Tag: BBC (page 1 of 5)

Coffee and its impact on fitness

It’s good to read this, which is a side product of the excellent Just One Thing podcast.

I currently drink a couple of cups of coffee per (working) day — one at around 10:00 and the other at about 14:30. Given I often exercise in the middle of the day, this actually works out pretty well!

Studies have shown that coffee improves almost every aspect of sports performance, whether it’s strength, explosive speed, endurance or skill.. Dr James Betts, Professor of Metabolic Physiology at the University of Bath, says: “I would put caffeine on top of the list of supplements that boost physical performance – both for the size of effect that you get, and the breadth.”

One way that coffee boosts performance is by blocking the action of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical messenger in your brain which makes you feel tired. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, helping you go on for longer without getting tired. “You could do worse than imagining adenosine to be like a brake that’s going to slow down your neural activity. Caffeine essentially hits the same receptors to prevent sleepiness,” explains Prof Betts.

Another way coffee works to boost exercise performance is by raising your levels of adrenaline, which can reduce pain and delay fatigue. It could also have effects on your fat and muscles.

Source: Can coffee make you fitter? | BBC Radio 4 – Just One Thing

BBC Archives and the changing of history

On the one hand, I’m glad that the BBC is ensuring that some of its archive material is a bit more in keeping with our (hopefully more enlightened) sensibilities.

However, on the other hand, why do this in secret?

“The sinister fact about literary censorship in England,” Orwell wrote back in 1945, “is that it is largely voluntary.” And so, indeed, it is. Over the weekend, the Daily Telegraph reported that “an anonymous Radio 4 Extra listener” had “discovered the BBC had been quietly editing repeats of shows over the past few years to be more in keeping with social mores.” To which the BBC said . . . well, yeah. In a statement addressing the charge, the institution confirmed that “on occasion we edit some episodes so they’re suitable for broadcast today, including removing racially offensive language and stereotypes from decades ago, as the vast majority of our audience would expect.” Thus, in the absence of law or regulation, has the British establishment begun to excise material it finds inappropriate by today’s lights.

[…]

This raises a host of important questions — chief among which is: Why, if “the vast majority” of the BBC’s audience expects the organization to render its archives more “suitable,” has it been doing so in secret? Again: In the Internet age, changes made to source material tend to be iterative rather than additive. When the New York Times updates a story in its newspaper, one can plausibly obtain both copies. By contrast, when the New York Times updates a story on its website, the original page disappears. By its own admission, the BBC has been deleting entire sketches from comedy series that are 50, 60, or 70 years old, many of which can be heard only with the BBC’s permission. Are we simply to assume that the public supports this development? And, if so, are we permitted to wonder why the BBC was not open about it?

Source: BBC Censors Its Own Archives | National Review

Positive deviance in the workplace

This article is based around a story about NASA engineers in the 1980s, but touches on something that I feel that we know instinctively. While every company will say they welcome risk-takers and rulebreakers, the reality is very different.

It’s one of the reasons I work with my co-op colleagues in solidarity. We can do what others cannot.

There is psychological evidence that rebelliousness is essential for creativity. Harvard psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg spent more than five decades researching individuals who had made ground-breaking contributions to science, literature and the arts, seeking to understand what drove their creativity. As part of a broader research project that encompassed structured interviews, experimental studies and documentary analysis, Rothenberg interviewed 22 Nobel Laureates. He found that they were strongly emotionally driven by wanting to create something new, rather than extend current perspectives. He found they consciously saw things with a fresh mindset rather than blindly following established wisdom – two qualities that would seem to suggest a rebellious, rather than conformist, personality.

Source: ‘Positive deviants’: Why rebellious workers spark great ideas | BBC Worklife