Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Take a Gander at a Panda! Natural World: Panda Makers

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BBC Two, 8pm, Tues December 7th
Giant Pandas were on the brink of extinction but now they are coming back, thanks to an extraordinary conservation project. The Chengdu Research Base in central China is at the heart of a project to breed 300 pandas, and then start introducing them back into the wild. It is the most ambitious and controversial conservation effort ever mounted. Shot over two years, this film follows the pandas and keepers as, through visionary science and round-the-clock care, they edge closer to the magic number of 300. 

Gander at a Panda! 

Here's a few preview clips from the film showing Baby pandas in the play cot at the Chengdu breeding centre in China. These are some of the 300 babies that will be part of a large-scale reintroduction programme of the Giant Panda back into the wild.

No idea where this fantastic music is from but it surely has one of the greatest lines.

I Get Knocked Down...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A spot of tech helps people rise in the midst of a polar winter

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I'm lucky to have spent some time on the arctic Island of Svalbard (my posts from Svalbard),  and have stayed at the 'roughty toughty' town of Longyearbyen, one of the worlds most northerly settlements. I was there in the summer and the biggest problem I faced was getting to sleep under canvass in a place where the sun never sets - and the ice cold wind never stops howling. But there is another side to the frozen coin that I am yet to experience - 24 hour darkness. I can only imagine how that must effect the human psyche.

You know that painful feeling you get when you leave the house for work on dark winters morning, its 6am, your breath is like ice and your car is all frosted up. Well I imagine its a bit like that, all day long, and every time you step outside - for 5 months!

Thankfully Philips are on the case to make polar winter mornings a little easier...

The Sun never sets: our summer camp on Svalbard 

Arctic Camping
(Photo: Paul Williams)

The Sun never Rises: Winter in Longyearbyen

The film below may be a promotional film advertising the Philips Wake-Up Light, but it is atmospheric and captivating, and provides a little glimpse into the lives of the everyday folk that live out in an extraordinary frontier town.

Visit the Wake-Up Light website to find out more about the people and place of Longyearbyen.

Wake-Up Light... there must be an iPhone app somewhere that does this!

Meanwhile we have the chance to make better use of our daylight

Lesey @EnglshFolkFan told me about 10:10 Lighter Later 

Unfortunately I'm a it pessimistic about how much great ideas like this actually get considered by the big wigs who run our world, nether-the-less it sounds like a brilliant idea...

"Everybody loves the sunshine. But every year we set our clocks so that we get less of it in our lives, sleeping through the sunlit mornings while we use expensive, polluting electric lights to keep out the dark nights. Lighter Later is a campaign to brighten all of our days, by changing the clocks so we are awake when the sun is out. The idea is simple: we shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year. We would still put the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn, but we would have moved an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, when more of us are awake to enjoy it. Lighter Later is also the best proof yet of 10:10’s bright idea – that cutting carbon and making life better can and should go hand in hand."

Sign the petition here:

A couple of benefits like I particularly like:
"Cut at least 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution – equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world – each year."

"Make the nation happier – including reducing the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder"

"Help make people healthier and tackle obesity by giving people more time to exercise and play sport outside in the evening."

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Children in Need Audiovisual Quiz 2010

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Last night I hosted my annual Children in Need Pub Quiz in the BBC Bristol Club we had 30 teams and raised a fantastic £550 pounds. I've posted my full quiz here and would be more than happy if you would like to use this to run your own Charity Pub Quiz. The answers are at the bottom of the page. You can download answer sheets here
Enjoy - Paul.


Name these 10 films & 5 cartoons


a. Which decade was this released in?
b. and next line?

a. Name the Track
b. Name the Track
c. Name the Track

a. Name the band?
b. Next Line

a. Name the person singing in this original version of a classic song.

a. How many Caribbean islands do they mention in the section I’m about to play you

a. Name the comedian who had a chart hit in 1984 with this?

a. Name the Artist
b. Next Line

a. What year were most of these released in the UK?
b. Whats the odd one out?

a. Track in Reverse: Name the Group

Which film is this from?


1. In the nursery rhyme Mondays child is fair of face, Tuesdays child is full of grace, Wednesdays child is what?

2. Which company released `Pong` in 1972 the first ever video game released?

3. Where would you find the `Ocean Of Storms`?

4. What 2 creatures are on the Australian Coat of Arms? (1 point each)

5. how many drum beats can be heard at the end of each episode of eastenders?

6. Which producers signature appeared at the end of the Tom and Jerry cartoons ?

7. Who painted The Laughing Cavalier?

8. The currency of Costa Rica shares its name with which punctuation mark?

9. How many strings does a ‘Chello’ have?

10. How many stripes are there on an American flag?

ROUND 2: Cars & Drivers

1. According to the Highway Code, passengers of what age and above are responsible for themselves wearing a seatbelt?

2. Which famous car did Professor Caractacus Potts drive?

3. Which company brought out the Rover group in 1994?

4. Cars from which country have the letters CH on them?

5. Who manufactured a car called the silver ghost?

6. Which car shares its name with the Italian Island in the southern part of the Bay of Naples?

7. Which character did Lee Majors play in TVs Six Million-Dollar Man?

8. From which country does the Proton car originate?

9. What product was advertised using a race between a blue and red car?

10. What is the surname of Russia's first driver who appeared in the 2010 season?

ROUND 3: Cooking & Food

1. Which pasta sauce is believed to take its name from the Italian charcoal workers who often ate it?

2. What food flavouring is obtained from the crocus plant?

3. In October 1995, what became the first vegetable to be grown in space?

4. By law, Stilton cheese can only be made in which three counties?

5. Which drink is made from the Blue Agave plant?


1. What was the name of the plane Lindbergh flew on the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic?

2. In which country was The Queen when she heard that she had acceded to the throne?

3. The throne of which country has been occupied by the same family since the sixth century BC and has 125 successive monachs?

4. The Titanic had two sister ships. What were their names?

5. In which city did the grave robbers Burke and Hare operate?

6. Who was the last tudor monarch?

7. In Greek mythology, what was the name of the river which rendered Achilles invincible, apart apart from his heel, when his mother dipped him in it?

8. By what name was 617 squadron known during the Second World War?

9. The French Coastguard want a ban on people swimming the channel but who was the first man to swim the English channel?

10. When the first World War broke out which three countries made up the Triple Entente?

ROUND 6:  SCIENCE 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

1. What were the 5 Ancient Greek Classical Elements that were thought to make up everything?

2. What are the names of the 4 leg bones?

3. What are the 3 lightest elements?

4. What are the two closest stars to Earth?

5. What was the name of Yuri Gagarin`s space ship?


Name the Film: 1. Dirty Dancing (1987), 2. Back to the Future (1985), 3. Waynes World (1992), 4. Blazing Saddles (1974), 5. Bedazzled (2000), 6. Goonies (1985), 7. 2001 a space odyssey (1968), 8. Apocalypse Now (1978), 9. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), 10. Bruce Almighty (2003)

a. Jimbo, b. Powerpuff Girls, c. The Racoons (German intro) d. Johnny Bravo, e. Mysterious Cities of Gold

1. Dr Martha Jones, 2. Dr Otto Octavious (Dr Octopus) Spiderman, 3. Dr Hilary Jones, 4. The Doctor (emergency medical hologram), 5. Dr Nick Riviera. 6. Dr Gunther Von Hagens, 7. Dr Peter Venkman, 8. Dr Claw (inspector Gadget), 9. Dr Gonzo (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), 10. Dr john Michael Dorian - JD Scrubs, 11. Dr Doogie Howser, 12. Dr Doom (Iron Man) 13. Dr Raj Persuad, 14. Dr Chase Meridian, 15. Dr Ivo Eggman Robotnik (Sonic)


a. Next Line: Expert Timing
b. Artist: Carl Douglas

a. Voodoo Child – Jimmy Hendrix
b. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
c. Sympathy for the Devil - Rollin Stone

a. Steppenwolf - Born to be Wild
b. Heavy Metal Thunder

Audrey Hepburn: Breakfast at Tiffanys 1961

2 = Aruba, Jamaica
Montego is not an island – it’s a bay in Jamaica
Key Largo – is not part of the Carribbean – its part of the Florida Keys
Bermuda & Bahamas are not in the Carribbean

Russ Abbott

a. Barry Manilow
b. The hottest spot north of Havana

a. 2001 ( Soak up the Sun – Sheryl Crow, Escape – Enrique, Skaterboy – Avril Lavigne, Jenny from the block)
b. Odd one out Toxic by Britney Spears: 2004

a. Aqua

The Three Amigos

1. Full of woe, 2. Atari Inc, 3. On the moon, 4. Kangeroo & Emu, 5. 9, 6. Fred Quimby, 7. Frans Hals (1624), 8. Colon, 9. 4, 10. 13 (represent the original 13 colonies)

1. 14, 2. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 3. BMW, 4. Switzerland, 5. Rolls Royce, 6. Capri (Ford), 7. Steve Austin, 8. Malaysia, 9. Milky Way, 10. (Vitaly) Petrov
1. Carbonara, 2. Saffron, 3. The Potato, 4. Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, 5. Tequila

1. The Spirit Of St Louis, 2. Sagana Lodge, Kenya, 3. Japan, 4. Brittanic and Olympic, 5. Edinburgh, 6. Elizabeth I, 7. The Styx, 8. The Dambusters, 9. Matthew Webb (1875 – less than 22 hours), 10. England, France and Russia

1. Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Aether, 2. Femur, Patella, Tibia, Fibula, 3. Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, 4. Sun & Proxima Centauri, 5. Vostok 1

Friday, 5 November 2010

Birds Britannia - a curiously British wildlife series

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Watch Episode 2, Wednesday, 9pm on BBC4.

'Two out of three of us feed wild birds in our gardens... In a sense, this simple act of kindness to our fellow creatures is the entry point into a deeper relationship with wildlife as a whole.'
- Stephen Moss, Series Producer & Wildlife Guru Read Stephens Bird Blog.

Top twitcher Stephen Moss brings us Birds Britannia, a curiously British wildlife series which looks at the birdlife that we share our islands with, and explores what our relationship to them reveals about the British psyche. Top of our affections are garden birds, including the nation's favourite, the robin. For more information & clips visit the BBC programme page.

(Photo: Robin on a snowy table Paul Williams) 

As programme one reveals Bird Tables also give a helping hand to one of our most common urban raptors... Sparrowhawks