Category Archives: Nature

Links, zwo, drei, vier

So here we are. Iraq’s government has a bleak future, according to the latest intelligence reports, while Iran is facing attack by the US (see the article below this one) and a community comes to terms with an 11-year-old being shot by a teenager on a BMX. Our tiny planet would appear to be a globe filled with despair and misery. But not so.

Another point of view: Bill Dornan takes a deliciously wry look at preserving the Earth with Hunting, nuking and swishing: a guide to saving the planet. (A Foolish Interruption)

Changing their minds: French banking giant BNP Paribas is to unblock three of its investment funds, whose suspension this month sparked turmoil on global stock markets. At last! Solid good news in the markets! If only the head of Countrywide hadn’t talked about the US economy heading for recession… (AFP, MSNBC)

A novel defence: A counterterrorism detective has been fired despite claiming he only failed a drugs test because his wife made him marijuana-spiked meatballs.  Give the man top marks for creativity! (Taunton Gazette)

Why didn’t I think of this? Your guide to building a laser spy microphone on a tight budget. (

Idiots: Agents of the Transport Security Administration confiscate a man’s pudding but overlook the 4-inch blade Swiss army knife in his backpack. (

Because it must be done: Infiltrate the kingdom of Los Disneys on a mission to destroy the cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney. Although he wasn’t actually frozen after his death. (

Life, but not as we know it: The soil on Mars may contain microbial life, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago. (CNN/Reuters)

All hail our photosynthetic saviours: Making fuel out of algae is one of those ideas that everyone loves but it’s fairly difficult. (CNet)

A return to more conventional blogging at the weekend.


The earthquake in Peru was more devastating than I feared when I read the newsflash early this morning. Nearly 340 people have died and 827 have been injured. Thankfully the tsunami warning proved a false alarm.

In one of those moments that makes me question the universe, more than 200 people were killed when a church collapsed during a religious service.

Catholicgauze has a post up with a US Geological Service map of the quake and how it affected the region.

Breaking wind

Some good news on the climate front and an opportunity for a childish giggle (it’s my birthday, allow me these little foibles).

Latest figures show 15,200 megawatts of wind turbines were installed worldwide last year. This increased global wind power capacity 26% to more than 74,200 megawatts, enough to offset 43 million tons of carbon dioxide (or that produced by 8m cars).

Granted there is a long, long way to go before CO2 output is properly capped. The 43m tonnes is only 5% of global emissions. It is progress though — and it’s heartening to see that China is likely to be the world’s top wind power producer in a few years. Also, a researcher involved in the study claims wind could reduce CO2 emission growth by 2015.

Spain last week authorised the development of wind farms along its coastline, while Denmark is aiming to provide 50% of its electricty from wind turbines.

As the supermarket ad says, every little bit helps.

Fly my pretties


I love stories like this.

Red kites are being re-introduced to the Irish countryside after an absence of some 200 years (we’ve lost most of our big birds of prey).

John Gormley, the Environment Minister, was in Co Wicklow to see 30 kite chicks released into the wild. The birds were brought from Wales.

These tales always catch my fancy. It’s heartening to see humans have the capacity to restore what we’ve destroyed, even if it’s just a little at a time.

The red kites became extinct in Ireland because of encroachment on their habitat and an active policy by some people to kill them.

Granted, the Irish programme may not be on the ambitious scale of Sergi Zimov’s scheme to re-wild Siberia mammoths and all, but it’s a start. Sadly, we’ll never resurrect the Elk (see a skeleton here) or re-introduce bears and wolves, but I can live with a (relatively) clean conscience knowing we’re doing what we can to preserve and protect what we have left.

Pity the puppy


Don’t feed him after midnight!

Elwood, a two-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix who looks more like a Gremlin, has been crowned the world’s ugliest dog.

Judges were unanimous decision in their decision.

It was the New Jersey mutt’s second year competing for the title at the Marin-Sonoma County Fair in California (he came second last year).

All hail King Elwood!