# Monday, 22 February 2010

A beer called Sink the Bismarck has claimed the title of world’s strongest beer. Previously the title was held by a German beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin made by Brewdog of Fraserburgh with a 32% alcohol content. Sink the Bismarck, however is an impressive 41%. It costs £40 for a 330ml bottle and is being sold exclusively online. The beer is designed to be drunk in spirit sized measures rather than in a pint glass.

posted on Monday, 22 February 2010 08:44:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


A conservation project in Devon and Cornwall to help the cirl bunting is proving successful with numbers of the bird up 25% on 2003 levels. Under the project conservationists have been working with local farmers to manage land in such a way that provides food and a natural habitat for the birds. In 1989 there were just 118 pairs of breeding birds to be found in the UK but this has now risen to 862 in 2009.

posted on Monday, 22 February 2010 08:43:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to a recent poll on obesity and weight loss, people in the East Midlands are the fattest in the UK. The poll looked at the average body mass index (BMI) across the country. It found that people in the East Midlands had an average BMI of 28.4 compared to London which was 26.1. Putting this into perspective a BMI of anything between 25 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight. Based on this it seems that even the lower of the two figures is taken into account then the average person in the UK is overweight.

posted on Monday, 22 February 2010 08:40:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 21 February 2010

If you fancy getting married somewhere unusual then you might be interested to know that the houses of Parliament will now be available as a wedding venue. Westminster City Council has granted a license which approves two rooms in the Palace of Westminster to be used for marriages and civil partnerships. Until now only MPs, peers and parliamentary officials could get married there. The Jubilee Room has space for 80 people and overlooks Cromwell Green and the MPs’ dining room caters for 150 people and has views of the Thames. The rooms have been approved for use until 2013.

posted on Sunday, 21 February 2010 13:27:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This rather unusual wine press has recently been discovered in southern Israel. The press measures 21ft by 54ft and is unusual because it has an octagonal shape. The press which is 1,400 years old would have been quite advanced for its time and the size of it indicates that wine was produced here for export rather than local consumption. Wine would have been produced by crushing the grapes on the treading floor. It would then have flowed into a distributing vat and have been collected on two vats on either side.

posted on Sunday, 21 February 2010 13:26:23 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article a lack of fog could threaten the giant redwoods in the state of California. A recent study has found that fog has decreased in the last 100 years in the area. Whilst the importance of fog might not be apparent at first it helps to prevent water loss from the redwoods in the summer and so is really important for the trees. Most of the redwoods in the area are concentrated along the coast because they are not that good at dealing with California’s hot summers.  With the decline in fog many of the trees are now showing signs of drought stress and it is this which could threaten the trees. As yet the negative impact of the trees does remain unproven but it is interesting to see how a slight imbalance could start to have consequences for the environment, It seems this is an area which needs further study to see if the trees will be further impacted in the future.

posted on Sunday, 21 February 2010 13:24:23 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 20 February 2010

According to this article it could soon be compulsory for drinks manufacturers to include health warnings on alcohol. Some drinks already carry health warnings under a voluntary code between the drinks industry and the government. However, only 15% of alcoholic drinks currently carry these warnings. The code was agreed in 2007 and it was thought that by the end of 2008 most drinks would display the warnings. Under the code drinks should include the number of units the drink contains, drinking guidelines of no more than three or four units a day for men and two or three for women, and the website address for the Drinkaware Trust. The government has launched a consultation of how to move forward with the issue but one idea is to introduce mandatory labelling.

posted on Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:57:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article immigrants will be taught the fine art of queuing in an effort to help them integrate into society. If the article is correct foreigners wanting to settle here would need to learn how to queue in a test of aspects of British life. Ministers believe that queue jumping is damaging social cohesion and that immigrants don’t understand that they need to wait in line for services rather than simply going to the front as may the custom is some other cultures. According to the article 91% of Britons object to queue jumping but personally I’m not entirely sure that the problem is caused by immigrants.

posted on Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:55:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This article is interesting, it suggests that vegetarian meat substitutes do more harm to the environment than eating meat. There has been widespread news about the impact of meat production on the environment but it seems that meat substitutes such and Quorn and tofu are not as green as they may seem. The Cranfield University found that switching from British bred beef and lamb to tofu and Quorn actually increases the the amount of land cultivated therefore raising the risk of forests being destroyed. This is because the production methods for these products are energy intensive and the final products are highly processed. A vegetarian looking to reduce their environmental impact, then, might be better off avoiding them.

posted on Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:52:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 19 February 2010

A newly discovered species of big cat, the Sundaland clouded leopard has recently been caught on camera for the first time. The leopard which was only discovered to a be a distinct species three years ago is one of the more elusive cat species. The footage was caught by a team who were evaluating how changes to the forest in Borneo impacts on the carnivores. As part of the project they were placing camera traps in the forest and were lucky enough to get footage not only of the leopard but also a flat headed cat, bay cat and marbled cat. You can see the video and pictures on the original article here.

posted on Friday, 19 February 2010 10:28:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A horse sanctuary in Essex has seen a rise in the number of starving animals during the recession. Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Buttsbury has been inundated with thin and starving animals because people can no longer afford to keep them. They have also seen an increase in the number of horses being dumped in fields and left to die. The problem appears to UK wide and unfortunately is expected to get worse before it gets better. The sanctuary has urged people to look out for tethered animals as they may be unable to reach food and water and to report any animals which they have concerns about.

posted on Friday, 19 February 2010 10:19:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Whilst I don’t think Reebok will be using this slogan to advertise their trainers anytime soon it seems that most burglars choose Reebok. That’s according to a university study which examined footprints found at crime scenes. Reebok Classics were found to be worn by 52 out of a 100 burglars in the Northamptonshire region after studying footprints in 155 burglaries. The study found that jobless criminals were more likely to wear expensive trainers spending up to £19 more on shoes than burglars who have jobs. It also found that for every extra £1 spent on trainers the level of social and economic deprivation of the criminal increased by 0.75%. Student Matthew Tonkin who did the research hopes that police will be able to use the information to narrow down their list of prolific offenders.

posted on Friday, 19 February 2010 10:17:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article karaoke bars in the Philippines have been experiencing a surprising amount of what has now been termed "My Way killings. It seems the Frank Sinatra classic brings out the worst in karaoke lovers as a number of people have been killed after singing the song. The crimes have become so common that they now have their sub-category of crime and many karaoke fans are steering well clear of the song for fear of reprisals. What is still not clear is why this particular song seems to attract such an extreme reaction.

posted on Friday, 19 February 2010 10:14:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 18 February 2010

This is interesting it’s a concept called speed hating. Similar to speed dating participants are encouraged to confess their hatred of things that particularly annoy them and generally to row or insult people. If you are not comfortable hurling abuse at total strangers then cheat cards are provided which list things which may inspire hatred. I’m not entirely convinced it’s a particularly good way of meeting people but then I’m not convinced by speed dating either.

posted on Thursday, 18 February 2010 09:41:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This article is interesting it points out the impact that globalisation has had on crime statistics within the UK. It seems that it has been responsible for bringing down the prices of household goods as cheaper electronic goods are made in the Far East and so making them less desirable to criminals. As they are likely to get less return for selling stolen goods such as TVs or DVD players, criminals are turning instead to more lucrative crimes such as mugging and car crime which promise better rewards. Trends show that during the 1980s and 1990s staple crimes were usually burglary and car crime as it was easy to break into a house and sell an item for profit. However, trends now show that criminals are increasingly targeting high value portable items such as iPods and phones which are carried on the person and so muggings are becoming more common. The good news for home owners is that you are less likely be burgled.

posted on Thursday, 18 February 2010 09:35:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article a study has found there could be potentially damaging effects from “third hand” cigarette smoke. Scientists have found that significant quantities of cancer causing chemicals are produced on surfaces even when a smoker has been away from the room for several days. It is these chemicals that linger in the room after smoking that they refer to as third hand. The chemicals are found to be present in significant amounts on chairs, tables, carpets and even skin. Nicotine can stick to indoor surfaces for several days where it interacts with nitrous acid released by car exhausts and gas appliances. When combined these chemicals form something called tobacco-specific nitrosamines which can cause cancer. It is thought that the amounts found are enough to pose a danger to non-smokers and young children so it seems there may be yet another way that smoking can kill you, albeit indirectly.

posted on Thursday, 18 February 2010 09:30:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A group of hedgehogs at a wildlife rescue centre are being on a diet because they are getting a little too fat. The hedgehogs spent longer than usual in care over the winter period and as a result carry so much weight they are finding difficult to roll into balls. The 10 hedgehogs will now undergo a much reduced diet before they are deemed fit enough to be released into the wild.

posted on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 10:29:18 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


There are many ways to show someone that you love them but this is probably one of the more unusual I have come across. A man from Minnesota created this giant manure heart for his wife this valentines day. The heart measures half a mile wide and it appears to have impressed the lady in question who thought it was rather cute.

posted on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 10:27:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A dermatologist has developed a application for the iPhone which he claims can get rid of wrinkles and acne whilst you talk on the phone. Called AcneApp The application costs $1.99 and uses blue and red light to help kill bacteria and promote collagen growth. There is some scepticism over whether the product actually works as it is yet to undergo clinical study but its an interesting idea.

posted on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 10:24:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

4341148920_4c0d47124e_b-660x880 Floppy disks are not really good for much these days but one artist has been putting them to good use.  Nick Gentry uses old floppy disks to create his pictures incorporating them into the artwork itself by using them as a canvas. Anything from 6 to more than 100 disks are used to create each picture depending upon the size. You can see one example to the left here but for others take a look at this article.

posted on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 10:19:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 16 February 2010

According to this article millions of men don’t know their partner’s dress size, date of birth or eye colour. If the article is to be believed it would seem that many men do not know some basic facts about their other half. A survey carried out by the Perfume shop on 2,000 men who were buying perfume for their partner founds that although six out of ten man thought they knew her, 12% did not know their partner's eye colour, 10% did not know her date of birth and 8% did not know her natural hair colour. Other questions which drew blanks were favourite perfume, bra size and the name of their best friend. According to relationship expert Francine Kaye although small details are important to women most men do not notice them. I must be lucky then, my husband knows all the answers even if he does describe my favourite perfume as the one in the green bottle. It’s close enough, to find it in a shop, so it’s good enough for me.

posted on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 09:19:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This massive crab is about to go on show at Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre. The crab who measures more than 5ft long has been dubbed Crabzilla by some. It has been flown to the UK on route to its new permanent home in Belgium all the way from Japan. The crab will be in Birmingham until the end of March sharing a tank with some of the centres smaller crustaceans.

posted on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 09:17:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The number of people getting married is now at the lowest rate since records began in the 19th century. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics there were 232,990 weddings in England and Wales in 2008, 35,000 less than ten years ago. Figures also show that people who decide to get married are leaving it much later. The average age of marriage has now increased to 36.5 for men and 33.8 for women. Fewer than two thirds of weddings are now the first marriage for both partners with more than one in six ceremonies involving people who have been divorced or widowed. Figures have also suggested that more people are choosing to raise children outside of marriage.

posted on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 09:13:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 15 February 2010

A herd of wild horses has been released into the Kent countryside in a project to help improve biodiversity in the area. The horses have been released into the South Foreland Valley nature reserve at St Margaret’s Bay near Dover. The project is a collaboration between conservation groups and St Margaret’s parish council. The horses are a relative of the Tarpan, a wild forest horse that would have roamed Britain in prehistoric times. It is hoped that grazing the land will encourage the return of many species of wildlife which are under threat including butterflies such as the chalkhill blue and silver spotted skipper.

posted on Monday, 15 February 2010 10:41:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

An Australian man has set the world record for sword swallowing by swallowing 18 blades. Chayne Hultgren who calls himself The Space Cowboy beat the record he set in 2008. He has been practising with swords since he was 16 and has a variety of methods he uses including stretching his throat with hoses.  

posted on Monday, 15 February 2010 10:38:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback