On eating roadkill

George Monbiot has written an article about how he recently ate roadkill: a grey squirrel. I think that if we must eat animals then roadkill is probably the most ethical of all the options since the animal is dead anyway. But in his article he describes how he was admonished for doing this by people who eat meat. These are people who presumably ignore the suffering of factory-farmed animals and their environmental consequences. The vast majority of chickens grown for meat in the UK are fed soya, a food humans can eat but which is instead fed to chickens that have short, painful lives, cramped in sheds with the space-equivalent each of an A4 piece of paper.

Surely eating the dead carcass of an animal that has known freedom is preferable to this?

I’ve always been interested in feeding humans, perhaps because I’m the daughter of an agricultural scientist, but what I find most fascinating is how much our culture impacts our food choices and how rigid it makes us. Most people would never dream of changing their evening meal from meat and three veg to something else, even though the something else may taste better and be better for our health. Meat and three veg is our culture, a habit, we know how it tastes, we know how to cook it.

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) has a campaign to bring insects into our diet. The environmental consequences of eating insects are far lower than for livestock, insects are also very nutritious and yet the cultural barrier is huge. Would you be prepared to eat insects? I’m not sure how to change this, especially after reading the reactions to George Monbiot’s article which are mostly irrational. However one thing is certain, we can’t feed 9 billion people with the same diet that the average American eats today.

Here’s a good documentary about a man in the UK who eats roadkill on a regular basis.


Cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen

We went for quite a stressful bike ride today. It was supposed to be a pleasant afternoon cycling along a newly discovered bike path but traffic and a lack of suitable crossings for bicycles made it stressful.

I took a photo of one of the crossings we made to point out how inadequate it is for bicycles. This is on the Duthie Park side of the river next to where the council has finished a new bike path. On one side of this four-lane bridge is a bike path and on the other side is also a bike path but how cyclists are supposed to get from one bike path to the other is a mystery to me. It’s not just a matter of dashing out in front of traffic but also somehow getting up and down the kerb.

My bike weighs about 40kg sans kids. With kids on-board it’s about 90kg. There is no way I’m capable of lifting it up a high kerb. This means I need to find a kerb that will let me push my bike up onto it and that was across the King George VI bridge and four lanes of traffic. The traffic island in the middle is too narrow for me to stop since my bike is longer than most and so I have to dash all the way from one side to the other in one go. It’s like playing a game of red rover only not very much fun and also quite dangerous. In my mad dash I even lost a shoe which Ben is holding in the photo.

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At the other end of the bike path is the Bridge of Dee which has a path down each side for pedestrians but it’s so extremely narrow that it’s almost impossible to cross and not at all pleasant given the amount of traffic on the bridge.

The newly discovered bike path is on the other side of the river across from Duthie Park. It was very nice and had lovely views of the city, the river, and some nice landscaping. But we won’t be going back in a hurry given how stressful it is to get to. Here are some pics of it:

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I think I must be about to break into song here:

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The Rocket Bike

We’ve been thinking about getting a new cargo bike lately because our kids are getting a bit small for the bakfiets. The main problem is that Daniel is too tall when the rain tent is on – which is all the time – and so the kids have to sit on the floor of the bike instead of on the seat.

The cargo bike is our car and gets used every single day. We even go on longish rides with it and it will be many years before Daniel is capable of cycling around the streets on his own bike. We also have no intention of ever purchasing a car.

Consequently I have spent a very enjoyable Sunday morning ogling at cargo bikes on the web. There are so many amazing bikes out there with very creative features and designs. But this one takes the cake:

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It’s called the Boxer Rocket and is made in the UK by a British startup in Dorset called Boxer Cycles. The company is currently seeking funding.

I had the same reaction as this reviewer when I saw it which was, “Shut up and take my money!”. The bike seats four kids on two benches which face each other. There’s lockable storage in the nose of the bike and it also has front and rear indicators. I often find myself wishing I had indicators on my bike as sticking an arm out when you’re about to turn on a heavy cargo bike is not really the safest thing to do. It comes with an electric motor and also a jet engine simulator which sold it for Daniel. The kids’ seats recline creating a bed if they want to lie down and sleep which would be great on long trips. It’s not cheap, though, with a price of £4950.00. What do you think?


British pubs

I’ve always liked British pubs for their atmosphere and uniqueness. They’re not like big chain restaurants that are all the same. They’re all different and often a bit quirky like the Slains Castle pub in Aberdeen.

Lately we’ve been going to pubs for dinner more often. This is because I’ve just discovered how good they are for vegan food and they’re also cheap. For some reason, really expensive restaurants are the worst for vegans. It’s the cheap places that often have at least something for a vegan. Pubs will usually have a chickpea burger and I love chickpea burgers.

We went out last night to a pub on Union St – The Justice Mill. It’s a chain-operated pub so I suppose some of that uniqueness is lost to the big chain but it was still pretty good. For £4.99 I got a chickpea and sweet potato curry *and* a glass of sparkling water:

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It was really yummy and more than I was able to eat.

When I was ordering the meal the lady behind the counter said to me that I’m only allowed to have two alcoholic drinks. I don’t drink so it was not really relevant but I was curious about this. It seemed strange that a pub would limit the number of drink patrons are allowed to just two. Why would they do that? Wouldn’t that decrease their profits substantially?

It turns out this rule is just for people who visit the pub with kids in tow. They’re only allowed to have two drinks and they must order a meal. It’s not a law but a rule imposed by the chain – Wetherspoon – which operates this particular pub. I agree wholeheartedly with this. I don’t think it’s appropriate for people to drag their kids off to pubs just to get drunk or to visit them for the purposes of drinking only. For two reasons: getting drunk in front of your children sets a bad example and it also diminishes your ability to care for them.

Daniel and Elizabeth are very fond of going to the pub now. They all seem to have children’s menus and although I don’t think they’re the healthiest options, they’re a step-up from your typical fast-food outlet which costs about the same.


Is Jeremy Corbyn sexy?

Of course he is! He has integrity and he’s kind and you won’t find sexier qualities than these. If I were a member of the Labour party, which I am not, I would be voting for Jeremy Corbyn. I hope he wins!

I found this video of him from 1984 and any 35-year-old man who proudly wears his mother’s knitted jumper on national television is definitely hot prime minister material as far as I’m concerned :)

I’ve created a poll. Please vote!


An update on the nonhuman rights project

A little while ago I wrote about the litigation in progress to try to free two chimpanzees being held captive for experimentation in a University laboratory. Lawyers for the chimps (Hercules and Leo) argued on the basis of habeus corpus, a writ in common law which provides a way for detainees to end unlawful imprisonment. It was first used to free slaves in the 18th century.

The judge presiding over the case recently returned a decision, which although does not go so far as granting habeus corpus to these two chimps, was encouraging nevertheless. This is because the judge said she is bound by another case which is currently before a higher court, the Court of Appeals (I hope I’ve got this right as there’s almost a bit too much legal mumbo jumbo for me) and she has paved the way for them to appeal Hercules and Leo’s case. Steven M. Wise, lawyer for the chimps, has a more detailed explanation here:

http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/2015/08/04/thats-one-small-step-for-a-judge-one-giant-leap-for-the-nonhuman-rights-project/

Here’s what the judge said:

She determined that the so-called “floodgates argument is not a cogent reason for denying relief.” She said that “persons” are not restricted to human beings, and that who is a “person” is not a question of biology, but of public policy and principle. “(T)he parameters of legal personhood have long been and will continue to be discussed and debated by legal theorists, commentators, and courts,” she wrote, ”and will not be focused on semantics or biology, or even philosophy, but on the proper allocation of rights under the law, asking, in effect, who counts under our law.”

And:

“If rights were defined,” Justice Jaffe wrote, quoting the recent gay marriage case, “by who exercised them in the past, then received practices could serve as their own continued justification and new groups could not invoke rights once denied.” She concluded:

This all sounds very encouraging. If you want to support this project then please do so here.

Recently I read about the “comfort women” who were enslaved by the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII. I couldn’t help but wonder what made them think it was ok to kidnap women and children and rape and abuse them? How could they have justified this to themselves? I feel the same way about the enslavement of chimpanzees. What makes us think it’s ok to do this? Is it because no-one has stopped to think whether this is ethically acceptable? Or is it because we all turn a blind eye and become implicitly complicit? Is this how people reacted to widespread slavery one hundred years ago? By looking the other way? Or convincing themselves that it wasn’t wrong?

Here’s what I wrote at the end of my last post about this topic: Chimpanzees share almost 99% of our DNA. We can donate blood to them and they can donate blood to us. They are clever, they see themselves as having a past and a future, they form strong social bonds, and have a social culture. They use tools, care for their young, and they are capable of suffering. They are not things. We have no right to exploit them and to imprison them.


Mediaeval battles at Drum Castle

We went to Drum Castle today. I have been itching to visit this castle again ever since our cycle ride from Banchory to Aberdeen via Drum Castle. It was so hot that day and we were so exhausted by the time we arrived at Drum Castle that I took one look at the tower with all its stairs and thought, “fuck that”. So this time we booked a Co-Wheels car and arrived feeling fresh and full of energy.

There was also a mediaeval event happening today which I thought the kids might enjoy and they absolutely loved it!

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There were battle re-enactments which my blood-thirsty son found extremely entertaining. In fact, he found them more entertaining than I felt comfortable with.

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The kids got to participate in a battle and I have never seen Daniel so enthralled by an activity that did not involve an electronic device.

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I took this video of the battle:

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The kids got to attack me too:

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Then we climbed the tower and enjoyed the amazing views from the top.

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Drum Castle has a chapel:

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And a walled garden:

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A woodland walk:

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A pond:

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A home for a tiny creature:

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There’s also a children’s playground but our kids seem to have grown out of playgrounds. It was a great day. I love Aberdeenshire with its many castles, the ocean, the forests, and the mountains. It’s such a lovely part of the world with so many things to do. I think it will be a long time before we’ve exhausted the supply of adventures around here.

 


Sex education in schools

I was rather surprised to read yesterday that there’s no sex education in British schools. I think this should be a compulsory part of the curriculum. I went through school more than 20 years ago now and it was a part of my schooling way back then. And that was 20 years ago and before kids had access to internet pornography. Sadly, internet pornography is providing sex education for most of our young people but it is not indicative of sex in the real world. It is also fairly male-dominated and focused on male satisfaction and pleasure rather than pleasure for both. This is how young boys today learn about sex. I find this really concerning, because while I can make sure my own son learns that pornography is not realistic, my daughter will have this pool of young men as potential partners which really sucks.

As an example of just how shocking the situation is, I watched this Channel 4 documentary about Sex in Class. It films a two-week course on sex education delivered by UN ambassador for sexual health, Goedele Liekens, at a Lancashire school. Here’s what some of the young boys said in the class: consent for sex means consent to ejaculate all over her face; I would dump a girl if she had a hairy fanny; a girl should swallow semen out of respect. The boys all had a very dominating and pornographic view of sex. It was very depressing.

Let me make clear that I don’t object to pornography but there’s no denying that it’s skewing the views that young men have about sex. There needs to be a counterbalance for this. One thing that Goedele Liekens does in the class is to give the boys some homework in the form of shaving their pubic hair everyday for a week to know what it feels like. Hair-free genitals is something that I find quite disturbing and if I’m being entirely honest, gross. There’s something a bit paedophilic about it.

Something else incredibly surprising was how many of the girls did not know the location of their clitoris – 7/10 of them. She gave the girls homework in the form of looking in a mirror to discover their bits. One of the fathers expressed concern about this and didn’t see the point of it. Are you kidding me? All I can say is, I feel sorry for his wife, if he has one.

Apparently the situation in the US is even more dire where, according to a recent John Oliver video, some schools teach abstinence. Apparently it’s even prohibited to provide condom demonstrations in class in Mississippi. All I can can say is, good luck with that! John Oliver’s video is here:

That’s my rant. We’re off to a castle today. Yay!

 


Turning 40

I’m turning 40 next month. If anyone wants to send me a present I like flowers and chocolate.

The gym I signed up with for the purposes of teaching my kids how to swim offered to do a free MOT so I thought I’d do it given that I’m about to pass the threshold into middle age. Does 40 count as middle age?

I already know I can lick my feet which is definitely a sign of youthful vigour but it’s nice and reassuring to check up on other stats as well. So how’d I do? Pretty good:

BMI: 19.8
Blood pressure: 118/70
Aerobic fitness (VO2 Max): 40ml/kg/min – I have no idea what this is but I’m apparently in the very good range.
Resting heart rate: 59
Cholesterol: 4.34mmol/L
Blood glucose: 3.6mmol/L

If life begins at 40 then I’m hopefully diving in with a good start. What’s the secret? It’s living car-free, eating a predominantly plant-based diet, and probably a bit of good luck. Feeling happy with life certainly helps too.

I can’t emphasise enough how much living car-free adds to my health, happiness, and overall quality of life. This is because I have no self-control whatsoever. Ben brought me back a Toblerone from his recent trip and I ate the whole thing in less than two days. If there’s chocolate in the house I’ll eat it all in one go. The same thing happens with cars: when we own a car we end up using it for trips we could easily walk or cycle instead. Remove the car altogether and you have no choice but to use your own steam and then you feel good about yourself in addition to getting all the health benefits of physical activity. Bicycles FTW!


Can you lick your foot?

Elizabeth has a wart on her foot, probably picked up at the swimming pool. Last night we caught her licking it in the bath. Grossness of licking one’s wart aside, Ben said, “If only we could still lick our feet”. To which I said, “Speak for yourself. I can still lick mine,” and then I gave him a demonstration. Ben thinks that people over 35 who can still lick their feet are freaks.

I thought I’d conduct a poll to see how many people aged 35 and over can lick their feet. If you’re younger than 35, sorry, you can’t participate in this poll. Thank you!

 

 


Is pearl barley the perfect food?

I love pearl barley. It’s one of the oldest cultivated cereals and was an important source of food for Europeans up until the end of the 19th century. It has a very low glycaemic index and is high in soluble fibre making it excellent at regulating blood sugar. It’s also higher in protein than rice and corn and can apparently help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.

Pearl barley is very nutritious and one serving contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, zinc, selenium, folate, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin. It’s also very cheap with a 500g packet costing just 55p and producing 20 servings. The Whole Grains Council has a list of research studies on the health benefits of barley here:
http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-barley

Pearl barley could be the perfect food and yet most of what we grow gets fed to farm animals. According to this article in Nature, 75% of global barley production is used as animal feed, 20% is malted into things like beer and whiskey and only 5% is used by humans in cooking. Humans eat it in soup but not much else. But barley makes a tasty replacement for rice and pasta and this evening I adapted one of my pasta recipes to include pearl barley instead and it turned out really well so I thought I’d share it:

Pearl barley with cashews and vegetables

* 1 cup of pearl barley
* 1 vegetable stock cube
* 1 leek
* 3 tomatoes
* 2 stalks of celery
* 2 tblsp soy sauce
* 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
* juice of 1 lemon
* 2 carrots
* 1 cup cashew nuts finely ground
* about 1 cup of water

Bring some water to the boil and cook the pearl barley until soft. This will take about 40 minutes. Once the barley is soft, drain it and put aside.

Fry the leek in olive oil until soft then add the other vegetables and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add all the other ingredients. If it’s too dry add some more water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Eat!

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Surviving a haircut and learning to swim

I took Daniel to get a haircut today at the first barber’s I came to on our way to swimming. The hairdresser was a short and muscular middle-eastern-looking man with tattoos up and down each arm. It all seemed to be going fairly well except that Daniel kept moving his head. He’s not the easiest customer and indeed for many years he was too scared to go to the hairdressers and I had to cut his hair at home. Finally the hairdresser lost it and held the scissors in front of Daniel’s face pretending to cut his own fingers, then said in a more threatening tone than I was comfortable with, “If you keep moving your head I’m going to cut my fingers. Do you want me to do that?”. Daniel looked wide-eyed at the scissors and quickly shook his head. From then on I sat gripping the edge of my seat with visions of an angry barber stabbing Daniel in the head with some scissors. Fortunately Daniel made it out of there alive. I think I’ll find a different place for the next hair cut :)

At the beginning of the school holidays I did something I never thought I’d ever do: I took out gym membership. I’ve always found these places pointless. Why would anyone spend crazy sums of money sitting in a room on a stationary bicycle or running machine when they can go outside and do it for free? Alternatively, sell the car and get a bike and then you don’t have to bother with exercise at all since it will just happen as a consequence of going to work/school/shops. But I digress.

I took out gym membership because I wanted to teach the kids to swim and the gym has a quiet pool which is very close to our house. Daniel, it turns out, can already swim thanks to school swimming lessons in Aberdeen and Auckland. But he was not very good at treading water or floating on his back; two things which I think are very important survival skills. Daniel asked me why he needs to know how to tread water and I told him to imagine he is out on a boat that sinks. There’s a rescue boat on its way but it’ll be two hours before it gets to you. If you can’t tread water or float on your back comfortably you’ll get tired and drown.

