# Friday, 14 May 2010

I am always looking for more reasons to eat chocolate so was pleased when I found this article. It suggests that eating dark chocolate could reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke. Researchers have found that a compound called epicatechin which is found in dark chocolate can protect the brain against stroke by shielding nerve cells. The study is based upon tests which were carried out on mice but it is hoped that it might be possible to replicate it in humans. Whilst I doubt I am hugely at risk of having a stroke I will be making sure I get plenty of chocolate, just in case.

posted on Friday, 14 May 2010 10:27:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


I love shoes and amongst my vast collection I own many pairs of high heels most of which are completely impractical but look really good. I’m still not sure I would wear these shoes, however. They have been created by Romanian shoe architect Mihai Albu  and measure a staggering 12 inches high. I would certainly be staggering in them if I were to purchase a pair. The hand crafted shoes sell for anything up to £1,200 and they look very pretty but the question is, can anyone actually walk in the things?

posted on Friday, 14 May 2010 10:23:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 13 May 2010

I still remember the trauma of childhood injections and have never really lost my fear of needles, tending to pass out when faced with an injection. I was interested to read this article which suggests some injections may soon become obsolete and be replaced with a vaccine that can be inhaled. Rather than being faced with the dreaded needle patients would simply breathe in fumes from a bag. Human trials on the vaccine will begin within the next few weeks and if successful could potentially lead to inexpensive vaccines for illnesses such as tuberculosis and cervical cancer. The bad news is, however, that it could take around five years to become available in Britain and whilst it may work with vaccines there are still blood tests to look forward to. :(

posted on Thursday, 13 May 2010 09:10:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article cats, dogs, parrots and even fish show a preference for using either their left or right hand (paw or fin). The discovery was made by a team of psychologists who had the great job of playing with 42 pet cats for a couple of weeks. It seems female cats favour their right paw whilst male cats prefer the left. It is suggested that hormones may play a part in the preference as the difference disappears when pets are neutered. It has also been found that parrots like to pick up objects with a dominant foot and fish have a preference to left or right when they dodge a predator. Having several cats I think I will be conducting some tests on their various paw preferences with the results to follow.

posted on Thursday, 13 May 2010 09:05:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 12 May 2010

I have recently purchased a newer car as my 20 year old Ford Fiesta has finally got to the point where it won’t get through the MOT. Prior to purchasing my new car I checked insurance rates on a couple of comparison websites and once I had finished comparing meerkats at  www.comparethemeerkat.com I checked the rate with my then current insurer Budget through their website. Having looked at the car insurance premiums and found that there was not much different between them, I decided I would stick with Budget to save myself the hassle of moving my insurance to another company. All of the insurance companies had quoted in the region of £300 for the year with a similar excess and a second named driver, a cost which seemed fairly reasonable.

At this point I called Budget to let them know I had just purchased a newer car and wished to cancel the insurance on the old one and transfer it to my new vehicle. Budget now quoted me a much higher total premium of nearly £800 for the year. The reason being that as an existing loyal customer of nearly 11 years I was not able to enjoy the rate quoted on their website. This website quote of £300 was only available to new customers only and not existing ones. A good case of brand new customers only. My initial reaction was that I would cancel the existing policy and then return as a new customer to take up the “new customer” rate. Apparently I am not able to do this, as I already have a policy number so would be prevented from taking out a new policy.

At this point I was left with two options, stay with Budget and pay a highly inflated £800 a year premium simply because I am an existing customer or pay a cancellation fee for my old policy and move to another insurer. Even taking into account the cancellation fee for the old insurance I would still be £400 a year better off by moving to another insurer so it seemed the best option was to tell Budget what they could do with their insurance. I can see my custom over the last decade has obviously been highly valued and I certainly won’t be using them again.

posted on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 09:27:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Marks and Spencer will convert its range of mini wines from glass to plastic bottles. The supermarket is introducing the measure on all its 25cl bottles which will now be made out of an environmentally friendly plastic. The small bottles of wine are popular as an in-flight drink and also sell more in the summer when they are used for picnics. Marks and Spencer currently sell around 100,000 mini bottles a week and will be the first UK retailer to convert it’s entire range of small bottles to plastic. The new bottles have the advantage of being 88% lighter than the glass alternative meaning they will reduce distribution emissions. They are also 100% recyclable and have the advantage of having a longer shelf life.

