雷竞技官网 - 雷竞技官网,雷竞技炉石传说 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog Science | Snaps | Songs Fri, 31 Jan 2020 18:51:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Waterloo sunset’s fine, as is Norwegian Wood //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/waterloo-sunsets-fine-as-is-norwegian-wood.html Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:44:51 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39314 Continue reading "Waterloo sunset’s fine, as is Norwegian Wood"]]> I’ve got another gig performing for local seniors. It’ll be an afternoon singalong in a residential carehome, it’ll be fun. I’ve recruited some people I know who will bring guitars and pianos to play and all of whom can sing really well. The last time I did such a gig was a harsh moment of learning.

We were actually a late booking as the proper old-time music band had cancelled a the last minute. We didn’t have any time to pull a setlist together letalone rehearse. I thought…okay…the majority of the audience is in its 70s, same as my parents were and my parents love Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, ELO, ABBA, oh and The Beatles…so, I thought I’d start with a nice solo acoustic, all gentle like – Norwegian Wood perhaps?

Well, two lines into the song, this old guy at the back who I later learned was 94 heckled us: “Bloody awful! Totally inappropriate!”

It was an odd moment, it threw us. We ploughed into a chorus and brought that song to a rapid close. Babs on piano grabbed her “old-time songbook” and we launched into some stuff from the 30s and 40s, all a bit ad hoc song about bluebirds and nightingales and white cliffs and meeting again. The nonagenarian seemed appeased went back to his cake and ale (it was a party after all). Unfortunately, the youngsters in the front row seemed to be a little restless, they didn’t really want to hear Vera Lynn, they had quite liked The Beatles, that was their era, even if the old guy perceived that band as a bunch of long-haired louts.

We changed tempo again and went for Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. The ladies on the front weren’t jumping into the moshpit or stage-diving as such, but some were tapping along with their fingers and feet and others were singing a few of the words. The ones they knew and even some of the ones they didn’t. It was a sweet moment. Ol’ Mr Heckler didn’t shout again, he’d been glad-handed by our local MP (Heidi Allen) who was also attending the event as a guest of honour and was to give a speech after we’d done our turn.

As I sang the final refrain of “Waterloo sunset’s fine”, and Barbara echoed with a harmony “Waterloo sunset’s fine”, Heidi caught my eye as she turned from Mr Heckles and gave me a little wink…it was a moment, hah, a musical moment, a meeting of minds, she knew.

Norwegian Wood’s fine too…

I must confess the moment didn’t persuade me to vote Tory, but there’s always a little nod if we encounter each other at other events.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me?

Wilding our gardens with Seedball //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/wilding-our-gardens-with-seedball.html Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:49:16 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39309 Continue reading "Wilding our gardens with Seedball"]]> A nice big package has arrived from the lovely people at Seedball. As I mentioned previously I am hoping to wild two patches of our front and back gardens to provide a couple of localised ecosystems for invertebrates, such as bees, butterflies, and moths and also to invest in those for the sake of the bats and birds.

Indeed, the various mixes that have arrived after discussions with Seedball are their bee mix, butterfly mix, shade mix, and a bat mix. Each has a wonderful mix wildflower seeds in their clay seed ball system that one simply spreads over the surface of a roughly prepared patch of soil (or in tubs). The balls have added nutrients and even some chilli powder to keep pests of them until the seeds have germinated.

I will be taking up turves from the lawns over the next couple of weeks (some of it will be used to make some dividing footways for #AllotmentLife. The remainder will be used to create some mounds behind at least one wilded area of the garden to add a bit of three-dimensionality to an otherwise flat and featureless garden. However, as with last year’s parallel project to the allotment we have #Pondlife and those plans were all a bit ad hoc and improvised when I pulled on my wellies and started doing the work. Thankfully, it seems to have worked, plants in the pond are growing, there are lots of snails, and we definitely have frogs using it as well as birds drinking from it.

The Bee Mix contains Seedballs to grow: Foxglove, Viper’s Bugloss, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Wild Marjoram, and Red Clover

The Butterfly Mix contains: Forget-me-not, Red Campion, Yarrow, Purple Loosestrife, and Musk Mallow

The Shade Mix has: Forget-me-not, Red Campion, Meadowsweet, Bellflower, Oxeye Daisy, Ragged Robin, and Meadow Buttercup

The Bat Mix contains: Evening Primrose, Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Borage, Wallflower, and Night-scented Stock.

Photographing a semi-acoustic guitar //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/photographing-a-semi-acoustic-guitar.html Sat, 25 Jan 2020 12:37:58 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39290 Continue reading "Photographing a semi-acoustic guitar"]]> A good friend of mine lent me his ’83 Westone semi-acoustic guitar. It’s a Japanese model, lovely to play, sounds great, it’s almost akin to the quality of the Gibson ES335 on which it is based, although obviously not quite as high quality, but probably a fifth or sixth of the price of those guitars new.

Anyway, I gave it a good workout playing a load of classic riffage – Rush, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Cream, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, David Bowie, even CHIC. It bears up to quite close aural scrutiny, I might hang on to it for a little while longer…

A skein for a friend – a truly wild goose chase //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/a-skein-for-a-friend-a-truly-wild-goose-chase.html Sat, 25 Jan 2020 10:11:08 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39285 Continue reading "A skein for a friend – a truly wild goose chase"]]> In Stephen Rutt’s second book, Wintering, we follow him on a journey around the British Isles to find the elusive species and sub-species of what might at first light seem a rather dull and innocuous class of birds, the geese. The geese, you say? As in “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”? What could be more interesting?

Well, hang fire, Rutt’s tale takes back through mediaeval droves to the ancient Greeks and the ancient Egyptians even, by way of the marshlands and reedy wetlands of Suffolk, Northumberland, and the wide rivers of the Scottish borderlands. It also takes us back and forth across oceans to Scandinavia for the geese have been with us a long, long time and are an integral part of British history in ways you cannot imagine, they are in historical festive diet, and embedded in our folklore.

Rutt’s poetic prose tells tale of Beans and Barnacles, of Canada, and Brent and Brant. He talks of Pink-foots of Greylags, and White-fronts. He writes with an empathy and an enthusiasm that has grown in him and grows in us the reader with each waft of the figurative quill. It’s a tale of chasing, of tracking, of falling in love with place and nature. A tale of missed opportunity and the luckiest of finds.

A skein of Pink-footed Geese, over Druridge Bay, Northumberland, England
Coronavirus FAQ //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/coronavirus-faq.html Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:27:41 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39275 Continue reading "Coronavirus FAQ"]]> BREXITDAY UPDATE: 2020-01-31: Two cases confirmed in the same family of coronavirus infection in the UK (BBC)

UPDATE: 2020-01-30: WHO  declares coronavirus international emergency, says we must stop its spread to vulnerable countries

UPDATE: 2020-01-28: 106 deaths reported in China so far. 4000 confirmed cases. Virus present in at least eleven other countries and regions. WHO yet to declare international health emergency

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals, including humans, and birds.

Why are they called coronaviruses?

The name derives from the fact that the viral capsule has a crown-like halo surrounding it, when viewed under the microscope.

What do coronaviruses do?

In humans, the virus infects the airways giving rise to flu-like symptoms, a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever, these are usually mild, but in rare cases can be lethal.

Is there a vaccine against coronaviruses?


Are there any drugs to block or treat infection?


When were coronaviruses first discovered?

In the 1960s

Any details?

The first one discovered was an infectious bronchitis virus in chickens. At about the same time, two viruses from the nasal cavities of human patients with the common cold were identified and dubbed human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43.

So coronaviruses cause the common cold?

They are usually present when someone has a cold, so yes, pretty much.

Why are we so worried about them?

Some coronaviruses cause serious respiratory tract infection that is far worse than the usual symptoms of the common cold. In the elderly, infants, people with compromised lung function (such as asthma patients, COPD sufferers, people with lung cancer), an infection can ultimately be fatal, often through the development of pneumonia.

Is the Wuhan coronavirus a dangerous form?

It has infected several hundred people that we know about so far and there have been a couple of dozen deaths, mainly among vulnerable people infected with the virus. The World Health Organisation is not yet endowing this virus with the same worrying global status of earlier epidemics. It may yet be contained and fatalities limited significantly. Nevertheless, China has quarantined 20 million people already. Wuhan is a city the size of London, England.

Where did this virus come from?

At the end of 2019, a new strain of coronavirus, scientists named 2019-nCoV, was first reported in Wuhan. It is by definition an “emergent” strain of the virus and is thought to have made the species leap from infected animals to humans, probably in an environment where diseases animals are in close proximity to people, such as a live-produce market.

Where is the virus going?

Already, there have been many cases outside Wuhan and China is locking down public transport. Air travel has allowed the virus to spread to Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere, and it has already reached the USA.

How long do symptoms take to emerge?

Up to fourteen days. This makes it difficult to screen people because they may be infected and travelling with the virus without displaying a fever or other symptoms.

Will I catch it?

You are only likely to catch the virus if you have travelled to places where it is obviously present or if you have come into contact with people who have visited those areas. If you have and you think you have symptoms, stay at home, call your physician or local healthcare provider for advice. Do not go to the emergency hospital or your doctor’s surgery, you could end up spreading the virus to others who have other health problems.

Will they check me over at the airport?

Several US airports and other places have introduced screening of passengers arriving from Wuhan. If the disease spreads widely, screening is likely to be introduced at many other airports. Basic screening might involve measuring the temperature of travellers’ foreheads non-invasively to spot those with a fever.

Is it infectious before symptoms appear?

Yes, unfortunately, it seems that the virus can spread between people during its incubation period(up to two weeks) before they present with any symptoms, such as high temperature. Temperature screening would not find asymptomatic carriers, this means an epidemic could become a reality once a critical infection rate is passed even before we realise how many people have caught the virus. Many colds and influenza viruses are infectious even before symptoms appear.

What’s the latest news on this coronavirus?

2020-01-25: 22 Chinese provinces affected; billion+ people. 56 million people banned from travelling at epicentre of viral outbreak, Hubei. 41 dead, 1200+ infected, 237 critical.

Should we be panicking?

Scaremongering and sensationalist headlines abound, they’re usually wrong, but conversely, the voice of reason urging us to stay calm may well be wrong too. UCL virologist Jennifer Rohn has this to say: “…we need to treat any unknown emerging disease as if it has the potential to be a massive and devastating pandemic – because despite preliminary assessments of the rate of spread and how many people have died, the jury is still very much out.”

So, how do we cope?

Quoting Dr Rohn again: “We’ll never know when the “big one” has arrived until it’s already too late. So let’s deal with each outbreak as if it could be our last.” Unfortunately, no nation is ready, unfortunately, the US has cut funding in the face of preparedness for such an outbreak that might kill millions worldwide, as earlier epidemics have done.

Should I wear a facemask?

Feel free, but the cheap ones won’t offer much protection as they don’t seal around your mouth and nose well. They will to some extent limit the degree to which you might spread infection if you are a carrier by trapping your nasal and oral fluids. Proper surgical masks are sealed, but uncomfortable to wear and harder to breathe and talk through.

Facemasks might reduce the spread of infection in enclosed spaces, such as public transport and in live-produce markets where infection may be present and animals are being slaughtered in public. But, they unnecessary in the open air where infections are not readily transmitted between people. Shoes tramping through spilled matter in a market are a more likely vector for viruses.

Most “airborne” viral infections are actually passed on through so-called fomites. Bodily fluids that land on door handles via coughs and sneezes or from an infected person’s hands where they have wiped their nose or coughed into their hand and the contaminated a surface are a much more efficient route for transmission of an infection. More about facemasks in the face of emergent pathogens here.

You can read a more detailed and technical FAQ on the coronavirus in Popular Mechanics.

An anecdote I’ve told for the longest time //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/an-anecdote-i-tell-for-the-longest-time.html Fri, 24 Jan 2020 14:46:36 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39272 Continue reading "An anecdote I’ve told for the longest time"]]> Did I tell you about the time I had the solo opener with the choir TyrannoChorus at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridg? Really? I didn’t? Oh, come on, I must have, it was a few years ago now, admittedly. [6th August 2016, ed.]

Well, anyway, I did. We had a special guest compere for the whole of the event the wonderful John Suchet. I introduced him to my parents who had come along to the concert, I think my mother fell in love for the second time…with John. Charmed she was, didn’t wash the cheek he kissed for days afterwards.

Anyway, the concert opener, we’d been rehearsing it for weeks, John introduced the choir to a packed house hashtag #SoldOut. Our pianist, the amazing Tim Lihoreau also off of Classic FM fame, tickled the ivories to give us all our opening notes ready for Mrs L’s cue. And, then we’re in:

“Woah-oh-oh-oh-for the longest time”

We seemed to rattle through it, but I was shaking like a leaf at the front of the stage with a mic and no music or lyrics in front of me, and although the soloist leads the conductor who leads the choir, I made the big mistake of glance at Mrs L for vocal validation…and although this Billy Joel song follows a nice narrative arc, I stumbled over the opening to the third verse. Had to back pedal and just repeated a line that ought not to have been repeated until we were back into the chorus and I’m finishing on that octave leap to middle C.

Then, it was over. And most people applauded. It was fun. John thanked me, mentioned that I do a bit of science writing in between gigs. I still tell the tale…did you notice? Oh, oh, oh, I’ll be telling it forrrr the longest ti-i-i-ime…you can bet on it, Billy.

Oil on water //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/oil-on-water.html Thu, 23 Jan 2020 17:47:15 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39267 A couple of days ago I spent an hour or so in our chilly garden attempting to get freezing shots of soap bubbles. This afternoon, I took inspiration from a feature in Practical Photography magazine, stayed warm indoors and took some snapshots of oil floating on water.

Oil on water #1
Oil on water #2
Oil on water #3
Wilding our gardens //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/wilding-our-gardens.html Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:03:58 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39261 Continue reading "Wilding our gardens"]]> In 2019, I reinstated our pond, well, a half-size version of the original that I filled when we moved to this house in the late ’90s with small children. The plants, water snails, and frogs thrived, it seems, the birds love it for a drink too, although, I did find a dead Goldfinch in there one day in the summer (victim of a neighbour’s cat, I think).

I also did some wilding of the gardens, front and back, with various seedlings (from RSPB Hope Farm), some packet seeds, and some Seedballs, which I blogged about at the time. I have masses of seeds collected to use this spring, including ones from some wildflowers that were not there deliberately but sprang up and were very attractive to some moth species.

This year, I am going to work with the good people from Seedball to cover a bigger area of the gardens with wildflowers. They have offered me various mixes and hopefully, there will be plants perfect for shade, some that will pull in the honey crowd (bees), and, of course, some for the Lepidoptera. I am hoping for great things from our garden this year, having ticked more than 300 species of Lepidoptera last year, I think that number might be exceeded quickly the more wildflowers.

The wilding of our gardens will benefit the birds, the amphibia, and the invertebrates species, hopefully, and make our small patch a little haven on the edge of farmland here in South Cambridgeshire.

Soap bubble not freezing //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/soap-bubble-not-freezing.html Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:41:50 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39259 Some of my early morning soap bubbles froze, but I didn’t get video of the action, just a couple of photos. But, here’s a soap bubble stubbornly not freezing on the lawn.

Photographing soap bubbles on a frosty lawn //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/photographing-soap-bubbles-on-a-frosty-lawn.html Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:30:49 +0000 //www.njsaichi.com/science-blog/?p=39250 Continue reading "Photographing soap bubbles on a frosty lawn"]]> I have just spent an hour or so, much to the amusement of Mrs_Sciencebase blowing soap bubbles and crawling around on the frost-covered lawn in the back garden with a camera loaded with a macro lens. The bubbles were made with washing up liquid and water and a couple of drops of glycerine (suggested by Mrs “Sb”) to make them persist longer once formed.

Pre-freeze bubble nestling in the grass

We couldn’t find a proper bubble blower so a plastic spanner for some long-forgotten nut was substituted. There’s an art to blowing bubbles. You have to know how much soap solution to load into the bubbler, you have to know how hard to blow, at what angle to project your breath, and so much more. I got a few to form but most popped (silently) before they found a perch on the frozen lawn.

Frozen bubble

One or two landed only to pop, again completely silently, once I’d got the camera in place to snap them. Intriguingly, a couple of them had already started to freeze and rather than popping seemed to sag and deflate leaving a gelatinous husk on the hoary blades of grass.

Hoary blades of grass nudging the freezing soap bubble surface

After spending a good hour freezing in the garden, it occurred to me that I could’ve done the job indoors any time of year and simply used the food freezer. But, I’d persevered in the cold and was desperate to get at least one photo of a frozen bubble however transient the soapy sphere might be. And, in the end, I did, can’t say I’m lathered with the effort but then its absolutely cold out there.

Frozen bubble burst