Category Archives: Rat

How much is a billion?


1 billion = 1,000,000,000 = 1,000 million  (in European terms)


1 billion seconds = 11,574.074 days = 31.79 years (start counting now)


1 billion inches = 15,782.83 miles (roughly the distance from Dublin to New York, then back to Dublin, then back to New York, then back to Dublin, then back to New York)


1 billion people = roughly the population of the USA x 3


1 billion acres = roughly seven-and-a-half times the size of France



Can rats help clear Africa’s landmines?

I was pointed to an article on the BBC website a while ago that has the headline Can rats help clear Africa’s landmines?

As I clicked the link I imagined the idea was to set rats loose in a minefield so they blow up all the mines.

“Excellent idea!” thought I, immediately ironing out the specifics as I began to read… maybe they’d need to be weighed down so they’ll be more certain to trigger the explosion.  …Or, how would they ensure the remaining rats don’t infest the area? …Poison?

But I soon discovered the idea was something else entirely: Hero Rats, trained to detect the location of the mines so they can be dug up and defused. Not a bad notion I suppose, but I ask you, is my two-birds/one-stone “Evil” solution so wrong?

More rat encounters here.


A little while ago my next door neighbour called to the door and asked if he could take some snips from flowers in our garden. I said of course, work away.

Long story, shortened: The previous owners of our house planted hundreds of flowers and plants all over the place. During the past 9 years of our tenure the garden has been forced to stand on its own two feet and fend for itself for the main part. If I’ve done nothing else, I like to think I’ve taught it some independence. Deirdre next door does some flower arranging every now & again. Her husband Con helps her gather what’s needed.

So Con went off and allowed me return to Series 1 of Damages (which incidentally is both awfully compelling and often just awful -a trend I’ve noticed in other TV shows such as The Tudors -it’s like they know they could be great, but are afraid to commit to being really great in case they lose the mass appeal. So every now & again they liberally apply Dumbdown (TM) and sprinkle it with an over-supply of Obviousness and pop it back in for a few minutes of crispy Crassness -a little something to please everyone, which results in nobody being happy with the end product.)

Glenn Close was being nasty and was about to make a nasty phonecall to another nasty lawyer when Con tapped on the window once again. It turned out he had made a discovery which can be summed up in two words: Dead Rat.


Continue reading DEAD RAT