Wednesday, 31 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/31/uk-lyme-disease-cases-may-be-three-times-higher-than-estimated). The disease is normally transmitted from deer to humans by biting ticks , so where the 2 species congregate is a good place (in the USA, it's under oak trees) for getting the infection. It has been estimated that there are circa 8000 cases of the disease in the UK but many doctors have little experience of the condition (which can be debilitating).
- July 31, 2019
Sunday, 28 July 2019
Saturday, 27 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/26/unprecedented-more-than-100-wildfires-burning-in-the-arctic-in-worst-ever-season). The smoke can be seen from space and, as well as adding to the greenhouse gases of the atmosphere, the ability of our polar regions to reflect a percentage of the sun's rays back into space seems to be coming impaired. Climate change appears to be progressing much more quickly than even the most pessimistic predictions. It seems like the 'gloomsters' have it!
- July 27, 2019
Friday, 26 July 2019
Thursday, 25 July 2019
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jul/24/make-environmental-damage-a-war-say-scientists-geneva-convention). Rather predictably, their focus is the damage inflicted by warring factions on wild animals and conservation areas. These are very real issues and would include killing elephants to fund particular groups of combatants or the use of Agent Orange to defoliate trees in the Vietnam war. Having said that, it does appear difficult specify what should be included as an environmental crime. Some people would argue that adding to the generation of greenhouse gases by encouraging space tourism for the rich might well constitute behaviour that deserves the label. What about the extraction of hydrocarbons, over-fishing or destruction of the Amazon rainforest?
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/24/it-carried-our-dog-away-are-the-uks-seagulls-getting-more-aggressive). Councils are also reportedly spending masses of cash to deter these birds. The first thing to note is that Herring and Black-headed gulls are not limited to the sea but an association was evident as these ground-nesting birds have tended to rear their chicks on cliff locations that are not easily reached by predators such as foxes. We humans have now constructed lots of flat-topped buildings (often in city centres) which the birds see as prime chick-rearing real-estate (pseudo-cliffs). So we have, more-or-less, invited gulls to spend more time in proximity to people. These birds are opportunistic feeders with no sense of ownership which makes 'our' rubbish, pets and food fair game to them (the taking of these items is not personal). It is also pointed out in the article that some of the cases of 'aggression' directed by gulls to humans are really attempts to protect their eggs and chicks (in deed, they tend to occur at times of the year when reproduction is underway). The short answer seems to be that gulls are not getting more aggressive but the opportunities for gull-human interactions are making conflicts more likely. Lucky we are not getting more Greater black-backed gulls taking up urban life!
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
- July 23, 2019
Monday, 22 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/21/senior-doctors-call-for-crackdown-on-home-genetic-testing-kits ). The now relatively cheap kits are generally used by people in attempts to assess their ancestry but the data can be directed to other online specialist 'health advice' companies who 'interpret' the data in relation to health risk (although they claim that this is not a 'diagnosis'). There have reportedly women turning up to surgery asking for a bilateral mastectomy as they have been told that they carry a faulty gene that dramatically increases the risk of breast cancer. More sophisticated (and expensive) DNA testing by the doctors have revealed this not to be the case (although one woman is said to have asked for the operation, anyhow, "just in case"). It seems that these tests (sometimes given as jokey birthday presents) are wasting stretched medical time and resources.
Friday, 19 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/19/the-risk-to-woodland-of-putting-wolves-and-bears-back-together). The area designated is tiny in comparison with the required ranges of both species (they need thousands of square kilometres) and both species (with rather different dietary requirements) will need to be fed in humane ways. This is more Longleat than Ancient Briton.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/19/britons-urged-to-help-record-influx-of-painted-lady-butterflies). It is thought that this year may rival 2009, when an estimated 11 million butterflies arrived here from overseas. The species breeds here and late season adults make a reverse migration south before the cold sets in.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/18/hawaii-mauna-key-protest-arrests-observatory). The elevated location (it's the island's highest mountain) and the lack of light pollution (it's in the middle of the Pacific) make it a perfect place for observatory (giving, it is believed, spectacular views of our universe). Some native Hawaiians, however, regard the construction as desecrating the Sky Father, Wakea. It might have been easier to resolve if earlier astronomical telescopes were not already based on the mountain and construction of the TMT had not started in 2014.
Thursday, 18 July 2019
- July 18, 2019
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
More action at Crymlyn burrows with Weld (Reseda luteola) and Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia) in flower. Six-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) pupae and adults were much in evidence and the Meadow browns (Maniola jurtina) were mating. Problems for Lepidoptera with the Shield bug (Picromerus bidens) and the crab spider (Diaea dorsata) with and without prey.
- July 16, 2019
Monday, 15 July 2019
Sunday, 14 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/14/permafrost-thaw-sparks-fear-of-mammoth-ivory-gold-rush-in-russia). People can, reportedly, make fortunes by selling the material as 'ethical ivory' to the Chinese market. Although removal of material is claimed to be 'regulated', the prospecting (using motor-boats and water jets) is speeding up the thawing and releasing yet more 'greenhouse' gases.
- July 14, 2019
Saturday, 13 July 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/12/sahara-was-home-to-some-of-largest-sea-creatures-study-finds). It just reinforces that geographical areas can show impressive (and unexpected?) changes.
The finding of billions of iron-rich particles in heart tissues (of deceased individuals?) is yet another indication of the damage done to humans by the air pollution generated by cars in our cities
(https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/12/billions-of-air-pollution-particles-found-in-hearts-of-city-dwellers). I seem to remember, not too long ago, that officials in London sat on an air pollution report that indicated the level of risk in pupils (children are a group that are strongly impaired by air pollution) attending schools in the area. Even limiting petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles from driving in such areas may be insufficient to generate a healthy environment as the tyres and braking systems of cars also generate clouds of nanoparticles.
Thursday, 11 July 2019
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
- July 10, 2019
Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Traveller's joy ( Clematis vitalba ) in flower in Loughor.
The fuss about allegedly suspect data emanating from the East Anglia University Climatic Research Unit and the 'theft' of emails fr...
A combination of night rain and day-time sun has resulted in more Bynea blooms. The Southern marsh orchid ( Dactylorhiza praetermissa...
Workers in Montreal have shown that adding boiling water to a single plastic tea-bag releases almost 15 billion micro and nano particles ...