Friday, 28 November 2014

Chicken Licken?

The news that the FSA has found that no UK supermarket has chicken on sale with a less than 60% contamination with compylobacter is disturbing ( The bacterium can cause dangerous food poisoning and many of the stores appear to sell raw chicken meat products with high levels of this agent (or even on the outside of packaging where it can contaminate other foods. One should note that buying 'free-range' chicken is no protection against this agent. The only thing that you can do is to prevent the purchased meat contaminating anything else and to cook it thoroughly.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Clicking Away at the Ecosystem

A quick study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare has found some 33,000 'protected' living animals  (such as tiger cubs and poison arrow frogs) and prescribed products from such beasts (such as ivory and an entire rhinoceros horn) offered for sale online (l This little illegal hoard was valued at least £7m. This easily accessible activity seems likely to be the tip of a very big iceberg. One can only hope that ways will be found to discourage this form of e-commerce. Victorians at least had the excuse that most thought their natural history collections were obtained from an infinitely bounteous Earth whereas today few operate under such delusions.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Climate Change: An Update

There is a very substantial review of the science of climate changes and the choices that (a few select people) have for the future ( One might point out that most people on this planet have zero choices.

Seeing the Changes 924

Got an interesting angle on a visting Feathered thorn (Colotois pennaria) in Loughor and noted a small Slowworm (Anguis fragilis) chillaxing on the cycle path in Bynea.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Snowed Under With Penguins?

News that the BBC is to produce a program, entitled 'Snow Chick', that is intended to follow an Emperor penguin from egg to adulthood ( I appreciate that people seem very taken by penguins (note the current John Lewis Christmas advertisement) but I am not certain that this beast actually has the hardest life of any animal species on the planet (as is apparently claimed) and I am not too keen on these birds that strongly reek of fish. I would also be amazed if the 'life drama' actually followed one egg to adulthood. The thing about penguins is that you can splice material together from several individuals without anyone noticing the variation.

Watching the Detectives?

It seems that Interpol is finally starting to take environmental crime seriously ( as it has been recognised that big players in this area can extract billions of dollars (the proceeds of  which could be used for all sorts of additional unpleasant illegalities), can seriously threaten important species with extinction, can damage the economies of entire countries and can even damage the health of human populations. I would simply add, however, that going after 9 individuals is a bit limited as the thousands of smaller offenders must also collectively have very powerful effects. Of course, dealing with different scales of offence may require different solutions. Smaller offenders might be more fruitfully deterred by educational programs and giving them financial stakes in species conservation and pristine environments.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Seeing the Changes 923

Lots of material at Broughton on the Gower with the appearance of Yellow fieldcap (Bolbitus titubans). Strangely, there was also an active Clouded yellow butterfly (Colias croceus) and lots of festive European robins (Erithacus rubecula).