How the Japanese treats become a staple in Chinese restaurants

Photo by Meritt Thomas (Unsplash)

Fortune cookies have become a customary finale to any meal at a Chinese restaurant and synonymous with our collective idea of Chinese culinary customs. However, their origins are certainly more complex and far less closely related to China than many are aware of.

According to Jennifer Lee in The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese around the 1870s it was quite common for confectionary shops in the surrounding areas of Kyoto, Japan to sell a treat called a “tsujiura senbei,” or “fortune cracker”. …


How the Afro-American regiment helped win the war

The Harlem Hellfighters returning home, Google Images

In 1914, as Europe was plunged into war, American President Woodrow Wilson declared that his country would remain neutral despite pressure to intervene and support the Allied war efforts.

When America finally entered the conflict they still had to deal with issue of troop numbers, despite large enlisting programmes nationwide. At the time, the American military was entirely segregated and for African Americans enlisting to fight for their country was incredibly challenging.

According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. the hypocrisy of President Woodrow Wilson was plain to see. …


Gambling addiction rises sharply during lockdown but can it be controlled?

Dylan Clifton (Unsplash)

Though gambling may have existed for many hundreds of years addictive and problematic gambling has only grown exponentially in the past 20 years resulting in addiction becoming commonplace. Worse still those who are afflicted by such an addiction rarely seek help.

The fallacy of winning

As Sally Davies states in Aeon Magazine, problem gambling stimulates the release of multiple neurotransmitters which most notably include serotonin and dopamine, the combination of which creates a disastrous cocktail of compulsion for not only gamblers but many other addictive behaviours. After all, serotonin mediates happiness and dopamine…


Will vaccine passports lead to freedom or more control?

USA Today

The polarising debates on vaccine passports have taken centre stage in the global discourse on the pandemic with some hailing them as a golden ticket to normality and others seeing them as another way in which governmental coercion is legitimised under the smokescreen of safety.

The idea is incredibly straightforward — a digital document will verify whether a person has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for Covid19. Presenting this would permit people to travel and enjoy activities that are still largely prohibited under each nation’s respective lockdown measures.

Though the Biden administration has stated that there will be no…


Why the illusion of rarity and perfection became the symbol of love and romance

The Diamond Loupe, Ivory Coast Diamond Mining

Love is a rare thing, a diamond is a rare thing — it’s the perfect match. But what if diamonds were in fact not rare at all? Would this make love less special? After all, the perfect diamond is a promise of the perfect relationship.

According to Jaya Saxena in her excellent book Crystal Clear: Reflections on Extraordinary Talismans for Everyday Life (2020) only about 20 per cent of mined diamonds are of gemstone quality. The vast majority of them have visible “flaws” or discolorations and altered to create a sellable end product.

Up until the 18th Century, India was…


The vital importance of touch in life

Rod Long (Unsplash)

Do you think what I’m askings too much?
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch

Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch

The ongoing pandemic has heightened the disparities between rich and poor through the widening chasm of inequality that has been laid bare across the globe. …


Memento mori: remember that you must die

(Photo credit to Luke Southern, Unsplash)

There is only one guarantee in life — that one day it will come to an end. The ongoing pandemic has recently brought death far more prominently into the public consciousness as our mortality is often contemplated in a time of such uncertainty. However, the fact remains, death isn’t a topic that readily and frequently enters wider discourse under normal circumstances.

As Bethan Bell of the BBC details, the norm is to keep thoughts of death hidden away through a deliberate suppression of outward displays of grief in a bid to conform to social etiquette. Death is only acknowledged when…


A parting gift of violence from Donald Trump

Tumblr fan art

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Donald Trump, January 2017

It seems that chaos appears with a sense of irony.

Rebellion. Insurrection. Lawlessness.

These are not words that one would normally associate with America.

As the scenes unfolded at Capitol Hill the entire fabric of a nation unraveled on live television. The saddest aspect of today's events was their inevitability. There is zero doubt that this violence was incited by Trump.

Lies and misinformation created the false hope that today Trump may have miraculously overturned his election defeat, that Mike Pence held a magic wand and…


How the Spanish Flu became the worst pandemic ever witnessed

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is said to have infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide — about one-third of the planet’s population — and led to the death of up to 50 million people. It is still the deadliest pandemic in history.

Although the Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain widespread news coverage of the pandemic was broadcast from Spain due to its neutrality in the First World War. …


The laughably petulant actions of a spoilt brat that has lost their favourite toy continue, but Trump has done more than just disgrace himself. The repercussions of his non-existent humility and childish irresponsibility have brought the legitimacy of the democratic process into question once again.

The ongoing, groundless accusations of corruption have discredited the entire democratic model and tainted it with suspicion and mistrust. …

Saamir Ansari

Londoner, would love to escape to Walden Pond permanently

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