Tag: The Guardian (page 1 of 34)

You’ll be hearing a lot more about nodules

It was only this year that I first heard about nodules, rock-shaped objects formed over millions of years on the sea bed which contain rare earth minerals. We use these for making batteries and other technologies which may help us transition away from fossil fuels.

However, deep-sea mining is, understandably, a controversial topic. At a recent summit of the Pacific Islands Forum, The Cook Islands’ Prime Minister outlined his support for exploration and highlighted its potential by gifting seabed nodules to fellow leaders.

This, of course, is a problem caused by capitalism, and the view that the natural world is a resource to be exploited by humans. We’re talking about something which is by definition a non-renewable resource. I think we need to tread (and dive) extremely carefully.

What’s black, shaped like a potato and found in the suitcases of Pacific leaders when they leave a regional summit in the Cook Islands this week? It’s called a seabed nodule, a clump of metallic substances that form at a rate of just centimetres over millions of years.

Deep-sea mining advocates say they could be the answer to global demand for minerals to make batteries and transform economies away from fossil fuels. The prime minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, is offering nodules as mementos to fellow leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum (Pif), a bloc of 16 countries and two territories that wraps up its most important annual political meeting on Friday.


“Forty years of ocean survey work suggests as much as 6.7bn tonnes of mineral-rich manganese nodules, found at a depth of 5,000m, are spread over some 750,000 square kilometres of the Cook Islands continental shelf,” [the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority] says.

Source: Here be nodules: will deep-sea mineral riches divide the Pacific family? | Deep-sea mining | The Guardian

Parenting the parents

This article in The Guardian discusses the challenges and opportunities of “parenting” one’s own parents, especially as people live longer.

It highlights the importance of encouraging older parents to engage with technology, as studies show it can improve cognition and memory. The article also talks about the importance of social engagement, physical activity, and nutrition.

Thankfully, my parents, both in their mid-seventies, are doing pretty well 🙂


Parenting no longer starts and stops with our children. Nor is it confined to those who have children. In a time of unrelenting change and ever-extending life, most of us will – at some stage – find ourselves “parenting” our own parents.

Indeed, many of us – particularly those who had families later – will find ourselves simultaneously parenting our kids and our parents. In one breath we’ll be begging our children to swap French fries for vegetables, and in the next breath we’ll be urging our parents to exchange cake for sardines. Little wonder today’s midlifers are known as the sandwich generation.


Dr Eamon Laird, researcher in health and ageing at Limerick university, agrees that we should be encouraging older parents to try new things. And the further out of their comfort zone they feel, the better. “It’s always good to keep the mind active and fresh,” he told me. “New challenges can help build and maintain new brain connections and can be good for brain and overall health.”


As well as a daily walk, Laird recommends vitamin D and B12 supplements – both of which appear to moderate the chance of depression in older people. “Depression matters,” he added. “Not just because it reduces quality of life, but because in older people there seems to be a link between depression and dementia which we’re still unpacking.”


In truth, anyone over 50 would do well to follow these simple guidelines: engage with something new every day, take a daily walk of at least 20 minutes, socialise regularly, take a daily multivitamin for seniors and check the protein content of our meals. Perhaps we should think of it as self-parenting.

Source: Walks, tech and protein: how to parent your own parents | The Guardian

Setting up a digital executor

A short article in The Guardian about making sure that people can do useful things with your digital stuff should you pass away.

I have the Google inactive account manager set to three months. That should cover most eventualities.

According to the wealth management firm St James’s Place, almost three-quarters of Britons with a will (71%) don’t make any reference to their digital life. But while a document detailing your digital wishes isn’t legally binding like a traditional will, it can be invaluable for loved ones.


You can appoint a digital executor in your will, who will be responsible for closing, memorialising or managing your accounts, along with sharing or deleting digital assets such as photos and videos.

Source: Digital legacy: how to organise your online life for after you die | The Guardian

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