first_imgThe beautiful Hymer Motorhome which we road tested this week pictured as we pulled in at the foot of Muckish Mountain on one of the best days of the year. Photo Brian McDaidWorking from Home – Motorhome that is:This week our motoring column comes from the comfort of two brand new motorhomes which we drove for or summer report special in Donegal this week. Mention the brand Hymer to anyone slightly interested in camper vans or motorhomes and you  will have an audience right away. The Hymer are the premier of motorhomes. We had the pleasure of driving a Hymer and also drove a relatively  new brand to the market called Knaus  and tested their  Boxstar 600 Solution.The plan was only to drive the Hymer but as any motorhome fan will tell you there are so many different types of motorhomes on the market, So the Knaus brand also gave us a lot of food for thought. As we were waiting to get the Knaus ready for the road at Donaghey Motorhomes in Letterkenny one couldn’t help but notice how many tourists were milling about the outdoor showroom.After chatting to a few of them they told us that they were part of  a motorhome group of tourists from both the Southern and Northern Ireland and made their way to Donegal for a long week end and made  Donaghey’s Motorhomes  their base for the weekend.Michael Donaghey  and his staff provide a power supply hookup and with water supply and toilets next door to the their premises in a secure area which is just heaven for holidaymakers to stop and maybe shop for a new motorhome.The Knaus camper van which we also drove this week, from Donaghey Motorhomes in the Letterkenny, pictured over looking Innishowen Photo Brian McDaidThe Knaus Boxstar Motorhome: The best way to describe Knaus Boxstar 600 which we tested is that it is a very high quality built converted high-roof long wheel based panel van. If you are used driving a van these are very easy to drive.The Knaus that we drove can sleep four in comfort and also has four seat belted seats for when you are on the road. With the temperature heading close to 20 degrees for the first time this year it was nice to avail of the on board air condition in the motorhome as we headed off.A quick stop  at a filling station to get  coffee and a croissant also gave us a good test to see how good we were at parking this motorhome, You could probably park the Knaus anywhere you could park a van, but because this motorhome was built on a long wheel base van,you might have to plan a bit before you attempts a parking manoeuvre but with the aid of the reversing camera which appears as soon as you select reverse, parking was made easy.We went down to Grianan of Aileach fort and parked up to enjoy our morning coffee and croissant. On the way there we didn’t notice that the radio was tuned into medium wave or something, so all it would tune into was the cricket, England were playing Sri Lanka !. When I pulled up at the car park I had the door open on a beautiful sunny morning when an English tourist landed over at the door of the motorhome to listen to the game. How are we doing then? he inquired ,as he had a wee nosy around the interior. Grand i replied .Thankfully the cricket was soon over and my new friend disappeared again. I was  just about to get to work on figuring out how the radio worked when the shipping forecast came on. I just love listing to the shipping forecast, it seem to be for all of Europe, I was sitting looking straight up Lough Swilly from the view point of An Grianan which was like a mirror image of Inch Isle and the hills of Innishowen. then the forecast  comes in for  Spain . gales in the  Bay of Biscay.  I am waiting on Donegal to get a mention, and true to form, after the Faroe’s, Hebrides and Rockall , Malin comes crackling through, Malin Head: Wind, Northerly 4 to 5 occasional 6 later in the east.Sea State, Slight or moderate.Weather  Fair.Visibility Good. Sure didn’t I know  the visibility was great taking in that great view through the window of our motorhome for the day. Its at times like this that I think of an old man who travelled into Letterkenny on a horse and cart past our home when we were wains and would call out to everyone he met. “ It’s Good to be living”The Knaus camper van which we also drove this week, from Donaghey Motorhomes in the Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidThe Hymer Motorhome 688 Premier Line:I was a bit nervous when I pulled out with the luxury Hymer onto the open road, The one we drove was finished in a lovely shade of metallic slate grey. You are aware of the wider stance on this coach built motorhome right away but after a couple of miles on a good stretch of road the judgement of it comes quick enough. The 2.3 multijet Diesel Engine has 150 brake horse power which seemed ample to move the luxury motorhome with ease. We are heading over the west of Donegal for the photo shoot of this model and make our way through Kilmacrannan. Just before the turn off for Doon Well a thought flashed through my mind,  I hope I don’t meet anything big on this next narrow section of the N56.Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, not one but three Feda O’Donnell busses heading my way. The drivers all kitted in white shirts and sunglasses. I take a quick look in the two drop down wing mirrors to see if I can get any closer to the verge without falling into the field below the road. I am sure I am going to loss a mirror or two,  which will probably end up in Eyre Square in Galway attached to one of these expresses . I am screaming into myself, move over a bit boys. The first bus got past and nothing happened and the other two flew past with no connections made. I would say the three drivers didn’t even know the panic I was in. Their judgement was classic  mine was on a steep learning curve but I have to say that the controls on these motorhomes are so easy operated its  nearly like driving a car really, but just a slightly bigger car.  As we head in to the remote Donegal hillside, the panoramic view out the windows of or motorhome shows just how beautiful our county really is.Fergus Cleary who we meet by chance at Grianan of Aileach with his Hymer Motorhome. where he gave us a few tips on how to get the best from a camper van. Photo Brian McDaidThe Italian Job:In summing up these two motorhomes on the road They both are built or powered by Fiat 2.3 multi jet diesel engine, The Knaus has 120 brake horse power and the Hymer had 150 brake horse power, the Knuas would feel slightly more powerful on the road even though it has the lower powered engine. Donaghey’s are also now Donegal’s agent  for Fiat Commercials and with most motorhomes built on Fiats be it converted vans of full-blown coach built  A or B class motorhomes, its a comfort to know that they will be able to cater for most if not all of your needs.On  the day we were out we met up  with the well known celebrity, Fergus Cleary who was out in his Hymer Motorhome that day, Asking him what was the fuel economy like driving them around, he replied , it would depend on who was driving the bus, He could manage up to 40 miles to the gallon tipping about with ease. but if you drive them on, the fuel consumption would drop. We ask Fergus had he any tips on driving them and he replied Look out for houses! He then showed us were he caught the roof of his motorhome on the spouting of his own house when he was parking his motorhome at the side of his own house.All aboard. What a honour to meet up with one of the guards that worked on the trains and railcars on County Donegal Railway. George McLaughlin pictured as he steps up on the runner board of the motorhome that we were testing this week. Photo Brian McDaidChance meeting:While out on the road this week we could not believe our luck when we met a member of the  County Donegal Railway staff while stopping off for a cuppa in the old village, museum and tearooms in Kilmacrannan,George McLaughlin originally from Leganahoorrey, Kilmacrannan.was a guard on the County Donegal Railway working on the old trains and railcars up until the last day of December in 1959 when the railway closed for good.A guard  on the old trains was responsible for the safety of the train and it was the guard’s duty to see that the doors were properly closed and the train is safe to depart, and signal ‘right away’ or clear to depart,was given to the driver. The guard was responsible for seeing that the train ran punctually and if there was a delay the guard had to account for it. They also had to do safety checks involving the train brakes and couplings ensuring they were in good order. The guard was also responsible for checking passengers’ tickets and at the end of the day was responsible for filing a report of safe completion of the journey.George worked as a guard on County Donegal Railways (CDR) for nine years until it closed in 1959. With no work available for him in his native county he immigrated to Scotland where he got work in Glasgow on there transport system as a bus driver. Its 56 years since the last train ran in Donegal and George remembers  working on the railway as if it was yesterday. He remembers specials or excursions as they were called on the day  to Rossnowlagh  The headed from Letterkenny to Strabane then on to Stranorlar where extra carriages were loaded on the train,  then on to Donegal and eventually to Rossnowlagh, That train had to go on as far as Ballyshannon to the end of the line in order to get the train or railcar turned on the turntable.He remembers loads of Americans on the train at that time and particularly of them going through Barnesmore Gap. At the time they were considered a bit of a nuisance as they wanted to photograph everything about the old trains and railcars. Thinking about that now he says they were right to record a piece of Irish history. George said it such a pity that the railway closed as it would be such a tourist attraction now for or beautiful county. He is pictured having a bit of craic on the runner board on the present day mode of transport our motorhome as he signals to the driver, (me) to get this yok moved out of the way, as I am blocking in his daughter’s car. It was lovely meeting George and great to hear about the trains that are sadly not a part of our transport system in Donegal no more.Fuel Watch: Our fuel prices comes from the capital this week, Lifford.  This week and also join in  celebration of a complete new business.  Conor and Sandra McGettigan have opened a new state of the art filling station with deli and shop, on the approach to LIfford from Letterkenny, which will be opened 24hrs a day. Along with being a great boost to the local economy in providing employment, it also gives motorist from Donegal heading to Dublin at any hour of the day or night a bit of comfort to know that they can fuel up, both their car and also get a bite to eat before the depart  from Donegal. Fuel prices from the new Applegreen outlet will also be very competitive and a check on them proved that this week.  Diesel was 115.9 and Petrol at 131.9 which are some of the best prices for fuel in Donegal we have seen this week.Happy Motoring folks!DD MOTORING: BRIAN MCDAID EMBARKS ON THE ITALIAN JOB was last modified: June 1st, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Brian McDaidCamper VansCaravanscolumnFeaturesFuel Watchmotoringnewslast_img read more

Amazing Bird Tricks

first_img“Angry Birds” are perhaps the best known species among electronic bird-watchers these days, but we should never forget that real birds are amazing creatures.  Incredibly diverse (think ostrich to hummingbird to penguin), they continue to fascinate scientists and laymen.  Here are some recent science stories about our feathered friends. 1. Regular PM, Hedd A, Montevecchi WA, 2011 Fishing in the Dark: A Pursuit-Diving Seabird Modifies Foraging Behaviour in Response to Nocturnal Light Levels. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26763. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026763. The CEH Law applies: the more detail in the observations, the less talk about evolution.  We should never take any living thing for granted.  There is more wonder in a bacterium than we can imagine; how much more in multicellular creatures that can fly, swim, see in near darkness, swarm in tens of thousands while flying in unison, use tools, and teach us how to make helmets.  Take a closer look at the birds in your vicinity today.(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Tool use:  A brief news item in Nature (27 Oct 2011, p. 431) claimed that “The ability to use tools is not always a sign, or a driver, of intelligence – certainly not in some Galapagos finches.”  A researcher gave a kind of IQ test to finches that use twigs to pry out food (mimicking tool use) and other finches that do not.  Neither group scored higher.  “The findings show that physical and cognitive abilities do not always evolve hand-in-hand,” Nature claimed, begging questions whether either ability evolved in the first place.  Still, any animal handy with a twig is a pretty clever bird. Birds of a feather flock:  We’ve all seen the nature shows with scenes of birds taking off in huge swarms, so thick one wonders how they avoid collisions.  Flocks of starlings can contain 10 million individuals (be amazed at this BBC video). Perhaps one of your local bird species puts on similar shows, darting this way and that in unison, executing aerial acrobatics no fighter pilot squad could hope to imitate.  “Watching thousands of birds fly in a highly coordinated, yet leaderless, flock can be utterly baffling to humans,” PhysOrg reported.  “Now, new research is peeling back the layers of mystery to show how exactly they do it – and why it might be advantageous to fly right.”  Charlotte Hemelrijk of the University of Groningen (Netherlands) has shown in computer models that an individual bird only needs to keep track of about seven neighbors to stay in formation.  Still, it is not clear why the birds do it.  Fun?  Exercise?  Social birds learn quickly from each other, and humans could learn from flocking birds, finding ways to improve formation flying in aircraft. Woodpecker helmets:  Speaking of learning from birds, designers of helmets should pay attention to woodpeckers.  Their heads have to endure decelerations of 6 or 7 meters per second without sustaining brain injury.  According to PhysOrg, a team in China filmed woodpeckers, analyzed the forces involved, and then tried to figure out what factors in the birds’ skulls prevent injury.  “The researchers conclude that the shock absorption system is not based on a single factor, but is a result of the combined effect of a number of different morphological features,” the team concluded.  The sponginess of the bone, the structure of the beak, and the shape of the cranium were some factors that work in concert to protect the little bird brain.  “This combination may be useful in guiding design for new protective gear.” Back on the perch:  After the discovery of another Archaeopteryx specimen recently (10/19/2011), some will be comforted to hear that the world’s most famous fossil has been returned to the bird category.  Dr Michael Lee [South Australian Museum] responded to claims earlier this year that put Archaeopteryx into phylogenetic confusion, raising fear among evolutionists that creationists would spin the announcement to their advantage (7/28/2011).  Lee’s team claims the earlier announcement had weak support; their more detailed analysis shows that Archaeopteryx was, in fact, a bird.  Team member Trevor Worthy said, “In our work, Mike Lee has shown quite clearly that methodology is highly significant and that before a paradigm is overturned data needs to be rigorously examined.”  They used a combination of methods to establish the bird’s identity.  How this helps the story of the origin and evolution of birds, though, was not explained. Hunting in the dark:  Most seabirds hunt during the day, but the common murre often hunts at night, finding its prey underwater in near total darkness.  How do they do it?  Writing in PLoS One,1 a trio of Canadian scientists watched murres exercise their unique night-hunting ability. They found murres hunting as deep as 580 feet at light levels covering 13 orders of magnitude (103 to 10-10 watts per square meter).  Hunting in the near-complete darkness of starlight was less frequent, but the birds were observed diving in both ambient moonlight and starlight.  The scientists are not sure if the birds catch prey by random search in the deepest darkness or use some kind of non-visual cues.  “This research … raises questions about the strategies and mechanisms birds use to find prey under very low light conditions,” they said.  The researchers said very little about evolution, referring backhandedly to “the evolution of” this or that a couple of times in the first paragraph, then stating, “To maximize foraging opportunity, many deep diving marine predators have evolved large, sensitive, dark adapted eyes.”  But dark-adapted eyes often work less well in bright light, so they seemed puzzled how the common murre’s eyes could have evolved to be good at both.  “Murres dived through a broad range of light levels – from sunlit to starlit – as they foraged throughout the day and night,” they noted.  “This is perplexing since it seems unlikely that their eyes could be adapted for visually guided foraging across all conditions.”  Last sentence: “Though the physiological mechanisms behind the murres’ ability to hunt through wide-ranging light conditions have yet to be understood, their ability to function through such conditions is a testament to their adaptability.”last_img read more

Farmers slam Sena for double standards on expressway

first_imgEven as the Maharashtra government begins direct purchase of land from farmers for the proposed 800-km Mumbai–Nagpur super expressway, farmer organisations are unhappy with, what they are calling, Shiv Sena’s “double standards”. This follows Sena minister Eknath Shinde’s direct involvement in the sale process, months after the party voiced its opposition to the project.On Thursday, Ram Sahu – a farmer in Nagpur district became the first to sell 1.25 hectare for the project for around ₹59 lakh. Mr. Shinde signed on the sale deed as a witness in an effort to encourage more farmers to sell their land to the government for this project. Ironically, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had not only met farmer organisations which are agitating against the proposed project assuring absolute support but its leaders in Thane, and Nashik have joined the farmers’ protests.“Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde have back-stabbed farmers. Uddhav Thackeray has said that the road will not be constructed without taking farmers into confidence but his minister is promoting the road. Whom should we believe? Whose interests are being served by the minister” asked Baban Harne, convener, Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti – a farmer body protesting against the project.Mr. Shinde said he is taking note of all reservations raised against the project by farmers. “I have been informing all these issues to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and working towards solving it,” We stand with development, but at the same time we believe that not a single farmers should face injustice,” he said, adding that the government will complete the project only after every farmer is satisfied.Meanwhile, Mr. Fadnavis has cancelled a special meeting called on Friday with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and agitation farmers to discuss issues raised by farmers. The CM’s office In a message conveyed to farmers, CM office said in a statement that the meeting will now be held after the presidential poll. Sources in the CMO said that the National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind will be visiting Mumbai on Saturday and Mr Fadnavis would be busy on Friday.“It just shows the casual attitude of this government regarding farmer issues. Date of presidential poll was announced much before, but still the meeting was scheduled on Friday. What was so pressing for the CM that he had to cancel it? This is not only our insult but also of senior leader like Sharad Pawar,” said Mr Harnelast_img read more

LG G3 gets listed on official website in UK

first_imgA week ahead of its official launch on May 27, the much talked about LG G3 has been listed on company’s UK website as coming soon. The listing bears a model number D855.The listing has one teaser video. It doesn’t say anything on specifications and pricing.There have been numerous leaks related to the LG G3. It is rumoured to come with a 5.5-inch QHD IPS display. It may run on Snapdragon 801 chipset.The next LG flagship, as per the rumours, will sport a 13-megapixel OIS camera with 2160p video recording. Its other notable features may include redesigned rear control deck, a microUSB port, a microSD slot and the latest LG UX launcher. Needless to say, it will be powered by Kit Kat OS. It is expected to pack a Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery.last_img read more

PBA D-League: Perpetual Help picks up 1st win, slips past Diliman College

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem Urgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief Jeffer Egan leads Perpetual. PBA IMAGESMANILA, Philippines–University of Perpetual Help fended off Diliman College-Gerry’s Grill, 71-65, for its first win in the 2019 PBA D-League at Paco Arena in Manila.The Altas led by as much as 14 points but needed late baskets by Jielo Razon, Tonton Peralta and Jeffer Egan to hold on.ADVERTISEMENT 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed View comments LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Kevin Gandjeto posted 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Dragons, who fell to 1-2 in the Foundation Group.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Asian Cup hosts UAE punished for shoe, bottle barrage “I thought we did very well in the first half because of our defense and I think that propelled us in our offense. But in the third quarter, it was a simple collapse on our part,” admitted Perpetual Help coach Frankie Lim.Perpetual Help took a 38-24 halftime lead but Diliman College went on to tie the game at 50 in the third quarter.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesRazon’s 3 put the Altas ahead, 62-61, before Peralta and Egan put the finishing touches.Egan showed the way for the Altas (1-2) with 25 points while Peralta and Razon had 13 and 12 points, respectively.last_img read more