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Beyond pharmacy blog

All posts by Accola

Bars and stripes at the checkout

Posted by: Accola Wed, 8 Apr 2009

Barcodes were developed by Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver, graduates at the Philadelphia Drexel Institute of Technology, in response to a request by a chain store owner for an automated checkout method for reading product information.The inspiration came from Morse code; the dots and dashes were simply extended downwards to make machine-readable representation of data.

Clashes over carbon in Cumbria

Posted by: Accola Wed, 8 Apr 2009

The humble pencil is an unlikely reason for armed guards, skirmishes, smuggling and an Act of Parliament. As early as 1500 an enormous deposit of graphite — the allotrope of carbon used as pencil “lead” — was discovered in the Lake District at Seathwaite Fell near Borrowdale.

When east met west on the Silk Road

Posted by: Accola Wed, 8 Apr 2009

[img_assist|nid=883118|title=The Silk Road (Callie Jones)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=225|height=159]The Silk Road was a network of trade routes that for 2,000 years linked China with the West.

Pause and effect in punctuation

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

Do you ever feel the need to use the interrobang or the irony mark in your writing? The interrobang combines the question (interrogation) mark and the exclamation mark (bang, in printers’ jargon) and is intended to combine the functions of the two.

Fanny Burney’s breast cancer

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

Fanny Burney was a much praised novelist, playwright and writer of journals and letters. The sprightly Fanny (1752–1840) moved in a cultured circle that included Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Edmund Burke.

Yew — symbol of death and life

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

[img_assist|nid=160064|title=Common Yew (Callie Jones)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=144]Yew is any tree or shrub of the genus Taxus; the English yew is Taxus baccata, a tree with a dual personality. This evergreen can live for millennia.Characteristically it continues to grow by rooting its branches and forming a grove around itself.

A well-loved high street icon

Posted by: Accola Fri, 16 Jan 2009

With Woolworths stores now empty shells in our high streets it is of interest to look back at the establishment of the company.

Edgar Allan Poe, man of mystery

Posted by: Accola Fri, 16 Jan 2009

The bicentenary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the US short-story writer, poet, editor and literary critic, is celebrated on 18 January.

St Anthony of Egypt, the hermit of hope

Posted by: Accola Fri, 16 Jan 2009

[img_assist|nid=46059|title=St Anthony the Great|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=170|height=241]Western Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy celebrate 17 January as the feast day of St Anthony of Egypt.

Founder of modern anthropology

Posted by: Accola Thu, 20 Nov 2008

Born in Germany 150 years ago, Franz Boas became professor of anthropology at Columbia University in New York City in 1899 and held the post until his death in 1942. He demolished the idea that humankind can be classified into three sequential stages of development: savagery, barbarism and civilisation.

Abram Lyle and his Midas touch

Posted by: Accola Thu, 20 Nov 2008

“Out of the strong came forth sweetness.” This passage, together with the image of the carcass of a lion and a swarm of bees, intrigued me as a small boy when watching my mother at work with a green and gold tin of Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

Sir Richard Doll and the deadly habit

Posted by: Accola Thu, 20 Nov 2008

[img_assist|nid=39825|title=Sir Richard Doll|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=170|height=241]I am old enough to remember when a visit to the cinema meant peering at the silver screen through a fog of tobacco smoke — an obscurity to which I contributed. (I hasten to add that I have long since given up smoking.)

Picture Post: innovative journalism

Posted by: Accola Thu, 9 Oct 2008

Picture Post was a revolutionary magazine, believing that the countenances of ordinary men and women are more striking, and their lives and doings are more interesting, than the faces and activities of celebrities. Carefully chosen words were used sparingly as a counterpoint and context for the pictures.

A motor engineer extraordinaire

Posted by: Accola Thu, 9 Oct 2008

Alec Issigonis, who died 20 years ago in October 1988, designed no fewer than three of the five best-selling cars in British motoring history. Of Mediterranean origin, although English in manner, Issigonis was an uncompromising individualist.

Edward Tyson and the “chain of being”

Posted by: Accola Thu, 9 Oct 2008

[img_assist|nid=35005|title=Tyson's chimpanzee (Natural History Museum)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=170|height=241]This year (2008) sees the 300th anniversary of the death of Edward Tyson, a distinguished Enlightenment physician who has been dubbed the father of comparative anatomy.

Remembering the flying Scotsman

Posted by: Accola Thu, 28 Aug 2008

With the Beijing Olympics still fresh in our minds we should remember Eric Liddell, the Scottish international sporting hero who was born in China and died there. Oddly, his name has been immortalised primarily for the race he did not run (in the film “Chariots of fire”) but we should also honour the man for the uplifting way in which he lived his life.

Dutch barns and tin tabernacles

Posted by: Accola Thu, 28 Aug 2008

To clad his sumptuous new palace for himself and his 320 wives, King Eyambo of Calabar in 1843 chose one of technology’s newest products — corrugated iron.  Invented in the 1820s, it was the first mass-produced cladding material of the modern building industry.

The many virtues of the stinging nettle

Posted by: Accola Thu, 28 Aug 2008

[img_assist|nid=28878|title=Stinging nettle|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=180|height=258]I was out with the dog one fine evening recently and we entered a field of cattle. I am normally wary of a canine-bovine interaction but, on this occasion, valour overcame discretion and we continued on our way.

The curious fifth element of taste

Posted by: Accola Tue, 12 Aug 2008

Sweet, sour, bitter, salty — and umami. In 1908, Professor Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo University identified the material he isolated from a kelp broth as glutamic acid. He found that its salt monosodium glutamate (MSG) gave an enhanced and meaty flavour to vegetable dishes and he named the crystals umami (Japanese for savoury or meaty).

An essentially English humour

Posted by: Accola Tue, 12 Aug 2008

“Ahh. Oh dear. Mm. Oh dear, oh dear. Ahh, dear me. Ahh. Stone me, what a life.” This series of groans, the opening line of an episode of Hancock’s Half-Hour, was treasured by the viewing public of the late 1950s. Tony Hancock was able to clear the streets like few others, as families gathered to watch each eagerly awaited BBC programme.

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