Angela Alexander

Angela Alexander

I'm a retired pharmacist with an interest in climate change and sustainability. At the University of Reading, where I am Professor Emerita, I ran an obesity course on FutureLearn so love the platform.

Location Reading


  • @ClareW yes of course I was being a bit facetious. As a pharmacist I have seen the benefits but also the downside of big pharma. Just look at the opioid crisis in the US.

  • Angela Alexander made a comment

    This month I've seen a lot of advertisements for a sustainable electric toothbrush. I guess they are available in most countries? They are trying to persuade me to ditch my old one and buy theirs - it being better for the planet! But surely it's better to continue to use what I have and get it repaired if it breaks? The systems thinking we need is not to keep...

  • I'm not sure any technofix really helped me. Can I go back to living in a cave?!!

  • Sorry but no! Although big business will always try and sell us a solution. Look what happened to the pharmaceutical industry. They even invented diseases for drugs that we never needed. Just let nature do what it does best. We live, we die.

  • My move to a more sustainable life has cost me a lot in monetary terms but I consider it a donation to mankind on Earth.

  • Some good reading to follow up on. Just this week I was at a meeting where B-Corps were discussed. It's hard for the pioneers though especially when they see non-sustainable companies making massive profits at the expense of the individual and humanity.

  • This is not something I have read or heard about before. I almost think we need to go back to the basics to save humanity on the planet, but realise that is impossible.

  • The loss of biodiversity is very noticeable over my lifetime. But rather than feeling dejected, this has inspired me to do more to try and reverse it. Locally we have reintroduced species that had died out. Personally, I talk to as many as will listen to get the community to do something.

  • It's all about working together as a community to find the solution and not waiting for others to tell us what to do

  • I'm trying to get the community to work together on this by setting up an ECO Action Hub in Maidenhead.

  • Hello, I'm from England. I spent a few years attending courses to learn Icelandic, so I wonder if there are similarities? Due to climate change, I am intending to restrict my use of flights and travel more by boat or train so Norway becomes accessible. I have been on a Fjord Cruise in the past and loved the country.

  • I live in the Southeast of England and have an allotment where I use the no-dig method to grow vegetables.

  • Hello everyone. I'm a pharmacist and amateur geologist plus a no-dig gardener so interested in soil from many aspects

  • What has changed is my knowledge of how we got to where we are now in understanding Shakespeare's plays.

  • I think Shakespeare is beyond global in a geographical sense. His writings transcend time or place.

  • Like you I thought I disliked Shakespeare on film but I can see that a good Director, and the help of a good analyst, can make a difference.

  • Since there were laws on who could wear what, I imagine that acting might draw in people who had an interest in fashion. Whereas today if you want to wear what a princess is wearing you can just head to the high street!

  • I commented earlier about how I though cue scripts, which I'd never heard of before this course, might create spontaneity and it seems it is the case! I guess now actors get to see the full play they have to think about how to build that into their performance.

  • I love how the interruption was engineered in through the repeated cue. I wonder how often this happened.

  • I wonder if the fact that you only got your part would make it the performance a bit more spontaneous as you wouldn't know quite what was coming.

  • I had no idea about the influence of the editor and had assumed there was just one version and that was "gospel" truth. Very naive.

  • How perceptive. I have never really thought about what actors think about what they are saying.

  • I prefer Q1 as I prefer the flow of the language, but I think that F1 is more descriptive and would portray Ophelia's experiences better. So if I were to be the director I would choose the second.

  • I see some similarities in relation to time and light. And both draw us into memories. The sonnet form always quite a lot of expression which is sometimes lacking in other forms.

  • Angela Alexander made a comment

    Absolutely fascinating about how the changes in publication mirrored views of the time

  • Thanks for that information. I know that I miss out if I only read a play rather than seeing it. To me so much is the performance, the pauses, the unspoken body language. But then again if only seen you miss out on the analysis of the words, going back over what has just been said. Pros and cons for either, that is why I prefer both!

  • What lovely memories Joyce.

  • Great link thanks. I love the idea that "because he was not an apologist for any single position, it has been possible for the plays to be reinterpreted in the light of each successive age."

  • I can see that having your work in print would enable the performance of the plays to spread, as more companies could put them on. I assume there was no restriction on who coudl perform them? But did people also just read the plays for their own entertainment? Personally I never read plays first and much prefer to see performances, although I do like to go...

  • Same here, it is very hard to "not know" what you do know so I think we are all influenced by life events and what we have heard or read. As you say it is what you do with it that defines you. And in particular how you take ideas forward.

  • I enjoyed learning about the categories of presentation of his works and also learning more about the places of the original performances.

  • The acoustics in the Globe can be tricky now if there is a police helicopter hovering around!

  • I'd assumed they were above the stage - a bit like a minstrels gallery?

  • I think the presence of pillars would have favoured those standing as they could move around to see the action. I think the use of props, other than those that could be carried on by the actor, would be fairly minimal but I could be wrong?

  • Just heard the answer in 1.12 - very interesting.

  • This year I saw a wonderful Fringe production of Julius Caesar, produced by an all women cast from Australia. Not women pretending to be men but recast as women. Somehow the personal tensions between the characters worked better for me with them being women....

  • I think the fact that Shakespeare plays can be presented in all these different styles is a demonstration of his genius. I wonder to what extent he was aware of his genius or had any hopes that we would still be studying and performing his works hundreds of years later., and across the world.

  • This has applied to me too. There have been some brilliant performances recently, which have inspired me to study more.

  • I'm interested in the locations of the performance of his plays and didn't realise that the Middle Temple was where Twelfth Night was first performed. Do we know why?

  • Prolific, outstanding, courageous

  • And I have a science background!

  • Hello from Maidenhead in the UK. I'm a retired academic and would like to go on to do more Shakespeare studies so this is a taster for me. I am trying to see as many of the plays as I can. King Lear at the Globe was the last and I have all the four Roman plays by the RSC coming up at the Barbican. I find it fascinating how the themes of his time are still...

  • I just googled it and it seems the full text is available. It doesn't look an easy read though.

  • Witches have also been associated with henbane and other hallucinogenic drugs. It has been said they used broomsticks to apply the drugs to their private parts, which is where we get the idea of riding a broomstick

  • They were still 50% silver until 1947

  • It's also interesting to think about how people got their knowledge of geography and history from seeing Shakespeare's plays, rather than first hand. the prospect of false news is not new.

  • Has anyone found a spoken version of it?

  • Hello, I'm for England, recently retired and currently planning to see all the Shakespeare I can. So far Loves Labours Lost, Much Ado about Nothing and next week Twelfth Night. All set in the last or this century. So what fascinates me is how the language he wrote and the world that influenced it is so adaptable to modern day settings. Why is that? I hope this...

  • Thanks. When I was there last year there seemed to be work in that area, not sure if it was archaeological or just preparing for pedestrianisation

  • My impression is of grandeur. But how would it have seemed with a milling crowd around you? I wonder how busy it would have been. As I "walk" around I wonder if I would feel like I do as a tourist visiting places that are just too busy to be able to appreciate them properly.

  • Which road has been closed?

  • I think if it's volcanic it should be tuff as the correct translation of tufo. Can one of the educators clarify?

  • Very interesting you-tube video. I can see how you use a vast array of evidence from current remains, plans and pictures on coins and even grave remains!

  • And mine

  • That sounds a very sensitive approach.

  • That was the case in the past and it was the % in terms of calorie input rather than weight or volume. Current guidance in the UK is outlined in which says
    "Although some fat in the diet is essential, generally we are eating too much saturated fat and...

  • Did I really say that? I don't recall expressing it in that way and if I did I apologise. I would hope never to presume that what someone says implies anything about them.

  • You need to be wary of BMI over 25 really

  • We all wish you success too.

  • Really to good hear you are having those conversations and considering your own habits.

  • So good to hear that you and many others got something from it.

  • So good to read that this course has been of benefit to health professionals too. Please spread the word!

  • That is such a strong message. I have shared it on my Facebook page for others to hear, thank you.

  • Alaa - yes you can de-fat the liver, but not with the herbal things you mention. As it says in this article "weight loss seems to have a very direct effect: as people lose weight, the fatty liver becomes less fatty."

  • There are reports - but on the opposite side many who did drink before surgery stop drinking afterwards. You might find this interesting

  • That is so good to hear Christine. Keep going and think of the benefits you have already achieved.

  • Good to hear you are sharing the information.

  • Thanks for clarifying that Christine. If anyone is interested in the statistics for stroke in the UK this is quite an easy read

  • I am sure there will be a few late starters to the course, so I felt I should tell you that as it is now 4 weeks since the official start date, there is no official support from the Educators or Mentors. I will try and look in occasionally, but it may mean that you do not get a response to any questions asked. But feel free to keep adding comments and if you...

  • I agree too Heather, there is always a place for that piece of cake, just not every day and not the whole cake. As you say we need to look for food swaps etc

  • I am not sure about the answers but they sound like great ideas so I will share with our lead at Reading.

  • If you use the second tab on the prevalence page it gives comparative data, rather than actual numbers

  • It may be that the UK is not as good at diagnosing diabetes or that the record keeping is not as good. I found this report from 2012 which suggest the latter

  • That's good to know - let's hope you all spread the word too. It's probably not too late to sign up for this one - or people could wait for the next run.

  • A great approach.

  • Thanks Katherine. I see you are an advocate of the Internet for social change. Me too which is why I love this course and all of you for doing it!

  • Thank you for that lovely feedback. I have shared it with the "backroom" boys and girls who helped put it together.

  • Julie, it would be of interest to me to know who recommended the course? We have several thousand people sign up and go through the material each time we run it but it is always interesting to know how to increase the number. If anyone has any ideas please share.

  • Great article. Two years ago I set myself the target of swimming the English Channel, albeit in a swimming pool and over several months!

  • Thank you for those comments and lovely to read that you feel it has all been worthwhile

  • Thank you Susan. Always good to hear that our aims have been achieved.

  • I went up that ravine in Jordan last year. It was amazing and one of the most exciting things I have ever done!

  • I agree that there is always a place for discussing modifications in lifestyle, but for some patients sadly that is just not a viable solution. Also studies have shown that bariatric surgery is very cost effective.

  • The definitions of diet are:
    1. The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats e.g. ‘a vegetarian diet’
    2. A special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons e.g. ‘I'm going on a diet’
    In this course when Dr Bewsters is referring to "diet" he means the second.
    Though we may...

  • All that I've read says visceral fat is the first to go.

  • The focus should be on reducing visceral fat, so that is why we introduced the concept of waist circumference. For the research studies BMI is often used as it is generally correlated with health risk at a population level.

  • That is a really interesting comment about your choice of a doctor, thanks for sharing. And yes keep up the exercise.

  • Although evidence indicates, as we have seen, that many medical problems are made worse by increased weight.

  • As you say there are drugs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in those at high risk. And as you say at a cost! Wouldn't it be better to get our bodies into shape to reduce the risk that way.

  • As well as visceral fat being in a different location to subcutaneous (sc) fat it also a different type of fat cell, called white adipocytes, whereas sc fat cells are brown adipocytes. So it is the type of fat cell rather than the location. I think what trainers are meaning is that you can't lose sc fat from your legs rather than your arms, for example. There...

  • I hear she's doing a new series on everyday cookery so let's hope it's healthy stuff.

  • This is very interesting radio programme Not sure if it can be heard outside of the UK.

  • So pleased to hear you enjoyed it Gwenda. Enjoy your other FL courses.

  • The term fat tax refers to a proposed tax on foods or drinks judged to be unhealthy and whose consumption is believed to be linked to rising obesity levels. So not just foods high in fat. A sugar tax is just one aspect of a fat tax.

  • It is certainly an area that Pharma companies have looked at

  • Great idea.

  • If you get a chance to use the diagram before the end of course, do let us know how it goes.

  • Perhaps we all need to lobby for safer walking routes. Paths have often been subsumed into the roads, but in some villages I have seen that paths have been recreated on the other side of a hedge, which makes them pleasant to walk along, away from the cars.

  • That is such a good idea. It would be good if we could get an IT guru to copy this and for people to be able to pick out the things that they think apply to them. Perhaps for a follow-on course!!