Maps of Time and Tide.Written by Seamus Dolly
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While area of maps may have been considered to be boring to highly-strung teenagers, it is rapidly becoming a highly scientific and technically laden career.
There are still some sea floors that remain elusive or unexplored, mainly because they werenít of particular concern. They are so remote from a human perspective, that they warrant little examination. For now anyway, they donít interfere with sea or air navigation. If geologists can someway discover feasible mineral, oil or gas reserves, then commerce and necessity, perhaps, will induce a change in exploration priority.
To people that plan for contingency, local maps provide some clues to flooding susceptibilities that short term memories have forgotten. With global warming, this type of thing should be a consideration if you are planning your final or long-term home. In recent months within my area alone, language of insurance companies suggests that they may decline their services, such is climate change however subtle from a year to year basis, in combination with construction planning.
New construction projects have taken areas that historically, were flood plains, so where can inevitable rains and their agreement with gravity, go? Within home, is answer.
To people that plan for contingency, somewhat extremely, those very same maps will offer guidance. Some dramatic predictions suggest that ďa lumpĒ of a particular volcanic island which is globally renowned for itsí tourism, may slip into sea. The same prediction suggests that it is being undermined by sea, through corrosion. If this happens then a tsunami might demolish everything within fifty miles of seaboards.
It is a prediction, not a guarantee, like most future-related things.
One thing is more certain, perhaps, and that is that maps are essential, even if medium which records them has changed from stone to parchment to disk.
Seamus Dolly is at www.CountControl.com
Do You Ken John Peel?Written by James Collins
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Now, you might think I'm out of sympathy with hunting fraternity, and you'd be right, up to a point, although it's true I did a lot of fishing in my early teens, and I once owned a beautiful .22 BSA air rifle with an oiled stock and a rifled barrel. I gave up fishing when I discovered girls, and I exchanged rifle for my first guitar and never looked back.
As a young teenager, part of my reading was about safari hunters of Africa and India, last of a dying breed. One of most interesting of these was Jim Corbett. He became well known as a writer and his best book was probably 'The Man-Eaters of Kumaon'. He had respect and even love for man-eaters that he had to shoot. He was not just a hunter; he was also a naturalist and an early conservationalist, who warned against 'the indiscriminate hunting of tiger, which if not controlled would eventually deprive India of finest of her fauna'.
About this time I discovered two great American writers; Hemingway via 'The Green Hills of Africa', written in 1933, and William Faulkner through 'The Bear'. Written in 1942 as a long short story, 'The Bear' is Faulkner at his prophetic best. It's about a group of men and boys who go on a hunting trip every year', and each time they have to drive further to find wilderness as Mississippi Delta shrinks. At time story was written, conservation was not at all fashionable, nor was it twenty years later when I read it, but it made me realize that there could be a link between hunting and conservation.
I have no desire to hunt or shoot any animal, but I'm hardly in a position to criticize anyone else while I still eat meat. The arguments in favour of hunting are not easy to refute. For instance, it's claimed that without foxhunting, farmers would quickly eradicate fox and that in Scotland Red deer population would soar without adequate control.
Maybe, but I can't help thinking Oscar Wilde got it right when he wrote about 'The unspeakable in pursuit of uneatable'. Besides, as a solution to deer population problem, I'm for re-introduction of wolf, absent from Scottish Highlands since before Bonnie Prince Charlie went home to Italy. This is a serious and considered proposition, now championed by Green Party, and it feels right to me. It works in Montana - why not here in Highlands? In meantime, at least I've moved out of earshot of shotguns on estate. James Collins
James Collins is an artist, writer and musician who works in the north of Scotland. These days he specialises in portraits of pets and other animals. He lives with his wife, daughter, and three dogs in a house overlooking the Moray Firth.