# Monday, January 31, 2011

If you keep your central heating turned up during the cold weather then you could also be adding a few pounds to your waistline. That’s according to this article which suggests many of us now keep our homes so warm that we no longer have to burn as many calories to naturally warm up our bodies. In fact a study claims that centrally heated homes with efficient double glazing are helping to send obesity rates soaring. Coupled with the fact that we now spend more time indoors, the prolonged exposure to warm temperatures may permanently reduce the body’s ability to burn a fat known as adipose tissue. Based on this if you want to lose a few pounds perhaps you should try turning your heating off for a few hours.

posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 11:13:21 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If this article is to be believed a new generation of pesticides could be linked to Britain’s vanishing honeybees. The results from a new study show that chemicals which are routinely used on farms and in garden centres can attack the central systems of insects and make bee colonies vulnerable to disease. The claims come from a study carried out by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory and could explain why bee colonies are declining.

The number of bees in Britain have fallen by half since the 1980s. The new study points to neo-nicotinoids as a pesticide that makes bees more susceptible to infection. The pesticides which were introduced in the 1990s to replace the controversial organo phosphates appear on the surface to be harmless but when applied to seeds are found in low levels throughout a growing plant including in its pollen and nectar. The study certainly looks damning and the Co-op has already banned neo-nicotinoids on its UK farms, however the manufacturer Bayer has insisted its products do not harm bees.

posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 11:09:36 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 30, 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests that driving for three hours at night can have the same effect as driving drunk. A study has found that as little as two hours continuous motorway driving in the dark can affect the drivers performance as severely as having a couple of drinks. Experts are now calling on the government to impose a maximum two hour limit on continuous night time driving in order to cut the number of accidents. I’m not entirely sure how easy it would be to enforce this if a limit were brought in but surely it is common sense that driving for several hours does make you tired. Particularly when driving on the motorway which is boring at the best of times.

posted on Sunday, January 30, 2011 1:11:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article numbers of wild birds in the UK are still falling dramatically. Populations of farmland birds are at a record low and woodland birds are also experiencing a 24% decline. Only seabird populations remain above 1970 levels. The decline has been blamed on habitat changes which means there are fewer nesting sites for birds. Food shortages may also play a part in the falling numbers. Some solutions include projects to financially reward farmers for managing land in an environmentally friendly way.

posted on Sunday, January 30, 2011 12:50:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 29, 2011

According to this article two thirds of women are unable to find a pair of jeans that fit. It seems many women find shopping for jeans frustrating as they are unable to find a pair that fits correctly. Personally I have many pairs of jeans but if I am honest none of them really fit correctly. I am unfortunate enough to have a fairly slim waist but wide hips and a round bottom. Although jeans do fit I usually have to buy a larger size that might fit my waist and bottom but ultimately gapes at the waist. It’s interesting, however, that I don’t have the same problem with trousers. I wonder why its so hard to find jeans that fit.

posted on Saturday, January 29, 2011 9:50:34 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0CDB68C5000005DC-421_964x355This is interesting its a giant pool table. The table which measures one and a half feet high has been built by Steve Wienecke in his garden. It took him 250 hours to create the table. He uses ten pin bowling balls as pool balls.

posted on Saturday, January 29, 2011 9:46:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 28, 2011

If this article is to be believed Australians are increasingly choosing wine over beer. If the trend continues it is thought wine sales will overtake beer sales within 10 years. In fact the consumption of beer has dropped by almost half to its lowest level in 50 years. Wine sales, however, have increased three fold over the same period.

posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 9:54:43 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Whenever I see an article like one I am reminded of the importance of micro chipping your pets. The article is about a cat called Star that went missing from the Isle of Wight. Surprisingly he has now been found over a year later 300 miles away from his home in York. Star was handed into a York Cats Protection Centre where he was scanned for a chip. He has now been reunited with his owner but it is still not clear how he ended up in York.

posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 9:51:50 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 27, 2011

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This is interesting its a wine that contains a venomous snake. Produced in a village in Vietnam the wine contains snakes and scorpions. It is made with either a cobra or scorpion encased in the wine. The poison of the creature, however, is cancelled out by the alcoholic content of the drink and the fermenting process. The wine is thought to have many health benefits and is used to treat various problems such as back pain, rheumatism and lumbago. It is also thought to increase male virility.

posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:55:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 26, 2011

According to this article a cat in Boston has been ordered to do jury service. The cat called Tabby Sal has been called to sit in judgement at a US court. He had been refused a request for disqualification on the grounds that he is unable to speak and understand English. It appears the error may have been caused by the owner listing her cat in the wrong place on the census. As things stand the cat will have to appear at the court.

posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:41:35 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A shopping centre in Cheltenham had to be closed due to seagull attacks. The gulls began dive bombing customers on two levels of the shopping centre car park. They became increasingly aggressive and the decision was taken to close two levels of the arcade. It it thought hawks will now be brought in to scare them away.

posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:41:35 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This is the Beach Garbage Hotel, a project that has been created to highlight the rubbish that is washed up on our beaches. The hotel in Spain has been built by German artist Ha Schult. He has covered the walls with waste found at dumps and items brought at flea markets with around 30% of the items being found on beaches in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. He is quoted as saying "I created the Beach Garbage Hotel because the oceans of our planet are the biggest garbage dump."

posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:30:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 24, 2011

If this article is to be believed Starbucks are now selling cups of coffee that contain nearly a litre of liquid. The new Trenta cup size has recently been rolled out in stores across 14 American states starting in California. The cup holds 918ml or 31 ounces and will at first be used to sell iced coffee, tea and lemonade. I wonder whether the new size will be popular. I can certainly never imagine myself thinking, man that was a really late night, I need a litre of coffee.

posted on Monday, January 24, 2011 10:20:33 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 23, 2011

This is interesting its a proposal which could mean heavy drinkers are given a special zone in which they are allowed to drink. The scheme which has been proposed by a councillor from Colchester believes that the areas alcoholics should be given a special “wet zone” in which they can drink out of the way of the rest of the public. Currently anti-social drinkers in the area are constantly moved on by police because they and the dogs they often have with them are intimidating to the general public.

It is clear that some areas do have a problems with this issue. I remember when I used to work in Richmond, Surrey, there was a large group of men and their dogs who spent all day in the church yard drinking. It is clear they do need somewhere to go during the day where they do not cause problems. I’m not sure, however, that giving them a special zone in which to drink solves the issue. It seems to me it’s just sweeping the problem under the carpet rather than trying to deal with the root cause.

posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 8:57:24 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 22, 2011

According to this article an infection is currently threatening Britain's oak trees. The disease which has killed millions of oak trees in California is now a threat in Britain. It is thought to be as deadly as Dutch Elm disease which is responsible for wiping out millions of trees. In an effort to control it thousands of diseased trees are being felled. In 2003 it was present in a handful of oak trees but it has since jumped species and began infecting Japanese and European larch trees. Larch makes up around 5% of the forest cover in Britain so it has the potential to spread rapidly. The main problem is people carrying spores from infected forest areas on their tyres and boots.

posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 12:59:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 21, 2011

According to this article it will soon cost £70 to fill up the average family car. Prices are expected to reach a record high when they go up another 8p a litre on the 1st of April. This will push the cost of unleaded petrol up to £1.36 a litre and diesel to £1.40 a litre. The increases mean that it will cost £70 to fill a car with a 50 litre tank. The cost 12 months ago would have been £56, meaning an increase of as much as 25% over this period. It certainly is becoming very expensive to run a car but with public transport being hugely expensive and unreliable, in many cases a car journey is the only option.

posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 10:26:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article retailers are increasingly using scent in their stores. A Canadian company called Mood Media has been working with 20,000 different stores in Britain to help boost their sales. They use a combination of techniques including sound and visual media, with the latest trend being the use of scent. Popular scents include Lotus Flower and Enchanted Apple. The company has already created scents for Habitat, Timberland and Guest. The perfumes are pumped out through the air conditioning units and are aimed at making the customer stay in the store longer. The smells have to be subtle so that the customers don’t notice it except on a subconscious level.

posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 10:22:35 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cadbury’s Somerdale plant has recently produced its last bar of chocolate. The plant near Keynsham in Bristol has been open since 1919. The company was recently taken over by the American firm Kraft. They had initially promised to keep the Somerdale plant open but then decided to close it and instead move production to Poland. A skeleton staff of 50 people will remain on the site to handle maintenance until March 2011.

posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:52:30 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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Whilst this may not look like the clearest picture when you take into account this cat has only been spotted a few times in the last 100 years it is fairly unusual. The cat is a Bornean Bay Cat which lives within the Borneo rainforest. It is thought there are only around 50 of them left in existence and it is rarely seen.

posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 10:15:40 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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I have often wondered why car manufacturers seem to spend time creating new electric cars rather than working on improving an existing and popular model. I was interested, then to see that Ford has just released an electric version of the Ford Focus. The new Focus looks like a Focus rather than looking like an electric car. It is not yet clear how far the car will go on a charge or how much it is but I think Ford are on the right track producing an electric version of one of their most popular cars.

posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1:44:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 17, 2011

The BMW 3 Series topped the list as the most popular second hand car of 2010. The figures which come from Auto Trader found that the BMW 3 Series was the most searched for car on its website last year. It was followed by the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Audi A4. I’m surprised by the figures as I see many more Ford Focus cars around than any other make.

posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 10:26:18 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 16, 2011

If you are unlucky enough to have had swine flu then there could be a positive side to you catching the virus. Scientists believe that those who recover from swine flu are left with an extraordinary ability to fight off flu viruses. This is because in beating the H1N1 virus the body makes antibodies that can kill a number of other flu strains. The findings from the the Journal of Experimental Medicine could lead to a universal flu vaccine being developed that would protect against all strains of influenza. I will be interested to see how often I get sick after my recent severe bout of flu. With any luck I have this super immunity.

posted on Sunday, January 16, 2011 6:50:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 15, 2011

If this article is correct the average woman spends £71 in the sales on clothes that they will never wear. One of the main problems appears to be buying clothing in a size that is too small hoping that they can slim down to fit into it. All of these sales bargain amount to £3.5 billion worth of clothes that will just sit at the back of the wardrobe. I have been fairly restrained this year when it comes to the sales but I know I have a lot of sale “bargains” sitting in my wardrobe from previous years that I am yet to wear.

posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011 12:34:45 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 14, 2011

According to this article 2.6 million Britons used their credit card to pay their mortgage or rent last year. The figures come from a report by the housing charity Shelter and suggest that many families face a daily struggle to keep a roof over their heads. I find the figures surprising and would be interested to know whether these people have other outgoings that are taking a greater portion of their income or if they simply don’t earn enough to cover the mortgage payment.

posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 9:55:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wine-bottle-sediment-007This is interesting its a wine bottle that has been designed to catch the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Chef Martín Berasategui designed it as a way of decanting the wine whilst it is in the bottle. The bottle has a chamber at the base which captures the sediment rather than it being poured out with the wine. It also acts as a decanter because of its special shape.

posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:46:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If you are considering a contraceptive implant then it might be worth reading this article. It seem that there have been a number of complaints regarding the Implanon device. 1,600 women have complained to the medicines watchdog including 584 who had unwanted pregnancies as a result. The device when working correctly is implanted under the skin and releases hormones into the bloodstream from a tiny tube in the arm. This is supposed to stop women getting pregnant for three years. The Implanon device, however, has received a number of complaints not only of unwanted pregnancies but also of adverse reactions and incorrectly implanted devices. The NHS has so far paid out more than £200,000 in compensation to women who fell pregnant or who were injured by the implant.

posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:23:49 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I have often wondered why we don’t see this headline more often. The story is about an alleged psychic who predicting she would win the lottery went on to do just that a couple of months later. I’m not entirely convinced myself, I wonder whether there was more than a little luck involved.

posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:21:53 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I was interested to read this article about a bank robbery in Argentina where thieves spent seven months tunnelling into a vault before making off with the valuables. The article likens the robbery to the film The Bank Job in which a similar robbery was portrayed. In the real robbery the thieves dug a 100ft long tunnel complete with ventilation and lighting over the course of seven months. The thieves had rented a building next to bank from which they dug their tunnel. They waited until New Year Eve to raid the vaults as they knew the bank would be closed for several days. It is thought they managed to empty 140 safety deposit boxes but it is not yet known how much they managed to get away with in monetary value.

posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:19:16 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 10, 2011

A vulture has been arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of being a spy. The vulture was tagged at a Tel Aviv University as part of a migration research project. It flew in Saudi territory where the transmitter which read “Tel Aviv University” aroused suspicion. It is now being held on the suspicion that it is a Mossad spy. It is not yet clear what methods of questioning are being used to determine whether the bird is innocent of the alleged offence.

posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 10:10:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 09, 2011

According to this article the Open University which was once dominated by mature students is now attracting more younger age groups. It seems that at a time when people are increasingly struggling to make ends meets the appeal of the Open University where you can study part time is really coming into its own. It is now attracting more under 25s because of its lower tuition fees and the fact that they can work whilst they study. In many ways it is a more viable option. I chose to do my Master degree with the Open University some years ago because they was no way I could afford to study further without working. During my course I worked full time and was still able to keep up with the study commitments although it did take up all my spare time and lunch breaks. It seems to me a good way to further your education whilst working and without running up large debts.

posted on Sunday, January 09, 2011 1:10:09 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 08, 2011

This is interesting its a cat called Pogo whose job it is to test whether dogs are suitable to live with cats. Pogo interacts with the dogs to see whether they are going to be suitable for re-homing in a home where there are cats. At first Pogo is safe within the cat cage where he meets dogs of all sizes to gauge their reaction to him. If a dog pasts the first test and Pogo remains relaxed then he is let out of the cage to interact further with the dogs. Dogs that pass the second test are then deemed able to go to a home with cats. The Dogs Trust say that Pogo has lived with dogs all his life and is not put under stress during the encounters.

posted on Saturday, January 08, 2011 12:50:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 07, 2011

article-1294260220754-0CA67D74000005DC-45156_636x418This is Lucy who at the grand age of 39 is thought to be the oldest cat in the world. She is deaf and rather stiff but at the equivalent of 172 in human years she is doing well for her age. Lets hope she lives for a few more years yet.

posted on Friday, January 07, 2011 10:11:35 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

It never fails to amaze me what some people consider an emergency. For me 999 is there to report a serious crime or an accident that requires urgent medical attention. It seems, however, that some people don’t understand this. According to this article some of the reasons people have called the number include to report out of date milk on a shelf and to report that a new bed had not been delivered. Recently I remember there was also a lady who called to report a stolen snowman. When you think how many calls the emergency services deal with especially over the busy Christmas period it does me make me wonder what these time wasters are thinking.

posted on Friday, January 07, 2011 10:08:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 06, 2011

Personally I am still getting over the last of the Christmas food and Easter is the last thing on my mind but if this article is to be believed Easter eggs are already appearing in some supermarkets. A Tesco store in Portslade, East Sussex already has its Easter Egg display in place and others are likely to follow suit. According to Tesco there is a huge demand for Creme Eggs as soon as they go on sale. I do wonder if people really want to buy Easter eggs this early.

posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011 10:26:34 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 05, 2011

As someone who used to wear contact lenses I find it interesting that this article claims customers are wasting money buying their lenses on the high street. According to the article if you know your prescription you can buy contact lenses from anywhere and buying on the high street could mean you are paying three times as much. Personally I don’t find this surprising I used to purchase all my contact lenses online and the difference in price was amazing. I guess people get used to buying from their optician and don’t think to shop around.

posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 1:01:09 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 04, 2011

According to this article advertisers have developed adverts that can be watched at up to 12 times the normal speed and so can be watched by those people who use services such as Sky+. Apparently advertisers are becoming concerned that their commercials are being missed due to people fast forwarding them and so have developed the new ads. These feature lingering shots of brands and logos and are designed to be viewed at higher speeds. Personally I always watch programmes from the planner and forward through the adverts so it will be interesting to see when these new ads start appearing.

posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 1:13:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 03, 2011

This is an interesting article. It claims that scientists in Abu Dhabi have found a way to create rainstorms in the desert. According to the article scientists employed by the ruler of Abu Dhabi have managed to create as many as 50 rainstorms using technology. They use giant ionisers to generate fields of negatively charged particles. These promote cloud formation and can then produce rain. It is thought this is the first time that a system has been able to produce rain from clear skies.

posted on Monday, January 03, 2011 1:03:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 02, 2011

According to this article the latest celebrity diet craze is to eat nothing but sweets. The idea is that certain sweets contain very little calories whilst taking a long time to eat. Replacing conventional food with sweets, then should in theory help you lose weight quickly. Favourite sweets include Jelly Bellies (a 35-bean serving has 80 calories), Haribo Starmix (14 calories a serving) and sugar-free liquorice (100 calories a serving). I do wonder what this sort of diet would do your body, surely these are simply empty calories with no nutritional benefit and all that sugar can’t be good for your teeth.

posted on Sunday, January 02, 2011 1:50:01 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 01, 2011

According to this article the National Lottery created a record number of millionaires in 2010. In total 158 lucky people became millionaires as a result of a lottery win during 2010 with £775 million in jackpots being paid out. I guess I will have to keep trying, so far my biggest win has been £10.

posted on Saturday, January 01, 2011 1:49:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback