Gordon Darroch's Unreal Domain

It’s just over a month now since Magteld went away. Thirty-eight days that have gone by in such a haze that I often suspect time has gone haywire. The house that the boys and I moved in to nine weeks ago is already packed with history: the two weeks we spent going back and forth to the hospice, the two weeks we lived here as a family and celebrated Euan’s birthday, and the last five weeks, when we’ve had to cope with the shock and aftermath of Magteld’s abrupt departure.

I say ‘went away’ in the absence of any more suitable words. She died, obviously, but that fails to cover the impact of her loss. The day she died, when the boys and I stood by her hospital bed and watched her take her last breaths, seems etched in history, already distant, like a picture in a school textbook. The…

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Tips on losing weight

Many doctors now believe that when it comes to your health,
your waist measurement is important.
While knowing your body mass index (BMI) is a good way to
decide if you’re overweight, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
BMI is a measure of how healthy your weight is for your
height. You can work out what your BMI is by using our BMI
healthy weight calculator.
If you have a high BMI, you’re likely to be carrying extra fat.
But your health could be at greater risk depending on where
you store that fat.
Having a large amount of tummy fat (compared to fat around
your bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop
diabetes and heart problems.
A healthy waist circumference for men is less than 94cm (37
inches), and for women it’s less than 80cm (32 inches).
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy, but it has many
benefits. You may only need to make small changes to your
lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight.
Why lose weight?
Obesity causes 9,000 premature deaths in England every year
and reduces life expectancy by an average of nine years.
It’s also linked to serious health problems and increases
the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers of the
breast, colon and prostate.
Most people who are overweight can blame their excess
weight on eating more calories than they burn.
That means there are two main options if you want to lose
weight: eat less or do more physical activity. The best way to
lose weight is a combination of the two.
Weight loss tips
You can reduce your risk of obesity-related health problems
by losing weight through eating more healthily and doing
more physical activity.
There are many articles to help you attain a healthy weight in
our lose weight section.
You can cut down on calories by making simple healthy food
swaps in your everyday diet.
It’s not just small changes to your eating habits that can
make a big difference. Getting more physical activity also
helps you shed the pounds. You can do it in just three short
bursts each day with these ten-minute workouts.
Even if you’re well on the way to your target weight, there’ll
be plenty of temptation to overindulge. See our tips on how to
avoid the diet danger zones.
One excuse for choosing a quick, fat-laden supper is that
healthy eating is expensive. Learn how to eat well on the
cheap, saving the pennies as well as calories.
Two-thirds of dieters regain all the weight they’ve lost within
four years. For advice on how to stop piling the pounds back
on, read about how to lose weight for life.

Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out

The Blog

Many details about the violent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, remain unclear. What is beyond doubt is the intensity of reactions to this story — in the media and in neighborhoods all over the US (and beyond). Here are ten personal perspectives on this event and its aftermath, from writers representing a diverse cross-section of the community.

14938226361_6a7a43dfda_oImage by Shawn Semmler (CC BY 2.0)


Writer and scholar Keguro Macharia reacts with his usual incisiveness to one of the signature chants of post-Ferguson protests :

If “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is an expression of “humanity,” as one tweet has it, we must ask for whom that humanity is available. In fact, the insistent repetition of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” by black bodies across the U.S. might offer a less promising narrative: it might suggest the banality with which black life forms can never gain access to the vernaculars of the human.

hands up, don’t shoot

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You’re not my favorite: Twitter experiments with infiltrating your feed

Margarita Noriega

Gladiator, 2000. Scott Free Productions/Red Wagon Entertainment. Distributed byDreamWorks.

Twitter is the headquarters of the control freakIt’s a social network for those who want everlasting control over what they see and from whom they see it. It’s the social network for those who want to bless people by following their digital auras, depending on if they prefer ethos (power Twitter), pathos (animal pictures / rage Twitter), or logos (wonk Twitter).

“Social sharing is a popular but controversial way to measure the value of information itself.” – Me, explaining why people share on Twitter, These Tiny Gutenbergs, Part Two

Twitter is experimenting with a new feed function to rip this god-like control out of your pure, innocent, OCD-hands, in favor of showing you content only tangentially related to who you follow.

Encouraging rogue tweets to infiltrate your feed is a great thing because Twitter has a huge problem we should all care about: community silos which are based on groupthink or industry, and…

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A silver box came from Russia. What was in it made me cry.

Lark & Bloom

Sometimes we create our story, and other times it creates us…


I was just like every other kid in junior high. Twelve year old Liz with big red glasses, shoulder length sandy blonde hair and teeth that were begging for some braces. My arms and legs were too lanky for my body and everything I did was awkward. Painfully awkward.

I was just like any other junior higher, except for one thing. I lived in Irkutsk, Russia. My family moved to Siberia when I was eleven and it remained my home until I was thirteen. Those long Siberian winters and their stories are preserved deep in this soul. The food, the smells, the sights. The people. Mostly the people.

