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What is a Brookesia Micra?

18 Feb

What is a Brookesia Micra? Where does Brookesia Micra come from? What makes Brookesia Micra different from other members of its family of species? When was Brookesia Micra discovered? It may surprise you to know that Brookesia Micra is that smallest known member of the chameleon family. It may surprise you further to know that Brookesia Micra is so small in fact that it fits atop the head of a match!

In the karstic limestone area of northern Madagascar known as Nosy Hara, a discovery has been made in the form of Brookesia Micra, a minute leaf chameleon that measures a mere 15-16mm from snout to vent. It was discovered along with three other species of Brookesia of near proportions. At first sight these creatures may appear to be a single species, however close observation and genetic testing has concluded their separate lineage through the discovery that they indeed have different external morphology and hemipenial structures.

Brookesia Micra is further characterized by having a relatively wider and taller head, as well as a shorter relative tail length to the other species.

The females are markedly larger than the males, a usual sexual dimorphism between sexes of species in general. However, the tail length between males and females has presented as indifferent.

The hemipene is without spines, papillae, paryphasmata, or calyces and displays a comb-like apical structure.

Death Of A Legend – Whitney Houston Dies Aged 48

12 Feb

The world has been rocked today by last night’s tragic death of singer/actress Whitney Houston.

The global superstar was found in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles, paramedics who were in attendance ready for that evening pre Grammy Awards party (to be held at the hotel) attempted to resuscitate her, but were unsuccessful. The Bodyguard actress was pronounced dead at 15.55 local time (23.55 GMT).

Houston’s life in recent years had been fraught with substance abuse, and her marriage with Bobby Brown has been described as ‘turbulent’ with allegations of domestic abuse occasionally appearing in the media.

Whitney Houston was born on August 9th 1963, her music career began at the age of 11, when she would perform as a soloist for the Junior Gospel Choir at The New Hope Baptist Church, Newark. At 14 she sang back up vocal’s for the song “Life’s a Party” by the Michael Zager Band, who went on to offer her a recording contract, which was declined by her mother. At 15, Houston provided backing vocals for Chaka Khan’s track “I’m Every Woman” (a song she would later release herself as part of the soundtrack to the infamous Bodyguard movie in which she starred 1992). She also sang backing vocals on albums for Jermaine Jackson and Lou Rawls. Her debut album, the self titled “Whitney Houston” was released in 1985. She was the ‘golden girl’ of the 80’s and 90’s but by the late 90’s her behaviour had been noted to have changed, cancelling concerts and guest appearances at short notice, and being several hours late for interviews, photoshoots and rehearsals.

Houston has sold over 200,000,000 records worldwide and is recorded to have won over 400 career awards.

Ultrafast 300MBPS Broadband On The Way From BT

4 Feb

BT is poised to unleash 300MBPS of Broadband into our homes via fibre optics, a technological advancement that BT are referring to as the “game changer” in internet delivery which it hopes to bring into users homes in 2013.

BT’s street cabinets are mostly already hooked up with the Fibre Optic links required to deliver the service, but the current connections from there to user’s homes is mostly copper cable, and this limits the connectivity available.

The aptly named Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) connection is set to boost small and medium sized businesses especially, following trials that took place in Cornwall recently. However the initial set up costs are high, expecting to reach into the ‘high hundreds of pounds’ but whether end users will be liable for this will depend upon whether ISP companies choose to pass those costs on.

Ferry Sinks With 350 People Aboard

2 Feb

Australian Rescue Authorities fear as many as 100 people may have died following the Papua New Guinea disaster in which the MV Rabaul Queen Ferry sank.

Nearby merchant vessels raced to the scene to help people stranded in the water, along with helicopters and Australian fixed wing aircraft. Within 12 hours 238 people had been retrieved from the waves and there were reports from vessels sighting survivors on life rafts. Many more are missing.

The 47m ferry had been on its way to Lae, on a return trip from a popular diving spot called Kimbe on the island of New Britain, when it sank 9 nautical miles from Finschhafen on the north coast. There were reports at the time of 40 knot winds and 5m swells, although it is not clear if either of these attributed to the disaster.

Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, has stated that there will be a full investigation into the tragedy by the government.

It’s In The Honey

2 Feb

A new study published in Microbiology has uncovered evidence in favour of the clinical use of Manuka Honey in the treatment of chronic wounds.

Manuka Honey is derived from nectar that has been gathered by honey bees foraging in the Manuka tree, found in parts of Australia and New Zealand. It is already known to inhibit over 80 species of bacteria, and is used as an ingredient in many wound care products across the globe. However, its antimicrobial properties are not fully understood.

A normal skin bacterium called Streptococcus Pyogenes is often associated with chronic wounds. It clumps together with other wound bacterium to form ‘biofilms’ which are barriers that are resistant to drugs, and infection occurs. The study has shown that Manuka Honey not only breaks down these biofilms, but can even stop them from forming in the first place.

Dr Maddock’s lab technicians have also found that Manuka Honey is just as capable of killing other forms of wound associated bacterium such as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

This kind of research is a great stride forward in times where infections are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotic treatments.

What An Ice Idea

2 Feb

The world of ice cubes started off with a humble beginning as the brainchild of John Gorrie, an American inventor who’s original ice making machine  was built in 1842. More information is available in my Factoidz article here.

These days however, the invention of silicon moulds has meant that making icecubes at home can be a novelty.

Here are some unusual ice cubes made using some of these silicon moulds:

The Gin & Titonic mould creates an impressive Titanic and Icebergs set, ideal for shot glasses where the deink come halfway up the ship, recreating the suspended ship scene from the film Titanic.

The iconic polar bear and penguin moulds are perfect for sitting in the top of the glass, children and adults alike enjoy this cute little rascals.

Music lovers everywhere will love this ice guitar, complete with plastic frets strings and handle piece, which can be used to stirthe drink as the ice melts.

Star Wars fans the globe over would love this R2D2 icecube in their drinks! It’s part of a series that also includes Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Why The Menopause Changes Epilepsy Cycles In Women

1 Feb

A summary of recent findings.

Various studies have shown that for women going through menopause, 40% report an increase in seizure activity, 30% report a decrease, and the remaining 30% report no change.

The increases in seizure activity seem to stem from quickly dropping levels of progesterone, which lowers quicker than oestrogen. This descent creates an imbalance between the two hormone levels and as such can create differences in the usual seizure activity cycles.

Anti-Epilepsy Drugs can also be affected by the menopause due to slight changes in body weight which is also down to hormone depletion.

It is recommended for menopausal women with epilepsy to use Hormone Replacement Therapy in the form of oestrogen AND a slightly higher rate of progesterone rather than just oestrogen on its own as in most cases of women without epilepsy.