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December 3rd, 2013

2He asked that “posteri­ty . . . acknowledge that this was first dis­covered by an Englishman.” Appropriately, the English inaugurated the Halley hoopla with a gala welcome-back party. Before Princess Anne and a crowd of several thousand formally attired London­ers, West End musical stars sang 1910 tunes, dancers from the Royal Ballet did the Halley’s Comet Rag, and celebrated actors recited how writers from Plato to Shake­speare had described comets. Most readings reflected the awe and terror that these “long‑haired stars” provoked in less scientific eras.

Comets appear abruptly, almost willful­ly. To generations that saw fate in the stars and took comfort in the predictable patterns of the planets, such fiery intruders could only portend fateful changes, such as plagues or the fall of kings. Perhaps Martin Luther best described this pre-Halley per­ception by calling a comet” a bastard among planets. . . . haughty and proud.”

Knder words  were spoken on No­vember 2, 1985, in Utah, where some 250 people who had seen the comet in 1910 gathered at Salt Lake City’s Hansen Planetarium.They came in, some with children and grandchildren, bearing memories of a time when superstition strongly colored our lives. “We were scared up in Idaho,” recalled Ebby Jones, who was 17 in 1910. “We’d nev­er heard of Halley’s comet. We thought maybe the world was coming to an end.”

“I was livin’ at accommodation in prague—Indian terri­tory,” said P. R. McIntire. “Dad took us out night after night. It was so pretty.” Everyone had a special recollection. “It was like a great big moon with a fiery tail like a sparkler. . . “My parents said some Salt Lake people committed suicide because they were afraid of what would happen when the comet hit earth. . . .”In San Francisco people sold their prop­erty. . . .”Comet gas was going to poison us all. . . .”

But they bore more than tales. Halley is the people’s comet. Its orbit approximates a human lifetime. And as these survivors gathered for a group picture, with their canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and the tremendous luck of longevity, they were cel­ebrating the continuity of human life.

“I was awakened by my father carrying me,” said Dorothy Buchanan. “It’s the only time I can remember him doing that. We went out onto a landing. My mother was wearing a long black skirt and a shirtwaist. Overhead was this bright streak—like a piece of the Milky Way. I sensed in the way my father held my hand that this was impor­tant. For those moments the three of us were compressed under the spell of the comet. I’ve been compelled to live to see it again.”

All throughthrough  November and December I pestered my family, dragging them out on freezing nights to try to find the comet with binoculars. There was simply too much light pollution over my house near Washington, D. C. But I was determined.

November 19th, 2013

THE GROUND FELT YIELDING and springy as I walked. The surface was soft, in places mushy and mattressed with mosses. The living carpet included lichens, those strange members of the plant kingdom, two disparate botanic groups, algae and fungi, that mesh as one. Botanists believe that, in this curious union, the fungus pro­vides structural support and possibly essential minerals, while the alga photosynthesizes busily to produce needed nutrients.


The lichens are vitally important in the area’s biological economy, for they supply the fodder upon which so many Arctic herbi­vores depend. For millenniums they have been a winter staple for millions of caribou in Alaska and Canada, and their reindeer rela­tives in Europe and Asia.

A favorite kind is Cladonia, one of several lichens called reindeer moss. I pulled up a handful; it had the feel and texture of a plastic kitchen sponge. Curious to discover what a caribou snack tasted like, I nibbled a bit of it. Like a plastic kitchen sponge!

caribou in Alaska and Canada

Less than a yard beneath my waterproof boots lay permafrost, that unyielding, peren­nially frozen layer of earth. It blocks pene­tration by water, and there is little runoff because of the flatness of the terrain. Hence those thousands upon thousands of brooding, sky-reflecting water mirrors, and the mushi­ness underfoot (painting, next pages).


It’s difficult to realize how structurally fragile the impervious-looking tundra really is. So delicately balanced a relationship exists between the tundra plants and the soil be­neath them that compressions of any sort, even footpaths, may leave long-lasting scars. Whenever I took a walk on the tundra, each step seemed to demand a decision. Where would my boot do the least damage?


