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From The Quillcards Blog

Bison (or buffalo as they are known in the United States) are of course an iconic animal of the American plains.

They are now reduced from the huge numbers there were before the opening up of the West.

Ah, the West and Westerns.

I’ve always been a fan of Westerns – even trashy TV Westerns that were really just soap operas.

Abandoned towns and the open space of ranges and deserts give characters settings in which to play out themes without the clutter and distraction of civilisation.

For me growing up, a good Western could be practically transcendent.

Westerns have helped me understand life, and I have a shorthand name for a certain kind of Western. I call it ‘The Retired Gunslinger’.

Read more... Bison: Do They Twist And Pull, Or Do They Nibble?



The main gallery of the National Museum Of Scotland in Edinburgh is very light and airy.

In fact, it is so light and airy that it limits what can be put on display.

That’s because when it was designed in 1861, no one knew the deleterious effects of sunlight on exhibits. But today, of course, we do.

So when the museum was renovated in the 1990s, the designers were faced with a choice.

The choice was either to preserve the light and airy appearance of the building and limit what was on display – or to roof in the building to lower the light levels so that more exhibits could be displayed.

And the building won.

Read more... Top Facts About The National Museum Of Scotland



If you’re in the UK, you will have been seeing reminders everywhere that it is Mother’s Day this Sunday, March 30th.

Every department store has been advertising gifts for Mother’s Day – and the color pink has been predominant.

It’s a day when dutiful sons and daughters send cards to their mothers. If they live close by, then traditionally they will visit their mothers with gifts of flowers and chocolate.

Get on a bus this Sunday and you are as likely as not to see...

Read more... Why Mother’s Day Was The Time To Go Home


When will Spring come?
When will the nights pull back and the days start to get longer?
When will we see the sun?
When will the grey, grey days go away?
When will the wind stop?
When will we be able to walk out without layers of clothing, without thinking of the struggle to get to the post office, to the shops, to the bus?

We’ve had almost no snow. You can see it on the hills – and you can always see the hills from almost anywhere in Edinburgh, even from the city centre.

Read more... Signs Of Spring

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This report in the New York Times today


LONDON — Is British business fretting about the risks of the country drifting out of the European Union? Or does it crave a looser relationship with Continental allies, one free from meddlesome regulation?
The answer to that question remained unclear Monday after a newly formed group of business leaders argued for a renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms — echoing the policy of Prime Minister David Cameron, who in January promised voters a referendum on whether the country would remain in the Union.
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I think this opinion in the New York Times article is interesting:

Never much attracted to the idea of European unity,…