Interesting Bits and Pieces

From recent happenings or stories around Australia and the world.

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This is a Vaquita, with less than 10 left, it’s the rarest marine mammal on earth.

Full story.

Nature Photographer of the Year 2020

"Enchanted Forest" — taken in Lamington National Park, in south-east Queensland.

Plants and fungi category runner-up: Kevin De Vree from Belgium.


Mount Isa Fire Station gets its bell back after a theft 50 years ago ...

A bell stolen by a pair of drunken teenage brothers 50 years ago has been returned to a north-west Queensland fire station, along with a touching letter of contrition. The handwritten note, which was sent to Mount Isa Fire Station earlier this year, was filed away in a desk and all but forgotten until the arrival of a rather heavy package a few weeks later.

Full ABC story.

A 2,000-year-old fast-food eatery revealed at Pompeii.

The countertop held deep vessels for hot foods, not unlike soup containers. Traces of pork, fish, snails and beef were found in some of the deep terracotta jars which contained hot dishes.

"Our preliminary analyses shows that the figures drawn on the front of the counter, represent, at least in part, the food and drink that were sold there," said Valeria Amoretti, a site anthropologist.

Full ABC story.

More on the excavated thermopolium below....

File:Pompeii Bakery VI.6.17 3.jpg

<b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">Wikimedia Commons

Ruins of a bakery at Pompeii...not much different to many oudoor pizza ovens in modern day Italy!

Manukura the rare white kiwi dies after surgery in New Zealand.

Manukura the North Island brown kiwi hatched in captivity in May 2011 with a rare genetic trait, leucism, that gave her striking white plumage. She became an ambassador for both the Pukaha national wildlife centre at Mt Bruce in the Wairarapa, where she lived; and the plight of her endangered species, inspiring stuffed toys, memorabilia and a picture book.

Full Guardian story.

How sad ... RIP white kiwi

<div>China sentences lawyer Zhang Zhan who reported on coronavirus outbreak to  four years in prison

18 hours ago…

A Chinese court has sentenced a former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of "picking fights and provoking trouble", one of her lawyers says.


The European Union began a mass vaccination campaign on Sunday to eventually inoculate some 450 million people in 27 member-states against COVID-19.

EU leaders have negotiated contracts for more than 2 billion vaccine doses from various suppliers. The first 200 million doses are of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, which was co-developed by a husband-and-wife team in Mainz, Germany.

In Greece, the first recipient was Efstathia Kampisiouli, an ICU nurse in Athens. Greek television stations broadcast the vaccination. Kampisiouli, clad in blue scrubs and a mask, gave a thumbs-up as a masked colleague sank a needle into her arm. Everyone clapped.

A nursing home resident followed, then Greek politicians, including Greek president Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

"Science has given us the best gift this Christmas," she told reporters.

There was once a blind man who had so fine a sense of touch that, when any animal was put into his hands, he could tell what it was merely by the feel of it. One day the cub of a wolf was put into his hands, and he was asked what it was. He felt it for some time, and then said, "Indeed, I am not sure whether it is a wolf's cub or a fox's: but this I know -- it would never do to trust it in a sheepfold."
Evil tendencies are early shown.

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Frozen waterfalls in Shenquanxia scenic area in Mentougou District of Beijing.

Birds that play are smarter than those that don't, new research finds.

A new study shows a link between birds' play habits and their relative brain size according to Gisela Kaplan, an emeritus professor in animal behaviour at the University of New England.

Full ABC story.

Australia's national anthem word changes from tomorrow ...

The second line of Advance Australia Fair will change from 'For we are young and free' to 'For we are one and free' - with the new Anthem to come into effect from 1 January 2021.


I don't like the government changing lines on our National Anthem. I and a lot of people will still be singing "For we are young and free"

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