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Keeping an eye upon the world …

Darren Buckley monitors the latest social/medical reports

The round-the-clock news media merry-go-round has many benefits, but also retains the capacity to drive you to distraction. We also sometimes forget, or lose sight of, the fact that – generally speaking – the internet has no qualify control and/or filter.  This is especially the case when it comes to medical matters.

I can remember the time – as few years ago now – when, one week, diet Coke was trumpeted as a healthy alternative to normal Coca-Cola … but the next we were informed that it wasn’t healthier at all. Or the time that margarine was far better for you than pure butter … and then it suddenly wasn’t.

Recently we’ve had a wide range of new information hitting our computers or – via newspapers – thudding onto the kitchen table.

Here’s a quick list of four that have featured this week, together with my reactions in italics:


Apparently, since 1990, the recommended World Health Organisation intake of sugar has been 13 teaspoons per day, i.e. slightly less than one can of Coca-Cola.

Now a new study by researchers at Newcastle University is suggesting that our teeth are more likely to last the proverbial three-score-and-ten if that our daily intake was limited to 7 teaspoons a day or less.

I have heard scare stories about fizzy drinks previously, e.g. that a can of Coca-Cola contains the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of sugar and that, if you leave a tooth in a tumbler of Coca-Cola overnight, by the morning it will have disappeared. That said, I don’t know what our betters are trying to tell us – well, apart (presumably) that we should all give up fizzy drinks. The trouble is, with all the other things that make life bearable but which are now supposedly bad for us, it seems that the only way to live a long and positive life is to deliberately give up enjoying oneself.


confidenceA columnist for the Harvard Business Review has revealed that the old adage ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got’ is borne out by various social studies.

According to Andrew O’Connell, bigger is also better.

If you want to get ahead, order a bigger coffee or pizza than normal in the office – this will signal to both your bosses and co-workers that you are ready for promotion.

His advice? ‘Surround yourself with the trappings of the salary and lifestyle you want, not the one you have’.

Mr O’Connell also mentions a 2012 study by the University of Pennsylvania which found that men with shaved heads, or who are entirely bald, are generally perceived as being stronger and taller than men with full heads of hair.

I’ve always held to the view that the world tends to take you at your own estimation. Thus, if you look and behave like a captain of industry, or a rock star, or a sporting legend, you’ll tend to get a better deal in life. Especially if, before the sad day comes when you’re ‘rumbled’, you’ve actually managed to acquire enough experience and skill to act out the role you’ve chosen to adopt.  


[Hold on to your hats, folks …]

A new medical system, called the Prolong Climax Control Programme, has been developed by a Harley Street doctor Dr Zamar and a Harley Street psychotherapist Tessa Fane to combat male conditions such as premature ejaculation. It includes a £200 vibrator and purports to desensitise the penis as part of a six-week programme of therapy.

Apparently, users are instructed to stimulate the penis with the device to reach a point of near-climax, at which point they stop. After repeating this three times in each session, three times per week for six weeks, the results are allegedly solid and long-term. Men can either practice on their own, or as part of foreplay.

In a London teaching hospital trial, apparently 61% of men reported lasting eleven times longer during intercourse after using Prolong.

All very interesting, but I’m not so sure about this one. I appreciate the old saying about there being ‘no gain without pain’, but an outlay of £200 and six weeks of hard labour seems a bit excessive to me, even if it results in the benefits of lasting 55 seconds instead of 5.


populationThe Office for National Statistics has reported that – assuming high migration, fertility and a continuing rise life expectancy, the population of the UK could double to 131 million by 2112.

However, it also projects that – if none of the above occur – the UK population could peak at just under 69 million around 2037, before falling to 61.5 million by 2012, i.e. lower than it is today.

By 2020, apparently, the number of over-65s in the UK will exceed the number of under-16s for the first time, an issue that will have profound effects upon the national pensions bill.

The first thing that occurred to me on this story was to wonder just how much the Office for National Statistics costs the nation annually. I say that because I’m sure I could come up with projections just as meaningful as these for a minimum £1 million less that the ONS’s budget.










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About Darren Buckley

Darren is one of our younger contributors, having been born in 1979. He is finance director of an IT marketing company based in Litchfield and was a fanatical club-level triathlete until his growing family helped him come to his senses. His regular exercise these days come from walking the dog. More Posts