# Saturday, March 20, 2010

If you are expecting a lot of people for breakfast then you might be interested to know that Waitrose has started stocking ostrich eggs in some of its stores. The eggs will be stocked in 31 branches whilst they are in season starting this week. The eggs are laid by South African Black Ostriches on a farm in Lincolnshire. They will go on sale at £18.99 each which might seems expensive but when you think that one egg is the equivalent of 24 hen eggs it certainly goes a long way. As for the cooking time required, if you are thinking of boiling it you need to allow between 50 and 90 minutes.

posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 11:11:44 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-08B5FF80000005DC-275_468x373 This rare white puffin has been pictured off the British coast near Cornwall. The puffin was spotted among its more common black featured friends. It has a genetic mutation called leucism that dilutes the colour pigments unlike albinism which prevents melanin from forming.

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posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 11:09:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, March 19, 2010

I receive anything up to 3,000 spam emails in a day so am always interested to see the latest trends. Recently it seems that the majority of my junk mail is made up of emails that look like they are from Amazon. Looking at my spam mail these tend to follow two formats. Either they ask you to confirm your log in details and direct you a page that looks like Amazon but judging by the web address is clearly not or they contain the subject line similar to “Thank you for setting the order No.538532” and include a zip file called track.zip.

According to this article due to volume of emails that are appearing Amazon have warned their customers to be wary of any emails asking them to check their accounts and only check the status of orders by first logging into the website not by clicking a link in an email. I find it interesting that people are fooled by these, as each of the emails I have received has contains a multitude of spelling mistakes, usually one of the first things that makes doubt the authenticity of the sender. The message once again is clear, don’t assume the sender is genuine and don’t click through and enter your details.

posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 9:49:14 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Personally I don’t like Ugg boots so don’t own a pair but I was surprised to read this article which suggest they could damage peoples feet. It seems the boots which are actually made to be worn inside are not suited to outdoor use. When they are worn outdoors the foot slides around inside the boot and leads to ankle, knee, back and hip problems. The problem can be particularly acute with teenage girls because their bones are still developing. The message here seems to be that the boots are designed to worn like slippers and that you should purchase something more sturdy for outdoor pursuits.

posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 9:16:35 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lord Adonis has suggested that the drink drive limit should be lowered in England and Wales. The Government is currently waiting on the results of a report on whether the current limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood should be cut to 50. This could mean that motorists will be over the limit if they drink just one pint of beer and would be the first change to drink drive laws since the introduction of the breathalyser in 1967. It is also thought that there will be lower limit of just 20 milligrams for novice drivers, lorry drivers and bus drivers as well as tightened laws on driving under the influence of narcotics. The changes are likely to come into place only if Labour stay in power as the Conservatives would leave the limit unchanged.

posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010 8:49:09 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you have a bit of cash to spare you might be interested in this £10,000 whisky. The whisky is the world’s oldest malt and has gone on sale at £10,000 a bottle. The Mortlach 70 year old Speyside whisky was filled into it cask on the 15th of October 1938. 70 years later the decision was taken to empty the cask and bottle the contents. Only 54 full size bottles costing £10,000 each and 162 smaller bottles at £2,500 each are available . The whisky has been sampled in a tasting and has been described as a malt “without comparison”.

posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010 8:16:05 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, March 17, 2010

According to this article nearly 500 species of plants and animals have disappeared from in England in the last 200 years. A comprehensive audit of native wildlife has found that most of the disappearances have been largely down to human activities. They include species such as the great auk, a flightless seabird which did not exist anywhere else. The survey looked at records and specimens dating back 2,000 years. It found that all but 12 of the 492 species to vanish were lost after 1800. It seems that most of the extinctions are down to increased hunting and fishing, loss of habitat and climate change. The report has offered some encouragement suggesting that recent conservation efforts have been effective where they have been employed. For example the article highlights the red kite which although it had disappeared has now been reintroduced successfully and has numbers in the hundreds. Other species like the corncrake, ladybird spider, sand lizard and polecat are also starting to return which is encouraging.

posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:54:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

McDonald’s will soon be offering a new work experience based qualification equivalent to a GCSE. Under the scheme the company will work with the exam board Edexcel to develop a BTec certificate to recognise the skills gained. The BTec course will be open to teenagers and will require them to complete a 10 day placement in a restaurant as well as completing work at school. The course is fully accredited and is equivalent to one GCSE at grade B or C. The placement adds up to a 80 hour study requirement and covers issues such as team working and communication skills. The qualification is designed to help prepare young people for the work place, helping to build their confidence and give them the edge when looking for employment.

posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:49:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Psyllid-release-to-fight--001Japanese knotweed is fast becoming a problem in some areas of the UK. It grows very quickly and can be expensive to remove by hand costing anything up to £150m a year to control. It will soon be under attack from another alien in the form of an insect. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have approved the release of an insect called the psyllid which eats the weed. In tests the insect has fed on sap from the stems of knotweed, causing the plant to die back and has ignored other similar native plants. It will be released in two locations initially under close supervision to see whether the plan works before being released at another six sites. I’m not convinced myself, that releasing another potentially invasive species will not cause further unforeseen problems to the environment.

posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:38:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Predators of songbirds such as the magpie tend to get a bad press when it comes to looking at the reasons for the decline of songbirds. According to this article, however, they are not to blame. At a time when species such as the yellowhammer and bullfinch have dropped by half there have been calls for culls of predators such as magpies and grey squirrels which have seen numbers soar. A study of the relationship between songbirds and predators has found that rather than more causing a decline they are in fact a indication of a higher number of animals further up the food chain and a healthy overall population. For the majority of songbirds there is no evidence of a link between predators and songbird decline although it is acknowledged this might be an issue in some cases on a local level. In fact research indicated that factors such as woodland management, changing farming practices and urbanisation were more behind the decline in most cases.

posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:11:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, March 15, 2010

According to this article a pharmacist has refused to serve a woman with a prescription for contraceptive pills because of her religious beliefs. The incident happened when Janine Deeley went to collect her prescription. She was refused on the grounds that the pharmacist would not give them out because of her religion and told to come back another day when someone else was on duty. It is not clear what the religious beliefs of the pharmacist in question were from the article but a spokeswoman for the NHS Sheffield primary care trust has said they will investigate if a formal complaint is made. It does, however, seem slightly ridiculous that a person with such strong beliefs should be employed in such a position and should be imposing these beliefs on other people, if she can’t do the full job, perhaps she should be working in another profession.

posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 2:07:45 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you are paying a bit more for free range eggs then you expect them to be free range. It seems, however, that many eggs are falling short of quality and labelling standards. In an investigation in Derbyshire 40% of eggs fell short of standards. In some cases eggs from battery hens were being advertised as free range or barn raised. A test of 50 eggs from different retailers found that although 39 claimed to be free range, 19 were not. In addition to this 11 of the eggs were wrongly labelled, four did not meet quality standards and 2 were not the required weight under the Food Safety Act. The eggs were tested with various techniques to determine quality including shining an ultra-violet light on the shell to show up marks which would prove whether they were laid in cages and checking the size of the air space inside to determine freshness. If this many fail just in Derbyshire, it makes me wonder how many of the eggs I purchase are indeed free range. Perhaps it’s time to get my own chickens.

posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 10:29:13 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, March 14, 2010

According to this article a report has recommended that more famers should house their cows indoors so that they can collect the methane they produce. The report produced by the Land Use Climate Change Group suggests that greenhouse gases could be reduced dramatically if farmers altered the way they farmed. it claims that cows produce around 500 litres of methane every day and that emissions would fall if this were stored. In the longer term this could mean developing a radical approach such as housing cattle indoors so that the emissions can be captured. However, it would seem any plans to do this would be some way off as the technology to capture the gas has not yet been developed.

posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010 1:19:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, March 13, 2010

_47439479_ghosts_rightstbc In what is one of the more bizarre auction lots I have come across, two bottled ghosts have recently been sold. The auction was for two glass vials which are said to contain the ghosts of an old man and a young girl in holy water. The ghosts were apparently captured by an exorcist and then stored in the water. They sold for NZ$2,000, approx £935 to an electronic cigarette company.

posted on Saturday, March 13, 2010 9:45:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article Yorkshire pudding makers are planning a bid which could give them EU protected food status. They are hoping that if they win European rights Yorkshire puddings will gain the EU protection that brands such as Parma ham and champagne already enjoy. This would mean that to be called Yorkshire puddings they would need to be made within Yorkshire. The Yorkshire firms Roberts, Aunt Bessie’s and the Real Yorkshire Pudding Company are behind the bid and are being backed by the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber. Some British foods that already have protected status include Cornish clotted cream, Whitstable oysters and Stilton cheese.

posted on Saturday, March 13, 2010 9:43:58 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback