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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Media reports

Two items caught my attention today. One relating to loss of biodiversity and the other highlighting how mankind benefits from an understanding of the rest of the animal kingdom.

Having made several posts on biodiversity loss on this blog, I was pleased to see The Independent newspaper today ( page 10, Save our Species) also highlighting the threat posed by the loss of ponds. It appeared to be referring to information given in the English Nature booklet noted in my blog of Aug 25. It reports the significant loss of ponds in the UK and that "one new complex (of ponds) in Oxfordshire contained a quarter of the UK's freshwater plant and animal life after only 5 years". It gives the web address of Pond Conservation for more information. Which is at:

"About Pond Conservation"

"Pond Conservation is the UK's leading centre for information and practical advice on the conservation of ponds. We also have an extensive programme of research, policy and practical work on rivers, lakes, ponds, canals and drainage ditch systems.
The organisation was founded in 1988 as Pond Action, subsequently merging with the Ponds Conservation Trust in 2001, and is now known as Pond Conservation: the Water Habitats Trust."

The trust publishes a number of fact sheets including the following:

Good Wildlife PondsA short guide to creating your own wildlife pond.
Planting Up PondsDo's and don't's of planting for a wildlife pond.
Problem Pond PlantsHow to manage algae, duckweed and other floating plants.
The Importance of Ponds: A guide for Planners and DevelopersGuidance when a development includes or affects ponds.

It was also interesting to read a technical journal published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. ( Engineering and Technology, September 2006, page 30.)

An article describes links between biology and research into ways to prevent computer virus attacks. Engineers are working with biologists to learn from the human immune system, which is likened to a " very interesting adaptive computational system", to develop intrusion detection software.

The well known dive of the Gannet, which allows the bird to rapidly plunge in a vertical dive into the sea in pursuit of fish has led to another line of research. The bird has to judge the latest moment to fold its wings before hitting the surface of the water using feedback from visual signals. The same idea of feedback is being applied to software to detect malicious programmes
The IET web site is at: