Monday, 30 September 2013
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/29/us-saudi-driving-idUSBRE98S04B20130929). It used to be claimed that they couldn't have a driving licence as checking their photographic profile would involve removing the veil. Now, a cleric suggests there is 'medical' evidence (sources unrevealed and how would they know as there are no samples of women to compare?) that driving damages the ovaries, distorts the pelvis and can result in children with abnormalities! There is nothing on the dangers of driving to the testis (perhaps by over stimulating the organ?) or on the actual difference in risk for women between simply sitting in a car and driving it! This seems to be yet another attempt to distort 'science' to support the unsupportable.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/zimbabwe-poachers-kill-80-elephants-cyanide). It is claimed that up to 80 animals had died from an important herd of beasts and that several tusks were 'recovered' from investigated people's homes. Conservation is especially difficult when the workers have to deal with this kind of action.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/26/beaver-bison-european-species-comeback) on 37 European species that have been helped by conservationists to come back from the brink of extinction. The European bison, European beaver and the Wolf are included as success stories. Less successful has been attempts to 'save' the Iberian lynx. One thing that strikes me, however, is that all the species refered to are vertebrate 'mega stars', so it would have been nice to see some less obvious (but perhaps more environmentally crucial) animals and plants in the list.
Monday, 23 September 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/21/climate-change-ipcc-global-warming) but it seems that more and more of the general public are thinking the the scientists have got this thing wrong. Of course, you can't absolutely prove anything with science but you can determine probabilities. How many of us you argue against the protection offered by vaccinations (I know that small cohorts do) or that antibiotics can be useful in treating bacterial disease? There are areas where the general public trusts the collective view of scientists and others where they don't. Strangely enough, the latter examples often appear to involve situations where the contras have well-funded campaigns by vested interests.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Friday, 20 September 2013
I find it a bit strange but I suppose that being called 'an Eco freak' by UKIP ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/20/ukip-shale-gas) must be seen as a sign that my reservations about tracking are not 'off the wall'.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/12/hawaii-honolulu-molasses-spill-fish-dying). This is another illustration of how a relatively 'simple' error can have enormous impacts on natural environments (although 1,400 tonnes is an awful lot).
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Saturday, 7 September 2013
present account suggests that numbers have declined by a further 20 percent and lays much of
the blame at the door of the alien North American mink (they seem to find Water voles both
delicious and easy to catch). I suspect that the picture is more complex as habitat degradation
must play a role and there are other carnivores out there including Grey heron and otters.
Friday, 6 September 2013
Thursday, 5 September 2013
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/02/lake-district-wildlife-desert-blame-wordsworth) on yet another application from the Lake District to be granted UNESCO World Heritage Status. His basic point (for which I have a deal of sympathy) is that agriculture (in this case sheep farming on the hills) has largely created a 'wildlife desert' (although even 'deserts' benefit certain species). The sheep have certainly denuded the location of its original trees and most substantial plants (actions that would certainly make the area uninhabitable for many animal species). Monbiot freely admits that the Lake District is associated with some of the early enthusiasms for environmental issues but feels that the pastoral enthusiasms of Wordsworth and Ruskin were a result of looking at this world through rosé-tinted spectacles in their times. Hill farming, he points out, requires big subsidies and limits the numbers of people required (perhaps not wholly a bad thing?). Granting the location World Heritage Status would probably further fix things in aspic?
Monday, 2 September 2013
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/how-the-pacific-has-put-global-warming-on-hold-but-not-for-long-8788403.html) that global warming is occurring somewhat more slowly than anticipated by the computer models. This is thought to be due to the deep oceans absorbing some of the heat. The effect is, however, only likely to act for a short time and the precise consequences to climate change of changing the temperatures of deep waters are distinctly uncertain. I suspect that enthusiasts for non-renewables will try to use this information to deny that there is any real problem.
There is a somewhat odd finding that highly toxic Pumpkin toadlets from Brazil apparently cannot hear their own mating calls ( https://w...
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It is always sad to hear of problems occurring at places you have used for teaching and the outbreak of h5n8 avian influenza at Abbot...