The strangest creatures are, to me,
The ones I love the best.
The creepy, crawly and the odd
Are cooler than the rest…
These magnificent beasties are the armoured vehicles of the insect population and the largest terrestrial-dwelling beetles in the UK. Their common name is a reference – unsurprisingly – to their antler-shaped “mandibles” or jaws, which they use to fight over territory, but not, perhaps surprisingly, to win the respect of female Stag Beetles..!
These Curious Creatures have intrigued me ever since I found an expired female stag beetle (see below ) in a south-west France many years ago. I drew it next to a blackbird’s feather, captivated by the different tones of black, the textural contrasts and inky depths of colour. I found it – and still find them all as a species – fascinating and beautiful, particularly the males, with their extraordinary maroon-red mandibles.
This weekend the Earth is due to be hit by a pair of solar storms that might affect radio and satellite communication. But how and why does this happen?
What Does Solar Mean?
Anything that is related to a sun is commonly described as being solar. Our sun is a typical medium-sized yellow star which is about 5 billion years old. Its surface temperature is about 5,500°C, but even that isn’t as hot as its superheated centre. Some parts of the sun’s surface are cooler, with a temperature of between 2,700–4,200°C, and these appear darker when viewed through specialised telescopes. These cooler patches are caused by fluctuations in the sun’s magnetism and are called sun spots.
Pokemon cards, Moshi monsters, jelly stickers, friendship bracelets – at some point over the last few years my kids have swapped all these things. And in return they get good stuff back.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could go into a shop and, even if you had no money, you could still swap something you had for something you want?
In communities all over the world, people are doing just that. Or something very like it.
Local Exchange Trading Schemes or LETS for short, enable people who live near each other to swap their skills and receive goods and services without having to pay a penny.
This little flower gets a raw deal, often regarded as a weed to be dug up, but it is actually quite pretty, with its bright yellow colour and distinctive leaves. Even the etymology of its name is pretty. Millie explains the origin of dandelion, and how people in other countries refer to this cheery flower.