Monday, 12 December 2011

Metellina segmentata or Meta segmentata, the Lesser garden spider, the Autumn spider

There is some confusion about the name of this spider, but that doesn't make it any less pretty.  It is supposed to be abundant, but this is the only one I have seen, although I imagine it is fairly well camouflaged, and it's web look a bit like the ordinary garden spider, so perhaps I have just missed it.

The photograph above is a close up of its eyes.  As spiders go it has fairly boring eyes as they are all pretty much the same size.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Lacewing larva and Ben Elton's Stark

Above and below are photographs of a green lacewing larva.  The white bits on its back are the sucked out husks of its prey - aphids or their close relatives the scale insect!  In the photograph above you can see one of its fearsome jaws.  The photograph below shows its rear end.  It was climbing up a clematis stem.  I didn't see any aphids on the clematis, but there is also a rose climbing up there too, and my roses do get their fair share of aphids.
I've become a great fan of Ben Elton's books after reading the First Casualty.  So I'm working my way back through his stuff.  I'm about half way through Stark.  The part I'm reading tells of a plot by some super-rich individuals operating as a cartel to sell off stocks, spook the market into crashing, to further spook the commodities market, and the sovereign wealth of countries.  The end result making everything cheaper for them to buy, and countries desperate for the money, so turning a blind eye into the cartel's purchase of some restricted materials - uranium for one.

This is just a part of the whole story, and I haven't finished the book yet, and dunno what the uranium is for.  It was written way back in 1989, but could have been written just a few years ago.  Scary stuff.

In the boom years of banking deals there were huge commissions made every time something was sold, and stuff was sliced and diced and resold again and again, as that became the most lucrative thing a banker could do - sell dodgy stuff to people who were using other people's money to buy the dodgy stuff.  With both seller and buyer creaming off a huge commission it was not in their best interests to enquire too deeply into just what they were buying/selling, and hey - they only hold it long enough to mix it with other dodgy stuff and resell it and rake in another whopping commission.

They must have known it couldn't go on forever, but the commission was paid as every deal was done, so why should they rock the boat?  And now the various governments who cannot possibly pay off the debt they've taken on on our behalf have decided the best way out is to debase the currencies thereby debasing the debt and inflating their way out of the hole.  In the process the industrious middle and working classes who have saved and worked all their life are watching - as yet passively - as their savings dwindle away to nothing, their pensions are chipped away at, taxes rise, services are cut or discontinued, and their very jobs and prospects of earning disappear. Revolutions have occurred for less.

Rant over.  I'm off to the snowy woods with a dog who doesn't care a fig for all this.  As long as food followed by a comfortable sleep, then a nice walk follow one another then all is right with the world.