# Thursday, December 31, 2009

According to this article light bulbs could soon become a thing of the past as light emitting wallpaper is introduced. This is according to a government body that supports low carbon technology. The wallpaper would work using a chemical coating on the walls which illuminates all parts of the room with an even glow mimicking sunlight. It will also avoid the shadows and glare of conventional bulbs. An electrical current will be used to stimulate the chemicals in order to produce light but the voltage would be very low meaning the walls would be safe to the touch. Dimmer switches would control the brightness of the light. The product is still in development but the Carbon Trust has recently awarded a grant to Lomox, a company that is developing the technology. They claim it will be two and a half times more efficient than energy saving bulbs and will make a big contribution in cutting carbon emissions.

posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:17:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Weighing in at 3,682lbs this is The Field Marshall a bull who has recently been named Britain’s biggest bullock. The bull eats more than 17lbs of feed every day and at the age of  8 is only a teenager so is likely to grow bigger yet.

posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 3:39:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 29, 2009

article-1238493-07B52DB5000005DC-670_634x529This is an interesting idea, its a see through toaster. The toaster cooks the bread between two sheets of glass so that it is possible to see how well done your toast is and prevent you burning it. It currently only take one slice of bread at a time, however, so may not be that practical for day to use.

posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:17:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 28, 2009

According to this article the public will soon be able to shoot parakeets. The birds are due to be added to an updated list of pests meaning that people will be able to kill them on their own property without a licence. The parakeets have become something of a pest in parts of the UK and have been blamed for wrecking fruit crops and threatening the nesting sites of native birds. A total of 63 species will be added to the list of alien pests in April, these include the European eagle owl, Chinese water deer the wild boar and some plants such as the rhododendron.

posted on Monday, December 28, 2009 11:38:37 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 27, 2009

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We have lost lots of Christmas decorations over the years but so far none have ever ended up inside one of our cats. This cat, however, managed to eat a Christmas decoration and had to have it removed. The cat began suffering chronic sickness and an X-ray found a Christmas tree decoration in her abdomen. After surgery to remove it the cat seems to be doing fine but its worth being cautious with your decorations around your pets this Christmas.

posted on Sunday, December 27, 2009 12:25:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, December 26, 2009

According to this article a study has been carried out which has concluded that angels and fairies would be unable to fly. Angels and cherubs that are depicted with small feather wings would apparently be unable to take off because they would be too heavy. They would also lack the powerful muscles that they would need to be able to beat their wings. fairies on the other hand would be unable to cope with the distortion of the thorax needed for flight in fairies with butterfly wings. So it seems if angels should exist then they would stay firmly on the ground.

posted on Saturday, December 26, 2009 1:17:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 24, 2009

article-1235996-079B8C08000005DC-247_306x655 This is an interesting idea its a dress that you can decorate yourself. It has been created by fashion designer Berber Soepboer and graphic designer Michiel Schuurman. The dress features a black and white design and comes with several coloured fabric markers so that you can decorate it as you choose. It is available in four sizes and costs £250.

posted on Thursday, December 24, 2009 1:06:04 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 23, 2009

According to this article feeding the birds can affect the way that they evolve. Scientists have carried out a study on blackcaps which has found that they follow a different evolutionary path if they spend the winter eating food people have put out for them. The birds normal wintering ground is in southern Spain where they would feed on the fruit that grows there but some birds are now wintering in the UK because they can survive on the food we leave out on our bird tables. Studies have found that those birds which do this are now in the early stage of forming a new species. As the UK is closer to the birds breeding ground these birds also return early and claim the better territory than those that winter in Spain. The researcher found that the two groups of birds have different chemical signatures and have formed two distinct populations even down to the fact that they only mate within their own group. There are also differences emerging in the birds beak, wings and plumage with the birds that winter in the UK having rounder wings and longer narrower beaks more adapted to eating seeds and fat from bird feeders. It will be interesting to revisit this story in the future to see whether they have evolved further.

posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:23:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 22, 2009

According to this article marriage could actually be good for your health. Psychologists have found that people that are married are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. However, those who end their marriage are more likely to suffer from mental disorders when the relationship ends.

posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:29:31 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 21, 2009

According to this article some British sausages are made up of as much as a third fat and only 32 per cent meat. The rest of the sausage is usually made up of ground wheat rusk which is used as a bulking agent to cut costs and improve the texture of the sausage. A study has been carried out on 36 brands of sausages including the country’s biggest sellers to find out exactly what goes into them. Researchers for the journal Meat Science looked at the packaging for information on meat fat and salt content. On average the sausages contained 62 per cent meat but four of the sausages that were looked at had less than 50 per cent and the worst one had less than a third pork. The study did not identify the different brands but did reveal that the two sausages with the lowest meat content were Asda Smart Price with 34% pork and Sainsbury’s Chipolatas with 32% pork.

posted on Monday, December 21, 2009 11:26:44 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 20, 2009

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Artist Eugenie Scrase has won BBC Two’s School of Saatchi show with this tree trunk artwork. The piece beat five finalists to win a place in Charles Saatchi’s current show. The artist found the fallen tree whilst out walking in East London and asked the owner if she could remove the section of fence it was impaled on. The work entitles Trunkated Trunk has been on show at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia since October. It’s certainly interesting but its not really my idea of art.

posted on Sunday, December 20, 2009 9:31:47 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, December 19, 2009

0_115_175_http---offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk-news-OKM-975DE550-DF7A-C9E6-BCD482F7612B065D This is an interesting new product from Tesco. Its a bra that can be assembled in various different combinations. Called the limitless bra it comes in several parts including two cups and a selection of straps to create different effects. Each of the cups has 24 different hook positions and a back strap with a further 28 hooks so whether you want a strapless look a backless bra or a halter neck bra you should be able to easily achieve it. The bra retails for £16.00 and is available in sizes 32-38 A-D.

posted on Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:35:02 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 18, 2009

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It started snowing here in Sevenoaks last night and we now have a good covering of snow. Whilst the foxes have been jumping around in it and playing the cats are not impressed. Our white cat Ollie (pictured) ventured out for a look but the other are all curled up inside. Below is a view of the trees in our garden.

 

 

 

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posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 12:19:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 17, 2009

According to this article rhino poaching is on the rise. The global surge is being driven by the the demand from Asian medicinal markets and a decline in law enforcement. Around 95% of rhino poaching since 2006 has taken place in Zimbabwe and South Africa according to data compiled by Traffic the global wildlife trade monitoring network. The most serious situation appears to be in Zimbabwe where rhino numbers are declining rapidly, however, the conviction rate for rhino crime is only 3% in this country. Poaching and illegal trading have also seen a huge increase in South Africa with 210 rhinos being illegally killed between 2006 and 2009. The African black rhino is now placed in the critically endangered category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and with the market for rhino horns in Asia still growing rapidly, its obvious that greater measures need to be put into place to in order to prevent poaching.

posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 10:30:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 16, 2009

According to this article online retailer Amazon is considering a move into the high street. The move comes as Amazon has started to stock larger products which can be problematic and expensive to deliver. If it goes ahead Amazon would have outlets where customers could pick up purchases that they have ordered online. The article suggests that Amazon is currently looking for high profile sites across the UK to pilot the scheme. The move would not only allow Amazon to supply those larger items but also allow customers to pick up their purchases at a time to suit them rather than relying on being in to sign for a delivery.

posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:55:13 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 15, 2009

According to this article only two in every three children now have married parents. It appears that the number of children being brought up in the traditional family unit is at a historic low, that’s according to official figures. The findings come after the Government’s family pressure group has claimed the state should no longer try to preserve the traditional family. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that there are 8.3 million dependent children living with married parents, that’s a fall of 1.3 million since 1997. The number of dependent children in cohabiting households has risen from one million to 1.7 million during the same period. Studies show that children from cohabiting parents are also more likely to end up in single parent households because of the higher break up of these relationships. Research also shows that children from married homes do better at school, get better paid jobs and are more likely to steer clear of drugs and crime.

posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 8:10:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 14, 2009

According to this article tomato and potato plants kill insects in order to help fertilise themselves. The plants have sticky hairs on them that they use to trap small insects. When the insects die they fall to the ground and the plants absorb the nutrients through their roots. Although the technique is more commonly seen in wild plants, it is thought that garden varieties still retain the ability to this but that they have no need to do so because gardeners tend to provide the plants with food. Botanists have recently been conducting a study into carnivorous plant species and were surprised to find carnivorous behaviour in many plant species that have previously been overlooked. Among them are species of petunia, ornamental tobacco plants, some varieties of potatoes and tomatoes and shepherd’s purse.

posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 8:36:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 13, 2009

According to this article stamp collecting is enjoying something of a surge in popularity. The Royal Philatelic Society has reported a rise in membership and dealers have also reported a sharp increase in sales. Ebay have also reported a 30% rise in stamp sales. It appears the rise in popularity could be down to the recession with people choosing the relatively inexpensive pastime of stamp collecting rather than more expensive pursuits. Whatever the reason it appears that more people are choosing the hobby and it is starting to appeal the younger market and even to some celebrities. With all this interest could stamp collecting finally become cool?

posted on Sunday, December 13, 2009 12:36:28 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I dread having to go Christmas shopping, because the shops seem to be so hot at this time of year. I also have a tendency to pass out when I am standing for a long time in hot conditions, so as you can imagine I have embarrassed myself ending up in a heap on a number of shop floors. I have wondered whether the tropical conditions are all in my mind but this article now makes me think otherwise. It claims that some shops are as hot as tropical holiday destinations. A survey of the major chains on Oxford Street found that Topshop had a temperature of 80.9F (27.2C). Other shops such as the Bodyshop, Debenhams, Esprit, HMV, Clinton Cards, Boots and Monsoon all had temperatures above 77F (25C) with the average temperature being 74.5F (23.6C). It’s no wonder then when I am dressed in my winter coat for the cold conditions outside that when I enter these sorts of conditions I overheat and pass out on the floor. It would certainly be more comfortable to have the temperature a little lower in department stores and would also waste a lot less energy.

posted on Sunday, December 13, 2009 1:00:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, December 12, 2009

This article suggests that climate change could make some marine life such as lobsters bigger. A study has shown that more acidic oceans caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide can produce oversized shelled marine species including lobsters, crabs and shrimps. Whilst this may be good news for seafood lovers there is some bad news. Other species such as oysters, scallops and clams suffer in more acidic waters because they are unable to build their shells. Lobsters on the other hand thrive under higher CO2 levels because they can convert inorganic carbon in seawater into a form they can use to produce shells. However, they rely on the smaller creatures for food so in a situation where the predator is getting stronger and the prey weaker it seems only a matter of time before the predators are also severely impacted and the population becomes unsustainable.

posted on Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:58:45 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 11, 2009

According to this article red wine could actually be good for your teeth. Scientists have claimed that it contains chemicals which could help combat tooth decay by stopping bacteria from sticking to the teeth. The findings which are due to be published in the journal Food Chemistry suggest that a glass of red wine a day can help teeth healthy and reduce the need for fillings. Studies have also shown that red wine can improve brain power, boost your immune system and fight diabetes and obesity. Wine. Is there anything it can’t do?

posted on Friday, December 11, 2009 11:03:45 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0786A4B4000005DC-580_634x448 A calf has been born in Sterling, Rhode Island that has a large white cross on its forehead. The calf’s owner believes that the animal is a message from above. Although Holstein cows do often have white markings on their heads it is thought that this is the first time one has appeared in the shape of the cross. It seems this really is a holy cow.

posted on Friday, December 11, 2009 11:00:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 10, 2009

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This rather oversized robin was spotted at Plymouth’s Burrator Reservoir. Surprisingly despite his size he was able to fly. The good news is with his extra bulk he should be well placed to survive even the harshest winter as long as he is fast enough to evade any predators.

posted on Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:25:03 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 09, 2009

article-1232276-07688C73000005DC-917_634x590 This snake got into a spot of trouble when he tried to eat his own tail. Reggie the King snake mistook his tail for food and bit down on it. Unfortunately he couldn’t release his jaws and was stuck like it. His owner noticed what has happened before the snake started to digest his own body and rushed the snake to the vet where its jaws were pried open to release the tail. The operation took about an hour and the snake appears to be no worse off after his adventure.

posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2009 12:50:59 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This orchid has recently been discovered in Eucador and is thought to be the world’s smallest. It measures only 2.1mm wide and its transparent petals are only one cell thick. The tiny flower was found among the roots of much larger plants and after it was studied in more detail it was found to be an entirely new species.

posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2009 12:12:27 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 08, 2009

_46823229_phonebox_queue This is one of the country’s smallest libraries. The phone box was brought from BT for £1 under a National scheme that allows communities to adopt a phone box. Villages in the local area of Westbury-sub-Mendip can use the library, selecting books, DVDs and CDs. They simply have to leave a book they have read and take one that they would like to read. The idea was thought up by a resident when the village lost both its phone box and its mobile library in quick succession.

posted on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 1:14:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 07, 2009

According to this article cutting one sausage out of your diet a day is necessary to save the planet. A report which has been backed by the Environment Secretary partly blames meat eaters for climate change. Scientists called for a 30% reduction in the number of farm animals bred for meat in order to prevent rising temperatures and rising sea levels. This 30% reduction is equivalent to seven sausages, two chicken breasts, four lamb chops or 12 rashers of bacon and according to the report would not only help the environment but also bring significant health benefits such as reducing premature deaths from heart disease.

posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 1:13:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 06, 2009

If this article is to be believed then scientists have managed to grow a form of meat in a laboratory for the first time. The researchers who are based in the Netherlands have created what they have described as soggy pork. They are now working on improving the muscle tissue by training it and stretching it to make it feel more like meat. Vegetarian groups have welcomed the news and have no ethical objection as its not a piece of a dead animal. Although no one has tasted the artificial meat yet it is thought that it could be on sale within five years.

posted on Sunday, December 06, 2009 11:33:43 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, December 05, 2009

This article suggests that cutting the amount of salt you eat by one teaspoon a day could save you from a stroke. Research shows that eating less salt can reduce the risk of a stroke by a quarter and the chances of heart disease by 17%. The article also suggests that most of the salt we eat is hidden in processed and packet food and that many people are unaware of their salt intake. So perhaps the key is to cut out all processed foods that way you can add as much or as little salt as you want, and at least you know what is in your food.

posted on Saturday, December 05, 2009 11:01:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The Scottish brewery BrewDog has launched what it has described as the world’s strongest beer. Called Tactical Nuclear Penguin it has a 32% alcohol content. The beer will be sold for £30 each and is on sale for a limited period only. It is designed to be drunk in spirit sized measures much as you would enjoy a fine whisky.

posted on Saturday, December 05, 2009 10:56:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 04, 2009

_46793883__46763088_-11-1 According to this article a programme to save a rare species of duck is proving rather successful. The Madagascan Pochard is so rare that it is thought that there are only 20 of them left in the wild. All of the remaining population are thought to live on just a single volcanic lake. Eggs were collected from the wild population and were hatched in captivity. In all twenty four ducklings were hatched successfully. These ducklings will later be released back into the wild and it is hoped that the captive breeding programme will double the number of pochards within the next three years.

posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 8:22:26 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 03, 2009

A campaign has been launched by The British Beer and Pub Association and the Society of Independent Brewers to cut beer tax in an attempt to save the British pub. Currently around 50 pubs a week are closing as trading conditions become increasingly difficult. The campaign called “I’m backing the pub” calls on the government to cut the tax on beer reversing the increase which was imposed last January and scrapping plans to increase it in the next budget. With 80% of people in a recent survey saying the pub is an important part of their community it seems to me its time to do something to save those pubs that still remain.

posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 2:47:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 02, 2009

According to this article doing puzzles such as Sudoku can help you burn calories. The claim has been made by mental agility experts cannyminds.com who say that doing puzzles and quizzes burns as average of 90 calories an hour. It is based upon the fact that our brains need 0.1 calories every minute to survive. When we do something more challenging such as a quiz we can burn more calories as many as 1.5 a minute. The bad news, however, is that whilst the brain does use up energy it does not use fat to do so so you might burn calories, but are not going to get any thinner.

posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 12:16:27 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, December 01, 2009

According to this article many energy saving lighting bulbs have a design flaw which means they start to become dimmer over time. Whilst it is advertised that the bulbs can last as long as five or six years, it appears that many will need replacing long before that. A good quality bulb is likely to lose about 20 per cent of its light over its estimated 8,000 hour lifespan with cheaper alternatives emitting just 60 per cent as much light as a new bulb. The problem is with CFL bulbs which give off light when a current is passed through a gas filled tube. The gas glows with ultraviolet radiation which lights up a coating of white phosphor on the inside of the tube, over time, however, this coating starts to lose its ability to light up. Other low energy bulbs such as halogen lights and LED bulbs are more reliable and more likely to stay bright throughout their life. With conventional bulbs being withdrawn from sale it appears we will soon have little alternative but to purchase the slightly dimmer alternative.

posted on Tuesday, December 01, 2009 3:03:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback