Blowing up the merits of charcoal

| Oct 2, 2003

Blowing up the merits of charcoal

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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

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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

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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 ...

Into the jaws of death

| Apr 3, 2003

Into the jaws of death

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My first close contact with the beasts came after I went to Ethiopia in 1967 to take on the job of establishing a new national park in the cliff-rimmed northern mountains.After a frustrating time in the capital, Addis Ababa, trying to finalize preparations for ...

To feed or not to feed?

| Feb 6, 2003

To feed or not to feed?

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I was just 8 years old, going to get the milk from the front porch. I happened to look out of the window and saw something that excited me, so I called my mother, pointed — and yelled: “Look, Mum! Tits!”Whack! Not even looking ...

A dark day for ducks

| Jan 3, 2003

A dark day for ducks

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A Niigata sake brewery that would prefer to remain anonymous in this context, asked me to sit on a committee for an environmental trust they had just set up. They do brew the most excellent sake, so I happily agreed.They were making some of ...