Loch Ness Monster, plesiosaur or ‘log monster’?


This video is called How I Drew a 3D Loch Ness Monster.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Has the mystery of the ‘Log Ness Monster’ been solved?

Tom Bawden, environment editor

Friday 21 November 2014

A recent spate of Nessie sightings has flummoxed experts and locals alike.

After an unprecedented 18 months without a “confirmed sighting”, several people have come forward in the past few weeks with reports of mysterious beasts emerging from the waters of Loch Ness.

So, more than 80 years after the first modern sighting of Nessie, has the monster made a comeback?

Alas, the truth could be a little more mundane. The Woodland Trust conservation charity has come forward with an infuriatingly humdrum explanation – they’re just logs.

The charity claims that “deadfall” washed out by rivers from nearby Urquhart Bay Wood would explain the recent sightings – and possibly why the monster has been spotted so often in the past.

“Large amounts of wood flows out of the woodland through the two winding rivers that flow into Loch Ness each year, peaking when water is high in late autumn and spring.

“I think that some of that debris explains the long thin, sometimes stick-like, shapes seen,” said a spokesman for the trust.

Urquhart Bay Wood is effectively a “Nessie spawning ground”, according to the trust, which added that its trees perform a very useful function.

“Urquhart Bay is a really important wet woodland, made up of species such as ash, alder, rowan and willow. It’s one of very few intact floodplain woodlands remaining in the UK and has European importance. Challenges such as flooding, movement of the rivers and accumulation of woody debris make it an interesting place to manage,” the Woodland Trust spokesman said.

Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century and have often been explained away as being boats, waves made by boats, or other animals. The first modern sighting was in 1933, when a man called George Spicer and his wife saw “a most extraordinary form of animal” cross the road in front of their car.

One of the more intriguing explanations came in 2006, when Neil Clark, the curator of palaeontology at Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum, concluded two years of research by linking Nessie sightings to elephants.

He said the theory made sense because the circuses that frequently visited Inverness in the past century would often stop on the banks of Loch Ness to give the animals a rest. The trunk and humps in the water would bear similarities to some of the most famous Nessie photographs.

“The circuses used to take the road up to Inverness and allow their animals to have a rest, swim about in the Loch and refresh themselves,” Dr Clark said at the time.

Scottish wildcat news update


This video is about wildcats in Scotland.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scottish wildcat benefits from six new protection sites

Six sites in Scotland have been identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as key areas for Scottish wildcats following research into the endangered cat species.

The sites; Angus Glens, northern Strathspey, Morvern, Strathavon, Strathbogie (around Huntly) and Strathpeffer, have been designated as potential wildcat strongholds woth preserving after evidence of cats showing strong wildcat features were found.

“The survey findings support that there are wild-living cats displaying many of the typical wildcat features in these areas,” said Dr Rob Ogden, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland‘s Head of Science. “Although some of the best examples caught on camera were not tested for their DNA, some of the cats tested had a high proportion of wildcat genetic markers. Hence a pragmatic view is that our wildcats remain distinctive and are worthy of protection.

The main threat to the Scottish wildcat is hybridising with domestic cats and therefore the next stage is to reduce the risk of further hybridisation in these six important areas by:

• Co-ordinating an ambitious trap, neuter and release (TNR) programme to neuter all feral and hybrids.

• Encouraging cat owners to neuter and vaccinate cats; micro-chipping will also help to make pet cats easily identifiable.

SNH and its partners in The Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan will also be working with gamekeepers, farmers and foresters to reduce the risks to wildcats from predator control; and monitoring populations to see the benefits of this work.

Jenny Bryce, SNH’s wildlife ecologist, said: “These priority areas give us real opportunity to halt the decline of the Scottish wildcat and preserve its distinctive identity.

The Action Plan partners take a pragmatic view – there are good examples of wildcats out there, displaying many of the characteristics of this species. And this is very much the focus of the new Wildcat Action project.

“We have been encouraged by the number and the quality of wildcats that have been observed, given the relatively short duration of the surveys. We think this is indicative of populations persisting more widely.

“But the threats are ever-present and we need to act now to preserve animals that are distinctive as Scottish wildcats. And with the help of people in these communities we aim to do just that.”

This news follows the creation of a Scottish wildcat sanctuary on the west coast of Scotland in July 2014.

Unsafe nuclear weapons base in Scotland


This video says about itself:

25 May 2014

We follow the walkers on Scottish CND’s Spring Walk from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh through Glasgow to the Trident base at Faslane, and explore how a Yes vote in the referendum will affect the likelihood of nuclear disarmament.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Faslane sees 15 per cent rise in health and safety slips

Monday 27th October 2014

SCOTTISH CND issued a stark warning yesterday that “major problems” are imminent if safety breaches continue to escalate at the Faslane nuclear base on the Clyde.

The peace campaign’s alert came after a report published by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed that the number of health and safety incidents at Faslane rose by 15 per cent in 2012-13, from 59 to 68 incidents.

Scottish CND campaign co-ordinator John Ainslie said: “If the safety record continues to decline, then it is only a matter of time before there is a major problem.”

The most serious breach was an accident which exposed workers to radiation in August 2012.

Roughly half of the incidents were rated category C by the MoD, meaning that they could potentially have caused radioactive contamination.

In the last five years there have been 316 “nuclear safety events.”

Other safety breaches include over 70 fires and more than 3,000 “near miss” industrial accidents.

SNP defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP described the revelations as “chilling” and called on the MoD to “address these breaches and tighten procedures.”

Why is the media silent on the continuing shakeup in the US nuclear command? Here.

MASSIVE NUCLEAR PROBLEMS REVEALED IN PENTAGON REPORTS Safety repairs are expected to cost billions. [NYT]

Viking treasure discovery in Scotland


This video says about itself:

Metal detectorist finds Britain’s biggest ever haul of Viking treasure

12 October 2014

The largest haul of Viking treasure ever found in Britain has been unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast, it was revealed today.The discovery was found on Church of Scotland land after the detectorist painstakingly searched the unidentified area in Dumfries and Galloway for more than a year.

From STV in Scotland:

‘Significant’ Viking treasure found in Dumfries and Galloway

12 October 2014 12:31 BST

A hoard of Viking treasure found in Dumfries and Galloway has been described one of the most significant archaeological finds [in] Scottish history.

Early indication suggest there are over 100 artefacts, comprising several gold objects.

The hoard also included a complete metal vessel containing more objects. This has not yet been emptied and the first step will be to examine its contents by x-ray techniques.

Experts have begun to examine the finds, but it is already clear that this is one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland.

Head of the Treasure Trove Unit Stuart Campbell, who is overseeing the recovery and assessment of the find, said: “This is a very important and significant find and has required the close cooperation of Historic Scotland with Treasure Trove Unit and National Museums Scotland staff to recover the fascinating items it contains.

“Due to the quantity and variety of the objects, and the importance of the find overall, it will take some time for experts to assess the hoard as a whole so that we can appreciate its true significance.

“We look forward to learning more.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “The Vikings were well known for having raided these shores in the past, but today we can appreciate what they have left behind, with this wonderful addition to Scotland’s cultural heritage.

“It’s clear that these artefacts are of great value in themselves, but their greatest value will be in what they can contribute to our understanding of life in early medieval Scotland, and what they tell us about the interaction between the different peoples in these islands at that time.

“The Dumfries hoard opens a fascinating window on a formative period in the story of Scotland and just goes to show how important our archaeological heritage in Scotland continues to be.

“As ever, the Scottish Government will work to facilitate and support the discovery, analysis and exhibiting of finds like this, for the benefit of people here and abroad. With that in mind I would like to echo the praise for the responsible behaviour of the metal detectorists: without their continued cooperation this would not be possible.”

The location of the find is not being revealed. The Scottish Government, Treasure Trove Unit and Historic Scotland are all involved in ensuring the area is properly protected while the full historical significance of the site is established.