Metamaterials bend light the wrong way

Anyone who has looked through a glass lens, or at the bottom of a garden pond through the water, has at the very least an intuitive grasp of light refraction. Transparent materials such as glass and water bend light rays entering them, so that the position of an object, when viewed from the other side […]

Read More →
Reducing friction at the atomic scale

Friction, at a microscopic level, is due to electromagnetic forces and the exchange interaction between atoms. Gears, bearings and lubricants can reduce friction in the macroscopic world, but nanoscale mechanical devices require other solutions. And solutions are certainly required, as the enormous surface-to-volume ratio in such devices leads to severe friction and component wear, reducing […]

Read More →
Photoconduction at the nanoscale

Scientists have for the first time created highly conductive nanotubes that could be used for specialised photovoltaic applications, and enable a new technology based on self-assembled nanometre-scale electronic circuits. In a recent issue of Science (subscription required), Yohei Yamamoto and colleagues at the Aida Nanospace Project in Tokyo report on the controlled self-assembly of coaxial […]

Read More →
Dispersal of nanotubes in the environment

New research has shown that that organic matter is highly effective in suspending carbon nanotubes in water, making them more likely to be transported and dispersed in the natural environment. The work was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, and published in the January 2007 issue of Environmental Science & Technology. Chemist […]

Read More →
Dansk for begyndere

Here’s a nice little documentary about the state of the Danish language… But this video was made by Norwegians, which means it’s all complete bollocks, as the Noggies haven’t a clue about … well …anything, really (except my friend Trond, who’s now a thoroughly assimilated Canuck). I spent a few years living near Copenhagen, and […]

Read More →
Marxism, Flat-Earthism and email of the week

The following letter was published today in the Guardian newspaper: “Keith Flett citing Paul Dacre as the reason why he remains a Marxist is little different to someone justifying membership of the Flat Earth Society on the grounds that it keeps the geometry nice and simple.” The background to this silliness may be found here, […]

Read More →
Tabloid editor slams “subsidariat” press shock!

Paul Dacre, editor of that fine upstanding bastion of the free British press, the Daily Wail, made a rare public appearance on Monday night, to deliver the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture at the London College of Communications. Dacre used the platform to attack what he calls the “subsidariat” – that is, serious, broadsheet newspapers such as […]

Read More →
There is no ‘War on Terror’

There is no war on terror, says Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald. What we have instead is a crime prevention exercise, albeit one in thwarting the actions of psychopathic killers, and bringing them to justice: “London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of […]

Read More →
Saving the world from religious idiocy?

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 12 January 2007. It will take a lot more than shouting at the radio to defeat the forces of darkness and superstition. On Tuesday evening there gathered in protest in central London a few hundred Christian fundamentalists, together with a small number of […]

Read More →
Human rights and potential in handicapped people

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 8 January 2007. Ashley’s parents may have been acting out of love and compassion, but they have denied her the opportunity to reach her full potential. I once worked in a residential care home for men and women with severe mental handicap. Most […]

Read More →
fff