Posted in February 2016

Aboriginal Genes Dated

This is from the i paper, by Steve Connor last week. “Aboriginal Australians have been genetically isolated from the rest of humanity for 50,000 years, a DNA study has revealed.The finding contradicts suggestions by some scholars that they intermarried with people from Asia 4,000 years ago. A detailed analysis of the male Y chromosome from … Continue reading


Morality and Cycling

Here’s another JSTOR article, on the response to new safe bicycles which were seen as morally dangerous, as it allowed young women to go on unsupervised dates. It gave them unheard of independence, which to some was threatening. Some time ago some Moslem women opposed funding for cycling schemes on the basis that the pasttime … Continue reading

Vermeer Online

A piece from Open Culture – the complete works of Vermeer – one of my favourite artists, is now online so we don’t have to fly to the Netherlands to see these wonderfully rich domestic images. Like so many artists he did not become rich from his works, but I believe this is because he … Continue reading

Dunwich by Many Names

This is some more from Rowland Parker’s The Men of Dunwich, about the town that thrived as a ship building port before the sea ate it. Dunwich eventually finds its place on the map… in or about the year 630 A.D., when it was called Dommoc. Or something similar. Bede was the first person to … Continue reading

Gender and Theatre

Here’s a short discussion on women and theatre, using Eddie Redmayne’s role in ‘The Danish Girl’ as a starting point. It’s all very interesting, but we can never be sure why people cross dressed in the past. A woman dressed as a man may have been simply to avoid being assaulted, or for trying to … Continue reading

After the Fire

Last year one of the nation’s most important 18th century mansions went up in flames. When I saw it on the news I thought that was the end of it, but miraculously, parts of it survived and the National Trust is now restoring it. Not to its full original state, as too much was lost … Continue reading

The Importance of Alcohol

This is the introduction from the special edition of Scientific American on Alcohol, which serves so many purposes. In addition to those below, alcohol has been used as a preservative, an antiseptic, and in extreme amounts, some spectacular and tragic deaths. Alcohol has long perplexed our species. Wherever we look in the ancient or modern … Continue reading

The Appeal of History

This is the opening to Rowland Parker’s wonderful book, Men of Dunwich, about a thriving mediaeval port that was lost to the sea. He wrote another, The Common Stream, which I have but cannot find. Must be buried at the back of one of my book cases. I was woken the other night by a … Continue reading