Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Where I am now

My life did not come to an end on Friday 23rd March 2012 (as one one-time reader of one of my blogs surmised).  Nor did my photography stop.  Nor did my cooking.  Nor my thinking about writing articles - it's just the articles themselves that stopped! Nor did my interest in Grand Prix, the discovery of new creatures, cryptozoology, extinction, and similar news items.

It's just that I simply couldn't cope with having so many blogs and decided to concentrate on my main one - Rambles from My Chair. If you wish to see what I've been up to of late just click on the link and join me there.  You'll be most welcome.  There are bound to be occasional articles about the above subjects.

I may be back to post on this blog but please don't hold your breath...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Malaysian GP

Round 2 of the Formula One World Championship and again the modifications to the cars this year meant an exciting race with plenty of real overtaking - we didn't just have to wait for pit-stops for the order to change.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was almost as exciting as the previous week’s LieGate scandal had been. (Liegate involved McLaren and its representatives, including Hamilton, lying to the stewards – end result, Hamilton disqualified from the first Grand Prix of the season).

Jenson Button was on pole again and led the race almost from start to finish (with a slow start losing the first couple of laps to Rosberg and a pit-stop routine taking him back into the pack for the briefest of spells). Kovaleinen didn’t make it round the first lap – just to add to McLaren’s woes.

Ferrari had screwed up Massa’s qualifying and then managed to screw up Reikonen’s race by choosing wet tyres too early. By the time this happened it was too late - his wet tyres had gone off.

I think it's safe to say visibilty was not good by the time the safety car was deployed.

Quite when the race finished was a matter for some conjecture and lengthy stewards' debate. Torrential rain meant the race was red-flagged but it took nearly an hour to declare the winner. Not, it seems, because there was much likelihood of a re-start (by then it was almost pitch dark) but because they couldn’t work out who was where when the race finished. (Bearing in mind the race is deemed to have finished when the leader last crossed the line prior to the red flag being thrown.) It seemed that Button had won with the Toyota of Glock second and Heidfeld third but that was then changed to Button, Heidfeld, Glock. The commentator interviewing Hamilton asked was he pleased with seventh place, even though it was half points, and Hamilton said “I thought I was fifth...” One would have thought with all their technology it would have been a fairly simple thing to work out who was where...

The end result (as it stands though it may well change during the week) –

Back on top - briefly

Liverpool beat Fulham away on Saturday and went to the top of the Premiership. They scored in the 94th minute which was a lesson in not wasting time. If Fulham hadn’t spent so much of the second half wasting time the match would have been over. Unfortunately, on Sunday, Manchester United copied us by beating Aston Villa 3-2 with a goal in extra time. So they went top by one point. Bummer.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Australian GP

Formula One is back on the BBC but they cannot have been thrilled to have had qualifying interrupted – even if it was only briefly.

It was good to have proper introductory music back. Music like The Chain and ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ summarise Grand Prix racing for me. The commentators include David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle.

Honda have disappeared but a buy out by Ross Brawn brought Brawn GP with Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello to the grid. Virgin has bought into the Brawn with a sponsorship deal and Richard Branson was to be seen in the pits.

The new rule changes mean the ugly side pods (seen above on last year's McLaren) have gone. Instead we have front wings that are the whole width of the car – bound to be plenty of them lying on the track before the race is over and they are so ugly Martin Brundle suggested they should be covered with brown paper bags.

There is a diffuser on the back of three of the teams that is allegedly giving them such an advantage that the other teams are upset and have complained – tell us the old, old story...

Sebastian Bueni is the only rookie on the grid – driving for Torrio Rosso. Mark Webber returned after a crash when his mountain bike hit a car. He smashed up his leg and shoulder. He is still limping badly but he looked quick in the car during practice even if not when limping down the paddock or when his car was limping after a first lap crash initiated by Kovaleinen.

In qualifying one Hamilton could only manage 15th – one place above dropping out... In the end his car packed up and he had to change the gear box so he dropped back to 18th any way! Both Force Indias dropped out in the first qualifying and the Toyotas were put to the back for rule infringements.

The Renault looks more attractive when not in the gravel. Alonso in the attractive looking Renault went out in the next round of qualifying as did Kovalinen showing the McLaren is not a good car at the moment.

Button and Barrichello locked out the front row in their new Brawns. The last time a new team on the grid made it to pole in its first Grand Prix was the Tyrrell team in 1970. The only other team ever to do it was Mercedes in the 1950s.

The race was quite exciting and there was plenty of overtaking suggesting that they have, at last, found rule changes that make for enjoyable racing.

Button led from start to finish but Barrichello looked set to come in fourth after his anti-stall kicked in on the grid. Then three laps from the end Kubica and Vettel had a coming together that put them both out and made it a fairy tale ending for the Brawn team.

Ferrari came nowhere with Massa’s car packing up and Reikonnen having a brush with the wall. Kovaleinen’s car also proved unreliable but Hamilton came from the back to take fourth behind Trulli.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Kop

One of THE great sounds in Football – Liverpool’s Kop in full voice singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Last night Liverpool played Real Madrid. Liverpool carried forward a 1 - 0 lead from the away leg and added another 4 goals on the night making it a resounding 5 – 0 defeat on aggregate.

This was the fourth goal being scored by Dossena.

The other goals were by Torres and, of course, Steven Gerrard (2). The score hides the fact that the Real goalkeeper, Casillas, made any number of magnificent saves and was undoubtedly their man of the match.

So we are into the quarter-finals of the European Champions League (yet again).

The singing at the end of the match was even louder!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Pink Iguana

A pink Iguana, disovered on the island of Volcan Wolf in the Galapagos in 1986, is causing an evolutionary stir.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Lost World on Google Earth

The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country. However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.

Driving up to Mount Mabu - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew
A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu. In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake. The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis. So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover.

Jonathan Timberlake recording vegetation (Photograph: Tom Timberlake/Kew)

Hemipteran bug - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew

Google Earth image of Mount Mabu. The coordinates are 16 degrees 17 min, 56 secs south and 36 degrees 23 mins 44secs east.

Pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon sp.) - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew

See here for the full article by Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent to the Daily Telegraph.

And here for some more images.