"Telling old stories, and singing songs, that make me think about where I came from"

ImageThis afternoon I am going to watch the Dalai Lama deliver a speech at the Caird Hall in Dundee. I am not a Buddhist, I have to confess I don’t know a whole lot about Buddhism, but like the Pope, the Dalai Lama is someone you feel impelled to listen to despite not being a follower of his religion: you get the feeling that he might just say something that springs a light somewhere in the recesses of your mind. Maybe that’s just me. It’s just as likely that by visiting the Dalai Lama you have added another interesting anecdote to be recited at family dinners, weddings, or in awkward, boastful chit-chat.

This article isn’t really about the Dalai Lama, however. It’s about the way in which his visit has been politicised by certain members of Scotland’s political community. The SNP have not rolled out the red carpet, Alex Salmond has not returned early from a promotional trip to the US, and Nicola Sturgeon has, apparently, so shamefully not stepped in to welcome the Dalai Lama on our dear leader’s behalf. And Dundee City Council, the Lord Provost in particular, are – apparently – ‘panda’ ing to the Chinese. This is what Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie would have you believe.


Now, away from Willie Rennie’s fanciful projection of the world, what is really going on? The Dalai Lama is not on a state visit. Indeed, the Prime Minister nor anyone else from Westminster have met him, clearly accepting that this visit is ‘pastoral’ in nature. This is not a visit about Tibet, about Scotland’s relationship with a wide and diverse religious community, or about anything that would warrant the attention of politicians. In fact, I would go as far to say that politicians’ involvement would have detracted from the nature of the Dalai Lama’s visit.

Willie Rennie’s attacks have been most cutting towards the role – or, in his view, lack of a role – played by Dundee City Council. A relative of the Lord Provost tragically passed away this week, and yet Rennie has seen fit to lambast the Provost for not speaking at the event. Admittedly, Rennie has retracted a little and widened his attacks to the Council at large, but is this unfeeling, undignified jab at a man in grief indicative of Scotland’s political community? Are we so tribal that even the death of an opponent’s loved one can be used as legitimate political capital?

I can see it now. The Lib Dem’s PR agent hunched over the morning news stories and then, EUREKA, the SNP are not meeting the Dalai Lama. We can score points on this one. A little, quivering voice perhaps interjected that this was not entirely fair, pointed out the true nature of the Dalai Lama’s visit, and the circumstances surrounding the Lord Provost’s withdrawal from the event. But the desire to point score, even in the most severe and unfeeling of manners, overruled.

As I said at the beginning of this article, this is not about the Dalai Lama. And it is not to say I am entirely right, perhaps the Chinese have applied a little pressure on the SNP not to make more of the Dalai Lama’s visit than is necessary. But I’m sure I am not the only one to find Willie Rennie’s attacks on the SNP and, particularly, the Lord Provost, as more than a little unsavoury.


On the 3rd October, 2011, I wrote an article for Scotland’s best political blog, Betternation, entitled, ‘The use and abuse of history in the independence debate: calling all historians to the table’. In it, I made the case for Scottish historians to step up and play a part in the independence debate, if for no other reason than to debunk the myths which abound on either side of the argument. ‘Too wee, too stupid’, may seem like an outdated argument from the unionist camp, and some of you will revile at this characterisation of their position, but it is an argument that is continually employed. And harking back to the brave Scots’ patriots, the corruption and bribery of those who voted for union, and the Gaelic, Dalriada myth from the pro-independence side may, again, appear glib. But it is harked to again and again. It might often be subtle, but our national myths – our historical narrative – may I even say, ‘Scotland’s story’ – provides the framework for so many of the constitutional debates which are currently taking place in our native land. In fact, in many ways, all political parties are involved in trying to shape a story of Scotland in which they are placed into the centre of the narrative. Just think about the SNP’s claim of being, ‘Scotland’s party’. And if one takes a look at Scottish Labour’s website which has had a cosmetic make-over since the election of Johann Lamont as their leader, then you will notice that little has changed, but the saltire has been emblazoned across it like a jingoistic and slightly eccentric uncle at a family wedding.

Just a couple of days ago, on the 19th March, a historian answered my call. Boston College PHD student, Craig Gallagher, made his contribution on Betternation in an article entitled, ‘The challenge of historical preconceptions’. In it, he argued that the Darien Scheme – Scotland’s failed attempt at setting up a colony – was far more complex than the simplistic glorious failure that is so often portrayed, and as it appears in the collective consciousness of modern Scots. Gallagher claims that Darien is often harkened to as an example of what happens when the Scots are left to their own devices. In effect, the unionists cry, Scotland needs England, Scotland is indeed, ‘Too wee, too stupid’. In the comments thread, unionists and nationalists (note the small ‘n’) alike became rather heated in their responses to one another. You could be forgiven for dismissing this as the usual crass and offensive to-and-fro of political anoraks who have nothing better to do than traipse over the same old ground; over and over again. But there is something deeper going on here. If you take the time to really think about it, these are the battles – the exchanges of words – between two markedly different Scottish identities. This is not a new phenomenon and, as I argue in much of my research, it is perceptible throughout the seventeenth century. But recognising the independence debate as, at least in part, a confliction of rival identities, will, in my opinion, allow us to better understand what is going on. And if you’re partisan, as this writer is, then it may – just may – allow us to frame arguments from our respective camps which tap into the bigger picture; into the real reason certain people find the whole debate so inflammatory.

So what am I saying here. Well, not terribly much. I welcome Craig Gallagher’s contribution and commend him for what was an excellent article. I also recognise the rival Scottish identity which is currently entrenching itself, each day feeling a little more surrounded by those who would so quickly wrap themselves in a saltire. Most importantly, however, I’m making another impassioned argument for the importance of history. There is a reason why we find alzheimers – or for that matter, any other disorder where one loses their memory – so terrifying. Primarily because without memory, without a history, we are no longer who we believe ourselves to be, we are stripped of our identity. This is why history is so important in all aspects of our lives and particularly important to the ongoing Scottish constitutional debate. I just hope more historians follow Gallagher’s lead.

Guest Posts

Over the last few months my workload has increased, and increased, and slowly subsumed me. This is in part why I have not had the opportunity to blog as much as I would have liked.

As a partial remedy to this – and because I think it will be fun to hear the views of some others – I’ve decided to add a ‘guest blog’ section. Over the next few weeks I’ll be hosting the thoughts of some friends. Be sure to have a read.

All opinions are specific to each author.

It looks like I’m going to have to start every blog post by apologising for not having blogged in awhile. This is something that I don’t want to do, so I’m going to get it out of the way now, and then hope for your understanding in the future. My lack of posts are simply down to the fact that blogging has become the very last of my priorities. Documenting your life through jumbled words on a computer screen seems to, in some way, preclude actually going about your day and living that life. After getting through my ever increasing work load, perhaps going to the cinema, more often watching the local ice hockey team, or generally just relaxing with a book at the end of a day of studying, the last thing that comes to mind is engaging in the activity which I am involved with at precisely this second. But today I woke early, the morning light is streaming into my room, the tree outside my window has frozen again, and it really has been quite awhile since I last posted. Plus, I’m desperate for any distraction from having to start studying again. So, here I am.

Frozen tree

Just as a note, as I type these letters I am also engaged in a debate with a Councillor on twitter as to whether or not trees freezing is a uniquely Nordic phenomenon or something observable in Scotland, as well. I think he wins, but I have never noticed frozen trees until living in Sweden.

Slalom expert extraordinaire

Since my last entry I have experienced a lot more of Sweden. Skiing – no, not of the Nordic kind, but skiing nonetheless. Visiting Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city and comparable to Glasgow – if we insert Sweden into a sort of Scottish model (something I do on a regular basis). Watched ice hockey, professional and children playing in a school playground, eaten more meatballs, found out what that purple sauce on the meatball sandwiches is, promptly bought the purple sauce, experienced -15 degrees, gained an understanding of why Swedes remove their shoes at the front door, and picked up a little bit more of the lingo.

Firstly, skiing. Now I had skied once before, although it was about a decade ago, on a dry slope, and I quickly realised once I got to the top of that fateful hill two hours north of Uppsala, that I remembered nothing from that one time experience. So I think it should be discounted. I spent the morning on my backside, my knees felt like they were going to break, the gaggle of children on the slopes seemed to be infinitely better at this pursuit than I could ever dream of being, and we went for some lunch at the point when I was getting ready to throw in the metaphorical towel. The final straw was when I had to voluntarily collapse to the ground as I sped towards a small child, the look of fear contorting his face, and the impending guilt of having annihilated a toddler pressed heavy on my mind. Clearly I was not the first person to have ever done this, as his mother motioned to me and uttered in Swedish that I had dropped my goggles. What kind of mental pursuit is this?

After lunch I was like a new man. Well, so I like to think. In my mind a revolution occurred, all of a sudden I was an expert slalomist and I could skid stop in an impressive fashion. Now I am aware that the reality probably looked far different, and from my girlfriend, Julie’s, giggling at my attempts, I’m fairly sure I am on the mark with this one. But either way, I had markedly improved. As we took the lift to the top of an intermediate run, skied off, slalomed our way down, and I stopped without even a hint of a fall, I suddenly realised why people like to ski. It was a rush – but I am still left thinking that any recreational activity in which you take the greatest pleasure at not falling and almost killing yourself, is a rather odd pursuit. But I might just be on my way to becoming a convert.

Gothenburg - and my new lack of hair

Secondly, Gothenburg. My father decided to take a jaunt out to my adopted Nordic home, but since ryanair flights are far more convenient to Gothenburg than Stockholm – and we thought it would be nice to see the other side of Sweden – we decided to visit its second city. It reminded me a lot more of Scotland than Sweden. It was windy, there was no snow, we saw some homeless people drinking on the streets, almost tripped over beggars, and we kept coming across parks or streets named after Scottish industrialists; Keiller Park, Carnegie Street (or ‘Gatan’ to those versed in Swedish), and so on. When we visited the city museum, the nineteenth century section was more of a who’s who of Scottish capitalists than anything particularly Swedish.

I think this post is quite long enough, so I’ll leave it there. I could go on to tell you about the stuffed whale in Gothenburg’s Natural History Museum, the fact that the museum itself was like something from the 1950s and that you could almost imagine Carl Linnaeus himself hunching over the exhibits, or about the gender history that I am writing just now (who would have thought). But I’ll save these intrigues for another time.

One last thing; I really, really, can’t wait for spring.

Gamla Uppsala

Meant to be

I sometimes wonder what on earth I am doing in Sweden. Most of the time I’m completely unaware of where I am. Other times I feel very settled and comfortable with my surroundings. But there are those moments – almost existential I guess – where I take a second, breathe, and realise I’m sitting in a country I’d only visited briefly once before I packed my little (well, it really wasn’t that little) suitcase and set off from Edinburgh Airport. It’s not that those moments entail any, ‘get me the hell out of here’, feelings. It’s more, how did my life lead me to be sitting here in Sweden’s fourth largest city? If you had asked me two years ago where I imagined I would be post-university, I think ‘Sweden’ would have been roughly the last answer I would have given you. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all. It’s just an excellent example of how you never know where life might lead you.

Now, I say all of this. But my father emailed me a picture this weekend which perhaps pours a healthy dose of doubt upon the above paragraph. There I am stood by the Trevi Fountain in Rome, 6 years ago. I had never actually seen the picture and, until he sent it through, I had completely forgotten that I’d ever owned a Swedish football shirt. I don’t remember why I bought it, where I purchased it, and I don’t even really remember wearing it. There is a vague memory of being chased down a street in Dundee on one of our unnaturally hot summer days a few years ago, by a bee that was convinced I was a giant, moving daffodil. I can’t imagine that ever happened to Henrik Larsson.

As hard as I try, I am struggling to cast my mind back to what my thoughts of Sweden were before I decided to apply to Uppsala University. Most likely, I thought of beautiful people, huge wealth, equality and social democracy, and an incredible welfare system. And has that changed? Well, in ways. But gaining a more nuanced, sophisticated impression of country whilst demythologising it, actually adds to its attraction.

Oh, we have snow by the way. Fairly deep, powdery snow. And there was me thinking it would never come. One last thing; please, please don’t judge me for the sideburns in the picture.

Me in Lanzarote

It’s once again been awhile since my last post, but I hope you can understand the Christmas holidays are hardly conducive to blogging. In the intervening period I have been back in Scotland, have taken a jaunt to the Canary Islands for New Year, and I am now back in the cold, rather dark, fairly bleak, but surprisingly welcoming Uppsala. After the events of late last year my head is a little more, ‘back in the game’. So bring on some history, a bit of blogging, and my half-hearted attempts at learning the lingo.

But I have a little confession. It’s not events in Sweden that have caught my interest this week, but rather the tumultuous roller-coaster that is the run-in to the independence referendum.

I am somewhat out of the loop in my self-imposed exile. The occasional glance at the British media tells me things are hotting up back home, and my former flat mate has gone ‘super-nat’ on me with his updates from his own little exile in Belfast. It’s funny how it’s the nats I know who have left Scotland. Anyway, as Gary put it, we’ll be flocking back before 2014.


David Cameron and Alex Salmond

Well, for the independence referendum of course. Westminster have decided to intervene in Scotland’s constitutional quagmire and I am left thinking that David Cameron must be on the SNP payroll – or at very least Salmond has something juicy on him. Why would a Tory Prime Minister believe it a good idea to tell the Scots what to do? Because let’s be honest, that is what he has attempted. And what has been the result, a surge in support for independence and a sky-rocketing in the level of new recruits to the SNP. The whole affair has shown the utter ignorance that Westminster MPs have of Scottish public feeling and sensibilities. Or rather, the ignorance of the Tories. I still believe the Liberal Democrats have a little more awareness, but having sold their souls, they are left tagging along behind their blue masters like some pathetic wretch – images of Nick Cleg merged with Gollum come to mind.

What of Labour? Well Tom Harris MP decided to make a video parodying Alex Salmond as Hitler – now that was a wise move. At no point did he stop and take a breath, have even the slightest of clarity, and realise this was going to back-fire big time. Ed Miliband has done, well, nothing other than coalesce London-Labour’s position to the Tories. And Johann Lamont (the Scottish Labour leader for those who don’t know) has been less than clear. In fact, her press statement – all the more worrying because it must have been written by a communications team – left anyone who heard it rather confused, certainly less clear on Labour’s position than when she started muttering, and let’s face it, a whole lot less intelligent for having had to endure the speech.

I can almost imagine the conversations that occurred in Westminster a few weeks ago. First between the cabinet, then some calls from staffers making sure all London parties were singing from the same song-sheet. It’s almost possible to hear David Cameron saying,

‘We need to have a full frontal assault on the SNP.’

‘Let’s force them into a corner.’

‘We can outsmart those Scots, they’re just jumped up councillors after all.’

‘I mean, who gives a damn about Scotland, but we need to keep them in the UK: there’s all that oil and what if we were forced off the security council?’

Salmond, for his part, has run rings around Westminster this week. The SNP have played an absolute blinder. There is of course a lot more two-and-fro to come. There will be times that independence looks inevitable, and times when the union looks stronger than it ever has.

These are the musing of an outsider, a patient – and sometimes not so patient – observer. But one thing is for sure, I’ll be out knocking the doors with the best of them. Westminster has thus far underestimated the SNP. I think they may have learnt their lesson this week. But then, never underestimate the ignorance, contempt, and sheer egoism of Cameron et al. They would do well to note that this is the moment the SNP was born for. But then, I would rather they continue the way they’re going.

Too long

It’s been quite awhile since I last blogged. I’m not sure if I really want to anymore, but I thought I’d give it a bash again. It’s a little like trying on a jumper that fell down the back of your drawers; you remember it, it brings back some nice and warm feelings; but it’s old, you’ve been there and done that, you’re not sure if it’s for you anymore.

Sweden has snow. That might be a little like saying, ‘bears *cough* in the woods’, but it’s taken its time to arrive. Even then, in fairness, it’s hardly covering the ground. The famed snow of Sweden seems to have given me a body swerve. In other weather related news, Scotland had hurricane winds and a tornado in Glasgow. No, the tornado was not part of my dream to remove the weege from the map, it genuinely happened. 

Anyway, I’m abundantly aware that this has become word spew; the inner and not so logical workings of my mind. Scotland is beckoning and as of Thursday I’ll be back in the land of whisky and heather – and fish suppers, strokes, alcoholism, and sectarianism. Scotland is like that rough pal – we all have one of them – you know, the guy who you meet for a pint now and again, you kind of tolerate him because he makes you feel real, like you have your feet on the ground, and let’s face it, you kind of like his crass pathetic self-loathing which makes your life feel all the better. It’s self-affirming. Well, if we accept that description, then Sweden is like your posh upper-middle-class friend who went to private school in Edinburgh, whose daddy is a business man, who plays golf, laughs too often and in a rather snorty fashion, who believes everyone owns a piano, wears jumpers his granny knitted but somehow makes them look good, and who generally makes you feel a little inadequate.

My relationship to each country follows in a similar vein: sometimes I feel I could really fit in here, I enjoy the company of my perfect friend, it seems to really fit my personality. But then sometimes, you get sick of how safe you feel, you become tired of the constant conformity of conscience, the equality of it all. Sometimes you just crave a greasy pie, a cheap pint, and the banter of that grotty but strangely homely pal. Sometimes you just want to be in Caledonia.

Anyway, if any of you have got this far and actually followed this train of thought, then, well, unfortunately I have no prize to give you. But good on you and I promise next time my post will be more lucid.

By my lack of blogging you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d disappeared and become one of the unfortunate characters of a Swedish crime novel. The last few weeks have spared me hardly a second to think. It has been the business end of our ‘period’ – mini-semester for those of you not versed in the Swedish academic system. At 1am this morning I put the finishing touches to the last piece of coursework for this period, so all that is left to do is present my latest work on Friday and then run to catch the bus to Arlanda, jump a plane headed to Copenhagen and, after a short stop off in what I’m informed is the most expensive airport in the world, I’ll be boarding a plane for Edinburgh.

In the intervening time since my last post I have turned 26, which I’m still trying to figure out my feelings towards, Julie has visited – around the same time – and I received my surprise present of flights to Belfast to visit Gary and Maeve. As I’m sitting writing this it has just dawned on me that this has been the longest period of time in my life that I’ve been away from Scotland and the longest period of time in 4 years that I’ve not seen my old uni pal Gary Cocker. So it’s nice to know the remedy to both of these issues is close at hand.

Gary and Maeve

It’s funny how the things that once seemed strange, new, exciting, or just plain annoying, have now become daily life. It has become the norm to understand nothing that is going on around me, to not see beggars, and to narrowly avoid being run over by bikes. It no longer seems strange that you can’t buy alcohol in the supermarket, that you have to take a ticket to join a queue, and that people leave work at 4:30pm – except on a Friday when you’ll be lucky to see anyone working beyond 1pm. There’s something bleak about Sweden; cold, damp, misty, and almost a little sinister. But that is counteracted by fashionable orange trousers, crazy hair, the fact it’s cool to wear glasses my grandparents would be embarrassed to sport, and the warm, welcoming nature of the Swedes.

A particular highlight was my first visit to a Swedish person’s home. One of our lecturers had invited the class to his apartment for a post-seminar and a general get together. In true stereotype the shoes came off at the front door, there was an array of weapons on the wall, and food and drink was provided. It was really nice and informal, which made me see the benefits of Sweden’s egalitarian system. Don’t be fooled, Sweden is by no means the land of milk and honey, and you can’t help but get the impression that a lot has changed in recent years – almost a loss of innocence – but the idea that a university is a community, with the professors all the way down to the first year students on an equal footing, is not just senior management rhetoric which appears in the latest recruitment pamphlet, the Swedes really mean it.

I get the impression there’s a lot more to learn about this country and the transition it’s going through. I’ve been surprised by some of the views I’ve encountered in what is supposed to be the home of liberalism and equality. I’m looking forward to better understanding Sweden during my time here, and it’s got me thinking that Scotland’s desire to emulate our Scandinavian cousins – to become a free social democracy in Northern Europe – might be chasing phantoms. Perhaps we’re aspiring to be the Sweden or Norway of twenty years ago, but things seem different here. It’s in off-hand comments and under-the-breath remarks that you pick up this air of disquiet.

Maybe people just like to gripe, but I have a feeling it’s more than that.

A humanities student in Sweden is worth a third of a science student. This may sound like a provocative statement but in cash terms it is completely accurate. The humanities are suffering from chronic underinvestment not only in Sweden, but across the West. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust recently noted, that we have ‘eroded our support for humanities‘ and that ’emphasis on the short term can mean especially painful cuts for disciplines whose value, though harder to measure, is no less real.’

Anyone involved in Higher Education is aware of this issue but seem either unwilling, or unable, to counter this trend. As Scottish universities try to survive with less funds, senior management teams have looked first to the humanities to make savings. There are no headlines of ‘Life Science Department to lose 100 members of staff’, ‘University axes partnership with pharmaceutical company’, or ‘Professor of Signal Transduction role made obsolete’. But in the UK as a whole, we have seen Middlesex University terminate its philosophy department, Sussex limit their history scope to post-1900, and the only British Professor of Palaeography role removed from existence.

You will not be seeing the University of Edinburgh History Department going into partnership with an arms manufacturer or pharmaceutical company, and perhaps herein lies the problem. Economic short-sightedness and a fetish with the present, has seen universities elevate science over the humanities. There has been an intellectual attack upon the humanities, to the extent that I have witnessed humanities’ students themselves downplaying their degrees. I will not get into mud slinging contests with the sciences – because that would paradox the intentions of this article – but we must try and take a broader perspective when considering the societal, economic, and cultural benefits of all academic disciplines. A doctor saves a life, that is a real benefit. A scientist discovers a new immunisation, that is a real benefit. History, philosophy, and political science can help to frame legislation to alleviate causes of poverty, sectarianism, war, and provide the tools to explore the big questions of who we are and where we fit into the world. Harder to measure, but these are real benefits.

Universities who fail to understand this equation, in admittedly testing times, run the risk of undermining the essence of what a university is. Rather than fostering a desire for discovery and knowledge, they become engine rooms – laboratories motivated simply by producing the next multi-million pound drug. Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, and the other elite universities understand this. But we risk a situation where the study of the humanities becomes the playground of only the very rich.

There is, however, one country who better understands the future and necessary balance of Higher Education: China. Whilst their growth in the sciences has been noted, sneaking in under the radar is unprecedented investment in the humanities. At institutions which have hitherto been the domain of the sciences, the Chinese are restructuring to bring in the humanities. One such example is Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou who have introduced a liberal arts college. Two thirds of students in China currently study science, a mirror image of the UK where two thirds study humanities, and perhaps as we try to balance – and risk outweighing the other side – so the Chinese are looking to balance their graduate output. Although I’m inclined to think more is going on here.

China is emerging as a super-power (if not already there) and have emulated the West in many areas. But in some distinct ways they are emulating our strength of fifty years ago. They seem to understand that a price tag cannot tell you the true worth of everything. So, to bring hope and ambition to their populace, the Chinese have spent billions on developing a space program which includes a manned lunar station by 2020 and this week saw the launching of their space station. They join America and Russia as the only other countries to have achieved this unilaterally. The Chinese also understand that to develop a strong society which is aware of its heritage and its potential future, so it must invest in the humanities.

We may scoff at the Chinese lack of democracy, human rights record, or other aspects of their culture which we find worrying. But one thing is for sure, they are not so quick to destroy their cultural and historical hearts – the humanities departments of universities.

Home Sickness

It’s only been a couple of days since my last post, so I’ll keep this brief. Homesickness is in no way what I expected. It’s rather like any time in your life when people you care about move away, or perhaps you’re really busy and don’t have the time to do the things you would like to do. I miss Irn Bru, Dundee United, my friends, girlfriend, family, and general calamity of life in Scotland. The hardest part is feeling that you are out of the loop, somehow life seems to move on without you and you’re stuck static. Whilst none of that is true, it’s how it feels during the increasingly long, creepingly cold, nights.

This post is really a shout out. I’ve always been a bit of a political anorak, so I was delighted to be introduced to the blog BetterNation last year. Whilst watching the election results trickle in on that fateful eve in May; Iain, Andrew, Gary, and myself were glued to BetterNation for a bit of analysis. Gary and I (the two SNP members in the room) were apprehensive to believe what we were seeing, we couldn’t risk the notion that a majority could be possible, lest it disappear in front of our eyes. We needed affirmation from our favourite political blog.

Now that I’m in Sweden a helpful alleviation of that, ‘I’m out of the loop feeling’, is to follow BetterNation. Ironically, the authors of BetterNation are ex-pats themselves, exiled in London for their sins. But it helps me keep track of the goings on in Holyrood. So thanks.

Do you think there’s enough links in this post? Here’s one more for good measure: http://www.betternation.org/