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Matthew Walker Luxury Christmas Pudding (1 x 454g) - Medium Size
Matthew Walker Luxury Christmas Pudding (1 x 454g) - Medium Size

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Matthew Walker Xmas Puddings are great, 2 Feb. 2012
The delivery service was great.
This is the second Xmas in a row that we have had Matthew Walker puddings. In 2011 we kept one until November form Xmas 2010 and it was still very good which my mother in law confirmed.
They are just the right size.
Need to be marketed all the year round as a desert.


Pure Bees Wax Blocks Beeswax - 2 x 1 oz blocks
Pure Bees Wax Blocks Beeswax - 2 x 1 oz blocks
Offered by TheWaxFactory
Price: £1.50

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A source of good quality beeswax for candle making, 31 Dec. 2011
This the second time this year I have sourced these bees wax blocks and on both occcasions the service was excellent


The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution (Macmillan Science)
The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution (Macmillan Science)
by Timothy Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking book on how technology was the drive for the evolution of human intelligence, 18 Nov. 2010
Timothy Taylor has written a most thought provoking book following on from and in line with the recent publication by Richard Wrangham: Catching Fire how cooking made us human. The central thesis is that the evolution of humans has been dominated by the ability to adopt technology which compared to other species amounts to an artificial selection. Through technology the laws of nature are supplanted by the will of humans. He develops the concept that we did not evolve to use technology because of our superior intelligence but it was technology itself that was the evolutionary pull which we responded to and adapted by evolving our intelligence. This pull selected out the trend/evolution to higher intelligence.
Examples are given which the author concludes launched humans on the technology/evolutionary line some 2.6 Million years ago. These include the making of hunting implements and cooking to become more efficient in the use of food which resulted in more energy becoming available to support the evolution of larger more intelligent brains. In addition, he highlights the less appreciated technology developed to support immature infants by adapting energy efficient means for carrying them such as slings and rucksacks. While the discovery of stone implements which define the technology developed for hunting; arrow heads, axes and implements for cleaving and slicing carcasses, the technology of carry infants would not have been preserved i.e. archeologically invisible.
An illustration on how dependant we are on technology is succinctly given by how far we have lost direct contact with the raw source of our food which is termed "visceral insulation." Getting back to nature is not an option for us as we have never lived with nature.
A common theme of the book is how humans evolved the large head in response to the technology pull. Since ever increasing brains could not pass through the restricted size of the pelvis of the erect posture humans, human brains had to mature outside the womb. Through technology, humans developed the means to support immature infants and effectively became artificial marsupials.
Taylor stresses that technology is as least as critical to us as our soft tissues and that we are formed not by raw nature, but by the continually emerging world of technology and that artificial intelligence is human intelligence. We have to face our destiny as the first non-biologically evolving species.
The book is very thought provoking in that if any one of us spent some time musing on how our lives are so dependent on technology our artificiality becomes immediately evident. Hence there is lots of scope to reconsider the more linear Darwinian thinking of survival of the fittest since through adapting technology we became less fit. For example the bone structures of early humanoids are much more robust than those of today.
Taylor gives a number of convincing examples of his central thesis but one was left with wanting more evidence to push home such thought provoking themes. If anything the author digresses somewhat both philosophically and through narrating his personal experiences. This tends to hinder the reader from evolving his or her summery of the main message. Never the less one is sure that many other works will follow on from this ground breaking account of the artificial ape.
On further reflection I feel that it may not have been intelligence that was brought by technology but curiosity- how to make things better. Maybe a book could be written about the evolution of curiosity which although not absent in other species is a key driver in homo sapiens.


Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Our World
Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Our World
by Doug Saunders
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review on Arrival City, 5 Nov. 2010
Review on Arrival City
This book is concerned with a sociological conduit, namely the arrival city that is destined to bring about a new lease of life for a large un-represented population seeking its future destiny through rural-urban migration. As the author itemises, the bare facts are that by 2050, 70% of the world's population will be urban and that only a small percentage of the population needs to work the land to feed the rest. The reduction of the world's poverty rate from 34% to 25% between 1998 and 2002 was caused purely by urbanisation: people made better livings and sent funds back to the villages. The arrival cities, which are more commonly seen as no more than shanty towns, are considered to be the waiting room of the rural-urban migrant waiting to enter the city itself.
The book is highly informative as it details examples from around the world of individuals undertaking the rural-urban migration with positive and negative results. A common negativity is the denial that the arrival cities exist and not seeing the potential of this vibrant mass ambition. As a result, many examples are given where the arrival cities have remained or remain as non-functional villages in that they are not cities and are without the community support found in rural villages. Examples are given as how such dysfunctional social communities result in aimless unemployment of the young, a drugs industry/culture, violence, and radical religious practices far in extreme of that practised in the rural environment from where the individuals stem from.
One is left with the lateral thought that maybe some of the urban terrorism experienced today stems in part from this neglected, in-limbo, denied mix of frustrated human ambition.
A major message is formulated as to the solution to help these mass forces of individuals driven to better themselves. This is given as the need to foster the creation of a middle class. Key to this is firstly to give occupiers of the arrival shanty town ownership of their modest abodes which is the first step on the ladder to upward social movement. It brings with it civil pride to the arrival city which provides for grass roots crime control and formulation of constructive cases for improved amenities. Secondly, the government or elders of the nearby city need to provide the infrastructure to give expression to this local civil pride and upward movement. Without the capacity for expression through the provision of credit, services, transport routes to the city centre and an emphasis on secondary, as opposed to post secondary education, individuals cannot rise on to or above the first steps of the ladder. It is emphasised that this is an expensive investment. As a reinforcement of the potential that exists for economic growth, the author quotes Hernando De Soto who has estimated the "total value of the real estate held but not legally owned by the poor of the third world and the former communist nations is at least US$8.3 trillion." "If this capital could be unlocked the result would be an economic equivalent to nuclear fusion, instantly freeing up a great quality of untapped capital to build a new middle class in the world's South and East."
One is also left with the feeling that the effect of an additional new uplifting force has yet to be identified which is somehow destined to fuel the transformation of the arrival town. This is the internet where IT technology, as it becomes cheaper and more accessible, will further fire up the motivation and drive for upward mobility.
If anything the presented individual cases of recent and current examples with their common messages are somewhat repetitive. Hence there would have been a case to look back in time in more detail at earlier arrival cities. While exhaustive examples are given of the recent and present day arrival city phenomena, this reader feels that a chapter of the book, or maybe a separate book, is needed to examine in some detail the arrival cities of the past. The chapter on The First Migration and How the West Arrived covering four cities; London, Paris, Toronto and Chicago covering 26 pages of a 326 page book did not do full justice to this.
Forerunners of current day arrival cities were for example those in Industrial Revolution Britain. This was driven following the rationalisation, within the Enclosures Act, of the use of agricultural land in the Agricultural Revolution and led to the coordinated working together in factories/mills, industrialisation, of the 18th and early 19th centuries. A great deal could be learnt on how these evolved to provide paradigms to support those currently being considered for help. For example the first industrial city of Manchester and the first industrial country of Wales were the recipients in the 18th and 19th centuries of mass rural-urban migrations. Wales was the only country in Europe to increase its population in the 19th century. Despite the general improvement of the lot of these migrants, e.g. having the independence and income to marry at an earlier age and birth rates soared, they brought with them major social problems of child labour, slum dwelling, disease-cholera, riots etc.
These happenings have been so well documented that the material exists to extrapolate to the today's challenges. For example Frederick Engels's The Conditions of the Working Class in England, Robert Roberts's The Classic Slum and of course Dickens's. Of note is that Engels was feeding Marx with the data which fuelled the formulation of his The Communist Manifesto and we know what that led to! Also, the role of religion, especially non-conformity, to bring about in these near lawless "frontier towns" a moral cohesion could be considered. It helped to develop an upwardly mobile work ethic and expression of civil pride which might be a useful paradigm for the future along with other cohesive integrative forces like support of local sporting teams. It is no coincidence that the majority of the successful soccer teams in Europe stem from industrial arrival cities where displaced persons used supporting of the local team as a newly found social binder.
The earlier arrival cities were also the hot bed of local and national debate on social reform which needed to recognise the presence and force of the industrial arrival cities. A narrative of the socially upward movement into the middle class is depicted in the novel by G L Banks: The Manchester Man. Perhaps Saunders can be encouraged to use his model of narrating individual life histories to illustrate experiences of the arrival cities in the 18th and 19th century. Maybe this could be the theme of his next book.
Doug Saunders's book does leave a major unanswered question. While expansive industry/trade fired up the economy of the arrival cities in the 18th and 19th century, what work will the world's 70% urbanites actually do in 2050? To this extent, a final conclusions and future perspectives chapter would have been welcome.
This is a seminal publication which provides the basic information on the scale of the sociological challenges and strategies for overcoming them as a means to accelerate the reduction of international poverty, the solution of which is urbanisation. As I write this review, a new president Dilma Rousseff has been elected in Brazil who promises to lift 20Million people in her country out of poverty. I do hope she will read Doug Saunders's book.


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