April 2021

Model railways

There are some fine examples of model railways in the UK.       We have links to three of them here.       The first is  a model railway layout based on the North Yorkshire market town of Knaresborough.      It was set around the time of 2005-15.       Click play button for a video tour.

Here is a layout set in 1949, in the age of steam.       It puts us in the fictional town of Langley,       The railway station is on a branch line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) which recently had recently been nationalised and become part of British Railways.

This is a fictional 1980s diesel depot on the West Highland line in Scotland.       It uses a digital command control system, which means smoother running at low speeds and the ability to control engines independently on the same stretch of track.     The sound effects you hear on the video are produced by this system too.

The examples shown above may seem out of reach for most of us.       Model Railway UK is a down to earth Youtube channel charting work in progress on a couple of layouts.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was declared Artist of the decade by the American Music Awards in 2019.      Click page icon for a rundown of her most iconic songs.

On her Folklore album there are three teenage love triangle songs.      They are written from the viewpoint of each of the characters involved.        See article.

Fight song

Rachel Platten is an Americal singer from Boston,, Massachusetts.      She used to visit London with her family some years back and has performed there.      It took a while for her career to take off, but after years of trying her fans connected with her Fight song.

Click play button for the video.      It illustrates her real-life struggle: performing in New York bars, trying to write a song that would capture the public imagination.       See article from 2016.

Covid vaccine

Some people might think that the Covid-19 vaccine research and development started when the pandemic began in early 2020.      In fact, following the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016, scientists at Oxford University started preparing for the next big outbreak – not knowing what it would be.

They took a common cold virus that infected chimpanzees and engineered it to become the building block of a vaccine against almost anything.      You could think of it as a smart, microscopic postman.      All the scientists have to do is change the package.

Fortunately, by 2020, they knew quite a bit about the Coronavirus family of viruses.      Also, they had already developed this kind of vaccine for Mers, another version of Coronavirus.       Once animal trials had shown the vaccine was safe, the researchers were able to begin human trials on 23rd April.

Click icon for the full story.

This page is the April 2021 issue.