Renowned raspberry breeder retires

Every day I receive in my email inbox a number of lists of press releases from various science media agencies. I now rely on such information digests when it comes to finding leads for news reports, but trawling through the long emails can be tedious. Occasionally, however, one spots an absolute gem of of a […]

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Gadgie breaks wind in Hull. Not many dead.

Reports are coming in that a big fat gadgie from Hull was responsible for the 5.3 magnitude earthquake that caused widespread damage to homes and businesses in the early hours of this morning. Gastroenterologists warn that aftershocks are to be expected, and the authorities have advised homeowners to take appropriate precautions.

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Why NASA beats ESA when it comes to public outreach

In the February issue of CAP journal – a free, peer-reviewed journal for astronomy communicators – is an article by science journalist Diane Scherzler comparing the North American and European space agencies when it comes to press relations and media accessibility. Scherzler is an editor with the German broadcaster SWR. In her article Scherzler makes […]

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The Earth will vaporise (unless we give her a nudge)

New calculations by astronomers at the University of Sussex predict that the Earth will be vaporised by the Sun in about 7.6 billion years unless the planet’s orbit is changed. This contradicts previous model results showing that the Earth will be burnt to a cinder, but otherwise left intact when our local star expands into […]

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Re-estimating the national intelligence

…or how Iran is coming to love the bomb. I refer to a US National Intelligence Estimate published a couple of months ago that was widely reported to clear Iran of involvement in developing nuclear weapons. The man responsible for that judgement, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, is now back-pedalling, and refers to “confusion” […]

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Skoll the wolf who shall scare the Moon

Tomorrow morning sees a lunar eclipse, so lock up your daughters, kennel the dog, and hope that the event doesn’t presage the return of the antichrist. If you are an adventurous soul and wish to watch the spectacle, let’s hope that the skies are clear where you are. For UK observers the eclipse begins at […]

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Sainsbury’s: a microcosm of England

Yesterday I did my weekly grocery shopping in a South London branch of Sainsbury’s. When I queried the price tag on a small piece of discounted cheese, the assistant on the deli counter replied: “It’ll be reducted at the till.” That’s the plain English version. Now I’m not sure how best to phoneticise glottal stops, […]

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John Carter Wood has been ‘Normed’

The estimable John Carter Wood has been profiled by the redoubtable Norman Geras. John – an historian by trade – is an American citizen married to a German professor of English literature. They live in a sleepy town on the Rhine. John and I only recently started to read each others’ blogs regularly, and I […]

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