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I am writing this bloglet from Cape Town, having escaped once again the European winter to get some much needed vitamin D therapy. Actually the South African village of Llandudno where I live is deserted of traffic today because of the Annual Argos Pick n Pay 109 km cycle tour. If you are not familiar with the event here is a nice little video showing off some of the local sights and illustrating the very African nature of this race:
The race closes the main road that passes by the only vehicular entrance to Llandudno, Sunset Rocks and Sandy Bay. So we are cut off from the main causes of local pollution but that doesn’t mean we are cut off from the excitement. As I went for my early morning beachcombing exercise at the crack of dawn there were already many non-motorised vehicles whizzing down the hilly village roads. This is the day when the Cape Town skateboarders take over Llandudno village. They arrive in their masses (some younger ones transported in by Mummy before the roads close at 07:00 a.m.) – needless to say this is quite early for your average skateboarding teen but they soon wake up as they join their pals zooming down the steep curvy car free roads leading to the beach. Here is a photo of the setting for this annual sporting event:
Despite being based here in Africa I have still managed to check out the European Press for those important news articles which do not always make it into the English language press (or certainly do not get the prominence they deserve). Here are three stories I came across during the last week.
Incredible Wolf Discovery in Vienna
The first special article I have prepared this week describes a discovery made near Vienna about wolves’ ability to learn from their peers. It brings some insight into the comparative evolution of wolves and dogs after the latter became domesticated by humans. If you are interested in things canine and in particular if you would like to see some great photographs of wolves taken in their countryside setting near Vienna please click on the article below:
Giant Killer Defrosted from Siberian Permafrost
With this article chrisduggleby.com is just about to go viral. Try to imagine the discovery of 30,000 year old rats as the polar ice caps melt. These rats are however the size of elephants and as they defrost they come back to life and start looking for suitable prey to kill. The report I have prepared describes a similarly horrific scenario only the giant creature is not a rat but a huge virus. Most viruses have a size of between 20 to 300 nanometre (a nanometre is one thousandth of a micrometre or one millionth of a millimetre). A new virus identified in the Siberian permafrost is 1.5 microns in length – in other words over ten times larger than most other kinds of virus. It is 30,000 years old but the scientists have managed to carefully defrost it. Despite its age and being frozen for such a long time it is still able to infect and kill its host. Want to learn more? Read my article below:
Carnivorous Alien found in France
Finally I would like to share with you a report carried out by a team of scientists working in Paris. They have identified an Invasive Alien Species in the French provinces which is predicted to have a devastating effect on the ecosystem. I should warn you that in this report there are photographs of this Alien Species devouring its prey and therefore you should not encourage under-age readers or persons of a sensitive disposition to read the article. However I feel I have a duty to report such meaty (sorry) subjects to the wider international community. As the authors of the report say that ‘now is the time for action’ (or more precisely: IL FAUT AGIR MAINTENANT!). If you want to read more about this (with photos) here is my summary report:
Well I think that is enough excitement for one week. If you find these reports interesting don’t forget I regularly update the Alpine Press page with similar pioneering discoveries – here is the link. I will endeavour to continue to search the European scientific publications to keep you abreast of the latest major developments which, in many cases, simply get overlooked by the English language press. At ChrisDuggleby.com we do not sugar-coat the news – we tell it how it really is. If you have any suggestions or recommendations please do not hesitate to use the comments box below or at the bottom of any of my articles. My thanks to all the scientists who have contributed to these reviews.
Next time you go into the garden at night keep an eye open for tree climbing alien carnivores (like the one below).