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Saturday 28 October 2006

A new excuse for being fat

In The Times, Giles Coren comments on the suggestion that obesity is caused by pollution!

‘I HAVE HEARD some hilarious excuses from fat people in my time, but the one rolled out in the last item of yesterday’s Today programme managed to flabbergast even me…’ .

Funny and worth reading.


Filed under: Environment,Health — GS @ 1:53 pm
Friday 27 October 2006

The Gulf Stream came to a halt for ten days in 2004

The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that keeps Britain warm by dragging water northwards from the tropics

Now scientists have revealed that a part of the Stream came to a temporary halt for ten days during November 2004.

No one is quite sure what this means. Will it happen again? Is it a sign of the current stuttering to a permanent halt?

‘A complete shutdown would lead to a 4C-6C cooling over 20 years.’ A new ice age…

Sea change: why global warming could leave Britain feeling the cold.


Filed under: Environment — GS @ 9:32 pm
Tuesday 26 September 2006

Parsnip wins England’s ugliest vegetable contest

A horribly distorted parsnip has won the prize as England’s ugliest vegetable. The competition was created to challenge the idea that tasty fruit and veg must look perfect.


Filed under: Environment,Food & cookery — GS @ 12:42 pm
Thursday 21 September 2006

Red Squirrel Week

A red squirrel in the garden

Excited to see a red squirrel in the garden this morning. It was being chased by more than a dozen sparrows. They have made the overgrown clematis their base and I expect they saw the squirrel as a predator.

From 30th September to 8th October 2006 it’s Red Squirrel Week. This one was nine days early!

Northumberland is one of the last strongholds for the red squirrel, which has been driven out of most of England over the past 100 years by the grey squirrel.

These stills are from some video that will be up on the site in a few days as part of a longer film.

A red squirrel in the garden

More about red squirrels:

Red Alert

BBC Radio 4

Northumberland National Park


Filed under: Environment,Wildlife — GS @ 6:27 pm
Wednesday 13 September 2006

When cows attack (video)

I had an eventful five hour walk this afternoon. This is a short extract from a much longer video that I’ll be making about it.

I’m laughing about this but, with a calf on the track ahead of me, I wasn’t sure whether angry mum and dad and all their friends might be able to get out the field if they reached the corner before me.

There have been a few cases of walkers being trampled to death by cattle. Especially when there are calves: BBC report.

(Peter says: ‘get back to the city centre!’)


Filed under: Environment,Wildlife,With video — GS @ 11:32 pm
Tuesday 15 August 2006

30 minutes of sunset in 30 seconds (video)

30 minutes of sunset in 30 seconds - timelapse video

I’m up at the house near the England/Scotland border. The back overlooks fields, hills and crags and has always been a prime location for some spectacular sunsets. I recorded 30 minutes of one tonight and then reduced this footage down to the 30-second-long time-lapse movie that you see here.

If you want the technical how-to-do-it: load the video into VirtualDub (free software). Go to the menu Video > Frame Rate. There, set Source Rate Adjustment: Change To 1250.00 frames per second and Frame Rate Coversion: Decimate by 50. This will speed things up by 50x (this is working with 25fps PAL video).

Render the video out as a new AVI in the usual way.


Filed under: Environment,Video-making,With video — GS @ 2:44 am
Tuesday 8 August 2006

A great spotted woodpecker outside my window (video)

Currently I’m in a little village near the England/Scotland border.

At 6am on Friday morning there seemed to be a lot of bird noise outside the window. I looked out and saw a crowd of sparrows and a male great spotted woodpecker (I know that because I looked it up on the RSPB website)

The first woodpecker I’ve seen in real-life. I was rather excited. The window has that old-fashioned glass, which is why the video is a bit blurred.


Filed under: Environment,Wildlife,With video — GS @ 6:15 pm
 
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