All posts filed under: Environment

Can You Identify This Flower (Solved)

My first thought (how do these things pop into one’s head?) was bistort, but then it plainly wasn’t. I looked in a wildflower book and the nearest were some mint varieties – but it wasn’t any of them. Then I asked on Twitter and Facebook, and on Twitter the answer came from Martin (@botanicalmartin) who said: I think it’s Phytolacca polyandra or Chinese Pokeweed which I guess is a garden plant and not very common escaped in the wild – map here I looked up the flower in Google and found some good photos – and it’s definitely Chinese Pokeweed. And the map that Martin mentioned also tallies because it show some specimens in Cambridge, which is where I photographed them. They are on the fringes of an area of wild flowers in a park just a few yards from the High Street. Were they sown, along with the wild flowers? Were they there from an earlier planting? Martin has a WP blog The Intermingled Pot, if you would like to take a look at …

Spanish Flu: Death Rates By Country

It is becoming apparent that there are differences in the death rates for different groups during the Coronavirus pandemic, and there is no clear explanation of why this is. Thinking there may be some parallels in the 1918 Influenza pandemic, I looked for statistics. The Geography and Mortality of the 1918 INFLUENZA PANDEMIC by K. David Patterson and Gerald F. Pyle published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in the Bulletin of the History of MedicineVol. 65, No. 1 (SPRING 1991), pp. 4-21 (18 pages) has some information. These two pages show the death rates per thousand head of population for different countries. The rates are prefaced by a statement from the authors; Estimates of total influenza mortality and cause-specific mortality rates are summarized in table 1. Question marks indicate especially unreliable numbers. Rates are calculated on the basis of population figures from census returns, estimates in standard reference works, or United Nations estimates. Populations are generally reported for 1920, not 1918, but this source of error is certainly smaller than others. The highest death rates …

What’s Up In The UK

Lockdown. Streets deserted. People only going out for food or a short walk once a day. Cambridge should get a badge for good behaviour. A friend said Lincoln is deserted. Amazing what you can get people to do when they want to. Zoom made me think of people standing around a radio transmitter/receiver in a post-apocalyptic TV series from the 1970s, trying to make contact with other scattered remnants, pockets of survivors. The last day or two – a bubbling up of the view from the man/woman in the street (when the man/woman in the street is allowed out) that we should be wearing masks – good masks, poor masks, better than no masks. I don’t get the second poster. She looks like Snow White, but that aside, she is miles from anyone. She is socially distancing. It would have made more sense if she was in a crowd. Do you know someone who has had the virus? Do you know someone who has had the virus? I know of people who know people, and …