When Vice President (ial candidate*) Tim Kaine announced that “Humans don’t like change” he overlooked the fact that actually we introduce, create and endorse change all the time. In the political sphere, the Ancient Greeks created democracy but the right to vote was limited to a very select and limited group. In the nineteenth century, democracy in Britain began to include a wider range of voters but still only half of men were eligible to vote.
By 1918, all men were enfranchised and the size of the electorate grew from 7 to 12 million. Women were included for the first time but only if they were over 30 years old. By 1928 , women’s rights had changed again and came in line with their male counterparts: both could now vote if 21 or over. This changed yet again in 1960 when the age was lowered to 18. Even today, convicted serving prisoners are not allowed to vote and there is a movement to lower the age limit to 16 so the meaning of “universal” suffrage is constantly changing.
If you have ever had to complete a medical questionnaire, you’ll know how difficult it is to remember all the details. For example, were you six or seven when you had mumps, how many times have you had tonsillitis, was it your left or right arm that was broken on that skiing trip. When it comes to prescribed medication, you’re bound to miss out the odd course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. Fortunately, your doctor’s records should have your complete medical history so you can access this information if required. Continue reading →
Anyone who has lived opposite a pelican crossing will tell you that the sudden “beep…beep…beep” that indicates that it is safe for a pedestrian to cross the road is highly disruptive to a good night’s sleep. This may be hugely beneficial to those who are blind and want to move safely from one side of the street to the other but this incessant yet erratic alarm pierces the night and pierces the ears.
Even more infuriating is the noise caused by neighbours.
Sooner or later, it happens to us all. You go into a shop, spot a pair of shoes and try them on. They look terrific and feel great. You walk around the store a few times, buy them and take them home. The very first time that you wear them to go out, they prove to be excruciatingly uncomfortable!
In a rage, you throw them into the back of a wardrobe. There they remain, gathering dust until it’s either spring cleaning time or you’re packing up to move. You try them on again, hoping that your feet have changed shape and willing them to be comfortable. They’re not! You toss them back in disgust! If they were a cheap pair of shoes, you realise that you’ve wasted your money: if they were expensive, you realise you’ve wasted a lot of your money.
It is hard to imagine that 35000 years ago, in caves stretching from Europe to Asia, Paleolithic man was busy painting pictures. The images were mostly of animals and hand prints and were generally created using fingers, sticks and leaves with some outlines scratched into the rock surface with stones. For thousands of years, subsequent generations worked hard adding to these cave paintings and today, the reasons that they were made remains a mystery with endless speculative explanations.