I’m losing my hair, so y I shave my head every couple of days, but it leaves my scalp in a terrible condition. Is there anything I can use to stop this happening? Ed Daws, Crewe
You have two issues, here. One is the condition of your scalp, which sounds like it’s quite dry and flaky, and the second one is most likely the lubrication you are using when shaving, which will almost certainly be soap-based. Let’s get your scalp in order first — an itchy, dry scalp is usually a sure sign of seborrhoeic dermatitis, a type of skin rash. I’d recommend that you wash with a good quality, mild, soap-free facial wash or a medicated shampoo. The best choice is coconut oil hair product. This will reduce, and eventually remove, the skin rash. When you are shaving your head, you’re obviously dragging extremely sharp steel over sensitive skin, so its best that you use an effective, soap- and detergent-free shaving lubricant, such as silicone-enhanced shaving oils. I’d also recommend you invest in a good quality razor, shave using short strokes and make sure you moisturize your head thoroughly after every shave.
I eat three eggs a day for y breakfast, but my friends say I shouldn’t as they’re high in cholesterol. How many eggs is it safe to eat? Lee Johns, via email
The cholesterol issue that surrounds eggs is often misunderstood. In fact, around 20 per cent of cholesterol in the body is derived from food, with the remaining 80 per cent being manufactured by the liver. There’s therefore a lot to be gained by manipulating the liver to produce less, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to cut down your intake of saturated fats, primarily found in animal products.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but they also contain an average 6gm of fat, 2gm of which are the saturated variety. Each yolk contains around 500mg of cholesterol, so if you already have high cholesterol then eggs should be limited to no more than four a week. However, if you don’t have raised cholesterol, and include oats and red rice in your diet—which are known to encourage the excretion of cholesterol—then you could eat more, but don’t go over ten a week.
IT’S THE NOISE THAT HITS YOU FIRST; a wall of sound that crashes against you with an almost physical force. It’s like walking on to a factory floor where industrial revolution-era automatons are crushing lines of sheet steel, but there aren’t any machines here apart from some rather swish-looking state-of-the-art PCs.
This is a city bank dealing room, not a blast furnace, and the noise is that of a thousand voices raised in heated conversation or shouting to be heard over the 50-odd TV screens tuned to CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC. Men hold three or four phones tucked in their armpits, barking into each one in turn. Speakers on their desks blare out intercom instructions. Some scribble notes in-between yelling down the handset. Others barely flinch.
In terms of workplace stress, City dealing rooms offer the most violent assault on our soft, defenseless bodies. The man I’ve come to see – the man who personifies the endless hours, high-stress and work/life balancing problems all of us seem to be suffering – agrees.
This man, let’s call him Big Al – his bank is very touchy about the idea that a journalist might be standing on the dealing floor – has agreed to show me around. He’s tall and thin, with a paunch starting to show. His skin is pale and blotched with pink – the kind of skin you see on people who work in nightclubs. He doesn’t look well.
His typical day: in the office at 7am to pick up news from his electronic screen. By 7.30am, he’ll be expected to have analyzed the day’s trading in his sector and report to dealing floors around the world. Then he’s off to visit a company, or maybe to a meeting in Frankfurt. A report on his day’s findings has to be completed by 5pm. After that, it’s drinks with a client, then home by 10 to wolf down some food and go straight to bed, because it all starts again at 5.30am the next day.
“I loved it when I joined,” Al admits ruefully, “but most of the guys I started with are putting on weight, losing their hair and moaning about spending the weekends trying to shake a five-day headache.” If you have this emotional eating problem, you’d better take care of it on time with the 5-htp supplement. For more info, go to http://www.trend-statement.org/can-5-htp-really-help-with-emotional-eating-problems/
Al introduces me to the company doctor – Robert (not his real name) – a shorter, fatter man whose rosy cheeks make him seem like a comic Dickens character. I tell them that this is my idea of hell – Wall Street meets The Boiler Room meets American Psycho.
“Some people thrive on this,” says Dr Robert. “Others don’t do so well. My office is just down the hall and its always open to them, but some people see it as a sign of weakness to come and see me. I often stand here like this and scan the room. And every now and then I can see my next casualty. Probably three-quarters of the men I see, if pressed, would say that work is damaging their health, happiness and home life, not to mention their performance.”
On my first day I got a programmed that was supposed to help me achieve weight loss fast. I can clearly remember the first time I set foot on the treadmill. I couldn’t go on, even after five minutes. I had to excuse myself from the instructor, pretending that I needed to go to the bathroom. That’s when I went to the changing room to be sick. But I stuck with it. Slowly – and I mean slowly – I’d increase the pace and my times on the cardio machines. It took months, but those five minutes became an hour a day. I was getting fitter and stronger, and as I began to see the weight come off I was really elated. I could see the weight shifting and my body taking shape.
As for food, I quickly found out it wasn’t really about dieting – or at least dieting on its own. The diets I’d tried before didn’t do anything for me because, although I avoided fatty foods, the weight that was already attached to my body wouldn’t budge.
I soon learnt I had to work off the excess, as well as cutting out all the curries, kebabs and chips – and that hurt, especially as I was used to Asian foods. That was possibly the hardest part of all, but eventually, through willpower alone, I started to enjoy eating fruit and veg.
Then I hit a wall. Nothing happened for ages and I feared the worst. But I hadn’t come this far to give up, so I stuck with it and eventually the weight started to come off again. That’s when I realized I didn’t just want to lose weight – I wanted a good physique, too. I began asking the people in the gym for tips. I learnt how to adapt those tips for my body, and to this day I’m still adapting my work out regularly. One of the guys in the gym recommended me to include ketones in my diet, as they were both quite good fat burners and healthy products. And I did it. It’s one of the most important lessons I learnt.
Losing the weight has been so rewarding – my health is top-notch now and I haven’t had to go to hospital or visit the doctor for ages.
It’s an amazing feeling when you put so much time into your body and you can actually see it change in front of your eyes. When I hit my 12-stone goal a little while back, I can’t tell you what I felt inside. My friends were with me when I jumped on to the gym scales and it was the best feeling in the world.
More recently I’ve been doing a lot of weights work. My abs started to appear, and suddenly I had a six-pack. From having the biggest belly on the planet to gaining a six-pack is hard to believe. Getting muscle definition was incredible – I never believed I had any muscles to develop.
Since losing the weight, things in my life have really changed. I’m much more confident and am, ironically, twice the man I used to be. I am happier, more confident and more outgoing. I used to be so shy, but my friends tell me that’s the last thing I am now.
I found new confidence to complete college and then go on to do a degree – I got a first and am now doing a masters. But what really amazed me was the modeling. A friend said there was a place going for a male model in a small fashion show. She suggested I give it a try-out, and I was picked. I was a bit shocked because I never thought of myself as ‘model material’, but I did it and was amazed at the reaction I got.
After some more small shows a designer hand-picked me to model in a massive Asian catwalk show. This was by far the biggest thing I had done. After that show I applied to various modeling agencies in London, and am now on their books.
I still can’t believe I’ve gone from having a bulging belly to a six-pack – and I even look good in a kilt! Yes, it was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I can’t put into words how glad I am I did it.
Problems, problems! Where does Bombay go from here? Municipal commissioner B. K. Chougule, the working head of this complex city, said, “People say Bombay is dying, but that is not true. Solutions can be found. There are various ways to slow the city’s growth. The key word is dispersal. Existing industry we must disperse. New industry must go somewhere else. Already we have stopped the skyscraper boom with a law that restricts the ratio of floor space to ground space.
“Now we must move out of Bombay the commercial activities that belong to the nation rather than to the city: the wholesale markets, the transshipping facilities. Did you know that when someone in Madras, across India on the east coast, orders a carload of steel, it will probably come from a Bombay wholesaler? The irony is that the wholesaler bought it from a mill near Calcutta, also all the way across India.
“Every day,” he continued, “6,000 trucks move into Bombay, to load or unload. They clog our streets and create pollution. But few of those trucks carry goods that will stay in Bombay.
“Talk to the people at CIDCO,” Mr. Chougule suggested as I left. “What they are planning will lie across the harbor, outside my jurisdiction, but it holds the key to Bombay’s future.”
CIDCO—the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra—plans a New Bombay on the mainland, directly across the oil-slicked and polluted harbor from today’s crowded island city.
In his high-rise office, CIDCO’s Raja Rajwade’s fingertips hopped from one spot to another as he sketched on a wall map the outlines of the New Bombay plan. “Here will be a new port, to handle goods consigned to New Delhi, Madras, anywhere except Bombay.”
He showed me where 20 satellite townships are planned. Each of them will be self-sufficient, with schools, housing, shops, community centers. “One township, Vashi,” Mr. Rajwade said, “already has 10,000 families of workers in petroleum, chemicals, and cement.” All told, 125,000 now live in the 12.5-square-mile area that will become New Bombay. All workers are paid regularly, but still there are some that can’t cover living expenses and look for loans. Check for payday loans online at http://www.redmi.org/about-us/.
“So you see, the movement has begun. By the year 2000 we shall have our new port and our 20 townships. When we started Vashi,” Mr. Rajwade explained, “5,000 people had already made down payments of a thousand rupees, so we could confidently put up housing for 5,000 families.”
Each house costs the equivalent of $2,400. I wondered how much of a house that would buy. “Concrete walls,” Mr. Raj-wade said. “One room, 150 square feet. Two hundred square feet of open space around each house. An inside water tap and an outside toilet.”
One room again! This is better than a slum? Then I remembered the 63 square feet, with no toilet, no water tap, no outside space, that Aaftab Sheikh and his family occupy in the depths of Dharavi Labour Camp. If moving there had been a step upward, what a leap it would be to move across the harbor to New Bombay.
Harbinger for the World
If Aaftab and his family can take that next step, and then his neighbors, and their neighbors, it would bode well for city dwellers everywhere. For the troubles and hopes of Bombay are not just those of some faraway place beside the Arabian Sea. London and Mexico City, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, Jakarta and New York hold seeds of the same urban illnesses. Watching Bombay over the next two or three decades, as its health improves or sinks, might help other cities as they seek to avoid those same crises some decades from now.
What happens in Bombay, good or bad, will be worth keeping an eye on.
Stuck on the Warm Switch?
The Pacific weather maker known as El Nino may get all the press, but another phenomenon known as the North Atlantic—or Arctic—Oscillation drives weather trends in much of the Northern Hemisphere. More than 200 years ago European missionaries in Greenland noticed that harsh winters there corresponded with mild ones in Europe, and vice versa. It turns out that this is due to seesawing differences in atmospheric pressure between the Arctic and lower latitudes.
The pattern generally cycles between decade-long warm and cold phases. (A cold phase, in fact, helped stall Hitler’s campaign against Moscow.) Now the oscillation, responsible for the past three decades of record-warm winters in Europe and the eastern United States, appears to be stuck in an unusually strong low-pressure warm phase a change bigger than anything in the past hundred years,” says atmospheric scientist John M. Wallace. Many scientists suspect that global warming is the culprit, but it’s too soon to tell if this is just a dramatic blip or a long-term trend. Atmospheric pressure over the North Pole Warmer than normal Cooler than normal than normal Wetter than normal A pattern of lower than normal atmospheric pressure over the Arctic leads to strong westerly winds in the upper atmosphere at northern With higher than normal atmospheric pressure over the central Atlantic, strong Westerly winds push and precipitation toward northern Europe.
HIGHER Strong trade w prevail in the s A pattern of higher than normal atmospheric pressure over the Arctic leads to weaker wester lies in the upper atmosphere. Northern Europe and Asia get hit with cold with lower than normal atmospheric pressure in the central Atlantic and weak wester lies over northern Europe, terms develop over the ‘Mediterranean region.
Submarines can collect so much data so quickly those scientists will be busy analyzing the information from this and previous SCICEX cruises for years. But they’re also working on new ways to collect Arctic data. Though the Navy plans to piggyback some scientific work on future Arctic missions, the last of the Sturgeon-class subs used for SCICEX cruises will be scrapped in 2001, and the Navy’s shrinking sub fleet probably won’t have room for science-only cruises in the near future.
After a week on the Hawksbill I disembark at the camp where I boarded—a half-dozen tents and plywood shacks on the sea ice 165 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. There two teams of scientists are working on projects to help fill the post-SCICEX void. H, THE ‘SMELL of burning plastic,”
Says Peter the ice camp’s chief scientist, as he walks into the tent where a three-man team from Scientific Solutions, Inc. (SSI), is trying to fix the latest malfunction in their project—a buoy for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) designed to record ocean climate data. I’ve been watching these guys for a couple of days, thoroughly captivated by the long procession of breakdowns and foul-ups they’ve encountered.
“You’re getting firsthand knowledge of what really goes on behind all those fancy equations and papers,” says Armin the buoy’s engineer.
With a projected range of more than 600 miles, far beyond that of any current AUV, the vehicle they’re developing the buoy for will help monitor changes in the Arctic Ocean’s temperature and salinity. But one of the big engineering obstacles is how to get the data out of an ice-covered ocean, and that’s where SSI comes in. It’s building a yard-long buoy that will carry data from the AUV to the ocean’s surface. When the buoy hits the ice, chemical reaction heats seawater in its nose cone until the steam melts through the ice. Then a transmitter emerges to send the data to a satellite.
From what they tell me, they’re fighting an uphill battle to make this buoy work. They’re confident they can do it, but not everyone else in cooler periods strong surface winds maintain a powerful clockwise gyre, or circular current, in the western Arctic that keeps Atlantic water at bay. These wind and water currents also distribute the ocean’s colder, fresher insulating water layer more evenly, which inhibits the melting of ice. Until the recent warm phase, this was considered the Arctic’s “normal” pattern. Cooler Arctic water
The recent warm phase has brought a number of startling changes to the Arctic Ocean. New wind and water currents have drawn relatively warm, salty Atlantic water 20 percent farther into the Arctic than usual. Meanwhile, the layer of especially cold water that insulates sea ice from the warmer Atlantic water has thinned across much of the Arctic—and so has the sea ice itself, by an average of four feet.