WHERE DOES CHOCOLATE COME FROM?



Without any doubt in my mind at all, chocolate has become one one of the worlds most most popular food. And while we are all familiar with chocolate in its yummy block of tasty goodness, where on earth does chocolate come from? To find the answer, you need to look to  the rainforests of South America.

It turns out that chocolate is produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. A tree that has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America.

The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavour. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC. During this time, the majority of the early native American people used chocolate to make chocolate beverages, including the Aztec's. In particular, the Aztecs used the chocolate nut to make a drink known as xocolātl [ʃo'kolaːt͡ɬ], a Nahuatl word meaning bitter water'.

Cocoa mass was also used  in the early South American civilizations as an ingredient in foods. In fact, chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the deities and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a 'tribute'.

However, while cocoa is originally from South America, Western Africa now produces almost two-thirds of the world's cocoa, with the Ivory Coast growing almost half of it!


As mentioned earlier, the seeds of the cacao tree must be fermented to develop their chocolaty flavour. After fermentation, the beans are dried,  cleaned, and then roasted, after which the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs.

The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass - this is pure chocolate in its roughest form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.

Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids.

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Images care of http://whydowelovechocolate.wordpress.com/category/plantation-cocoa-tree/ and http://blogs.ubc.ca/106fb2011wl1c/author/rachellm/ and http://www.familles.com/v4/forums/forums-familiaux-metiers-d-autrefois-liste-des-metiers-etudies-en-page-15-t887169-p79.html

HOW TO CREATE A GOOGLE ACCOUNT



If you want to be able to access google products such as blogger and picassa, then you will need to have an account with google.

Creating an account is simple because all you need is a google email account - known commonly as a gmail account.

This will give you a new email address unique to google and a password which together will enable you to access the veritable umbrella of google products.

In order to set up your google account you can take the following hyperlink to the google account set up page.


Be aware that there are millions of google accounts in existence today so if your first attempt at an email address is declined - don't worry, just try different variations of the address you want or - failing that - go for a different address. And yes, you can have numbers in the address and no you can't have spaces and google does not recognise upper and lower case letters.

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HOW TO CREATE A HYPERLINK ON BLOGGER


After trying to find a clear and simply explanation of how to create a hyperlink in blogger, I gave up trying to find a decent youtube clip - there weren't any - and have decided to try and explain it myself.

Things you need to know.

1. What is a hyperlink? 

 A hyperlink is a graphic or a piece of text found in an internet document that readers can click on in order to reach another webpage, or another portion of a document. The most simple form of these is called embedded text or an embedded link.

 In this instance, a hyperlink will show up as a single word or group of words that will usually be marked as underlined, and are frequently blue in color. Clicking on the hyperlink may take one to another part of the page, or it may open another Internet page.

2. What is a URL? 


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is a standardized (uniform) way to locate resources on the internet. It is usually found on the top left of your screen.

So, how do you make a hyperlink?

Once to get how a hyperlink is created you will find that it is a very simple operation. First you need the URL (address) of the page you want your link to reach. Once you have found it, highlight it using the right click button of your mouse, then click on the highlighted URL and click once with the right hand button on your mouse. A pop-up box will open, now click on the 'copy' option - once only - using the right hand button of your mouse.

Now, open up the blogger page within which you wish to create your hyperlink. make sure that you are using the 'Compose' option and not the 'HTML' option. Once there, highlight the word/words or section of text you which to contain the link.

In the tool bar below the post title you will find a 'Link' icon.

Right click on it using the mouse and the following 'Edit Link' pop up box will appear.

Paste the URL that you previously copied in to the box next to 'Web Address' and right click 'OK'.

Save, update or publish the article and test out your link. Fingers crossed, and hoping that this article on how to make a hyperlink made scene to you, your hyperlink should not be in place and working perfectly.

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WHAT IS A WALNUT?






The walnut is an edible seed of any tree of the genus Juglans, best known of which is the Persian walnut - Juglans regia, although in North America you could argue that it is in fact the native Black Walnut.

Technically, a walnut is a drupe, not a nut, since it takes the form of a fruit enclosed by a fleshy outer layer which parts to reveal a thin shell with a seed inside. As walnuts age on the tree, the outer shell dries and pulls away, leaving the shell and seed behind. Whether you call it a nut or a drupe, walnuts can pose risks to people with allergies, so use them with caution in cooking.

All types of walnuts are quite hardy, and actually require a cold winter period in order to thrive. So anyone living in warmer climates won’t have much success with their own walnut trees.

Walnuts will start to produce nuts at around 10 years of age, give full production at 30 years and keep on producing for more than 50 years. Depending on the specific variety of the walnut tree, they can grow up to 100 feet in height.

The walnut nut!

Walnuts are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits of the walnut tree. It is enclosed in a green, leathery, fleshy husk, but this husk is inedible. After harvest, the removal of the husk reveals the wrinkly walnut shell, which is in two halves. This shell is hard and encloses the kernel, which is also made up of two halves separated by a partition.

Walnut seeds are high density source of nutrients, particularly proteins and essential fatty acids. Like other tree nuts, walnuts must be processed and stored properly. Worryingly, poor storage makes walnuts susceptible to insect and fungal mould infestations; the latter produces aflatoxin - a potent carcinogen. Mould infested walnut seed batch should not be screened then consumed - the entire batch should be discarded.

The seed kernels - commonly available as shelled walnuts - are enclosed in a brown seed coat which contains antioxidants. The antioxidants protect the oil-rich seed from atmospheric oxygen so preventing rancidity.

As mentioned previously there are two major varieties of walnuts grown for its seeds — the English walnut and the Black walnut. The Black walnut is of high flavour  but due to its hard shell and poor hulling characteristics it is not grown commercially for nut production. The commercially produced walnut varieties are nearly all hybrids of the English walnut.

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WHERE TO FIND RED SQUIRRELS




Although common throughout the forests of Europe and Asia, the red squirrel is now rare in Britain. The exact reasons for its decline are not precisely known, but currently to blame are the competition for food from its larger cousin – the grey squirrel, and the destruction of suitable woodland habitat.

The red squirrel currently enjoys full protection in Britain today, but it was only 100 years ago that measures were taken to eradicate the red squirrel from Scotland because of the damage it caused to its trees.

Where does the red squirrel live?

With powerful hind legs and sharp claws, the red squirrel is perfectly adapted to climbing slender boughs and for leaping from branch to branch in its woodland environment.

In continental Europe, the red squirrel is found in coniferous forest. In Britain, it lives mainly on broad leaved woodland and – unlike the grey squirrel - it is now rarely seen in the towns or cities.

For most of the year outside of the breeding season, the red squirrel is a solitary animal although it frequently shares its nest with others for warmth – especially during our cool winters.

The red squirrel nest is either a drey or a den. A drey is a 30cm domed ball of twigs and leaves built on a twig platform usually in the fork of a branch. The dome is packed out with leaves, soft bark and given a soft lining of feathers, thistledown or dried grasses. A den is often an old, enlarged woodpecker’s nest found in a tree hollow, lined with the same soft materials.

The red squirrel moults and grows a new coat twice a year. In summer it has a short, mainly chestnut coat. This is replaced in August to November by a thicker, dark brown coat, when its ear tufts become prominent.

It is quite easy to mistake a red squirrel for a grey squirrel in summer when its ear tufts are indistinct and its fur is partially grey.

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HOW TO GROW STRAWBERRIES



If like me the thought of home grown English strawberries is enough to make your mouth water then now is the time to start getting to work. You can't beat the flavour of home grown strawberries - the greengrocers just can't touch it. Of course, to get the very best flavour you will need to pick your strawberry straight from the plant, and the best way to achieve this is to grow your own strawberry plants!

If you‘re starting afresh then you should be able to find a good selection of plants in any good plant retailer from the beginning of March. Alternatively you can grow strawberry plants from seed.

Although the strawberry is a heavily associated with the English high tea and Wimbledon, the strawberry is not a native of this fair and pleasant land. In fact, the strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714.
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How to grow strawberries

For that perfect summer flavour I can recommend ‘Cambridge Favorite’, a king amongst strawberries, but to ensure a good yield remove any runners before they start to creep along the ground as leaving them will only sap energy from your existing plants.

However if you need new plants for next year, pinch off the flowers from a couple of selected parent plants as this will encourage shoots and runners instead of fruit. Remove them carefully from parent plants in early autumn and pot them on separately using John Innis No 1 or No 2.

To grow strawberries successfully outside all you need is a little preparation. Strawberries do not produce deep roots and can be prone to damage from water logging so they appreciate the soil being both well drained and well-dug before planting. If you can, prepare the soil at least one month before planting and incorporate as much organic matter as possible. You can even give a little extra help hand by adding bonemeal at a rate of two handfuls per square metre. Then - a few days before planting - you can apply a general fertiliser as Strawberries are greedy feeders over a relatively short period of time.

Plant them 13-15 inches apart along the row with each row being about 30 inches apart. They will need regular watering until they establish - again don't allow them to become water-logged at which time watering can usually be left until they come into fruit. You will also need to keep control of weeds growing near strawberries as they will compete for nutrients and can drastically reduce cropping.
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As the fruit develops their weight will cause them to drop to the ground, but before this happens it’s important to cover the surrounding soil with straw or black plastic. This prevents the fruit from rotting on the soil. In fact it’s from the traditional use of straw that strawberries got their name. Where plastic is used, punch small holes in the plastic to help drainage and to stop water pooling under the fruit.

If you have a problem with birds then the plants will need to be protected with light weight plastic netting. Put this in place when the fruits begin to swell, making sure that netting is well clear of the plants. Depending on your situation you may wish to invest in a fruit cage.
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For more information click onto:
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HOW TO TAKE CUTTINGS FROM BAMBOO




Hardy bamboo make fantastic ornamental garden plants. They are also very popular as they are evergreen, easy to grow, and extremely 'pest and disease' resistant. Not only will bamboo provide form, structure and height in the garden, they will also provide a pleasing rustling sound from the slightest breeze.

However, the trouble with bamboo is that they can be expensive, so you have a choice - you can either lift a root cutting from an existing plant growing in the ground, or you can buy a containerised bamboo and decide it into several smaller plants.

How to take a root cuttings from bamboo

This is a very simple operation, just make sure you have gained permission from the plants owner. Done carefully, this is a job that can be done at almost any time of year - weather permitting - but best results will be obtained during early spring and autumn.

First, dig around the outside of the clump you wish to remove with a spade. Then gently lift the clump from the soil, trying to keep the root-ball as intact as possible. If you need to, get someone to help with this in order to prevent the fibrous roots from becoming damaged by the root ball falling apart under its own weight.

Look over the clump and decide where you want to make your division.Each division should have at least 3 culms (the large woody stems), and make sure that you get a reasonable amount of root and foliage for each division. Discard any pieces that don't have both roots and culms.

Use a sharp pruning saw, divide the bamboo clump in several pieces. If you do not have a saw and your chosen divisions are big enough, you can always cut through the clump using a decent spade - but you are more likely to cause more root damage this way.  If a significant amount of root is lost in lifting the root-ball, you can still save your root cutting by reducing the amount of foliage that the remaining roots need to support Remember that roots will only support a certain amount of foliage. Too much foliage and your cutting will dry out and in all likelihood die. Just make sure  that when you cut back the culms, there are some green leaves left so that the new plant divisions can photosynthesise.


You can either plant your divisions directly into the ground where you expect them to remain and spread or you can pot them on into a suitable container.

When planting them directly into the ground, start by digging a hole with the same depth as the root cutting and about twice its width.

The most common mistake made is to dig the hole too deep and too narrow.

Planting a bamboo too deep or narrow will inhibit the roots ability to absorb oxygen and gather nutrients. Do not disturb the root system when planting as this can inhibit the speed at which the plant can establish itself in the new environment.


It is generally advised to avoid using fertiliser or manure during the initial planting, as this too can potentially damage the root system. High levels of nitrogen in a fertiliser can actually burn the young rhizomes. Keep in mind that, bamboos do not grow well in soggy or heavy soils, and if you need to contain the spread of the rhizomes, it may be necessary to install some kind of root barrier.

Once the newly planted bamboo is secured in the hole, it is worth testing its stability. You may need to secure it to a suitable point so that strong winds will not be able to knock the plant over while its roots are establishing themselves.

Bamboo will thrive best with a regular layer of mulch to protect the roots and rhizomes. The mulch not only serves as protection from pests and weeds, it will also help to retain water and providing nutrients.

How to plant Bamboo in to pots


Fill suitably sized container halfway with potting soil that is rich in organic matter and fast draining. Then set your bamboo division in the middle of your container. Adjust the soil so that the top of the root ball sits a couple of inches below the surface of the container then top dress with potting soil to 1 inch below the rim of the pot - leaving room for water.
>Water your roots cuttings thoroughly, then place the new plants in a sheltered location in partial shade. Avoid     having the root cuttings in direct sun until new growth appears, and water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.

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Images care of http://bamboosourcery.com/catalog.cfm and http://seattlebamboo.com/pip.html

THE ROBOT CHEETAH




I have only recently seen this footage and - to begin with - the Pentagon funded experimental military robot cheetah looked clumsy, incapable and ridiculous.  However, as the speed at which the robot cheetah runs at began to increase, this new robotic weapon began to scare the living daylights out of me. Why? Because it quickly dawned on me that as soon as the robot cheetah becomes a viable piece of military hardware, the first time that a lot of people will see it in the 'flesh' - as it were, is when they are being hunted down to be killed. For me, echo's of the early Terminator films are becoming uncomfortably real.

The robot cheetah - known imaginatively as 'Cheetah' has now set a new world speed record for legged robots, running faster than the fastest human. The currently 'headless' machine managed to reach a very impressive 28.3mph (45.5km/h) when tested on a treadmill. By comparison, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's top speed is 27.78mph (44.7km/h).

The project is part of efforts to develop robots for military use. One robotics expert told the BBC that it was "unfortunate" the Cheetah was made primarily "to kill people".

It has been created by the Massachusetts robotics company Boston Dynamics and backed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

According to Darpa, the aim is to "more effectively assist war fighters across a greater range of missions".

The Cheetah, which is powered by a hydraulic pump, broke its own record of 18mph (29km/h), recorded in February.

Darpa said in a statement,
"The Cheetah had a slight advantage over Bolt as it ran on a treadmill, but most of the power Cheetah used was to swing and lift its legs fast enough, not to propel itself forward."
The agency plans to test the robot in the field in 2013.

The machine's design has been inspired by the real cheetah, the fastest land animal, which can reach speeds of 75mph (121km/h).
"Cheetahs happen to be beautiful examples of how natural engineering has created speed and agility across rough terrain,"
said Gill Pratt, Darpa programme manager. 
 "Our Cheetah bot borrows ideas from nature's design to inform stride patterns, flexing and unflexing of parts like the back, placement of limbs and stability.What we gain through Cheetah and related research efforts are technological building blocks that create possibilities for a whole range of robots suited to future Department of Defence missions."


Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, has mixed feelings about the development.
"It's an incredible technical achievement, but it's unfortunate that it's going to be used to kill people. It's going to be used for chasing people across the desert, I would imagine. I can't think of many civilian applications - maybe for hunting, or farming, for rounding up sheep. But of course if it's used for combat, it would be killing civilians as well as it's not going to be able to discriminate between civilians and soldiers."
Darpa's press release for the Cheetah project suggested that the robots might ultimately be used in "emergency response, humanitarian assistance and other defence missions".

Based on an article from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19506130
Images care of http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Usain+Bolt+singlet+breezes+Olympic+gold+metre+dash/7068070/story.html and http://www.heraldsun.com.au/technology/sci-tech/robot-cheetah-used-to-dodge-now-it-hunts/story-fn5iztw3-1226290441182
Cheetah facts
The Robot Cheetah

ALL ABOUT ANIMALS



The 'Garden of Eaden' strives to promote the planet's wildlife together with the unique environments they inhabit. The more we learn about these fascinating subjects the better the chance we have of safeguarding them for our future. Please click on the relevant title in order to be directed to your chosen article.

ALLIGATOR
1. Alligator
2. The Differences Between Crocodiles and Alligators
3. What do Alligators Eat?
4. Where do Alligators Live?






AMPHIBIANS
1. What is the Difference between a Frog and a Toad?
2. What is the Worlds Largest Amphibian?
3. What is the Worlds most Poisonous Frog?
4. The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus)






BIRDS
1. What is the Worlds Largest Eagle?
2. Caring for insect eating birds in winter
3. How to protect fruit from birds
4. What is the Worlds Fastest Bird?
5. Seed bearing plants for attracting wild finches
6. British birds of paradise
7. The decline of insect eating birds



CHIMPANZEE
1. All about Chimpanzees
2. Chimpanzee
3. Chimpanzee Facts
4. What do Chimpanzees Eat?






CHEETAH
1. Cheetah
2. Cheetah Facts, Videos and Photographs
3. What is a Cheetah?
4. Where do Cheetahs Live?





CROCODILE
1. The Differences Between Crocodiles and Alligators









CUCKOO
1. What is a Cuckoo?









DINOSAURS
1. Coelacanth
2. Dinosaur: Archaeopteryx
3. Dinosaur: Did Pterosaurs hang upside down?
4. Dinosaur Facts and Movie clips - The Spinosaur
5. Dinosaur: The Pterodactyl
6. Dinosaur: The Spinosaur




DOLPHINS
1. All about Dolphins
2. Can Dolphins Kill Sharks?
3. Dolphin
4. How do Dolphins Communicate?
5. How do Dolphins Breath when they Sleep?
6. What do Dolphins Eat?
7. What do Dolphins do?



ELEPHANT
1. Baby Elephants
2. Elephants
3. Elephant Facts
4. The African Elephant
5. What do Elephants Eat?
6. What is the Difference between African and Indian Elephants?
7. Where do Elephants Live?
8. Why do Elephants have Big Ears?


FISH
1. Do Fish Sleep?
2. Flying Fish
3. How Long can a Flying Fish Fly for?
4. How to Catch Crayfish
5. LIVING DINOSAURS - The Coelacanth
6. The Coelacanth - a living, breathing fossil
7. What is the Worlds Fastest Fish?



GIRAFFE
1. Giraffe Facts
2. What do Giraffes Eat?
3. Where do Giraffes Live?
4. Why do Giraffes have Long Necks?






GORILLA
1. Gorilla
2. What do Gorillas Eat?








ICE AGE GIANTS
1. Where did the Saber-Toothed Tiger Live?
2. Why did the Saber-Toothed Tiger become Extinct?
3. How do you Clone a Mammoth?
4. Saved from Extinction - The Mammoth?






INSECTS AND MOLLUSCS
1. How Fast is a Snail?
2. What is the Difference between a Moth and a Butterfly?
3. What is the Worlds Largest Insect?
4. World's Largest Insect
5. What is the Difference between a Millipede and a Centipede?
6. The Hummingbird Moth




JAGUAR
1. What do Jaguars Eat?
2. Where do Jaguars Live?









KILLER WHALES
1. What do Killer Whales Eat?
2. Where do Killer Whales Live?








KOALA
1. What do Koalas Eat? 
2. The Koala
3. Is a Koala Bear a Bear?







LION
1. All about Lions
2. Lion
3. Lion Facts
4. What do Lions Eat?
5. Where do Lions Live?





MANATEE
1. Where do manatees live?
2. What is a Manatee?








OWL
1. The eagle owl - friend or foe
2. The Eagle Owl
3. The Snowy Owl







PANDA

1. Panda
2. Panda Bear
3. Panda Facts
4. Polar Bear Facts
5. What do Pandas Eat?
6. What is a Panda?
7. Where do Pandas Live?


PEACOCKS
1. What do Peacocks Eat?
2. The Peacock








POLAR BEAR
1. What do Polar Bears Eat?
2. Where can you Find a Polar Bear?
3. Polar Bear

RHINOCEROS
1. The Indian Rhino
2. The Black Rhino








REPTILES
1. What is the Difference Between a Tortoise and a Turtle?
2. How do lizards run on water?








RODENTS
1. What is the Difference between a Rat and a Mouse?









SHARKS
1. Can Dolphins Kill Sharks?
2. Living Dinosaur Shark - The frilled shark
3. What is the Worlds Biggest Shark?






SNAKES
1. Venomous Snakes
2. What is the Most Poisonous Snake in India?
3. What is the World's most Poisonous Snake?







SNOW LEOPARD
1. The Snow Leopard
2. What do Snow Leopards Eat?
3. What is a Snow Leopard?
4. Where do Snow Leopards Live?




SPIDER
1. What is the World's Largest Spider?
2. What is theWorld's most Poisonous Spider?






TIGER
1. What are the Nine Sub-Species of Tiger?
2. The Bengal Tiger
3. Tiger
4. Tiger Facts
5. Tigers
6. What do Tigers Eat?
7. What is the World's Largest Species of Tiger?
8. Where do Tigers Live?

WHALES
1. How Big is the Blue Whale?
2. The Blue Whale
3. The Whale
4. What are Whales?





ZEBRA
1. Are Zebras Black with White Stripes or White with Black Stripes?
2. What is the Difference between a Zebra and a Horse?
3. Where do Zebras Live?
4. Zebra




Images care of http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/american-crocodile/ and http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/channel/newsitem.asp?c=11&cate=__9504 and http://matthew-atanasiu.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/about-t-rex.html and http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2011/04/why-did-the-gorilla-cross-the-road/ and http://ryecityschools.midland.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=&pageid=162782 and http://freeimagesarchive.com/img2326.search.htm and http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/99893/ and http://shark-in-the-water.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://celltoday.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/can-stem-cells-help-save-snow-leopards-from-extinction/ and http://www.dwarforca.com/faq.php and http://www.the-livingrainforest.co.uk/living/view.php?category&id=7 and http://sodlikeproductions.motion-forum.net/t1566p15-the-anthropic-principle and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bald.eagle.closeup.arp-sh.750pix.jpg and http://www.capetownselfcatering.biz/travel-blog/suzanne-duncan/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year/
All about Animals