence against those they perceived as traitors or fifth columnists.

Indeed, only this could explain something Morris and Ze’evi consign to a desultory footnote — the Turkish republic’s 94-year-long campaign against the Kurds.

They are Muslim, too, by majority, but from 1925 engaged in rebellions arid resistances against the state — and have suffered dearly for it.
In a way, paranoia about partition is the galvanising politics of the Turkish elite to this day.

The authors also withdraw from a bitterly ironic point made by pioneering writers such as Taner Akgam, Ugur Ungor, and Hrant Dink, a very confronting and uncomfortable idea indeed:–
Contrary to the miraculous or messianic view of Mustafa Kemal, there would not be a Turkish nation without the destruction of its Christian peoples.

The very foundation of republican Turkey is an abattoir of mud and blood.

James Robbins is a commentary writer for USA Today and Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs on the American Foreign Policy Council.

The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924
by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi Harvard, £25, pp. 636

The cash for Independence

Scotland should be re-considering whether or not to be dictated to by England — though many in Scotland are scared to relinquish our dependence.

We are part of humanity — we need others — but in what way has the close relationship with a complex England been truly to the overall benefit of the Scot’s Nation.

If so-called Independence is to work we need to answer the most crucial practical question — “What about the Money?”.

The following is by Andrew Hughes Hallett who is an honorary professor at St Andrews University school of economics and a member of the Sustainable Growth Commission

Published, as follows, in “The National” —

Stability & Flexibility are at the Heart of the Currency Debate

ANY currency regime poses a trade-off between financial stability and flexibility to boost growth, job creation and investment. More of one means less of the other. This may be true in the short run, but definitely not in the long run as the Irish examples (or the section on floating) below show. The way out is to use currency/monetary policy to provide stability, and internal policies to provide flexibility.

Otherwise the conflict will be between do you want to preserve the value of your pension, or flexibility in the (vain) hope of boosting growth to create new pensions?

Explaining the Currency Options

1. (Multilateral) Currency Union
ALL participants share a single currency, hence a single monetary policy (interest rate) and a single exchange rate. The important point is that all participants, however small, contribute to making the decisions on what that single monetary policy/exchange rate should be. Small countries will have little separate effect, but the principle is there. Most likely, but not absolutely certain, this will involve sharing a common financial and prudential regulatory framework. It was this last part that the Bank of England refused to allow in 2014; but the European regulation framework could have been used instead (with the UK then in the EU).

The only existing currency union of that kind is the Euro System, unless you want to include the US Federal System with its regional feds having partial policy voting power. The UK currency union is not of this kind, being a unilateral union with no regional inputs. It seems unlikely, Scotland having been in that position for 300 years, that we could get a step up at this point. On the other hand, Scotland loses nothing by not getting ah upgrade.

2. (Unilateral) Currency Union

THIS is where you simply chose to use the currency of another economy whose monetary management appears to be more disciplined than yours or in line with your goals. No one can stop you doing that, but you do have to take the interest rates and exchange rate of the other economy. However, in compensation, you get greater financial stability, certainty or financial protection from bad shocks than you could manage on your own. If you wish to pursue your own goals, different from the other economy, you have to use internal policies (fiscal policy, diversification, competitiveness, productivity policies) to make up the difference. You are always free to do that, but as a small economy the scope for doing so in practice may be limited.

There are a number of examples where this regime has been surprisingly successful: Ireland after independence; also Ecuador, Panama and Montenegro, whose performance has been very strong when compared to what went before.

3. A Currency Union

IN this regime, you are able to issue your own currency but only 1-1 as each unit of the currency (or basket of currencies) to which you are pegged comes in through trade or investment. This is relatively easy to organise, but does depend on maintaining strong governance arrangements and a sensible choice of currency/ies to peg to (reflecting the pattern of trade and investment partners). It is fair to say that Argentina fell down by a poor choice of, and weak enforcement of, the governance arrangements, and by choosing the wrong peg currencies when-they tried this option in the 1990s. And we face the same restricted room for manoeuvre for small countries if they wish to maintain both financial stability and flexibility in pursuit of their goals.

If a proposal for Scotland were implemented along these lines, the gains over other currency regimes could easily be more apparent than real.
On the other hand, there are instances where this regime has been outstandingly successful in securing financial stability and the growth, low inflation, job creation goals Scotland needs: eg the Baltics in the 1990s, China and most of all Hong Kong since 1977. Who would not want that? These examples make a strong case for a customs union, if properly designed and managed, as part of the Sustainable Growth Commission’s proposal.

4. Floating (a pure or managed float)

HERE your own currency’s value is left to fluctuate with market forces, perhaps with interventions to buy (sell) the currency from reserves to smooth out the larger fluctuations on the down (up) side. Typically this works as long as there are reserves left with which to intervene. But then the ability to maintain a coherent currency regime is gone (and with it any financial stability). This is because the financial markets flexibility to pursue domestic goals by domestic monetary policy (devaluing to generate additional demand, growth and jobs). This is possible in the short run. But it would generate extra inflation because imports cost more, and hence losses in competitiveness that destroy that extra growth and those jobs; in which case nothing has been gained but quite a lot lost (not least because Scotland would have signaled that she had chosen a regime to try the same trick again when circumstances get difficult).

There is no advantage to accelerating that effect by signaling it in advance by cancelling the six tests.

It takes very little in extra inflation to create a loss in competitiveness. Much better to try to get the same flexibility by using domestic policies: fiscal policy, structural reform, productivity growth.

There are lots of examples where this floating strategy hasn’t worked well – Mitterrand in France in the 1980s; UK at various times; Italy.
But the clearest example is Ireland in the 1979-1982 period – but none where it has worked in the absence of support from internal domestic policies.

What impact could the SNP leadership position have on EU membership?

THE Sustainable Growth Commission does not take a position on EU (or Euro) membership. But its recommendations are carefully constructed to at least keep open the prospect of EU membership. And a currency framework designed to ensure financial stability will make Scotland’s membership more attractive from an EU perspective.

How would the Sustainable Growth Commission proposal work – and would we have to join the euro?

THE unilateral currency union part of the proposal is fairly straightforward. It would work as now, once the question of financial regulation is settled. Various options on how to settle that question are discussed in the commission’s report, including those not dependent on the UK.
The second (currency board) part is more subtle. Here is one possibility, though what would finally be adopted is a question for the Scottish people and Scottish Parliament to decide. The main concern with a currency board is whether it has sufficient reserves and discipline to weather a severe j recession or speculative attack.

One of the purposes of the six tests is to demonstrate that it has. And one of the purposes of the first (currency union) part is to allow the new Central Bank time to establish a reputation for focused and consistent policy making; also to amass sufficient reserves or support arrangements (Scotland’s share of foreign exchange reserves, public 1 sector asset sales, quantitative easing ‘ assets, oil revenues in the fund for n future generations etc).

That done, the six tests, to be undertaken by the new independent Scottish Central Bank, will signal that the Scottish economy is stable, and is likely to remain so, and has sufficient reserve arrangements to support it. It will also signal to the EU that Scotland is in a position to join the EU or Euro if it wanted to (no promises, that is up to the Scottish people, but the necessary test is passed).

This then implies a judgment on the suitability of going to another currency or a currency board; and after that an agreement on going into (or possibly a derogation,

Danish style) the Euro as part of the, by then, post-independence negotiations on readmission into the EU. Obviously it is the timing that is important here. In the two stage validation, it is the last part that gets you the ECB’s under-writing of the exchange rate that Denmark enjoys. It depends on the possibility (not more) that you will enter the Euro process (not the Euro per se) when in a condition to do so. This is a gentleman’s agreement; all new members (absent a derogation) have to agree a willingness to join the Euro process when they are in a position to do so. But it is not enforceable as Sweden’s case shows only too clearly.

Are there lessons to learn from Ireland’s currency transition?

THE transition to a new currency regime in Ireland took a broadly similar path to that now proposed for Scotland, albeit with a different timing to reflect the fact that the Irish economy was far more integrated through trade and investment with the UK than Scotland now is (not to mention differences in income levels, civil war in Ireland, the Second World War etc). So the transition took longer.

From independence in 1922 to 1943, Ireland operated with a more restricted form of unilateral currency union than that proposed for Scotland (for example, Ireland did not control her currency/ banking reserves to defend against adverse financial shocks). After 1943 Ireland switched to a fairly strictly enforced currency board, pegged to the UK pound. This worked pretty well and laid the foundation for steadily increasing prosperity and an expansion of trade and investment (principally to the US).

However with the demise of the sterling payments area and Ireland’s preparations to join the EU in 1973, this era came to an end. Ireland then joined the European “snake” currency regime which was dominated by rather frequent devaluations and revaluations, and the steady growth of previous years was lost until she joined the more disciplined EMS regime in 1979.

However the snake period and several adjustments to find her place in the early EMS years meant that Ireland was a de facto float until the EMS rules were tightened up in 1986 (the so called “hard” HMS regime). In this period the Haughey government tried at least two unilateral devaluations (1978- 82) to restore the growth and jobs enjoyed in earlier years, but to no effect. Inflation and higher interest rates killed off higher growth in the short term, and the economy, now significantly less competitive, reverted to sluggish growth, high unemployment, high interest rates and considerable financial uncertainty that proved difficult to escape.

Progress came when the Fitzgerald government was able to agree a further devaluation, but with the difference that all parties to the policy process (including trade unions) agreed not to pass on or compensate for any inflationary effects in prices and wages – and on the understanding that this all had to be done strictly within the rules of the hard EMS. This worked, and led to the 20 years of 5°/o-7% growth, job creation and investment that followed.

If there is a lesson for Scotland, it is that there may be a trade-off between stability and flexibility, but it is only in the very short run. In the medium to longer term, increases in competitiveness and productivity derived from domestic policy in a stable regime are far more powerful. This is perhaps best summed up by the Central Bank of Ireland’s former governor Patrick Honohan; the success of the movement from currency board to central bank was “in contrast to many other post¬colonial cases, (the currency board’s) demise was not followed by a rapid depreciation and slide into semi¬permanent high inflation and lack of convertibility”.

Andrew Hughes Hallett is an honorary professor at St Andrews University school of economics and member of the Sustainable Growth Commission


Female Genital Mutilation

From “Golden Lion” by Wilbur Smith

Scene: Slave Market in Zanzibar –

she was bent double and fully exposed.

“She has not been cut, look at her lips and her bud still intact – so she still feels pleasure”

“It is shameful when they scream and moan, but women like that are desperate for a man”

Gender Issues

As a conventional Male I find the following very disturbing — But, is this the reality of Human Nature?

Gender Issue

From — Ref 643

“The idea of a unified ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ personality turns out not to describe real people — It describes stereotypes to which we constantly compare ourselves and each other, but more people are ‘gender non-conforming’ than we generally realize.”

Environmental influences such as prenatal or early-life stress can feed back into this process, again altering how the brain develops.

And — Ref 646 –Gender begins with the assignment of our sex – However, a person’s gender is the complex interrelationship between three dimensions:
• Body: our body, our experience of our own body, how society genders bodies, and how others interact with us based on our body.
• Identity: our deeply held, internal sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither; who we internally know ourselves to be.
• Expression: how we present our gender in the world and how society, culture, community, and family perceive, interact with, and try to shape our gender.

Gender expression is also related to gender roles and how society uses those roles to try to enforce conformity to current gender norms.
• Expression: how we present our gender in the world and how society, culture, community, and family perceive, interact with, and try to shape our gender.

Each of these dimensions can vary greatly across a range of possibilities. A person’s comfort in their gender is related to the degree to which these three dimensions feel in harmony!

Take Gender and Sexual Orientation: Gender and sexual orientation are two distinct aspects of our identity. Gender is personal (how we see ourselves), while sexual orientation is interpersonal (who we are physically, emotionally and/or romantically attracted to) — Ref 646

Read More — Ref 643


Neurologists tell us that there are Tree major Human Nees

Avoiding Harm
Obtaining Satisfaction
Relating to other Human Beings

They don’t mention Avoiding Boredom — this is the reason that young people are addicted to the Screen and the access to “Not Boredom”


Tackling Super-bugs (From the Daily Telegraph)

Drug-resistant superbugs are rising in the UK because of lack of regulation of antibiotics in developing countries, experts have warned.
Research into antibiotic use around the world reveals that while use in Britain slowed, global consumption jumped by 65 per cent, to 34.8bn daily doses between 2000 and 2015.

Soil from an area of Northern Ireland once populated by druids and known for its healing properties could be the source of a new class of antibiotic to be used in the fight against superbugs.

An international team from Swansea University has found a new strain of Streptomyces, a type of gram negative bacterium that grows in various environments around the world and has been used in the development of many antibiotics such as streptomycin.
The researchers were looking for new ways to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance which, according to a recent report, will kill 1.3 million people in Europe alone by 2050 if not tackled urgently.

Because of a lack of antibiotics in the development pipeline researchers are looking at new sources such as ancient cures, known as ethnopharmacology.

The international team of researchers, who published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, analysed soil from an area of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, known as the Boho Highlands. It is an area of alkaline grassland whose soil is reputed to have healing properties.
According to ancient tradition a small amount of soil was wrapped in cotton and placed next to the site of infection or put under the patient’s pillow for nine days. This technique was used to heal many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections.

Although the exact origins of the cure are lost in the mists of time it is thought to have still been in use in the early to mid 1800s.

Thought Crime

From — Thought Crime By Roger Scruton

The proposed introduction of ‘hate crime’ marks the latest step towards the ‘thought- crime’ described by Nineteen Eighty-Four, and also observed in all totalitarian systems of government. Yet the Law Commission is pressing for this innovation, and we need to be clear about what it means.

If there is hatred in our society, it does not come from ordinary prejudices, such as those that lead rival groups of citizens to treat each other with suspicion; it stems from those who do not see prejudice for what it is, the natural response to difference, and the desire to live in a comfort zone of one’s own. ‘Haters of hate’ include the militant ‘Anti-fa’ activists, the radical anti-racists, the intolerant feminists who will not permit any utterance that they regard as ‘offensive’ to the fair sex (such as this one).

They are people who discern hatred all around them, in order to get on with the agreeable business of hating it: people who feel for whatever reason excluded from some aspect of our largely peaceful and compromising way of life, and are giving vent to their resentments.