# Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A species of rare frog has been found to produce a powerful painkiller that is 200 times stronger than morphine. The phantasmal poison frogs have recently been successfully bred in a British aquarium as part of a study on the poison they produce. Although the frogs poison is lethal it is thought that an extract from their skin can block pain 200 times more effectively than morphine. It also has the advantage of being non addictive and without serious side effects. The frog is thought to survive on just seven sites on the western slopes of Ecuadorian Andes so the breeding programme to preserve the species is just the first step in studying the frogs and any potential cure they might produce.

posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2010 10:10:29 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Crane-chicks-set-for-rele-005 This cute little guy is one of eight crane chicks that have recently been hatched at a reserve in Gloucestershire. The eggs which have been brought in from Germany are part of a project to reintroduce a sustainable population of cranes in the UK. A batch of 18 eggs were driven back to the UK from Germany because the disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud meant they could not be transported by plane. So far 8 of the eggs have hatched  and the others are expected to hatch over the next week. Another batch of eggs will also be brought in as part of the project. The chicks will then be taught how to behave as cranes. Apparently as part of the training their human teachers will need to dress up as cranes to show them how to behave in the wild. I am looking forward to the update to this article that shows the lessons. If the project is successful they will be the first population of cranes in the UK since the 1600s when they died out due to hunting and loss of habitat.

posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2010 10:04:52 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 04, 2010

_47746858_009193754-1This replica wine fountain has recently been unveiled at Hampton Court Palace. It is similar to those that would have been used by Henry V111 and has been created after the remains of a 16th century fountain were found at a archaeological dig at the palace in 2008. It stands 13ft high and is made of timber, lead, bronze and gold leaf. The best thing about it, however, is that it is a working replica. At weekends and bank holidays it will serve red and white wine priced at £3.50 a glass. I like the idea of a wine fountain I wonder if I can convince my husband to build one.

posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 9:48:40 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 03, 2010

_47733327_fennec_foxes Three fennec foxes have recently been born at Drusillas Park Zoo in East Sussex. The foxes have been bred as part of a European breeding programme and are thought to be the first litter to bred in Europe this year. The animals measure 15cm long and are the smallest member of the dog family. They are under threat in the Sahara desert where they live because they are threatened by hunting and the pet trade.

posted on Monday, May 03, 2010 10:42:37 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article the International Whaling Commission has proposed allowing the first legal commercial whale hunt for 25 years. If it goes ahead the move would end an outright ban. The ban does have a few exceptions which allow Japan, Norway and Iceland to continue whaling. However, the new proposal would replace this ban with its exceptions with strict quotas which would instead strictly monitor all whaling. Environmentalists fear that it could lead to large scale whaling which could further devastate the species. The commission, however, argues that strict quotas would be a better method of control to the current hunts over which it has no control on numbers caught.

posted on Monday, May 03, 2010 10:40:30 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, May 02, 2010

In a rather unusual experiment llamas have been brought in to protect birds at a RSPB reserve. The reserve has problems with predators such as foxes taking the birds eggs and chicks. It is hoped that the llamas will act as guards during the nesting season. Llamas are known to be highly territorial and are already used as livestock guards in some areas. The Prince of Wales for example uses alpacas to protect lambs from foxes during the lambing season on his farm at Highgrove.

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2010 2:39:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The Island of Canna one of the Hebridean islands spent £600,000 solving it’s rat problem nearly four ago. Since then the island which had been plagued by rats has a new problem. The rats are long gone but they now appear to have a rabbit problem. It seems that the lack of rats has created a gap in the food chain and with no rats to keep the rabbit population down, they are becoming something of a problem. There are now thousands of rabbits devastating local crops and and even damaging local monuments. The islands only restaurant has started putting rabbit on the menu in an effort to take advantage of the situation but the rabbit problem does not appear to be under control. It’s clear here that there are consequences to messing with the local populations of animals but at least rabbits are tasty, perhaps they should eat a few more of them.

posted on Sunday, May 02, 2010 11:22:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, May 01, 2010

According to this article jam making is starting to become more popular. Whether it’s due to the fact that people are trying to make more food from scratch or that they are becoming more creative in the kitchen is not clear. It does seem, however, that there has been a recent rise in jam making equipment such as clip jars. Personally I have never tried making my own jam, but having recently moved to a house with several fruit trees in the garden, I might have to give it a try.

posted on Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:11:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This plane is thought to be the world’s biggest model aircraft. Built by Tony Nijhuis in his garage the aircraft is a scale version of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress. It has a 20ft wingspan and weighs about seven stone. It took two years to make plane and cost around £8,000. The aircraft has 96 batteries that power four electric motors. It can manage around 8 minutes in the air before it needs to be recharged.

posted on Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:08:21 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, April 30, 2010

According to this article 3D televisions have recently gone on sale at John Lewis. Their flagship store has started selling a Samsung 47 inch 3D TV. The TV is on sale for £1,800 but in order to experience the full effect you will also need to purchase a pair of 3D glasses which cost £200. This could get a little expensive if you have to buy glasses for the whole family. Apparently you will also need to own a Blu Ray player in order to watch anything in 3D as there will be no other content available until Sky launches their 3D channel in June. I’m not sure I will be splashing out on one just yet.

posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 9:51:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

lotus_1623569cThis lotus plant is unusual because it was grown from a seed that is thought to be 700 years old. The seed which dates back to Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty was one of 10 discovered during the excavation of an ancient castle last year. Scientists have confirmed that at least two of the seeds are 650 and 750 years old. All ten seeds were planted to see if anything would grow. So far three of the others have spouted and the other one has produced this plant.

posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 9:43:11 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring is here and with several fruit trees the garden is full of blossom. Here are a few pictures of the cherry and apple blossoms. One of the wild primroses and some shrubs that I am yet to find out the names of. And of course I have also included a picture of one of my cats surveying his garden. Click the images for larger versions.

Apple Blossom Spring Blossoms

Cherry Blossom 2 Cherry Blossom

Shrubs in the Spring Wild Primroses

Ollie in the Garden

posted on Thursday, April 29, 2010 10:09:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article Sony have announced they will stop producing floppy disks. The move comes 30 years after they started selling them. The company will stop making them in March next year after sales of disks crashed from 47million in 2002 to 12 million in 2009. It seems with the widespread use of memory sticks and external hard drives, people just don’t need the floppy disk anymore.

posted on Thursday, April 29, 2010 9:03:40 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This little guy is Einstein who at 14 inches high is the world’s smallest horse. Einstein is only three days old and weighs just 6lbs. Despite his size he shows no signs of dwarfism, he is simply a small horse. It will be interesting to see how big he gets when he is full grown.

posted on Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:42:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 28, 2010

According to this article excessive cleaning has led to a massive rise in the number of people suffering from allergies. It seems that an overly sterile environment can in fact you make more prone to allergies. Around 30% of the Western population currently suffer from allergies with one in ten children being diagnosed as asthmatic. If the article is to be believed a great deal of this might be down to the fact that are houses are simply too clean and children are unable to develop immunities to common allergens. I am certainly convinced as its a good excuse to clean the house less.

posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:30:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback