Thursday, 11 June 2009

Knitty gritty

Knitting has become a very fashionable pastime; perhaps it is a bid to step out of our hi-tech busy lives and create handcrafted items and gifts at home or with others. This feature on the Victoria and Albert Museum's website includes 1940's knitting patterns and knitting podcasts.
A fine example of Official Publications white propaganda on the NLS Propaganda web feature shows a booklet of patterns. Dating from 1941 (see photo opposite) the booklet encourages women to do their bit for Britain by knitting for the army.

OPU also collects publications from the V&A. Recent acquisitions include:

Art Deco fashion
Hats: an anthology
Japanese art and design.

If you are feeling inspired to do your bit with yarn and needles, this month celebrates World Wide Knit in Public Day, with "knit-ins" happening all over the globe starting this weekend (13th June).

(Photo credit: National Library of Scotland)

Of germs and men

The third edition of Communicable disease epidemiology and control by Roger Webber has just been catalogued in OPU.
The steady progress of avian influenza and now the emergence and spread of A(H1N1) influenza ("swine flu") mean that communicable diseases are not just a concern for the medical fraternity. Disease seems to be in the headlines daily.
If you wish to find out more about disease, epidemics, sanitation and public health, this revised and updated book is a comprehensive guide. Clearly laid out, it features causes and characteristics of diseases along with methods of transmission, and includes the essentials of parasitology and entomology. New threats to health such as pox diseases, arboviruses and hospital infections are covered as well as bioterrorism.
Summary tables of clinical presentations, diagrams and maps, plus an extensive list of diseases make this book useful to health professionals, epidemiologists and the casual reader.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

You are what you eat

In March 1919, the Royal Society Food (War) Committee published Report on the food requirements of man and their variations according to age, sex, size, and occupation. This fascinating study on diet, energy requirements and food quality has just been added to the online catalogue.
The average height of a man in 1883 was 5 ft 7.4 inches. Women averaged 5 ft 2.7 inches. American and Canadians, measured in 1912, were slightly taller.
Energy and food requirements are divided into job type. A stonemason was deemed to have the most food/energy requirements, at 5,500 calories, a tailor 2,750 calories per day.
"Brain workers" - as the report dubs those who did paperwork and "abstruse calculations" - required more consideration than that of the bodily labourer. It recommends providing these workers with "more expensive animal foods" than "the man who earns his living by the work of his muscles." The reason given was that the food consumed by the desk bound employee has to be light and digestible. This holds true today - most people know that sluggish feeling after a large carbohydrate-based lunch..!

Human Trafficking

The Trade in Human Beings : Human Trafficking in the UK
Sixth report of the Home Affairs Committee
HC paper 23 I-II

This two volume work has recently landed on my desk and as I was cataloguing it I was appalled at the key facts that were mentioned.
Some of the facts are :
1. At a conservative estimate there are at least 5,000 trafficking victims in the UK.
2. There are about 8,000 women work in off-street prostitution in London alone.
3. It is also estimated that 330 child victims will be trafficked into the UK each year 4. That each sex trafficker earns on average £500-£1000 per woman per week.
5. There are only 100-300 prosecutions for trafficking across the EU each year.
6. About 60% of suspected child victims in local authority care go missing and are not subsequently found.
In the introduction it mentions that although we are becoming more aware of human trafficking as we read in the news about the Chinese cockle-pickers that died in Morecombe Bay in 2004. It seems that although slavery has been abolished the insidious form of trading human beings for forced labour and sexual exploitation still takes place in this developed country.
What is Human Trafficking?
The Un defines human trafficking as: the recruitment, transportation, transfer harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat to use force of other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, or deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

It boils down to the victims are in effect “owned” by the traffickers.