Filed under environmental hazards

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

This is one of the most important, but least known historical and archaeological sites in Britain. Gunpowder has played a huge role in modernisation; without it we would not have city states, mining, wars, hunting, and spectacular fireworks. This is from historian Brenda Buchannan: Gunpowder and the explosives and propellants which followed it provided a … Continue reading


Breathing Can Cause Weight Gain

This is one of the most bonkers stories I’ve come across, but it is rather worrying. This is from the i paper: A new study finds that people are putting on weight simply by inhaling house dust because much of it contains chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormones. The culprits are “obesogens” known as … Continue reading

The Heroism of A Stranger

The Heroism of A Stranger

In the park adjoining the Museum of Childhood is a drinking fountain with an unusual and tragic history. Most marble fountains were erected by local worthies to provide refreshment for visitors, a few are memorials, but I doubt if any has such sadness associated with it. Water is essential to life. It is central to … Continue reading

In Praise of Dr Katterfelto

Dr Katterfelto is one of the most fascinating characters from late 18th/early 19th century England. He was called the King of Puff, and his claims to have cured Londoners of the flu epidemic helped sell his remedies. He demonstrated solar microscopes, and danced either side of the divide between science and magic with a big … Continue reading

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

This is from the i paper of 15 August: The remains of a wooden cargo ship wrecked off Devon while plying the trade route that kept Georgian dinner tables laden with port 250 years ago have been given protected status. The timbers of the vessel have been regularly exposed on the sands near Westward Ho! … Continue reading

Golan Heights Cowboys

This is an oddity from Saturday’s i paper: With his wide-brimmed hat, Wrangler jeans and ornate belt buckle, Yehiel Alon could easily pass for one of the Montana ranchers he once worked with. But the 53-year-old is an Israeli cowboy on the Golan Heights bordering war-torn Syria, where frontier-life takes on a whole new meaning. … Continue reading

Sahara Dust

Occasionally we get warnings of dust blowing in from the Sahara, often at the height of summer when people with sensitive lungs are warned to stay indoors. this suggests that the dust is an unusual arrival, but it seems this is not the case. This is from yesterday’s i paper by Jacob Adetunji: At this … Continue reading

Space Mice and Liver Damage

This is from yesterday’s i paper, and may put on pause any plans for human space exploration: Hopes of sending astronauts to mars and beyond have suffered a setback with the discovery of early signs of liver damage in orbiting ‘spacemice’. Mice that spent 13.5 days aboard Nasa’s space shuttle, Atlantis, and samples of their … Continue reading

Climate Change and Earth’s Axis

Here’s an unexpected effect of what is claimed to be climate change, but this is only one of several factors casing an increase in demands on water supplies in the Indian sub continent. This is from the i, 9 April Groundwater levels on the Indian subcontinent have been depleted so badly by climate change intensive … Continue reading