Ian Short

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Extinction Rebellion

The future of the planet is bleak. The Earth and its environment are like a body suffering multiple organ failure, and the brain is pretending that it isn’t happening. The only hope is for immediate, radical action. I urge you to back Extinction Rebellion. No other group offers a response appropriate to the circumstances. Extinction […]

Swifts return

Swifts returned to Woburn Sands today, just two so far. One house martin flying around as well.

Wilding, by Isabella Tree

This is a wonderful, inspiring book of wilding at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex. The author and her husband own a few thousand of acres of land around Knepp Castle, which until twenty years ago was heavily farmed. In the early 2000s, however, they began giving up parts of the land to wildlife. Following […]

UK-wide climate emergency

Caroline Lucas (MP for the Green Party) tabled a motion to the UK parliament on the 13 March to recognise that the world has a climate emergency. The motion proposes that the government introduces a new green deal to radically reduce the production of greenhouse gases. The motion is here – UK-wide climate emergency. It […]

Red admiral

First butterfly of the year, by the River Ouzel. Apparently small tortoiseshell, brimstone, and painted lady are also out in places (they all hibernate). Song thrushes are singing at the OU, which seems odd, early.

RSPB Minsmere

Over new year we visited RSPB Minsmere, one of the finest bird reserves in England. North and south of it are other outstanding reserves, owned by the National Trust, Natural England, and EDF Energy (Sizewell nuclear power plants are nearby). A highlight for me was a group of bearded tits, plucking at reed heads, in […]

M337 Complex analysis finished

In my pigeon-hole this morning were printed copies of the final three books of  the Open University module M337 Complex analysis. They look beautiful, and I am delighted. It has required a huge amount of effort over the past couple of years. I look forward to moving down a gear, and perhaps even doing some […]

Quotation of Paul Painlevé

For production of an Open University text, I have spent a long time researching the origin of a quotation of Paul Painlevé. I include the details here in case they are of use to others. Some of the information about the quotation that I can find elsewhere on-line is incomplete or incorrect. The quotation is entre […]

Spring and summer wildlife highlights

For me, the pleasure of seeing wildlife depends heavily on the setting, location, and health of the species. As an example, every so often at College Lake in Tring there turns up an isolated wading bird that should really be with others of its kind in North or South America. Probably it has been blown […]

Tarn-et-Garonne

This summer we visited Tarn-et-Garonne, in southern France, staying near the Aveyron river. It’s a great area for butterflies, because of the climate, the soil, and the low intensity organic farming. In fact, so rich was the country for butterflies that it made me wonder why we bother in England desperately trying to protect a […]

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