Bee Protection

Today, the European Commission will present a discussion paper to Member State experts at a meeting of the standing committee on pesticides. The aim is to exchange views on the range of policy options available, in light of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) report findings published on 16 January, which assessed the effect of…

Read More

Public Transportation

We spent the weekend at one of our favorite places, Castle Elmau in Bavaria, a hotel not far from the Austrian border. The hotel is located in a quiet nature reserve, so there’s no traffic. In winter, there’s a deep silence all around, in spite of the numerous animal tracks that criss-cross the snow in…

Read More

Proximity to Magnificence

When I was a little girl in the 1960s, a friend of my parents brought over a few unexpected gifts for me. One of the gifts was a genuine Indian tiger skin, complete with claws, head, teeth, and glass eyes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, also…

Read More

Human Harmonicity

These two items seem to me to belong together: A study showing that the human brain is wired for harmonicity, and the translation of brain signals into music. First, from ScienceNOW: “Since the days of the ancient Greeks, scientists have wondered why the ear prefers harmony. Now, scientists suggest that the reason may go deeper…

Read More

Grounds for Discussion

What I like about the work done over at Information is Beautiful is the effort they make to provide readers with two things. First, cool graphics which help readers better understand the topic at hand. In the case of the image here (this is only a small part of the much larger illustration), the topic…

Read More

Flighty Birds

The nervous and elusive woodpecker above comes around noon every day to feed at one particular birdfeeder in my garden. It’s a greedy thing, and when it’s there, none of the other birds are allowed anywhere near. They gather in the plum tree branches, fluttering and impatient, while the woodpecker calmly eats its fill. I…

Read More

Future Tense

The concept of linguistic relativity posits that the structure of the language we learn to speak affects the way we see the world in concrete terms. Studies have been carried out to see whether the manner in which a language describes color impacts a speaker’s cognitive perception of color. A recent paper offers another approach…

Read More

Of Whisky and Frogs

We have a radio station programmed into our media player, a quirky French station called Swing FM, ‘la radio du Hot-Club de Limoges’. They play a round-robin mix of jazz, swing, gospel, boogie and blues, almost all of it American and much of it pre-1955. I had it playing yesterday and this great whisky song…

Read More

It’s a start…

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources…

Read More