# Monday, August 09, 2010

I don’t really need a reason to drink wine but I find I can justify it a little more when I find articles like this. The article suggests that drinking red wine can help you to live a longer and healthier life. American researchers have found that resveratrol which is found in the skin of red grapes can reduce inflammation that leads to heart disease, stroke and Diabetes. It has also been shown to prolong the life of roundworms and flies. Researchers now want to study its effect on humans but early signs indicate that it could help reduce the development of type 2 diabetes, ageing, heart disease and strokes. This seems like another excuse to have a glass of wine.

posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 10:14:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

beans_1688220f I am not a great fan of beans but was interested to see that Heinz are now selling its beans in a jar. Whilst the jar will not be replacing the traditional can the new plastic container is something of a departure from the can we expect to see. The 1kg jar contains the equivalent of two and half tins and has been introduced mainly for practical reasons. It is resealable so that people who only want to use half the pack can easily store the rest in the fridge.

posted on Monday, August 09, 2010 8:37:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 08, 2010

According to this article there have been an increasing number of incidents where people have been bitten by the Blandford fly. Dubbed the superfly by the article it seems it likes nothing better than to eat human blood. The problem is that the bites are prone to becoming infected and many victims end up having to seek hospital treatment. The fly normally only lives near streams in rural southern England, however, the popularity of garden water features mean it is moving into towns and cities and having more contact with humans. Despite its tiny size it seems the creature can give a very nasty bite with usually results in large swellings. I just hope they stay away from me, I have enough trouble with adverse reactions from regular mosquito bites without something else wanting my blood.

posted on Sunday, August 08, 2010 9:58:22 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, August 07, 2010

Four Cats I came across this interesting article about hierarchical structures within a multi-cat household and having several cats it made me think about our little pride. Our cats pictured are Willow (grey and white), Oliver (white), Oscar (white with tabby patches) and Lucy (tortoiseshell and white). They all have their distinct places within the group.

Willow is the cat we have had the longest. She first arrived as a 5 week old kitten with her brother Merlin, who we sadly lost in an accident at 9 months old. At this point we felt Willow needed the company of another cat so set about looking for a companion for her. I wanted a male cat of a similar age as I thought they would be more likely to create a bond. This is when I heard about Oscar and went to see him at the cat home. He seemed perfect, except for one small detail. He had to come with his brother Oliver. A sucker for rescue cats I decided to take them on.

Oscar and Oliver were feral when they arrived, they hated us and more worryingly Willow hated them. We keep the cats separate at first and gradually let them catch a glimpse of each other. Each time Willow saw the new cats, she hissed at them and made her feelings clear, she did not want these strange new cats in her home. This went on for several weeks and we had reached the point that I was seriously thinking of taking the new cats back to the cat home. Then one day when Willow was being particularly annoying howling during the night we shut her in the same room as Oscar and Oliver. The next morning we still had three cats and they managed not to kill each other.

3catsonbench2 Over the next month the three cats became to tolerate each other. Willow and Oscar quickly formed a close bond and starting sleeping together leaving Oliver on the fringe of the group. It was clear Willow was still the head cat as she would win all the fights between herself and Oscar. She now tolerated Oliver although it was clear he was lower in the group. Oliver was clearly also lower in the group structure than his brother, but the three cats would now sit together with Willow and Oscar together and Oliver on his own beanbag and occasionally all together as pictured.

At this point the group was complete and functioning well and I had no plans to introduce any other cats. This is when Lucy came along. She needed a new home and I once again gained a cat. Introducing Lucy was interesting. She was still a kitten and so much smaller than the other cats and we were worried they might hurt her. Willow and Oliver took an instant dislike to Lucy, Oscar the biggest of the cats was curious and keep trying to approach her. We kept the cats separate at night and introduced supervised meeting periods. During one of these Lucy was sitting on a beanbag when Oscar sat on top of her, she was now part of the group. Willow and Oliver still hated her but now that she been accepted by Oscar the others quickly began to tolerate Lucy. 017_14

Now that Lucy was tolerated although perhaps still not liked by all, the group worked out a new structure. Willow quickly asserted herself as head cat, with Oscar second. Oliver and Lucy at this point appeared to have equal standing under the two larger cats. Willow and Oscar now spent much of their time curled up together and Oliver and Lucy although they don’t sit together spend most of their time playing together. The multi-cat household functions well, the cats live together happily with the odd fight but they all seem to respect their place within the group.

posted on Saturday, August 07, 2010 9:41:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, August 06, 2010

According to this article music can actually help to enhance athletic performance. It seems that listening to music with an upbeat tempo can not only enable people to run further, increasing endurance by as much as 15% but also increase energy efficiency allowing people to run further on the same amount of oxygen. It also has the effect of lowering the perception of the effort spent. It seems then that it’s worth taking your iPod to the gym as it may actually improve your workout.

posted on Friday, August 06, 2010 9:16:17 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, August 05, 2010

According to this article having a good network of friends can improve your chances of survival by 50%. The research comes from The Brigham Young University who studied survival odds and social networks. They found that having just a few friends can be as damaging to your survival rates as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. It it thought that having a good network of friends encourages us to take better of ourselves, thus boosting well being.

posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010 9:21:47 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 04, 2010

According to this article as many as one in every 36 £1 coins could be fake. The figures come as the Royal Mint reveals nearly two million counterfeit £1 coins were returned to them in the last financial year. The Royal Mint is now launching a campaign telling people how to spot fakes. Some signs that you might have a fake coin include a poorly defined ribbed edge and an indistinct design of the Queen. The coin may also be out of alignment. The Queen’s head should be alignment with the pattern on the reverse of the coin when you spin it around. There are various measures used by the banks and the Post Office to take fake coins out of the system before they reach the consumer and it is estimated financial institutions handle more than three billion £1 coins a year. I wonder how many people look that carefully at the £1 coins in their change, I know I probably don’t.

posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2010 8:45:03 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, August 03, 2010

If this article is to be believed more and more women are having surgery on their feet just so that they can fit into the latest designer shoes. It seems that if your toes are too long for the latest fashions then the thing to do is simply change your toes. The trend appears to have started in the US where clinics provide procedures to remove bunions, trim toes that are too long and provide feet with extra cushioning to make wearing heels more comfortable. There are even treatments to curb excessive foot sweating in order to prevent fungal growth. It all sounds a little extreme to me, I don’t like my toes very much but I don’t fancy having them shortened either.

posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 9:38:40 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, August 02, 2010

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An otter that was thought to be extinct has been caught on camera in Malaysia. The hairy nosed otter which was thought to be extinct in Malaysia is thought to be Asia’s rarest otter. The otter which gets its name from the long hairs at the end of its nose has not been seen in Malaysia for more than 100 years. This one was photographed by a remote camera in Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia in 2008. It has taken some time to confirm that it was indeed the rare otter but the photo has raised hopes that there might still be time to save the creature.

posted on Monday, August 02, 2010 10:12:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback