Film Review: Stuck in Love

Stuck in Love
Stuck in Love is a film that tries hard to be better than it actually is. The title should have read; Stuck in a loop!

It was very disappointing and it isn’t any wonder the film has had such a limited viewing. Originally made in 2012 and first shown at the Toronto Film Festival, the film is rich in B-list celebs including; Jennifer Connelly (The Rocketeer, 2003’s Hulk), Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets, You‘ve Got Mail, The Last Song), Lily Collins (Abduction) and Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson).

So that’s why I chose it. Lerman and Connelly are two actors I’m into. The problem is this type of film is being done too much now, the novelty has worn off and this drama brought nothing new to the table. The family at war thread is a very tired format and if used, a new spin should be used.

Connelly plays Erica who traded her husband (Kinnear) in for a younger model. But he still hopes to win her back, this shows as he hopes she’ll come to Thanksgiving every year. Dad is a big novelist but his daughter Sam (Collins) will also be a novelist, her work has been snapped up and Dad is annoyed as he had no input.

Sam’s love interest is Lou (Logan) who likes her but she doesn’t want commitment so she ridicules him in public and then seems concerned when he doesn’t show up at their writing class! Gee, I couldn’t think why. (Actually I could but I was being sarcastic). So she hunts him down. Which doesn’t make sense if you’re a commitment-phobia sufferer. He’s out, she was winning.

You can’t have a character behaving outside the boundaries you’ve established. It’s confusing. An example would be me slamming the door on some Jehovah Witnesses’ then running down the road after them. (Trust me I’m never doing that!) I want to slam the door, so doing an action that would bring them back would be pointless. It would’ve have been more believable if he was brought back into her life by a quirk of fate.

Then the son has a romance and then the mother and father get involved when the son’s romance becomes endangered…

Now this is over plotting! It didn’t need so many storylines. This was the main reason this did not work. What was the purpose of all these struggles?

It weakened the entire film not to construct a sensible branch of intermixing stories. So I’m not surprised the film hasn’t hit the big times as there are no big notes. No dazzle, no sparkles. It doesn’t even deserve to be a straight to DVD release. Even Lost managed better relationships than this.

I give 2/10 for this. Good cast but shame about the film.

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Trailer reproduced from YouTube / CieonMovies

Chocolate: The British Founding Fathers

When chocolate arrived in Britain it did so more or less simultaneously with two other stimulants, tea from Asia and coffee from Africa. Coffee was the first to catch on in British society as it was relatively cheaper but chocolate soon followed.

Documentary evidence of the first chocolate house in London appeared in 1657. The most famous chocolate house was White’s Chocolate House near St James’s Palace. A rival establishment was The Cocoa Tree in St James’s Street. By chance rather than design the two establishments catered to different political loyalties – The Cocoa Tree was the favourite haunt of members of the Tory party while the Whig aristocrats and the literary set frequented White’s. White’s was the inspiration for some of the scenes from William Hogarth’s famous series of paintings The Rake’s Progress.

White's Chocolate House c.1708

White’s Chocolate House c.1708

For the wealthy upper classes, both the coffee and chocolate houses were the places to be seen. They were hotbeds of vicious gossip and political intrigue as well as popular gambling venues where vast fortunes were won and lost.

The diarist Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703) was an ardent fan of chocolate or “jocolatte” and a regular frequenter of the chocolate houses.

In 1675 Charles II tried in vain to have the coffee and chocolate houses closed down on the grounds that politicians and businessmen were frequenting them too often and were in danger of neglecting their families. It is also possible that he was trying to suppress the kind of talk that could potentially lead to a rebellion similar to the one that caused his father’s execution in 1649.

The manufacture of drinking chocolate in Britain was transformed by the Industrial Revolution and the cultural, social and economic changes that followed in its wake.

During the 18th century the pioneering chocolate manufacturers was still using primitive manufacturing methods, similar to those used by the Aztecs. Technology gradually entered the scene with two key developments: a hydraulic grinding press, invented in 1728 by Walter Churchmen, and in 1765, James Watt’s steam engine which changed the food industry overnight. Another crucial development in chocolate manufacture was a revolutionary type of chocolate press invented in 1828 by a Dutch chemist, Coenraad Van Houten.

Van Houten's Cocoa Press

Van Houten’s Cocoa Press

In 1853 the taxes on drinking chocolate were reduced because the volume of imports had grown enormously. By then the new railways had made transport easier and power-driven machinery had largely replaced the old slow method of making chocolate by hand. These changes radically brought down the price of chocolate meaning that drinking chocolate could potentially be enjoyed by all.

It was during this era that several eminent Quaker families – the Frys, the Cadburys, the Rowntrees and the Terrys – became involved in chocolate manufacturing. These families established themselves as the main producers in Britain and succeeded in transforming chocolate from the drink of the aristocracy to the drink of the people.

John Cadbury

John Cadbury

It was undoubtedly the Quakers evangelical outlook which was behind the decision to choose chocolate as a commercial venture. As the beverage was so wholesome, the Quakers hoped it would provide a means of weaning the poor off beer and gin which were their favourites tipples, and improving the quality of their life in general.

The Quakers will also concerned for their employees’ welfare. They created exemplary working conditions and built model villages where education, healthcare and community services were provided for the workers, both active and retired, without charge. Cadbury’s Bournville Village near Birmingham and Rowntree in York are famous examples.


The Frys were the sole suppliers of chocolate to the Navy, making them the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world. However the rival Cadbury family gained the Royal seal of approval by gaining the privileged title of purveyors of chocolate to Queen Victoria.

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Film Review: World War Z

37521369331320-wwz-payoff-1sht-crop-jpg_172412What can I say about World War Z? The movie opens to $66 billion in its first week. Beats Man of Steel. Second only to Monsters University (kids movies always top the box office).

If you are looking for a thrill ride of a movie from beginning to end, World War Z delivers. I was only able to take three deep breaths during the tension filled 115 minutes of this movie.

First breath – at the beginning of what seemed to be an ordinary day for Brad Pitts’ character Gary Lane and his family as they find themselves sitting in gridlock in the middle of downtown Philadelphia (all hell breaks loose soon thereafter).

Second breath – halfway through the movie when Gary quietly awakens after his Zombie infested plane crashes in Ireland.

Third breath - at the end of the movie as the credits start to roll.

In between these breaths the world erupts in chaos as a lethal virus seemingly turns humans into feral zombies who overwhelm civilization. There is not more I can say except go see World War Z.

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Trailer reproduced from YouTube / paramountintl

TV Review: The Venture Bros – What Colour is your Clean Suit?


Adult Swim’s mature animated comedy series The Venture Bros has always ran the risk of having a very niche sense of humour. Much of the show’s hilarity relies on the viewer having seen Hanna Barbera cartoons like Jonny Quest or Scooby Doo and it is entirely possible that members of the viewing audience will be either too old or too young to get all the show’s references. Potentially even more problematic is the fact that Venture Bros creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick have, over the course of the show’s four seasons, developed the programme from its initially simple premise (what if Jonny Quest grew up and became a bitter 40-something) into a massively sprawling narrative with dozens of characters, many of whom are far more focussed upon than the titular Venture Bros. For this reason, it would probably have seemed like a safe bet to imagine that What Colour is your Clean Suit?, the first episode of The Venture Bros’ fifth series, would be something of a back-to-basics exercise; a return to the programme’s earlier and tighter format. Instead, Hammer and Publick have chosen to make their comedy show even more complex to the point that even long time fans of The Venture Bros may feel somewhat left in the dark. In order to fully appreciate just how funny What Colour is your Clean Suit? really is, a viewer not only needs to have followed The Venture Bros from the very beginning but also to have a pretty substantial knowledge of modern “geek” culture. Much of the humour of this first (double-length) episode is based on obscure references to old TV shows and movies that are likely to be adored by the show’s core audience but might serve only to confuse everyone else.

