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The 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo   


The 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is spectacular as ever. You can still buy tickets (as of 2nd August) for the 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but they will sell out, so don’t delay in buying yours. The dates for the 2020 extravaganza are 7th – 29th August. Tickets on sale December 2019. Our photographer Dave […]


REVIEW: Elements of Freestyle, EICC   


Marrying urban sports with contemporary dance, ISH Dance Collective create an enjoyably high-energy spectacle in the cavernous space of the EICC’s Lennox Suite. The all-male ensemble employ skateboards, rollerskates, BMX bikes and more to half-pipe themselves into the air whilst their colleagues breakdance, perform acrobatics and free-run over the adaptable set. Live music is provided […]


The View from the Picket Line: Reports from the food platform strike on October 4th   


Reports from UberEats couriers on strike in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle. This report was first published by Notes from Below as part of their issue on "a month of revolt in the service sector".

UberEats riders primarily pick up from their local McDonalds, which created a physical place for striking riders to picket... striking riders enforced picket lines at their local McDonalds where they multiplied the strike by encouraging other riders to join.
Lydia Hughes and Jamie Woodcock

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Chimeras, Superchimps and Post-persons; Specie Boundaries and Moral Status Enhancements    


Sarah Chan, Univesity of Edinburgh, gives a talk for the Conference on Rethinking Moral Status, held in 13th and 14th June 2019.


My Month in Pictures - Part 1 (Paris, Copenhagen, & Edinburgh)   


Hi everyone! Can't believe it's been so long since my last post! Guess that means I'm keeping busy though, right? Anyway, I wanted to take a few minutes to update you all on the trips I've been lucky enough to go on in the last few weeks.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was in Paris for Valentine's Day weekend.  To my surprise, the city didn't have quite as much of a romantic feel as I expected.  In any event, it was fun to travel to a new place with new friends!  I went with Sara, who also came to Galway through API, and Sara's friend Laina, who is studying in Dublin for the semester.  We packed a lot into the short amount of time we had there - we saw the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, explored our surroundings on our way to finding a Ferris wheel that overlooked the city, went to a fancy dinner, climbed the Eiffel Tower the next morning, saw the Lock Bridge, explored the Louvre (and saw Mona Lisa of course), in addition to figuring out the Metro system and eating some delicious gelato (thank you to my SMC classmate Peter, who's studying in France this semester, for the recommendation!). Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip:
One of the first things I saw once we left our hostel to go
explore - it of course reminded me of Saint Mike's!

Me in front of the beautiful Eiffel Tower!

A cool picture of the Tower's shadow from when we rode to the top!
The following weekend, I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark with my friends and SMC bloggers Alex and Lauren. Unfortunately, many of the things we had planned didn't actually work out (the market we wanted to go to doesn't run in February, we somehow misread the times that tours from City Hall left, etc.).  However, we still managed to have a ton of fun simply walking through the streets of Copenhagen and appreciating the beautiful architecture and each other's company.  Alex has a wonderful European guidebook that gave us some restaurant recommendations.  We even got to meet up with Bizzy, who goes to SMC and is studying in Copenhagen for the semester.  I had to leave a bit early, but after I left, Alex and Lauren got to meet up with another girl named Lauren, who is also studying there.  Getting recommendations from and meeting up with people from Saint Mike's this semester has helped take my SMC community to a whole new level, and I'm absolutely loving it!
From left to right: me, Alex, and Lauren

A square directly in front of the delicious sandwich place we ate at!

A little piece of home, all the way across the ocean :)
The following weekend, I went to Edinburgh, Scotland with API.  It was awesome to be able to go on a trip that didn't require any planning on my part!  Because Alex is also in Ireland through API, we were actually on the same trip.  I got to see some of the people from her program who I had met during my API visit to Dublin in early February.  Being the Harry Potter nerd that I am, my favorite part of the weekend was the Harry Potter tour of the city I got to go on.  Before the tour, I stopped by The Elephant House, which is a cafe where J.K. Rowling spent a lot of time writing some of the Harry Potter books.  The bathroom walls are covered with book/movie quotes and messages of love and appreciation for the stories.  It was absolutely amazing!  The tour itself was a lot of fun and highlighted many of the places where J.K. Rowling got some of her inspiration for the books - including gravestones with Professor McGonagall and Tom Riddle's names, a castle that looks a lot like Hogwarts, and Victoria Street, which looks a bit like Diagon Alley.  In addition to the tour, I got to tour Mary King's Close, an underground area of Edinburgh that was inhabited by members of the lower class in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Edinburgh Castle, and explore the city center - which included a visit to the market!  At the market I tried gluten free and dairy free chocolate, which turned out to be way more delicious than I expected!  Before heading back to Ireland, I also got to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia.  Everything was so luxurious - I think I could handle living at sea for a few months!
One of my favorite parts of the Elephant House bathroom

Alex and me after the Harry Potter tour with our awesome new wands!
Edinburgh Castle selfie!
Since this post is getting pretty long, I will save my next few adventures for my next post.  As always, thanks for reading! Happy April!



My Month in Pictures - Part 2 (Connemara, Dublin, & London)   


Happy Saturday! I have just finished up my last week of classes here in Galway - so crazy!  On Monday, I'm leaving to travel with Alex for about a week, then returning to Galway for a few days to hopefully get some studying for finals in, then heading to Dublin to greet my mom at the airport.  From there, the two of us will get to travel around Ireland for about a week.  I'm so excited!  Once my mom leaves though, it'll be crunch time because I'll have three finals to study for as well as two fairly big papers to write.  Before I know it though, I'll be back to New Hampshire for the summer.  Honestly, I have mixed emotions about this.  I'm super excited to reunite with all my friends and family, but I'm also sad to be leaving what has been home to me for the past few months.  In any event, I'm going to do my best to pack in as much fun as I can in the next few weeks.  Before that though, I wanted to finish updating you on the trips I've taken so far.  

In my last post, I left off with my trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.  Two weeks later, API took us on our last excursion - a day trip to Connemara.  Technically Connemara isn't a town or county itself - it's part of County Galway.  In any case, it was absolutely gorgeous - exactly what I picture when I think of classic Ireland.  We spent a few hours at Kyelmore Abbey, exploring the castle as well as the gardens.  Then we ventured over to Connemara National Park for a short hike.  Along the way, my RD got the bus driver to stop a few times so we could take pictures, including the Church where her parents were married - probably the smallest Church I've ever seen!  Even from the window of my seat on the bus, the scenery was beautiful.  We saw a lot of mountains, water, and fields of sheep, all of which reminded me of Vermont and made me feel quite at home.  Although I love every picture I took that day, here are some of my particular favorites:
The beaming sun - a rare scene in Ireland!

I happened to capture this one when the
bus driver stopped for a split second - I love it!
The next day, I hopped on a bus to Dublin to go visit Alex for Saint Patrick's Day.  Needless to say, my trip was awesome!  We had Boxty for dinner the night I got there.  Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake and it's absolutely delicious! We went to bed early so we would be well rested for a full day of Saint Patrick's Day activities.  Unfortunately, I didn't actually get to see the parade.  However, I had a good reason - I had to leave to catch a hurling and Gaelic football match at Croke Park with Sara, who was also in Dublin visiting her friend Laina.  This was my first real experience with Irish sports, and it was awesome!

After the game, Sara, Laina, and Laina's friend Jordan helped me find Alex because let's be honest, I don't really know my way around Dublin!  We eventually met up in a pub and spent a few hours there dancing, meeting new people, and having a great time enjoying the company of our friends.
Matching shirts!
The following day, I got a delicious scone from one of Alex's favorite cafes, and then headed back to Galway.  Three days later, I was back on a bus to Dublin with my friend Kiersten.  This time, we were headed to England!  While by far the craziest of my trips so far, it was definitely my favorite.  Figuring out public transportation has always been a challenge for me, and this trip proved no different.  However, we made it everywhere safely, which is what matters!  Along the way, we got to take a trip to see my family crest at the Salisbury Cathedral as well as Stonehenge, both in Salisbury.  That night, we met up with Sheila and Maya, who each go to SMC and are studying in London and Spain, respectively, for dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant.  It was awesome to be able to see some familiar faces and share some of our experiences thus far.  Kiersten and I also got to tour the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studios, which was a dream come true.  Before heading back to Ireland, we got to walk around a bit and see some famous sites like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Thames River.  We also had dinner at a local market, which was delicious.  I tried Bastilla, which is actually Moroccan.  I was particularly excited to try it because my friend Lauren is studying in Morocco this semester.  Overall, it was a fantastic trip and left me feeling more independent and actually quite proud of myself for overcoming all the challenges we faced (for starters, we arrived at our hostel after reception had closed so at first we weren't sure how we were going to get into our room, but that's a story for another day!).

