# Friday, December 18, 2009

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It started snowing here in Sevenoaks last night and we now have a good covering of snow. Whilst the foxes have been jumping around in it and playing the cats are not impressed. Our white cat Ollie (pictured) ventured out for a look but the other are all curled up inside. Below is a view of the trees in our garden.

 

 

 

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posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 12:19:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 17, 2009

According to this article rhino poaching is on the rise. The global surge is being driven by the the demand from Asian medicinal markets and a decline in law enforcement. Around 95% of rhino poaching since 2006 has taken place in Zimbabwe and South Africa according to data compiled by Traffic the global wildlife trade monitoring network. The most serious situation appears to be in Zimbabwe where rhino numbers are declining rapidly, however, the conviction rate for rhino crime is only 3% in this country. Poaching and illegal trading have also seen a huge increase in South Africa with 210 rhinos being illegally killed between 2006 and 2009. The African black rhino is now placed in the critically endangered category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and with the market for rhino horns in Asia still growing rapidly, its obvious that greater measures need to be put into place to in order to prevent poaching.

posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 10:30:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 16, 2009

According to this article online retailer Amazon is considering a move into the high street. The move comes as Amazon has started to stock larger products which can be problematic and expensive to deliver. If it goes ahead Amazon would have outlets where customers could pick up purchases that they have ordered online. The article suggests that Amazon is currently looking for high profile sites across the UK to pilot the scheme. The move would not only allow Amazon to supply those larger items but also allow customers to pick up their purchases at a time to suit them rather than relying on being in to sign for a delivery.

posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:55:13 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 15, 2009

According to this article only two in every three children now have married parents. It appears that the number of children being brought up in the traditional family unit is at a historic low, that’s according to official figures. The findings come after the Government’s family pressure group has claimed the state should no longer try to preserve the traditional family. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that there are 8.3 million dependent children living with married parents, that’s a fall of 1.3 million since 1997. The number of dependent children in cohabiting households has risen from one million to 1.7 million during the same period. Studies show that children from cohabiting parents are also more likely to end up in single parent households because of the higher break up of these relationships. Research also shows that children from married homes do better at school, get better paid jobs and are more likely to steer clear of drugs and crime.

posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 8:10:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 14, 2009

According to this article tomato and potato plants kill insects in order to help fertilise themselves. The plants have sticky hairs on them that they use to trap small insects. When the insects die they fall to the ground and the plants absorb the nutrients through their roots. Although the technique is more commonly seen in wild plants, it is thought that garden varieties still retain the ability to this but that they have no need to do so because gardeners tend to provide the plants with food. Botanists have recently been conducting a study into carnivorous plant species and were surprised to find carnivorous behaviour in many plant species that have previously been overlooked. Among them are species of petunia, ornamental tobacco plants, some varieties of potatoes and tomatoes and shepherd’s purse.

posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 8:36:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 13, 2009

According to this article stamp collecting is enjoying something of a surge in popularity. The Royal Philatelic Society has reported a rise in membership and dealers have also reported a sharp increase in sales. Ebay have also reported a 30% rise in stamp sales. It appears the rise in popularity could be down to the recession with people choosing the relatively inexpensive pastime of stamp collecting rather than more expensive pursuits. Whatever the reason it appears that more people are choosing the hobby and it is starting to appeal the younger market and even to some celebrities. With all this interest could stamp collecting finally become cool?

posted on Sunday, December 13, 2009 12:36:28 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I dread having to go Christmas shopping, because the shops seem to be so hot at this time of year. I also have a tendency to pass out when I am standing for a long time in hot conditions, so as you can imagine I have embarrassed myself ending up in a heap on a number of shop floors. I have wondered whether the tropical conditions are all in my mind but this article now makes me think otherwise. It claims that some shops are as hot as tropical holiday destinations. A survey of the major chains on Oxford Street found that Topshop had a temperature of 80.9F (27.2C). Other shops such as the Bodyshop, Debenhams, Esprit, HMV, Clinton Cards, Boots and Monsoon all had temperatures above 77F (25C) with the average temperature being 74.5F (23.6C). It’s no wonder then when I am dressed in my winter coat for the cold conditions outside that when I enter these sorts of conditions I overheat and pass out on the floor. It would certainly be more comfortable to have the temperature a little lower in department stores and would also waste a lot less energy.

posted on Sunday, December 13, 2009 1:00:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, December 12, 2009

This article suggests that climate change could make some marine life such as lobsters bigger. A study has shown that more acidic oceans caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide can produce oversized shelled marine species including lobsters, crabs and shrimps. Whilst this may be good news for seafood lovers there is some bad news. Other species such as oysters, scallops and clams suffer in more acidic waters because they are unable to build their shells. Lobsters on the other hand thrive under higher CO2 levels because they can convert inorganic carbon in seawater into a form they can use to produce shells. However, they rely on the smaller creatures for food so in a situation where the predator is getting stronger and the prey weaker it seems only a matter of time before the predators are also severely impacted and the population becomes unsustainable.

posted on Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:58:45 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 11, 2009

According to this article red wine could actually be good for your teeth. Scientists have claimed that it contains chemicals which could help combat tooth decay by stopping bacteria from sticking to the teeth. The findings which are due to be published in the journal Food Chemistry suggest that a glass of red wine a day can help teeth healthy and reduce the need for fillings. Studies have also shown that red wine can improve brain power, boost your immune system and fight diabetes and obesity. Wine. Is there anything it can’t do?

posted on Friday, December 11, 2009 11:03:45 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0786A4B4000005DC-580_634x448 A calf has been born in Sterling, Rhode Island that has a large white cross on its forehead. The calf’s owner believes that the animal is a message from above. Although Holstein cows do often have white markings on their heads it is thought that this is the first time one has appeared in the shape of the cross. It seems this really is a holy cow.

posted on Friday, December 11, 2009 11:00:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback