Beyond pharmacy blog
All posts from: January 2010
The past week (23-29 January 2010) has been World Leprosy Week, drawing attention to one of the oldest scourges of mankind, which has been recognised for more than 4,000 years in various ancient civilisations.
Friday 29 January (2010) was the 150th anniversary of the birth of the playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, in Taganrog, in present day Ukraine.
Many otherwise rational people read the horoscopes in newspapers and magazines and a surprising number seem to set great store by them. However, with a UK population of some 60 million, and even allowing for the small seasonal variation in birth rate, it would seem that between 4.5 and 5.5 million people in this country should all share the same birth sign.
One of the 17th-century’s leading landscape painters was the French artist Claude Lorrain (1600–82). His real surname was Gelleé but he took the name Lorrain because he had been born in Lorraine. Much of his work was done in Rome.
I wrote a while ago (PJ, 21 June 2008, p761) about the deliberate extermination from Britain of a feral pest, the South American coypu. And now I write about a more endearing mammal that has also become extinct in the wild — the red-necked wallaby, Macropus rufogriseus.
While snowbound last week I reread ‘The history of the snowman’ by Bob Eckstein. The book records that an unusual cold spell hit Florence early 1494 and on 20 January the citizens awoke to find that snow had fallen heavily in the night.
In childhood my favourite books included A. A. Milne’s stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, with their charming illustrations by Ernest Shepard. Their appeal has survived, despite the efforts of the Walt Disney Corporation.
Remote islands hold a special fascination for some of us. We might imagine pirates and buried treasure or simply dream of a peaceful holiday. Some of us travel to observe the unique wildlife of such places while others study their human populations. On two of the most isolated islands on earth researchers have demonstrated the effects of heredity on the prevalence of medical conditions.