Monday, 27 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/26/lion-on-the-loose-in-essex?CMP=NECNETTXT8187&google_editors_picks=true). Unlike some earlier claimed spottings of big cats, this present event led to a search by armed police supported by a helicopter. Big cats were kept as status symbols in parts of the UK some decades ago and the subsequent passing of the Dangerous Wild Animals legislation might well have resulted in some ill-advised releases of 'pets'. Having said that, all species of big cat need very substantial ranges and it seems to me unlikely that viable breeding populations could be easily established. Lions also generally go in for group hunting, so a lion on its own would be at a disadvantage. Apparently, no paw prints or fur traces were found and the police have given up the search. People can easily have their eyes tricked by distant animals appearing larger especially as the sun goes down. Perhaps it's a large moggie covered in Essex spray tan?
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/20/tiger-population-india-tourism-ban?INTCMP=SRCH). The move has been condemned both by some conservationists and by locals whose livelihoods depend on tourist income. It cuts across efforts to encourage people to tolerate endangered, but potentially dangerous animals, because of the benefits they bring in (otherwise people are tempted to kill the beasts and sell the materials to the Chinese folk medicine proponents). The reasons for the ruling were, however, understandable as the person complaining (a conservationist) was concerned that people were not respecting legal rules banning tourists from areas where tigers were breeding and were putting too much pressure on the reserves (numbers of tigers have fallen here) by packing vehicles with visitors. Strangely enough, the same newspaper that had the article was advertising trips to India with tiger watching as a highlight.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/19/biofuel-fails-eu-sustainabilty-test?INTCMP=SRCH) . They interestingly point out that 3 of the largest EU producers of rapeseed are France, Germany and Italy, all countries with large car-manufacturing industries. They also opine that much of EU policy on further reductions in greenhouse gas release appear to be based on plans for increasing biodiesel when its efficiency in terms of savings is in doubt. If one takes this in conjunction with the claim that 40% of US corn is ear-marked for conversion to car fuel, one can see why some people think that biodiesel production is driving up food prices in parts of the world.
Monday, 20 August 2012
Saturday, 18 August 2012
Friday, 17 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/16/book-written-dna-code?INTCMP=SRCH). It has been pointed out that DNA is the ultimate, compact data storage tool (better than existing digital) as 1 g can store the equivalent of 455 bn Gigabytes of information. We may be replacing our CDs with genediscs.
Thursday, 16 August 2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2186993/Boozy-beer-bears-Family-bears-break-cabin-Norway-finish-100-cans-lager.html). The culprits are said to be a mother bear with 3 cubs and, certainly, bears are opportunistic feeders particularily on the described food items. I do wonder, however, how efficient the bears were at opening the lager cans. Might, possibly be some human intervention?
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Sunday, 12 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/11/anglers-cormorants-cull?INTCMP=SRCH). They never seem to consider that a) humans appear to be producing major changes in water bodies via inducing climate change and b) angling itself will have an impact on fish populations even if the captures are returned to the water. The Cormorants also have little choice other than to try to take the fish that are their only food. It's eat or die out there!
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/06/price-rivers-rain-greatest-privatisation) that the recent UK Government obsession with working out the 'value' (exclusively to humans) of the 'environmental processes' (such as woodland, rivers and pollinating insects) is inevitably flawed as it is impossible to separate out the value of components of highly complex and integrated systems, involving many processes. I must admit that I also tend to view such attempts as reflecting an anthropocentric world view where everything is seen in terms of its benefits to humans (and, perhaps, even to certain groups of humans). I am not so sure that the entire planet is necessarily obsessed with catering for our species.
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/aug/01/india-power-struggle?INTCMP=SRCH) bode badly for the substantial Himalayan rivers that flow through the tiny land-locked state that borders Tibet. There are already numerous planned hydroelectric schemes for this area and the apparently insatiable demand for electricity in the populous areas surrounding the state seem likely to intensify the pressure for such developments. Populations will be displaced and the natures of the downstream rivers and land will be dramatically changed.
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