Dire economic warning for UK universities

According to this post, “established UK universities will go out of business within the next 10 years unless they adapt to survive an era of intense pressure driven by globalisation, technology, rising student expectations, and competition for funding, a report has warned.” The most interesting conclusion of the article is that universities need to specialize, arguing that “increased competition from privately funded research and free online courses mean the traditional university with a range of degrees and modestly effective research has had its day.’  Given the increasing cuts to more generalist programs in the arts and social sciences, studies such as these don’t bode well for the model of the all-rounded scholar upon which so many of our universities have been founded.


Recipes, Veganism

Vegan macaroni and cheese with kale and mushrooms


Ingredients (2 servings)


  • 1 cup soymilk (I make my own, courtesy of my Soybella soymilk maker).
  • Shredded vegan cheese.  I used a combination of vegan swiss and cheddar.  As usual, I didn’t measure, but I probably had about 2 cups, as I like a rich sauce
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • Bouquet garni with dried thyme. 


  • Sliced cremini mushrooms.  I love mushrooms, so I use a lot – about 2 cups.
  • Chopped kale
  • You can add any vegetables you like. I use asparagus in the summer, for example.



  1. Heat the soymilk
  2. Add the garlic gloves.  Don’t cook the garlic, as the bitter taste is too strong for this sauce.  Just squash the peeled cloves with a large knife to release the juices.
  3. Add the cheese and bouquet garni.  Season to taste.
  4. Stir until the cheese is melted.  I added about a tablespoon of flour to thicken the sauce a little.
  5. Remove the bouquet garni and blend (I use an immersion blender) to ensure the garlc is completely integrated.

While the sauce is cooking, boil your pasta. I like to use penne; the ones I used in this recipe were a multi-coloured variety (beet and spinach).

Sauté the mushrooms and kale.

Add the sauce and vegetables to the cooked pasta and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.


Infographic: Use of smartphones

The infographic below provides an analysis of how people use their smartphones.  It’s interesting to note that the largest use of smartphones is not to gather information, or even to communicate, but to have what is called “me time.”  Mind you, without looking at the actual study, it’s difficult to determine the validity of these results, especially since the sample size was small (24 participants).



Sam Rockwell tribute

Susan Doll’s post pays tribute to one of my favourite contemporary actors, Sam Rockwell.  Doll expresses so well why Rockwell is such a gifted and versatile actress.  I, too, was introduced to Rockwell in Galaxy Quest, a film I like very much, particularly as a dyed-in-the-wool Trekker.  Rockwell can play comedy and drama equally well, and his performances are seamless; he truly becomes lost in the characters he plays.


Old versus new films

This post expresses so very well how I sometimes feel about watching newly-released films.  I’m an avid cinephile, but I’ve always been drawn to older films, preferably in black-or-white.  I have a number of new releases waiting for me on my DVR, courtesy of  my digital subscriptions, but my preference is always to turn to the recorded older films first.  Using film stills, Richard Harland Smith captures so wel why older films are so much more fun.


Environmental footprint of vegan and vegetarian diets

Environmental footprint of vegan and vegetarian diets 30% lower than non-vegetarian  diets, say researchers: ‘We have to drastically cut consumption of meat and dairy.’

If the evidence that plant-based diets are better for human health is compelling, the evidence that they are better for the planet is indisputable, delegates at the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition were told.