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Magpie

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The Telegraph 13.7.06

 

Brilliant men always betray their wives

Einstein's affairs should surprise no one, says Desmond Morris. It is all in the genius's genes

So Albert Einstein did not, after all, spend all his waking hours chalking up complex symbols on a blackboard. According to letters newly released this week, he devoted quite a bit of it to chasing the ladies. And with considerable success.

 
Einstein
'Einstein had the courage to plough ahead both on and off the intellectual field'

To many, the idea of Einstein having 10 mistresses does not fit the classical image of the great, remote genius. Why was he wasting his valuable time with the exhausting business of conducting a string of illicit affairs - affairs that would cause havoc with his family life, damaging especially his relationship with his sons?

The answer is that he, like many other intensely creative men, was over-endowed with one of the human male's most characteristic qualities: the joy of risk-taking.

Every creative act, every new formula, every ground-breaking innovation, is an act of rebellion that may - if successful - destroy an old, existing concept. So every time a brilliant mind sees a new possibility, it is faced with a moment of supreme risk-taking.

The new formula, the new invention, may not work. It may turn out to be a disaster. But the man of genius - such as Einstein - has the courage to plough ahead, despite the dangers, both on and off the intellectual field.

Not that Einstein is by any means an isolated instance. Indeed, far from being the exception he is closer to the norm where great men and sex are concerned.

During a presidential visit to Britain, John F. Kennedy once shocked an elderly Harold Macmillan when he complained to him that if he didn't have sex with a woman every day he suffered from severe headaches.

Kennedy was insatiable and impatient. He was reported to make love with one eye on the clock and to be through with a girl as soon as he had had sex with her in three different ways. If possible, he preferred two girls at once and seduced almost every young woman he met, from starlets to socialites, secretaries to stewardesses. Oh yes, and not forgetting strippers.

But then the compulsion in dominant males to take the highest of risks - a compulsion that seems to be innate - is one that dates back to prehistoric times.

Marilyn Monroe
 
Marilyn Monroe, one of Kennedy's many sexual conquests

Our arboreal relatives, the monkeys, simply fled up into the high branches when danger threatened and, while feeding, all they had to confront was a fruit or a berry. But when our early ancestors came down to live on the ground, they had to give up scampering aloft to escape and also had to face dangerous competitors and prey when turning to meat-eating as a new way of life.

To become successful hunters required a new personality trait - bravery. If the primeval hunters were to survive as carnivores they had to be courageous and take serious risks. The females of the tribe were too important to expose to these dangers - their vital reproductive role ruled them out. But the males were expendable. If, inevitably, a few of them were killed, the others could easily maintain the reproductive rate of the still very small tribes. So it was the males who evolved into the pack-hunters who would become genetically programmed as risk-takers and whose job it was to bring home the bacon.

Today, going to the office or the factory, or working on the farm - the modern equivalents of the ancient hunt - are far less hazardous, but the deeply ingrained urge to take risks still remains. Proof of this comes from the fact that men today are much more accident-prone than women. Throughout life women are less likely than men to die of a violent accident. By the age of 30, males are 15 times more likely to die of an accident than females.

For special males - the most adventurous ones - there are two choices. Either they can engage in risk-taking of the physical kind - join the SAS, get launched into space, or trek to the South Pole -or they can explore new ideas, create new art forms or invent new technologies and thereby change the way we all live.

Men with brilliant minds, whose creativity brings them enormous success, sometimes find themselves in a curious situation. They are so highly rewarded by society for their achievements that they are unable to limit their curiosity to new problems in their special fields. It starts to spill over into other areas.

Novel sexual experiences, for instance, suddenly seem irresistible. It is not the mating act itself that is so important - that varies very little. It is the thrill of the chase and the excitement of a new conquest that drives them on. Once the conquest has been made, the novelty of the affair soon wears off and another chase is begun. Each illicit episode involves stealth and secrecy, tactics and strategy, and the terrifying risk of discovery, making it the perfect metaphor for the primeval hunt.

Aiding and abetting these erotic adventures is the fact that the fame, power and wealth that these especially brilliant men have received as rewards for their achievements make them very attractive figures to the opposite sex. They may have a face like an angry hippopotamus but, thanks to their high status, they somehow manage to ooze sex appeal, much to the disbelief and dismay of the handsome failures who carry out menial tasks for them.