posted on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 09:22:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A rare wild flower will be protected by police patrols and CCTV to prevent it being stolen. The flower is a Lady’s Slipper Orchid and is thought to be so rare that only one flowering plant example exists in the UK. Located at Sliverdale Golf Course in Carnforth, Lancashire the plant is due to flower later this month. Efforts to re-introduce the flower in other areas have so far failed and with cuttings from the plants selling to collectors for anything up to £5,000, this is one very special plant. The orchid is protected by the by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is coded with a security mark so that anyone who tries to sell a cutting of it can be caught.

posted on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 09:11:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 10 May 2010

pg-18-vole-pa_366376t According to this article water voles have started eating frogs legs. The behaviour is somewhat unusual because the creatures are usually vegetarian. Ecologists from British Waterways discovered the behaviour during a recent survey of the Kennet and Avon Canal in Berkshire. They were surprised to find large numbers of dead frogs with their legs removed at the voles feeding stations. It seems that this is the first recorded evidence that water voles have started to supplement their diet with meat. It is thought that it might be down to pregnant mothers turning to a new food because they lack protein in their diet. It seems that they only eat the legs because they are too small to manage the whole frog.

posted on Monday, 10 May 2010 11:17:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is interesting it’s a record of what’s inside a whale’s stomach. Marine Biologists cut open a dead whale which they found on a beach near Seattle to see what was inside. They found 190 litres of undigested algae and the following:
Two lengths of duct tape, A metre of electrical tape, Five lengths of fabric, One sock One sweatpant leg, Two towels, Fishing line, One golf ball, 39cm green rope, 1m nylon rope, Red plastic cylinder, One Capri-Sun juice packet, Two grocery bags, 30 scraps of plastic bags, One sandwich bag, One ziplock bag, One rubber band, Some rubbery string, One surgical glove.

posted on Monday, 10 May 2010 11:13:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 09 May 2010

beaver_1629011cThis is interesting it’s a beaver dam so big that it can be seen from space. The dam is 2,790ft, that’s more than twice the length of the Hoover dam.  The dam is located in Wood Buffalo National Park in Northern Alberta, Canada. It is thought that it has been created by several beaver families which have joined forces to create the huge dam. It contains thousands of tress and would have taken them months to create it.

posted on Sunday, 09 May 2010 10:29:26 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


A public toilet in Northumberland has been turned into an arts venue for the next five months. The arts project will highlight the country’s wildlife. The outside of the lavatory will be revamped with images of birds including an eider duck and a yellowhammer. The project has been developed by Inspire Northumberland and the Seahouses Development Trust.

posted on Sunday, 09 May 2010 10:25:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 08 May 2010

article-1271058-09685B9A000005DC-194_634x592 An exotic plant which was thought to have died out 50 years ago has been discovered at a country house in Dorset. The 100 year old Rhododendron beanianum was discovered after Ray Abraham took up the role of head gardener at Minterne House. It is thought to be the only one in existence in the country. It is thought it was originally planted at the house in 1910 and later it was forgotten until being rediscovered recently. It is now hoped that it might be possible to cultivate and propagate the plants in order to sell it to Rhododendron collectors.

posted on Saturday, 08 May 2010 11:27:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A centre in Hertfordshire has successfully bred some rare tropical butterflies. The butterflies called the Heliconius chestertonni are originally from Colombia. Hundreds of the butterflies have been produced from just seven pupae at Butterfly World near St Albans. The butterflies generally have a life span of around nine months. The project is part of the second stage of a £25m project at Chiswell Green, Hertfordshire, to build the world's largest centre for butterfly conservation

posted on Saturday, 08 May 2010 11:23:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 07 May 2010

An Elvis impersonator will try to break a world record by singing Elvis songs non-stop for three days. Simon Goldsmith will start his record attempt today. In order to be successful he will have to sing for more than 43 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds. He will be raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich where his father died last year.

posted on Friday, 07 May 2010 09:23:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article Wang Xianjun has eaten over 1,500 lightbulbs over the course of his lifetime. Apparently he ate his first lightbulb at the age of 12. He eats no more than one lightbulb a day and only at breakfast time. He first smashes them before eating them piece by piece and says they are crispy and delicious.

posted on Friday, 07 May 2010 09:22:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article a postman in Germany has married his cat. Uwe Mitzscherlich had been told by a vet that his pet Cecilia might not have long to live. In order to show his devotion for his cat he decided to marry her. Officials refused to carry out the ceremony and man and cat eventually had to be married by an actress who played the registrar.

posted on Friday, 07 May 2010 09:19:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback