Author: James Higham

The boy who asked why

Statins again

One week exactly after my attack, this subject is appropriate.

In the Telegraph

Haroun Gajraj
23 Mar 2014

When I had a routine health check-up eight years ago, my cholesterol was so high that the laboratory thought there had been a mistake. I had 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood — almost twice the recommended maximum.

It was quite a shock. The GP instantly prescribed statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes. For eight years, I faithfully popped my 20mg atorvastatin pills, without side effects. Then, one day last May, I stopped. It wasn’t a snap decision; after looking more closely at the research, I’d concluded that statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant.

When I informed my GP of my decision three months later, I wasn’t entirely honest.More here ...

The last golden age of travel

Via haiku, this is a reminder that popular sites are never as portrayed in the glossies.  We knew that of course – you being the readership you are – but this puts it graphically.

I’m not so fussed about the Pyramids being in outer Cairo – most people probably know that – and there was still enough desert for me to be kidnapped a couple of decades ago, with the gf, plus the Pyramids and Sphinx in themselves are historic wonders, there was more than enough space to move about, plus the journey from the Med was interesting.

For me, the two places where I could not handle the sheer crush of the crowds were the Duomo, in Firenze and Versailles. The swirling hordes around the Duomo were daunting and as for Versailles!

For some reason, we were able to jump the queue and get in but that hardly helped, once inside.… More here ...

Nuclear as part of a strategy

EDF maintains [they would]:

Nuclear power facilities can produce energy at a 91% efficiency rate 24/7, with virtually zero carbon emissions. 13% of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants that emit little to no greenhouse gases.

So, what went wrong with Hinckley C? Powerful interests of course, like Ineos:

In December 2013, Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and CEO of Ineos said he had recently agreed to purchase nuclear power in France at £37.94 (€45) per MWh and warned of the Hinkley Point C project: ‘Forget it. Nobody in manufacturing is going to go near £95 per MWh’.

Also in December 2013, the chairman of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF described the Hinkley Point C “strike price” as ‘very high’, saying ‘subsidies will drive prices up, as everyone will try to get as high a price as possible. Fennovoima (Hanhikivi) will be built without any subsidies, now or ever’.

More here ...

Religion and its limits

This is not a heavy and turgid piece. The author has, in his usual plainspeak, set out the dilemma without being religious, without being atheistic.

Religions tend to set limits. Those limits come with the force of God or some spiritual force that transcends man. Otherwise, a religion would be nothing more than man-made rules enforced by the strongest. This is why laws in most of the world are rooted in the dominant religion of the region or country. The local religion is a list of restrictions and limitations placed on the believers. Naturally, when it came time to form a government and write laws, they relied upon the laws and rules of their religion.

This may seem rather obvious, but the concept of the limiting principle is easy to take for granted. This is a core feature of most religions and it easiest to understand by considering our laws.

More here ...