links for 2010-08-30

  • Online digital storage devices and innovative internet connections mean working from anywhere in the world while travelling has never been easier. For the 20% of UK workers who spend three hours or more commuting each day living as a digital nomad could be more than just a dream.

    Lea Woodward upped sticks three years ago for a life on the road – permanently.

    Since then, she has seen her blog, Location Independent, grow into an online community of 22,000 members.

    But she says working from anywhere is a little more complicated than packing flip-flops and laptops.

    "People romanticise the lifestyle, thinking it is all on beaches and we gad about the globe, but it can be really challenging.

  • Food is relatively cheap and plentiful in Britain today, but will that still be the case in 50 years?

    Overfishing and the decline of species on land has left some experts saying it is getting both harder and more expensive for the UK to feed itself in the long term.

    That decline also opens up questions about the sort of countryside being left to future generations as nearly half of Britain's native land mammals are now considered a priority for conservation, be they hedgehogs, water voles, red squirrels or bats.

    (tags: biodiversity)
  • The moment that war was declared in 1939, Margaret Collins, at the time a guide living in Maidstone, Kent, knew exactly where she was – helping out in the town hall, where she listened in the Mayor's parlour to the declaration of war.

    "Various information offices were set up and I helped direct the evacuees," she says. "First, we Guides scrubbed the large old houses along the London Road, which had stood empty because of the Depression. They were taken over by the council and we got them ready for pregnant mothers.

    "We hardly went to school at all, even though it was my last year. Once air-raid shelters had been dug and blast walls put up, then we got back to school."

    Margaret was one of 750,000 Guides in the UK when war broke out. Suddenly, there was a huge pool of skilled girls and young women willing to contribute to the war effort.

    (tags: history ww2)
  • Darris White is a deep thinker.

    The engineer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the US is currently finalising designs for a series of turbines that could be used to harness the immense energy of the Gulf Stream, flowing deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The underwater stream roughly contains around 21,000 times more energy than the Niagara Falls and by some estimates, could potentially provide up to one-third of Florida's electricity needs.

    "Hydrokinetic power from the Gulf Stream can provide enough power for over a million households in Florida," said Professor White.

  • Abandoned land in inner cities is often unsightly and neglected and it can soon become a no-go area for city residents.

    It is expensive to keep large areas of land from becoming overgrown and unmanageable, but a council in southern France has found a novel way of controlling the creeping advance of nature.

    They have employed a number of Soay sheep to eat their way through overgrown land. It is working so well, it is attracting the attention of plenty of other councils around the country.

    (tags: sheep)
  • Fried Beer Recipe
    2 bottles of beer (our first attempt was IPA and second was a pumpkin ale, which was much stronger and better, IMO)
    a few cups of flour
    a few dashes of baking powder
    a few cups of granulated sugar
    a wee bit of powdered sugar

    1. Mix equal parts beer and flour (you probably don’t need more than a bottle of beer). Add the baking powder, a bit of salt and a spoonful of cinnamon. Mix it all up and pour into a Ziplock bag.
    2. Throw the Ziplock bag in the fridge for a few hours.
    3. Dump equal parts beer and sugar into a small saucepan and put it over high heat to reduce it into a syrup.
    4. Grab the bag out of the fridge and unzip it a tiny bit. This allows you to squeeze the batter into the hot oil of your deep fryer, making a funnel cake.
    5. Let the batter brown a bit in the oil.
    6. Pull that mofo out and pour some syrup over the top. Dust with powdered sugar.
    7. NOM NOM NOM
    8. Add beer syrup to EVERYTHING because it’s delicious.

    (tags: beer recipe)
  • Creationists have often argued that they did not come from apes, a view usually ridiculed by the scientific community. Recent evidence, however, suggests that they may have actually been right. Scientists think that at the dawn of mankind, when the rest of the human race was busy evolving and adapting to their environment, creationists were refusing to take part in the evolutionary game, and as a result of this are therefore thoroughly unevolved human beings. The DNA of those who deny the glaringly obvious seems to be much more basic in structure. Instead of a double helix make-up like normal human beings, theirs is a single, thread-bare strand of pseudo philosophy. ‘What’s interesting’, says Dr. Spengler, ‘is that their DNA pattern is very unreactive, virtually ignoring everything that’s going on around it’.
  • Ron Hoskins, a 79-year-old retired heating engineer from Swindon, could well be the saviour of the international bee industry. He claims to have discovered a strain of honeybee that's resistant to a parasite that's been wiping out bee populations worldwide.

    After an 18-year search, Hoskins thinks that he's managed to breed bees that "groom" each other, getting rid of the Varroa Destructor mites that are believed to have killed two thirds of all Britain's bees. Since discovering the self-grooming strain, he's been artificially inseminating queen bees with the aim of getting a colony established.

    (tags: bees)