# Friday, 22 July 2011

article-2015107-0D05E0D800000578-986_233x408These interesting looking solar powered bins have recently gone on trial in  Inverness. The bins which have been called the “Big Belly” can take eight times as much rubbish as a normal bin of the same size. Machinery inside the bin compacts the litter automatically and an internal computer is programmed to send an email to the council when the bin is full and needs to be emptied. The bins are solar powered and need only eight hours of daylight a day to power the electronic device inside. At £3,200 they are not cheap but perhaps the cost will work itself out if they don’t need to be emptied so often.

posted on Friday, 22 July 2011 09:38:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

_54066604_rainbow_toadThis colourful creature is a Ansonia latidisca or as it has been more commonly nicknamed a rainbow toad. Previously the only images of the toad were those drawn from specimens collected by European explorers in the 1920’s. This was one of three toads spotted by Scientists from University Malaysia Sarawak on a recent trip to Borneo. It certainly is a striking creature.

posted on Friday, 22 July 2011 09:35:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 21 July 2011

Seems to be a common question for those ordering fashion online. So much so, that it has now become the norm to order an item in several sizes and send back those that don’t fit. That’s according to this article which suggests a lack of standardised sizing amongst retailers means shoppers are ordering a purchase in multiple sizes and sending back goods worth more than half a billion pounds. In fact a survey by online shopping comparison website Kelkoo found that almost two-thirds of the 1,500 adults it surveyed ordered multiple sizes of the same item when shopping online. I must admit to doing the same, if I am unable to find exact measurements on the website but it must be quite a headache for retailers having to process so many returns. Perhaps as the article suggests it is time to use standardised sizing.

posted on Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:16:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-2013797-0CFA002300000578-522_306x448This is interesting it’s a beach mat that filters out grains of sand ensuring they remain where they belong, that’s on the beach. The mat which was originally developed for military use to keep the dust off of helicopters has holes that are just wide enough for grains of sand to fit through. The clever part is that it acts as a one way filter so once the sand has passed through it doesn’t come back. It also claims to eliminate dirt, dust and water ensuring an always clean surface. It sounds like just the thing for the beach and at £40 not too expensive either.

posted on Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:13:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 20 July 2011

If you have been thinking about a getting a hypoallergenic dog then you may want to read this article. it suggests that they produce just as much allergens as any other dog. Hypoallergenic dogs such as Bichon Frise, Poodles and Portugese water dogs are supposed to produce less dander and saliva and also shed less fur. A recent study, however, has shown this is not the case. It looked at 60 different breeds of dog and found there was no scientific basis to claim these breeds have any less allergens. Researchers analysed dust samples from 173 homes collected from the carpet or floor of the bedroom. All the households involved in the study had only one dog with 11 of the 60 dogs being hypoallergenic breeds. When the samples were analysed there was no significant difference in allergen levels in the homes.

posted on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 11:19:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Raspberries2We have just picked the first raspberries from the garden and they really are tasty. Whilst there is not really enough to make much with this year they have done much better than I expected. In fact as it I only planted them this year I was not expecting any fruit at all until at least next year. The crop whilst not huge is enough to eat with dessert or just on their own. The plants are already producing new runners so lets hope for a bumper crop next year and perhaps enough to make some jam.

posted on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 11:17:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 19 July 2011

_54026035_012428936-1This is interesting, its a selection of photos showing the imprints left by birds that have flown into windows. This one shows an owl that crashed into a window in Kendal. The print would have been left by the powder down substance that protects the birds feathers.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:36:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

corn 2Oliver 015The allotment has been somewhat neglected recently as we have been concentrating on decorating but the vegetables we have growing are coming along nicely. The corn is is now waist high as you can from this picture of me scythe in hand creating a scene from Children of the Corn. A closer picture shows the developing cobs. I am hoping for lots of sweet corns and it looks encouraging so far.





PotatoesBeansThe beans are growing well and we are just starting to see the first little beans appearing so hope to be eating them soon. The potatoes are also going well. I couldn't remember what varieties we planted but on digging a few early potatoes we have a mixture of white potatoes and a red almost purple variety which taste yummy.






VegetablesWe also have a few courgettes coming along at the allotment although my main crop of these is in the vegetable patch in the garden. Here are a few potatoes and a courgette we harvested for dinner. The allotment and garden combined are certainly keeping us in vegetables at the moment. It has been several month since I had to shop for vegetables. My salad leaves from the greenhouse are picked daily for sandwiches and the potatoes, courgettes, turnips and peas and gradually being eaten or processed and frozen as they are ready. My initial investment of £40 of seeds finally seems to be paying off. I believe I have already saved that at least just in salad.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:33:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 18 July 2011

article-2012543-0CEBBB6F00000578-576_634x913These interesting looking glow in the dark mushrooms have recently been rediscovered in Brazil. Originally found in 1840 they had since been lost but have now been found again on a more recent expedition. The mushrooms create a glow that is bright enough to read by. It is believed that they make the the light in much the same way as a firefly, through a chemical mix of a luciferin compound and a luciferase, an enzyme that produces a compound which reacts to light. They certainly look impressive and on a more decorative note would look great lining my garden path at night.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:25:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Personally I am not surprised to read this article which suggests airlines charge a huge mark up on food and drink. The article claims that drinking water on the budget airline Ryanair is 12 times more expensive than if you were to purchase it in a supermarket. In many ways it makes good business sense for the airlines, particularly with the current liquids ban. I wonder how many people have thought they have stocked up on water for the journey, usually seduced by the two for one offers before checking in, only to find that it can’t be taken through security. Whilst there doesn’t seem, to be a way around this, packing a sandwich seems a better plan that paying too much for airline food which is often poor quality for the price anyway.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:13:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 17 July 2011

This is interesting it’s a snail that can survive being digested by birds. A study of the diet of Japanese white eyes on the island of Hahajima has found that 15% of the tiny snails eaten by the birds survive the digestion process and are found alive in the birds droppings. The evidence could be a key factor in how the populations of snails are able to spread. Previous research had found that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but this is the first time that land snails have been found to survive the digestive process.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:50:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1310400591060-0CF5B43700000578-728100_636x365If you are planning a trip to Iceland, then you might want to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum. It currently has the largest collection of penises in the world and has recently added a human penis to its collection. Over 200 specimens are preserved in test tubes and glass vessels whilst some larger ones are displayed like hunting trophies on the wall.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:30:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 16 July 2011

wall strippingIn a moment of madness I decided it was time to start decorating the house. We have been here two years this weekend now, and so far the decor is as it was when we purchased it. As it’s the room we spend most time it seemed most logical to start with the living room. The wallpaper was very easy to take off and just peeled away nicely. What we were not prepared for, was the layers of old emulsion behind it. Unfortunately because it is peeling we can’t just paint over it so it has to come off. We have tried a number of techniques to do this so far with limited success and it really is progressing slowly. Three weeks into the project and we have managed to remove the paint from one wall, with the other three still to do. So far the only thing that really works is to wet the wall and scrap it off. We could be here some time. The plan is to remove the old paint, then plaster any holes and prepare the walls for painting. Once painted we intend to put wood flooring in the place of the nasty pink carpet. With time limited to weekends I estimate a good 2-3 months of work ahead but in some ways it’s nice to have made a start even if it’s taking longer than expected.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:44:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Gynandromorph-butterfly-007This is interesting, it’s a rare gynandromorph butterfly that has recently hatched at the Natural History Museum. The butterfly is half male and female and has both sex organs fused together. The insect is almost black on the male side with the female side being paler with specks of blue. red and tortoiseshell. It is possible for insects for born gynandromorphs when the sex chromosomes fail to separate when the fertilised egg divides. Only one in every ten thousand butterflies is a gynandromorph. The butterfly is expected to have a normal life span of around a month, although it is infertile so will not produce eggs. It will become part of the museums collection when it dies.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:40:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 15 July 2011

According to this article some beauty products could contain chemicals that can make you fat. Dubbed “chemical calories” they can be found in products such as shampoo, body lotion and soap as well as household cleaning products. The chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol-A have been shown to disturb the body’s natural weight control system. Research suggests that daily exposure to them could be linked to childhood obesity and weight problems in adults. Studies on animals have shown that the chemicals depress testosterone levels and can also mimic the effects of oestrogen, both of which can cause weight gain. It is possible to purchase products that do not contain these chemicals but I must admit at being a little surprised to find that beauty products could have an affect on weight gain.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:45:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article it is possible to train the brain to forget embarrassing or bad memories. Scientists have found that selective memory does exist and it is possible to train your brain to forget. It seems that when you actively try to forget something and repress it for long enough you will eventually forget completely. Mastering the technique could be useful for people suffering from depression or post traumatic stress disorder particularly if it is caused by dwelling on traumatic memories.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:39:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback