Northern lights in Scotland tonight


This video from Norway says about itself:

This video explains how particles originating from deep inside the core of the sun create northern lights, also called aurora borealis, on our planet.

From Scotland Now:

Scotland set for a beautiful Northern Lights display

Sep 12, 2014 00:01

SCOTLAND could be set for a beautiful display of the Northern Lights .

The bright dancing lights, known as the aurora borealis, could be on display in Scotland and across other parts on the UK tonight (Friday 12).

This is because there have been two large explosions on the Sun and huge amounts of magnetically charged particles have been hurled into space towards Earth.

Known as Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), they can produce many different colours, with green, pink, red, blue and yellow all possible.

Often the particles are deflected by the earth’s magnetic field, so the best places to witness it are close to the poles where the field is weakest.

The Met Office said it is expecting there to be some cloud and localised fog patches around on Friday night but there should also be some clear skies.

It recommends finding somewhere away from street lights and says the best chance of seeing the aurora will be around midnight.

Earlier this year, we told you that catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights topped a bucket list of things Scots wanted to do before they die .

A survey of 2000 people by the National Lottery placed seeing the aurora borealis natural phenomenon above any other personal desire.

See also here.

ISIS terrorism, Bush’s and Blair’s legacy


This video from England says about itself:

16 June 2014

[Conservative] London mayor Boris Johnson tells Saint Tony Blair of New Labour to shut up about the current Iraq fighting mess, as it was his illegal war that started the problems.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Iraq war led to Isis mess, [First Minister of Scotland] Salmond claims

Friday 5th September 2014

THE ongoing situation in Iraq is an “inescapable consequence” of US and British military intervention

Islamic State militants have killed two US journalists and are threatening the life of a British hostage.

Mr Salmond said he was not apportioning individual responsibility in terms of the hostage situation, but was commenting on the “generality of the consequences” of the 2003 war and occupation.

Speaking to ITV Border, Mr Salmond said: “On the more general point, I believe the tragedy we are seeing unfold every night on our television screens is the inescapable consequence of the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“We have allowed that country to become a hotbed of sectarianism, of fanaticism, of violence, of murder and of terrorism.

“But even more culpability lies in the fact that they did not prepare for the aftermath of the invasion and they have allowed to happen to that country, and to the rest of us, this absolute appalling nightmare that is unfolding day after day on our television screens.”

His comments come after Prime Minister David Cameron said he will not rule out air strikes against the so-called Islamic State.

Theatre in Scotland about the extreme right


This video about theatre in Britain is called There Has Possibly Been An Incident: Interview with Chris Thorpe.

By Mike Quille, writing about the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland:

Reality checks with a future

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

MIKE QUILLE recommends two plays on far-right extremism that merit wider exposure beyond an apolitical festival

GIVEN the open, if undeclared, war being waged by the ruling classes across Britain and the energising effect of the referendum debate on Scottish politics, you might think that this year’s festival would have provided more in the way of artistic critiques, protest and alternative imaginings.

Yet much of the theatre on offer seemed unwilling to “stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality,” to quote Bertholt Brecht.

Because political apathy rules, maybe no more should be expected from artists.

But this seems pretty undemanding when you see examples of good political theatre.

A case in point is Blood Orange, a classic piece of agitprop by the Electric Theatre Collective. It’s based on real-life recent events in Dumfries, when the Scottish Defence League attempted to march and mobilise support.

In the play, a young man’s grief for his mother and the loss of their family shop is manipulated by a shadowy skinhead into racist violence, with tragic results.

In the process of telling this story, Blood Orange successfully combines a strong political message, exuberantly expressed in poetic writing and great ensemble acting, which is presented within the — brilliantly appropriate— crazed visual and sonic aesthetics of clubbing.

It’s a show which could and should be shown anywhere in Britain as a wake-up call to the dangers of the far-right’s mobilisation of alienated working-class youth.

Confirmation, a one-man show by writer-performer Chris Thorpe, works differently but is equally effective.

Based on the psychological theory of confirmation bias — by which we tend to interpret the world in ways which reinforce our convictions —it explores what happens when liberal, tolerant attitudes come up against right-wing extremism.

Thorpe and director Rachel Chavkin dramatise the resulting conflict in an innovative way through role play, thought experiments and Q and A sessions with the audience.

These are all delivered passionately, even aggressively, by Thorpe as he lurches violently around centre stage. Like a demented boxer, he confronts himself, his imagined political opponents and us.

Through a dramatised dialogue with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier, Thorpe negotiates through the psychology of engagement with far-right opinions and the cautionary need to keep our core values while being aware of our natural bias.

Enlightening and entertaining, it’s an unpredictable, intimidating and daring performance.

Both shows plaited together ideas and action — they’re outstanding examples of another Brecht dictum, that “theatre must teach all the pleasures and joys of discovery and all the feelings of triumph associated with liberation.”

More of that, please.

Water voles back in Scottish Highlands


This is a video from England about a water vole (and a male mallard).

From Wildlife Extra:

Water vole returns to RSPB site in Scottish Highlands after 20 year hiatus

The endangered water vole has returned to RSPB Insh Marshes after 20 year absence.

The small chubby rodent, which inspired the character Ratty in the children’s novel Wind in the Willows, was last seen at the reserve in Strathspey more than two decades ago and ecologists believe its reappearance is a result of work to eradicate American mink.

Predation by the American mink and habitat loss has led water vole to being the UK’s fastest declining mammal with numbers having dropped by 90 per over the last 40 years.

However, since 2011 the Scottish Mink Initiative has worked alongside organisations and landowners like the RSPB to eradicate mink from large parts of northern Scotland, including the Cairngorms National Park and Insh Marshes. This has allowed water voles to re-establish themselves in those areas.

RSPB Officer, James Silvey, said: “Water voles are extremely important mammals because they’re a really good sign of a healthy wetland environment.

“ It’s great to see them returning to Strathspey and we are hopeful this population will go from strength to strength. However, we have to remain vigilant to ensure that mink remain absent from the area.

“RSPB Scotland will continue to support the Scottish Mink Initiative in its efforts to remove mink from as much of the site as possible. People in the area can help protect water voles too, by looking out for them and reporting any sightings to us so we can monitor their populations.”