Ways of weathering winter

| Apr 1, 2004

Ways of weathering winter

by C.W. Nicol

I had to attend a college graduation ceremony and an Environment Ministry meeting in Tokyo; otherwise I could easily have made it in a day from Okinawa to northern Nagano Prefecture where I live. As it was, the trip from that balmy Pacific isle ...

Blowing up the merits of charcoal

| Oct 2, 2003

Blowing up the merits of charcoal

by C.W. Nicol

When I was 12, chemistry didn’t interest me much until I found a battered old book in the school library that gave detailed instructions on the making of gunpowder. I still remember the recipe, which includes 75 percent potassium nitrate, otherwise known as saltpeter, ...

| Aug 7, 2003

A tale of two Afans reborn

by C.W. Nicol

Two thousand years ago, my native Wales had 98 percent forest cover. By 1950, when I was a little lad, woodland in Wales was down to 5 percent. I was born in Neath, where coal-mining wasn’t particularly heavy, and where there were still wooded ...

Hanami with a shot of history

| May 1, 2003

Hanami with a shot of history

by C.W. Nicol

Vancouver, Canada, is a beautiful city. Not only for the magnificent mountains, for salmon spawning rivers, and a largely natural coast, but for the city’s many trees. I am told that Vancouver has 124,000 street trees, 30,000 of which flower. The cherry trees especially ...