# Tuesday, May 17, 2011

That’s according to this article which suggest ministers are unveiling new proposals on speed limits. Under the proposals the speed limit on motorways could be raised to 80pmh whilst those on other roads could be cut. The Government is looking to cut the number of people killed and seriously injured in car crashes. They will look into how speed limits should be set and take into account the benefits of shorter journey times and the implications for road users. Already 52% of traffic on motorways travels at more than 70 mph with 35% of cars being driven between 70 and 79 mph. In this case, then it may make sense to raise the speed limit, although driving at higher speeds does burn more fuel so is unlikely to be popular with environmental campaigners. It is also likely that speed limits would be cut on roads such as single carriageways where they are thought to be too high. It will be interesting to see what if any changes are actually made.

posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:27:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

As someone who has suffered quite badly with migraines in the past (less so now, fingers crossed) I found this article interesting. It’s about a new shock treatment which is being trialled on migraine sufferers. The treatment involves having a small remote controlled device implanted inside your nose, just above the nerves. When the patient feels a migraine coming on they then press the button on the remote to trigger the device which delivers a mild shock. The shock numbs the nerves and stops the pain of the headache. With around 5.6 million people in the UK suffering from migraines and 90,000 people being absent from work every day as a result of a migraine, if this works it could prove quite popular. It is currently undergoing a trial which will be followed by further clinical trials so it will be interesting to revisit this at a later date to see the results.

posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:02:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 16, 2011

If this article is to be believed we should see an abundance of strawberries this summer, and not only will there will be more of them, they will be much sweeter than usual. According to the article it is down to the warm weather we have been experiencing meaning that British strawberries will be ready weeks earlier than usual. It should mean we see the best English strawberry crop for around 30 years. The weather also means an increased sugar level making the fruits sweeter and juicer than usual. I have certainly noticed a nice crop of strawberries coming along in my garden. At the moment it’s too early to see what they taste like but I am looking forward to trying them.

posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 10:48:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0BF239BD00000578-277_634x860article-0-0BF23BD300000578-334_634x421This is interesting it’s a functional house with a double bedroom, lounge, shower and kitchen all packed into a 10ft cube. The house which has been showcased at the Edinburgh Science Festival is certainly compact. Despite this the the lounge has a table a and two chairs, it includes a 4ft wide double bed, a full sized shower and a kitchen. It also includes solar panels on the roof to generate electricity. It has been designed to be carbon neutral and is thought to be the smallest eco-home in the world. It certainly looks cosy.

 

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posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 10:29:08 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, May 15, 2011

article-1304524720078-0BE50EE200000578-43992_466x648This is the world’s longest cigar. Created in Havana in Cuba it measures an amazing 268 feet 4 inches long, that’s 81.8 metres or about the length of a football pitch. It was created by Jose Castelar Cairo who also created the previous longest cigar which measured 148 feet 9 inches. He has now held the world record for the longest cigar four times having first entered the record in 2008 with a cigar measuring 36 feet.

posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 11:16:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is interesting, called Leafsnap it’s an iPhone application that is able to identify a tree by it’s leaves. To use the application you need to take a picture of the leaf on a white background. The application then uses face recognition software to identify the species. It is produced by the Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. It uses the same technology as face recognition software to identify the species. It’s an interesting idea and having tried it, it is useful, however, it currently is mainly US based so is not so good with UK species.

posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 11:12:23 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, May 14, 2011

According to this article a record amount of English wine was produced last year. Over 4 million bottles was produced as an increasing amount of farmers have turned towards wine production. This is the highest volume of wine ever produced, breaking a previous record of 3.5 million bottles. Figures show that there is 75% more land turned over to wine over the last five years. In addition to this last years cold and wet late summer provided good conditions for sparkling wine which thrives in cool weather. Currently the biggest producers are Chapel Down and Nyetimber who both specialise in sparkling wine. Waitrose have also recently entered the market and in 2009 started planting chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes, although these vines will take another 2 years before they start producing grapes. With more English wine being produced it would be nice to see some on sale in the local supermarket.

posted on Saturday, May 14, 2011 12:40:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0BDF368700000578-585_468x351This is interesting it’s a device called a Coffee Joulies which claims to keep your drink at the perfect temperature for up to five hours. The device which resembles a glass bean is placed inside the thermos with the hot drink. It absorbs the extra thermal energy in the drink when it is hot and then releases this energy to keep the drink at an optimum drinking temperature as it starts to cool down. The beans are made of a non toxic material sealed within the stainless steel shell. They only work, however, when the drink is insulated with a lid. It’s an interesting idea, but I do wonder whether they are any more effective than an ordinary thermos.

posted on Saturday, May 14, 2011 12:37:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, May 13, 2011

According to this article Cadbury are to launch a range a bath products. The products will be made with the cosmetic company Anatomicals and will smell like the three new flavours of the Dairy Milk Bliss bar. They will be launched in June this year and will be the first time that Cadbury has tried making bath products. The limited edition products will be sold by John Lewis and asos.com.

posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 10:10:31 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article which suggests it can add as much as £20,000 to the value of the average home. Second on the list is a room extension which can add an average of £16,069 to a homes value, whilst a conservatory adds around £8233. Smaller improvements such as a new kitchen can add around £5617 and new windows £5265. Generally, however, people need to spend a minimum of £10,000 on a conversion or extension in order to see  a return on your investment. Still, it’s interesting reading if you are thinking of doing any home improvements.

posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 9:57:46 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 12, 2011

According to this article millions of iPod users are damaging their hearing by listening to music which is louder than a pneumatic drill. Research has found than 1 in 10 people listen to their music at a level which is a higher volume than a drill on a building site. One is six listen at a level which is louder than an aeroplane taking off. According to the article 17% of people have been left with ringing ears after listening to loud music for a long period of time. Damage can start to occur when the ears are exposed to noises louder than 85 decibels for prolonged periods of time. It seems, however, that a quarter of people turn off the volume limiter and 1 in 20 people listen to their music at the highest possible volume with 43% claiming they are not bothered that the loud music might be damaging their hearing. Personally I keep the volume low when listening to music, mainly because I am being considerate of those around me, who I doubt want to hear my music. I do, however, come across many examples where one individual is “delighting” the whole train carriage with the noise from their iPod. I thought the whole point of headphones was so that you can hear your music but no one else can? Perhaps I am missing something.

posted on Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:06:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If this article is to be believed then the answer would be yes. It claims that one in six British women struggle with cooking, with the typical female only being able to cook seven dishes from scratch. The poll commissioned by the Good Food channel found 1 in 5 women struggle with cooking a basic curry whilst 1 in six can’t bake a cake and 1 in 10 have never cooked a roast. In addition to this 1 in 10 women can cook fewer than 3 meals without consulting a recipe book or asking for help. It seems I may be in the minority if the article is correct, I can think of 20+ dishes off the top of my head that I can cook from scratch although I don’t consider myself a particularly good cook.

posted on Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:44:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 11, 2011

That’s the claim made by this article which suggests despite the government spending £4 million to persuade people to eat five a day less people are doing so. Official statistics show that between 2006 and 2009 the percentage of adults actually eating five portions of fruit and veg a day has fallen from 30% to 26%. This is a fall from 12.1million to about 10.9million. Figures found that richer households are more likely to meet the target with 32% of men and 37% women in the highest-income households meet the target, compared to only 18% of men and 19% of women in the lowest income brackets. Personally I eat quite a bit of fruit of veg but I don’t think I manage five portions every day.

posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:41:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
article-1380342-0BC3FB9800000578-30_634x433I remember having a Spirograph when I was a child, unfortunately mine was second hand and didn’t have all of the bits but I still managed to create to interesting pictures with it. This one, is slightly bigger and works on the same concept. It uses two pendulums suspended from wooden towers which are connected to drawing arms and moveable joints. A ballpoint pen is mounted at the point where the pendulums come together. The pendulums are set in motion by hand and then the motion creates a picture on the paper.
posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:39:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The Government is considering new regulations which would see all new pet dogs being microchipped. Under the regulations every puppy brought and sold would new have a microchip implanted. The details would then be placed on a national database which would be accessible to the police and the RSPCA. The proposals have drawn criticism from some MPs and animal experts who say law abiding owners would be unfairly penalised. Personally I can’t see why you wouldn’t have your pet microchipped. My four cats have all been chipped and for me it provides some peace of mind that if they were to be lost or stolen I have a hope of finding them. At a small cost of between £20 and £30 it seems a small price to pay. I can, however, see it is unlikely to be popular with breeders who would need to pass these additional cost onto their customer, but surely a responsible dog owner would have their pet microchipped anyway?

posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:37:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 10, 2011

article-1381435-0BCC4BC600000578-985_468x354According to this article the Red Kite is once again doing well after being brought back from the brink of extinction. Twenty years ago the birds were almost extinct, however, a conservation programme has been quite successful. According to a RSPB survey the bird is now the 53rd most common bird in British gardens. The birds were driven to extinction in the 1880s when they were thought of as vermin. A conservation programme was started in 1989 to reintroduce birds from Sweden, Germany and Spain. Since then kites have been successfully brought back to the Chilterns, Northamptonshire, Gateshead, Yorkshire and north Scotland. Now there are thought be around 1,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:23:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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According to this article this is the new sell out designer bag. Priced at £90 and resembling a Sainsbury’s carrier bag it has become popular with those who prefer a bag without logos. Described as a “contemporary carry-all” and made out of acetate it is the must have utility bag. The current trend appears to be for functional bags with other popular sellers being the £480 Prada rucksack and a £4,200 gym bag from Reed Krakoff. I’m not sure I would pay that much for any of these bags, I tend to prefer cheap and cheerful when it comes to bags for shopping or for the gym.

posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:21:41 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback