The Etymology Of The Word ‘Sardonic’

The word ‘sardonic’ comes from the Greek for the word meaning ‘plant from Sardinia’ because the Greeks believed that eating that plant caused one to make a face resembling sardonic laughter.

Gabon: Saving the forest

Libreville Saving the forest: Gabon’s success in protecting its rainforest has led it to be the first nation to receive a financialreward under a UN scheme to fight climate change. Rainforests play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide, and 18% of the Congo Basin rainforest (the world’s second biggest after the Amazon) lies in … Read more


Petrichor is the word for the earthy scent of rain falling on stones or dry soil. The word is made up of the Greek word petra, meaning stone, and ichor, – (pronounced eye-ker) – the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. More prosaically the word ichor was at one … Read more

Annoying Email #47

I received an email from Netflix with the subject line “Don’t forget to finish {name of film}” and body text that read “Continue Watching. Pick up where you left off” I contacted Support and asked them to please kindly tell their bosses to stop sending emails telling me what to do. I said I don’t … Read more

Hemlock Woolly Adelgids

Adelgids are sap-feeding hemipteran insects resembling aphids. The name comes from the Greek adelos ‘unseen’. Hemlock Woolly Adelgids are attacking Hemlock trees in the USA. They suck the sap from the trees and kill them over the course of several years. The preventative is to add insecticide at the base of the tree, which the … Read more

China Is The Biggest Polluter

Reported in the 15 May 2021 edition of THE WEEK China is emitting more greenhouse gases than all the developed nations combined, according to a new report by the US-based Rhodium Group. It found that China emitted 27% of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019. The US was the second-largest emitter at 11%, while India … Read more