Thursday, 22 December 2011

Science News update- New Method of Sterlizing Hospital Wards & Virulent Bird Flu

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful!

There are two major science stories online this week . The first, is a proposal to sterlize hospital rooms and even matresses with a mixture of Ozone and Hydrogen peroxide- chemicals the body itself uses to destroy (lyse) harmful organisms.  You can read the full story here-->;_ylt=AimCR.Z2w5Y0eQC4eoRQO_LbfMl_;_ylu=X3oDMTFxa3RwMG0xBG1pdANJbmZpbml0ZSBCcm93c2UgVGV4dARwb3MDNgRzZWMDTWVkaWFJbmZpbml0ZUJyb3dzZUxpc3Q-;_ylg=X3oDMTJyaHA0M2JjBGludGwDZ2IEbGFuZwNlbi1nYgRwc3RhaWQDZDg5ZTMzNDctMDY3OC0zNzc2LTkwYjUtY2RiYWEwYWEzNWRiBHBzdGNhdAN1awRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2UEdGVzdAM-;_ylv=3

The second major story is news that the American government has pressured leading scientists not to publish full details of recent research on bird flu. The research, which was commissioned by the American government itself, investigated how (natural or -even- artificial) changes in the flu virus genome could lead to the evolution of a more infectious or virulent strain of bird flu. This knowledge could clearly be abused, so some of the more detailed information has been surpressed. The full story is on line here-->

It surprises me a little that this story has made the headlines, because I would expect ( and, in some cases, hope) that the results of quite a few studies are not made fully public. Not that scientists have any kind of moral superiority over the rest of mankind in this matter (Fritz Haber's work on chemical weapons springs to mind), but in some cases, the intellectual problem of scientific censorship is clearly preferrable to the real problem of manmade highly virulent "superbugs".

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

December in the Mediterranean

I have been a fan of the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens for several years, now, but not visited in the Winter, before. Today I did just that- here are some of the highlights from the Mediterranean and Atlas Mountains sections of the gardens:-

Lupinus pilosus- an annual Mediterranean species


 Juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus)

 Iris unguicularis

 Sheltered bench and vista of conifers

Dry stream-bed with female carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua).

You are free to reproduce these pictures for non-commercial purposes, including school or college work, as long as you retain the Victoria Neblik logo in the reproduced version and acknowledge me-Victoria Neblik- as the photographer. For commercial use, please contact me through the site. Thank you.

The website of Jerusalem Botanic Gardens (Givat Ram campus) can be found [HERE] (in Hebrew); more details can be found in English on wikipedia [HERE]

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Links of the day- Giraffe rescued from swimming pool and an albino lobster called "santa claws" ...

Welcome back to Weirdbeautiful.
The tabloids have recently gone soft over a pair of Giant Pandas imported from China to Edinburgh Zoo, of which more later.
Today I have 4 links for you- 2 about animals one about the latest update on the search for the Higgs particle at CERN and one on tonight's meteor shower

Link one is about a giraffe being rescued from a swimming pool-

Link 2 is about an albino lobster caught off the British coast-

Link 3 is about the Higgs boson search-->

Finally, tonight and tomorrow night are expected to mark the peak of the annual Geminids meteor shower. There are some tips on the best places to watch from the UK online here-

You can find out more about the (slow moving) Geminid meteor shower on wikipedia here--> and about the Higgs boson here-->