Thanet Star


No, Ladybirds don’t give you STDs, Kent Live News

October 11, 2018 in nature by Matthew Brown

Just in case it needs to be said Ladybirds don’t give you STDs. Despite the Kent Live News headline suggesting otherwise.

Ladybirds don’t give you STDs

Kent Live News Ladybirds

It seems Kent Live News is participating in another round of uninformed insect fear stories. Their misleading headline “‘Seal your windows’ Ladybirds carrying STDs are starting to invade Kent homes” is nothing but hogwash.

The fact that ladybirds, which come in almost 5000 varieties, are promiscuous and give each other diseases is not news. It is a well-known fact that those who study insects are well aware of. However, they are also the sort of people that know that insect STDs do not pass to people. As a result, they do not go around writing irresponsible headlines.

The STD in question is a mite that lives on ladybirds. It uses the ladybird mating behaviour to move from one insect to the next. Thus the mites are, technically, an STD.

Ladybirds have not “just arrived in Kent”

Harlequin ladybirds are the ones at the centre of this “panic” but they are not new. They arrived in the UK in 2004. That’s 14 years ago!

Harlequins are mostly harmless but have a tendency to do what some other insects do – try to find somewhere warm for the winter. As a result, you might find some trying to come inside.

If Kent Live News was being honest with you, they might say that there are more Harlequins than in other years because we have had a hot summer. Instead, they have used their headline to spread alarm. Tucked underneath, in text designed (if you ask me) to be missed they have written “but there is nothing to worry about”.

Also, ladybirds don’t give you STDs. The headline is simply misleading.

Bad journalism copying bad journalists

So where did Kent Live News get such a story from? A quick Google on the subject shows that Kent Live News almost certainly just lifted the story from The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror – hardly reliable sources at the best of times.

The “seal your windows” quote is attributed to a person I cannot find who is alleged to run a pest control company. The trouble is, I can’t find the pest control company either. I could find two very similar companies with very similar sounding names but the one Kent Live News cites might not actually exist.

My window is open right now. A nice cool breeze is blowing in. I’ve yet to see a single ladybird.

So don’t panic Thanet. This looks to me like bad journalists copying each other.

I was able to find the truth behind the headline in a matter of minutes. One search and I found everything I ever wanted to know and a lot more besides. How lazy must you need to be to write such utter drivel? Or evil, assuming that the writer knew the truth and just decided that a headline about STD carrying insects was more profitable.

In case I have not said it enough, yet – ladybirds don’t give you STDs.

Map of cashpoint (ATM) locations in Thanet

August 16, 2018 in thanet by jeffjohns

Finding a cashpoint (ATM) in Thanet is only easy if you know Thanet or happen to spot a bank. With the help of Google and the data they hold on ATM locations, here is a map of cashpoints (ATMs) in Thanet.

This map of Thanet ATM locations is generated by Google using data it has collected. Google may populate the Thanet ATM locations map with additional information personal to you which only you will see.

Any missing Thanet ATM locations?

Is there a Thanet ATM location missing from this map? You can add missing information to Google’s map database through Google. Click here for more information on how to do that.

Alternatively, leave a helpful comment that may help someone find a cashpoint when they need one.

Also available on Tumblr

August 1, 2018 in site-news by jeffjohns

If you like your Thanet news short and snappy with lots of pictures and occasional irrelevancies, then Tumblr might be for you.

Tumblr iconYou are unlikely to find any really in-depth debates (yet) but you will find us, Thanet Star, there.

On The Thanet Star Tumblr, you will also find:

  • Shared photos of the beauty of Thanet
  • New links
  • Updates when we post a here
  • Discussion questions you can join in with
  • Interesting links
  • Ideas that might become blog posts later
  • The option to share stuff with us (that we can blog about)
  • Links to posts from other local blogs
  • Did we mention the art?

The primary advantages of Tumblr are that you are not filtered like on Facebook and it is more flexible than Twitter.

If you are ready to explore Tumblr, join us there.

Why do so many men take their own life?

May 13, 2018 in opinion by Matthew Brown

The men in the UK are being killed off not by guns or drugs but by the culture that defines what it means to be a man. This is the hardest blog post I have ever written.

Why are men killing themselves?

It seems to me that the single leading cause of male death is the stigma against men having feelings. Tears, we are told, are for girls. Man up, they say. Stop being a baby, we are told.

How’s that working out for you?

Having feelings is taboo for men. It is about time we changed that. “Cheer up,” is not the answer to complex problems and deep and crushing feelings.

My struggle with pain

MattI’ve struggled with depression at various times in my life. As a teen, the answer was fags, booze, and parties. It didn’t really help.

As I got older and started encounter these things called responsibilities, I just got better at ignoring my feelings. It was not healthy. It did not help. All that did was drain the joy out of my life.

There have been chapters in my life when close friends and loving family would have almost certainly been sympathetic and supporting. Only I lacked any form of language to talk about what I was going through. The best I was able to express was “I’m a bit tired today.”

I did what most men do – I kept my head down and I struggled through things alone.

My daughter died – I was strong for everyone else.

I went through a horrible and painful divorce which could well have had my emotional distance as a factor. Did I talk to anyone? No, of course not. The closest I got was I showed an artist friend an abstract painting I had created as an outlet. We nodded in silent understanding and no more was said. He understood too but neither of us had any lexicon for talking about it.

Man, this article is actually really hard to write. Damn. The part with the statistics was so much easier to write.

Here I am heading for 42 and slap-bang in the centre of the most at-risk group in the UK. A generation with no words to talk about it. No words to use to ask for help. It is literally killing us.

Please reach out

I’ve not written this to gain sympathy. I probably would not know what to do with it anyway. I have written this to show other men my age, that you are not alone.

Having feelings is not a weakness. Feeling sad or low is not a lack of masculinity. Pain is normal but suffering in silence is not.

If you feel like things are hopeless, I beg you not to suffer alone. Reach out and talk to someone. As a person who has struggled with depression on and off for their entire life, I can tell you it does get better. Talking can help – a lot.

The Samaritans’ 24-hour helpline is 08457 909090.

If talking is too difficult, there is online support.

Depression kills

depressionAccording to the ONS, around three-quarters of all suicides in 2016 in the UK were male. In one year 4,508 men killed themselves in the UK. That’s more than 12 deaths every single day.

According to the WHO, there is a killer men only that is significant enough to make the top 10 – suicide. Self-harm accounts for 99.3 per 100,000 population. In the WHO 15 to 29 age bracket, self-harm accounts for more male deaths than any other single cause. Our young men are dying by their own hand. By the time we reach the 30 to 49 age bracket the only reason self-harm is not the biggest killer of men is that heart disease kills more. What this masks is that men aged 30 to 49 are almost twice as likely to kill themselves as men in the lower age bracket. By 50 to 59, self-harm is the 6th leading cause of male deaths. Which at least suggest that those of us that survive that long are likely to carry on surviving.

According to The Samaritans’, the highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44. That’s a demographic that I’ve recently moved into. I can tell you, it’s no picnic.

Be a true friend

We men are pre-programmed to always reply “yeah, I’m fine,” or “nothing to grumble about, it could be worse.” You can save a life by taking the time to listen carefully enough and find out if you mate really is okay or just saying they are.

We cannot lift the lid on this silent killer until we men start talking to each other. For those of us that have spent our entire lives not doing that, it is hard. Hard was never a reason not to do something.

We men are taught to value bravery. It is a brave and courageous thing when you admit that we feel weak and broken sometimes. I’m not saying that we need to talk about our feelings all the time; just that it should be okay to talk about them when we need to.

I have been laughed at my entire life for being a bit weird. That’s why I have no problem going first. My name is Matthew and sometimes I feel like my life is a yawning darkness of despair and misery, while other days are quite nice. How are you doing today?

Fermenting workshops with The Nutritious Fig

May 4, 2018 in events by Matthew Brown

The Nutritious Fig – a healthy eating consultancy from Broadstairs – is running a series of workshops on home fermenting.

What is home fermenting?

Home fermenting is a cover-all phrase for a number of different techniques for creating (often very delicious) probiotic and/or preserved foods.

Last year my mum introduced me to water kefir. I like to combine mine with sliced lemons to produce some of the best lemonade you have ever tasted. It is my understanding that the Fermented Drinks workshop will cover water (or possibly milk) kefir.  It’s pretty easy to make and tastes nice. According to what I have read it is also good for you, so there’s that too.

About Wendy

The Nutritious Fig is the consultancy of Wendy. Wendy is a Nutritionist, Food consultant, and Registered Nutritional Therapist with a diploma from “Institute for Optimum Nutrition” (ION) in Richmond, London. She consults from her purpose-built home clinic room in Broadstairs.

Wendy is a member of the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

Wendy writes a blog about healthy eating. Check out her most recent post – healthy eating on a budget.

May Events with The Nutritious Fig

You can locate upcoming events from The Nutritious Fig on their Facebook events page. I had to do a bit of digging but it looks like these events are priced at £30 each.

Here are May’s events:

Over to you

Have you ever tried your hand at home fermenting? How did you get on? Let me know in the comments below.

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