I’m fighting with my computer, meaning that blogging today isn’t going to happen. Save for this, of course. I’d hate to let you down by not telling you that I was letting you down.

The computer is working, but it’s on a go-slow and that’s proving very frustrating. I have a feeling that removing 25+GB of photo files to an external hard drive will assist in speeding things up, but as you can probably imagine, trying to get anything done on a slow computer that is also moving 25+GB of photo files to an external hard drive is sheer agony.

Tomorrow, good readers. (And the rest of you too.)

Weekend photos

We had some fun in Agulhas this weekend, not least setting up the camera with the remote shutter thingy on it next to the bird table.

This isn’t one of those photos…

…but you can view them here.
Via that link, you’ll also find some photographs of White-breasted Cormorants (Phalacrocorax lucidus) taken by 10-year-old Alex. They’ve required a bit of editing, because I gave him the camera set on Manual mode with the white balance set to Tungsten.

I haven’t learnt anything
, have I?


Before you dive down my throat, that’s the way it’s spelled in the title of this Ludovico Einaudi offering.

You and I would spell it Petrichor, wiv an aitch.

Petrichor is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek petra, meaning “stone”, and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

Yeah, like that.
But either way, you can hear the rain and smell that scent in this energetic yet beautifully relaxing song:

Petrichor happens (exists?) as the result of a two separate chemical processes triggered by the rain.

Firstly, oils – palmitic acid and stearic acid – secreted by during dry periods, and when it rains, these oils are released into the air. The second reaction that creates petrichor occurs when a chemical called geosmin (you may remember it from such post as Safe To Drink) produced by soil-dwelling bacteria called Actinomycetes is released. Geosmin and these plant oils combine to create the pleasant petrichor scent when rain hits the ground.

Actinos – great to look at under a microscope, absolute bastards to grow in the lab.

Add to those two the “pre-rain” ozone smell you get ahead of storms and you’ve got the most evocative odour outside of cut grass and freshly baked bread.


The War On Bugs

Spotted this week on the BBC News website:


It’s not a bad idea. It’s just a 15-years-too-late idea.

(I’ve been saying.)

Zuma on Trump

All-round nice guy and democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa says “well done” to all-round nice guy and democratically elected President of the United States of America.

I think that’s what’s happening, anyway…

A transcript of the video, including JZ’s words, may assist you in comprehending the depth of his feelings for Mr Trump.

[Microsoft Movie Maker titles and intro]

For now, it… it is a report that have come.
If he has won, the Americans have felt that this is a man.
I don’t think anyone could have anything.
We are saying congratulation to him.

[CGI SA flag]
[Fade to 15 seconds of silent darkness]