Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Borve Crow

While I am on holiday anywhere I enjoy reading the local newspaper. Up here it is the Stornoway Gazette. The funniest story last week (though not funny for those affected by it) was the tale of the Borve Crow.

A crow decided to build its nest on top of an electricity pole. After all, there are not a lot of trees around Borve! Unfortunately it also decided to use odd scraps of barbed wire for its nesting material. This resulted in the electricity board having to cut off the power supply to 1500 people in order to dismantle the nest. The Borve Crow was, however, a persistent so-and-so and the power supply had to be cut off for a number of days in succession as they destroyed the nest each morning only to find it rebuilt the next day. The saga continues….

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Flying fish

Some remarkable footage of a flying fish has been captured by a TV crew filming off the southern tip of Japan.

It is claimed to be one of the longest recorded flights of this acrobatic animal.

The fish was completely airborne for 45 seconds. This beats one previous, impressive report from an American researcher in the 1920s of 42 seconds.

The animal is seen travelling parallel to a ferry, which itself is motoring at about 30km/hour (20mph).

The fish was able to continue flying by occasionally beating the surface of the water with its tail fin. The footage was shot by an NHK crew as it travelled to Yakushima Island.

According to Junji Yonezawa, at the Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Outlying Islands, the animal's flight-time of 45 seconds must be close to its physical limit, as brachial respiration is impossible while moving through the air.

There are some 40 species of "flying fish" in the family known as Exocoetidae. The animals are found worldwide in warmer waters.

Their flight ability comes from a glide rather than a powered flapping


I did say this news blog was not going to be about disasters and the bad things in life but two things cannot really be ignored since I last blogged over a month ago on 10th April - the earthquake in China and the behaviour of the Rangers’ fans.
On 14th May the Rangers fans let themselves and Scottish and British football down when they went on the rampage through Manchester after losing the EUFA Cup Final. I hope Liverpool’s Twelfth Man never behaves like that.
On 12th May China’s Sichuan Province was hit by an enormous earthquake that is estimated to have taken over 50,000 lives. As China is now more media friendly this was reported in greater detail than the Tangshan Earthquake of July 1976 that is estimated to have taken a quarter of a million lives. Officials said 80% of the buildings in Beichuan county, close to the epicentre, had been destroyed. The 7.8 quake was felt as far away as Beijing, Shanghai and the Thai capital, Bangkok. A week after the event the death toll from had risen to 40,075,. Tens of thousands more are still missing, and hopes have now gone of finding any people still alive. However, Chinese media say a woman was pulled from the rubble 195 hours - or eight days - after the disaster. Chinese aid workers are struggling to find shelter for millions who lost their homes. Foreign medical teams have started arriving in the area.