The great philosopher Bertrand Russell, who for all his undeniable intellectual brilliance could never have bedded a woman on looks alone, was described as suffering from ''galloping satyriasis". He claimed he could not see a sexual partner as sexually attractive for more than a few years, after which he had to make a new conquest.

 

He had affairs with a long line of women, a few of whom he later married. They included a young secretary, an MP's wife, the daughter of a Chicago surgeon, a researcher, an actress, a suffragette, several teachers, the wife of a Cambridge lecturer and his children's governess.

 

His private life was described by one biographer as ''a chaos of serious affairs, secret trysts and emotional tightrope acts that constantly threatened... ruinous scandal''. This was risk-taking of the highest order.

Picasso was also a sexual glutton, described by a friend as being obsessed with sex. There was a long procession of women in and out of his life: Fernande and Eva, Olga and Marie-Therese, Dora and Françoise, Alice and Jacqueline, and many more. He was quoted as saying: ''There's nothing so similar to one poodle dog as another poodle dog, and that goes for women, too.''

 

Similarly, his great friend, Gauguin, abandoned his family and moved to Tahiti where he was able to indulge in his passion for sexual adventures by welcoming a different local girl into his hut each night. Sometimes, he had as many as three in one night. And he continued his sexual odyssey even after his body was visibly disintegrating from the syphilis that killed him.

 

That genius of the cinema, Charlie Chaplin, was an even more active sex addict, capable, he said, of ''six bouts a night''. Whenever he was bored he would set about seducing a girl. He had four wives (three of them teenagers) and an endless procession of mistresses, some of them alarmingly young. His greatest thrill was the prospect of deflowering a virgin. When one of his virgins became pregnant at 16 he was forced to marry her. That marriage lasted only two years, during which time he enjoyed the company of five mistresses.

 

As a young man he visited brothels, but later was attracted to talented and important women and managed to seduce a cousin of Winston Churchill's, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, actresses Paulette Goddard, Mabel Normand and Pola Negri, and William Hearst's girl-friend Marion Davies. However, his sexual risk-taking eventually led to his downfall and he was driven out of America as a ''debaucher'', his legacy forever tarnished.

 

But then men with great talent or power, from Elvis Presley to Bill Clinton, Toulouse-Lautrec to John Prescott, will, it seems, more often than not put their careers or family lives in jeopardy in order to satisfy the primeval hunter's thrill. It is, sadly, simply a by-product of the human exploratory urge, and one of the prices we - and wives the world over - have to pay for being the most innovative species on the planet.

 

  • Desmond Morris is author of 'Watching - Encounters with Humans and other Animals'


     

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    Hi Magpie... thanks for your (very interesting) post with regards to 'Did You Know.....'.

     

    Indeed, I did not know about the information contained within your post!  So Albert Einstein was a bit of a ladies man, was he?  What baffles me, is why anyone in their right mind would want 10 on the go at the same time - imagine all that stress!

     

    On a lighter note, I can now understand why John Prescott 'managed' to conduct an affair....  Well, actually, I can't...

     

    Originally posted by Magpie:

     

    Aiding and abetting these erotic adventures is the fact that the fame, power and wealth that these especially brilliant men have received as rewards for their achievements make them very attractive figures to the opposite sex. They may have a face like an angry hippopotamus but, thanks to their high status, they somehow manage to ooze sex appeal, much to the disbelief and dismay of the handsome failures who carry out menial tasks for them.


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    Magpie

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    BBC News Tuesday, 11 July 2006

     

     

     

    Man turns paper clip into house
     
    House in Kipling, SK

    If you dream of owning your own house, then trading a red paper clip over the internet might not be the obvious way of doing it.

    But Canadian Kyle MacDonald has achieved exactly that and will see his new home for the first time on Wednesday.

    It took Kyle exactly a year of 14 internet trades to move from the paper clip to a house on Main Street in the tiny town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province - a place he has never been to before.

    Now the 26-year-old is planning to write a book about the venture which saw him trade up through a novelty doorknob, a camping stove, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper.

    "I knew it was possible," he said on the BBC's Today programme. "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."

    Kyle MacDonald
    Kyle MacDonald started with just one paper clip
    He got the idea from a child's game called bigger and better, but created a website devoted to the project and promised to visit potential traders wherever they were.

    "My girlfriend and I paid rent for an apartment in Montreal and I'd always wanted to own my own house and this is how I decided to go about it. I think I may be the first to try it online," he told AFP news agency.

    Originally from Belcarra, British Columbia, Kyle describes himself as having planted more than 100,000 trees, delivered more than 1,000 pizzas but "eaten only one scorpion".

    Two Vancouver women first took on the challenge, snapping up the paper clip and swapping it for a pen shaped like a fish which had been found on a camping trip.

    THOSE TRADES IN FULL
    One red paper clip
    Novelty pen
    Ceramic doorknob
    Camping stove
    1,000-watt generator
    Beer keg with neon sign
    Snowmobile
    Trip to Yakh
    A large van
    One recording contract
    One year rent-free in Phoenix
    Afternoon with Alice Cooper
    Snow globe
    Hollywood movie role
    House in Kipling

    A sculptor in Seattle wanted the pen and gave him a humorous, hand-made ceramic doorknob in return.

    The doorknob became a camping stove, which turned into a 1,000-watt generator that was swapped for a beer keg, which in turn was traded for a snow mobile.

    The website started to attract a loyal following, with one reader delighted by the trade for a snow mobile prompted to comment: "Woaa dude, nice trade. If I had something bigger or more pricey I would exchange."

    Film role

    But glee turned to astonished concern when Kyle opted to trade an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper for a snow globe.

    One typical comment on the website said: "Kyle, man, what were you thinking? I personally think this is the craziest thing you have done."

    But his fans need not have worried. Hollywood director Corbin Bernsen collects snow globes and wanted it so much that he offered a paid, credited, speaking role in his next film Donna on Demand.

    Hey, what a neat planet. We're thinking of staying to see what happens next
    Heather and Dan
    Finally, the town of Kipling - population 1,140 - decided they would like a resident to get the part, so offered to trade a 1920s house for the movie role.

    Kyle told the BBC that the town would be holding auditions in the first week of September, which would coincide with a house party to celebrate the success of the mission.

    But he is still surprised by the level of interest the idea has sparked, saying on his website: "A lot of people have been asking how I've stirred up so much publicity around the project, and my simple answer is: 'I have no idea.'"

    The project has demonstrated the power of the internet and won an army of fans, including Heather and Dan who left a comment on Kyle's website saying: "Hey, what a neat planet. We're thinking of staying to see what happens next."

     

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    DO YOU REALLY KNOW?

    http://www.didyouknow.org/


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    Magpie

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    Reply with quote  #5 

    I didn't really know, but i do know now, what i didn't know then.

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    I never really knew until I looked at Did You Know (Post) and now I know what I never knew then.

     

    Knowledge is power.
    Sir Francis Bacon
    Sir Isaac Newton
    Sir Winston Churchill


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    Website rewrites vows on marriage

    TAN EE LYN

    ONLINE marriage brokers are common in China, but a new Chinese website is thriving by turning the traditional idea of marriage on its head.

    Called "Marriage for Asexuals" (www.wx920.com), the site claims to be the first and biggest online marriage broker for "asexual" people in China. It says it has attracted 7,000 members since it was launched last year.

     

    Its rapid success illustrates the expansion of the internet in China, the increasingly permissive nature of Chinese society - and the way in which small but growing minorities of people are stepping away from traditions that have dominated culture for thousands of years.

    "I came up with the idea to help a friend, who lost his sexual abilities after an accident," said the 33-year-old founder of the site, who works full-time for an information technology company in the remote southern province of Guangxi.

    A Communist Party member and a volunteer social worker, the founder was willing to identify himself only by his internet name, Lin Hai; he chose not to tell his parents and co-workers about the site because he worried about their reactions.

    "At the beginning I couldn't believe so many people from all over China were drawn to my website," said Lin.

    Sixty per cent of the site's customers are people who cannot have sex, Lin said. The rest are "comrades", the Chinese nickname for homosexuals, who sign on in search of an opposite-sex spouse, often to relieve social and family pressure.

    The site is particularly daring because of the culture's strong emphasis on heterosexual marriage and child-bearing. Under Chairman Mao, a person's "work unit" or employer often acted as matchmaker.

    But Marriage for Asexuals is an example of the way in which the institution of marriage is being adapted, mostly in China's cities, by breakneck economic and social development.

    So-called "DINK" marriages - standing for "double income, no kids" - have become popular among young urban professionals. Such arrangements wouldn't raise an eyebrow in the West, but in China they are still viewed as a radical lifestyle choice.

    "I have no time to raise kids, or even to go through pregnancy," said a manager in her late thirties at a Japanese company in Shanghai. "I'd rather save the money and time to live more happily with my husband."

    Underlining the still controversial nature of her choice, the manager was willing to give her name only as "Ms Liu".

    Another innovation is "marriage on weekends", where couples deliberately live apart on weekdays to maintain their independence.

    "There is much more space for unconventional marriages, as the government gradually withdrew from people's private lives after 1978," said Sun Zhongxin, a sociologist at Fudan University.

    The Chinese government does not hesitate to block or censor things on the internet that it does not like, but Lin said he had not received any official criticism or warnings over Marriage for Asexuals.

    The website is tastefully designed in a pastel shade of green, featuring traditional Chinese music and a romantic picture of a western man and woman at the top of the home page.

    It includes discussions of asexual marriage as well as a contacts section through which people can meet each other. It is free of charge, but accepts donations.

    "I want a Beijing boy who is outspoken, upright and who treats my parents well," wrote "Beijing Girl" in a typical posting. "I am a translator, tall and slim, and I earn 2,000 to 3,500 yuan per month."

    The tone of some other postings is more tragic in a country where homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder until 2001, and where it remains stigmatised in many places.

    "My parents threatened to never see me again or even to commit double suicide if I do not have a baby soon," said a Mr Wu in his posting.

    "Many co-workers look at me like a jerk, an impotent, or a sick person, just because I've been married for ten years and have no child yet."

     


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    Reply with quote  #8 

    Did You Know . . . ?


  • The Benefits of Tiered Storage

  • The Internet Hardware and Software


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    Reuters. 4th August 2006

     

    Hundreds expected to come to Masturbate-a-thon

     

    LONDON (Reuters) - Hundreds of Britons are being urged to attend what is being branded as Europe's first "Masturbate-a-thon", a leading reproductive healthcare charity said on Friday.

    Marie Stopes International, which is hosting the event with HIV/AIDS charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, said it expected up to 200 people to attend the sponsored masturbation session in Clerkenwell, central London, on Saturday.

    "It is a bit of a publicity stunt but we hope it will raise awareness," a Marie Stopes spokeswoman told Reuters.

    "We want to get people talking about safer sex, masturbation and to lift taboos."

    Participants, who have to be over 18, can bring any aids they need and can take part in four different rooms -- a comfort area, a mixed area, along with men and women only areas.

    However, the rules on the event's Web site states there can be no touching of other participants nor are people allowed to fake orgasms.

    "The amount you raise will be determined by how many minutes you masturbate and/or how many orgasms you achieve," the Web site said.

    The Marie Stopes spokeswoman said local religious groups had been initially outraged, but after people had heard what the event was about, most had approved it.

    Police had also given it their approval.

    Similar events have been staged in San Francisco for the last six years raising $25,000 (13,000 pounds) for women's health initiatives and HIV prevention. If successful, Marie Stopes said it could take place elsewhere in mainland Europe next year.

     

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    Police seize officers not cocaine
    Cocaine
    Investigators say they were about to seize a cocaine haul
    South Africa's special investigations unit has criticised the police after two of its agents were arrested as they were about to catch a drug smuggler.

    As a result, the smuggler was able to enter the country through Johannesburg International Airport unhindered.

    Police blamed the bungle on the failure of the special unit - known as the Scorpions - to inform the police of their planned operation at the airport.

    A court dismissed charges against the Scorpions' officers on Monday.

    The Scorpions say they were ready on Saturday to arrest a man carrying cocaine worth 5m rand ($700,000), after a three-month investigation.

    "We've lost our target and control of the syndicate," said Gerhard Nel, head of the Scorpions in Gauteng province, told The Star newspaper. "We'll have to start again."

    'Partners'

    Police spokesman Sean Tshabalala said the police had acted within their rights in arresting the Scorpions' officers on suspicion of themselves being involved in a smuggling ring.

    "The police and the Scorpions are supposed to be partners in the fight against crime, but if they come into an area controlled by the police, they will have to inform us of their presence, and they didn't do that in this case."

    When the arrested officers appeared in Kempton Park Magistrates' Court on Monday, prosecutor Wollie Wolmarans dismissed the case, saying they had followed the correct procedures in their operation at the airport.

    The Scorpions were established in 1999 in an effort to control South Africa's high levels of serious organised crime. Initially the unit answered directly to the prosecution service and the minister of justice rather than to the police.

     

    More recently, the question of the Scorpions' independence from the South African Police Service has been a controversial one.

     

    Following a judicial inquiry, measures have been introduced intended to improve co-operation between the Scorpions and the police.

     

    ***********************************************

    The Scorpions were established in 1999...

     

    The National Prosecuting Authority Act of 1998 has been amended to establish the Scorpions. Finalising the legislation has taken time. The first Directorate of Special Operations Bill was rushed and it showed through several flaws in the draft legislation. These problems have been ironed out. Some questions remain about how tensions with the police will be managed and who will benefit from the Scorpions’ activities.

    On 2 August 2000 the minister of justice and constitutional development published the Directorate of Special Operations Bill intended to formally establish the Scorpions. In its contents, the bill expressed a lack of confidence in the investigative abilities of the police and the work of many of South Africa’s prosecutors and intelligence operatives.

    The bill stated that the Scorpions would "gather intelligence relating to specified offences and ensure that the investigation and prosecution of such offences is done in the best possible manner." The draft legislation did not however specify what incidents would constitute "specified offences". The task of deciding was given to a ministerial co-ordinating committee headed by the president. However, an explanatory memorandum attached to the bill stated that the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) would focus on crimes of "an especially serious nature" to ensure that these are "investigated and prosecuted as competently as possible."

    Lack of confidence in existing structures

    The draft legislation appeared to indicate a lack of confidence in the ability of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate cases of an especially serious nature. It also cast doubt on the process of prioritising serious crimes which has been ongoing in the police. Moreover it questioned the likely success of SAPS commissioner Selebi’s three year crime combating strategy, Operation Crackdown, which concentrates on those areas experiencing high rates of especially serious crime.

    A lack of confidence in existing law enforcement structures could also have informed the section in the draft legislation on the options available to the president to establish an intelligence capacity for the Scorpions. This simply stated that the president could, on the recommendation of the inter-ministerial committee he would preside over, establish a new intelligence structure. This structure would report through the national director of public prosecutions to the president.

    What this intelligence structure would do that would be different to the functions of the police’s National Crime Intelligence Division, the National Intelligence Agency and the South African Secret Service was not specified. The memorandum attached to bill stated baldly that "The bill proposes that the directorate can rely on the support [of these agencies] or the president can establish a crime intelligence division for the directorate." In other words, if the abilities of the existing intelligence agencies were deemed unreliable, the president could simply establish another structure to do the job.

    In a nutshell, the Directorate of Special Operations Bill proposed establishing an elite investigative (and intelligence) and prosecution unit which would employ some 2000 people to perform unspecified "specified" functions. All this would cost the taxpayer R600 million over the next three years.

    Happily, public hearings and the deliberations of the portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development changed this.

    Clarity on roles and reporting

    Firstly, the Directorate of Special Operations Bill was scrapped. Provisions relating to the establishment and functions of the Scorpions have now been included as amendments to the National Prosecuting Authority Act of 1998. The act provides clear lines of authority, accountability and reporting for the primary role players. The decision to include provisions for the Scorpions under this act dealt quickly and cleverly with some of the complicated accountability issues that were blurred in the draft legislation.

    More importantly the scope of the Scorpions’ work has been narrowed and defined. Instead of unspecified "crimes of an especially serious nature", the Scorpions will now focus on "offences or any criminal or unlawful activities committed in an organised fashion" or "such other offences or categories of offences as determined by the president by proclamation in the Gazette."

    The organised nature of the crimes the Scorpions will tackle is also defined in the legislative amendments. These include: "… the planned, ongoing, continuous or repeated participation, involvement or engagement in at least two incidents of criminal or unlawful conduct that has the same or similar intents, results, accomplices, victims or methods of commission or otherwise are related by distinguishing characteristics."

    Also, the president is now responsible for determining the categories of crime, other than organised crime, that the Scorpions can investigate. These categories must be made public in the Government Gazette. This is a real improvement on the closed and cumbersome consultation process proposed in the initial draft legislation.

    Finally, the amendments to the National Prosecuting Authority Act do not empower the president to establish an intelligence capacity or to appoint a person to head up such a capacity in the Scorpions. Rather the Scorpions capacity to "gather, keep and analyse information" is one, it appears, that will be managed and report within the directorate.

    While the amendments to the National Prosecuting Authority Act provide an enhanced focus for the Scorpions and streamline channels of reporting, a puzzling aspect remains. This is the provision that empowers the president, by proclamation in the Gazette, to establish not more than two additional investigating directorates in the office of the national director of public prosecutions.

    Given that the president is already responsible for proclaiming the categories of crime that the Scorpions will focus on other than those committed in an organised fashion, what would motivate for the establishment of additional investigating directorates?

    Treading on SAPS toes?

    Another problematic area is that of overlapping functions with the SAPS detective service. This is not something that legislative amendments can solve. It is a problem inherent in having an investigative unit operating outside of the police but with the same functions as SAPS detectives.

    Tensions around this issue were predicted three months after the launch of the Scorpions when the likely scope of their activities was first announced. At a parliamentary briefing in December last year possible focus areas for the Scorpions were outlined. These included organised crime, terrorism, serious economic crime, corruption in the criminal justice system and individual high profile cases. Except for the last, all of these crimes require specialised intelligence and investigation skills.

    That is exactly why the SAPS has specialised investigative units dedicated to combating each of these crimes. Admittedly the legislative amendments have narrowed the scope of the Scorpions from the original list. But instead of helping commissioner Selebi to strengthen the existing SAPS investigative units, the job has been handed to the relatively few and very new Scorpions.

    Should the capacity of these units not have been improved and integrated instead of creating another elite unit? Even a brief consideration of the tensions between the SAPS investigative units and station level detectives in the police — officials who all report to the same head — would have been instructive. It remains to be seen what value the Scorpions will add to the work of these specialised police units and how turf clashes over duplicated responsibilities will be managed.

    Who will benefit?

    This raises another question about who will actually benefit from the work of the Scorpions. How many of the approximately 37000 functionally illiterate police personnel and about 10000 officials who do not have driver’s licenses could have been trained to do their jobs better with the money that is being spent on the Scorpions? More to the point, how many of the roughly 20000 detectives in the police, at least a third of whom have not received basic investigative training, could have benefited.

    The results of these weaknesses in the police are clear from the poor conviction rates for crimes of an especially serious nature. In 1998 only 2% of recorded car hijackings and 16% of recorded murders resulted in a conviction. One of the reasons for this is the lack of integration and co-operation between overworked detectives and prosecutors. This is something that the Scorpions hopes to address. But even if successful the impact on the more than 2 million cases of serious crime reported to the police every year is likely to be small.

    This means that the impact of the Scorpions for the majority of crime victims is also likely to be small. The improved focus that the legislative amendments bring to Scorpions’ activity is welcome and will increase its chances of success. But until the day-to-day workings of ordinary detectives and prosecutors are improved, most crime victims will continue to be denied effective criminal justice.

    The Scorpions recipe is the correct one for convicting offenders of organised and specialised crimes. But given the volume of crime in South Africa and the weakness of the criminal justice system, one question remains. Instead of creating a new structure that is likely to clash with existing structures, should we not be spending money on improving the operations of police and prosecutors to provide a better service for the majority of crime victims?

     


     


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    14 August 2006
    SO YOU RECKON YOU'RE SCOTS?

    HELP is at hand for the millions of people around the world who claim to be Scottish.

    A new test will be able to prove if that's just wishful thinking or if someone really has a Caledonian connection.

    A leading scientist has developed a "Scottishness" test that searches people's DNA to trace their origins.

    Geneticist Dr Jim Wilson is offering the £130 diagnosis, which determines how Scottish people are.

    He has identified a genetic pattern which can determine whether a person is descended from Scotland's ancient inhabitants, the Picts, and can test people for traces of their genes.

    Dr Wilson says he wants to target Americans eager to seek out their Scottish ancestry.

    The test involves checking a saliva sample against 27 genetic markers.

    Dr Wilson, of Edinburgh University, already runs a company which can check for Norse and Anglo Saxon genes.

    He said: "We started work a few years ago, looking at the Norse component and we proved that a large proportion of people in Orkney are descended from Vikings.

    "Now the markers have moved on massively and we have discovered that we can trace back the component of the indigenous Picts by looking at the unique grouping of their Y-chromosome.

    "We believe that this would have been found only in Scotland."

    Dr Wilson said the test will appeal to people in the US and Australia who want to confirm their Scottish roots.

    But it is also aimed at people in the British Isles who want to find out whether they have Pictish, British, Anglo Saxon or Viking roots.

    James Fraser, a lecturer in Scottish history at Edinburgh, thinks many Scots have Pictish ancestors.