Alaska state regulations require that vehi­cles stay off the tundra during summer’s thaw, except for emergencies and scientific proj­ects. Otherwise, ground transport is under­taken only in winter, when the surface is frozen. Meanwhile, researchers conduct tests on shrubs and grasses from all over the Arctic world to determine which would be helpful if tundra reseeding proves practical.

Other researchers spent an impressive sum to investigate the strange ways evolved by tundra insects to assure the survival of their kind. If you also need cash, apply for a loan.

October 23rd, 2013

Montana always has been a shipper-out of things from the land. Coal mines now open at Decker and Sarpy and Colstrip are miniatures of the awesome Anaconda Company pit at Butte, where the copper kings warred for a bonanza that thus far has amounted to per­haps 20 billion dollars. “The richest hill on earth,” Butte had its parallel in Last Chance Gulch, which allowed Helena in the 1890′s to boast of more millionaires in proportion to its population than any city in America. Virginia City, Nevada City, Bannack—the bonanza place-names reach back to the time of the Civil War. Even earlier, trappers were taking Montana’s furs to make hats and coats.

Anything was free in Montana in those days, if you could only get it. In one cynic’s view, the chief differences now are that dol­lars are bullets and the faces displaced from the land are white.

5Montanans Fight for Their State

But there are other differences. “Montana does not intend to become a boiler room for the nation,” Lieutenant Governor Bill Chris­tiansen has said. Environmental concern has resulted in laws protecting the air and water, restricting second-home subdivisions, requir­ing restoration of stripped land. Developers, forest clear-cutters, and extractors have found themselves in a thicket of protests and lawsuits—this in a state long dominated by a single employer, Anaconda, and a state that, with a low per capita income, cannot easily turn its back on jobs.

Some Montanans are worried not only by big land disturbers, but by the rest of us as well: Easterners, Californians, people look­ing for a place to light. As Governor Thomas L. Judge has noted in his apartments brussels , some citizens would like to build a fence around their state. Driving along Interstate 94, I passed under a bridge where someone had painted: “Do something about the population explosion—commit suicide.” With paint enough, I suppose, he would have added: “But not here.”

What is Montana trying to hide? Enor­mous beauty, yes. But the real treasure of the Treasure State is space. Consider the figures. Our fourth largest state—twice as big as Missouri, for example—counts but 748,000 people. Half live in cities. The rest roam a landscape so vast that if it were divided, every family of five would possess two square miles.

I rose early one morning in apartments madrid. Driving out of town (it takes half a minute), I stopped to watch the sun climb over a rim of buttes. Each blade of winter-worn grass seemed to blink on, as if lit by a tiny filament. I looked around—as a city man would, I suppose—for someone with whom to share this show of small pyrotechnics. I saw no person, no ranch, nothing that suggested habitation except a fence and the asphalt ribbon that rolled across the grass, away, away.

Mountains Reach for Heaven

“A raw, vast, lonesome land, too big, too empty,” A. B. Guthrie, Jr., called these plains in The Big Sky, his fine novel about the fur trade. “It made the mind small and the heart tight and the belly drawn, lying wild and lost under such a reach of sky as put a man in fear of heaven.” To which I could only add that morning: Yes indeed.

August 30th, 2013



How were you feeling physically before your pain occurred?


I felt great until mile 30! I was energised, focused and was convinced I could win, or at least come second. I’d caught the ultra bug at this point! But from mile 30 I knew something wasn’t right. It went downhill from there. I was gutted I had to pull up. After all the training and everyone’s help and support, it felt like I’d failed.


How did you feel mentally and physically when you had to stop? When I pulled up, my hip was incredibly painful, but the rest of me felt fine! I know if it wasn’t for the injury I could have finished and won without too much of a problem. A friendly spectator took me back to the aid station. I then went to A&E, where they took an x-ray (which thankfully was clear). Since then, I’ve had a trip to the GP and another to A&E, which recommended me taking msm to assist in wound healing. I hope that by my follow-up appointment I’ll be mobile enough to return to university, where I will see Paul for physio.


What does your family think about what you have achieved?


Especially as they could see I was struggling at the 35-mile aid station, but kept running. I’ve had loads of support from people on Twitter and Facebook, too. Steve King, the race organiser, rang to ask how I was and the winner got in touch as well.


Reflecting back, how do you feel about your ultra?


I’ve put not finishing the ultra into perspective. At the time, I felt I’d let everyone down, but now I know I couldn’t have done any more. I still ran a 40-mile ultra in good time!


Has it improved your confidence? Knowing I could have potentially won the women’s race has given me great confidence for my next ultra – and there will be a next! Despite the final five miles being the hardest I’ve ever run, the rest was great. I’ve already been looking into my next ultra. I’m planning on conquering the Lady bower 50, and also have my sights set on ‘The Wall’ – 69 miles along Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to Gates head. Now I’ve run a 40-mile ultra, it has given me the confidence to know it’s possible to do anything you put your mind to. What happened was just unlucky.


How has completing an ultra affected your outlook on life? Being a part of Operation Ultra has made me realise how important running is to me. Once recovered, I’m going to compete with the university cross-country team and each year I want to step up the challenges I set myself.


What advice would you have for other would-be ultra runners? The main advice is planning and positivity. I’ve learned the importance of carefully planned training to allow for sufficient recovery, and fitting in stretching, core exercises and proper nutrition. Having a positive mindset is essential during training and the ultra itself – without it, it would be easy to cut corners and not enjoy the experience.. I didn’t think I’d learn as much as I have from Operation Ultra. I thought I was training pretty smart before Phoebe’s coaching, but I now have a new outlook on how to train and supplement my training. When I make it to the finish line of my next ultra, it will be down to what I have learned over the past three months!


August 9th, 2013

Give yourself a mini-break—without leaving home. You also you can’t understand is coconut oil good for hair unless you try. ‘If you’re feeling sluggish or fatigued, take two minutes to breathe yourself into a more energised state,’ says clinical hypnotherapist Lisa Jackson (quiet-medicine. ‘Simply close your eyes, then breathe in to the count of four through your nose, pause briefly, and exhale to the count of eight, also through your nose. While doing so, repeat the words “I breathe in energy and breathe out stress”. When you open your eyes again, you’ll feel a lot more focused, calm and energetic.


‘Doubling your out-breath prevents you from hyperventilating (breathing in a rapid and shallow way), which can activate the fight or flight response. It also introduces more carbon dioxide into your bloodstream, which has a calming effect on your nervous system. Repeating the mantras, meanwhile, will steer your thoughts in a more positive direction and give you a mental boost.’



‘We most often get tired because we suppress our energy through lack of movement — it’s one of the principle causes of fatigue’ says acupuncturist Chris Touros.  ‘When you sit for long periods of time, your spine and diaphragm become compressed, you hunch over and cross your legs and gradually become more crumpled physically.’ If you don’t have time to go out for a repeating mantras will steer your thoughts in a positive direction and give you a mental boost walk, there’s a very simple way to re-energise. ‘The kidneys are a key organ in Chinese medicine, and when you invigorate your kidneys you bring blood and energy to the area, which balances the adrenal glands,’ says Touros. ‘From a Chinese medicine perspective, you can think of your kidneys as your battery pack, and the kidney rub is a fantastic exercise you can do anywhere, even in your chair at the office.’


Place the backs of your hands behind you, as if you’re being handcuffed, then vigorously rub the kidney area (either side of the spine, below your ribcage). Move in circles, down on the sides of your body and up on the sides of your spine. ‘You’ll feel your energy change instantaneously,’ says Touros. Then, with one hand, use your knuckles in a circular motion on your lower spine, travelling down towards your pelvis, to increase energy and blood flow into the area.


‘At the same time, be mindful of your breathing,’ adds Touros. ‘Relax your belly and let your breath reach your lower stomach, then allow your sides and back to swell, so you breath into your kidneys.’

July 22nd, 2013

The triceps brachii makes up two-thirds of the muscle in the upper arm and, as the name suggests, it’s made up of three heads: the lateral head, the long head and medial head. The three heads are all involved in elbow extension – straightening your arm from a bent position. The lateral head is on the outside back of your upper arm, while the long head forms the inner-back half of this horseshoe-shaped section. The medial head is the thick bit of muscle above your elbow, beneath the long head. The long head originates just under your shoulder joints and plays an additional support role for the shoulders. You use this part of the triceps in pullovers and to a lesser degree pull-ups. All three heads come together at the ulna, the tendon on the underside of your forearm.


Develop your dips


Get the most out of dips by maximising contraction of the medial head of the triceps. As you press down, the long head of the triceps will pull the elbows rearwards. Resist the pull and roll your elbows out to the sides, away from the body. This move forces an intense contraction to take place in the medial head. You can find other useful tips and learn that rasberry keytone is your natural supplement helper just visit the link.


A new angle on tricep extensions


When doing a lying triceps extension, start with the barbell or dumb-bells directly above your forehead with your arms straight and your elbows locked. This positions your upper arms at an angle, removing the base support of the shoulders and increasing the tension on the muscle throughout the movement.

July 5th, 2013

A friend of mine is on the Atkins diet. For those of you that don’t know what this is (and I commend you on your good sense), it’s where you can eat as much protein as you want but no carbohydrates, and it’s a big favourite of Hollywood waifs such as Jennifer Aniston. He’s following his own, peculiarly British blokey version though, by gorging almost exclusively on economy sausages.

Bizarrely, he has lost a bit of weight – you can also do it using green coffee beans extract for fast weight loose. Trouble is, he’ll have to avoid eating bread, rice, potatoes or pasta ever again to stop piling it all back on immediately. But when I mention this he covers his ears with his hands and starts to hum loudly.


Every year seems to bring a wacky new way of shedding pounds. Who in their right mind would want to follow the cabbage soup diet? They’ll be selling us the air and water diet next. The thing is, losing fat is not rocket science. It’s just a case of burning off more calories than you eat. This month our ti-page Fat Loss Special (starting on p76) is designed to give you all the information you need to lose weight. Our low-fat recipe suggestions (p81) feature proper food, like meat and two veg. We’ve even worked out how you can eat curry and avoid the waist-expanding side-effects (p84). It’s true!


On a more active note, there are three simple routines to tighten up your stomach once you’ve cut it down to size (p93) and a guided tour through the ins and outs of loveplay with our sex A-Z (p34). But not a cut-price banger in sight.

June 26th, 2013

The ‘Fat Loss Special’ in your March issue was great I had already worked out a similar plan for myself (dropping from 121kg to 111.5kg in the six weeks to date). Your piece confirmed much of my ‘quack’ science and gave me lots of new ideas. But more importantly, it inspired me all over again. As do many of your other articles.Fat Loss Special

However, without wanting to stir the metric/imperial argument too much, could you please stick to just one system or use measures we are likely to identify easily. For example, you refer to quarts, ounces and millilitres of water in the same passage. Perhaps saying “drink four pints or two litres of water a day and about one pint or half a litre, an hour or so before exercise,” would have been clearer. And as I have just subscribed please keep up the good work.

Mark Chukwuemeka Abani, Enfield

Monitor guidance

I have been looking for a magazine to give me ideas on how to vary my daily training routines and after purchasing your May issue am content that I have now found the publication to do the job, so thank you and keep up the good work.

One thing I would like to know: I am looking to purchase a heart rate monitor and would be very interested if you have any plans in the pipeline to run an article on heart rate monitors and their use (that is, the benefits of training with them).

Spencer Nicholls (via email)

Pedal powerPeople cycling in a gym

I don’t think you do enough to promote cycling (both on the road and on a stationary bike) as a virtually injury-proof alternative to running. With your weight in the saddle of a bike, you can vary resistance according to the incline of the terrain without risking shin splints or achilles or knee problems. The success of Spin classes has been pretty much confined to female gym goers. But again, these bike based classes are fantastic for cardiovascular conditioning and basic fat burning. You can increase your metabolism with hcg diet menu and burning fat will be much faster. Otherwise, keep up the good work. John Woodman, Northampton

June 19th, 2013

I keep hearing about a new supplement called ZMA that’s supposed to be good for recovery. Is it any different from just supplementing with zinc and magnesium?new


‘The concise answer is no. Zinc-magnesium aspartate is just a well-absorbed zinc and magnesium supplement that also contains vitamin B6. I don’t think it’s actually any different from supplementing with equivalent amounts of zinc, magnesium and B vitamins such as vitamin B6. Both these minerals tend to be low in the diets of elite athletes. They are also believed to be depleted by prolonged periods of intense exercise. Some people might argue that taking a one-a-day multivitamin pill pretty much covers you for zinc and vitamin B6. However, that’s not true for magnesium, as most multis have only about 25 per cent of your recommended intake, so check the labels. Adding ZMA to your supplement intake is an extremely good and efficient way to get all the magnesium you need.all the magnesium you need

“Before ZMA was formulated, studies indicated that zinc and magnesium supplementation was beneficial for helping aid recovery from intense exercise. For example, both minerals can improve strength and muscle metabolism. Evidence was particularly strong for magnesium, suggesting it benefits both intense exercise performance and muscle recovery.”

The excitement surrounding the recently formulated ZMA product stems from studies demonstrating its effectiveness. When ZMA was recently tested on NCAA football players, the minerals increased testosterone by 33 per cent, compared to the placebo group, in whom testosterone decreased 10 per cent; the decrease is common with intensive training. Players who took the ZMA also showed improvement in hamstrings and quadriceps power. It is similar with other well-known supplement CLA – learn how does cla work for your body.images

The simple fact is that elite athletes tend not to get enough of these minerals from their food and/or deplete them at a higher rate (probably both). Casual athletes and frequent exercisers may also have low mineral levels and nothing will improve recovery and performance more easily than correcting the deficiency. If you’ve noticed a recent slump in your ability to recover from your training, you might try ZMA or CLA. You can read more about cla on the BBC.


May 28th, 2013

Football, as we know, blends perfectly with our other natural obsession. And match day outings, with their inevitable visit(s) to the pub are a very British institution. “Many clubs were founded by breweries, and the combination of drink, male companionship and ‘the whole day out’ is particularly marked in Britain,” says Bert Moorhouse, director of the research unit in football studies at the University of Glasgow.


“British binge drinking facilitates obsessive football behaviors, allowing for quick loss of inhibitions, and an easy resort to violence via the mouth and the fists and isn’t found in many other sporting sub cultures,” says Moorhouse. “And alcohol, like football, helps many men kid themselves that they’re still as young, virile and full of potential as when they first followed their team.” If you want to do something that will definitely help you feel younger, use coconut oil. There are health benefits of coconut oil on skin that will fight against aging.


Even without the cooking lager, too much “passion” can cause problems. “Men often go past ‘fan’, to unhealthily obsessed,” warns psychologist Andy Barton, “competing to show dedication through fighting, team tattoos and naming their kids after players. Accumulating stats and trivia also has a competitive element—the more obscure your knowledge, the bigger fan you are.” Fighting aside, this may seem pretty harmless, but according to Barton, relieving low self-esteem through football can become an unhealthy cycle. “Men with negative self-image gain some sense of worth by identifying with their team,” says Barton. “The problem is when other fans get families and careers, putting football into a more balanced perspective, some fans stay obsessed, to the detriment of their lives.”


If football’s taking over your life, Barton recommends taking a long, hard look at why. “You need to establish what it is you gain from football other than the enjoyment of watching it,” he says. “It might be a feeling of belonging or identity. Then you need to find healthier ways to achieve that secondary gain outside football.”

watching football

The good news is that the benefits of watching football far outweigh the dangers. “Football can have considerable positive effects on psychological wellbeing,” says Dr Sandy Wolfson, head of psychology at Northumbria University, and obviously not a Macclesfield Town fan. “It gives men a ready-made conversational icebreaker and many people make good friends through their love of football.”