Top Twelve Health Myths is my natural health website of choice. It contains a lot of relevant information for concerned British readers. This guest Post summarizes many of my concerns. I will try to address them personally in greater detail in the future..

Dr. MercolaDr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, You can learn the hazardous side effects of ‘over the counter’ remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

1: Vaccines are Safe, Effective and Prevent Disease

I completely understand that for many this issue is not debatable as they believe that vaccines are one of the greatest gifts to public health in the history of civilization.

If you believe that, then let me encourage you to open your mind and explore other views held by many well respected physicians, scientists, clinicians and pro-vaccine safety educators.

You might want to review the article Read This Before Vaccinating for Anything, to help you start your exploration process.

When it comes to vaccines, there are three primary questions that need to be considered.

  • First, is the vaccine in question safe?
  • Secondly, does it effectively prevent disease?
  • And third, which vaccines can safely and effectively be given together or in close succession?

Unfortunately, these issues have not been sufficiently studied for most vaccines, and those vaccines that have been studied frequently show that they are either unsafe or ineffective, or both!

Pro-vaccine-safety educators have long been saying that vaccines can over-stimulate your child’s immune system, sometimes causing the very disease it’s designed to protect against, or worse. And, when several vaccines are administered together, or in close succession, their interaction may completely overwhelm your child’s developing immune system.

This is one of the primary problems with vaccines in general – their detrimental impact on your body’s primary, natural defense against ALL disease..

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Copyright(s) & Wrongs

The issue of copyright is a minefield for the average person. Copyright has to strike a delicate balance between protecting the creators of music, words or photographs and the presentation of such material to a wider public.

On the one hand, it is only fair that the creators get paid for what they create. On the other, if copyright protection is too tight, then distribution of material becomes too restricted.

If Shakespeare was still in copyright less of his work would be seen. The same principle may help explain the appeal of the ‘classics’ in all artistic fields with producers. Could this weigh against new artists?

The concept of intellectual property was based around the distinction between mechanical invention, and literary or cultural creation.

That idea is now less appropriate to the ways in which creativity is carried out – software development, biotechnology and gene science all blur the boundaries between the mechanical and the intellectual. The advent of the internet has changed the way copyright works.

Going into a shop and stealing a CD is theft, and yet using new technology, down-loading tracks from the internet seems quite different.

Proposals to disconnect so-called peer to peer file-sharers have caused concern among internet campaigners. This is when people who know nothing of each other beyond a username, share music or films even though only one of them has bought the original. One thing is clear, and that is that a short-term fix on these copyright issues is not helpful or appropriate.

This attitude, that if it is available to download from the web then it is free, is even more pronounced with photographic images. When pictures were printed on paper it was easy to control, but new technology makes those old laws out-dated or at least difficult to enforce.

Stuart Franklin took the famous picture of the protester standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square – an image that has appeared on countless T-shirts around the world.

“We licensed my photographs to go on posters and T-shirts through business associates, the photograph itself is almost in the public domain, but if people want to use it to make a profit, such as a magazine or newspaper, then they have to pay, we have no problem at all with dissemination and actively encourage students and young people to engage with the photography. What we don’t encourage is pilfering for profit of our work,” he said..

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Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol

Jean de Florette & Manon of the Springs

Rating: ★★★★★

A French literary masterpiece, Jean de Florette, along with the sequel Manon des Sources creates a single unbroken narrative. It is a two-part epic tale which spans three generations, building to an inevitable, yet completely unexpected conclusion.

In the first part, Jean Cadoret (Gerard Depardieu), a former tax collector, moves his family to the country to create a pastoral idyll in a rural Provencal village. From the neighbouring farm, Cesar Soubeyran (Le Papet), and his only remaining relative, nephew Ugolin, cast their covetous eyes on the adjoining  property. They need its spring water to grow their own carnations and vegetables, and so are dismayed to hear that a new owner from away has moved in. Conspiring against the stranger, imagining themselves somehow justified as locals, they mischievously  block up the spring, and watch as Jean desperately tries to keep his crops, his means of living, watered throughout the long, hot summer from a source miles away across the rugged terrain. Le Papet does not allow for Jean’s tenacity. Though they see his back-breaking efforts are ruining his health, and breaking his wife and daughter’s hearts, they turn a blind eye as events reach a tragic conclusion.

The story is a timeless one, a compelling triumph for justice and good, and reflects the revenge themes of the Viking sagas, or a Biblical parable unfolding, or perhaps the poetic justice of Greek tragedy, and it is satisfying to see the outcome,  the inevitable futility of the Soubeyran’s scheming. It was heart-warming too; that by the end, you could feel for Le Papet, and even Ugolin, for how many times have any of us begun an unwise course we cannot reverse?

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Medication Compliance- Trouble taking Tablets?

Healthcare professionals are understandably concerned that people, especially people with serious health problems, take medication appropriately, as prescribed by their doctor. The reasons they often do not are explored here, and may differ from some commonly held ideas. The causes of non-compliance are seldom immediately clear, and individual reasons for stopping medication can appear arbitrary, “I couldn’t get to the chemist”.. If I focus here on individuals with mental health problems, it is because compliance with medication is a comparatively larger problem in this group, but certainly not exclusively so.

Many writers have highlighted the importance of terminology in healthcare, and suggest that the use of words like “compliance” infer that patients should be passive recipients, and should obey professionals. It has recently been proposed that “concordance” should replace the words “compliance” and “adherence”.

Concordance emphasizes patient rights, and the importance of two-way decision making. More controversially, it also reminds us patients have the right to make choices such as stopping medication, even if doctors do not approve of the decision.

How a person thinks an illness will affect him is determined by his previous knowledge or experience, as well as fear of the outcome.

The law imposes a duty of care on those that administer medication to others, for example, on a hospital ward. Administration of medication is not without its complications. Minor prescribing errors, allergies, adverse drug reactions, interactions with food, or herbal products, overdoses, and even possible irreversible health problems or death, must all be considered.  No one should take medication that is normally only available on a doctor’s prescription without this essential professional help.

There is however, still widespread concern in the UK over the administration of non-prescribed medicine and the practice of covert administration in the non-compliant.

The law is clear that covert administration is only justifiable in cases of incapacity. Incapacity occurs where the patient is unable to comprehend and retain information material to the decision, or the patient is unable to weigh up the information as part of the process of an informed decision..

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In Search of Ireland (1930)

In Search of Ireland ISBN 0413548503 was re-issued by Methuen in 2000

Rating: ★★★★☆

A Fleet Street reporter, H. V. Morton (1892-1979) fought in the First World War and was in Egypt in 1922 at the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb. One of the century’s most popular travel writers, he wrote books about Spain, Italy and the Middle East as well as the famous ‘In search of..’ series on the British Isles.

Something to remember about Morton’s book on Ireland is its historical perspective. In Search of Ireland was first published in 1930, which was a few years after Ireland had become a Free State in 1922. Morton is seeing Ireland in the early stages of independence separated from  Britain. He warns the English in his introduction, “We must forget the hosts of prejudiced ideas about her which have accumulated during centuries of strife and misunderstanding…I must stress the point that the new generation of travellers must approach Ireland with the feeling that it is a foreign country.” I could not help but reflect on the history he refers to, when England was so often the aggressor, and Ireland the betrayed. Sometimes it seems he relates the events connected with a place without examining the underlying issues, he observes the empty cottages with hardly a mention of the famine or the forced evictions, or that emigration was so often not a choice, but a matter of survival.  Nonetheless, Morton’s humorous and insightful observations about Ireland, as a traveller in a foreign land, are worth reading and re-reading.

Dublin in the early morning, with the sun shining, is a city the colour of claret. The red-brick Georgian mansions, with fine doors, fanlights, and little iron balconies at the first-floor windows, stand back in well-bred reticence against wide roads, quiet and dignified, as if the family has just left by stagecoach.” Prose of this quality is what raises travel writing to literature, and Morton’s skill as an evocative writer is worthy of the best of his era. In explaining about the Book of Kells, which is kept in Trinity College, Dublin, he says that during the three darkest centuries of English history it was Ireland that was saving Greek and Latin for Europe..

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Robert Louis Stevenson 1850- 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Margaret Balfour Stevenson, was a minister’s daughter, and his father, Thomas Stevenson, was a civil engineer, and with his grandfather, a famed lighthouse builder.

Stevenson was a sickly child, born with a lung disorder, and spent much time in his bedroom drawing or painting, playing with toys, and making up wonderful stories of faraway lands and exciting adventures. He always yearned to go that “somewhere of the imagination where all the troubles are supposed to end”. His formal education started at the age of seven, but his studies were undertaken with great irregularity. What he loved most about school were the magazines he initiated: miscellaneous collections of ‘fact, fiction and fun’, titled Sunbeam Magazine and The Schoolboy Magazine. At his father’s insistence, he entered Edinburgh University to study Engineering. He then went on to study Law, although he was much more interested in Literature and writing.

In 1878, his first book, An Inland Voyage, was published, closely followed by Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879). This was a fascinating account of a romantic hike through the forests and hills of central France, with unforgettable scenes of Stevenson sleeping under the stars, with the strong-willed Modestine tethered by his side. His love of the people he encountered shines throughout. With such a strong visual sense, it is hardly surprising that Stevenson’s stories remain ever popular with successive generations of readers.