    He said: "This is potentially very significant. I expect it would be found in anyone whose ancestry is from the northeast but I'm sure it will be traced right up and down the east coast too."

    More than 60 per cent of those searching for their ancestors in the Scottish records are from the UK and about 20 per cent are from the USA and Canada.

    VisitScotland say genealogy tourism is worth £150million per year to the Scottish economy, with 97 per cent of visitors making repeat trips.

    Duncan Macniven, registrar general for Scotland, said: "People have always been curious about their ancestors but the growing availability of information has really driven the growth.

    "Being able to trace your roots back to the Picts or the Vikings is sure to capture the imagination."

    Ewan Colville, of VisitScotland, said: "Picts are the original people of Scotland and this would take the traditional search to its ultimate conclusion."


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    Reply with quote  #14 

    Windows on the world

    Are you the nosy type? With these webcams you can take a peek at what's going on around the world right now, whether you fancy people-watching in Trafalgar Square or looking out for a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.

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    21 August 2006
    THE SPICE OF LIFE...

    TUCKING into a chicken vindaloo is a better cure for headaches than aspirin and can even prevent cancer, scientists have discovered.

    Experts at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say spices in Scotland's "other" national dish boost your health.

    They say ingredients such as cumin and turmeric are particularly rich sources of the painkiller salicylate.

    The acid from which this comes, salicylic acid, is found in fruit and veg but curries are one of the best sources.

    A portion of vindaloo or phal, Britain's hottest curry, can contain 95mg of the natural wonder drug. Aspirin has just 65mg. Professor Garry Duthie, who co-wrote the research, said the health properties of curry could be widespread.

    He added: "The level of salicylic acid in curry is exceptionally high.

    "But I don't think I'd recommend a curry a day for headaches."

    Here are more reasons why curry is the hot way to stay healthy.

    TURMERIC

    Gives curries a yellow colour. It also fights inflammation and could relieve arthritis.

    Alzheimer's sufferers could also benefit from a regular curry. Scientists at a Californian university found turmeric helped slow the brain disease's progress.

    The spice cuts the number of amyloid plaques, which clog the brain, by half.

    It also fights infection and guards against heart attacks.

    Turmeric tea is reputed to be a great remedy for stomach upsets and curcumin fights the bacteria that causes diarrhoea

    Curcumin, the main ingredient of turmeric, has been shown to stop tumours spreading and has been successfully used in breast cancer trials combined with the chemotherapy drug Taxol.

    CORIANDER

    Coriander aids digestion while its leaves contain an antihistamine, 1 vitamin C and bioflavonoid which reduces allergic reactions I such as hayfever. That can also help haemorrhoids, varicose veins and spider veins.

    FENUGREEK

    Used in mango chutneys, it can help prevent mouth ulcers and sore throats. It was also used to "cure" baldness.

    ONIONS

    Chemicals in onions and turmeric have been shown in clinical trials to prevent colon cancer. Patients given doses of both chemicals suffered reduced numbers of pre-cancerous growths.

    CURRY LEAF

    Scientists at the University of Chicago found that eating curry leaf can lower cholesterol and aid weight loss.

    CHILLIES

    While eating a curry, the spicy ingredients such as chillies increase heart rate and raise body temperature, boosting the metabolism for a short time and helping to burn fat.

    Chillies act as a decongestant so are a great natural cold remedy. They break up mucus in the lungs, open up air passages and could help prevent bronchitis and emphysema.

    Red chilli peppers are the best of the bunch. Some, like cayenne, reduce cholesterol and release endorphins which make the body feel satisfied and curbs appetite.

    MUSTARD SEEDS

    Mustard seeds are a good source of selenium, which eases asthma. They also contain magnesium, which can lower blood pressure.

    GINGER

    Ginger has been used to treat a wide range of ailments.

    Studies have shown it's more effective in preventing motion sickness than pharmacy products. It has also proved beneficial for morning sickness, colds, chest I congestion, diarrhoea, I tummy aches, vomiting, I headaches and rheumatism.

    Taking a third of a tea-T spoon of powdered ginger ' when you feel a migraine coming on can stop the pain before it starts.

    CUMIN

    Both the black and brown types of cumin help to relieve gas, period pain and diarrhoea.

    SAFFRON

    Saffron is beneficial to women as it boosts libido and fertility. In traditional Indian medicine, it is used I as an aphrodisiac, to reduce fevers, heal I the liver and combat alcoholism


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