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Adrian

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Lactose-free Cookbook (The "Special" Cookbook 1)
Lactose-free Cookbook (The "Special" Cookbook 1)
Price: £4.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hold your breath! This (so called) book must ..., 27 Nov. 2014
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Don't hold your breath! This (so called) book must have taken all off an hour to put together. Save your money.


Swisscellany: facts & figures about Switzerland
Swisscellany: facts & figures about Switzerland
Price: £8.02

1.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to read on electronic devices due to formatting, 23 July 2014
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Unfortunately i cannot see this , purchased in Kindle version, properly formatted on either my Kindle, or iPad, or large PC computer screen. I look forward to enjoying it when reformatted. In the meantime i'll be asking for my money back.


Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies
Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies
Price: £4.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable but true, 22 Aug. 2013
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So long as you know what D-Day was, you'll love this true page turner. The heroism, and suspense are immense when judged with hindsight. Considered from the perspective of the uncertainties of time even more so. And what an unsung hero Johnny Jebson is.


Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson
Price: £3.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, 22 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Horatio Nelson (Kindle Edition)
Well written to provide a very interesting historical account of Horatio Nelson's life and times, and Nelson's very important place in international history. The insights into the characters of his friends and colleagues are as sensitively and perceptively described as for Nelson himself, together with the social attitudes of the time. What a different world it was - except for the North Norfolk weather - and one can well understand why Nelson's Column was erected. Interestingly though, his last wishes were not accommodated. A thoroughly good, entertaining and educational, read.


The Vitamin A Story: Lifting the Shadow of Death (World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics)
The Vitamin A Story: Lifting the Shadow of Death (World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics)
by Richard D. Semba
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £67.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preventable vitamin A deficiency, today, kills more people than HIV/AIDS, TB or Malaria. 6000 per day., 6 May 2013
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This outstanding 2012 book reads like a novel but is also a serious work of scientific and social history. It explains the 200 year challenge and history of understanding this important nutritional deficiency.

As is explained in the preface:
"This book could not have been written two decades ago. Only in the last twenty years has it been possible to define vitamin A deficiency as a nutritionally acquired immune deficiency syndrome. .........Whereas as recently as the early 1980s, a pediatrician might have said, "This child is about to die from measles' or another infection, today we can correctly assign blame to an underlying culprit and take action against it. Likewise an obstetrician may have closed the books on a lost patient, saying, 'Died of ...(childbed fever)'. Adequate intake of vitamin A, either before the onset of disease or once the patient was sick, may have ruled out both scenarios."
"There was no 'eureka!' moment of discovery in the quest to understand vitamin A." In hindsight it is amazing that the connections to dietary insufficiency were not made from the many examples of observations in animals, but principally humans, which were made. But Semba explains the scientific and economic contexts which can explain that, dipping into other nutritional deficiencies along the way.
Politically the author describes the 'Grand Detour' of proponents of development ignoring dietary improvement at the expense of infrastructure projects and thereby condemning individuals to severe physical or mental impairment, in the case of Spain and iodine deficiency for more than 60 years. Similarly, Semba draws attention to the appalling lack of progress in combatting vitamin A in India, where mortality of under five years children, about 2 million children a year, has not changed since the 1980s despite rapid progress in Bangladesh and Nepal, neighbouring countries with similar histories, cultures and institutions. He also describes the Indian 'grand detour': in this case based largely on suspicion that private sector motivations are all that lie behind distribution of vitamin A capsules, (known to reduce death and disease of under 5's by 23-34%, if effectively adopted) and where home gardens and increased consumption of coloured fruits and vegetables are instead promoted. Semba points out the theoretical nature of this advice as the fruits and vegetables hardly are sufficient as a source of vitamin A for deficient populations who anyway are often so poor that they cannot access them or vitamin A rich animal products, such as liver, eggs, milk, butter and cheese. It is notable that in both ‘grand detour’ cases the responsibility for the prevention of progress can be firmly laid on the amplification by others of the firmly held opinions of one individual which, unfortunately, find acceptance in underlying cultural prejudices of those echoing the opinions.
Semba summarises the requirements of a food fortificant such as vitamin A to be effective in combatting a population’s micronutrient deficiency. It must be contained in a dietary staple consumed each day by the whole population, and be economically feasible with minimal effect on the cost of the food treated. The micronutrient must be chemically stable. He also states that it “must be …..undetectable by persons consuming it”. (Perhaps he means ‘tasteless’, as colour of biofortified foods has been shown not to be a major problem, but colour is “detectable”).
In closing the book comments that the fight goes on. ”But the challenges to total eradication of vitamin A deficiency persist, largely as manmade ones……Efforts to lift completely the shadow of death cast by vitamin A deficiency - by now proven to be feasible and economical – in some places still entail a struggle against intractable opposition. The victims who continue to suffer under the shadow are mainly the children.” “Donor fatigue has become a factor, and political obstacles still undermine efforts to improve child survival.
And criticisms of the book? The first has to be the price! This book would sell well as a paper back or Kindle version sold at 10- 20% of its current price, if properly promoted. Detailed scientific knowledge is not required to enjoy it. With minimal reformatting (for example, incorporating the appendix, and putting all the references at the end of the book rather than after each chapter) rather than as a Scientific Treatise it could positioned as a compelling historical read.
I read it as Project Manager for a biofortified crop, Golden Rice, designed to combat vitamin A deficiency, (and the price was justified in this context). But I think I would have enjoyed it tremendously without this lens of interest. I sent a copy as a gift to someone not immersed in the project – but interested in development – who also commented to me that the book reads as a novel. Another friend, unconnected with my work, also enjoyed it immensely.
For completeness, the second criticism is that the 2012 published book could do with another chapter, about biofortification, which itself now has a 20 year history.
Maybe Semba felt, especially after his magnificent assemblage of the 200 years of history, that it would be an effort too far to describe this perhaps final chapter of ‘political obstacles’ and (at least with respect to genetically engineered biofortified crops like Golden Rice) ‘intractable opposition’ necessary to overcoming vitamin A deficiency, before the underlying cause of vitamin A deficiency, poverty itself is a thing of the past as now targeted by the UN.
Perhaps he just felt that the complexity and polarized controversy of such a final chapter would detract from the power of the shoulders upon which biofortification stands and which he so interestingly describes.
Adrian Dubock


10 Rillington Place [DVD] (1971)
10 Rillington Place [DVD] (1971)
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling but well presented and acted, 6 May 2013
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I recall this case beingt he reason i became opposed to capital punishment when i was about 15. The film well portrays the issues. An excellent film


Downton Abbey - Series 3 [DVD]
Downton Abbey - Series 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Bonneville
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Technical fault - on ? the 2nd DVD the episodes were in the wrong order, 5 Jan. 2013
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Very enjoyable as viewing, and nicely left open for the next series which we look forward to. Pity the prodiction fo the DVD was sloppily done.


Of Gods And Men [DVD] [2010]
Of Gods And Men [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Xavier Maly
Price: £4.99

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Insufficient subtitles, 20 May 2011
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This review is from: Of Gods And Men [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I ordered this DVD twice..... the admittedly sparse, principally French dialogue appeared to have been only subtitled 20% of the time. It seemed like a technical fault, and I gave up the film half wey through to return it.

But the replacement was just the same!

A pity, it seems a great story sensitively portrayed, and unusual yet topical. But unless you can follow the French dialogue without the subtitles, its a frustrating waste of time.

I expect the sparsity of English subtitles was meant to reflect the austerity of monks life, but it's so extreme it doesn't work. Maybe the producers would find it worthwhile re-subtitling it and reissuing it?
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2012 9:31 PM BST


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