Walking with Dinosaurs

I have recently watched the six-part documentary television seriesWalking with Dinosaurs. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh the program uses computer -generated imagery and animatronics in order to explore ancient life of the Mesozoic Era, portraying dinosaurs and their contemporaries in the style of a traditional nature documentary. The series received critical acclaim, winning two BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award in 2000. A feature film of the same name, inspired by the series, was released in 2013.

The first episode is set 220 million years ago, during the Late Triassic (Arizona) it features a bipedal Coelophysis hunting among a herd of dicynodonts called Placerias. Downstream, a male Thrinaxodon resides in a burrow with his family. A female Postosuchus, a rauisuchian and one of the largest carnivores alive in the Triassic, attacks the Placerias herd, and wounds one individual. Meanwhile Early pterosaurs called Peteinosaurus fly overhead hunting winged insects. The Coelophysis has a run in with Thrinaxodon The female Postosuchus is wounded by a Placarias and eventually dies and is eaten by a pack of Coelophysis. As the dry season continues, food becomes scarce. The Placerias herd embarks on a journey in search of water and the male Thrinaxodon resorts to hunting baby Coelophysis at night. Then a migrating herd of Plateosaurus, arrive foreshadowing the dominance of the sauropods after the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.

The second episode is set 152 million years ago, Late Jurassic and follows the life of a female Diplodocus, beginning at the moment when her mother lays a clutch of eggs at the edge of a conifer forest. Months later, some of the eggs hatch; the young sauropods are preyed upon by Ornitholestes. After hatching, the hatchlings retreat to the safety of the denser trees. They face many dangers as they grow, including predation by Ornitholestes, Allosaurus and confrontations with Stegosaurs. Esewhere, adult herds of Diplodocus are feeding on Cycads Sadly the creche of Diplodocus are nearly killed by a huge forest fire, only three survivors emerge onto the open plains, including the young female. They encounter several Brachiosaurus before two reach safety to a herd of adult Diplodocus. Unfortunately the female Diplodocus is attacked by a fearsome Allosaurus.

Episode three begins with, hundreds of ocean going Ophthalmosaurus arrive from the open ocean to give birth. Meanwhile Hybodus sharks and a Liopleurodon are on the hunt for food. Then when a mother Ophthalmosaurus has trouble giving birth, a pair of Hybodus pursue her until a giant marine reptile Liopleurodon shows up. Meanwhile a bipedal Eustreptospondylus swims to an island and encounters another Eustreptospondylus. Later, during the full Moon a group of horseshoe crabs gather at the shore to lay their eggs, which attracts a flock of Rhamphorhynchus in the morning to eat the eggs. However, a few of the pterosaurs are caught and eaten by a Eustreptospondylus. While the Ophthalmosaurus juveniles are growing up, they are hunted by Hybodus, which in turn, are prey for the Liopleurodon. While the male Liopleurodon is hunting, he confronts a female Liopleurodon. Sadly A cyclone strikes the islands, killing many animals, including several Rhamphorhynchus and the Liopleurodon, who is washed ashore and discovered by A group of carnivorous Eustreptospondylus.

The next episode Giant of the Skies” takes place 127 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous. The episode features an enormous flying reptile ornithocheirus resting among a colony of breeding Tupandactylus in Brazil, who flies off for Cantabria for the Mating Season. he flies past a migrating group of the iguanodont Dakotadon and the a Polacanthus. On reaching the southern tip of North America, storm weather forces him to shelter. He then sets off across the Atlantic, which was then only 300 kilometers wide, and eventually reaches the westernmost of the European islands where he encounters Utah Raptors hunting Iguanadon. So Ornithocheirus flies to the outskirts of a forest to rest after stealing a fish from another pterosaur, but is driven away by Iberomesornis. The Ornithocheirus reaches Cantabria but sadly the delays, exhaustion, and old age have taken their toll on his health.

The fifth episode Spirits of the Ice Forest” takes place 106 million years ago during the Middle Cretaceous in Antarctica/Australia. It features a clan of small bipedal Leaellynasaura who emerge during spring after several months of total darkness. They feed on the fresh plant growth, and build nests to lay their eggs; Meanwhile a large amphibian Koolasuchus also wakes and heads to a river, where he will stay during the summer. Out on the banks of the river, migrating herds of Muttaburrasaurus have also arrived to feed and lay their eggs. However a carnivorous Australovenator is hunting both the Leaellynasaura and the Muttaburrasaurus. As autumn arrives, the Muttaburrasaurus herd begins to migrate, and the Koolasuchus leaves the river to find a pool for hibernation. Sadly the matriarch of the Leaellynasaura clan is killed by the Australovenator. However as
spring returns, and two Leaellynasaura males challenge each other for the right to mate, and the clan establishes a new dominant pair.

The last episode Death of a Dynasty takes place Several months before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, the last dinosaurs are living under intense environmental stress due to excessive volcanic activity. A female Tyrannosaurus mates with a smaller male, who kills a young Triceratops to appease her. Three days later, after repeated copulation, she drives him off. She spends her time Protecting her nest from raiding Bipedal Dromaeosaurus and small mammalian Didelphodon. Meanwhile, herds of Edmontosaurus wander between islands of vegetation among the volcanic ash, and Torosaurus rut for the right to mate. Unfortunately while hunting for food and defending her two surviving offspring, the mother is fatally injured confronting an Ankylosaurus. Unfortunately a cataclysmic event then makes matters much worse and most of the Dinosaurs are wiped out…

World Digestive Health Day

The World Gastroenterology Organisation celebrates World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) annually every May 29. The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is an international federation of over 100 national GI societies and 4 regional associations of gastro enterology representing over 50,000 individual members. The World Gastroenterology Organisation can trace its roots back to Georges Brohée (1887–1957), a Belgian surgeon who promoted modern gastroenterology, and founded the Belgian Society of Gastroenterology in 1928. He also organized the first International Congress of Gastroenterology in Brussels in 1935. In May 1958 the first World Congress of Gastroenterology was held in Washington DC, where Georges Brohée’s continuing efforts culminated in the constitution of the Organization Mondiale de Gastro-entérologie” (OMGE) on May 29, 1958.Dr H.L. Bockus was the organisation’s first President. His vision was to enhance standards of education and training in gastroenterology. Developed nations were the initial focus of the organization, however today the WGO embraces a global approach with a special emphasis on developing regions.

Gastroenterology  is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from mouth to anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this speciality. Physicians practicing in this field are called gastroenterologists. They have usually completed about eight years of pre-medical and medical education, a year-long internship (if this is not a part of the residency), three years of an internal medicine residency, and two to three years in the gastroenterology fellowship. Gastroenterologists perform a number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including colonoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy. Some gastroenterology trainees will complete a “fourth-year” (although this is often their seventh year of graduate medical education) in transplant hepatology, advanced endoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease, motility or other topics. Hepatology, or hepatobiliary medicine, encompasses the study of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tree, while proctology emcompasses the fields of anus and rectum diseases. They are traditionally considered sub-specialties of gastroenterology.

The WGO (World Gastroenterology Organisation) Foundation was established in 2007 to raise financial support to develop and sustain the World Gastroenterology Organisation’s global training and education programs. These programs focus primarily on developing, low-resource countries and aim to meet the increasing demand for digestive disorder prevention and treatment worldwide and to raise financial support to develop and sustain WGO’s global training and education programs, especially in developing and low-resource countries. The WGO Foundation has fund raising activities including Initiating fund raising campaigns:

WGO is focused on “the improvement of standards in gastroenterology training and education on a global scale.” The association was founded in 1935 and incorporated in 1958. The WGO was originally known as the Organisation Mondiale de Gastroenterologie (OMGE) and was renamed the World Gastroenterology Organisation in 2002. Activietiex include educational initiatives such as Training Centers, Train the Trainers Workshops, public awareness campaigns such as World Digestive Health Day and Global Guidelines which cascade, providing viable solutions which are adaptable to varying resource levels around the world, as well as a quadrennial World Congress of Gastro enterology. The WGO Foundation was incorporated in 2007 and is dedicated to raising funds to support the ongoing WGO education initiatives and activities. Each year, WDHD focuses upon a particular digestive disorder and seeks to increase general public awareness of prevention and therapy. Past WDHD themes have included:

2005: Health and Nutrition
2006: Helicobacter pylori infection
2007: Viral Hepatitis
2008: Optimal Nutrition in Health and Disease
2009: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
2010: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
2011: Enteric Infections: Prevention and Management – Clean Food, Clean Water, Clean Environment WDHD 2011
2012: From Heartburn to Constipation – Common GI Symptoms in the Community: Impact and Interpretation WDHD 2012
2013: LIVER CANCER: Act Today. Save Your Life Tomorrow. Awareness. Prevention. Detection. Treatment WDHD 2013
2014: Gut Microbes – Importance in Health and Disease WDHD 2014
2015: Heartburn: a Global Perspective WDHD 2015
2016: Diet and gut Health WDHD 2016

Simon Jones (The Verve)

English Bass player Simon Robin David Jones was born 29 July 1972. He played bass and provided occasional backing vocals for the English band The Verve. Jones attended Rudston Road primary school in Childwall, Liverpool and moved to Wigan when he was 13 years old.

English rock band The Verve were formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong later became a member. Beginning with a psychedelic sound with their debut LP A Storm in Heaven, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits. The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history. The album features the hit singles “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Lucky Man”. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

Soon after their commercial peak, the Verve broke up in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. According to Billboard magazine, “the group’s rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics” During an eight-year split, Ashcroft dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: “You’re more likely to get all four Beatles on stage. The band’s original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single “Love Is Noise”. Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the third time in 2009.

Away from the musical side of The Verve, Jones is the only other band member other than the band’s main mouthpiece, lead singer Richard Ashcroft, who tends to speak publicly and in interviews. Most notably, he, along with Ashcroft, made a speech at the 2007 Q Awards as they won a classic album award for their 1997 album Urban Hymns. He thanked the band member’s wives and children and also thanked former Verve guitarist Simon Tong, who was not included in the newly reformed Verve line up. He also did an interview on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show after the band’s 2007 reformation, and he also appeared alone and alongside Ashcroft in a handful of Verve documentaries and other miscellaneous interviews throughout the 1990s. When The Verve split in 1999 due to in-band tensions, many believed they were down to tensions between singer Richard Ashcroft and lead guitarist Nick McCabe. While this is true, there were in fact problems, described as ‘serious’ by Ashcroft in later interviews, between Ashcroft and Jones also. In June 2007, he rejoined The Verve in their reunion but by 2009 they had disbanded again.

Following the breakup of The Verve in 1999, Jones played bass and wrote songs for the short lived band The Shining, alongside former Verve band mate Simon Tong they released one album in 2002 called True Skies. In 2003, Jones was the recording bassist for Howie Day on Day’s second album, Stop All The World Now, on Epic Records. Since 2004, Jones has been an official member of the backing band for Cathy Davey. In November 2005, he performed with the Gorillaz live band playing guitar at the Manchester Opera House, as part of the Manchester International Festival, again alongside fellow Verve member Simon Tong.

Noel Gallagher (Oasis, High Flying Birds)

English musician and singer-songwriter Noel Gallagher was born 29 May 1967. Formerly the lead guitarist, occasional lead singer and principal songwriter of the rock band Oasis. He is currently fronting his solo project, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Raised in Burnage, Manchester with Liam, Noel began learning guitar at the age of thirteen. After a series of odd jobs in construction, he worked for local Manchester band Inspiral Carpets as a roadie and technician in 1988.Whilst touring with them, he learned that Liam had formed a band of his own, known as The Rain, which eventually took on the name Oasis. After Gallagher returned to England, he was invited by his brother to join Oasis as songwriter and guitarist.

Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs (guitar), Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan (bass guitar), and Tony McCarroll (drums, percussion). They were later joined by Liam’s older brother Noel Gallagher (lead guitar and vocals) as a fifth member, becoming the band’s settled line-up until April 1995.

Oasis signed to Creation Records in 1993 and released their record-setting debut album Definitely Maybe (1994). The following year the band recorded (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) with drummer Alan White, in the midst of a chart rivalry with Britpop peers Blur. Along with Suede, Pulp and Blur, Oasis came to be regarded as a component of the Britpop “big four”, and the Gallagher brothers were featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for their sibling disputes and wild lifestyles. In 1997 Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now (1997), and although it was the fastest-selling album in UK chart history, the album’s popularity tapered off quickly, but not before selling 8 million copies. McGuigan and Arthurs left Oasis in 1999 as the band released Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000). After their departures, they were replaced by former Heavy Stereo guitarist/frontman Gem Archer and former Ride guitarist/frontman Andy Bell. Their fifth studio album Heathen Chemistry was released in 2002. In 2004 drummer Alan White left the band leaving them as a four-piece with addition of The Who drummer Zak Starkey as recording and touring unofficial fifth member and found renewed success and popularity with Don’t Believe the Truth. Following the recording of the band’s seventh album Dig Out Your Soul in May 2008, Starkey departed the band and with Chris Sharrock as touring member, Oasis did their last tour as a collective band.

As well as singing in Mancunian accents and references to British culture in their lyrics, Oasis were influenced by British guitar bands from the past. They have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums, and won fifteen NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and one for the Best Album of the Last 30 Years as voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners; they have been nominated for three Grammy Awards. By 2009, Oasis had sold over 70 million records worldwide.  The band were listed in the Guinness World Records book in 2010 for “Longest Top 10 UK Chart Run by a Group” after an unprecedented run of 22 top 10 hits in the UK.The band also holds the Guinness World Record for being the most successful act in the UK between the years 1995 and 2005, spending 765 weeks in the top 75 singles and albums charts.

Sadly on 28 August 2009 Noël Gallagher announced that he was leaving Oasis, following an altercation with his brother Liam prior to a gig in Paris. This was not the first altercation Noël has had with Liam, and Gallagher’s run with Oasis was marked by turbulence, especially during the peak of Britpop, during which he was involved in at least several disputes with Liam, and the brothers’ fights and wild lifestyles regularly made headlines in British tabloid newspapers. Gallagher (along with Oasis) also shared a personal rivalry with fellow Britpop band Blur. However, Gallagher was often regarded as the spear-head of the Britpop movement, and at one point of time, NME termed a number of Britpop bands (including Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as “Noelrock”, citing Gallagher’s influence on their success. Many have praised Gallagher’s songwriting, with George Martin claiming Noel to be ‘the finest songwriter of his generation’.

Since acrimoniously splitting from Oasis in August 2009, Noel has formed a new band called “Noel Gallaghers Flying Birds” The bands first album HIGH FLYING BIRDS was released on October 17th 2011 and the follow up to High Flying Birds, is yet to be released and is said to be a more adventurous 18-track collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous and Noel Gallagher Also appears on the latest Gorillaz album “Humanz” on the track “We got the power”.

Francis Rossi OBE (Status Quo)

Best known for being a co-founder of the English rock band Status Quo , British singer and Guitarist Francis Rossi, OBE was born 29th May 1949. Status Quo were orignially called The Spectres & were founded by schoolboys Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster in 1962. After a number of lineup changes, the band became “The Status Quo” in late 1967, finally settling on the name “Status Quo” in 1969. They have recorded over 60 chart hits in the UK, more than any other rock group. 22 of these have reached the UK Top Ten. The origins of Status Quo were in the rock and roll freakbeat band “The Spectres” formed in 1962.Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963 they added drummer John Coghlan.

They began writing their own material and after a year met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965 Rossi and Parfitt, who had become close friends, made a commitment to continue working together. On 18 July 1966 The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing two singles that year, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”. By 1967, the group had discovered psychedelia At this time the line-up also included organist Roy Lynes. They released another single “Almost But Not Quite There” which was also a flop. In late 1967 the band became The Status Quo, and in January 1968 they released the psychedelic-flavoured “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. Rick Parfitt was invited to join the band just as the song hit the UK Singles Chart, reaching Number 7. “Matchstick Men” also became their only Top 40 hit single in the United States. Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single, “Black Veils of Melancholy”, they had a hit again the same year with the poppy, Marty Wilde penned “Ice in the Sun”, which climbed to Number 8.After their second album Spare Parts failed to impact commercially, the band, disillusioned with their musical direction, abandoned pop psychedelia and Carnaby Street fashions in favour of a hard rock/boogie sound, faded denims and T-shirts, an image which was to become their trademark throughout the 1970s.

After two well-received but relatively poor selling albums in 1970 and 1971, their major breakthrough came when they signed with the heavy rock and progressive label Vertigo. Their first album for Vertigo, Piledriver was released in 1972, and heralded an even heavier, self-produced sound. This album was essentially the stylistic template for each album they released up until Blue for You in 1976. During this period, and throughout the rest of the 1970s, they became one of the UK’s leading rock bands, gaining a faithful following due to their relentless touring and energetic live gigs. Quo’s more popular songs from this era include “Paper Plane”, “Caroline”, “Down Down”, “Rain”, “Rockin’ All Over the World” and “Whatever You Want”. “Down Down” topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1975, becoming their only UK number one single to date . In 1976, they signed a pioneering sponsorship deal with Levi’s. To date Quo have sold approximately 128 million records worldwide. They released their latest album Live on Stage O2 in 2013. Sadly though Rick Parfitt died on 23 December 2016.

Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds)

English Musician Mel George Gaynor was born 29 May 1959 in Balham, London, England. He is best known as the longtime drummer for the rock band Simple Minds. Gaynor was born to a Jamaican father and an Afro-Brazilian mother. Gaynor began drumming at age 11 and had his first professional engagement at age 14. Gaynor considers The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to be his main influences.

Gaynor first played drums for the British Hard Rock band Samson, Who were formed in 1977 by guitarist and vocalist Paul Samson. They are best known for their first three albums with future Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, then known as “Bruce Bruce”, and drummer Thunderstick (real name Barry Graham Purkis), who wore a leather mask and performed on stage in a metal cage. Drummer Clive Burr was also a member of the band, both before and after his tenure with Iron Maiden. Drummer Mel Gaynor also joined Samson but left soon afterwards. Dickinson’s replacement on vocals, Nicky Moore, performed with Samson throughout the mid-1980s and again from the late 1990s onwards; he has also been a member of the bands Mammoth and Nicky Moore and the Blues Corporation.

After leaving Samson, Gaynor joined Simple Minds in 1982 as a session drummer for the New Gold Dream album (as a recommendation by record producer Pete Walsh), playing on six of the nine tracks. He later joined the band permanently for the New Gold Dream tour, as a replacement for Mike Ogletree. Except for a period (1992–97) away from the band after the Real Life tour of 1991–92, he has been the band’s drummer to the present day. And has had a successful music career being a member of Simple Minds for over 20 years.

In addition to drumming, he is active as a songwriter and a record producer and has also played alongside other acts such as: Elton John, Lou Reed, Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Samson, Mango, Kirsty MacColl, The Associates, Orange Juice, Peter Gabriel, The Pretenders, Prljavo kazalište, Gary Moore, Jackson Browne, Little Steven, Brian May, The Nolans, Goldie, Robert Palmer, Joan Armatrading and Light of the World.

In 2007 Gaynor kicked off his solo project with a version of play that funky music and his new solo album was released in 2016. Gaynor’s first single is the re recording of Robert Palmers Addicted to released 2016. Gaynor was also a member of Birmingham-based Muscles, a funk-oriented covers band that had minor chart success with “If it Relaxes Your Mind” and “I’m a Girlwatcher”.

Gaynor has played a variety of drum sets over the years, including and currently Dixon drums. He has played a variety of cymbals as well, including at first Zildjian during the first years of Simple Minds, but then switched to Paiste in the early 1980s, which he played for much of the duration of his career. He has also endorsed Anatolian and UFIP cymbals. Gaynor has recently acquired an Italian company to make his signature sticks called Drum Art. And will also coming out with a signature snare drum from the same company.

G.K.Chesterton

Prolific English writer G.K Chesterton was born 29th May 1874. He published works on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox”. Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories— first carefully turning them inside out.” For example, Chesterton wrote “Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.”Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics and even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man.

As a political thinker, Chesterton cast aspersions on both progressivism and conservatism, saying, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.” Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, and came to identify such a position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton’s “friendly enemy” according to Time, said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius”. Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, John Henry Cardinal Newman, and John Ruskin. Among his best known works are The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Heretics, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study, The Man Who Was Thursday, Orthodoxy, Manalive, Father Brown short stories (detective fiction), Eugenics and Other Evils, Saint Francis of Assisi (1923), Doubleday, The Everlasting Man & Saint Thomas Aquinas. A lot of these can be found on the Project Gutenberg Website.