Little at large

Rocky the reptile arrives by rocket in a National Trust for Scotland caff

* David Neil, the manager of the cafe in the National Trust for Scotland's Edinburgh head-quarters, made a startling discovery when opening a bag of imported rocket last week. Out crawled a live lizard. Luckily, the cafe is situated in the trust's headquarters and conservationists were able to rescue the reptile, which they identified as a Lebanon Lizard, and give it a makeshift home in a converted CD holder. According to the trust's nature conservation adviser Lindsay Mackinlay, Rocky, as he has been christened, survived the journey from Israel by slowing down his metabolism and going into hibernation. In which case he's probably found an appropriate habitat at the trust, which is entering something of a state of hibernation itself - mothballing several properties this year because of stretched finances.

* Who says there's no such thing as irony in the charity sector? Word reaches this column of the mot du jour over at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association. The watchdog has joined I Can's Adopt a Word scheme for the second year running. And for the second year running, chief executive Mick Aldridge and co have chosen "chugger". Aldridge says: "I hope we'll see the word chugger taken out of the gutter and allowed its proper place in the pantheon of professions along-side accountant, lawyer and architect."

* It's the 40th anniversary of the internet this week. It's widely thought that the whole thing began in 1969 when a Pentagon-funded project linked computers at two US universities. But according to Peter Willetts of City University, one crucial element of the story has been left out of the official version - the role of NGOs. It was a group of development bodies that used home computers to create a global e-mail network in the early 1980s and it was environmental and peace NGO projects, such as GreenNet - hosted by Friends of the Earth - that became the first internet service providers to connect different computer networks and open them to the public later in the decade. When Nato wanted to reach Boris Yeltsin during the 1991 coup in the Soviet Union, it had to email him using GreenNet in London. The trouble with technology is that it never stays in the right hands.

Mathew Little is a freelance writer,


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