Helen's Blog - Tuesday February 4th 2014

Hi there & hope you’re well today

On the show it will be day 3 of the What am I & here are the latest clues:

1: I’ve been around since the mid-1800s

2: You’d think I was invented by Royalty – Charles Brady King

3: I have been known to have an impact on health

4: If I liked music it would be rock

5: There are portable versions of me

6: I have a boy’s name



I saw this story today & it reminded me of the movie Tom Hanks starred in many years ago about a Mexican man who claims he was washed out to sea 13 months ago. Many people are questioning his size as he appears to be bigger that a person who survived for that lengths of time

Well here’s the story so judge for yourself

A castaway who survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean has arrived in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro following his rescue from a remote coral atoll.

Jose Salvador Alvarengo was met by about 1,000 onlookers at the dock, who greeted the dishevelled fisherman before he was taken away for a medical check-up.

The first photographs of the 37-year-old fisherman show him sporting a bushy beard and carrying a can of Coke. He smiled and waved to the crowd as he was helped onto land by Marshall Islands officials.

Mr Alvarengo arrived in Majuro after a 22-hour journey from the Ebon Atoll, where he was rescued last Thursday wearing nothing but a pair of ragged underpants.

When Ebon islanders discovered Mr Alvarengo on the atoll - some 8,000 miles away from Mexico, where he set out - he was unable to walk without assistance.

US ambassador Thomas Armbruster acted as an interpreter for Marshall Islands authorities and spoke with Mr Alvarengo once he was on dry land. Mr Alvarengo told the ambassador that he was originally from El Salvador, but had been living in Mexico for 15 years.

"He said he is a shrimp and shark fisherman. He looked better than one would expect," Mr Armbruster said.

It is understood the fisherman left Tapachula in Mexico on December 21, 2012, with a male aged between 15 and 18 years of age. The two fishermen had headed out to sea fishing for shark, but began drifting uncontrollably in their 24-foot fibreglass boat. No details have yet emerged as to why they began drifting, or what happened to the younger companion Mr Alvarengo says died a few months ago. Mr Alvarengo indicated that he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon. In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fibreglass boat near the Marshall Islands, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition.



Facebook celebrates its tenth birthday today, marking a major milestone for the social network which boasts more than 1.2 billion monthly users. In its first decade Facebook has garnered users from all over the globe keen to communicate with friends, post updates and share photographs.

The social network - which was established by Mark Zuckerberg while at Harvard University - has grown to become a multi-billion dollar company. Last week the company reported record revenues of $2.5bn dollars (£1.5bn) from 750 million daily users. But the birthday celebrations come amid uncertainty from analysts over the future of the social network.

Dr Markos Zachariadis, an assistant professor at the Warwick Business School, has researched the company and innovation in social networks. He said Facebook could be in danger of being overtaken by other online networks. A recent study predicted that Facebook could lose 80% of its users by 2017

"It is the largest social network in the world, but many are questioning whether it will survive another 10 years," Dr Zachariadis said.

"Another innovation and network may come along to threaten its dominant position in the market.

"But Facebook is in a good position to expand and grow further, thus creating a strong 'network effect' and adding new services to keep users engaged."

recent Princeton University study predicted Facebook could lose up to 80% of its users by 2017. The study found it "has already reached the peak of its popularity and has entered a decline phase". Professor Daniel Miller, of University College London, has also argued that simpler social networks such as Twitter are likely to replace Facebook over time.

"Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving on to cooler things," he said.

"What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person's decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request.

"The desire for the new also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in social media."

This is the very first photo I posted on Facebook after my trip to Arizona



Rats could grow to the size of sheep or even bigger as they evolve to fill vacant ecological niches, it is claimed. The terrifying scenario could become a reality as super-adaptable rats take advantage of larger mammals becoming extinct, an expert predicts.

"Animals will evolve, over time, into whatever designs will enable them to survive and to produce offspring," said geologist Dr Jan Zalasiewicz, from the University of Leicester.

"For instance, in the Cretaceous Period, when the dinosaurs lived, there were mammals, but these were very small, rat and mouse-sized, because dinosaurs occupied the larger ecological niches.

"Only once the dinosaurs were out of the way did these tiny mammals evolve into many different forms, including some very large and impressive ones: brontotheriums, horses, mastodons, mammoths, rhinoceri and more.

"Given enough time, rats could probably grow to be at least as large as the capybara, the world's largest rodent, that lives today, that can reach 80 kilos (176 pounds).

A hint of the nightmare to come can be seen on "rat islands" - isolated regions where rats introduced by humans have quickly risen to become the dominant species. Rat islands act as a "laboratory" for studying the future evolution of the rodents, according to Dr Zalasiewicz.


Cover art for Into The Groove

On Air

Dave Brookes playing Madonna - Into The Groove