I don’t think you could separate those experiences from me. They are so woven into my perspective, thoughts and dreams that to remove them would be to unravel me altogether. Russia marked me.


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What Is Left to Say?


In his 1934 essay, “A Negro Nation Within a Nation”, WEB DuBois wrote:

The colored people of America are coming to face the fact quite calmly that most white Americans do not like them, and are planning neither for their survival, nor for their definite future if it involves free, self-assertive modern manhood. This does not mean all Americans. A saving few are worried about the Negro problem; a still larger group are not ill-disposed, but they fear prevailing public opinion. The great mass of Americans are, however, merely representatives of average humanity. They muddle along with their own affairs and scarcely can be expected to take seriously the affairs of strangers or people whom they partly fear and partly despise.

For many years it was the theory of most Negro leaders that this attitude was the insensibility of ignorance and inexperience, that white America did not know of or…

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7 tips to help you remain insane in the crazy twitter world



1. Don’t be a troll.
It never ceases to amaze me how negative some
voices can be when they are amplified by a 140-
character tweet. Using social media to foam at the
mouth and post hateful thoughts about strangers
says a lot about a person and their state of
happiness. If you find yourself taking frequent
trips under the bridge, maybe it’s time for a
break in order to assess why attacking others
while hiding behind a keyboard brings you joy.
But then again, Lauren Sivan might have summed
up trolling best during a recent segment of “Big
Deal or No Big Deal?” on Good Day LA, “We’re
awful, awful people apparently.”
2. Avoid rambling about how terrible your life is.
Everyone has an occasional “ice cream cone in
the dirt” kind of day, but be mindful about how
often you tweet about them. Most people (myself
included) don’t want to read endless “woe is me”
postings in their timelines about the sad shambles
your life is in. Granted, we all need to vent, but
save this type of confiding for your offline IRL
friends. Most of your followers are people who
have never met you face-to-face, and they
probably won’t want to after reading your Debbie
Downer tweets.
3. Twitter beefs are useless.
Endlessly arguing with some Internet shut-in who
gets off on picking fights on social media is
pointless. People sometimes do this to help
establish their online reputation (strange that
people think they can build a brand off of
fighting under the guise that it’s debating). Other
times, they just want to get under your skin, and
engaging with them is a surefire way of letting
them know it’s working. It’s similar to an ill-
tempered child who is seeking attention. Respond
and it will only get worse. Leave the juvenile
feuding to the trolls in the Internet sandbox and
block them. It’s much more effective and will give
you peace of mind.
4. Tweet it as soon as it pops into your head.
Contrary to what many social media experts will
tell you, there is no ideal hour to post on Twitter.
I’ve posted tweets sometimes during a 4:00 a.m.
bout of insomnia and woke up later to find them
retweeted several times over. Bottom line: If a
tweet is going to impact with an audience, it will
regardless of the time of day it goes up. Therefore,
as soon as you think it, share it.
5. It’s Twitter, not marriage.
When someone makes a decision to follow you, he
or she isn’t entering into a contractual union
where they swear allegiance to you for their
entire Twitter existence. People follow, and then
sometimes they unfollow. You shouldn’t get
offended when it happens. Continue to be
confident in your content and keep it moving.
Honestly, some of you act like you just got served
divorce papers when you tweet about losing
6. Go easy on favoriting tweets.
The one function I have never really understood
is favoriting, and now that Twitter is posting
favorited tweets into timelines, users really need
to start exercising a little restraint. Do it too much
and you’ll risk looking like some crazed fan à la
Kathy Bates in Misery . Besides, do you really
think that you’re going to go through your
Favorites list and reread all those starred tweets
in your spare time?
7. Don’t take Twitter (or any other social media
network) too seriously.
This one is probably the most important thing I’ve
figured out. Whether you’re promoting a business
or just passing time while waiting for the next
Star Wars movie to arrive in theaters, social
media is a great tool for interacting with others.
However, it is by no means the most important
tool in the kit. Yes, it can help build a brand, but
if some kind of global cellular data and Internet
outage were to ever occur, we would be left with
the basics: verbal communication, handwritten
notes, and face-to-face interaction. So take this
whole social media thing with a grain of salt and
have fun with it. Market your business… crack
some jokes… entertain and inform. Twitter
enhances communication, but it shouldn’t be
regarded as the only source for information.
I think I’ve kept a good perspective about my
digital footprint in social media and the level of
importance it has in my life. I enjoy it; however,
it doesn’t completely define who I am as a person.
Some time in the distant, geriatric future, I’ll
probably reflect and wonder why I tweeted so
much to begin with. So here’s one final humorous
thought — via one of my tweets, of course — that
stops me from getting caught up in social media’s
hype and drama. Hopefully, it helps you too.

great artilces on tips and benefits of various things and services