The speech dealt with health screening shifting emphasis onto prevention rather than cure, from the secondary to the primary sector and all the NHS ‘personal to you stuff’ that he trotted out at the Labour Party conference last year.
Oddly enough a lot of this is a rehash as much of this is already part of existing policy so it’s all rather more of a rehash than a brave new vision (again).
But I thought no, because I found something that (to my mind) was more interesting instead…and lots of political bloggers will probably have a bit of fun with the speech anyway.
In a piece by James Randerson in today’s Guardian a new thoery is discussed over the cause of the extinction of the Dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
The popular theory that the dinosaurs were killed off by a meteorite impact which changed the global climate in tandem with other catastrophic events has been challenged by George and Roberta Poinar. George Poinar is a professor of zoology at
The Poinar’s suggest that the downfall of the dinosaurs was more likely to have come as a result of an explosion in the diversity of insects rather than one caused by a meteorite collision.
It is suggested that these insects spread disease and contributed to a transformation of vegetation to which the plant-eating reptiles failed to adapt.
George Poinar explained "We can't say for certain that insects are the smoking gun, but we believe they were an extremely significant force in the decline of the dinosaurs,"
"Our research with amber shows that there were evolving, disease-carrying vectors in the Cretaceous and that at least some of the pathogens they carried infected reptiles. This clearly fills in some gaps regarding dinosaur extinctions."
In the gut of one biting insect preserved in amber, the team has found the pathogens that causes the parasitic disease leishmaniasis, and in another they found a type of malaria parasite that infects birds and lizards. By inspecting fossilised dinosaur faeces, the team also found parasitic microbes that are carried by insects.
In addition to spreading disease, the insects were busy pollinating flowering plants which were gradually taking over from seed ferns, cycads and gingkoes. If the herbivorous dinosaurs could not adapt to this new diet they would have starved and with them their predator species.
Poinar accepts that the catastrophic events didn’t exactly help the dinosaurs survival prospects but suggests they still fall short of a total explaination for the extinction as that process could still have taken a very long time, perhaps millions of years.
Apparently the little things are important but in this case possibly a lot more than we would have thought.
Which of course brings us back to where we started.
The Dark Lord may take lots of big hits, but we insects out here in Blogdom do have a part to play too. Munch munch!