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Tyranny- A Study in the Abuse of Power

Rating: ★★★★★

Tyranny: A Study in the Abuse of Power by Maurice Latey (1969)

”Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder” (George Bernard Shaw, 1903)

This is a very useful 310 page study by political commentator Maurice Latey for those interested in the factors that breed tyranny. He is particularly concerned with the psychological factors, what motivates these men to behave in the way they do. Although of necessity taking a broad historical approach, he concentrates on the twentieth century after World War One, arguably an ‘age of tyranny’, with Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung foremost amongst others.

In ancient Greece, a tyrant was a ruler who seized power unconstitutionally or inherited such power. In the 10th and 9th centuries BC, monarchy had been the usual form of government in the Greek states; the aristocratic regimes that had replaced monarchy were by the 7th century BC themselves unpopular. Thus the opportunity arose for ambitious men to seize power in the name of the oppressed. Tyrants eventually came to be considered oppressive. Latey’s more refined definition of a tyrant is ‘a ruler who exercises arbitrary power beyond the scope permitted by the laws, customs and standards of his time and society, and who does so with a view to maintaining or increasing that power’.

He examines the tyrants of Greece and Rome, and the authors of that era. Aristotle said that tyranny aims at three things- firstly to keep the subjects in humility, secondly to have them distrust each other, and thirdly to render them powerless for opposition. These principle features of a tyrant can be discerned in the many historical examples, but also, underscoring their validity, in the leadership struggles of today, in settings as diverse as party politics, the church, the office and the company boardroom..

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The Grand Design

The Grand Design published on September 9th 2010, these are some pre-launch comments.

Tap Grand Design’ into Amazon currently, and it will show you books and DVD’s associated with the TV series. Tell any of the architects or designers that feature on that programme that their efforts in renovating or creating new buildings were a product of chance, or ‘self- creation’ and they might rightly feel insulted. They might also feel their intelligence had been insulted too. My point is the same as that of the apostle Paul, ‘Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God’ (Heb.3:4). The Athenians of the time held diverse views, only one of which was that the Creator was unknown, or unknowable (Acts 17: 23).

Professor Stephen Hawking has claimed that no divine force was needed to explain why the Universe was formed. In A Brief History of Time , he differentiated between partial theories that help explain aspects of what we observe about the Universe, and the ‘holy grail’ of science, a single theory that explains all phenomena, or if you like, a ‘Theory of Everything’.  He appears as far from this goal as ever.

The sub-title, ‘New answers to the ultimate questions of life’,  inevitably reminded me of the scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when the central characters meet Slartibartfast, a planetary coastline designer who was responsible for the fjords of Norway. He relates the story of how a super-race built a computer named Deep Thought in order to calculate ‘The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything’. When the answer was revealed to be 42, Deep Thought predicted that another computer, more powerful than itself, would be necessary in order to calculate the question for the answer.

In his latest book,The Grand Design, an extract of which was published in Eureka magazine in The Times , Professor Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” He concludes: ‘The Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe’..

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John Milton 1608- 1674

John Milton was arguably one of the greatest writers in the English language. He also was a noted historian, scholar, pamphleteer, and civil servant.

Milton ranks along with William Shakespeare among English poets; his writings and his influence are an important part of the history of English literature, culture, and thought. He is best known for Paradise Lost, which is generally regarded, as he intended, the greatest epic poem in the English language. Milton’s prose works, however, deserve their place in modern histories of political and religious thought.

According to one biographer, Milton “was loved by many, hated by some, but ignored by few.” How did John Milton come to have such influence? What made his last work—On Christian Doctrine—so controversial that it remained unpublished for 150 years? (John Milton: A Biography)

John Milton was born into a financially secure London family in 1608. “My father destined me in early childhood for the study of literature, for which I had so keen an appetite that from my twelfth year scarcely ever did I leave my studies for my bed before the hour of midnight,” Milton recalled. He excelled scholastically and received a master’s degree at Cambridge in 1632. Thereafter, he continued to read history and classical literature. By his own account, his early enthusiasm for the sensual poetry of Ovid and other Roman writers gave way to an appreciation of the idealism of Dante, Petrarch, and Edmund Spenser. He then moved on to Platonic philosophy and finally came to hold the biblical Book of Revelation in the highest esteem. Milton’s scholarly and literary gifts had from childhood marked him out in the minds of his family and teachers for the ministry, however  Milton wanted to be a poet. England in his day was in the throes of revolution. Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, appointed a court that had King Charles I executed in 1649. Using persuasive prose, Milton defended this action and became a spokesman for the Cromwell government. In fact, before attaining fame as a poet, John Milton was already well-known for his tracts on politics and morals..

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