I’m ashamed to say that Elizabeth, who is 5, could not swim at all. Growing up in Brisbane I learnt to swim from a very young age. So many people have swimming pools in Brisbane and the heat meant that we spent a great deal of time swimming. But my kids have never spent much time around pools at all. I did pay for Elizabeth to have swimming lessons in Auckland but it was a disaster and she ended up quite traumatised and too scared to put her head under the water. So my goal for the summer holidays was to teach Elizabeth how to swim. We’ve been going 3 or 4 times a week and I’m thrilled to say that today Elizabeth swam unaided in deep water for the first time. It was so exciting for both of us. Elizabeth was clearly chuffed with herself and I feel a great sense of satisfaction. I’m also happy to report that Daniel is very good at both treading water and floating on his back. I guess gyms are not so bad after all :)


Cycle ride to Torry Battery

On Sunday afternoon we cycled from Duthie Park to Torry Battery. The city side of the River Dee was almost entirely off-road cycle paths which is fantastic. After crossing the river at the Wellington Suspension Bridge – which is exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists – it’s all on-road unfortunately. The first part is also particularly ugly thanks, mostly, to the oil industry. But once you pass the industrial part of the harbour it becomes very pretty and quite deserted.

Torry Battery is an old fort built in 1490 as a defence against the English. The original structures have long since gone and the battery standing there now was built in the 19th century as a defence against the French.

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Here’s the route we took:

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The Wellington Suspension Bridge is very nice:

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The views from the Battery are very good and a well-known spot for watching dolphins. We didn’t see any dolphins when we were there but we’ve seen them a couple of times already, from the ferry to Shetland and then Orkney.

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We also walked down to the beach so Ben could have a play in the sand:

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We saw this dog playing fetch with a rather large stick:

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On the side of a hill by the beach are some gorgeous wild roses. Growing up in Brisbane makes me appreciate wild roses like these, as well as all the greenery.

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I also finally finished crocheting a jumper for Daniel. I started this last winter and have had to pull it apart and start again numerous times.

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He seems to like it :)


I met and an Automattician and one year in support

I met one of my co-workers today for the first time. Richard, who also works for Automattic, will be moving to Aberdeen with his lovely wife and daughter later this year. They have been in Aberdeen scoping out places to live and so they came over for a visit this morning. It’ll be so nice to have someone from the same company living in the same city as me. We were even both wearing matching WordPress socks. I’ll let you guess who is who in this next photo:

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I have been working for Automattic, and by the same token, working in support, for over a year now. I realised recently how much working in support suits my personality. I sometimes get down about all the terrible things in the world and about how I’d like to wave a magic wand and fix it. But since I’m not some benevolent dictator, there’s very little I can do. However working in support gives me the opportunity to fix things. They might seem insignificant compared to world hunger and climate change, but they are important to individuals, to our users. It’s so satisfying to have the power to fix a problem or make something better for someone else and working in support gives me that.

I’ve also realised that the most important skill for working in a support role is not knowledge of the product itself, although this helps, it’s communication, empathy, and an investigative mind. This might sound clichéd but let me elaborate. Since I started with Automattic I’ve supported WordPress.com, the WordPress apps for Android and iOS, Simplenote for Android, iOS, and Mac, and now Akismet – an anti-spam service. Good support transcends the product. Products can be learned. Support is about understanding the problem the user is communicating, viewing the situation from their point of view, troubleshooting and investigating, and then conveying the solution in clear and simple language.

Hopefully my second year in support will be just as challenging and satisfying as the last. I’m looking forward to it.


Pedal boats at Duthie Park

The kids have been nagging me to take them on the pedal boats at Duthie Park for some time now. We finally did it this afternoon and it was really nice. The tiny bit of walking we did to get there and back was fraught with difficulty for Daniel who is engaged in an ongoing battle with his socks. We can’t leave our house without Daniel saying, “There’s something wrong with my socks”. I’m not sure whether this is an autism thing or what but somehow the seams near the toe of his socks cause him grief. Can you buy seamless socks? We stopped at least a half a dozen times for him to remove his shoes and readjust his socks but it was all to no avail.

Once we finally made it to the boats it was very nice. The boats are in a very pretty setting and the peddling is good exercise, even for a cyclist.

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You can hire these cool bikes at Duthie Park now too:

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Some selfies:

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Also got this nice photo of the kids this morning:

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True safety lies with design

Rachel M:

I enjoyed the photos in this post of cyclists in the Netherlands. Note the absence of helmets, lights, and hi-viz clothing. They’re just normal people cycling in normal clothes to get to work, school, and shops. This is how cycling should be.

Originally posted on As Easy As Riding A Bike:

I shared some pictures the other day, in an attempt to convey a fairly simple message – that the safety record of the Netherlands for cycling is almost entirely attributable to the physical environment people cycle in, and that it isn’t down to exemplary behaviour (either of people cycling, or of people driving), or down to clothing, or safety equipment, or special lighting, or any other kind of gimmick.

