Country Life Today: The Nottinghamshire village museum that’s become a global sensation

Our daily news round-up enjoys the highlights of Prince Charles's year; discovers how hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world are enjoying Ruddington Village Museum; and looks at the pioneering scientist who ponders our future AI masters as he turns 100.

A year in the life of HRH The Prince of Wales

On Wednesday, Clarence House released a video showing some of the highlights of the year for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. It’s full of highlights and beautifully made — though we’ll admit to being a little biased since it features Country Life editor Mark Hedges discussing the Prince’s stint as guest editor last year.

Read more (princeofwales.gov.uk)


The village museum in Nottinghamshire that became a global sensation

Chinese student Feixue Huangdus — currently taking a degree course at Nottingham Trent University — has made the charming Ruddington Village Museum (pictured at the top of the page) a surprise smash hit in her native land. The reason? An eighty-minute video tour of the museum which she posted on a Chinese website.

A screen grab from Feixue Huangdus charming video tour of Ruddington village museum

A screen grab from Feixue Huangdus charming video tour of Ruddington village museumBy Ruddington’s own admission the museum is ‘rather compact and bijou’, but that seems to be part of the exotic attraction of Feixue’s video tour. Almost half a million people have apparently watched it –  you can add yourself to their number at lj.lanjingfm.com.

 Read more (Ruddington village website) or watch the video (lanjingfm.com)


Save hedgerows, save bats

We’ve long known of the huge benefits that Britain’s hedgerows have for wildlife. Now there is proof that even bats are beneficiaries.

New research led byDr Jeremy Froidevaux from the University of Bristol has shown that most of the efforts to help bat populations hasn’t done much, but ‘one measure that did seem to return positive results was the protection and delayed trimming of hedgerows that provided a valuable habitat for bat species, and their insect prey,’ according to the BBC’s report.

Full story (BBC)


One of the century’s great scientists on how our AI-powered robot overlords will see us as glorified houseplants

Forget robots in human form, says James Lovelock, despite what Metropolis promised in 1926. Credit: Alamy

Maverick scientist James Lovelock is an extraordinary man who has spent years ploughing his own furrow, mostly away from major institutions. The result has been one of the most varied and interesting scientific careers of his generation: he’s the man who showed that CFCs were depleting the ozone layer, and then man whose Gaia Theory has been instrumental in environmental science.

Now approaching his 100th birthday, he’s just written a new book, Novacene, in which he argues for the use of nuclear energy, and explains that artificial intelligence will take over the planet – and that our robot overlords will come to care for us just as we care for pets and houseplants. Tim Radford analyses both the book and the man in Nature.
Full story (Nature)


Quote of the Day

‘We’re stuck in a climate disaster movie – and it’s not even a very good one. The threat is complex and can feel remote, but we’re told the chances of survival are slim. There are constant warnings but few heroes in sight. Our response is predictable: we switch off or we change the channel. The climate story can evolve from its current emphasis on chastisement and detachment. The future of our planet – and how it is possible to save it – is a story worth telling. And retelling in ever more interesting and inspiring ways… We need to be able to see, feel and taste what we could do if leaders led and hope triumphed.’

Nicky Hawkins in The Guardian, expressing the exact sentiment of Country Life’s sustainability special issue, out this week.


And finally…

We’re just going to leave this here.