13 October 2018

Frost Flowers: Nature’s Exquisite Ice Extrusion

It is as beautiful as it is rare.  A frost flower is created on autumn or early winter mornings when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the stems of plants or occasionally wood. This extrusion creates wonderful patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous frozen petioles giving this phenomenon both its name and its appearance.  This feature contains all the science but if you want to see more pictures, don't forget that we have a new collection of frost flower photography that you can see by clicking the red rectangle above (there's a link at the bottom of the post too).

Conditions have to be just so for frost flowers to form.  Early winter and late autumn are the optimum time to come across them as although the weather conditions must be freezing it is vital that the ground is not.

6 October 2018

Autism Hour – A Great Initiative

There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK and many of them find everyday experiences, such a shopping, something of a challenge.  The National Autistic Society has joined forces with a number of High Street shops to create Autism Hour.

You can watch a video about how someone with autism might experience a visit to the shops here.

During the second week of October shops will make a series of simple steps to make themselves more autism friendly.  Over 10,000 shops have already agreed to participate and the campaign also includes celebrities such as Chris Packham and Anne Hegerty.

The steps taken are incredibly easy – first and foremost the shops are spreading autism awareness among their employees.  Secondly, things like reducing the volume of music in their shops to dimming fluorescent strip lighting can really make a difference.

Personally, I think this is a great initiative and I hope that the steps made can, in the future, become something more permanent.  So, between 6 and 13 October, shopping should be a lot easier for a vast amount of people.  What a shame it couldn’t be extended throughout the year!

You can find out more by visiting the National Autistic Society's website.
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