Uncategorized Archives

A Colourful Change in Afghanistan

This short video from the BBC caught my eye.

A change taking place in Afghanistan in an unexpected direction shows a colourful scene in Afghanistan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/must_see/41754605/rainbow-paint-job-to-cheer-up-people-in-kabul?SThisFB

Outlander

“Outlander” brings to life a Scotland past and a Scotland present.

Watching Jamie in his traditional kilt enacting the part of a Scottish laird in the 1740′s
popularises the Scottish culture and ethos around the world. With his Scottish Highlander
integrity and values of honour, hospitality, friendship, loyalty, he give inspiration to a
way of life that was suppressed by the English then event until now. The Gaelic language,
once widespread throughout the country, nowadays, is spoken only in a few parts of the country,
mostly the more remote and rural areas in the West and North.

It is interesting that a Gaelic speaker once told me, there is no word in Gaelic for enemy.
There is only an “unfriend” and no word for “hate”

It is also interesting that a film series about characters living in Scotland during the
time of the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Jacobite Rebellion and the various battles
that took place around that time such as the Battle of Culloden and the Battle of Prestonpans
should be so popular around the world.

Apparently, David Cameron, as Prime Minister, had not wanted the series to be shown in the
United Kingdom, as he didn’t want to increase the popularity of Scottish Independence ahead
of the Scottish Independence Referendum. And so, it was produced by Hollywood, filmed in
Scotland and released worldwide, but unknown in Scotland for quite some time after its
release.

Earlier this year, I met a group of Chinese teachers visiting the UK from a city I had never
heard of in central China. But they had watched “Outlander” — and loved it whilst I had never
heard of it nor seen it.

Later in the year, I paid a visit to Doune Castle in Central Scotland, where my nieces had once
played hide and seek as children near the village where they grew up.

Doune Castle was used as the location for Castle Leoch. This time, it was mobbed by tourists
and visitors from all over the world, Japanese, American, German, French visiting the locations
of Outlander or following the Jacobite trail. With parking (which was full) and copies of Diane
Galbadon’s Outlander series of books for sale, the Castle has taken on a new life.

A man with American accent approached: “Do you speak English?” Relieved that we did, he wanted
to know, Do you know what the name of that pretty pink flower is that’s growing by the roadside?
We did and could tell him. It’s Rosebay Willow Herb.

All along the roadsides leading up to the Castle and for miles around, the verges were thick
with vast swathes of willow herb, turning hills and lochsides pink, next to mounds of purple
heather just unfolding its tiny bells. And rowan berries turning scarlet as they ripened.

Claire would have been happy with all the herbs and plants.

So with that in mind, here are some of the favourite Scottish locations of the artist and crew
working on Outlander.

Here is Jamie’s favourite, and I have to agree with him, even my blog header is based on photos
I took of Skye. And Skye is one of my favourite places in Scotland.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/outlander-cast-and-crew-favorite-locations#isle-of-skye-scotland

And to add to that is Kinloch Rannoch, used for the setting of the standing stones scenes where Claire
is transported back to the past.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/outlander-cast-and-crew-favorite-locations#kinloch-rannoch-scotland

It would only be appropriate that the character who plays Prince Charles Stuart, Andrew Gower, would love
Stirling Castle, the childhood home of the Stuart Kings just before the Union of the Crowns when a Stuart king of the
Scots became the King of England.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/outlander-cast-and-crew-favorite-locations#stirling-castle-scotland

How the Global Warming Scare Began

According to John Coleman, there is no significant global warming.

So, who is John Coleman?

John Coleman is the Founder of the Cable Network The Weather Channel, He has been named Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year of the American Meteorological Society. He has 60 plus years of experience as a weather man and knows his subject.

But he finally quit the American Meterological Society when, as he says, it became clear to him the politics had gotten in the way of the science.

John documents the entire story and shows how tax dollars are perpetuating the Global Warming alarmist campaign even though temperatures have not risen in years and years.

A great scientist named Roger Revelle had Al Gore in his class at Harvard.

Al Gore took up the idea of global warming and promoted it, popularising it with several books which he authored.

Professor Revelle tried to calm things down years later, saying and writing “The scientific basis for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time”.

But Gore said Revelle was senile and dismissed him — and the science and facts.

And global warming became a media message, a Hollywood cause which made it into a popular “reality” requiring tax dollars and expensive programs, funding and political measures at a global international level.

John Coleman meanwhile examines the cold hard statistics and facts like the health of polar bear population which are actually doing fine at this time, the decrease in the number and intensity of tornadoes, when looked at over a longer time period, and compares it to what is touted in the press and talked up on the media. They are two different pictures….

John tells the story in his youtube Video which you can see below.

It’s another look at a contemporary issue.

I came across a new viewpoint about the world we live in and to say the least it was quite a surprising and totally fascinating glimpse of things.

We are all used to hearing music though our tastes can differ about what we like to hear. And we are used to hearing the everyday sounds of the environment we live in, whether in a city or the country side, seaside or mountain side, there are cars, radios and tv’s, planes and trains, construction equipment, police sirens and ambulances, tractors and vacuum cleaners and till machines, and if we are lucky, birds and the sound of the waves on rocks, and wind in the trees and children laughing.

And we see the patterns of the waves in the sand, the clouds in the sky.

But what if there was a reeaally rrreeaally simple basic level that sound and vibration operated at to shape the physical world we inhabit.

What if the amount of vibration shaped the patterns or the forms in the physical universe.

A new science called Cymatics is exploring just exactly that.

Here are some fascinating youtube videos showing just how amazing this new look at the world is. It is described in a video called Amazing Resonance Experiment which you can find here:

and here in another fascinating glimpse into the transforming designs of sand particles in response to different vibration tones here: Incredible UV Sand Resonance Experiment:

Scottish Castles

For many people, as we come up to the General Election on 6th June, there are mixed feelings about our future. Will we stay as one United Kingdom? There are mixed feelings about staying in the European Union, about leaving it, about remaining joined at the hip like as the United Kingdom, or gong our separate ways as part of the different nations that comprise the United Kingomd.

This is not going to be a political blog about the Brexit, about the future of the Union.

I did want point out some wonderful Scottish castles and celebrate the unique views and landscape of Scotland.

images (1)

images (2)

images

images (3)

What Makes A Life Successful.

Spent some time the other day researching successful people and what they said about making their lives successful.

Surprisingly some completely different people said remarkably similar things.

Let’s take a look.

Well, I started with Karen Brady, successful business woman and entrepreneur, side kick of Lord Alan Sugar on The Apprentice television show. She made her way to fame and success as the Managing Director of Birmingham Cootball Club. She took over as their manager when the club was in administration and brought it to success selling it four years later. Not only did she make her way in a tough competitive world, it was a man’s world at that.

She is now on the board of West Ham United as well as involved with other business activities. She was created a Baronness and is now known as Baronness Brady of Knightsbridge. She has been voted Business Woman of the Year and is rated on of the 50 most inspirational speakers in the world.

And one of the first things she accredits with her success is knowing herself, working out what was important to her, what she valued and believed in and then being true to that in the way she lived her life, keeping her own personal integrity.

And then to find someone completely different, there was Arnold Schwarznegger, born in a small village in Austria, he dreamed of a different life, larger than his village could contain. In the peace and quiet of the village life in the mountains he could hear himself think and worked out what he wanted.

And having worked this out for himself, he set about his path to achieve this goal by becoming a body building champion, so that he could get to America and get into films and be a movie star and earn a lot of money with his name up high up in the billboards.
Not just any champion, but Mr Universe!

And he did it.

It started with the quiet voice inside himself, and working out what HE wanted, who he wanted to be, not what his parents and teachers and friends told him to be. And then having worked this, out trusted himself.

And worked like hell to achieve his dreams, to make his vision come true.

After that, he wanted to give something back and that led him to his role as a public servant as the Governor of California. As he puts it in his words, the governor in the best state in America, in the best country in the world.

It wasn’t easy, born in another country, an Austrian with a thick accent, to rise to a prominent political position. But he did it despite the barriers and obstacles. making him an inspiration to many.

For his many contributions and results, the University of Southern California awarded him its highest honour as a Doctor of Humane Letters, an honorary degree, in 2009. He then spoke to the assembled and audience giving his 6 Rules for Success.

You can watch the full speech here.

