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Saturday 13 May 2006

Meet the trained Police rats

Police in Columbia are training rats to sniff out landmines.

Lola the rat has a ninety percent success rate in locating explosive material in her training maze. Soon she will be working out in the field (literally).

Police say rats are much smarter than dogs and can be trained in half the time (three months instead of six). Rats are light enough to stand on a landmine without setting it off, unlike dogs and people.

The original news story is no longer available at Reuters. But another account can found at The Telegraph and this also describes how rats are being used to detect tuberculosis in human saliva samples.


Filed under: Crime,Environment — GS @ 7:53 am
Thursday 13 April 2006

green.tv

green.tv is the first broadband TV channel dedicated to environmental issues. It launched at the beginning of April with the backing of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The site had 250,000 hits in the first week of being online.


Filed under: Environment,Politics,Science — GS @ 7:13 am
Thursday 16 February 2006

130-year-old cast-iron bridge removed on Canal Street

Until about a month ago there was a 130-year-old cast-iron bridge across the canal at the junction of Sackville Street and Canal Street, in the gay village. Now it has been removed and replaced by a concrete replica.

I took these photographs on Sunday, but I held off posting about this until I had checked the facts. But yes it’s true. It has all gone and what you see now, in the pictures shown here, is moulded concrete that will be painted.

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The 130-year-old cast-iron bridge on Canal Street has been replaced by a concrete one

The really pathetic thing is that they have screwed the original makers plate onto the concrete.

The existing bridge didn’t meet traffic regulations. Heaven forbid that they might stop enormous buses hurtling along this street and route them another way, so the original bridge could have been preserved. Far easier to destroy another part of Manchester’s heritage…

People may think ‘it’s only a bridge’. The trouble is, bits here and there disappear and, before you know it, an area has lost everything that made it ‘special’ in the first place.

I know Manchester has to be a working city. But we’re told that, in the future, Britain will have to rely on its cultural heritage to compete with emerging nations such as China and India. The trouble is, we’re throwing our cultural heritage down the drain through neglect and unsympathetic development.

In Manchester, the planners seem to have no overall picture in their heads. Everything is turning into an ugly ‘mish-mash’.


Filed under: Buildings,Environment,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:16 pm
Saturday 11 February 2006

A critical rise in world temperatures is now unavoidable

The Independent newspaper reports that a dangerous rise in temperature is now unavoidable. We are on course for ‘a rise in global mean temperatures to two degrees above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century,’ the article says.

The two degree threshold was set down by scientists from around the world last year and, beyond it, really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable.

Consequences include the Greenland ice sheet melting which would lead to a sea-level rise of several metres.

Global warming: passing the ‘tipping point’


Filed under: Environment — GS @ 10:25 am
 
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