Archive for the herorat Category

Gallery updates and news from Allan the Herorat

Posted in fractured, herorat, revengers tragedy, salt meets wound, taking the flak, the broken, the countess, theatre, website with tags , , , , on 26 May, 2009 by ambarussa

I’m currently adding and switching the galleries, and while I’ve tripple-checked everything, it’s still possible that you might stumble over dead links. I hope everything will be fixed by next week. I noticed that links in the navigation bar are missing on some pages; I’ll correct those as soon as I’ll find the time.

The biggest addition is the new



where you can find pictures from some of the stage productions Damian O’Hare’s been in. Check out the one for “The Countess” – the scanner’s fixed and there are proper scans from the programme now.

Then there are new galleries for Taking the Flak, The Broken and promotional headshots, plus additional pictures in the Fractured gallery. Och, just have a look at it yerselves:


And now for something completely different…

Allan, the Herorat “adopted” by this website, sends his greetings from rainy Tanzania (they’re approaching winter now).  His training in REST (Remote Explosive Scent Tracing) is coming along very well. They continue to research the optimal and least optimal soil conditions, moisture content,  and various concentrations of TNT to see the perimeters if he and his colleagues can detect TNT. Looks like he finds it interesting to have different concentrations of TNT and different types of soil to work with every day!

Through the work with these samples, Allan and his colleagues provide important data to find the best working conditions for rat detection technology, and it will help to figure out in which weather conditions, locations and scenarios they are most effective.

Allan’s trainers John and Abdullah keep telling him that he’s becoming stronger and stronger at clearly indicating samples of dirt that contain TNT. Go, rat, go!


One of the trainers with Allan

If you’d like to support Herorats as well, or maybe even adopt one of the four-pawed heroes, please go here.

Usual disclaimer: “Hero Rats” is the charity of choice of the webgnome running the website, not of Damian O’Hare.

“The Royal” probably not to start on 5 October / Letter from Tanzania

Posted in herorat, the royal, tv with tags , , , , , on 28 September, 2008 by ambarussa

50 points off Gryffindor for hogging the 7 pm – 10 pm time slot on ITV I, Sunday, 5 October! As ITV 1 will show “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, the second half of The Royal’s 7th season might start a week later than rumoured, on Sunday, 12 October.

“Of course I lied to them! Do you think they’d offered me this job if I’d told them that my real name is Nicholas Weasley?!”

We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we’ve received news from Tanzania about Allan, the Herorat we’ve adopted.

Allan is doing very well! He’s a REST (Remote explosives scent tracing) herorat, and at the moment involved with a number of different experiments. The first is a concentrations experiment to see at what level the rats can detect TNT. The second is a soil experiment, to understand better how a range of soils (10 different types) impact their ability to smell the TNT, and what precautions have to be taken in each of these soil types. The third is an automation experiment to see how automating the training process could help the training methods to become even more efficient.

The GICHD (Geneva International Conference On Humanitarian Demining) is partnering with APOPO (the organisation behind the Herorats project) as they see the value and the impact it will have on humanitarian
demining efforts in Africa.

How Allan got his name

Linda, one of the rat-trainers in Tanzania, told us how Allan got his name:

“(…) I am a Rodent Trainer in Apopo… I love Rats because they help us in demining.

That day when one of my fellow colleges came to me for a help of naming his Rat it was 3 months since I gave birth to my Son Allan, so I decide to name one of his rat my son name, because it was Male and Female rat, the other Rat I name Samira. Name of one of my friends daughter.

From that day I start to follow those that Allan Rat his development in every stage of his training. He is a good and intelligent rat, I love that rat one because he got my son Name and second its just happen I love rat and not only that one but all the rat.

Sometimes when I walk on the street and found a rat died on the road I feel pain its come natural and think if that rat where at Apopo I could train and shall help us and other people who suffer from the landmines. (…)”


Well, if you’d like to support Herorats as well, or maybe even adopt one of the four-pawed heroes, please go here.


Titanic: Birth of a Legend – and the rats are boarding the ship…

Posted in herorat, titanic, tv, website with tags , , , , on 21 August, 2008 by ambarussa

Damian O’Hare as the unfortunate Thomas Andrews in “Titanic: Birth of a Legend” (2005).

And if the “Titanic” is not a very clever peg to hang a rat on, we don’t know what is.


Yes. The Unofficial Damian O’Hare Website is one year old, and as we’re all on a diet, we’ve skipped the cake and got ourselves a rat instead. Or rather, the website adopted a rat. But not just any old rat – no, we adopted Allan. He’s working for the charity “Hero Rats” and is trained to sniff out landmines. With his help, and the help of many other heroic rats (and those who train them), landmines can be found and destroyed. And no worries, Allan and his mates are featherweights, the mines can’t harm them.

Here are a few words from Allan:

“My name is Allan and I’m an African giant pouched rat. I am no standard rat however, because I save lives! I’m a herorat, trained to sniff out unexploded landmines in Africa.

Every 20 minutes someone is killed or injured by a landmine. Often they are children. My job is to find the mines before the kids do. Luckily, I have two great advantages over the children. The first is my nose: I can smell explosives even when they are underground. The second is my size: I’m too light to set off the mines.

As a mine detector, I have other advantages too. I’m cheap – I work for peanuts. I’m easy to train and I don’t mind repetitive tasks. When trained, I can clear 100 square metres in 30 minutes.

I’m working in our remote explosives scent tracing (REST) department. This means I work in research with a new technology that will help identify the areas we should focus on (those with mines) and let the team know which areas are free of mines and can be released. We will use this method most often in clearing roads- roads that let aid in, or roads that allow people to return to their homes. At present, we are testing this technology and evaluating how different soil, weather, and mines impact the results.

I live in Tanzania where I was bred especially to become a herorat. My trainer, John, will send you regular reports of my progress and how our research evolves. I promise to do my best to make you proud of
me. With your support, I’m sure I’ll soon be out there clearing roads, finding mines and, most important of all, saving kids and innocent adults from injury or worse.

Together we will save lives and limbs.
Thank you.
Love & Whiskers,


Looks like we’ve just been paw(n)ed! Allan and his mates are doing a very important job. And you can help them! For only EUR 5.00 a month (that would be about £ 4.00) you can adopt a Hero Rat as well. Mind you, if you can afford more than EUR 5.00, nobody would complain.

For more information about the project and to adopt a hero rat, please click on the picture below:

Help if you can! Spread the word!

We’ll keep you posted on Allan’s work from time to time. This might not be as exciting as the Heimlich Maneuver, but it’s still a good thing.

Disclaimer: “Hero Rats” is the charity of choice of the webgnomes running the website, not of Damian O’Hare. We don’t know how he feels about rats.

PS: We’ve been lying about the cake. It’s all gone.

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