Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hiking In The Borders

Yesterday was good for hill walking-TheTamshee and the good lady tackled the Selkirk to Melrose stretch of the Border Abbeys Way. Dropped the Indy Kids at school, then headed for Shawmount, taking a left at the stables opposite the Lindean Mast-just a few hundred yards before Halfcrown Corner "so called after the half crown payment that was made by Sunderland Hall estates as a reward to the men who originally planted the woodland here in the mid 1800's The track is part of the ancient drove roads-keeping the dyke on your right over Whitelaw Kips and onto Foldonside Moor continue until you reach Cauldshiels Loch. The views over this stretch are wide open to the Eildons Hills beyond. The trail continues onwards to Abbotsford House "originally Cartleyhole" but renamed and lived in by Sir Walter Scott between 1812-1832. Follow the path by the River Tweed until you reach the Redbridge Viaduct. This stone bridge was built in the late 1840's to carry the Edinburgh to Hawick railway which opened in 1849 The line was later extended to Carlisle but services on this route ceased in 1969. Pass under the viaduct and continue along the river track passed the front of Lowood House. We stopped on the river bank here for lunch while observing a Grey Heron scanning the river for some tasty morsels.

The route passes the Lowood Bridge, Waverley Castle Hotel through the lade to Abbey Mill and onto the Chain Bridge and finally ending at Melrose Abbey. Duration 3.5hours with various stops en-route. Enjoy

Evening Glow

The Artist: Joseph Farquaharson (1846-1935) was a Scottish painter who combined a career as a painter with his inherited role as a Scottish laird. He trained at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, and during the 1860s he was strongly influenced by the landscape painter Peter Graham. The watershed in his career was marked by three or four winters spent from 1880 onwards in Paris in the studio of Carolus-Duran. An admirer of Velazquez, Carolus-Duran taught his students to use the brush straight away and think in terms of form and colour. As a result Farquharson's work was always characterised by richly handled paint.Back at his native Finzean in Scotland he adapted French plein-air techniques to the Scottish climate where he painted the great snowscapes on which his reputation rested. TheTamshee: has picked up one of the many prints of this fabulous painting for a token jesture £5 at the local Red Cross shop in Selkirk

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bellingham "Brown Rigg"

Spent the weekend at Brown Rigg caravan park near to Bellingham. The weather was rather blustery on the Friday which posed a few problems trying to erect the awning. Abandoned, before we were carried off like some rag dolls in a deflated hot air balloon. The site also offers an alternative to camping with these wooden pods which accommodates four persons comfortably

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Ostrich

We came across this tree while walking the hills in Northumberland. Sal's home patch used to be Laundry Cottage in a little place called Whitfield.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Embrace

Sal, the wife is not too keen on me publishing her works of art to the world of blog but TheTamshee finds that it is an excellent way for me storing / accessing things that interest me. So here goes-The Embrace was painted while Sal studied geology at Durham University. It depicts "the longing for a cuddle" and thetamshee believes that a cuddle a day helps keep the doctor away. 20 second minimum duration per cuddle.

Walby Farm Park

The Bell's spent the weekend at the watchmakers's place at Brampton. Great hospitallity The Indy kids had a great day out at the Walby farm park some great slides in the safe play area, then ending the visit-feeding the lambs

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Tree's

More good work by AJ Potter but this fine woodland landscape has suffered slight damp damage to the top left hand sky section. Suggestions welcome in respect to the best way forward with the goal to restore to original.

The Lighthouse

TheTamshee has been spending some time clearing below the rafters and came across this fine water colour-painted many years ago by the talented AJ Potter. The Father In Law

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marsco "Memories"

Looking south from Quiraing viewpoint down the Trotternish Ridge, Isle of Skye
photograpy by David Kendal from Falkirk.
TheTamshee says: the Sal spent some time studying the geology at Broadford on the isle of Skye. Throughout our courtings days we spent many memorable days hiking around this glorious island. Skinny dipping at Marsco left a lasting impression.

While staying at the Broadford Hotel on another occassion TheTamshee decided to book a seafood resturant-thinking it was on the island off course. Taxi, arrived and proceeded across the toll bridge ( still paying in those days ) to take us to the Seafood Resturant at railway station. The blue-and-white clapboard building, from 1880, was originally a waiting room for rail passengers en route to other destinations; now it's one of the most frequented restaurants in town. The menu items are flavorful but unfussy, prepared with attention to detail. The best examples are Lochalsh langoustines in herb-flavored butter sauce and local queen scallops in white-wine sauce. Brilliant meal, rather expensive taxi fare-but we laughed out loud.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ice Paradise

The rich life of Svalbard, Norway’s Arctic archipelago, faces a creeping thaw.
By Bruce Barcott
Photograph by Paul Nicklen

Five minutes past midnight in Svalbard: The wild world is awake and clattering. At the edge of a sheltered estuary in the Adventdalen, a valley on a cluster of islands halfway between Norway and the North Pole, a flock of arctic terns soar and wheel in the perpetual daylight. They're agitated. A pair of glaucous gulls—chick snatchers, egg stealers, the Arctic's formidable winged predators—are approaching from the east. The terns put up a fierce defense. They flash their red beaks at the gulls and turn themselves into a cloud of sharpness.
The gambit works. The gulls bypass the terns and circle inland, passing over a pair of ground-nesting eiders, a kennel of sled dogs, and a solitary reindeer feeding on the tundra.
Continue » TheTamshee: subscribes to the NGM and finds the content to be of the highest quality-great writers and inspiring photography.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dundonald Castle

Ayrshire is world renowned for its links with Robert Burns; Burns cottage, the Brig at Alloway and a host of related landmarks. Ayrshire is famous for its golf with three Open Championship courses and some wonderful courses stretching along the coast.
Historic landmarks? Well there's Loudoun Hill site for the battle of the Covenanters, there"s caves where Robert the Bruce hid, there’s Culzean Castle and Country Park… and then there’s Dundonald Castle. Dundonald Castle is one of those monuments to our history that is testimony not only to the past toil and skills of the locals but to those of its present neighbours.
Dundonald Castle is in its own renaissance period. The castle has been transformed over the past ten years and more into one of the must visit attractions in Ayrshire. Situated on a hill above the village the castle affords some of the best views of Ayrshire and with the assistance of ferries into Troon and European flights into Prestwick the history of Dundonald Castle is increasingly being carried further afield.
But it’s more than a visitor attraction. With weddings, music events and even acting as a film venue Dundonald Castle is increasingly a living castle contributing not only as a stopping point for visitors but also as a focus for the community and the wider benefit. TheTamshee says: get yourself along to this historic site on Sunday 31st May to witness the Battle Re-enactment Society on garrison duty at the castle-following the Scots great victory over the English at Otterburn 1388 Observe the training of the soldiers, involving combat with sword, shield and spear

Friday, March 20, 2009

Twisty Tar

TheTamshee's please to announce that-It’s official, the Moffat to Selkirk, A708, road is the best in the country for us bikers to get our thrills-without the spills off course. Having travelled the route many times, it is a delight to ride-with a great mix of tight and sweeping bends. the road surface is well tarred-offering excellent grip in the warmer months. If your desire is to travel in all weathers-then proceed with caution, there is a lot of farm machinary depositing all sorts of crud on the perfect line. The onward journey from Moffat is also a delight-take the high road over the "Devils Beef Tub" and you are in biker's heaven-with awesome views of the hills beyond, enjoy

UFO's In London ?

Derek Burdon was left stunned when he took a scenic picture of the UK capital then noticed four flying saucers on the far right of the picture. The photographs were taken 16 floors up on the roof top of Orion House in Covent Garden in the morning. Although invisible to the naked eye, the shapes can be clearly seen on the picture. Derek, 40, of Leverington, Cambs, said: "We couldn't believe it when we came to look at the photo. I just thought I would take some scenic shots of the London Eye and also Big Ben. There was nothing unusual in the photo and it was only when we flicked through them later that we saw them and then it started a big UFO debate. I have not tampered with the photo and you would not be able to fake it. It was taken on my mobile and I guess I am just lucky to have it. These shapes were not visible to the naked eye so it's not as if I was looking for them. In Feburary video footage of a UFO hovering above the British coastline was captured by holidaymakers in Somerset. Caravaners were left baffled when the mysterious cylinder hovered over a busy campsite in Brean, Somerset. TheTamshee says: you need to take a look here - surely the picture below is the alien mothership - guised up as our very own spy base GCHQ - yes, all sorts of secrets flying around in the corridors of governments buildings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forest Crime "Palm Oil"

Greenpeace activists protest against a shipment of Indonesian palm oil en route to Rotterdam by painting "Forest Crime" on the side of the palm oil tanker Isola Corallo. The tanker is transporting a consignment of 29,000 metric tonnes of crude palm oil from Indonesia's largest palm oil producer, Sinar Mas, to Europe which has already been a subject to a Greenpeace action six weeks ago in the port of Dumai in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Greenpeace's "Forests for Climate" funding mechanism for forest protection was presented at the Poznan climate talks earlier this month. The document is a blueprint for the international community to establish funding for tropical forest protection as one of the major steps in the fight to curb climate change. Countries like Indonesia are hoping to get financial compensation for their attempts to reduce deforestation, meanwhile Sinar Mas's expansion plans include the conversion of almost 2 million hectares of pristine forest in Indonesia's Papua provinces as well as further forest clearing in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

Waterloo "Monument"

The Waterloo Monument near Ancrum in the Scottish Borders is a 150 foot tower, built between 1817 and 1824 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo
The monument stands on Peniel Heugh, OS ref: NT 653263, a hill between Ancrum and Nisbet. Although technically on private land, walkers may park at the Harestanes Visitor Centre and then follow the marked walk to the top of the hill. The tower is not open to the public, however a sign just beyond the locked metal grill at the base of the tower can be seen inside, warning that visitors enter at their own risk. TheTamshee and Sal are signed up for this abseiling experience-it's all in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust to raise funds to help those suffering from Leukaemia. The event will take place on Sunday the 14th June which just happens to be Selkirk Common Riding weekend. If you are interested in taking part-contact, Allan.Johnston@anthonynolan.org.uk ( 01896-831-718 )

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HMAS Yarra

THE navy has been called in to find chemical-filled containers lost overboard from the cargo ship responsible for the massive oil spill off the Queensland coast. Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said the navy mine hunter HMAS Yarra would use its high-tech equipment for the operation after government efforts to find the dumped cargo using its own vessel and a Dornier aircraft had failed. “HMAS Yarra will arrive here in the next few days to locate the 31 containers that went over the side of the vessel when it had its incident last week,” Mr Lucas said. “Obviously there's a real concern to make sure that we can find these containers. There has been strong public concern about the ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser that can be used to make bombs, and its environmental impact, which causes algal bloom in high concentrations. The retrieval would also prevent trawlers becoming “snagged” on the six-metre containers. The clean-up hit its own snag today when workers ran out of bags to dispose of the oil. Mr Lucas said he was at a loss to explain the situation but 20,000 bags would arrive by barge to Moreton Island tomorrow morning. “I don't know how they could run out of bags and I've asked that question myself,” Mr Lucas said. Despite the hiccup, about 50 per cent of the spill had been cleaned from the 60km of spoiled coastline. But the effects were already felt, with droves of tourist bookings cancelled after images of the oil-laden beaches were transmitted around the globe. Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said once the beaches were in the clear a mass campaign would give visitors the message that the Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay were open for business. The Federal Government has pledged $2 million for local community groups and natural resource management bodies to continue cleaning up the Moreton Bay wetlands and coast. “There is significant effort being made right throughout this region to get the clean-up concluded and to ensure that we protect the environment as best we can from significant, long-term damage,” Environment Minister Peter Garrett said in a statement. Meanwhile the captain and crew remain on board the Pacific Adventurer, which is docked at Hamilton in the Brisbane River. Maritime authorities, accompanied by police, handed the captain legal papers on Sunday directing him to remain on the ship while investigations continue. The shipping company, Swire Shipping, is facing a multi-million dollar clean-up bill in addition to possible fines of up to $2 million. The ship is to stay in dock until there is an outcome to the investigation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gore Vidal "Mother Tucker"

American novelist, playwright and essayist Gore Vidal (born October 3, 1925, in West Point, New York) appeared as himself in the "Mother Tucker" episode of "Family Guy" as a guest on Brian's radio show on 97.1 FM, who is quite shocked to see that Brian's literate call-in show has become the outrageously lewd Dingo & The Baby show.
TheTamshee says: the man with many guises-Blacklisted for "The City and the Pillar" Vidal took on the pseudonym "Edgar Box" to write the murder mystery exploits of Peter Sargent ll in the 1950's, enjoy

Dinosaur "Bones"

Although dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years they are still very much alive and well in the world of rock music. Indie rock band Dinosaur Bones from Toronto are one of Canada’s hottest new acts. With a new album on the way Dinosaur Bones are destined for great things. Coming from Canada, home to so many great dinosaur finds, their name is inspirational.
Cross the border to the USA, another country rich in dinosaur finds, and Dinosaur Jnr have been around since the 80s. They almost became extinct like their namesakes when in 1997 they disbanded, but fans were delighted when in 2005 they reformed with a slightly altered line up. Their style of heavy rock has won many followers and they continue to tour and produce albums to this day. However the most innovative dinosaur named rocker was probably Marc Bolan’s T-rex. They rose to mega-stardom in the 70s until his untimely death in a car crash in 1977.

Kawana Beach "Queensland"

The cargo ship "Pacific Adventurer" has berthed at Fisherman Island, in the Port of Brisbane. The vessel which spilled tonnes of oil and lost 31 containers of ammonium nitrate off the Southern Queensland coast during cyclone Hamish. It is anticipated that the 19 six metre containers of ammonium nitrate remaining on board will be unloaded under the direction of local authorities. An emergency service spokesman said officers were on stand-by at the scene, as one tonne of the fertiliser was also covering the ship's deck. The massive clean up operation is well underway - along some 40 miles of the sunshine coast. ( see here ) TheTamshee says: once again-the awesome power of mother nature is demonstrated-when this 180 metre ship is tossed around like a kids toy in a bath of foaming bubbles. The tourists will despair-for a while, then depart for locations new but the environmental implications of this tragedy for the wildlife will unfold for many years to come. Kawana Beach before the oil spillage:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Discovery "Blast Off"

Discovery took off as the sun was setting, a spectacular sight for a space agency anxious about the prospects of a successful take off after a hydrogen leak prevented the shuttle from lifting off on Wednesday.
Before that, hydrogen valves kept the shuttle grounded for weeks in February. Launch pad repairs took care of the leak, and the astronauts were able to board their spaceship and lift off.
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Astronauts take final spacewalk
"Well, you had a little bit of a wait but that will just make the payoff that much sweeter," the launch director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts.
Commander Lee Archambault and his crew, which includes two former schoolteachers, should reach the international space station on Tuesday.
"Thanks for the work Mike, we'll see you in a couple weeks. Take care and let's go ahead and fire up the sound of freedom," Commander Archambault said.
The shuttle is delivering one last set of solar wings for the space station and some critical equipment for a relatively new water-recycling system.
TheTamshee says: the oldest Indy Kid loves this kind of stuff - she has already supplied the primary school with a copy of her Redshift Astronomy skills CD, but can't quite comprehend why she is not able to see the Shuttle from her bedroom window with her Eco Science telescope -not quite up to Hubble standards

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Vampires might shy away from sunlight, but right now it seems they can’t stay out of the spotlight. Teen vampire love story Twilight sank its teeth into $370 million when it opened at the end of last year, launching a whole new franchise, while both Cirque du Freak, based on the bestselling children’s books by Darren Shan, and the chilling Scandinavian horror Let the Right One In, will both creep out of their coffins later this year.
First, however, comes Lesbian Vampire Killers, which indulges the lighter side of vampire lore. The film stars James Corden and Mathew Horne, two of the stars of the hit BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey, (click here to continue ) this review by Will Lawrence.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Walking with Dinosaurs

Walking with Dinosaurs live show comes to UK
With its terrifying, monster-size stars, a live arena version of the BBC’s hugely successful Walking with Dinosaurs series has thrilled audiences and broken box-office records in Australia and America. As a new production embarks on a tour of Britain, Johnny Davis goes behind the scenes of the greatest show on earth.
The lights are dimmed, the mist rises and tonight’s headline act makes her way on to the stage. The floor of Pittsburgh’s 15,000-seater Mellon Arena shudders with her every step. She is the height of a two-storey house, the length of two city buses, her teeth are six-inches long – and she is on the warpath. Her offspring – who herself measures 14-feet from tooth to tail – has been cornered by two armoured herbivores. TheTamshee says: click here to read all about
this "Live Experience" the biggest animatronic puppet show ever created.
The Arena Spectacular UK Tour runs from 1 July to 31 August. To book tickets, see here Dinosaurlive.co.uk or call 0844 875 9000

Walking with Dinosaurs

MotoGP "News"

Helmet manufacturer AGV have announced a spring release for a replica helmet christened the ‘Celebr-8’, a version of the lid used by Valentino Rossi to commemorate his eighth MotoGP World Championship win at Motegi last year. The helmet will be a limited edition of the GP-Tech design, itself produced with Rossi’s input and regarded as AGV’s most advanced product.
All the details used by Rossi will be present on the replica; the number eight, symbols of the sun and moon and his famous 46 logo, in addition to the chequered flag that symbolized the finale of Rossi’s title journey.
TheTamshee says: I have bench tested a few of the AGV range over the years with no complaints regarding quality or protection offered. AGV certainly produce top of the range head protection. See picture below, of my favourite model - which is still in use to the present day. Jamie Whitham replica "TheJoker"

Click here for Jamie Whitham


McFly are a pop-punk/pop rock band who first found fame in 2004. The band was founded by Tom Fletcher (lead vocals/guitar) and also consists of Danny Jones (lead vocals/guitar), Dougie Poynter (vocals/bass guitar) and Harry Judd (drums). They are managed by Prestige Management, and were signed to the Island Records label from their launch until December 2007, before creating their own label, Super Records.
McFly's debut album, Room on the 3rd Floor, debuted at #1 in the UK album chart and is certified as double platinum, this lead to the band becoming known as the youngest band ever to have an album debut at #1 - a title taken from The Beatles. A month after the album was released, the band had their first UK headlining tour. The band's second album, Wonderland, also charted at #1 in the UK, and was released in 2005. Their third album, Motion in the Ocean, was released on 6 November 2006 and charted at #6 in the UK. McFly released their All the Greatest Hits compilation album on 5 November 2007, which charted at #4 in the UK. The band's fourth studio album, Radio:Active, was given away for free as a supplement in The Mail on Sunday on 20 July 2008, before being released in the conventional manner (via physical release) on the 22nd September 2008. As of December 2008, McFly have had sixteen consecutive top twenty singles, seven of which reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart and fifteen of which were consecutive top ten singles.
McFly appeared in the teen comedy film Just My Luck, starring Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine, in 2006. The band played themselves in the film and released a US album, "Just My Luck", which was also used as the film's soundtrack.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vampire "Story"

The story of Arnod Paole is one of the few vampire histories that has been sufficiently documented over the years to lend it historical validity. In the spring of 1727, Arnod Paole returned from service in the military to settle in his home town of Meduegna, near Belgrade. He bought some land, built a home and established himself in the community. After a short time, he was betrothed to a local girl whose father's land bordered his, and the two were wed.Paole told his wife that he was haunted by fears of an early death. In the military, he had been stationed in Greece. Local beliefs were that the dead come back to haunt the living in the form of revenants or vampires. While he was stationed there, he told his wife he had been visited by an undead being. Afterwards, he hunted down the unholy grave from which the undead being had come, as was the local custom. He extracted his revenge upon the vampire by burning the corpse. However, the incident affected him so greatly that against the advice of his superior officers, he resigned from the military and came back to Meduegna.Shortly after his marriage, Paole fell from a great height while working on the farm, and was brought, unconscious, back to his home. He must have sustained internal injuries with the fall, for within a few days, Paole died and was buried in the town cemetery. A month after he died, there were several reports from people around the township who had seen Paole. A few had even seen him in their own home, although these reports do not clearly state what he did while in these homes. For the most part, however, there was little panic stemming from these reports until a short time later. Several weeks after the initial reports, most of the people who had claimed Paole had visited their home turned up dead for inexplicable reasons, and a group was assembled to exhume the body of Arnod Paole.Vampire Proof The group consisted of two military officers, two army surgeons, and a priest from the local church. When the group exhumed the body, they found a fresh corpse. There was no decomposition of the body whatsoever, and in fact the old skin and nails had fallen off, and new ones had grown to take their place! The final insult was the fresh blood that rested on the lips of the deceased Paole. When one member of the group staked the body, it cried out and fresh blood spilled from the wound. The group then scattered garlic around the remains, and did the same to each of the graves whereto Paole had sent his newest victims.All was quiet in Meduegna for several years until 1732, when there was another spate of inexplicable deaths. This time, the town took no chances and immediately sent out a group to the graveyard to investigate. The resultant report has ended up in many history books over time. It was signed by three renowned army surgeons and cosigned by a lieutenant-colonel and a sub-lieutenant. Of all the body they disinterred during the investigation, they once again found no less than 11 corpses which displayed the same marked traits as the Paole corpse. No decomposition, (although many had been interred several months previous to their inquiry), fresh skin grown, fresh blood in the arteries and in the heart. The complete medical report is available in many modern vampire histories. No explanation has been given for the later outbreak of vampirism, although one theory holds that Paole had feasted on local cattle as well as people during his vampiric reign. Then, the theory states, as time passed and the cows were killed for their meat, the vampire qualities were passed on to anyone who ate the meat. TheTamshee says: if you are into - Vampires, you need to feast your fangs on Blood Scarab -- enjoy!

Man"U" versus Liverpool

Liverpool turn on the style to win 4-1 after United led through Cristiano Ronaldo with Namanja Vidic sent off. TheTamshee says: the pain, a shock result - the red devils beaten at home - this opens up the championship to the delight of Rafael Benitez and the travelling fans but I am sure Sir Alex's team will bounce back with the determination required to finish the season at the top of the pile.

Friday, March 13, 2009

SKS Satilla "Oil Tanker"

Galveston Coast Guard Commander James Elliott on Wednesday (11 Mar) credited the
SKS Satilla’s sturdy double-hulled construction with preventing a major oil spill after the Norwegian tanker crashed into submerged debris late last week. An underwater examination of the ship, which was carrying 41 million gallons of crude oil, revealed a gaping hole in the port side of the vessel’s outer hull. The ship was awaiting permission Wednesday to sail to Portugal, where it will be placed in dry dock for repair. The Satilla was en route to an offshore lightering facility near Galveston when it struck the Ensco 74, a jackup oil rig swept from its moorings off the Louisiana coast by Hurricane Ike. Elliott said additional side-scan sonar searches will be conducted in the vicinity of the accident “just to make sure there’s nothing else down there.”
The rig came to rest in 115 feet of water about 65 miles south of Galveston. Elliott said its owner, Dallas-based Ensco International, Inc., has been ordered to remove the wreckage.
Wreckage marked. Meanwhile, Elliott said, a buoy has been anchored above the wrecked rig and the hazardous site has been added to navigational charts. A Coast Guard vessel also has been positioned at the site, and hourly warnings are being sent to ships operating in the area.
An underwater examination of the Satilla found a substantial hole in the hull below the water line, where the ship’s steel had peeled back in the collision. Crews completed pumping the ship’s cargo into other vessels on Tuesday. “It was a success,” Elliott said of the Coast Guard’s emergency operations. “The response came together immediately. They stabilized the vessel. The 41 million gallons of oil were removed without endangering safety and there was no impact to the environment. We were very blessed.” Built by a South Korean shipyard in 2006 and owned by SKS Obo and Tankers SA, the Satilla is a new-generation double-hulled tanker of the type mandated by the United States and European nations after disastrous oil spills involving single-hulled vessels.
March 24 marks the 20th anniversary of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez running aground on a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Almost 11 million gallons of crude oil were spilled in that incident, fouling more than 1,100 miles of coastline. The accident was biggest oil spill in U.S. history, and Congress ordered a phase-out of the old-style tankers the following year.
Dennis Kelso, executive vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy, said the Satilla accident “clearly demonstrates the value of double-hulled tankers.”
“This could have been a serious spill,” said Kelso, who was Alaska’s commissioner of environmental conservation at the time of the Valdez spill. “Because of that double hull that suffered damage on its exterior, there was no oil spill at all.”
Elliott on Wednesday stopped short of positively identifying the object the Satilla struck as the Ensco 74, but Ensco International reported the Coast Guard informed it that the rig likely was involved. In the wake of Hurricane Ike, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews conducted side-sonar searches for dangerous submerged debris in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston areas. The searches did not extend far into the Gulf of Mexico, however. At the Coast Guard’s request, contractors for NOAA also conduced sonar searches for the missing rig off Louisiana’s coast. Seven days of searching covered about 95 square statute miles, but found no trace of the missing rig, said NOAA spokesman David Hall. Hall earlier had said his agency had not received an official request to search in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston with 110 mph winds on Sept. 13.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Polarstern "Oceanography"

The Indo-German iron fertilization experiment LOHAFEX (LOHA is Hindi for iron, FEX stands for Fertilization EXperiment) will be carried out from the German research vessel
Polarstern” in the southwest Atlantic from 7th January to 17th March 2009. The interdisciplinary team of 48 scientists on board “Polarstern” will closely collaborate in monitoring the algal bloom expected to grow in the fertilized patch of the ocean and studying its effects on the chemistry and biology for at least 45 days.
The results of LOHAFEX will be of great interest to both ocean ecologists and geochemists because the minute, unicellular algae suspended in the sunlit surface layer known as phytoplankton not only provide the food sustaining all oceanic life but also play a key role in regulating concentrations of the greenhouse gas CO2 in the atmosphere.

The Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica is rich in the nutrients nitrate, phosphate and silicon but phytoplankton growth is limited by the supply of iron which is a crucial ingredient of all organisms. Iron is highly insoluble in sea water, so, unlike the other nutrients, is quickly lost in sinking particles. Addition of trace amounts of iron to these waters, whether from natural sources (contact with land masses and via settling dust blown of the continents) or by artificial iron fertilization (from a ship releasing dissolved iron sulfate to the surface layer), results in rapid algal growth leading to development of phytoplankton blooms.
Phytoplankton grow by taking up CO2 dissolved in sea water and converting the carbon into biomass (organic matter). Because the CO2 sdissolved in the ocean’s surface layer is in equilibrium with the atmosphere, blooms cause a deficit which is compensated by uptake from the atmosphere. The fate of the bloom biomass determines how long this CO2 is retained in the ocean. If the organic matter is recycled by bacteria and zooplankton - unicellular protozoa and a variety of small animals that graze on phytoplankton - within the surface layer, and the iron selectively lost, then the CO2 taken up is returned to the atmosphere within months. However, the organic particles in the form of phytoplankton cells and zooplankton faecal material that settle out of the surface layer sequester CO2 for longer time scales depending on how deep they sink. Carbon transported in particles that sink below 3,000 m is sequestered for centuries and the portion buried in the sediments for much longer.
Five iron fertilization experiments in the Southern Ocean have created phytoplankton blooms but only in the previous experiment EIFEX carried out from Polarstern was it possible to actually follow the rain of particles sinking through the underlying deep water column because the experiment was carried out in the closed core of a stationary, rotating eddy. LOHAFEX will also be conducted in a pre-selected eddy but the size of the patch will be twice as large – 300 km2 fertilized with 20 tonnes of iron sulfate. EIFEX had to be terminated after 35 days while the bloom was still growing and sinking but LOHAFEX will last 10 days longer and quantify the amount sinking to depth more accurately.
Another goal of LOHAFEX is to study the effects of iron fertilization on the zooplankton, in particular the shrimp-like krill, which is the main food of Antarctic penguins, seals and whales. Stocks of krill have declined by over 80% during the past decades and their response to the iron-fertilized bloom will indicate whether the decline is due to declining productivity of the region for which there is evidence. Thus, large-scale iron fertilization of the krill habitat could well help in boosting their stocks to their former high densities and facilitate long-term recovery of the decimated great whale populations.
TheTamshee says: this research program is fascinating, you have got too take your hats off to the scientists who think up these worthy concepts - I certainly hope it is a great success - time will tell.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stellenbosch "Garden Route"

The Garden Route is the name give to the unique, picturesque landscape and coastline between Port Elizabeth and George. It is one of the most famous and popular attractions in South Africa, with many varying attractions for families or couples.The route starts in Port Elizabeth and it continues through St. Francis Bay, the Storms River, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield, the Wilderness, Oudsthoorn and George. From George, you will continue on to Hermanus, an attractive seaside resort, well known for its whale-watching season between July and November. Then turn inland, away from the coast, toward the famous wineland towns of Stellenbosch and Paarl and a couple of days spent visiting estates to sample and perhaps purchase some of the finest wines in the world.

The verdant Constantia valley, home to Klein Constantia Estate, is the oldest, most enduring vineyard region in the Cape, first producing wine in 1689. As part of the original vineyard that in the 18th century produced "Constantia", prized throughout Europe by the leaders and aristocracy of the time, Klein Constantia has helped to reclaim its former glory by initiating the revival of this famous sweet wine.Family owned and run, Klein Constantia's philosophy is founded on quality rather than quantity, reflected in the wines regularly inviting accolades, both locally and internationally.Please browse through the website, and delve into our unique and rich history to get a sense of some of the special qualities that are evident in our wines. TheTamshee says: having visited the region on many occasions I have taken great pleasure in participating in numerous wine tasting sessions on this estate, the fascinating tour of the wine making process is very informative, but lets be truthful - we only go for the plonk. If you are interested in South African wines, I can recommend the the good people at the wine store in Melrose, Scottish Borders.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pintail, Heron "Part Two"

The "Nuke" vessels Pacific Pintail and Pacific Heron with there massive cargo of MOX ( mixed oxide, plutonium & Uranium fuel ) continues on it's journey around the Cape of Good Hope. The ships were heavily armed and protect by specially trained British forces while entering South african waters as they make there way from France to Japan. The 1.8 ton cargo of MOX fuel - enough to make 225 nuclear weapons
poses possible contamination and security risks and is another example of the dangers of nuclear energy - not only is the shipment unnecessary and insecure, there is no evidence that the containers carrying the fuel are safe from accidents. MOX fuel ia an alternative nuclear fuel made up of a mixture of uranium and plutonium. This shipment is a reminder to the South African government that the health and environment risks associated with nuclear power are real, and that taking the nuclear route in power generation is not the solution to reducing climate change emissions. Nuclear power will provide too little, too late to address climate change and it is a dangerous distraction, sucking billions of Rand in funding, away from the real solutions which could already be implemented today. TheTamshee says: MOX shipments are simply not worth the risk, they are a major terror target and pose an enormous threat to the environment of all countries en route.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Voyager "Mission"

NASA--Shortly after the Pioneers made their flybys, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes followed. They made many important discoveries about Jupiter and Saturn, including rings around Jupiter and the presence of volcanism on Jupiter's moon, Io. Voyager went on to make the first flybys of Uranus, where it discovered 10 new moons, and Neptune, where it found that Neptune actually weighs less than astronomers thought. Both Voyager crafts have enough power to keep transmitting radio signals until at least 2025, and are now exploring the very edge of the solar system and beginning of interstellar space. Voyager 2 is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth, at more than a hundred times the distance from the Earth to the sun, and more than twice as far as Pluto.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Space "Missions"

NASA--Pioneer 10 & 11, launched in 1972 and 1973, respectively, were the first spacecraft to visit the solar system's most photogenic gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn. Pioneer 10 was the first probe to travel through the solar system's asteroid belt, a field of orbiting rocks between Mars and Jupiter. Then about a year-and-a-half after its launch, the spacecraft made the first flyby of the planet Jupiter. It took stunning up-close photos of the Great Red Spot and the wide swaths of red that band the planet. About a year later, Pioneer 11 flew by Jupiter, and then moved on to Saturn, where it discovered a couple of previously unknown small moons around the planet, and a new ring. Both probes have stopped sending data, and are continuing out on their one-way voyages beyond the solar system. TheTamshee says: there's something hypnotic about the images from outer space, awesome

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pacific Pintail "Nuclear Waste"

An anti-nuclear group has urged the South African government to make sure that two vessels carrying what is reportedly the biggest ever shipment of plutonium stay out of its waters.
"What we don't want is an accident at sea where we as a country have to carry the consequences," said Mike Kantey, chairman of the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy, on Tuesday. The heavily armed Pacific Pintail and the Pacific Heron left Barrow-in-Furness in the north-west of England last week. They will collect their freight - a load of MOX nuclear fuel containing what environmentalists say are 1800kg of plutonium - at Cherbourg in France, then head for Japan. The route around the Cape is one of a number of possible routes the ships -which have been barred from the Suez Canal - may use.
In previous years the Pintail has used the Cape route when carrying nuclear materials. Kantey said Cane called on the government to ensure that the vessels stayed outside South Africa's 200 nautical mile economic exclusion zone.

Chain of events, the high level nuclear waste was transported by road haulage truck via the public highway system from the reprocessing facility at Cap La Hague to Cherbourg, France. After weeks of campaigning to stop highly radioactive waste from being shipped from France to Japan, Greenpeace launched an all out effort to prevent the transport vessel Pacific Pintail from being loaded for departure.

Greenpeace activists joined dozens of local French citizens in protesting the import, reprocessing, storage and disposal of nuclear waste in their community. Together they built a monument representing the nuclear waste left behind in France as part of this deadly plutonium trade

Greenpeace vessel, MV Moby Dick arrived in Cherbourg to provide a public platform for protest against reprocessing at La Hague. On the 23rd February, activists on board the Moby Dick, and four inflatable boats, moved to the docking area of the port of Cherbourg and placed themselves between it and the "Pacific Pintail" moving in to recieve its dangerous cargo. For 30 minutes the Moby Dick and its crewed inflatables delayed the docking of the freighter and prevented the plutonium waste from being placed on board.

The protest ended when a French military tug boat rammed the "Moby" and French naval commandos boarded the vessel, cut its anchor line and towed the ship out of the Cherbourg harbour. The inflatable boats were seized and removed from the area by commandos. Ten protestors were arrested, one injured and four left on the Moby Dick which was tethered to a buoy outside the harbour.
The Pacific Pintail, operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd. (PNTL) of the UK, arrived in Cherbourg under cover of darkness to load its cargo of some 14 tonnes of plutonium waste. The first shipment contains 28 glassified blocks of highly radioactive nuclear waste in one large packing container. The material is so intensely radioactive that a person standing near a single unshielded glass block would recieve a lethal dose of radiation in less than 60 seconds.

Greenpeace crew were waiting on board a second vessel, the "Solo" and met the "Pintail" when it departed the harbour. They continue to track the shipment to alert countries along the route of the potential danger. Despite legal efforts to stop Greenpeace from tracking this shipment of nuclear waste, they will continue to shadow the vessel for as long as is possible en route to Japan.
TheTamshee says: Governments need to act responsibly, the first shipment to Japan in 1999 ended in fiasco after the producer, UK state company British Nuclear Fuels, admitted it had deliberately falsified vital quality control safety data. After an 18,000-mile voyage, the rejected fuel was shipped back to the UK. Two more cargoes, one delivered in 1999, the other in 2001, were opposed by local citizens and regional governments. Both shipments remain in storage with no prospect that they will ever be used. Enough already, stop the Nuclear madness!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gold Bars or Coins

Buying gold bars – in small quantities at least – is no different from buying a packet of sweets, anyone can walk into Baird's shop in the City, hand over some cash and take away their gold.
"The most popular small bar is probably the 1 ounce," This currently costs £718.25. But if you don't want to spend that much, smaller bars are available: the company's smallest, the 2.5 gram, costs £64.25. Gold is heavy, so the bars are small for their weight; a 1kg bar worth £22,182 measures 5 inches by 3.5 and is about a quarter of an inch thick. "They are not big but they are heavy," The biggest, meanwhile, weighs in at 12.5kg and costs £222,000. "

People do occasionally buy five of them in one go," said the spokeswoman, although customers buying such large amounts would have phoned first. That 50kg in gold would be worth £1.1m.
There are formalities to go through if you are placing a large order. "We need a passport and two utility bills if you are buying more than £5,000 worth of gold," said Baird.
Ninety per cent of its small retail business is done by post or internet, with gold being shipped by courier after funds have cleared. Alternatively, the company can store your gold, for a fee, for holdings worth £5,000 or more. TheTamshee says: get yourself into some of these gold coins

@ Chards it's addictive - but not always profitable, think of it as a expensive hobby and something to pass onto your kids.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Glass-Glue and Dr Who

The new Doctor Who's girlfriend, with her elfin crop swept in a side-parting and long, graceful nose, the beautiful singer from Ipanema - Mayana Moura, a 26-year-old Brazilian, commutes between homes in Rio de Janeiro and New York, and performs with a punk rock band on the US club circuit.

Friends revealed that she met Smith, the unknown actor recently cast to play the 903-year-old Time Lord, when he was holidaying in Rio. Matt and Mayana say the attraction was instant – despite the 877-year age gap. They were introduced to each other last January at the fashionable Rio nightspot Club 00,’ said Brazilian society columnist Bruno Astuto, an acquaintance of Mayana’s.
‘Matt went back to England and they kept in touch. He was so in love that he came to Brazil a second time and they started to seriously date. Then Mayana went to England to see him. She has been over three times in all.
‘He was introduced to her family and last month, during his latest visit to Rio, they began talking about marriage. It would be a great match.’ Astuto added: ‘They have been together for one year. They celebrated on New Year’s Eve when they joined a group of friends for a party in a penthouse overlooking the beach in Copacabana.’
Smith has said he ‘fell in love’ during a Brazilian holiday, adding: ‘It’s a nightmare because she’s 6,000 miles away.’ With gentlemanly tact, he has refused to identify the object of his affection.
But shortly after he was hired by the BBC, a reporter encountered the young actor strolling on a beach with Mayana in the legendary Rio neighbourhood of Ipanema.
Smith politely said he was not ‘authorised’ to give interviews.
Asked about her relationship with Smith, Mayana also declined to comment. ‘This is a private matter,’ she said. ‘Matt doesn’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk.’
Smith has admitted he was surprised when, just as their romance was developing, he was picked to replace David Tennant. He said: ‘Doctor Who has the iconic status of Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes, and I’m taking that on. That’s my responsibility and it’s exciting. Nerve-racking, but exciting.’

Matt Smith out and about in Central London as wackily dressed as his new character
Born and brought up in Northampton, he played football at the Nottingham Forest and Leicester City youth academies until a back injury at 16 forced him to quit. His drama teacher at Northampton School for Boys, Jerry Hardingham, landed him one of his first stage roles. The shy youth was ‘so self-effacing he wasn’t sure if he would be good enough’, said Hardingham.
But he went on to appear in the BBC2 political drama Party Animals and the 2006 TV adaptation of The Ruby In The Smoke–however, he has yet to win over some Doctor Who fans.
Mayana is equally ‘shy’, the green-eyed Brazilian began her career as a model after she was spotted in Rio by fashion photographer Mario Testino, he shot Mayana for a magazine layout which described her as ‘the new girl from Ipanema’. She appeared in Paris for designers including Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel, then moved to America, cutting a CD and performing at Johnny Depp’s LA nightclub The Viper Room. She acquired the same manager as Eminem and has also acted in TV and feature films. Mayana has started a punk band called Glass And Glue with Brazilian stylist Marina Franco. Bruno Astuto said: ‘Matt wants Mayana to move to England but she is really involved in this band project and she does not want to disappoint her band mate Marina. ‘She and Matt are both very young, they are both at the start of brilliant careers and they are in love. I just don’t know how it will end. It is a real dilemma.’
TheTamshee approves but I'am still hopeful that Agyness Deyn gets the job as the Doctor's side kick in the new series