Daily archives: November 1, 2005

Green buildings are worth more

I remember earlier this year reporting back from the homebuilding show that many people found greening their buildings didn’t add any value to them. Well, it seems they were wrong. A study lead by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has found that low energy buildings had added value for their owners.

RICS chief executive Louis Armstrong said: “This research shows that the interests of business and the environment can converge. The property and construction industries have a leading role to play in tackling climate change. This work shows that achieving real environmental benefits can also be profitable.”

via Sustainablog

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Remembrance Day

There are very few people around who remember the First World War. In the run up to Remembrance Day, the Guardian tracked down three and interviewed them.

We got as far as their second line and four Germans stood up. They didn’t get up to run away, they got up to fight. One of them came running towards me. He couldn’t have had any ammunition or he would have shot me, but he came towards me with his bayonet pointing at my chest. I fired and hit him in the shoulder. He dropped his rifle, but still came stumbling on. I can only suppose that he wanted to kick our Lewis gun into the mud, which would have made it useless. I had three live rounds left in my revolver and could have killed him with the first. What should I do? I had seconds to make my mind up. I gave him his life. I didn’t kill him. I shot him above the ankle and above the knee and brought him down. I knew he would be picked up, passed back to a PoW camp, and at the end of the war he would rejoin his family.

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Talks to open on climate change

A two-day meeting of energy and environment ministers from 20 nations opens in London on Tuesday.

The focus will be on curbing climate change through technology rather than binding international agreements.

The British government, which hosts the talks as the current holder of the G8 presidency, may unveil a new domestic initiative on biofuels.

The biofuels initiative is good, but I bet they concentrate on the technological solution of building more nuclear power stations rather than truly innovative stuff like micro-grids or the truly revolutionary move of giving everyone the ability- through solar or mini wind turbines- to reduce their own drain on the power grid.

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The beautiful sound of mouse song

It has been discovered that male mice sing, almost certainly to serenade the laydee mice.

Some bats are known to sing in courtship, and whale song is well-documented, but singing is otherwise unknown in non-human mammals. That it has turned up in one of the most well-studied of animals – the lab mouse – is all the more surprising.

Tim Holy and Zhongsheng Guo, of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, US, recorded the vocalisations made by male mice in the presence of female pheromones. They then digitally modified them to drop the pitch by several octaves into the range of human hearing.

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