As the episode begins, the sardonic Doctor Venture has agreed to construct shield technology for his far more successful brother. To do this, he gathers many long-time cast-members and orders/pays/bribes them to help him out. He also assembles an army of geeky college interns to do the more dangerous lab work. Almost immediately, the interns begin developing unsightly genetic mutations from their experiments and the Ventures find themselves at war with a mini-society of mutant nerds. Since the antagonists of this episode are mutated sci-fi geeks, it is perhaps no shock that What Colour is your Clean Suit? is filled to breaking point with popular culture references of topics like Star Trek and Indiana Jones. A viewer well versed in all things geek will find the episode to be an absolute treat; a more casual viewer will likely just be utterly baffled. The show’s emphasis on absurd comedy helps to make the humour more universal but it can’t be denied that What Colour is your Clean Suit? is not a jumping-on point for new or lapsed viewers. Fans of adult humour in animation will likely find The Venture Bros as enjoyable as ever in this episode. The show’s animation style remains unique and visually pleasing to watch. There is a lot of visually striking moments that make the episode hard to forget. The deliberately silly idea that a small group of sci-fi geeks form their own society, complete with a mythology and culture, lends itself to some really unique visuals that pay homage to old comics and 70s dystopian movies. The episode’s writing remains tight and intelligent and the season premier’s longer runtime allows for more subtle characterization of the less-important cast members for a change. The voice acting is also exemplary considering that almost all of the show’s massive cast are voiced by the same 2-3 people. For a devoted fan of the show, there is a lot to like. For a newcomer, not so much.

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TV Review: Hannibal – Coquilles


This month, Hannibal was renewed for a second season, which for all its fans across the world was the cause of a collective sigh of relief. This relief comes as it would have been a far worse crime to not have the series renewed then any act of cannibalism performed by its titular character. But if this series is so deserving of renewal why hasn’t it performed in the ratings to demand an obvious return next year? The answer can be found in the episode Coquilles.

Coquilles continues the series pattern of most episodes giving us a new case for Will Graham to work his magic on whilst slowly building up intrigue in the bigger picture which will eventually lead to Hannibal Lector being revealed as the true series villain. It is both a great approach for the series and also a bit of a hindrance. The show is slightly at risk of becoming one of those shows which is better to watch as a marathon on DVD then it is to watch live week by week. We all know that the show runner Bryan Fuller has said that season four would tell the story of the book Red Dragon, and therefore you can guess that season six would show Silence Of The Lambs, and that after all this build-up those seasons will be amazing. Unfortunately there lies the problem; we’re having to wait too long for the pay off.

The episode started with a sleepwalking Will Graham and really started to add to the idea that as good as Will is at his job, he pays quite the mental toll for doing it. This plays in perfectly with his growing relationship with Hannibal and will make their interactions when Hannibal is behind the muzzle that much richer, but whilst this slow burn is extremely exciting and intriguing for fans of Thomas Harris’s books and the previous adaptations of his works, the casual fan perhaps feels they’re not yet getting enough of the promise of a series based around Hannibal the Cannibal. The subtle hints are great and the attention to detail that Mads Mikkelsen brings to Hannibal are fantastic. The care in which he serves and eats food is so telling of what the character will later become, and the way his keen sense of smell was explored as he sniffed Crawford’s wife Bella was very eerie in its execution. These elements are great at laying the groundwork for the bigger picture, but a whole episode they do not make.

The main focus of the week was our hero’s search for a killer who would slice his victims up to resemble angels who he would position around his bedside to watch over himself as he slept. This made for a very memorable image worthy of any of the famous scenes in the film adaptations, but overall the angel maker killer didn’t get enough screen time for you to really care about his unseen suicide towards the episodes close. Also unless I missed something I’ve really no idea how the guy was supposed to have killed himself by slicing himself up to become an angel as he had done to his victims. This however is a minor gripe and on re-watching the episode an answer may make itself apparent.

It’s a shame that a character like this couldn’t have been granted a longer story arc over the series as it could have proved even more memorable if there were more and more angels being created and popping up through the season. Overall this episode was good, but not great as a standalone experience, but still very good in building up the much bigger picture that is the unexplored pre arrest days of everyone’s favourite cannibal.

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Film Review: After Earth

After Earth
After Earth stars Will Smith. This film started like a 1950s newsreel. Earth is no longer habitable and a new planet has been found.

The theme was like Starship Troopers, as bugs on the new world tried to kill the settlers. These bugs can smell fear! How? The explanation given wouldn’t appease a nosey five year old. They can detect faster heartbeats, sweat and brainwaves? People’s heart don’t just beat faster when they’re afraid. Marathon runners would be easy pickings and downright liars would be mincemeat according to these rules! Not to mention day dreamers and heavy sleepers!

In the new world there’s no doors and windows with glass. That’s just bizarre. Sheets are all that’s needed which was stupid on a planet infested with man eating bugs! D’oh!

Will Smith was very subdued in this role as General Cypher Raige, whether by choice or direction I’m not sure. It blunted the drama of the story and also dulled that he actually cared.

His daughter Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) has died defending his son (from one of the huge bugs found, which is called an Ursa) by ordering the then eight year old boy into a bubble so the attacking bug couldn’t smell his fear.

Years later and the father blames his son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) for staying in the bubble. Apparently he should’ve grabbed a sword and killed the huge blood thirsty beast. (Gee I thought my father was hard on me for not doing my homework!)

So the mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) makes the father take his son along for his last mission before retirement. It won’t be an easy ride as there’s a Ursa on board – restrained in some sort of shell, which is also tied down.

Kitai has recently failed to become a ranger, a fact that doesn’t go down well with dad. Now it’s very predictable that a one in a million asteroid storm should hit the ship. They -warp?- out of the storm but the ship is badly damaged. They asked the computer to choose a planet. But they do crash and father and son are the sole survivors… or are they?

Now this is our Earth, which is now quarantined. It’s overrun by killing creatures. (Which look a bit like the animals used on Primeval! Also the Ursa look like a future predator). I didn’t understand why the computer chose a quarantined planet? It’s off limits. They asked the computer for a suitable planet – so one slapped with a quarantine rule full of vicious creatures would not be suitable!

That would like asking David Cameron who needs to visit the ‘little politicians room’ to gate crash a Labour Party meeting as they’ve got the only toilet in range. It’s going to cause trouble and so is not the best solution.

So have we humans not evolved decent AI? It was operating on battery power as they forgot to plug in? Google was down? And if the asteroid storms are that bad why have the ships not been upgraded to withstand them? All the bridge crew knew about these storms.

Now the tail and cockpit sections have split apart and have landed miles from each other. When they discovered the beacon they had to call for help was broken – (through a solid steel case I will add!) Cypher was flat in tone as he said to his son, “You have to get the other beacon from the tail section or we die.”

Great news! Not! Leading the boy via talking, as both of his legs are broken. They communicated via a weird armband with a projecting LCD screen. Now the forearm isn’t the safest place for a projection system to be placed. Also the screen being the size of an I-pad was just odd, it was too big.

The journey was a cue for more hardships. Kitai threw a rock at a monkey, not a good idea when there’s a whole pack of them nearby. He had to jump in a river to escape them, and got bitten by a some form of poisonous leech.

Dad had to direct how to administer the antidote and it was done like he was instructing him how to build a table. I wanted to shout ‘Hey dad, it’s your son, hello! Don’t you care?’

The gritty nature made this seem like ‘Eastenders – The Next Generation’. I was half expecting Kitai to find the abandoned Queen Vic, over run by jungle vines and weep on the bar and moan about his life.

Now surely it can‘t get any worse for our beleaguered mini hero? Well it can, the Earth freezes every night even in the climate zones and it wasn’t explained how this could be unless the planet has shifted orbit? Plus if very hot during the day and then freezing later, that would mean desert terrains dominating the globe. But then how do all the animals survive?

Katar must reach certain geo-thermal zones each night or risk freezing. Now the cockpit is ruined but the computer can still map the entire terrain and show pictures of approaching threats for Katar and even tell the Dad how his legs are broken and whether a bypass might work or not. That’s some computer! Even the lights stayed on.

A giant bird saved Katar when he fell asleep after being bitten by the sea bug and administered the antidote. The bird pulled him to safety and built a nest over him so he didn’t freeze at night but it died the next day due to cold exposure. Could this be any more miserable?

I don’t watch EastEnders because of the constant doom and gloom. This really wasn’t my thing at all.

The ending was good though (I won’t spoil it) but for me it didn’t justify the journey to get there. 5/10 from me.

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Trailer reproduced from VISO Trailers

TV Review: Warehouse 13 – The Sky’s the Limit

WAREHOUSE 13 --  "The Sky's The Limit" Episode 414 -- Pictured: (l-r) Pete Lattimer as Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly as Myka Bering -- (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Syfy)

The fourteenth episode of Warehouse 13’s fourth season, The Sky’s the Limit, features an imaginative plot with two distinct and interesting investigations for the now-sizable cast. The downside, however, is that the show retains its irritatingly immature and juvenile attempts at humour. For every observation that can be suggested in this episode’s favour, there is a childish joke attempting to give the characters a sense of charm and warmth. From its first season, it has been very evident that the creators of Warehouse 13 have been attempting (without success) to capture the snappy dialogue and humorous undertones of a Joss Whedon-penned science fiction programme. What results is intriguing narratives with some fascinating ideas constantly being ground to a halt to allow for an undeveloped gag that simply doesn’t work. In the case of this episode, the team is split apart to investigate two separate mysterious events- both of which seem to be the work of good people using the magical artefacts to do bad things- but it is impossible to become invested in what is happening because the plot keeps getting interrupted by silly jokes about cookies or strip clubs. The episode begins with Artie (Saul Rubinek) dispatching the two senior warehouse agents, Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) to Las Vegas to discover the story behind a man who seemingly fell to his death from out of the sky. It is not long before Pete and Myka are on the trail of an elderly Vegas magician who may have discovered an artefact that grants him real magical powers. The second investigation, progressing at the same time as the main Vegas plot, features Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Steve (Aaron Ashmore) travelling to Britain (that curiously resembles an American country club) to investigate a series of events involving horse-racing jockeys. The third and most minor sub-plot involves Artie being visited by a psychiatrist (Kelly Hu) whose assistance he refuses.

Both of the episode’s investigations are presented as fairly intriguing mysteries, complete with the usual red herrings and wrong turns. The Vegas plot boasts some very impressive special effects and the Britain plot is certainly amusing, if only to see how an American television show chooses to depict British people. However, both plots could have been significantly improved by revisions to the episode’s poor attempts at humour. Eddie McClintock delivers a strong performance as Pete but (as is the case with all his Warehouse 13 episodes) he is saddled with unfunny jokes that are meant to present him as a cocky yet endearing scoundrel but only manage to portray him as an overgrown man-child. Pete’s jokes are the sort of humour valued by a particularly crude child; lacking any sense of wit or timing. Similarly painful to watch is the snarky and sassy remarks of Claudia that are likely supposed to present her as a no-nonsense hard-case. Warehouse 13 is clearly intended to be a more light-hearted alternative to previous supernatural procedural dramas like Fringe or The X-Files. Unfortunately, the dialogue writers are not adept enough at humour or wit for the show to work successfully. The saving grace of the episode is Rubinek’s Artie. Artie’s sardonic and world-weary personality makes him an instantly more interesting character than the warehouse’s field agents. It is unfortunate that Artie is relegated to the background so heavily in this episode; especially when one considers the fact that his sub-plot introduces an entirely new character to the show (which already has a fairly significant cast size). Ultimately, the episode is too bogged down in unfunny jokes and failed attempts at snappy dialogue to become enjoyable.

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Five Steps to a Better Life

London Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about 5 steps to improve your life. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website

Clients often come to hypnotherapy or life coaching expecting us to delve into the past and drag up and rake over old memories to produce a multitude of emotions for the client to then deal with. This used to be the way that the likes of Freud conducted his hypnotherapy sessions. However there is a much easier way to do this in a pleasurable and exciting construct. So rather than starting at the beginning, I often tell my client “let’s start at the end”. What would be the point of jumping into the car and driving using only your rear view mirror? You wouldn’t get very far in life. However, many of my clients and people in general often live their life concentrating solely on past mistakes.

In order to have a happier life we need to be thinking about what we want rather than what we don’t want. In a lot of circles it is believed that the Reticular Activating System (a specific part of the brain) will move you to what you concentrate on. For example, if you buy a particular brand of aftershave or perfume you’ll often smell it on other people or notice it in the promotions in shops far more than something you haven’t bought previously; just like if your car is silver you are more likely to notice other silver cars or cars which are the same make as your car. So if we apply that to everyday life it is actually quite easy to get more of what we do want by focusing on just that and ignoring what we don’t want.

Step 1

Write a list of what you do want in life, not only that which you desire but that which you also deserve. So for a moment just put out all the thoughts that are negative and concentrate only on how your ideal life would be looking at the follow areas:-

  • Love & Romance
  • Work & Performance
  • Finance
  • Friends & Family
  • Travels & Hobbies
  • Health & Vitality
  • Your Home & Personal Life

Now just as our minds are very capable of seeing that which we don’t want to see, they are also an amazing tool to create pictures or movies in our minds at any given time. The aim here is to control what your brain works towards and make those negative images obsolete.

Start by looking at the list you created in Step 1 imagining what you do want out of life and just take a second to focus on that. Your brain will use its subconscious to store what you do want be it words or images, feelings, smells, sensations and start to get rid of those negative thoughts of what you don’t want. The good thing about the brain is that it does not understand the difference between your real life and your imagined life so as soon as you start imagining all the things you do want you are like a big magnet attracting as much as that to you as possible at any given moment in time.

So just start by imagining what you want. Get a very nice vivid clear picture in your mind and just have fun with this on a daily basis for up to a week. If you find visualisation hard, you can create a Vision Board. For example, over the next week every time you read a magazine, newspaper article or just see something that means something to you, just cut out the picture or object and pin it to a pin board – also known as your Vision Board. Over time if you are not able to visualise what you want you will have a concrete pin board with everything you need to work towards. Try and fill this up over the next week leaving a few spaces for additional wants, needs and desires.

Step 2

Once you’ve got your brain clear as to what you want, you need to align your feelings with your thoughts. We all know that the better we feel the more positive a story we can create and therefore we can attract a more positive reality. So in this step keep your feelings powerful, clear and concise. We often don’t realise that we are actually in control of how we feel at any given point. So to keep these feelings positive although may seem unnatural at first is very much following the principle of “fake it to make it.” Therefore the happier we perceive ourselves the happier we become and the more successful we will be in each and every area of our life that we’ve chosen to work on.

Step 3

Once you notice good things are happening and you are beginning to achieve that which you set out to on your Vision Board, the next step is adding exercise into you daily routine. For example, if you are an early bird getting out and doing what I like ti refer to as the Hour of Power in the morning before work is extremely good for not only your endorphin level but your general wellbeing. In this hour all you need to do is play music that makes you feel vibrant, happy and energetic or repeat affirmations as you either exercise like perhaps going for a daily run or doing something as simple as some sit-ups, crunches or push-ups in the comfort of your own home, repeating a positive affirmation at each rep. For example:-

“I am confident”
“I am successful”
“I deserve to be loved”
“I am doing well in my work”
“I am excited about what the future holds”

Step 4

Once you have accomplished this step the next stage is to avoid and cut out negativity in the form of bad energy. For example, those people around you that tend to complain all the time and are emotional vampires with their moaning and whining about just everything and anything. You will find that you no longer enjoy partaking in idle gossip and the more you stay away from it you will realise that not only are you privy to others gossip but you are no longer the subject of idle gossip yourself which allows you to complete the next stage.

Step 5

We all have a story. There is a famous Sex and the City episode where Miranda realises that she’s telling the same story on loop about not having a husband and being single in her 30s. As she progresses through the episode we find that Miranda notices that she is not the only one with a story but her loved-up married friends are also creating stories of their own. For example one of her friends has a story about why they haven’t conceived after two years of marriage. What this displays is that we all concentrate on what we don’t have and make excuses for it. However this goes against the attraction of positive thinking.

So take this time to notice what stories you are telling and just stop. Remember that whatever we talk about we attract into our lives, be it through the physiology of the Reticular Activating System or the more spiritual concept of the Law of Attraction. Either way whatever is causing it, this is one of the most powerful points in the series – change your story.

Now you’ve finished the main changes, I would like you to take a moment and write down five things that you are grateful for today and five things you need to action to get you closer to your life goals.

You know need to make a contract with yourself that you are going to do everything within your power to achieve what you both desire and deserve. With every new beginning you need to have a thought, an action, a feeling and then willpower. So using these steps you will be able to take abig leap forward into the rest of your life.

If you have any further questions about life coaching, go to

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Chocolate as Medicine

Chocolate was used therapeutically as long ago as the fourth century, when the Maya first started cultivating the cacao tree. Mayan sorcerers, who were the predecessors of priests and doctors, prescribed cacao both as a stimulant and as a soothing balm. Warriors took it as an energy boosting drink, and cocoa butter was used as a dressing for words.

Later on, the Aztecs prescribed a potion of cacao mixed with the ground exhumed bones of their ancestors as a cure for diarrhoea. The Spanish colonists also were aware of cacao’s healing properties making it into a “paste which they say is good for the stomacke and against the catarre.”

However chocolate was given a mixed reception by the early scientific and medical community who debated the rights and wrongs of this mysterious new substance. In the 16th century, when medicine was in its infancy, many of the theories were based on the principle of “hot” and “cold” humours, or body energies, which if not kept in balance would cause illness. The Spanish classified chocolate as “cold” and tried to neutralise its effect by drinking it hot and flavouring it with “hot” spices. They found it hard to understand why the Aztecs drank unheated chocolate when it was already a “cold” food.

By the 17th century, chocolate had been given the seal of approval by several botanists and medics, who discovered that it contained all kinds of beneficial substances. Henry Stubbe (1632-76), the English physician and scholar, during his appointment as His Majesty’s Physician for Jamaica, investigated the physical effects of chocolate. In 1662 he published “The Indian nectar, or, A discourse concerning chocolate“, in which he was full of praise for the chocolate beverage and criticised those who refused it on puritanical grounds.

Henry Stubbe's book "The Indian Nectar"

Henry Stubbe’s book “The Indian Nectar”

Among many others who sang the praises of chocolate was the Italian physician Stephani Blancardi (1650-1702) who said “chocolate is not only pleasant of taste but it is also a veritable balm of the mouth for the maintaining of all glands and humours in a good state of health. Thus it is, that all who drink it possess a sweet breath.”

The French faculty of medicine officially approved chocolate use in 1661. The magistrate and gastronome Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), summed up in his physiologie du gout: “chocolate when carefully prepared is a wholesome and agreeable form of food, it is very suitable for persons of great mental exertion, preachers, lawyers, and above all travellers as it agrees with the feeblest stomachs, has proved beneficial in cases of chronic illness and remains the last resource in the diseases of the pylorus.” Some of his contemporaries claimed that chocolate cured tuberculosis. A French doctor who probably sensed chocolate’s ability to lift the spirits was convinced of its merits as an antidote to a broken heart. He wrote: “those who love, and are unfortunate enough to suffer from the most universal of all gallant illnesses, will find in chocolate the most enlightening consolation.”

"La tasse de chocolat" by Jean-Baptiste Charpentier

“La tasse de chocolat” by Jean-Baptiste Charpentier

Praise wasn’t universal though. An 18th century physician to the Tuscan court disagreed with the general consensus by declaring that chocolate was “hot” and that it was madness to add “hot drugs” to it. The physician must have noticed the effects of caffeine in chocolate for he lists as ill effects incessant chatter, insomnia, irritability and hyperactivity in children.

In general however the medicinal and nutritional benefits of chocolate were well accepted. An early English writer described it as “incomparable as a family drink for breakfast or supper, when both tea and coffee are really out of place unless the latter is nearly all milk”. Brillat-Savarin also commented on digestion saying: “when you have breakfasted well and copiously, if you swallow a generous cup of good chocolate at the end of the meal you will have digested everything perfectly three hours later.”

By the end of the 19th century good quality chocolate was approved of by many hospitals and sanatoria as well as by the Navy, the Army and various public institutions.

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Human Cloning

Human embryo cloning begins with a standard In vitro fertilization process (IVF). Sperm and an egg cell are mixed together on a glass dish. After conception, the zygote (fertilized egg) is permitted to advance into a blastula (a hollow mass of cells). The zygote divides first into two cells, then four, then eight- in that sequence. A chemical is added to the dish to take away the “zona pellucida” covering. This material delivers nutrients to the cells to support cell division. With the covering removed, the blastula is divided into separate cells which are placed on distinct dishes.


At that point they are layered with an artificial “zona pellucida” and allowed to divide as well as mature. The experiment by Sillman et al. demonstrated that the best outcomes could be acquired by interfering with the zygote at the two cell stage. Various pairs of zygotes were each able to develop to the 32 cell stage but delayed at that point. They could have had the potential to change further then even settle into a viable fetus, excluding the fact that the original ovum was flawed and would have died anyway. For principled reasons, the researchers had selected embryos which had no probability of ever maturing into fetuses and therefore becoming newborn babies.

A new stem cell discovery in 2013 has resuscitated controversy about human cloning. The parallels between the animal-cloning procedure and the new human one have triggered this concern. However, technical challenges denote that scientists are far-off from being able to produce human babies. The scientists in the study attempted to treat diseases of the cell’s powerhouse: the mitochondria and to refine the technique. This was the same one used in 1996 to create the cloned sheep Dolly. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) promptly delivered a statement condemning the investigation. This was indicated both by virtue of those embryos that were destroyed in the research development and over the distress that the full reproductive cloning of humans is likely. “They or others may be close to being able to develop cloned human embryos to the fetal stage and then beyond,” alleged Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

According to an ethical debate about human cloning, John Gearhart, the director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, stated “Nobody in their right mind would want to do that”. This meant the scientific creation of human children.

When I asked Paul Cooijmans his views on human cloning, he declared, “My opinion so far is that cloning, when technically possible, should be used to reproduce geniuses (their genetic material should be stored for that purpose now already). This would be good because cloning is the only way to retain a precise genetic configuration, and the genetic configuration of genius gets lost in normal sexual procreation (children of geniuses are mostly not geniuses).The idea is that genius rests on so-called “configural inheritance”, so on a precise synergistic configuration of genes; if only one thereof is missing, it does not work. This has to do with “epistasis” (a gene influencing the expression of another gene). Hans Eysenck for instance writes about that in his book “Genius”. For everyone else, cloning is not the way to go, and sexual procreation is better. An alternative for cloning would be to produce very many children, like a hundred or more, of a genius via gamete donation and sexual procreation, hoping there would be one new genius among them. I have no religious objections to cloning. I do think it would be bizarre to clone other than only exceptional people, for it would mean a genetic standstill. I am an atheist”.

Cloning of embryos has been utilized in rodent experiments since the late 1970’s, and in animal rearing since the late 1980’s. The practice tears a single fertilized ovum into two or more clones, each of which is then implanted into the womb of an interested female.

On the other hand, exploration into cloning of human embryos has been limited in the United States and in some other countries. Pro-life assemblies which are in conflict with free access to abortion have had considerable governmental influence. All human embryo research was forbidden by the Regan and Bush Presidencies throughout most of the 1980’s in addition to into the early 1990’s. During the first few days of President Clinton’s presidency, the prohibition on public funding of human embryo and fetal research was raised.

Evidently, it may not be known who is the global citizen or team that first performed cloning of human embryos. The techniques utilized have been implicit for many years as they duplicated embryos in livestock and sheep. It is possible that somebody had efficaciously used the scheme on a human embryo secretly. The first publicly broadcasted human cloning was completed by Robert J. Stillman and his squad at the George Washington Medical Center in Washington D.C. They picked up 17 genetically damaged human embryos which would have died within days even if they were treated. They were gathered from an ovum that had been fertilized by two sperm cells. As a consequence, an additional set of chromosomes doomed the ovum’s future. It was seen that not one could have advanced into a fetus. These ovum were successfully split in 1994-OCT, all generating one or more clones. The main intention of the experimentation appears to have activated public dispute on the ethics of human cloning.

Certain scientists trust that embryo cloning and associated research is moral. From their chosen viewpoint, this may ultimately bring about very positive results such as:-

i.         A better understanding of the reasons of miscarriages; this might introduce treatment to avoid unprompted abortions. Consequently, this would be of immense support for women who cannot bring a fetus to the span.

ii.         It might lead to the comprehension of the mechanisms by which a Morula (a mass of cells that has developed from a blastula) fastens itself. This has the capacity to generate new and actual contraceptives that reveal very few side effects.

iii.         The rapid progression of the human morula is comparable to the rate at which cancer cells propagate. Cancer researchers have confidence in the notion that if a system is found to end the division of a human ovum, then a technique for terminating the growth of a cancer might also be created.

Several individuals and groups have voiced trepidations about adverse effects of embryo cloning in humans and continue to question its morality. The following have been taken into consideration:-

  1. When the gene or genes that determine sexual orientation are located, cloning may perhaps similarly be approved to eliminate zygotes of a particular sexual orientation.
  2. A country might fund a program like in Nazi Germany where humans were bred to make the most of certain traits. As soon as the “perfect human” was technologically advanced, embryo cloning could be used to reproduce that creature and imaginably produce unlimited quantities of clones. The identical approach could be operated to generate a “genetic underclass” for exploitation: e.g. persons with sub-normal intelligence and above normal strength.
  3. There is constantly the likelihood of harming or killing embryos. Most pro-life supporters accept as true that an embryo is a human being. For the period of embryo cloning, they would be exposed to assault with the risk of being murdered. They also have deliberated that the embryos would be treated as a product to be exploited, not as a person.

Moreover, the fear exists that a scientist could possibly produce armies of warriors or even large quantities of manual workers.  A “black market” of fetuses could transpire from favored donors that would desire to be able to clone themselves. These various people include sportspersons, film stars, technologists and others. In conclusion, there are many questions that exist in today’s globe with regards to the cloning of humans. Some are,

  1. What are some of the social challenges a cloned child might face?
  2. Do the benefits of human cloning outweigh the costs of human dignity?
  3. Should cloning research be regulated? How, and by whom?

Film Review: Fast and Furious 6

Fast and Furious 6
Fast and Furious 6 is the next sequel in this thrilling series. Lots of twists and turns keep this movie fresh. All the regular crew return with a chance of earning a full pardon for their past misdemeanours.

Paul Walker and Van Diesel star as pals Brian O’Conner and Dominic Toretto respectively. Brian and Dominic have been racing cars illegally and a few things in-between for the first five films. Now Brian has a wife and baby, he wants to settle down. Dominic advises him this is right.

But a new rival gang of racers committing crimes, soon drags them both back. The new team have some new experimental racing cars – skeletal frames and very low hung. They’re very fast and this makes them difficult to stop. Only Brian and Dominic’s team could stop them.

The leader is after something very big that the army are guarding. Luke Evans plays Owen Shaw leading the new team and is very ruthless. I wouldn’t want to work on his team! However it is good to see a villain that’s neither crazy or just plain evil. There was touches of humour and personality that made him more chilling.

There are numerous car chases each as exciting as the last. The ride never stops. Tanks and planes get added into the mix, it was nail biting. I liked the fact it was mostly set in London.

Jordana Brewster (Elena in Dallas) pops up as Dominic’s sister and is also Brian’s wife. The biggest surprise for me was Dwayne Johnson turning up as cop Hobbs. A no nonsense tough cop who really makes a bad cop look like an angel. He’ll do anything to catch the crooks. And he’s in the diplomatic branch? Now that’s just ironic.

The cast gel so well and I loved the fact there a major twist with one of the characters. There’s a surprise return and I loved it. It really added to the film. It was great.

The sense of family was so strong of Brian and Dominic’s team. They really do care for each other. After six films it’s still a joy to watch all of them interact. It’s so rare that by film six the banter is still witty!

The cars themselves are star features. Simply stunning and should satisfy most car lovers. I wished I could’ve bought them all!

Now don’t worry if you have a liking for smashing things up! You will love the demolition derby theme. It will have you on the edge of your seat! Just like the Sheryl Crow song from ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, there’s martinis, girls and guns. (ok no martinis – it’s beers!)

Lots to keep everyone entertained! So a well deserved 10/10 from me. Great effort all round. I hope there’s a number seven!

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Chocolate: From Bean to Beverage

The rich and creamy drinking chocolate we enjoy today could not be more different from the original Aztec drink of tchocolatl which was a chocolate liquor that was bitter, greasy and served cold. The sixteenth-century Italian botanist, Giramolo Benzoni, described one of the methods the Aztecs employed to make tchocolatl:

“They take as many fruits as they need and put them in an earthenware pot and dry them over the fire. Then they break them between two stones and reduce them to a flour just as they do when they make bread. They then transfer this flour into vessels made of gourd halves…, moisten the flour gradually with water, often adding their ‘long pepper’ [chilli].”

Regarding other ingredients added to the Aztec tchocolatl other than chilli, the Aztecs also mixed the chocolate liquor with aniseed, allspice, cloves, black pepper, flower petals, nuts, annatto and vanilla. Maize was used to soak up the greasy cacao butter which floated to the top of the tchocolatl and it also helped bind and thicken the drink.

17th century lithograph showing Aztecs preparing chocolate

17th century lithograph showing Aztecs preparing chocolate

Because of the crude manual process of grinding the cacao beans with a metate (grinding stone), all manner of undesirable bits and pieces such as shells, husks and pith were allowed to remain in the resulting liquor. Benzoni thought that the mixture looked “more fit for pigs than like a beverage for human beings”.

Chocolate pot and molinillo whisk

Molinillo and chocolate pot

The Maya poured the liquor from a height to make a frothy brew. The froth was a very important and delicious part of the drink to them. The Aztecs also like to create a frothy head to the drink but did this by using a device that the Spanish called a molinillo – a wooden swizzle stick with specially shaped paddles at one end – which was twirled in the chocolate pot.The 18th century missionary, Father Jean-Baptiste Labat, described this indispensible item as ” a stick about ten inches longger than the chocolate pot, thus enabling it to be freely twirled between the palms of the hand”.

The molinillo is still in use today and can be found in Latin American shops and markets. The design of the original early wooden stick remains little changed from it’s modern counterparts.

Sugar was not added to the early chocolate drink until much later. The story goes that the nuns of an Aztec town occupied by the Spanish developed new recipes to cater for the Spanish sweet tooth. The nuns added sugar and sweet spices such as cinnamon. In this way, the bitter Aztec tchocolatl drink began its transformation to a version more palatable for European tastes.

The Spanish recipe of the chocolate drink was made by first roasting, dehusking and grinding the cacao beans. The resulting cacao mass was then ground for a second time to form a fine paste with plenty of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, musk and annatto. The chocolate was formed into small blocks similar to modern block chocolate but these were only used to make the beverage and were not eaten as confectionery. This Spanish recipe was used throughout Spain and the rest of Europe until the process was revolutionised in the nineteenth century by the technological achievements of the Dutch chemist, Coenraad Van Houten.

If you enjoyed this second instalment of Alan Philippe’s Chocolate Series, check back next Saturday for Part 3 of the series which looks at how chocolate was developed from a beverage to confectionery.

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TV Review: Da Vinci’s Demons – The Hierophant


In its seventh episode, titled The Hierophant (as each episode is titled after a Tarot card), Da Vinci’s Demons continues to be a mostly enjoyable if not bafflingly inconsistent programme. The show possesses an almost binary nature; being both a drama rife with political skulduggery (in the spirit of Game of Thrones or The Tudors) and a high fantasy swashbuckling adventure. Sometimes the dual plot lines of the show complement each other well; sometimes they do not.

In this most recent episode, there is something inherently off-putting about watching scenes of Tom Riley’s Leonardo Da Vinci battling the Pope’s agents in the depths of the Vatican intercut with sequences showcasing the political intrigue of Florence’s eminent families. Whilst the two narratives are very much connected in the plot of the episode, they feel so tonally disconnected from each other that it can become difficult to believe that they are taking place in the same television show.

The episode’s main plot continues to follow young Da Vinci on his quest for the mysterious Book of Leaves, a document supposedly written by the children of angels (or so it appears; the mythology of Da Vinci’s Demons is not particularly well explained). Oddly convinced that an ancient key he requires is hidden in the Vatican archives, Da Vinci constructs a prototype diving suit and enters the Vatican via its complex sewer system. Once inside, Da Vinci takes James Faulkner’s Pope Sixtus as a hostage and commands him to hand over the mysterious key. However, whilst this entire adventure narrative is progressing, the episode keeps cutting to the political machinations of the Medici and Pazzi families.

The problems with the episode are the problems of the entire series so far; inconsistency. Beyond the aforementioned tonal shifts between the two plots, there are many other aspects of the episode (and the show in general) that feel shockingly uneven. The performances range from excellent to cringe-inducing. James Faulkner plays the pope in a wonderfully understated manner, imbuing the character with a sense of control and dominance in each of his scenes. Even when he is held prisoner by Da Vinci, he acts as though he is in control.

Similarly strong performances are delivered by Elliot Cowan and Lara Pulver as the conniving Medicis. Tom Riley remains a charismatic and likeable lead; even if it is a stretch to imagine that his character is supposed to be a young Da Vinci. However, other actors are so incompetent that their scenes are almost painful to sit through. Blake Ritson’s villainous Riario is one of the most bombastic and campiest antagonists currently on television.

It is a sign of Ritson’s ridiculous overacting that the scenes in the episode featuring Da Vinci fighting off soldiers with the magic spear of Jesus are less absurd and overblown than the scenes of Riario cackling like a cartoon bad-guy.

On the subject of the magic Jesus spear, another serious problem with this episode is its inability to commit to being either set in a historical reality or within a fantasy reality. Whilst some programmes balance historical fiction with fantastical elements carefully and credibly (Game of Thrones feels like it could have actually taken place in human history despite having dragons and magic present), this episode feels like a pendulum swinging between a fantasy show and a historical drama.

This is the greatest problem with the episode and with all of the episodes so far; Da Vinci’s Demons has no defined identity. Whilst The Hierophant delivers in swashbuckling excitement and political intrigue, its lack of a defined style can be extremely frustrating. Ultimately, the episode is only enjoyable if you don’t think too carefully about it.

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Movie Review: 42

42-1SHT--ADV-DOM-jpg_20405342 is the story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Bozeman) and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). A deal or let’s say decision that put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of public opinion, the press, and fellow players during an era of racial segregation.

The movie begins with Rickey trying to find the “right” player to challenge the Major Leagues long standing color barrier. A player that’s “not too old and full of talent.”  Jackie Robinson was Rickey’s choice. Gaining notoriety as a young up and coming talented Negro League shortstop, Robinson would become a part of history by being handpicked by Branch Rickey to join the Dodgers.  And so begins his heroic journey of strength.  As Harrison Ford’s character put it, “the strength not to fight back,” and courage; the courage not to act or respond to extreme intolerance.  The movie does not hesitate to delve into America’s dark past of hatred and bigotry. But there were heartwarming moments, as in the scene when a stranger walks up to Robinson on the street to say “a man should be judged by his ability alone,” or the scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Pittsburgh’s team manager is berating Robinson at every at bat and his teammate rushes to his defense, or a scene near the end of the film where a teammate who asks not to play in his hometown because of one threat he receives. When the teammate is told about the hundreds of threats Robinson receives, he changes his mind and goes as a far as embracing Robinson on the baseball field in front of thousands of angry fans.  42 is a moving tribute to two American Heroes.  Number 42 let his talent do the talking on the field ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.

In addition to his impact on the cultural times, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career.  Over ten seasons, Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 Championship.  He was selected for six consecutive All Star Games, selected MLB Rookie of the Year in 1947, won the National League MVP in 1949—the first black player so honored.  Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  In 1997, Major League Baseball “universally” retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. And for the first time on April 15, 2004, Major League Baseball has adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day,” on which every player on every team wears #42.

Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative executive elected to the Baseball hall of Fame in 1967.  He was known for signing Jackie Robinson and also for drafting the first Afro-Hispanic superstar, Roberto Clemente.  Rickey created the framework for the modern minor league baseball farm system and for introducing the batting helmet.

The Brooklyn Dodgers were an American baseball team that was active from 1884 until 1957, after which it moved to Los Angeles, California, where it continued the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The team’s name derived from the reputed skill of Brooklyn residents at evading the city’s trolley street cars.

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Quantum Computing in 2013

The introduction of classical computing brought the languages of classical physics (electricity and magnetism) and joined it into a new assembly of people in the future called computer scientists. Comparable to most technologies, classical computers like ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) began under the purview of engineers and progressed to a shared services setting (where businesses could purchase time on the computer). With the assistance of a common simplified language and operational contexts, traditional computing moved from the scientific/government dominion to usage by large enterprises, in anticipation of what could be considered general availability for both content (data and program) inventors and content consumers.

The commencement of the simplified language for classical computing was the description of the bit, the smallest of information illustration. The bit was a language of abstraction, a representation of electrical and/or magnetic physical properties. The bit was zero while voltage was off and one when voltage was applied. Bits are usually used to symbolize data or commands. In order to create commands, voltages were combined using various methods called gates (AND, OR, NAND and COPY making up the complete classical set). These were physical representations (i.e., combinations of voltages) of logic command arrangements to integrate bits in different ways.

As programming advanced in this evolutionary sequence, not only were certain objects on lower foundation layers abstracted, but innovative languages of representation were produced. Nowadays it is innocuous to assume that a Java programmer who utilizes an object oriented program does not distress himself with how the bits are flipped.1


When I interviewed Dr. Vinton “Vint” Cerf, I asked him, “What are your views or view on quantum computing in today’s world in comparison to classical computers?”


He stated,” Quantum computing (see also D-Wave web site) has the promise of getting answers much faster FOR CERTAIN KINDS OF PROBLEMS than conventional computing. It is not a general purpose method, however, and is extremely sensitive to maintaining entanglement coherence for long enough for the computation to be performed. It appears to have application for factoring and for optimization (e.g. traveling salesman problem). Computing is becoming a key element of everyday life, especially in conjunction with mobiles – together they harness the power of the Internet, World Wide Web and cloud computing from virtually anywhere on the globe. I am very excited about the “internet of things” and also about computers that hear and see and can be part of the traditional human dialog. I like the idea of being able to have a conversation with a search engine or a discussion with a control system. Of course, Google Glass and Google self-driving cars are capturing attention where ever one goes. I am also quite excited about the extension of the Internet to interplanetary operation, as you may discover if you google “interplanetary internet”.

The Quantum Computer is a computer that connects the power of atoms and molecules to accomplish memory and processing tasks. It has the potential to perform particular calculations billions of times quicker than any silicon-constructed computer. The field of Quantum Computing was first introduced in 1980 and 1981.

The classical desktop computer functions by manipulating bits, digits that are binary — i.e., which can either signify a zero or a one. Everything from statistics and letters to the status of the modem or computer mouse are all expressed by an accumulation of bits in combinations of ones and zeros. These bits correspond very well with the approach classical physics represents the globe. Quantum computers are not restricted by the binary nature of the classical physical world. Nonetheless, they rely upon inspecting the condition of quantum bits or qubits that might represent a one or a zero, might appear as a combination of the two or might exhibit a number conveying that the state of the qubit is somewhere between 1 and 0.

With regards to the classical model of a computer, the most essential building block – the bit, can only occur in one of two distinct states, a ‘0’ or a ‘1’. In a quantum computer the procedures are altered. Not only is the qubit capable of remaining in the classical ‘0’ and ‘1’ states, but it can also be in a superposition of both. In this coherent state, the bit exists as a ‘0’ and a ‘1’ in a particular manner. If an individual considers a register of three classical bits: it would be attainable to use this register to represent any one of the numbers from 0 to 7 at any one time. If a register of three qubits is deliberated, it can be observed that if each bit is in the superposition or coherent state, the register can represent all the numbers from 0 to 7 simultaneously.

A processor that can utilize registers of qubits will basically have the ability to perform calculations applying all the likely values of the input registers simultaneously. This phenomenon is known as quantum parallelism, and is the inspiring force concerning the research which is presently being carried out out in quantum computing.

Quantum computers are beneficial in the way they encode a bit, the vital unit of information. A number – 0 or 1, stipulates the state of a bit in a classical digital computer. An n-bit binary word in a regular computer is for that reason described by a string of n zeros and ones. A qubit may be represented by an atom in one of two unalike states, which can also be indicated as 0 or 1. Two qubits, like two classical bits, can reach four different well-defined states (0 and 0, 0 and 1, 1 and 0, or 1 and 1).

On the other hand, in contrasting classical bits, qubits can be existent simultaneously as 0 and 1, with the likelihood for each state given by a numerical coefficient. Revealing a two-qubit quantum computer demands four coefficients. As a general rule, n qubits demand 2n numbers, which speedily become a sizeable set for greater values of n. By way of example, if n equals 50, about 1050 numbers are necessary to describe all the probabilities for the possible states of the quantum machine-a number that surpasses the capacity of the largest conventional computer. A quantum computer gives the assurance that it will be impressively powerful because it can be in superposition and can act on all its potential states simultaneously. As a result, this sort of computer could unsurprisingly accomplish myriad tasks in parallel, using merely a single processing unit.

Quantum Computing is the skill of utilizing all of the prospects that the laws of quantum mechanics offer humans to solve computational problems. Conventional or “Classical” computers only use a minor subset of these possibilities. In principle, they calculate in the same way that people compute by hand. There are numerous outcomes about the wonderful things humanity would be able to do if there was a sufficiently large quantum computer. The utmost significant of these is that we would be able to perform simulations of quantum mechanical procedures in chemistry, biology and physics which will never come within the range of classical computers.3


This figure demonstrates the Bloch sphere which is a depiction of a Qubit, the fundamental building block of quantum computers.

Both practical and theoretical study continues and a number of national government and military funding agencies support quantum computing research to improve quantum computers for both civilian and national security purposes, for example cryptanalysis.

