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Statistics and Numbers

Like it or not, we’re surrounded by statistics. Car mileage consumption, acceleration rates and comparative top speeds fill advertisements and motor magazines. According to a Greek study, 47% of 2,500 adults were found to be less likely to develop heart disease when closely following a  Mediterranean diet. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are six times more likely to affect men than women. We are told that some toiletries can make skin softer with the results proven by 87% of a tiny sample of only a couple of hundred. Our teeth can become whiter and stronger with the validation and recommendation of dentists the world over citing their observed evidence.

Headaches back pain and stomach relief are guaranteed supported by the evidence of clinical test results (or so we are led to believe). We’re even excited when a drumming rabbit outperforms its rivals by 250% because it has a particular brand of battery stuffed in its back and are relieved in the knowledge that one particular lager refreshes the parts that others could not reach.

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Faster Faster

Let’s face it, we love speed. We like to go that bit faster on motorways, hoping there are no police cars around. We doubtlessly rejoiced when Roman chariots raced around The Coliseum and we glowed with national pride when The Cutty Sark sailed from London to Melbourne in a record breaking 61 days, especially as she had lost the tea clipper race of 1872.  This sail powered record persisted as the world welcomed the arrival of steam ships and the route was shortened due to the opening of the Suez Canal.

We were ecstatic when Donald Campbell added the land speed record to his water speed record in 1964. We marvelled at The Flying Scotsman reaching  a speed of 100 m.p.h. in 1934 and that The Mallard zoomed from London to Edinburgh, a journey of 352 miles in just 8 hours achieving a top speed of 125 m.p.h. beating the 1936 German world record holder of the day. This summer at The Rio Olympics, we not only want to see Great Britain win gold medals but also see Olympic and world records broken.  Continue reading →

Michael Graves, 1934-2015

Four years ago this month, the architect, designer and academic, Professor Michael Graves died aged 80.

In Britain, he’s probably most famous for his iconic bird whistle kettle, made by Alessi with his signature mid blue handle and maroon red bird flying out of the spout. Designed in 1985, this has  consistently been one of Alessi’s best selling products for thirty years,. He had become Professor of Architecture at Princeton university in 1962 and held that post until 2001 and last year was honoured when the Michael Graves School of Architecture was established at Kean University in New Jersey. Continue reading →

Things That Go Beep In The Night

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.

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Do The Shoes Fit

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.

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