Thoughts before the weekend begins…

In the largest dietary study ever American researchers followed over 800 overweight subjects for two years. The participants followed four popular diets and they all lost weight. After six months the average weight loss was six kilos then this planed out and after two years the average loss was between three to four kilos. Only 15% of the participants lost 10% of their original weight and only 4% lost more than 20 kilos. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

I guess that this is good news for those of us who do not like dieting – the solution is basically what we all know. Ignore all the fancy diets. Stick to the basics: eat less, exercise more.It may sound boring but it seems to be the most simple and efficient method that does not involve surgery 🙂

Actually I do want to leave some tips I picked up from here: 14 Habits That Make You Fat

1 TV Watching
2 Eating Too Fast
3 Task Snacking
4 Frequent Fast Food Consumption
5 Eating To Manage Feelings
6 Too Busy To Exercise
7 Your Friends Can Make You Fat
8 Lack Of Sleep
9 Unaware Of Calories And Fat
10 Credit Cards
11 Missing Meals
12 Uncomfortable Clothing
13 Neglecting Scales
14 Boredom

For more details follow the link – have a good weekend.

Olympic Snacks

Not being much of a sports person I usually don’t get excited by sporting events but the Olympics are a natural exception. While looking around I found a olympic blog which had some exotic local information about the local food market…

how about Starfish…

…or Scorpion on a stick…

They also have silkwork, squid and seahorse…

Back from Marrakech

So after returning from Marrakech I have been planning to write about it. Unfortunately writing about Marrakech is not the easiest thing since it is an amazing city. It’s all exotica, shopping and sunshine.

The exotic is everywhere! The great buildings, the marketplaces (souqs), the large squares, the call to prayers, the clothes, the carpets, the customs, the food and more…

The shopping was amazing. Unfortunately the merchants there are the most amazing bargainers – they could sell ice in Greenland! Every purchase made was coupled together with buyer’s remorse. When you bargain the end price to a third of the starting price – what was the real price of anything? Despite this nagging concern we ended up buying plenty of interior decorating stuff.

The sunshine! The all time high this week was 52 degrees! This was made bearable by air-conditioning and the pool. Actually the heat was not all that bad but the pool and air-conditioning did make the stay very nice.

I suppose this is a very crappy description of Marrakech but there are better ones online. I will let my pictures give you a glimpse of what I experienced.

Giraffe is kosher

Who says that religion is static and does not develop…

An Israeli rabbi has declared giraffe meat and milk to be kosher, although his pronouncement is unlikely to have observant Jews clamouring to consume the exotic products, a daily reported on Friday.

“The giraffe has all the signs of a ritually pure animal, and the milk forms curds, which strengthened that view,” the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot quoted Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud as saying. (article at Breitbart)

The article does not mention how the giraffes reacted to the news.

Aweful truth: The real cost of green

While much of the world suffers from lack of food, malnutrition and occasional starvation the rest of us seem not to have noticed. Via Monbiot I became aware of a terrible little fact:

The World Bank points out that “the grain required to fill the tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol … could feed one person for a year”   (World Bank, 2008. Biofuels: The Promise and the Risks)

Something worth sharing…


Love to travel, but it’s the traveling I hate! Yesterday I woke up at a little past four. Not much sleep, the usual charming security checks and waiting in line to squeeze into a small city hopper jet and as usual I always end up next to the eccentrics – must be Murphy’s law of airline seating. An all to brief stop in Vienna – my travel agent must be a huge optimist but I managed to make the connection by barging through the passport queue and the security line.

And all of a sudden I am in Ljubljana. Travel is funny like that. Wake up in Sweden and in Slovenia before lunch.

By taking the afternoon off (conference begins tomorrow) its time for sightseeing. Another reason for taking the afternoon off is the lack of wifi. Anyway, the city is really charming with lots of cobbled streets and old houses from all periods and in all states of repair (or dilapidation – if you are more pessimistic).

The center is old and filled with cafés and restaurants I was told that this is the place to find some old antique or maybe some art but what I have seen is reasonably generic and rather pricey. The only really original artwork I have seen is the masses of graffiti on the walls and most of that is pretty generic stuff.

Lots of photography but no souvenir as yet. I have managed to try the local coffee and the local beer (Lasko) and I am happy to report that the Slovenians take these seriously. For some odd reason I ended up eating Mexican food so I cannot comment on their cooking.

The conference begins tomorrow and I am hoping that they have wifi so that I can post this. So if you have read this they must have had…

Design of Dissent

Milton Glasher and Mirko Ilic’s The Design of Dissent is a phenomenal repository of political poster art (and more). The book contains 200+ pages of explosive and provocative political art divided into sections that range from “Ex-Yugoslavia” to “Food” to “U.S. Presidential Election”.

The images are part historical testament, part marginalized voice, and part pop culture intervention. Together they make up a book that is an essential for anyone interested in political art, dissent, democracy, and the spirit of creative visual production to pry open the closed spaces of culture and community. (Art Threat)

The school of visual arts in NY has also created a site highlighting some 100 of the political posters curated by Glasher, you can view it here.

Experiences of a semi-nomadic lifestyle

By accepting my new position at Lund’s university I knew I was also accepting a great deal of travel. Before actually beginning the plan was that I would spend 2-3 days a week in Lund, two days in Göteborg, where I maintain a small part of my previous work. Most weekends would be spent in Norway with my girlfriend.

The plan naturally required living in Lund. This turned out to be rather difficult since Lund is a university town (small population – loads of students). Despite this I managed to find a flat with a flatmate. It’s a rather expensive university accommodation – but on the bright side it is in the center of town.

All this was easy enough to plan and predict.

Then came the surprises. Since I spend so little time in any one place:

Buying food for longer periods almost does not work. So I end up eating out a lot more. This is expensive, unhealthy and rather dull in the long run.

There is no point in ordering a morning paper in the letterbox so reading a newspaper becomes a luxury.

The gym is becoming a thing of the past. Running is the activity of choice. However carting around running gear (in particular the shoes) quickly fills any small carrier bag.

Any book, cd, dvd (whatever) you need or want will always be somewhere else.

Travel requires two things organization and patience, the former before and the latter during. Frequent travel requires much more of the same. Missing the bus to work is annoying missing the train is F##cking annoying & embarrassing. I have missed two in the last months.

Since I have always liked words of advice like “Keep your powder dry”, “go west, young man”, and plastics is the future (or something similar in the film The Graduate) here is some advice for others – based upon what I have learned.

– Never take the window seat on trains. In winter the heating is on this side, in summer the heat and light is annoying and if the train is crowded leaving the seat is difficult.
– Extra underwear must be kept at all locations.
– Duplicate (or triplicate) necessities. Shaving kit, after shave, aspirin, running shoes, notebooks, teas, etc etc.
– Make sure you have a bag with all your technical kit. Do not unpack this bag. Keep it close to you at all times. Clean underwear is nothing compared to a mobile with an empty battery.

    Once you start planning and organising things tend to work themselves out rather nicely… Until the next ugly surprise…