Content editor, Joanna Lowy, comments on all things health-related, and gives you a sneaky peek into her news-based medical musings of the week. Sometimes controversial, other times humorous, always straight from the heart; here you get to know the girl behind the facts! Enjoy!
Comments welcome and invited!
Yes, I am guilty of it myself. Moaning when it rains, moaning, equally, when it is too hot. I suppose it is part of the British psyche in the same way that we apologise to the person who just stepped on our foot and will never make eye contact with someone we do not know.
But I think that yesterday’s news born out of recent research is taking it a little too far.
According to researchers from Newcastle University, cold or uncomfortably hot and sticky weather makes us more likely to make longer calls to close friends and family.
‘It may stretch back many thousands of years to the human impulse to turn to individuals with whom one has a strong bond when situations get trying’, some reports have attributed to the scientists’ reasoning. But here I really must interject, for if we really feel the need to call the bad weather in the UK ‘trying’, then we’re really not as stoic and ‘stiff-upper-lipped’ as we would have our international peers to believe. After all, if we’re still not ok with the fact that, for all its wonders, the UK harbours atrocious weather, then will we ever be?
Not to mention the fact that this is really a non-piece of research, and, therefore, a non-story. I need no scientific qualifications to assume that the reason bad weather makes us more likely to make longer calls to close friends and family is because bad weather makes it increasingly difficult to do much else! It’s really not rocket science – we spend more time on the phone because we don’t want to get wet.
So yes, moaning, whatever the weather, is a necessary evil of being British. It’s the thing we love to hate. But by spending both time and funds on researching the obvious, all it does is mimic that which we should really be trying to overcome – stating the obvious.
Admittedly, I am not too sure why, as the research suggests, bad weather makes us withdraw from our wider network of acquaintances, but I imagine that it has something to do with a limited pool of those who will appease us by listening to us moan about it. And thank heavens for that!
I’m already bored of it and winter hasn’t even officially begun.
You’d never get this in South Africa where they’re currently enjoying summer, and from where I have just returned.
As someone who has always championed the notion that age is just a number, I would like to start by assuring you that this is in no way intended to suggest the opposite. However, I am somewhat perturbed by certain news stories this week which, I believe, reflect a significant problem in the world in which we now live.
Apparently, according to a survey conducted by online course provider Love to Learn, Britons believe that middle-age begins at 55, with a sizeable majority claiming they do not see themselves as elderly until they reach 70.
On reading this piece of research initially, I felt genuinely pleased. Pleased that we, as a society, are clearly living life to the full. Pleased that, as advancements progress, so do we. Pleased that, as descendants of those who were lucky to make it to what we now, apparently, view as middle-age, we are living twice, thrice, what was once the norm.
But then I came across another piece of research which puts the whole thing into perspective.
According to a survey conducted by Aviva, companies are beginning to see an ageing workforce.
Now, of course, if this was merely a by-product of the above, it would unarguably be good news.
However, you and I, and apparently Aviva, are well aware that this comes down not only to increased longevity, but continued financial pressures on the over 55s. Some might even say it comes down less to state of mind than state (of) pension.
And although half of those surveyed believe there are positive benefits for individuals working past the traditional retirement age, 40% fear the health issues associated will impact on their businesses.
Which, to my mind, only really has one meaning: we obviously should not be working as late in life as we do.
I’m all for those people who work into ‘middle-age’ because they want to. Because they genuinely feel like they can, or they truly notice the health benefits it brings.
But for everyone else, I think it’s safe to say that we no longer see ourselves as elderly until we reach 70 because we no longer can.
Widespread disappointment. That is what has greeted the newest iPhone.
It doesn’t look significantly different from the current model, but is, apparently, a thinner, lighter, sexier design, made predominantly of glass and aluminium. If it weren’t for this, I’m not sure critics, who are calling the upgrade ‘boring’, would have had anything good to say at all.
The processor has been updated, which should enhance the overall performance of the market leader, so I’m told, but there are still several features that other Smartphones boast that this still does not. And I’m getting the impression that hardcore fans were expecting more.
I tweeted it last night but I shall say it again: why is everyone so disappointed with the new iPhone? After all, what do you give the phone that’s got it all?
The person who’s got it all.
And here I must emphasise that I am not simply referring to Apple addicts, but the Smartphone generation in its entirety (that’s you and me).
Once upon a time, people actually had to finalise arrangements in advance. They had to be clear, decisive and most unbelievably, prompt. They had to communicate with their friends and lovers on their house phone (can you imagine?!), and always face an awkward conversation with actual voices, without the get-out-clause of a cowardly text.
But none of this will even make it into the memoirs of the next generation, who instead will bemoan those that came before them who had the use of a mobile phone that only made calls and texts. ‘What, you mean they were not able to time travel at the touch of a button?’ Mind boggling.
And so, yes, the new iPhone is more beauty than brains, but isn’t that all, deep down, we really want? If we really cared about the function of a phone, we would not have the cheek to expect even more than what has already come. Is calling, texting, whatsapping, video-calling, playing, posting, photographing, filming, organising, and the rest, really not enough, without our phone acting as a wallet too?
Apple might have been a bit cheeky in building up, like they always do, their next product, when they knew they were not going to fulfil all that they could, but that’s the prerogative a market leader with lemmings for customers gets when they are the market leader with lemmings for customers. Ultimately, they must know how spoilt we have become. How no matter what we are given, we will always want more. If they truly gave us everything they could, would we still come back for more?
And still come back for more we will, as analysts are satisfied that despite all the criticism, it will still outsell its predecessors.
What do you give the phone that’s got it all? The person that’s got it all.
A beautiful and intelligent woman falls in love with a big scary ugly-looking beast, turned into this form because of his superficial arrogance. The outcome is against all odds, and not just in the eyes of the viewers but the makers of the Disney masterpiece too, as the narration at the beginning of the film ends with the rhetorical and poignant question: “Who could ever learn to love a beast?”
Well, apparently it is no longer just women, famed for their ability to look beyond superficial appearance, that can now be credited with this moral value.
According to male psychologists from York University, modern men finally favour brains over beauty.
“Phew”, I hear all you exasperated women sigh. “It took you long enough!”
Except unfortunately, this piece of research comes at the expense of a moral commentary on us, too.
Because according to the study, 21st century women, as if mutually exclusive of one another, are now the ones to be swayed by physical attractiveness, instead.
And it gets even better as the research goes on to explain that whilst men have learned to value women for more than their curves, women’s financial independence means a man’s appeal is no longer directly linked to the size of his wallet but the size of something else instead …
Which surely leaves a paradox: if these male researchers feel, as they so obviously do, that they can speak for womankind as a whole, then they leave themselves with precisely zero women left with any ‘brains’ that they could potentially fall in love with. Because what kind of person with any sort of brains would leave their choice in life partner to a toss up between money and looks?
A female one, if the research is to be believed.
A beautiful and intelligent woman falling in love with a big scary ugly-looking beast? Must be a fairytale.
And so, although I truly commend the sentiment and the notion that men are finally able to value us for something other than how we look, it would seem that we have reached a dead end; a stalemate. You will be rewarded for your intention to love us for our brains, don’t worry, but seeing as we obviously don’t possess any, unfortunately you’ll just have to go back to judging us on our appearance.