Friday, May 19, 2006

Biodiversity information: where is it all?

Finding information about species at a particular location (continent, country, region) is almost impossible. Why? Because that information is behind the closed walls of our natural history museums worldwide, usually inside ancient journals, on little paper cards or pinned in huge specimen cupboards. How much of it is digitilised? I wouldn't know, the museums do not readily share their information with the general public, eventhough it is us who pay for the work they are doing.
Unlike the "Vase with twelve sunflowers" by Van Gogh which is worth over $39,921,750, it is difficult to put a price on a species or biodiversity. Why is it easier to put a price on a painting than on the sunflower species, Helianthus annuus? I think that is only once we start releasing the information that naturalists, ecologist and systematists have gathered on the millions of species which we know about, that we will begin to be able to put a value to the diversity of life on this planet and then at last we will be able to protect the planet's biodiversity.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Buying a flat in Scotland

This is the first in a series of blogs about buying flats in Scotland. In Scotland it is really quite different to England and Wales. The offers over pricing system is a real pain! This is always the lowest amount that you can pay (as opposed to the value that the seller would like to get, like in England) and when the property comes to a closing date with blind bids from other interested parties, the sold price can be way above the offers over price. This makes it difficult to know the relative value of property especially as estate agents always try to bump up the price by pretending that lots of people are interested.
I have started to wonder whether as a first time buyer, I might be better off waiting until prices stabilise or come down but before leaving the game, I feel it is my duty to give a bit of guidance to first-time buyers. So come back to this site soon as I will be giving you the prices at which properties were put on the market, the price at which it sold and the schedule for a number of properties in Glasgow. Hopefully, this will be usefull for determining what offer to put on a property when it is on the market at offers over.

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