Me in front of Salisbury Cathedral


Me, Maya, and Sheila
Standing in the Great Hall - beyond excited!
In love with London
Apologies for the number of pictures -  it was so hard to choose my favorites! Anyway, as I mentioned, I leave Monday to go to Poland and Italy with Alex.  It should be a great trip!  But before that, I have a lot to accomplish, so I'm off to get some work done.  Thanks so much for taking the time to look through my blog - hope you enjoyed it!



keeps yoga mat - what you need to know   


Yoga is an ancient Indian exercise form that involves the use of certain body postures and breathing exercises for body, mind and spiritual health. Like most yoga for exercise, power yoga focuses on the performance of asanas or poses.

It consists of all-around mind and body fitness training. Power yoga uses many poses. Hatha Yoga consists of non strenuous physical exercise which aids in strengthening, stretching and balancing the body's joints.

And this helps improve the functioning of our organs and our general health. Look for classes that end with meditation. In order to fully maximize your yoga experience, you must forget about such things as impressing your teacher and classmates.

Some yoga mats these days are also non-toxic and eco-friendly. A lot of the benefit's you will get from yoga are mental.

teacher training steps to become a yoga instructor fundamentals brian cooper teacher training edinburgh yoga instructions


GTA IV is making waves   


Wired…article NYT… “To the actors it is a simple issue of equity: equal pay for equal work, regardless of the medium.” “Grand Theft Auto IV is such a simultaneously adoring and insightful take on modern America that it almost had to come from somewhere else. The game’s main production studio is in Edinburgh, and Rockstar’s […]


Help Me Plan My Trip To Scotland In 2018 - Part One   


In a little under a year, Dad-of-WhiskyDad (i.e. my Dad) and I, will be travelling from Australia to Scotland for a 28-day whisky adventure!

We will be arriving in the UK around May 21st, next year, flying in and out of Manchester Airport and hiring a car to get around. There are a few things we really want to do, but for the most part we are open to suggestions for the must see, must do, Scottish whisky experiences.

In order to maximise enjoyment and minimise the need to stick to a strict schedule, of the Scottish Isles we will only be visiting Islay. As much as I would love to visit them all, I would rather spend a few days on Islay and save the others for another visit. We will also be spending a significant amount of time in Campbeltown since the timing of our trip is intentional to align with the Campbeltown Malts Festival and hopefully a five-day Springbank Whisky School as well. I imagine we will spend some time in and around the Highlands and Speyside in the second half of the trip and visit Edinburgh on the way back south.

Dad-of-WhiskyDad spent his childhood in an English town called Corby, after my grandparents moved there from Scotland; so we will finish our trip in Corby and have a few ‘Where Did I Come From’ moments along the way.

How Can You Help?

If you have been to Scotland before, what are your must-see whisky experiences? Distilleries we must visit, tours we must take, places we must go, people we must meet and sights we must see. Or perhaps you know a few whisky secrets you are willing to share? This will be an ongoing process and I will keep you abreast of the plan leading up to the trip itself and of course, I will blog my experience whilst over there.

If you would like to make suggestions to help shape our Scottish whisky adventure, please do so either using the comments at the end of this post or via the WhiskyDad Facebook page or Twitter.


Whisky Dad (and Dad) Vist Scotland 2018 - Planning Update   


It has been a little while since I shared my travel plans for the big trip to Scotland next year and I have had a chance to incorporate many of the great suggestions I received last time. So here’s where it's at, as of now.

Flights are booked

My dad and I will fly into Manchester Airport around midday on the 21st of May 2018 and depart Manchester on our way back to Australia on the evening of the 18th of June. We will be hiring a car for the whole trip to get around in.

To Scotland (21st May)

My dad and I will visit my uncle Harry briefly on our way to Scotland but our first overnight stop will be at Mossend, near Glasgow. Leaving bright and early in the morning, we will visit a few sites of significance from my Dad’s childhood and end up at Campbeltown in the afternoon.

Campbeltown Malts Festival (22-25th May)

The first firm dates of our trip are spending 22-25th of May in Campbeltown for the Malts Festival. This will include the Kintyre Gin Open Day at the Beinn an Tuirc Distillery and the Glen Scotia Dinner on day one; Glen Scotia Distillery Open Day and Springbank Dinner on day two; Springbank Distillery Open Day on day three and Kilkerran and Wm Cadenhead’s Open Day and the festival closing dinner at the Campbeltown Town Hall on the final day.

That’s quite a busy few days in Campbeltown and I’m expecting a few issues with jet lag during this period. But my time in Campbeltown doesn’t end there for me since I will be completing the Springbank Whisky School the following week.

Highland Games, Stirling Castle & Loch Lomond (26-27th May)

Most whisky loving tourists will be heading to Fes Isle on Islay from this weekend, but my dad and I will head the other way. The plan is to start early and drive to Blackford for their local Highland Games (where I hope to participate, if I can) before heading back to and overnighting at Drymen near Loch Lomond via Stirling Castle. The following day I will partake in the Glengoyne Distillery 5-hour Master Class while Dad explores Loch Lomond and then we will drop into Loch Lomond Distillery on the way back to Campbeltown.

Springbank Whisky School (28th May – 1st June)

This will be the week I’ve been waiting for. In fact, I would have waited for over two years by this stage. Springbank is both my favourite distillery and the only Scottish distillery to conduct 100% of their whisky production at one site. That makes Springbank the ideal location to undertake an intensive whisky school. Over the five days, students gain hands-on experience in every aspect of whisky making from floor malting to bottling. I cannot wait!

My dad on the other hand, will be taking the car and going to play golf for a few days…It’s his holiday too.

Islay (2-5th June)

No whisky lover’s trip to Scotland is complete without visiting Islay. My dad and I will meet back up again at the conclusion of the Springbank Whisky School and then we will be off to catch the ferry to Islay. The locals will no doubt be recovering from another successful Fes Isle which is a shame to miss, but at least we will be able to find accommodation for the next four days. We plan to take in the big eight, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Kilchoman, Bruichladdich, Bowmore (Craftsman Tour), Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg Distilleries with some island exploration in between. I’m planning a visit to Kildalton Cross and a short island hop to Isle of Jura.

Heading North (5-6th June)

Next, we will be leaving Islay and travelling north to Oban for the night. From Oban we will continue north for a rest at Fiddler's Loch Ness in Drumnadrochit. The next day we will continue further into the Highlands for a short but sweet detour on the way to Speyside.

The Highlands (7-8th June)

Highland distilleries to visit include Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Balblair and Clynelish. Unfortunately, we probably won’t make it any further north this time but will make it a priority to visit the Orkney Isles (and the Isles of Mull and Skye) on my next trip to Scotland whenever that may be.

Speyside (9-13th June)

The next five days will be busy indeed but luckily the amount of ground to cover is short since so many distilleries are in close proximity to each other, mostly along the Spey river. There are some hard choices to make here on where we do and don’t get to visit but my plan includes the following: 

Tomatin, Ballindalloch, Glenfarclas, Cardhu, Tamdhu, Knockando, Aberlour, The Macallan, Speyside Cooperage, Genfiddich, Glenrothes, Forsyths Stills, Glen Grant, Glen Moray, Strathisla, Knockdhu and The GlenDronach for the Connoisseurs' Experience.

