Barometer

Have wildfires really got worse over the years?

17 November 2018

9:00 AM

17 November 2018

9:00 AM

Hard bitten

A British tourist died after contracting rabies from a cat bite in Morocco. Whatever happened to the prominent anti-rabies posters at British ports?
— The last case of rabies contracted in the UK was in 1922 but rising cross-Channel traffic led to a fear that infected animals could unwittingly be brought in.
— A 1974 regulation introduced long spells of quarantine and those once-familiar posters, then restrictions were eased in the 1990s thanks to pet passports.
— The last case of human infection in France was in 1923, but the country was not declared rabies-free until 2001 – a status it lost for two years from 2008.
— Worldwide, rabies kills 59,000 people a year, 95 per cent in Africa or Asia and 99 per cent with infections from dogs.

Man powered

South Eastern Trains and Greater Anglia said they wanted more women train drivers, as fewer than 5 per cent are female. Some occupations where female employment is recorded by the ONS at zero — meaning there are fewer than 1,000 employed:
— Air traffic controllers, butchers, fork-lift truck drivers, groundsmen and greenkeepers, pets control officers, plasterers, production managers and directors in mining and energy, welders.
 

Fired up


California forest fires were blamed on climate change. Have wildfires got worse over the years? This is the average annual acreage (in millions) of US forest burned:
 
1928-37 – 41.7
1938-47 – 25.9
1948-57 – 10.9
1958-67 – 4.2
1968-77 – 3.6
1978-87 – 3.0
1988-97 – 3.4
1998-2007 – 6.6
2008-17 – 6.6
 
Source: National Interagency Fire Center
 

Fewer and Führer

A British couple who named their son Adolf were convicted of belonging to banned neo-Nazi group National Action. How widespread is the name today?
— In 2010 it was reported that 20 baby Adolfs had been registered since 1945.
— In the US, five babies were given the name in 1990. Every year since, the figure has been listed vaguely as ‘less than five’.
— A sample of 27,000 babies born in Germany in 2006 revealed one Adolf. There may have been more, as the sample covered less than 5 per cent of births.

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