In this blog post area I shall be sharing some interesting objects that I come across, some of which may turn up in my writing. I hope that you enjoy them?
Some of them contain affiliate links right through to the retailer, and if anyone buys one of the items I may get a small commission to help maintain my website.
Apiology – All Things ‘Bee’ Related
I always marvel at what research writing leads me into. And at the moment I’m researching Bees, the study of which is Apiology, the Apis being the Bee.
Without giving too much away, I’m researching bees from a variety of countries, and beekeepers or apiarists. It is proving to be a fascinating subject, although I’m not about to get going in this area myself.
I’ve also been looking at the different types of hives that can found the world over and the reasons for the differences, which are not solely based upon the climate which was my first thought. I’ve also come across a recent design that allows you to see Bees at work in a kind of ‘mini indoor hive’ that you can install in your house, or school (if health and safety regulations permit?). It’s a very clever design that you can see for yourself here:
Click the link if you’re interested in finding out more details about the indoor beehive, The BEEcosystemobservation Hive
Here are some bee and beekeeping related terms that I have come across during the course of my research for one of my future titles:
|Alarm pheromone||This alerts guard bees to potential threats to the colony. It is produced by worker bees|
|Anther||The part of a flower’s stamen that produces pollen.|
|Apiary||The place where beehives are situated|
|Apiculture||The science and art of bees and beekeeping.|
|Bee veil||Protective cloth of wire netting which stops a beekeeper’s head and neck from being stung|
|Beeswax||Wax that is secreted by special glands on the underside of the bees.|
|Blending||Like making a fine whiskey, mixing various varieties of honey can make something better than the sum of the parts, typically improving flavour and colour.|
|Brood||All stages of immature honey bees; eggs, larvae and pupae|
|Brood chamber||The part of the hive where the brood is based. Generally this is at the bottom of most modern hives.|
|Cell||A single hexagonal wax compartment, the basic unit of comb. Each honey bee develops within a single cell, and honey and pollen are stored within cells.|
|Colony||Honey bees are social insects. Each honey bee can only live as part of a colony and not individually. Each colony of honey bees contains one queen bee who is the female parent of the colony, a few hundred drone bees and thousands of worker bees.|
The wax structure made of hexagonal cells in which honey bees rear young and store food.
|Drone||A male honey bee Drones undertake no work within the hive: their sole function is to fertilize the queen.|
|Extractor||The centrifugal machine in which honey is spun out of cells within com|
|Forage||Flowering plants which provide nectar and/or pollen for bees.|
|Forager||A worker honey bee that collects pollen, nectar, water or propolis for the colony.|
|Foundation||A thin sheet of beeswax embossed with the hexagonal pattern of comb. A sheet of foundation is placed in each wooden frame and this serves as a base upon which honey bees build their comb. Without foundation honey bees would not necessarily build their comb in the orientation required by the beekeeper.|
|Frame||A wooden rectangular frame that holds a sheet of wax foundation. A number of frames hang parallel to one another inside the hive.|
|Frame hive||A hive which contains frames. The honey bees are encouraged to build their comb within these|
|Hive||Any container provided by humans for bees to nest in.|
|Langstroth hive||A design of frame hive. The inventor, the Rev L Langstroth recognised the importance of bee space and this allowed him to design the movable-frame hive.|
|National||The name given to the most popular style of hobby hive in the UK|
|Nectar||A sweet liquid secreted by flowers, a watery solution of various sugars.|
|Pacifier||A substance used to calm bees|
|Pollen||The fine dust-like substances which are the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. Collected by bees as a source of protein.|
|Pollen basket||Areas of stiff hairs on the hind legs of worker honey bees where they carry pollen|
|Propolis||This is a sticky brown filler or type of glue that bees produce to seal gaps in the hive. It is made from many differing sources, the main one being tree sap. Propolis has many amazing antiseptic medicinal uses and is produced commercially for sale in tincture or tablet form|
|Queen||The female parent of the colony, the only sexually developed female.|
|Queen excluder||A metal grid placed between the brood box and super in a modern hive. The spaces are wide enough to allow worker bees to pass through with honey but are too narrow for the Queen to pass through and lay eggs.|
|Royal jelly||Glandular secretions of worker honey bees mixed with some regurgitated carbohydrates and fed to developing bees.|
|Scout bees||Worker honey bees that are responsible for locating new sources of forage’, or a new location for a swarm.|
|Smoker||A device for generating smoke to subdue bees. Often made from a metal can with bellows attached.|
|Super||Any hive box placed above the brood nest. Usually contains combs in which bees will store honey.|
|Swarming||When a honey bee colony becomes large enough to divide into two, swarming takes place. When this happens a new queen is reared, the colony divides and a swarm leaves the hive or nest. This swarm consists of a queen, drones and workers which will form another colony in a new location.|
|Worker bees||Female honey bees that make up the bulk of the colony and undertake all the work of the colony except for mating and egg laying. Workers are sterile females.|
Watercraft – Seabreacher x
I’ve just spent a virtually a month in the Mandurah, South of Perth, Western Australia. I had a great time, and the whole place is full of natural coastline, water inlets, estuary, canals and lots and lots of watercraft. I had the good fortune to come across this spectacular craft, the Seabreacher X, and it might just make its way into one of the Jack Jago Thriller novels, so watch out for that!
To appreciate what this craft is all about, how versatile it is, check out these couple of videos:
Check out The Museum Outlet charts of – SeaBreacher – A high quality A3 Poster Print (Click the image to obtain your copy)
Underwater Breathing Apparatus
Today, researching underwater breathing apparatus for my character, you know the kind of gear that would allow a character to swim undetected underwater for a few minutes. And I found a bunch of gear that fits the bill.
First up we have this cool video showing some new products that suit might just suit my needs:
And then I found this item that’s used by the military, surfers, and divers the world over. It’s an item that I’d really like to incorporate into my story. It’s called a Spare Air Extreme Tank Watersports Rescue Kit. What do you think?
Pistols and How to Carry Them
Now, there’s no good having a hero style protagonist in a thriller without them being well versed in weaponry is there? So I’ve been busy researching the different type of pistols. While I have lots of experience having carried one for some years, I still wanted to see what is out there today.
One of my favourites is the Glock and with that comes the decision as to how my character carries his. Should he carry his Glock in a belt holster like this?
Or should he use a thigh strapped holster like this?
Now have you seen one of those elastic waistband holsters that even accommodates your mobile phone?
I’m not so sure that my character would feel comfortable with this on? What do you think? Or should he just gauge it by the activity he’s going to be involved in?
That’s it, I think that he should have a Glock holster for all occasions. Problem solved!
Drones and Motorcycles
During the course of writing my latest project, a thriller I have some interesting objects to tell you about. Firstly, I’ve been looking at adopting some modernistic products into the series. One area of my research has been Drone Technology. Now without giving away too much of the plot, I want to share with you how exciting this technology is, and how much it has developed in recent years.
It has amazed me how much drones can actually lift and what their range is? For example one Drone the DJI Matrice 600 can handle a maximum payload of 6kg and has a range of 5km. There are numerous models, and they each have their own characteristics. They are truly amazing. To learn more about this types of drones click here.
Then there’s the micro-drones and one, in particular, the Lilly, looked impressive but failed to get funding for manufacture. But there are plenty of others around and their uses are astounding.
Image source: http://bit.ly/2joVWrZ
Now if you’ve seen the movie ‘Eye in The Sky’ with Helen Mirren you will have seen the drone disguised as an insect. Yes, an insect. They can be that small, and they’re getting smaller all of the time. Of course, when written into a thriller plot they can be put to great use.
Image source: http://bit.ly/2vOxnxo
Silent Motorcycles (Stealth Bikes)
I was moseying around for something pretty snazzy for my character to ride upon and I came across some fantastic motorcycles that are electric but with a difference. One of which has been developed for special forces it is silent and has a a multi fuel capability.
Check these out:
Zero Bikes: Electric Motorcycles | SciTech Now
This first bike is being adopted by many law enforcement agencies and for good reason, it’s capabilities and it’s running costs.
image source: http://bit.ly/2uq34gT
Logos Technologies SilentHawk Hybrid-Electric Military Motorcycle (Flex-Fuel Motocross-Type)
This motorcycle has been specifically designed for the US Special Forces and the concept is fascinating.