Monthly Archives: July 2014

‘Sadness and Gladness’

The New English Landscape


Elizabeth Lebas 31 May 1947 – 19 May 2014

A crowded chapel at Golders Green Crematorium recently paid tribute and said farewell to a much-loved friend and colleague, Elizabeth Lebas, who made a unique contribution to English social history, particularly in relation to public health, landscape and municipal politics. Elizabeth was born in France to communist-sympathising parents, but when she was five the family emigrated to Quebec, and she grew up in Montreal. In France her parents had run a left-wing youth hostel, and in Montreal her father, a marine engineer, set up a cinema-society, leading to Elizabeth’s lifelong interest in film, the subject of her most important research. The service concluded with a reading of Leo Mark’s ‘Code Poem for the French Resistance’, the opening lines of which were particularly poignant for her family and friends, for whom her personal and intellectual generosity knew few bounds:

‘The life that…

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Dolphins more common in North East waters than any other part of England

A pod of up to 100 dolphins has been spotted off the coast at Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear.

And marine experts say the region is currently the best place in the country to spot the mammals.

Both bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins have been sighted in the area over recent days.

Stephen Marsh, from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “White-beaked dolphins are abundant in the North Sea at the minute.

“The ones spotted off Tynemouth have most probably come down from the Farne Islands.

“We have seen a pod of up to 100 passing the region in recent days and the area is by far the best to see these type of dolphins at the minute.

“The reason there are so many is due to the movement of their prey.”

Bottlenose dolphins have also been spotted off the coast at Roker in Sunderland in recent weeks.

Fishermen just outside Roker Harbour reported seeing the mammals jumping as they moved up the coast towards Seaburn.

Experts say the pods could well be attracted to the high numbers of mackerel shoals.

Terry McKeone, senior aquarist at Tynemouth’s Bluereef Aquarium, said: “Mackerel are quite a dim fish and they hang around in large shoals.

“They are close to the shore in the area at the minute so it could be the dolphins are just rounding them up and hitting them in large numbers.

“Dolphins are social mammals and they tend to be seen in large groups. You might get the occasional one by himself but that’s usually because the other dolphins don’t like him.”

Michael Jeffrey,  from Roker, said: “We’ve had the dolphins off the coast for the past few weeks, they’ve attracted quite a bit of attention.”

The white-beaked dolphin is most widely spotted in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  02 July 2014

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Biggest meteor recorded in the UK lights up skies above Devon


This is the moment a huge meteor burned through the skies above Devon in the early hours of Monday morning.

The fireball was captured on camera by the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth at 03.04am BST.

Eyewitness saw the “bolide” meteor light up the atmosphere in what was the biggest explosion ever recorded by the observatory.

Dave Jones of the UK Meteor Observation Network (UKMON) told the Mail Online: “We have two cameras that watch for meteors during darkness, so upon hearing the news I logged in to check our data and see if we had captured anything.

“Fortunately the meteor passed in front of both of our cameras so we ended up with two videos of the same event.”

He added: “Due to cloud and raindrops on the camera lenses the image was not as clear as we would like, however the sheer size and brightness of this object burning up in our atmosphere almost overwhelmed our cameras as it was so bright.”

According to reports, the meteor appeared green in colour as it streaked across western parts of the UK.

No damage was caused by the shooting star, which is believed to have broken up upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

But meteors pose a constant threat to life on Earth. In February last year, a meteor that exploded over the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk in February released more than 30 times the explosive energy of the Hiroshima bomb, scientists found.

Professor Qing-Zhu Yin of the University of California, Davis, said: “If humanity does not want to go the way of the dinosaurs, we need to study an event like this in detail. Chelyabinsk serves as a unique calibration point for high-energy meteorite impact events for our future studies.”

Source –  The Independent,  01 July 2014

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