Moon Landing Memories

This summer marks 50 years since the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing – one of the defining moments of the 20th century.

To mark this historic anniversary, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the UK Space Agency want to hear your memories of the Moon landings or how this iconic event has inspired you.

via Moon Landing MemoriesWhen the world stopped and looked to the stars

Visit the site moonlandingmemories.com and submit your Moon landing story.

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Help UK Garden Insects

Variety is the spice of life! The more habitats you have in your garden, the greater diversity of invertebrates you will attract. There are so many types of invertebrate with such varied needs and most do well in small spaces, so every little bit of habitat helps.

Flowers, habitat piles (logs, rocks, leaves etc), ponds and boggy areas, flowering shrubs, trees, climbers, compost heaps and undisturbed wild areas are all great features to include in a bug-friendly garden. Even if you only have a tiny space, you can do great things for bugs, such as installing a window box or planters with herbs and flowers, putting up wall-mounted bug houses or even making a container pond.

via buglife.org.uk

In light of the worrying news that insect populations seem to be in trouble, I was searching for ‘Help UK Garden Insects’ and didn’t find many articles dedicated to that – mainly about ridding pests – which may be part of the problem.

The quoted Gardening with Bugs in mind article from Buglife is great starting point resource. Whatever your garden there will be something extra you can do to help insects.

#Trashtag: The online challenge cleaning places up – BBC News

It’s not often that a viral hashtag on social media goes, well, beyond social media.
But an online challenge encouraging users to clean up places has seen tens of thousands of people doing just that.
In the Trashtag Challenge, users pick a place filled with litter, clean it up, and post before and after pictures.
Volunteers have made beaches, parks and roads trash-free while also raising awareness of the quantity of plastic litter we produce.

via #Trashtag: The online challenge cleaning places up – BBC News

Embr Wave, An Ingenious Wristband That Automatically Regulates Skin Temperature — Laughing Squid

The Embr Wave is an ingenious wristband developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists that automatically regulates skin temperature, like a personal thermostat. This smart device is worn on the inside of the wrist to access the body’s thermoreceptors and can be easily be switched from hot to cool (or vice versa) on the…

via Embr Wave, An Ingenious Wristband That Automatically Regulates Skin Temperature — Laughing Squid

Really neat idea. Potentially more efficient putting a device on everybody’s wrist than trying to heat/cool vast spaces.

Making new homes for swifts

Swifts are incredible birds, spending most of their lives on the wing and only landing when it’s time to nest. After flying its nest for the first time, a young swift may spend two or three years in the air, eating, drinking, sleeping, bathing and even mating! The swifts that nest in the UK arrive here in late April – May and may spend just 3 months with us; soaring and swooping over rooftops catching insects to eat.

But they’re in serious trouble here, with numbers down to less than half of what they were just twenty years ago. Modern buildings lack the nooks and crannies they need, and swifts are struggling to find homes.

Fortunately there are ways to help these birds. There are special swift nestboxes available, and if you’re having a building constructed or renovated, there’s also the option of the ‘swift brick’. This replaces a standard house brick and can easily be installed by a builder. Swift boxes and swift bricks can work especially well when put up in groups, as these birds like to be near other swifts.

via Making new homes for swifts

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

via Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian

Are your cuppas costing more than you thought?

Here’s a trick question for a quiz: which uses the most electricity every year? An electric oven, hob, microwave or kettle?

The answer? The humble kettle, which eats up about 6% of all the electricity supplied to British homes.

An oven may use more power when it is on, but constantly filling a kettle – usually boiling far more water than we need – uses enough power annually that equals half the output of one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, the London Array, off the Kent coast.

via Energy bills: are your cuppas costing more than you thought? | Money | The Guardian

Unlike other energy saving methods, this requires no initial outlay – just that you pay a little attention (experiment, once even) and only use the amount of water you need.

Wood burners and open fires face restrictions in new clean air plan – BBC News

The most important activity that contributes to particulate pollution is the burning of fuels such as wood and coal in open fires and domestic stoves.

Farming is also a major problem, as emissions of ammonia have increased in recent years. This gas reacts in the atmosphere with other chemicals to produce particulate matter that can be carried on the wind to major population centres.

To deal with domestic burning, the government will ban the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.

They are also consulting on phasing out the sale of traditional house coal and on limiting the sale of wet wood, the type found on garage forecourts. The government’s plan for these fuels is expected within months.

via Wood burners and open fires face restrictions in new clean air plan – BBC News

Good. The smell of coal fires was a distant memory for me. Its shocking that in the 21st century, increasingly you can smell smoke hanging in the air from peoples fires.

Missing CHRISTMAS LECTURES | The Royal Institution

We are asking people across the country and beyond to search the long-forgotten contents of dusty attics or little-used store cupboards, to help unearth past series of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution, described by Sir David Attenborough and other past Christmas Lecturers as ‘national treasures from a golden age of broadcasting’.

We are in the process of making the entire BBC archive of these broadcasts available on our website for the first time. However 31 episodes broadcast between 1966 and 1973 are missing. Included in the missing episodes is footage of Sir David Attenborough not seen since it was first broadcast live nearly 50 years ago.

via Missing CHRISTMAS LECTURES | The Royal Institution: Science Lives Here

Hopefully someone out there has them on tape somewhere. The list of missing lectures and who to contact are listed on the site.