Revising the climate-change canon

It may not be a consensus, but the collective view of the world’s climate scientists is that humans are responsible for the bulk of the change observed over the last century. And the scientists concerned have now firmed up their previous statements on the matter. One of the professional organisations to which I belong is […]

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Celebrating Arabic science – in a proper historical context

The estimable Jim al-Khalili – professor of physics at the University of Surrey, and presenter of some of the best recent science outreach programmes on British television – has an article today in the Guardian on Arabic science and its place in the world. There is so much good in the article that to criticise […]

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Carbon capture, ocean fertilisation and offsets trading (part 4)

This is the fourth and final instalment in a series of posts on carbon capture technologies, based on a Royal Society seminar I attended in December. I began the discussion here, but preceded this with a report of a study that casts doubt on the idea of ocean iron fertilisation. Here I focus on economic […]

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Primo

This comes highly recommended. Primo is a powerful drama starring Anthony Sher based on Primo Levi’s memoir of his captivity in Auschwitz. I watched the film on TV yesterday – Holocaust Memorial Day – and the BBC has now made it available for the rest of this week via their online iPlayer. If you run Windows […]

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Backlash over papal speech protest

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about protests by Italian scientists and students against a planned speech by the pope at La Sapienza University in Rome. The protest succeeded when the Bishop of Rome decided that it would be best if he kept a low profile, and delay visiting the university until the fuss […]

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“It’s about the past versus the future”

From Barack Obama’s speech following his victory in the South Carolina primary: “The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders. It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old, and it’s not about black versus white. This election is about the past versus the future.” A number of commentators have […]

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“British astrologers barred from two telescopes”

I may be a little tired and emotional at 06:00-ish on a Sunday morning, but I swear on my copy of The Origin of Species that a presenter on BBC News 24 has just introduced a story thus. Far from original, I know, but it is nonetheless faintly amusing, and a sadly common blunder among […]

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Canada’s nuclear-poisoned chalice

I refer to the position of head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), which recently became vacant in circumstances which should cause acute embarrassment to the government and parliament of Canada. This is all about the saga of the Chalk River reactor, and the sacking of CNSC chief Linda Keen. From what I understand, […]

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How dost thy cat shit?

This is not an advertising feature. Oklahoma-based Evolve-Products has come up with an ingenious solution for cats whose humans are fed up with having to deal with messy litter trays. Behold CatSeat, by Feline Evolution. This toilet seat for moggies fits over a standard commode, and the makers claim that the furry beasts can learn […]

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