Ocean-seeding global warming fix flawed

Research by oceanographers at Stanford and Oregon State universities has cast doubt on the viability of a widely-reported fix for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Michael Lutz and his co-workers have shown that a €70bn venture which involves fertilising the oceans with iron and other nutrients will not work as advertised. The researchers say […]

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Karl Popper – the philosopher of social democracy

[This is a tidied up version of two comments left yesterday over at the Drink-Soaked Trots] Anthony Cox wrote yesterday about the philosopher Karl Popper, highlighting a recent conference in Prague – Rethinking Popper – and in particular a paper by Dirk Verhofstadt titled The Liberal Testament of Karl Popper. Verhofstadt’s essay is concerned with […]

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Update on condemned Kurdish journalists

There is some ‘good’ news and some bad news from Iranian-occupied Kurdistan. Abdolwahed (Hiwa) Boutimar’s death sentence has been quashed by the Supreme Court owing to irregularities in legal procedure. The case has now been referred back to the Revolutionary Court in Marivan that sentenced him, and that tribunal could reinstate the original sentence. The […]

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Charlie in Europe

Hot on the heels of the call by senior British police officers for cannabis to be re-reclassified (yawn) comes a story about cocaine use in Europe. Statistics collated by the EU drugs agency EMCDDA show that use of the Bolivian marching powder is on the rise, and it is claimed that around 4.5 million Europeans […]

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New laser nanoantenna could lead to sub-wavelength imaging in biology and medicine

Physicists at Harvard University have demonstrated an optical antenna with potential applications in chemistry, biology and medicine. Known as a quantum cascade laser nanoantenna, the device was developed by Federico Capasso and others in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Their research findings were reported as the cover feature in the 22 October issue […]

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UK scientists lead China closer to carbon capture and storage

Here’s an interesting story from the British Geological Survey. Let’s see how widely it gets reported by the mass media. So far I’ve seen it picked up only by a few specialist publications and the online section of Wired magazine. From the BGS press release: China’s CO2 emissions from using coal are set to double […]

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Crackling wires and microchip packaging

A recent research advance in the mechanics of crystalline materials was sensationally reported by the BBC as paving the way to handheld supercomputers. That may be a rather extreme interpretation, but the discovery by scientists at the University of Edinburgh is nevertheless of major importance for electronics engineering at the nanoscale. The researchers, led by […]

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The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology

It would probably be frowned upon in obesity-obsessed Britain, but a new outreach video presented by Andrew Maynard from the Washington DC-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies uses a peculiarly American snack food to help unlock the mysteries of nanotechnology. The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology serves up a number of scientific, technical and environmental concepts in […]

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Three times more cars than children

A report prepared by Demos for Play England reveals that in the UK today there are three times more cars than children. To be precise, in a total population of just under 61 million, there are now 33 million cars and 11 million dependent children. I don’t react with horror to these statistics, thinking “Bad, […]

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Khader the Kingmaker

Denmark goes to the polls today to elect a new parliament. If the psephologists have done their sums right, it looks like the centrist block of Venstre and Konservative will come out on top, though with a reduced majority. Such a result will ensure that PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen remains in power. I am quite […]

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