Carving Boards, Superior Wok, Facebook & Cave

The Preamble

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the impact of social media on our mental health, and that was because I’d seen Steven Bartlett interview Tali Sharot, a neuroscientist who is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the department of Experimental Psychology for Computational Psychiatry, at University College London.

Towards the end of an hour and half long interview, she is talking about the negative effect of “nothing changing in our lives” which tends to make us feel unhappy or dissatisfied. She suggests spicing it up a little, making some changes, one of which is taking a break from social media. Steven picks up on this and asks more. She then gives the example of a controlled experiment carried out by Hunt Allcott (Professor of Global Environmental Policy at Stanford University) where 2000 people are split into two groups. One told to get off Facebook for a month. The other was told to carry on as normal.

After a month Alcott measured their mental health and on every single measure he had, those who quit were happier, less anxious, less sad, less depressed etc etc. And they were surprised. She then goes on to say, what is an even bigger surprise, is that although they all acknowledged this, they then nearly all went back to Facebook immediately. She hypothesises that this may well be because we value knowledge very highly (even if it doesn’t make us happy) and the other reason is addiction. A lot of things in life that you’re addicted to, you know are not good for you, but…..

Sharot also cites another study done by an Italian scientist, who had looked at Facebook when it first started at Harvard in 2004 (apparently it it was only available at Harvard at the time). They then gradually expanded one by one to a lot of other Ivy League universities. And what he found, was that in every university where Facebook was introduced, mental health went down. And in case you’re wondering, the reason he could do the study, was that universities measure their students’ wellbeing, regularly as a matter of course.

When, 4 years later in 2008, Facebook went live to the world, during the following 10 years, depression episodes went up by 80%. She does immediately admit that this isn’t proof. In her words, it is purely correlational, not causational. Nonetheless the study estimates, using statistical methods, that possibly a quarter of this decline in mental health could be due to social media. Sharot is guarded about drawing too firm a conclusion from the study but obviously feels there is a connection.
If you want to know more, then you see this interview on YouTube here.

Ok to product.

Joseph Joseph Cut & Carve Extra Large

I don’t actually own one of these, but when I think about this very simple product and how well it does its job, it makes me wonder why not?

1. It’s double sided, one with spikes and the other plain
2. It catches any amount of juice/blood that you care to throw at it
3. It’s extra large size is big enough for all but the hugest of turkeys
4. It has an anti-slip rim that means it feels safe and sturdy when used in anger
5. Handles for carrying that allow you to lift it easily and safely.
6. It’s available in red and black
7. And you can pour off the juices from either corner, with ease

A simple clever design, nicely executed. RRP is £30. The offer price was £25.00 and our price is now £20. Really good value

Zwilling Plus Wok Uncoated 32cm

The Zwilling Wok is a really decent sized 32cm wok, made of 3 ply stainless steel aluminium sandwich which (with educated guessing) is about 2mm thick. It is plain stainless so there’s not a non stick coating to worry about, which is a definite advantage in wok cooking. Why? Because non sticks are very temperature sensitive, and can quite easily be burnt off and, in my opinion, are rarely necessary. So, wok cooking, where temperatures are high to very high, are not good bedfellows with nonstick.

Returning for a moment to the pan thickness, if this was a frying pan then 2mm would not be sufficient to spread the heat evenly around the pan. With wok cooking (I’m told, I’ve never done any myself) all the cooking is quick and goes on in and around the base of the pan. And in fact, I recall Maurits Demeyere (the then CEO of Demeyere*) telling me that after living in the far east for some years, he designed his wok to spread heat well in the base, but he then ensured that the sides remain “relatively cool”, where the food can be stored that’s been cooked already.

Zwilling bought Demeyere about 10 or more years ago now, and guess where this wok is made….that’s correct, in the Demeyere* factory.

The offer I think is a very good one:
RRP £139.00
Offer Price £99.00 saving you £40!

Excellent product with a great pedigree.

* Arguably the best cookware in the world - for more information on Demeyere products click here

The last word

Since coming across Nick Cave for the first time earlier this year (I know, I know, I’ve led a sheltered life), I find I rather like his attitude and intellect. On his website people occasionally ask him questions, and in answer to a chap who is concerned that he and a close friend can’t agree on important issues, and is afraid of it affecting their friendship, Nick has a lot to say, but finishes thus….

“ A society stripped of the churn of differing opinions would be its own kind of anodyne hell, so don’t be afraid to disagree, but be ready to forgive and be forgiven, and let love and understanding reach audaciously across the divide.”

Wow…. “Let love and understanding reach audaciously across the divide.” I just love that…poetic and powerful. What a great quote to end on.

May I wish you a pleasant and peaceful weekend.


Kind regards,


Andrew Bluett-Duncan


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