I’m writing this on the second anniversary of Storm Desmond’s brutal and merciless attack on our beautiful county. Many of you will have very vivid memories of that terrible time, I’m sure; I hope you’re not one of the people still suffering hardship and inconvenience after all this time. Here in Kendal I was, thankfully, not affected personally by the flooding that followed the storm, although many of my friends were. The only inconvenience I suffered, was trying to get home from work: my ten- minute walk home took me almost an hour, as I had to navigate my way around flooded roads, pathways turned into rivers and steps transformed into waterfalls. A terrible, terrible time.

Of course, we’re all crossing our fingers that nothing similar happens again this year. The weather gods fired a warning shot a couple of weeks ago, when it hammered it down non-stop for a day and a half and here in ‘The Auld Grey Town’ people were casting very nervous glances at the river as it rose and rose and rose. Thankfully, it fell back down again without causing any real flooding. A bullet dodged.

It will happen again, it’s just a matter of when. As global warming takes a serious hold on our planet, the ‘freak’ weather that can cause floods is going to become the norm and the scenes we saw and lived through two years ago will become more familiar and more frequent.

My only hope is that the current anti-science movement doesn’t affect our efforts to tackle the

problem. It’s a sad and infuriating fact, that in 2017 many people seem to be determined to doubt, disbelieve or even mock what science tells them about - well, everything. The online world of Facebook and Twitter are very entertaining, educational and useful but they are also breeding places for ignorance and stupidity, which I fear is leading to not just a climate of distrust in science but an actual war on it.

This isn’t new. For many years the internet has been home to nutters and crackpots who believe all kinds of nonsense. Some of it is harmless - claiming the Royal Family are alien lizards and Kennedy and Elvis are both alive and living in hiding in Benidorm, or somewhere - but a lot of it isn’t. Anti-vaxxers and ‘cancer healers’ put lives at risk by spreading disinformation about serious medical issues and the Nibiru Nutters who insist an invisible (!) planet is hurtling through our solar system on a collision course with Earth, scare many naive and vulnerable people with their stories. The Chemtrail fruit-loops still scream at everyone that the airplane contrails we see criss- crossing the sky are made of deadly toxins and chemicals, sprayed by the world’s governments on purpose for population control. I know... sigh...

Some are almost too stupid for words. Many people are convinced that the Apollo Moon landings never happened and claim to have evidence to prove it. (Spoiler alert: they did happen and all their ‘evidence’ is rubbish.) Unbelievably, there is a huge and growing

number of people who insist that the Earth is flat. Yes, apparently NASA fakes all its images of Earth taken from space... and all its video from the space station is CGI... and every satellite is just a weather balloon... Hang on, I’ll just check the calendar - yep, it’s 2017, not 1017...!

These might seem silly, or even ridiculous examples but they’re all a sign, I think, that there is indeed a ‘War on Science’ right now and that’s a very bad idea. Science is what gives us our modern life - it’s what keeps us alive. It can be used for good or evil, true but if we turn our backs on science and embrace the sticky keyboard pseudoscience of the Apollo Hoaxers and Flat Earthers, then we will have nothing to fight global warming and other problems with.

Fingers crossed, there won’t be more floods this winter. If the worst comes to the worst, then every weather report you see, every live satellite interview you watch on TV and every bulletin you tune into on Radio Cumbria will have been brought to you by science in some way. Science will only become more and more important in the years ahead.

Wising you all a Merry, peaceful and dry Christmas and New Year.

Stuart Atkinson Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal

Ken and Lynda Dinneen are Lapidary Artists and Rock Hounds Ken is a Lapidary, Lynda has taught Jewellery Design, Silversmithing, and Lapidary Art, as well leading many mining and

Rock Hounding tours in and around the western United States. Ken and Lynda work from their studio on the east flank of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains in Sisters, Oregon.

Once again, we are wrapping up another year together and the time has come to talk about how to show off your collections in a professional and innovative manner.

From the tiny tot just

starting out, (how about recycling egg cartons?) to the experienced collector,

these ideas are just super. I

especially like the collection of all the heart- shaped stones... jasper, chert, quartz, jet, agate, granite, basalt... how fun is that!

So often, floor space is at a premium and being able to display or collect on a table, in a vitrine, or on a wall is a delightful and interesting way to show off your treasures.


When the display area is small (ish) say 91cm x 91cm or smaller, lights are not necessary and that is especially true when the case or display, is mounted on a wall and is not much deeper than about 15cm. Even if the shelves are not glass, your rocks and minerals will show beautifully.

For those addicted to garage sales and second- hand stores, antique shops and the like, old antique quirky windows can be perfect to make a door for a homemade box display and the window can be hinged to open... slick!

then having a glass front, or glass surround for your display is less of an issue. At my house it is critical!

Anyway, have a look at some of these great ideas and then adapt them for your own collection. Most of all, have fun!

And now, from the deep woods of the American West...

Happy Holidays to All! Until next time, keep on hunting!

If your home does not seem to collect dust, Lynda Dinneen


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