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