All entries for June 2005

June 30, 2005

Woolly Aphids

Every year since I planted my beech hedge, woolly aphids (the white things on the leaf) have been sucking the sap out of it:

They don't do the plants a lot of good. On full grown trees there's sometimes so many aphids that their excreta falls off (honeydew) staining whatever happens to be underneath. The excreta is often eaten by a black mould.

Now chemical warfare against aphids is a fool's game. You spray, the aphids die. But so do the predators of the aphids (how would you fare on poisoned food?). So as there's nothing eating the aphids, as soon as the spraying stops their numbers explode. The chemical companies have you hooked

The alternative is ecological management. The main predator of aphids in my garden is the ladybird:

Unfortunately all but a tiny proportion die off in the winter, so there's not many to eat the woolly aphids the next spring.

The solution:

Supposedly the ladybirds overwinter in the box, ready to feast on the first woolly aphids that emerge.

Well I'm glad to say since installing the box, woolly aphid numbers on my hedge have reduced enormously. There may be a factor totally unconnected to my ladybird box at play, only time will tell.

Loads of woolly aphids


June 11, 2005

Oxford Brookes & Jeremy Clarkson

Writing about web page http://www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/760722683

Oxford Brookes proposes to give Jeremy Clarkson a honourary degree.

I was an engineer for over twenty years and greatly resent the image of engineering promoted by the likes of Clarkson. He hasn’t got the slightest idea of putting technology in its social and natural context. For him it’s all about helping people consume more junk.

I believe universities should have three aims, the advancement of knowledge, the communication of knowledge and the application of knowledge for the benefit of society. People should be given honourary degrees as recognition of the contribution they have made in one or more of those areas. Can we be surprised that young people are put off science and technology?


June 05, 2005

Rural menace of off–road motors

Follow-up to Chelsea Tanks from George Riches: Complaints from a middle aged layabout

The previous entry highlighted the anti-social nature of the 4×4 crowd in urban areas. See this article about the rural menace.

Meanwhile in many suburban areas people are terrorising neighbourhoods by driving motorcycles over green areas…
link


June 04, 2005

And the Pigs shall fly over the heavens

Writing about web page http://education.independent.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=643956

People are working far more intensely than they were in the 1970s. That cannot continue.
People will (in 20 years time) be living in a world where they work less than they do now. We will have to develop interest in things like music, culture, opera, theatre and sport.

Well they were saying that 25 years ago. See C. Jenkins and B. Sherman, The Collapse of Work (London: Eyre Methuen, 1979)


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