Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Society and Chocolate

I learned an interesting fact today, that the value of the world’s scientific journal publishing industry is worth about the same as the UK spends on chocolate each year – apparently £2 billion.

The other interesting fact if you are thinking of renewing your Society membership is that statistically people live longer if they belong to professional and learned Societies, although I suspect that might not be the case if you are one of the people principally responsible for the UK’s turnover in chocolate!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Freak Weather

I’ve had occasion to look up some strange weather statistics recently and came across some very interesting records. For example I didn’t realise that the records for the hottest temperature, which previously was held by El Azizia in Libya with 58oC, was broken. Apparently in 2005 a temperature of 70.7oC (that’s 159oF) was recorded in the Lut Desert in Iran – boy is that hot! Also why is it that when we talk in extremes we always go back to Fahrenheit (or inches in rainfall) as if it makes it sounds more dramatic. Speaking of rainfall there is a place in the Hawaiian islands where they have regularly between 460 to 512 inches of rainfall a year, that’s between 11 to 13 metres.

But my most favourite freak weather records are where we get reports of when it rains strange objects, like the frogs in Llanddewi in 1998, or the worms in Jennings Louisiana in 2007.

Did you know there is even a freak weather explanation for the Loch Ness Monster – I won’t even go there.