Friday, July 20, 2012

Septic Tank Registration Underway

At last it appears that hosueholders are now able to regitsre their septic tanks and household treatment systems which is a requirement under the The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012. As we are repeatedly told that this is being done to address the European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland in October 2009. Of course it is also a sensible provision to protect public health and the environment.
Registration is covered by Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Registration) Regulations 2012 and can be done online via the Protect Our Water website.  Alternatively applications can be made by post using forms available from public libraries and local authorities.

As an incentive the normal registration fee of €50 will be set at €5 until 28 September 2012. Registration must be completed on or before 1 February 2013. There will be no separate inspection charge.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Continuing Rainfall Impacting on Wildlife

I remember quite vividly in May of this year the gentleman from the Environment Agency in the UK stating that it would have to rain every day this summer for water resources to return to normal. Well records apart it has rained every day this summer and yes indeed water resources are looking fairly good. In fact there is water coming from springs I never knew existed where I live. But the rainfall has led to quite extraordinary conditions for wildlife from butterflies to badgers.

Ground nesting birds and wildfowl have been particularly hard hit, especially in and along the River Shannon, Ireland’s largest river, with many of the numerous small islands now under water. Kathryn Finney from Birdwatch Ireland has a fascinating blog and has been recording the problems due to this exceptionally wet summer and has some excellent images of the problems being caused by the high water levels.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PAlaeontological STatistics - Update

Many of you will know how much I like the statistical package PAST (PAlaeontological STatistics ) devised by Øyvind Hammer at the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo. This is a free software package that can be downloaded from the Internet and Øyvind is remarkable in that the package is continuously updated and refined. The latest version (2.16) can be downloaded at
Among the latest additions are: Box-Cox transformation with max likelihood estimation of lambda; Anderson-Darling normality test; Nearest neighbor point analysis: Plotting of distance histogram vs. expected distribution; Hangle (outline shape analysis) now includes 'Htree' fitting; Coefficient of variation: Now with bootstrapped confidence intervals; Similarity indices: Added Mixed (as available in other modules); Rarefaction: Labels added for multiple-sample plot; User controllable range of color maps, new color maps; User controllable number of lines in spline deformation grids; Bubble plot: Option for 95% confidence ellipses; Rarefaction: Option to not show standard deviations; Improvement on number of decimals in graph axes.