Daily archives: May 16, 2006

Green Roof for Edinburgh's Penguins

The penguins at Edinburgh zoo have a green roof in their new enclosure.

The roof provides a viewing area for visitors and lets them get close enough to watch the zoo’s 130 king penguins, gentoos and macaronis breed and nest.

Richard Millar, technical manager at parent company Icopal, said: “Garden roofs not only look much more pleasant but they take in the rain and spread out the water or use it to grow. The lawns are drought tolerant and don’t need much watering.”

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Heavensent 3.4

They had marched hard for two days, making the most of the pack animals to speed their movements, then eaten them and cut over into another valley on foot. Now they were approaching their planned base. Mov had scouted and reported the road was so overgrown it couldn’t have been used for several seasons.

The construction had collapsed in several places, mostly where it clung to the steepest cliff face, but a way could always be found in single file. Near the head of the valley, it found its way back onto firm ground. There was machinery here- old, steam driven things rusting in overgrown parks. Ahead, a large scar in the mountain face was just visible behind screens of trees.

The scar was an arched tunnel mouth. There was more machinery here, steam driven tracked trucks and a large conveyor bearing rocks from the darkness. Halfway through a shift, everyone had downed tools and left. “What is this place?” Rey asked.

“The Karr tunnel.” Lensman told him, “One of the greatest engineering failures of all time. It was supposed to join the east and west sides of the range far to the south of the Arril pass. They broke countless machines, killed a hundred or so workers and then just ran out of money. It bankrupted my mother’s side of the family.”

“This is to be our base of operations? Do the southerners know of its existence?”

“Everyone knows of it, but very few think about it. Besides, it is a very defensible position. We rest here for a few days and then start expeditions.”

Kess and Mov were already marking out fire zones for defence. They had found a steam shovel, the bucket resting on an outcrop. “This ferrous must be two or three digits thick. We could mount an autogun in here and catch them as they come up the road.”

Mov nodded, “It would be very hard to get above us as well. On the nearside here, they would have to cross our field of fire before they could even start climbing. And on the far side, it is hardly to their advantage.”

“We can set up trip mines and calibrate the bomb lobbers to hit the far side of that rise. Unless they send an army after us it will be another unfair fight.”

“You say that like it is a bad thing, youngster.”

Heavensent 3.5
Heavensent 3.3
Heavensent 1.1

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Hypocrite on board

I’m cycling along, passing a parked car when the traffic lights ahead turn amber. Immediately, the car behind me starts revving its engine. I pass the parked car and pull in. A ford focus accelerates past me and goes through the lights just as they turn red. Somehow I’m not surprised that there’s a ‘Baby On Board’ diamond in the rear window.

Update And then, on the way home….

There’s a cross junction on Yew Tree Road where we have to give way. I come up to the junction behind a van. After it pulls away I draw up to the line and look right. There are some cars approaching, but they’re far enough off to ignore. I look left. There’s a pickup, much closer.

Before I get a chance to judge the pickup’s speed the driver behind me lays on his horn and leans out the window and starts shouting at me to move (he’s going left and I’m blocking his way).

I give him a look and make a sort of “What?” gesture with my hand. He carries on shouting at me.

I look left again. The pickup has pulled onto the pavement and parked. If the shouty moron had kept his hands off the horn and his mouth shut I could have spotted this earlier and already been across the junction and out of his way. But he can’t see this. He thinks it’s my fault that he held me up.

Now I’m pissed off, so I don’t set off just yet. I don’t hold him up for too long, though. Morons in cars are unpredictable enough. Angry morons in cars are even worse. As we go our separate ways he gets the finger and some abuse in return from me.

So. If you’re an angry impatient moron in a silver/ pale blue Renault Clio next time keep your mouth shut and you might get there sooner.

"British values"

So, just what are British values?

The Daily Mail

When people start blaming “politically correct teachers” and “the doctrines of multi-culturalism” I want to reach into the monitor and slap them really, really hard. Sorry folks, but your heroine Maggie Thatcher, and the generations of politicians before and since who’ve tried to pander to the reactionary Mail and tabloid readers, did an order more damage to British society than an army of multi-cultural teachers ever could.

The Mirror

I hope the first guy’s taking the piss, because I’m as unBritish as you can get by his standards. I remained blissfully unaware that the FA Cup final was on until the radio started telling me about the celebrations on Sunday, and I still don’t know or care who was playing.

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Get snogging next Monday

Apparently next Monday is going to be the owrst day of the year for hayfever sufferers. But never fear, find the one you love and smooch for half an hour. This sounds like an even better idea than local honey.

Scientists based at the Satou hospital in Japan found that kissing worked by relaxing the body and reducing the production of histamine – a chemical that the body produces in response to pollen, causing the sneezing, runny noses and streaming eyes that characterise hay fever attacks.

The researchers asked a total of 24 couples, where both partners suffered from hay fever, to spend 30 minutes kissing.

Blood samples were taken before and after to compare levels of histamine, and results showed that after the kissing session levels of the chemical were significantly reduced.

via BoingBoing

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And now for some good news

The Mirror

DAVID BLAINE is planning to become a real-life Tarzan for his next stunt. The magician, who recently failed in to break a world record for holding his breath, said: “I’m planning to live harmoniously among wild beasts. And I’d like to do it alone in the jungle.” But zoologist Dave Salmoni doesn’t rate his chances if he goes to somewhere like Sunderbunds reserve, India: “I’d be amazed if he lasted a week. After just 24 hours, chances are excellent that Blaine would run across a Bengal tiger and it would eat him.”

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