Mikedowney.co.uk
What's New
Site Map

Diary
Astronomy
Bits N Bobs
Computing
Food And Drink
Links
Photography
Welcome


Recipe Collections
Recipe A Week 2013
Recipe A Week 2010
A-Z of Regional Cakes


Selected Entries
Pinhole Photography
Keeping Quail
Coventry
Recipes
A different recipe each week
Friends websites
Oven Temperatures and Measuring Cups


Most popular stories
A Hamster's Home is his C...
Hamster Peanuts
Simple HDR photography wi...
A Tangfastic Mess
Pizza, Hamsters and Ballo...
Hamster Baby Update
Decaffeinated Coffee
Halloween Animal Beds
More Squirrel Photos
Not Quite HDR photography
Hamster Baby Update


RSS Feeds:
RSS Feed Entire Site.
RSS Feed Diary only.



Powered by Blosxom


Pinhole Photography Ring
pinhole webring logo
powered by RingSurf
Next | Previous
Random Site | List Sites

A question in today's Daily Mail

Story location: Home / Blog / news /
24/Jul/2009
Q: When Halley's Comet reappeared in 1969, that winter a flu epidemic killed more than 60,000 people in Britain. In 2008 Comet Nostradamus (and others) passed by, and now we face a flu pandemic. Is this mere coincidence, or were the ancients right to fear comets as bad omens and bringers of pestilence? What other natural disasters have been attributed to comets?

An interesting question, and one which is wrong on almost every level. The question's author may be referring to the theory of panspermia, where micro-organisms or disease can be brought to Earth by comets. Unfortunately the question gets pretty much everything else wrong.

Halley's comet did not appear in 1969. It was around in 1910 and again in 1986. I can't find any record of a Comet Nostradamus. There is a bright comet every few years - they aren't that rare so claiming co-incidence doesn't really make sense. Also the Earth passes through comet dust several times per year. The major meteor showers are associated with dust and debris from comets. If comets were all full of germs and pestilence, then there would be major outbreaks several times per year.

At least the questioner didn't claim the world was going to end in 2012.



6pm: Experiment Ends.

Story location: Home / Blog /
24/Jul/2009

During May, I decided to avoid wheat to see if it would help my psoriasis. After a month there was no improvement. Some people have claimed avoiding dairy can help so last month I decided to avoid both wheat and milk-based products. I kept eating eggs because I don't really consider them to be dairy. They don't even come from cows. Since we keep Quail, if I stopped eating eggs then we would have hundreds of them going to waste.

Eating out made it difficult sticking to the diet but it wasn't to bad when I was cooking at home.

Breakfast was easy. During the week I had wheat free cereal such as rice crispies or corn flakes, served with soy milk. I either used sweetened or chocolate flavoured soy milk - the unsweetened stuff was really tasteless. You don't usually think of milk as being sweet but it does contain a sugar, lactose, so the sweetened soy version is a reasonable substitute.

For lunch I usually had oat crackers and either sandwich meat or a tin of fish in sauce (such as tuna, sardines, mackerel or herring). I had to check to make sure the sauce didn't contain wheat or milk derivatives. I was surprised to find a pack of sandwich chicken which listed powdered milk as an ingredient but most were ok.

Most of our evening meals are cooked from scratch so it was fairly straightforward to substitute 'fake' pasta (usually maize based) for normal pasta. Obviously rice based meals were ok. Another surprise was when I found that the tub of chicken stock powder we were using contained lactose. They really do put some odd ingredients in things.

Our weekly pizza night was a problem. We tried using wheat free bread flour (usually rice and potato flour with xanthan gum to replace the gluten). We tried different recipes but none of them were as good as using normal flour. The worst part was avoiding cheese. I tried making 'soy cheese' by warming soy milk with a little lemon juice, but all I ended up with was a soft tofu which of course didn't melt but just sat on top of the pizza, looking grey and unappetizing.

I was going to stay wheat and milk free until the end of the month but since there was no improvement, we decided to give up. We used up the last of the 'fake pasta' tonight with a cheese sauce. It was nice to be able to eat cheese again. Next stop: cheese on toast. As soon as we've bought some sliced bread.