This is a post my friend Sara put on her blog. It resonated with me and so I thought I would pass it on.

I found her advice to be very practical and helpful. So this is what she has to say.

But I Don’t Have Time!

Time

“I don’t make enough money online because I don’t have time.”
Sounds familiar?

When asked for their biggest challenge in Internet Marketing, my subscribers listed this as the number one challenge.

How about you?

Do you have time-constraints that are stopping you from making money online?

Actually, me too…
I also don’t have time to spare.

As a (very tired) mom of 6 kids, who is currently expecting another child, I’m also quite low on time.

Yet I have managed to find the time to make money online from my own affiliate sites (and free web 2.0 properties).

I also own an online course that I promote and for which I provide support (In fact, I just spent a lot of time updating my course so that the information is completely up to date).

And I’m now putting the finishing touches on a new program that will take people by the hand, coach them, and “force” them to succeed (I put a lot into this and am very proud of how it’s turning out).

I’m not telling you all this to brag. I just want it to be clear that I know what I’m talking about and am pretty qualified to give you advice on how to make money even if you have little time.

So – what’s the trick?

Well, the idea is to use whatever time you do have wisely and accomplish with a little bit of your time what others take longer to do.

Tip #1: Create a Plan for Success

If your goal is to make money as fast and as much as possible, ask yourself this question:

What is my surest, easiest, and fastest path to cash?

If you are like me, you can’t afford to spend time on things that don’t work, or that only work sometimes, or that would take too long to learn or implement.

You have to focus on a plan that works.

Don’t waste your time on things that just sound like they may work. You need to be convinced that your plan is most likely to get you there.

And as I’ve said in the past, there are different options you can take.

Pick one, and base your plan around it.

Now, let’s say you decide that creating affiliate niche sites would be a good choice for you. These are sites that are focused on a tight niche and rank well on Google.

So what you need to do is learn the minimum steps required to make money with niche sites and just go for it. You can always get more information on how to improve and do better later.

So if you’re going for affiliate niche sites, you need to focus on:

Learning how to pick products and keywords that sell
Learning how to create sites that sell
Creating sites based on those products and keywords
and getting traffic to those sites
That is it.

You don’t need to watch videos on copywriting.

You don’t need to learn how to create pretty graphics.

You don’t need to read dozens of emails on the latest guru launch.

Stay away from these things.

You just need to follow the plan you mapped out.

Too many times I see people who do not have a clear path in mind. They focus on the wrong things in their efforts, and are too scattered to succeed. Don’t be like them.

If you keep your goal in mind and a general path to get to that goal, you are much more likely to succeed even with very little time.

Tip #2: A Daily List
Now that you have a goal, and a way to reach your goal, you need to take it day by day.

Every day (or the night before) make a list of the most important things you need to do that day to reach your goal.

And when it’s time to work on your business start tackling your list.

Make your list very specific. And in order of priority.

For example:

Find 3 high-volume, low-competition keywords
Write an article for each of my keywords
Set up my blog
Then focus on the items on your list and cross them off one by one.

Do the most important task first, then the next, and then the next.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything else.

If you do this, you will get to your goal much faster than if you don’t.

Tip #3: Divide and Conquer

You don’t have to work full time on your business to succeed.

What you need to do is figure out how much time you have and what you can do with that time.

Even if you just have 1/2 hour to work at a time, cut your tasks up into small pieces and see what you can do in that 1/2 hour.

For example:

Research products on Amazon
Find a good keyword to target
Write an article (or perhaps just a draft)
Buy a domain and set up a blog
Then, every time you have a 1/2 hour, just pick one of the items on your list and do it.

You will see that these chunks of time add up and soon enough you will have income coming in.

Tip #4: Get Things Done
It’s very important to get things done, even if they are not done perfectly.

It’s ok if your site doesn’t look good. In fact, many of my ugly sites do very well.

It’s ok if your content is not perfect – you can always change it later.

It’s ok if one method of backlinking is not working well for you – you can always use others.

But it’s not ok to get stuck.

Just get things done and move on.

It’s those who get things done – even if not perfectly – who succeed in the end.

Getting things done is what counts. Remember that.

These things make a difference
One thing I always keep in mind when I design my training programs is this time issue.

That’s why I make sure they include a very focused plan, with clearly designed small steps that will ensure that you are sticking to the right path.

And best of all – feedback from me or my assistants to make sure that the work done will indeed bring results.

Another thing that really helps is that I allow my students access to my outsourcers so they don’t have to do certain time-consuming (and boring) tasks (if they are necessary).

Because making the most of your time is extremely important!

So – what do you think?
How do you handle this challenge of not having enough time?

Are you allowing it to stop you? Or do you have your own way of handling this problem?

Have any tips to share?

Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Foods and Flavours to Help Diabetes

This information comes to you courtesy of Natural News. It may be that you know someone it could help. It is so important that it is being passed on here to make it more widely known and used.

According to the most recent American Diabetes Association report, 29.1 million Americans are diabetic. Additionally, the disease still held the rank of being the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Over 8 million of that 29.1 are undiagnosed, unaware that they have the condition.(1)

Therefore, it’s wise for everyone to take a closer look at their dietary lifestyle and eat foods that help fight diabetes.

Fight diabetes with these 17 herbs and spices

Several kinds of herbs and spices exist that keep the disease at bay. Here’s a look at what Dr. Alexa Fleckenstein, author of The Diabetes Cure, swears by.(2)
The list of herbs, spices and information below are derived from her
book. Supporting details and their sources are noted, if used.

1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

In a small study involving 40 type 2 diabetics, it was found that those consuming this herb were able to reduce their fasting blood glucose levels by approximately 17.6 percent. Additionally, their blood glucose levels after eating a meal were lowered by 7.3 percent.

Why not add their earthy yet semi-sweet leaves to more meals?

2. Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Bilberries’ blue color, which exists on the inside as well as the outside, has antioxidants called anthocyanins. They’re known to help fight diabetes and lower inflammation. In fact, an Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition study found that regular ingestion of them led to improvements in glucose tolerance.

3. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile has the ability to help lower blood sugar levels and properly remove sugar from blood and store it in the liver, making it a smart choice in addition to the other herbs and spices mentioned in this article.

4. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)

This aromatic treat is one that won’t wreak havoc on glucose levels. Quite the contrary.

One 2003 study found that after just 40 days, a type of cinnamon called Cinnamomum aromaticum, or cassia (typically in grocery stores) was found to lower blood glucose levels nearly 30 percent.(3)

5. Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)

The spicy, smoky flavor of cumin is another taste that can be enjoyed by diabetics or those at risk. Not only does it lower cholesterol and blood sugar, but it manages advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can be of concern for those with the disease.

6. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

This bitter leafy green is a diabetic’s dream: It’s said to help heal the liver, produce a cleansing action in the body and boost weight loss.

7. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

A versatile herb, dill was used during the middle ages to boost everything from meals to health.

Today, it’s noted that dill has about 70 beneficial chemicals that specifically work to combat diabetes. Talk about packing a significant health punch!

8. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Described as having an “elegant” taste with a distinct anise flavor, fennel contains a phytochemical called anethole, which fights inflammation. Its seeds and the vegetable play a role in warding off diabetes complications.

9. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Eating more garlic means preventing your cytokines from becoming unruly.

10. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger has been shown to improve many conditions that are concerning for diabetics. It has the ability to lower cholesterol levels, blood fats and blood glucose.

11. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

It’s brimming with diabetes-fighting antioxidants that make it well worth adding to meals.

12. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Effective in warding off inflammation, it’s active phytochemical, carnosol, helps those with metabolic syndrome.

13. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Not only does sage play a role in fighting germs and offering soothing qualities when enjoyed as a tea, but its powerful antioxidants are known to fight diabetes.

14. Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)

For those with a sweet tooth, rejoice! This sweetener has been found to be safe for diabetics while also providing them with helpful postprandial blood sugar and insulin levels.

15. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

This herb has been found to produce a hypoglycemic effect, decrease overeating and reduce insulin resistance.

16. Thyme (Thymus spp.)

With approximately 75 active phytochemicals that work to fight diabetes, this flavorful herb is a must when it comes to staying healthy.

17. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

This spice provides some serious kick when it comes to taste as well as heath. A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that prediabetics who took a placebo instead of curcumin capsules developed type 2 diabetes. Those taking the capsules did not.

Book of Kells Pigments

One of the things that has puzzled researchers for years is how did the artists achieve the glorious colours that we see in The Book of Kells.

This kind of art, which was done by Medieval monks and scribes, is known as Illumination. This is because the gold and silver used in the paintings reflected light and shone brightly when the light landed on the pages. And to further enhance the effect, the metal was often burnished till it it was smooth and shone even more brightly. However, what makes this book more remarkable is the fact that it achieves its brilliant luminosity without the use of any gold or silver.

It is believed that the book was produced around the year 800 by the monks of St Columba, possibly in Iona, an island off the coast of western Scotland where he founded a monastery, or in Kells, in Meath in Ireland where the monks moved to after a Viking raid on Iona.

It was produced on vellum, a kind of parchment.

But what about the actual paints themselves?

For years, it was assumed what the colours were without scientific tests being done to find out and verify these assumptions. The results, when this was done, produced some unexpected surprises.

At the time, there were a number of pigments in common use and readily available, and these turned out to be as expected.

For example:
Red/Orange shades – came from red lead
Yellow – was provided by ochre and orpiment
Black – was provided by carbon from lamp black or burned bones,
Brown – came from iron gall ink.

Iron gall ink was a staple of scribes, being regularly used to write documents on parchment as far back as the Magna Carta and earlier. It is one of the reasons we have preserved historical archives that go back for hundreds of years. So this would have been readily available and known to the monks.

In the Book of Kells, white was produced from gypsum. White lead was more common in other medieval paintings of the same time period.

It was thought that the blue was lapis lazuli.

This colour was a very costly pigment, being mined in Afghanistan or Persia, and travelling across huge distances to reach Britain. It was a hard stone and required much pounding and grinding to yield its beautiful dark blue. And it required skill and familiarity to successfully produce the colour — too little work left impurities in the powdered pigment, on the other hand, too much grinding and it would change and lose its colour. Imagine, all doing that work for nothing!

It was so costly that the use of the colour was reserved usually for the Virgin Mary, a point where the sacred joined up with economics of production. Or in the case of a wealthy patron, the lavish use of this colour proclaimed his prestige boldy for all to see and admire.

To great surprise, it was found that blue was supplied by indigo, a plant, though the source of the indigo itself is not currently clear.

Indigo in Britain at the time could have come locally from a plant called woad, which is native to northern Europe. Woad was used as a blue dye for cloth as well as for body paint by the Celts as far back as Roman times. Remember the stories about Boudicca.

However, indigo was also produced from Indigofera tinctoria plant and imported from South East Asia via Syria and Alexandria to the western Europe, making it the most expensive pigment in the Medieval world at the time. We don’t know which kind of indigo was used,

What we do know is that the Vikings and the Celts did have amazing trade routes established with the Baltic and the Middle East and Mediterranean area.

From the combination of indigo and orpiment, greens were produced, as well by using verdigris, a colour based on copper.

And the delicate purples were another plant derived pigment, produced by orecin obtained from a lichen called rosella tinctoria.

It is from this restricted palette of colours and pigment that the the artist monks had to work to create their stunning effects, using a combination of pure colours and simple mixtures.

By considered and careful juxtaposition and simple layering, very striking contrasts could be built up making colour combinations that sing with variety and luminosity. By adding 3 or more layers over a base layer, subtle gradations of colour and texture could be built up from only a few starting colours.

The diverse and delicate elaborate designs of The Book of Kells are amongst the most famous and well loved Celtic art work in the world. And the skillful use of mineral pigments has preserved the art work brightly for more than 1300 years.

Auld Lang Syne

Funny how a Scottish song could travel round the world and commemorate the passing of one year into the next in different time zones and cultures.

Scottish values of hospitality and friendship combined together into a custom known as first footing.

After midnight on the last day of the year, folks used to go out and visit their friends, bringing a gift of a lump of coal. This was to bring them warmth for the coming year.

And the guest was treated to a wee dram of whisky and shortbread, to comfort him in the cold of the night and on into the coming year.

The best, most luckiest visitor to be the first foot over your doorstep was a tall, dark, handsome man.

A bonny dream.

May your coming year be full, too.

 Page 1 of 4  1  2  3  4 »