Weaver Ants farming aphids, carrying them to different plants to ‘milk’ the aphids of their sugary liquid excretion
With the Earth’s population exploding and nearly every arable acre already cultivated, the future of farming is a looming concern. For inspiration science is looking to the leaf-cutter ant which has mastered single crop agriculture and represents the apex of ant agriculture.
Monoculture crops are the rule in modern agriculture. This is why modern crops are especially vulnerable to disease. A pathogen that can infect one plant will likely be infectious to the rest.
Today the banana industry is being threatened by a fungus known as Tropical Race Four. This infection has resisted every counter-measure and may eventually doom modern bananas altogether.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the latest crisis has hit the Australian Pistachio nut industry. In December 2010 torrential rainfalls created ideal conditions for an outbreak of the moisture-loving anthracnose fungus. Australia’s pistachios originate almost entirely from a single cultivar developed in the early 1980s. Continue reading ‘Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers’ »
The super-hot Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilli, the latest contender for the title of Worlds Hottest Chilli
Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Chilli. That’s the name of the new contender for the title of the World’s Hottest Chilli. Marcel de Wit, who was involved with developing and growing it had this to say about eating it:
“I had hallucinations, I had to lie down, I couldn’t walk for 20 minutes, dizzy. This chilli was so severe. I will never, ever do it again, I can tell you that.”
The fiery new chilli is rated at an incredible 1,46-million Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
To get an idea of just how hot that is pickers at the town of Morisett, 89km north of Sydney in Australia, must wear gloves and avoid any skin contact due to the acute burning sensation that would result. Workers who boil and mince the chilli into puree for sauces have to wear chemical masks and protective clothing to avoid the fumes. Continue reading ‘New Contender For World’s Hottest Chilli is Hot, Very Hot’ »
Detail of Da Vinci Last Supper by Giacomo Raffaelli -- click to enlarge
It is a little known fact that, in the early Eastern Christian churches, the timing of the celebration of Easter was based on the date of the Jewish Passover.
According to ancient records Jesus was crucified just before Passover. The famous last supper was the day before that. While the sacrificial lambs were being slaughtered for Passover, Jesus was undergoing crucifixion and so became the ultimate sacrificial lamb.
LEPIDOPTERA. 2001 oil on canvas 50 X 70 cm -- Artist: Boris Indrikov (click to enlarge).
Boris Indrikov is a talented and original artist born in Leningrad in 1967 and now lives and works in Moscow . From 1991 to 1997 he was a book designer and worked as an illustrator for the popular science magazine “Chemistry and Life.”
He has been a member of the Creative Union of Artists of Russia and the UNESCO International Federation of Artists since 1998.
Boris has exhibited works at a number of shows in Russia and abroad. He exhibited at the Moscow Art Fair, Art-Manezh in 2002 and 2003, and Drommar in Nykoping, Sweden in 2004. He currently works in painting, graphic design and small-form plastic. He works mainly in fantastic realism.
The Bot River Wild Horses grazing at sunset -- Photo: John Bradfield
Today at sunset I strolled down to the “lagoon” otherwise known as the Bot River Estuary. Lo and behold, the wild horses were grazing on the grassy banks in the distance about 200 meters (650 feet) away.
The Bot River Estuary which lies at the edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve near Hermanus in the Western Cape of South Africa
Fortunately I had my camera with me and I decided to get nearer and take some photos. As I approached them the three stallions in the herd watched me carefully before deciding that I was not a threat. In the fading light I was able to take a few — uploaded here for your enjoyment (4 photos).
Designer David Davidson With a Scale Model of the Kirstenbosch Entry -- Photo: Charles O'Leary
A scale model of the Kirstenbosch exhibit which is South Africa’s entry to the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London is seen here on display at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town. The finished display will cover a 12 x 12 meter (39 x 39 feet) area.
Designers, David Davidson and Raymond Hudson will be exhibiting for the eighteenth time this year. For the past 35 years, the Kirstenbosch-SA Exhibit has won 30 Gold medals, two Silver-Gilt medals and three Silver medals, as well as various special awards for outstanding contributions. The two designers will win a special ‘Gold Prize’ from the Scion shop if they win another Gold Award in this year’s show.
The show will run from the 24th to 27th of May, 2011. All the plants used in the show are indigenous to South Africa. However, because some are annuals, usually flowering in Spring in South Africa, plants will be sourced from Keintzler in Germany. South African plants are a common sight in Europe where their cultivation has become quite commonplace (5 Photos). Continue reading ‘South Africa’s Kirstenbosch Exhibit for 2011 Chelsea Flower Show’ »
Under the new Consumer Protection Act full disclosure of property defects or potential defects has become essential.
From 1 April 2011, developers, speculators, and investors with property portfolios who sell property in their ordinary course of business can no longer rely on the Voetstoots clause to limit their liability for defects. In fact the new act makes it illegal not to specify these in writing. Failure to do so can have dire consequences and could even lead to the cancellation of the sale and a full refund of the purchase price.
White Nguni Bull - Oil on canvas 762 x 1016 -- Artist: Terry Kobus
Local artist Terry Kobus is known for exquisite paintings of South Africa’s indigenous Nguni Cattle. Armed with a camera and his artists sketchbook he rides a mountain bike into remote rural areas where these unique indigenous cattle can be found.
Terry works in oil and on wood and canvas to capture the magic of the grasslands of Zululand, the Drakensberg and the Transkei wild coast.
Terry has exhibited internationally and has a number of works featured in international collections. If you wander down Hermanus’s main street you will find him in his Originals Gallery. He has a working studio there where you can see him at work.
Black Rhinocerous (Diceros bicornis) -- Photo: prob1t on Flickr
In South Africa, home to 90% of the world’s population of rhinos, a war against internationally funded rhino poachers is losing ground.
Last year 333 were killed, nearly half of them in the Kruger National Park. The year before that it was 209. The year before that, in 2008, the total jumped to a staggering 83 rhinos from a previous year total of only 17. The accelerating numbers are a real cause for concern. In the first three months of 2011 it’s already reached 81. This is in spite of some rigorous countermeasures.
Well resourced and highly organized crime syndicates are now equipped with helicopters, night vision equipment, high-tech weapons, tranquilizer darts and chain saws. The horns are taken in efficient military-style operations with little regard for the animals and often with gruesome results. Continue reading ‘Rhino Massacre in South Africa Continues’ »
The SmartBird is designed by leading-edge German company Festo. SmartBird is a remarkable and amazing marriage between Biology and Machine.
One of the most enduring of engineering challenges, a call that once inspired the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, has been met: the quest to create a machine to successfully mimic the complex wing movements of birds and in the process achieve flight.
Now for the first time this dream has been adequately fulfilled. The SmartBird elegantly reproduces the wing movements of birds with a brilliant concept. The result is an astonishing creation that can take off, fly and land autonomously, and achieve this with an unprecedented efficiency in flight operation. Continue reading ‘SmartBird Robot Design That Flies Like a Bird’ »
The various personal interests, reflections, contemplations, observations, comments and musings of John L Bradfield and the esteemed guest authors featured below . .
Chantel Harris, who writes under a pseudonym, is a South African freelance writer with a special interest in lifestyle advice. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, hiking or exploring neighbourhood markets.
Chrisitine Maddox, is pursuing a master's degree from the University of Texas and she writes about parenting, kids and nanny care on www.4nannies.com. Reach her at email@example.com
Danielle M is a student of supply chain management in Bloomington, Indiana. She has a consuming interest in Native American culture. Contact her on Twitter to discuss logistics, history or cat videos
David Elliott is a freelance writer from North London who’s spent most of his life in restless excitement. Whenever he can, he immerses himself in foreign cultures and the history of great cities.
Jack Meyers is an experienced detective based in Houston, Texas and is a regular contributor for various law enforcement blogs and websites including nannybackgroundcheck.com
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia's leading provider of counselling training. When not working, you can find her actively participating in local dog show events – in support of her husband.
Lindsey Harper Mac lives in Indianapolis and writes about technology and social media. Lindsey is now completing her graduate degree and she can be found on Twitter @Harpermac11.
Michelle LaRowe is an award-winning nanny, agency director and parenting author and a leading American expert in the childcare industry. Find out more by visiting @eNannySource on Twitter.
Sally is an avid blogger covering topics from health to travel. She teaches at a school in the Chicago area and is currently awaiting her first child. She can be found on Twitter @eatbreatheblog
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