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Admittedly it isn’t particularly obvious from the photographs, but these pictures were taken at two large, busy junctions in Utrecht – the first is at the Westplein, a major junction just to the west of the train station, the second is the junction of Vleutensweg and Thomas a Kempisweg. The people in the pictures are able to negotiate these junctions in total safety, despite doing what they are doing, and wearing what they are wearing, and riding battered bikes, because they are completely…

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Skip showers for beef

I’ve been meaning to share the Skip Showers for Beef video which is very funny but has an important message. They’ve also got a website at: http://www.skipshowersforbeef.com

A friend sent me a link to the Cowspiracy movie this morning and I’ve just been watching it. Most of it I am already aware of and indeed I think I’ve written about stuff like this on my blog before. But the approach taken by the film is very good. They criticise environmental organisations for largely ignoring one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions: livestock farming. They quoted a figure which I hadn’t heard before and I’m unsure of the accuracy of it. They claim that the livestock contribution to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions is 51% rather than the 18% stated in the 2006 FAO report: Livestock’s Long Shadow.

The 51% figure comes from Livestock and Climate Change. Their argument is that some things were overlooked in the original report including livestock respiration. There is a rebuttal for this in Livestock and greenhouse gas emissions: the importance of getting the numbers right. In the rebuttal it is argued that the CO2 emitted during respiration is part of the short-term carbon cycle where plants absorb the CO2 through photosynthesis and animals emit it so the two things cancel each other out. Therefore respiration by livestock should not be counted. Goodland and Anhang, authors of the original article, respond to this by saying that while the model of the carbon cycle makes sense in situations where respiration and photosynthesis remain roughly constant, that’s no longer the case. Respiration has increased exponentially with some 60 billion animals now raised for food each year alongside a corresponding decline in forests.

I’m not really sure which figure is accurate but one thing is certain, the world cannot sustain this level of meat production. We who live in wealthy countries who have plenty to eat and do not require meat to survive need to eat less of it.


Scary movies and the boogeyman

I feel like I haven’t written a blog post for ages. It’s just me and the kids here at the moment because Ben has disappeared off on one of his spy trips. I took them to see another film on the weekend. This time we went to Inside Out. It was supposed to be a funny movie but somehow I ended up bawling my eyes out. It’s so embarrassing when that happens in a children’s movie. Both kids loved it and Elizabeth has started making a set of characters from the film out of toilet rolls:

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This one is Bing Bong:

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I’ve also been reading them Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before bed which is getting quite scary. Even I’m getting scared (despite having read it once before) but I haven’t told them that. Just before Ben left to go gallivanting about Europe he and I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on DVD. It was a great film but absolutely terrifying. Now I wake up alone at 1am and think of this movie which is not good. So I’ve told the kids they can sleep in my bed while we’re reading Harry Potter and they’re scared but really it’s because I’m scared and I’m just pretending that I’m doing them a favour when actually it’s the other way around. Maybe I’ll grow up when I turn 40 :)


My work space

I just got one of those sit/stand desks. I was planning to get myself a desk after moving into our new home because the rental already has a desk and with all of our furniture here + rental house furniture it feels a bit like we’re living in a furniture store. However it’s school holidays at the moment and I’m no longer cycling to and from school twice a day and I was sure I was at risk of developing bed sores from sitting for so long. It was also starting to drive me a bit nuts sitting in a chair hour after hour each day.

Here’s my new desk:

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There are supposedly health benefits to using these desks but health benefits aside, there’s also a cool button which lowers and raises the desk, offering hours of entertainment:


Allan Park and Newton Dee

Ben is away in Germany doing some maths at a maths institute in the Black Forest and so the three of us caught up with some friends today and went cycling. We cycled out to Newton Dee which is about 5 miles from Duthie Park along the Deeside Cycleway.

Newton Dee is a village for adults with learning disabilities and special needs where they can live and work and feel like they’re a part of the community. It’s a fabulous place. They have a café, a grocery store, a craft shop, a bakery, a library, and some farm animals. It’s a lovely place to visit and so nice to see meaningful work opportunities for people with disabilities.

We stopped at Allan Park on the way which is a lovely, leafy park between the cycleway and the River Dee. Some pics:

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There’s also a playground at Newton Dee. I think Daniel is dreaming about the iPad in this next one:

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Bicycle parking just outside the front door:

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Chickens:

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Craft shop in the café:

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