Heading South (14th June)

At this stage the trip will coming to an end and I have no doubt Dad and I will be feeling tired. We plan a leisurely scenic drive south through the Cairngorms National Park along A93 from Aboyne to Pitlochry.

Edinburgh (15-16th June)

We hope make it to Edinburgh by the 15th, home to the Scotch Whisky Experience and plan to catch up with The Tasmanian Whisky Academy who will be in the area but more on that later.

Northern England (17th June)

I made a promise to visit Abbie and Chris at Cooper King Distillery in Yorkshire and say G’day to their Tasmanian-sourced copper still, so that will be a stop on the way to Corby. The last stop on our trip is Corby, Northamptonshire, (recently voted the unhappiest place to live in Britain) where my Dad spent part of his youth. We will visit a few places for some final family story moments, then prepare for our departure back home to Australia.

Back Home (18th June)

Out last drive will take us through the fabled Sherwood Forrest to check out Robin Wood Craft and hopfully pick up an authentic handmade wooden quaich on the way to Manchester. Time to return the hire car and for the terribly long plane trip home and trying to pass though Australian Customs without paying an arm and a leg for all the whisky I’ve no doubt bough over the last month. It should be a crackin’ trip.

Still a Work in Progress

So that’s the current plan, but that’s not to say that some things may change between now and then or could quite possible change while we are in Scotland. Some of the trip is locked in, like our time in Campbeltown (which is almost half the trip) but this particular visit revolves around Springbank (my favourite distillery) and the Springbank Whisky School. If I wasn’t attending the school, I would be doing things differently. I acknowledge we won’t get to see everything or visit every place, but it’s impossible to do so. I decided early on, to only visit the Scottish mainland and Islay this time. The last thing I want is for this trip to feel more like work than a holiday.


Book Review: Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald   


Prominently displayed on the most recent reissue cover of Whisky, by Aeneas MacDonald, sits a quote from renowned whisky expert Dave Broom, which reads:

The finest whisky book ever 

That’s quite a bold statement to make but much like the mysterious Aeneas Macdonald himself, it should be considered in context. Whisky, is an odd book; in fact, the original published in 1930 was one of the first books written on the subject, quite surprising considering whisky has been around for much longer than that. The best feature of this 2016 edition is the addition of commentary and annotations by Ian Buxton. I enjoyed Ian’s analysis and what it brings to MacDonald’s book and am glad I bought an annotated edition rather than an unadulterated version, but let me explain why.

Will The Real Aeneas MacDonald Please Stand Up?

Aeneas MacDonald was a pen name, for George Malcolm Thomson, born in 1899 and founder of the Porpoise Press – original publisher Whisky. MacDonald (used from this point on for simplicity) made a conscious decision to keep his real name out of the pages of his book, part of which was to avoid accusations of hubris for self-publishing his own work; something that has less of a stigma these days.

Whisky, is not the kind of book you would find published on the subject today.

It is light on facts and well-research material but rather, is filled with strong opinions that set the conditions for whisky snobbery for decades to come. I recognised many of MacDonald’s sentiments shared by my own father, passed down to him by his father. For example, broad reaching opinions like the superiority of Highland whisky and inferiority of Lowlands whisky in comparison. MacDonald was no whisky expert, although he was clearly a fan and a staunchly patriotic Scott. In writing his book, Macdonald would have drawn on earlier trade publications, his own opinion seemingly formed primarily from those of his old Edinburgh University professor and a splash of myth and legend.

What makes Whisky stand out from other whisky books is its differences, as explained in the Forward by Ian Buxton:

Too many of today’s whisky books are little more than lists: handsomely produced, well illustrated and comprehensive to a fault but with the soul of a draper’s catalogue. Others might be mistaken for material straight from the distiller’s own well-funded publicity machine, and a third category distributes marks out of a hundred to Glen This, Glen That and Glen The Other with mechanical certainty of a drab provincial accountant. 

Despite its faults, of which there are many, you should be able to appreciate why Broom considers Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald to be such a fine book on the subject.

But What of The Book Itself?

While some of MacDonald’s book may be grossly outdated or simply incorrect, some of it is still true today and at times even contemporary in attitude, such as his views on distillery transparency. MacDonald shares his views on what separates whisky from other alcoholic drinks such as wine, expressing his disdain for ‘the drinkers-to-get-drunk’ who imbibe whisky not for pleasure but ‘simply in order to obtain a certain physical effect.’ MacDonald laments the status of whisky at the time as merely a potent spirit rather than a complex and prestigious drink to be appreciated by connoisseurs and offers readers this delightful definition:

Whisky is a re-incarnation; it is made by a sublimation of coarse and heavy barely malt; the spirit leaves that earthly body, disappears, and by lovely metempsychosis returns to the world in the form of a liquid exquisitely pure and impersonal. 

MacDonald touches on the history and production of whisky in his early chapters making a few generalisations that are simply untrue today, such as a distinguishing factor of Highland whisky being a ‘smokiness’ from the malt being dried in peat-fired kilns; or simply incorrect such as his confident proclamation that the cask the whisky is matured in imparts no additional qualities to the whisky other than colour. Peated whisky is more commonly attributed to the Islands region of Scotland these days, but there are always exceptions and cask maturation does have a significant effect on the flavour and aroma of whisky.

Of interest to me was the short section on Campbeltown at the time of MacDonald writing in 1930. Campbeltown is my favourite Scotch whisky-producing region, although it only contains three active whisky distilleries today. In 1930 there were 122 distilleries in Scotland (there are around 100 now) of which ten operated in Campbeltown, including my namesake Kinloch Distillery. MacDonald describes Campbeltown whiskies as:

…the double bases of the whisky orchestra. They are potent, full-bodied, pungent whiskies, with a flavour that is not to the liking of everyone. 

At the time of writing his book, Campbeltown whisky was in the midst of crisis with most of the local distilleries closing in the 1920s and ‘30s in a geographically small region once home to 28 whisky producing distilleries.

The final chapter in MacDonald’s relatively short book is titled ‘Judging, Purchase, and Care’ and most of the information contained within maintains its relevance to this day.

Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald is a time capsule in Scotch whisky appreciation. Part poetry, part prejudice and very Scottish. The book’s charm is in the differences that distinguish it from modern books on the subject, but it does benefit from the moderation of Ian Buxton, who brings a layer of facts and informed interpretation to many of MacDonald’s more controversial claims.

Recommended, but approach Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald as more of a delightful curio, rather than a modern whisky reference.

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Ernie Rea and guests discuss the revival of Confucianism in China. In 1966 the Red Guard in China sent a telegram to Mao tse Tung. "Dearest Chairman Mao," it read. "We have rebelled. We have torn down the plaque extolling "The teacher of ten thousand generations;" we have levelled Confucius' grave; and we have obliterated the statues in the Confucius Temple." By the time the Cultural Revolution had done its work, Confucianism which had dominated the religious and cultural life of China for over a millennium, seemed almost obliterated. But today it is making a comeback. The Chinese government is encouraging its study. What is going on? How can it be that a philosophy which was thought to be the embodiment of reaction is being hailed as a force of progress, Joining Ernie to discuss the New Confucianism are Dr Joachim Gentz, Chair of Chinese Philosophy and Religion at Edinburgh University: Thomas Chan, a member of ASHA, a group which focuses on inter faith dialogue: and Isobel Hilton, a journalist and editor of Producer: Rosie Dawson.




From the Charlie Hebdo shootings a year ago to the November terrorist atrocities in Paris, a string of Islamist attacks has left French society reeling in the face of home-grown terror. The events raise many issues, including the nature of religious and cultural integration in France. Secularism is a defining principle of the State. Faith is practiced in private and not in public. However, the way the French government is applying the concept of "Laïcité" has come under increasing criticism. Ernie Rea discusses religion in secular France with Kay Chadwick, Reader in French Historical Studies at Liverpool University; Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh; and Natasha Lehrer, writer and literary editor of the Jewish Quarterly. Producer: Dan Tierney Series producer: Amanda Hancox.


Interfaith Worship   


The reading of a passage from the Koran at Glasgow's St Mary's Cathedral during its Epiphany Mass earlier in the year caused an almighty row. The verses, which were read out by a local Muslim student, denied the divinity of Jesus and brought a wave of criticism and social media threats, which prompted a police investigation. Most people agree that interfaith dialogue is a good thing, but interfaith crossovers within a worship setting risk causing great offense. Why is interfaith worship so controversial, particularly if the intention is to deepen friendships between local faith communities? How can churches, mosques and temples steer a safe course? Robert Beckford discusses interfaith worship with Rev Anthea Ballam, an interfaith minister and priest; Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden, an Anglican priest and theologian; and Shayk Sohaib Sayeed, a Koranic scholar and a chaplain at the University of Edinburgh. Producer: Dan Tierney Series producer: Amanda Hancox.




It is said that behind every great man there is a great woman. The Prophet Muhammad was married many times; but for 25 formative years, he remained faithful to one woman, Khadijah. She is widely recognised as the First Muslim and her story may be surprising to many non-Muslims. She was a successful business woman. She was considerably older than Muhammad, and it was she who proposed to him. She must have been a formidable presence. There are many debates about the place of women in the Muslim world; could Khadijah be an appropriate role model for Muslim women today? Joining Ernie Rea to discuss Khadijah, are Fatima Barkatulla an Islamic scholar who has recently written a children's book about Khadijah; Rania Hafaz, Senior Lecturer in Education at Greenwich College and Fellow of the Muslim Institute; Asad Zaman, a Manchester based Imam; and Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Producer Amanda Hancox.




For the Christian world, January 1st is New Years' Day but for many religious communities it is not a particularly auspicious day because religious calendars differ and, consequently, different religions celebrate the beginning of their New Year on different dates. The difference in religious calendars is just one way in which religions disagree about the nature of time. Some, notably Christianity, Judaism and Islam think it is linear; that time began at the moment of creation and is leading us to the End. However, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs believe that time is cyclical; that it goes round in an unceasing circle of birth, death and re-incarnation. Does it matter? And does what we believe about time affect the way we live our lives? Joining Ernie Rea to discuss differing concepts of Time in religious traditions are Eleanor Nesbitt, Professor Emeritus in the Religions and Education Research Unit at the University of Warwick; Shayk Soheeb Saeed, an Academic and Quran scholar at the University of Edinburgh where he is also the Muslim Chaplain; and Dr Andrew Crome, Lecturer in Early Modern History at Manchester Metropolitan University. Ernie also talks to Richard D Lewis - the author of 'When Cultures Collide' - who talks about the novel approach to time keeping held by the people of Madagascar. Producer: Helen Lee.


Sri Lanka   


In light of the Easter Sunday attacks on Churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, Ernie Rea explores the religious landscape of Sri Lanka with Jonathan Spencer, Regius Professor of South Asian Language, Culture and Society at the University of Edinburgh; Dr Farah Mihlar, Lecturer in Conflict Studies at the University of Exeter and Mahinda Deegallee, Professor of the Study of Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at Bath Spa University, who is also a Buddhist monk. Producer: Catherine Earlam




According to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK increased fourfold between 2014 and 2018. Once a ridiculed minority, nowadays barely a day goes by without an announcement of a new vegan restaurant or another celebrity endorsement of a plant based lifestyle. Motivations range from animal welfare, to health, to environmental concerns. For many vegans their diet is part of an entire ethical belief system. So can you eat your way to moral and spiritual purity? What role does religion play in this shifting picture? Is there a natural correlation between religious commitment and a vegan diet or are there contradictions? To discuss these questions Ernie Rea is joined by David Clough, Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Chester, David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Heena Modi, a Jain who coaches people on how to become vegan and Dr David Grumett, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at the School of Divinity, at the University of Edinburgh. Producer: Catherine Earlam




Council estates: Laurie Taylor talks to Insa Lee Koch, Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE, and author of a new study which explores the history of housing estates and the everyday lives of residents on one such estate in southern England. How did council housing turn from being a marker of social inclusion to a marker of abject failure? Also, the origins and symbolism of the ‘sink estate’, a term invented by journalists and amplified by think tanks and politicians. Tom Slater, Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Edinburgh, traces the usage of this term and the long-term impact of associating council estate residents with effluence and sewage. Revised repeat. Producer: Jayne Egerton




Blood - Laurie Taylor explores the metaphorical, as well as material, reality of blood. He's joined by Gil Anidjar, Professor of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies at Columbia University, and author of a study which explores the relationship between the history of Christianity and blood. What are the social and political implications of the way in which Christian blood come to be associated with purity and kinship? Also, Janet Carsten - Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, considers the extraordinary symbolic power of blood. She traces the multiple meanings of blood as it moves from donors to labs, hospitals, and patients in Penang, Malaysia, telling the stories of blood donors, lab staff and hospital workers. In the process, she shows that blood is a lens for understanding the entanglements of modern life. Producer: Jayne Egerton


Blair, James (ca. 1655–1743)   


James Blair was an Anglican minister, a notoriously combative member of the governor's Council (1694–1695; 1696–1697; 1701–1743) who worked successfully to have three governors removed, and, with Francis Nicholson, the cofounder of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, Blair came to Virginia in 1685 as rector of Henrico Parish. He married, acquired land, and in 1689 became commissary, or the Anglican bishop's representative in America. Blair's clerical convocations in 1690, 1705, and 1719 were notoriously rancorous in part due to his tendency to sympathize more with the laity than his fellow clerics; however, the 1690 meeting proved especially significant for Blair's "Seven Propositions," which led to the founding of the College of William and Mary. As president for life, Blair secured funding and overcame powerful opposition from men like Virginia governor Sir Edmund Andros. In the meantime, Blair consolidated his own power by becoming rector of James City Parish in Williamsburg, and in 1698 he successfully fought to have Andros removed. Over the years, Blair did the same to two more governors while continually expanding his college. By the 1720s he had rebuilt the school after a fire; housed an Indian school, chapel, library, and president's house; drafted the first college statutes; hired the first full-time faculty; and transferred the original charter to the president and masters. Blair died in Williamsburg in 1743.
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:10:35 EST


Hamilton the key to beating England - Denness   


Mike Denness, the former Scotland-born England captain, has pinpointed Gavin Hamilton as the crucial player ahead of Scotland's eagerly anticipated clash against England at Edinburgh on Monday


Scottish cricket launches Hall of Fame   


Cricket Scotland began a celebration of their history by launching the Scottish Cricket hall of fame in Edinburgh


Craghoppers Coats & Jackets - Charcoal Apex waterproof jacket    


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Anti-piracy company reports 300% growth   


An Edinburgh-based anti-piracy equipment developer has seen growth of 300% year-on-year since its founding in 2016.

ARX Maritime, an award-winning developer of self-install anti-piracy barriers and current cohort of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, now supplies its products to 65 countries and employs 12 members of staff.

Ex-Royal Marine Steve Regis co-founded the business with Josh Hutchinson, after spotting a gap in the market to provide affordable, self-install products to protect vessels of all sizes.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator is the UK’s largest free business accelerator network, offering mentoring, insight and bespoke coaching developed for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses.

Steve Regis, chief operating officer of ARX Maritime, said: “Shipping companies spend around half a billion dollars each year on anti-piracy security equipment, and many smaller vessels simply can’t keep up with the cost. Instead, they tend to use barbed wire, which rusts and can be easily cut. ARX was set up to provide shipping companies with a cost-effective and easy to install anti-piracy solution, to ensure all ships are suitably and safely equipped for hostile waters.

“The business has grown much quicker than anticipated, and we’ve been lucky to have the support of experts and other entrepreneurs through Royal Bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme in Edinburgh. Scotland has one of the best entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe, and we’ve found at the heart of the start-up network is a will to help each other out. We’re ‘graduating’ from the programme this year, but will continue to advise other programme start-ups and help where we can.”

Gill Rattray, entrepreneurial growth manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The rapid growth of ARX Maritime is thanks to Steve spotting a gap in the market and dedicating himself to the development of the business. Steve has been heavily involved in the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme for a number of years and continues to actively support other new businesses, an integral part of a strong start-up network.” 


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