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Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides Now

I blame my Catholic Socialist, Socialist Catholic upbringing. Sometimes it happens, it even often happens that I set aside the causes that are really dear to my heart, I make them wait: No, it isn't about people. No, it isn't about saving the future, no, you can't place the living world above the people who live in it, and need to eat, and have places to live . . . But then finally I let myself get round to it, so here is my winter of 2014 BAN NEONICOTINOIDS NOW item at last. 'Five neonicotinoid dressed maize seeds, or 32 dressed oilseed rape seeds, are enough to kill a partridge', says the expert. The Soil Association is worried about bees, everyone's worried about the pollinators, but (see the reports linked below), the bees are only part of the problem.I bet you the same neonicotinoids are implicated, silently in the catastrophic decline of many, many native animals, including insectivorous mammals like this Norfolk hedgehog here. I used to see hedgehogs, they're not very elusive if they're around, often enough to know their numbers, in Cumbria, in Sussex, in Norfolk, and even in the centre of Brighton, were good enough, despite our modern world's dangers. No longer. Their disappearence (I nearly typed demise, which is not far off), no doubt has multiple causes, but I bet I'm right about the neonics. Skylarks are insectivorous too . . . The evidence of the pervasive toxicity of these pesticides is damning, at least as strong as the evidence that pesticides in the food chain were killing off our birds of prey, back in the nineteen sixties. And we turned that around, amazingly: so we could do it again. Why aren't we doing it? Because the corporations have grown so mighty that we can't say no?

http://www.soilassociation.org/wildlife/bees/beeresearch

http://www.tfsp.info/worldwide-integrated-assessment/

http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lEFGyyWI1Ws%3d&tabid=439


Watching . . .

Not very impressed by the final, sloppy, loose-ends littered episode of House Of Cards,, hardly more entertaining than Ian Richardson smirking off to the Palace . . . until Gabriel kindly pointed out that weasel word Trilogy, on the front page at Netflix. Okay, we're old, we miss things, so now we're waiting in hopes of being enthralled again, and in hopes this isn't another of those cases where a good thing gets squeezed too dry.

Not all that madly impressed by Mr Turner, either. Mallard by name, mallard by nature, eh? Clearly this is the way things were, but the great man's habit of routinely grabbing female flesh of suitably inferior status & rogering her as complacently as he would take a bite from a veal and ham pie was not endearing.
Interesting to compare with Effie Grey: although you have to sympathise with poor Turner being faces with the lurid colours and hopeless drawing of the Pre-Raphaelites, I kind of began to see how his modernism (the modernism of the age of revolution) could pall, which of course it did. Palled and palled away to mist. Comparing the two John Ruskins, I'm not sure, but I felt Mike Leigh had it wrong with his infantile fop. Although it's a long time since I read anything by Ruskin, I know he had power & I think the twisted bully in Effie Grey was nearer the mark.

Very much impressed by Ida. This is SUCH a beautiful film, such clarity, such economy of storytelling images: & absolutely amazing, as many people have said, to know that this is entirely digital. And a story from the past, but timeless as the light on wintery Poland (unfortunately). What do you do, after the genocide? Years after, however long after, it's never going to go away.

Good article from the director about the making of the movie here (if a little bit cocky):

I have no idea what anyone sees/saw in Interstellar; possibly because although I never demand that the science in science fiction has to make sense, it's sadly impossible for me to get excited about concepts like "time dilation" or "the fifth dimension", whether sense is made of them or (as in this case) not, on their own merits as cool-sounding bizarre science words . . . Or possibly because it was boring, very much too long, & hogwash. But we finally watched Guardians of the Galaxy the other night, and thought it was pretty good.

A kind reader of this blog provides a link to the comments of someone more annoyed than I was (or with more time on their hands?)

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/4-Big-Reasons-Why-Interstellar-Huge-Disaster-68087.html


You can tell this is a real photo of my garden in December, as I have not had the wit or the imagination to make our holly berry display look more impressive. Yes, it's true, I am a pleb, I never had any doubt. On the other hand, a judge who believes police officers lack the ability to lie with flair and conviction really should not be in post. It's Tuesday 2nd of December, by the way, and for a wonder it's almost cold. I've just uploaded what I sincerely hope is the final version of The Grasshopper's Child, and the ebook should be back next week; I'll let you know. Ann Halam giveaway this month, 19th-20th December (dates to be confirmed!) will be The Powerhouse; the proto-techno-music and rock scene one, set in Manchester (ish) and featuring an early version of Immersion art. Enjoy, and that's the lot.

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