There exist a number of quantum computing models, distinguished by the main features in which the computation is determined. The four central versions of practical significance are:

  1. One-way quantum computer (computation divided into sequence of one-qubit measurements applied to an extremely entangled early state or cluster state)
  2. Quantum gate array (computation divided into sequence of few-qubit quantum gates)
  3. Adiabatic quantum computer or computer based on Quantum annealing (computation distributed into an unhurried constant conversion of an initial Hamiltonian into a final Hamiltonian, whose ground states comprises of the solution)
  4. Topological quantum computer (computation divided into the braiding of anyons in a 2D lattice)

The Quantum Turing machine is theoretically meaningful but direct implementation of this model is not pursued. The four models of computation have been revealed to be equal to each other in the sense that each one can simulate the other with no more than polynomial overhead.

In Modern Day, there has been a great level of controversy about the world’s only commercial quantum computer. The concern with this machine is that there has been an issue in deciphering whether it is truly a quantum device or just a regular computer. The Canadian software company D-Wave created this technological device which has been verified to work on a quantum level.

Unlike a common computer, this kind that is named an “Annealer”, cannot answer any query tossed at it. As an alternative, it can only answer ‘discrete optimization’ problems. This is the sort of issue where a set of criteria are all struggling to be met at the same time and there is one best resolution that meets the most of them. One sample is being the simulation of protein folding, in which the arrangement seeks a state of minimal free energy. The hope is that a quantum annealer should be able to solve these problems much quicker than a classical one.

Professor Scott Aaronson, a theoretical computer scientist at MIT has historically been skeptical of D-Wave’s assertions. He stated in the past that he is fairly persuaded by the data but that there are plenty of important questions remaining. These include whether the current or future versions of the D-Wave computer will truly be any faster than classical machines.

An Australian crew led by researchers at the University of New South Wales has accomplished a breakthrough in quantum science that brings the prospect of a network of ultra-powerful quantum computers that are joined via a quantum internet, closer to reality. The team is the first to have discovered the spin, or quantum state, of a single atom using a combined optical and electrical approach. The study is a group effort between investigators from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology based at UNSW, the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.

UNSW’s Professor Sven Rogge alleged that the technical feat was done with a single atom of erbium – an unusual earth element normally used in communications that is embedded in silicon. “We have the best of both worlds with our combination of an electrical and optical system. This is a revolutionary new technique, and people had doubts it was possible. It is the first step towards a global quantum internet,” Professor Rogge indicated.

Quantum computers guarantee to provide an exponential increase in processing power over conventional computers by using a single electron or nucleus of an atom as the basic processing unit – the qubit. By carrying out multiple calculations simultaneously, quantum computers are projected to have applications in economic modeling, quick database searches, modeling of quantum materials and biological molecules as well as drugs, in addition to encryption and decryption of information.


In Quantum Computing, information is stored in quantum bits, or qubits. A qubit can be in states labeled |0} and |1}, but it can also be in a superposition of these states, a|0} + b|1}, where a and b are complex numbers. If the state of a qubit is viewed as a vector, then superposition of states is just vector addition. For every extra qubit you get, you can store twice as many numbers. For example, with 3 qubits, you get coefficients for |000}, |001}, |010}, |011}, |100}, |101}, |110} and |111}. In addition to this, calculations are performed by unitary transformations on the state of the qubits. United with the principle of superposition, this generates possibilities that are not available for hand calculations (as in the QNOT). This translates into more efficient algorithms for a.o. factoring, searching and simulation of quantum mechanical systems. The QNOT-The classical NOT-gate flips its input bit over; NOT(1)=0, NOT(0)=1.The quantum analogue, the QNOT also does this, but it flips all states in a superposition at the same time. So if we start with 3 qubits in the state |000}+|001}+2|010}-|011}-|100}+3i|101}+7|110} and apply QNOT to the first qubit,we get|100}+|101}+2|110}-|111}-|000}+3i|001}+7|010}. Furthermore, the quantum computer is different due to Entanglement and Quantum Teleportation.

The quantum property of entanglement has a fascinating history. Einstein, who claimed that “God does not play dice with the universe”, utilized the property of entanglement in 1935 in an attempt to ascertain that quantum theory was unfinished. Boris Podolski, Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen identified that the state vectors of certain quantum systems were associated or “entangled” with each other. If one modifies the state vector of one system, the corresponding state vector of the other system is changed instantaneously also, and independently of the medium through which some communicating signals ought to travel. Since nothing could move faster than the speed of light, how could one system arbitrarily far apart have an impact on the other? Einstein termed this “spooky action at a distance” and it demanded a philosophy of reality contrary to science in those years. He favored the notion that some unfamiliar or “hidden variables” were enhancing the results and since they weren’t known, then quantum theory must be imperfect.

In 1964, John Bell evidenced that there could not conceivably be any hidden variables, which implied that spooky action at a distance was factual. Later in 1982, Alan Aspect performed an investigation in which he displayed that Bells’ Theorem, as it was known as, had experimental validity. Either faster-than-light speed communication was occurring or some other mechanism was in process. This basic theory has made all the modification between traditional ideas of reality and quantum ideas of reality.

Throughout all of history before, all physical phenomena were reliant on some force and some particle to transport that force. Therefore, the speed of light restriction applied. For example, as electrostatic forces are carried by the electron, gravitational forces are carried by the graviton, etc. Though, with entanglement, quantum systems are connected in some manner that does not contain a force and the speed of light restriction does not apply. The real mechanism of how one system affects the other is still unknown.


1. Collapse of the State Vector

When two quantum systems are generated while maintaining some property, their state vectors are correlated or entangled. For example, when two photons are created and their spin conserved, as an essential, one photon has a spin of 1 and a spin of -1. Through measuring one of the state vectors of the photon, the state vector falls into an intelligible state. Instantaneously and robotically, the state vector of the other photon collapses into the other identifiable state. When one photon’s spin is measured and found to be 1, the other photon’s spin of -1 immediately becomes recognized as well. There are no forces involved and no description of the mechanism.

2. Quantum Teleportation

The code of entanglement enables a phenomenon termed “quantum teleportation”. This type of teleportation does not include moving an entity from one physical position to another, as shown in popular science fiction stories, but a disintegration of the original and recreation of a matching duplicate at another location.

3. Brassard’s Theoretical Circuit

In 1996, Gilles Brassard visualized a quantum circuit that could build and entangle two pairs of qubits, where one is entangled with two others. On the whole, “Alice’s” circuit entangles three bits (M, A, and B), and communicates M to “Bob”. Bob’s circuit, using information from M, produces a replica of bit B. The prompt result on B, by measuring M, is efficiently a teleportation of qubit B.

For purposes of debate and at the risk of underestimation, the gates marked L, R, S, and T, are referred to as left-rotation, right-rotation, forward-phase shift, and backward-phase shift gates, separately. The XOR gate is presented as a circumscribed cross. These gates can bring about entanglement when qubits are put through them.

Alternatively, classical computers differ to quantum computers as information is stored in bits, which take the discrete values 0 and 1. If storing one number takes 64 bits, then storing N numbers takes N times 64 bits. Calculations are done essentially in the same way as by hand. As a result, the group of problems that can be solved proficiently is the same as the category that can be solved efficiently by hand. Here “efficiently”, deals with the idea that the evaluation period doesn’t grow too quickly with the size of the input.

Applications that cannot be done now are easily possible with quantum computers. The spin-off concepts, like quantum teleportation, open outlooks only imagined before. To conclude, quantum computers are approaching in their maturity, and they will require a new way of looking at computing.