Medium-range weather forecasting looking up to 10 days ahead has become much more reliable in recent years though it will never be perfect. So far it would appear that the Easter weekend will offer some reasonably pleasant weather. The sort of weather that encourages people to go out into parks, the countryside or just their own gardens.
Though that forecast prediction may not turn out to be true if it does then I can make another with absolute certainty. Many people will have an unpleasant encounter with Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle, during their time outdoors...more
A great deal of plant folklore has been around for so many years that it is impossible now to determine its origins. Over the course of history much of it has been modified or adopted by different groups. There are many parts of Christian practice and superstition that originate from pagan times.
The incorporation of Ilex aquifolium, holly, and Hedera helix, ivy, in Christmas tradition, for example, comes from the pagan belief that between them these two plants were responsible for keeping plant life going through the winter. And it’s not just Christmas; the species name of maculatum is applied to plants with speckled stems most of which are said to have grown under Christ’s cross...more
A small puzzle. What caused the skin blistering on an estimated 30 Royal Marines following an exercise on an Albanian island?
I’m afraid the story starts with a Mail Online piece so there needs to be a bit of de-sensationalising to get to an idea of what happened. The headline says the men became ‘violently ill’ with the sub-heads saying they ‘needed urgent medical attention’ and were ‘in agony’. Those same comments appear in the first three paragraphs...more
So, that’s it, at least as far as the UK parliament is concerned. On Monday afternoon, the Delegated Legislation Committee (DLC) voted 16-2 to endorse Theresa May’s decision to classify Catha edulis, khat, under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA).
The DLC has no statutory power in that it cannot force reconsideration of a ministerial decision. It is essentially a rubber-stamping body that just shows that ministers aren’t using their delegated powers without some oversight. The role of the DLC means that a ‘No’ vote would have been a pretty remarkable event and it may be that the Labour MPs on the committee didn’t consider khat to be important enough to justify the furore that would have followed rejection of May’s decision...more
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