Passing by the red planet on the way to somewhere else

Image credit: CIVA/Philae/ESA Rosetta The picture above was taken by a camera onboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft as it passed by the planet Mars. But Mars is not the mission goal. Rosetta’s complex trajectory sees it swing past Mars, and also its home planet several times while on route to the grandly-named comet […]

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Germany to increase academic cooperation with Israel

With talk among UK academics of an academic boycott of Israel – or rather the obsession of a vocal group of lumpen pseudo-leftists and their supporters in the University and College Union – it’s good to see that German researchers are to consolidate their cooperation with Israeli scientists. As of the beginning of next year, […]

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Terry Glavin is in the building

I had the honour yesterday of meeting Comrade Glavin, along with Gadgie and Paulie, in a Southwark tavern. My fellow Drink-Soaked Trots lived up to at least part of the name. Terry is in London to flog his new book, “The lost and left behind”, which was so beautifully reviewed the other day by Gadgie. […]

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Controlling magnetic memory with an electric current

Researchers led by former Hamburg University physicist Matthias Bode, now at the Argonne National Laboratory, have found a neat way of switching the magnetisation of nanoparticles that will in future be used in hard disk drives. Bode, along with study lead author Stefan Krause and three other Hamburg physicists, employed a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) […]

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European Commission reports on nano action plan progress

A report published last month by the European Commission details the progress made over the past two years in the implementation of its nanoscience and technology action plan. From the report we learn that the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) accounts for around one third of total European public spending in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and […]

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Nanotechnology and green building converge

The convergence of nanotechnology and environmentally sensitive green building is here, according to George Elvin, director of the Green Technology Forum. In the forum’s latest report, Elvin cites examples of success stories in which costs have been reduced and environmental impacts lessened through the use of nanotechnology. But he cautions that the nanotech and building […]

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Civilising the brutes – or why we should love the state

As usual I’m a little late on the uptake, but George Monbiot‘s latest Guardian piece is worth a mention. Starting with a defence of financial regulation in the face of market mismanagement in the UK, Monbiot moves on to zoology, and then outlines a fundamental critique of individual human liberty. It’s quite a leap. The […]

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Comment is frequently bad-tempered

The following brief article has just been published in Freelance, the newsletter of the National Union of Journalists‘ London Freelance Branch. It was written just before the rumpus surrounding Maddy of the Sorrows, and my resignation from the CiF writers’ roster. I include it here just for the record. We appealed for information on newspaper […]

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Condemned Kurdish journalist’s father dies

I’ve just received a heavy-hearted email circular from Hadi Butimar, brother of one of the two Kurdish journalists on death row in Iran. The message does not concern Hiwa Butimar and his co-condemned Adnan Hassanpour so much as Hiwa’s father. On 12 October Mr Ali Butimar died, we are told, of a broken heart shortly […]

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