Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Seeing the Changes 1013

Visited, in Loughor, by a Light emerald moth (Campaea margaritata).

Monday, 5 October 2015

Seeing the Changes 1012

In Bynea, the Traveller's joy (Clematis vitalba) was in its 'old man's beard' phase. In Loughor, we were visited by the Sprawler (Asteroscopus sphinx).

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Seeing the Changes 1011

In Bynea, the Michaelmas daisy (Aster novi-belgii) was in bloom.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Reaching the Heights?

A Swedish study, based on large numbers of citizens of that country, has strongly suggested that tall people are more likely to develop cancers than their restricted height counterparts (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/01/taller-people-more-likely-to-get-cancer-say-researchers). This applies to both males and females and could be a consequence of their simply having more cells (to go cancerous) or a higher intake of foods. Having said that, there is also a strong link between human growth hormone levels (tall people have more of this, certainly at some stages of development) and growth of some cancers. I feel quite relieved to have reached my 70s, having sped to 2M by age 12! There are, however, some advantages to being tall. There is a positive association between height and intelligence; you get better views in a crowd; basketball is an option for you and you may even be better paid.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Seeing the Changes 1010

Found a European cowrie (Trivia monacha) for the first time at Langland. There must be sea squirts!

No Womb

Interesting news that the go-ahead to attempt 10 womb implants to women who lack the organ have been given (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/29/10-women-receive-go-ahead-for-first-ever-womb-transplants-in-uk). This seems to be a consequence of some apparently successful Swedish trials, apparently involving donor relatives. In the case of the UK studies, the wombs will come from deceased individuals and there will have to be some basic matching. The idea is to take eggs from the recipient's ovary and to attempt a maximum of two in vivo fertilisation processes before removing the womb. The reason for this is that the women will have to receive immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the rejection of the donated organ (these are a health hazard as they reduce general disease resistance). I suspect that it is low on people's list of priorities (when what they want is a baby) but I wonder if they have taken into account a substantial body of evidence suggesting that these drugs can have profound behavioural effects on the developing foetus? 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The VW Case and the Environment

The revelation of Volkswagen's cunning ploy to falsify the emissions under test from their diesel cars in the USA, raises lots of issues (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/22/volkswagen-scandal-q-and-a-emissions-scandal). The one that is most concerning to me is the fact that as techno-fixes can be developed, are adopted by the management (?) and are then, apparently used 'successfully' for a period of time (to gild the lily and enhance sales), suggests that countries (as well as large companies) might well be tempted to come up with schemes to limit their need to take actions on harmful emissions. If this is so, how can anyone really have confidence that people are carrying out their undertakings or legal obligations with respect to the environment?