The revolution has been postponed awhile

What can I add to my words of yesterday on the G20 protest march in London? The police estimate of 35,000 marchers was near enough right. There were possibly 50,000, but certainly no more than that. It was a good-natured event (as I wrote yesterday, “a family fun day out”), and the policing was relatively […]

Read More →
Nick Cohen on the BBC and the crisis in journalism

Writing in Standpoint, a monthly magazine of culture and politics published by the right-leaning Social Affairs Unit, Observer columnist Nick Cohen argues that the BBC is in the same rickety boat as the rest of the media. BBC journalists are indeed in the same sinking ship as the rest of us, but the quality of […]

Read More →
No happy ending

Spreading the message of environmental responsibility may be one of the critical challenges of our time, but I’m not convinced about the Archbeard of all England’s approach, as expounded yesterday in a sermon delivered at York Minster. Rowan Williams says that God will not intervene to stop us wrecking the natural world, and the archbishop […]

Read More →
Soaking the holy book

Spotted yesterday in the River Lea by Tottenham Marshes: The text is clearly Arabic, and, given the typographical style and ornamentation, my best guess is that these pages were taken from a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an. If so, who could have committed this sacrilegious act? As I sat on the bank […]

Read More →
Credyt crunch, mediaeval ftyle

For many of the younger generation, handicapped as they are by a school curriculum starved of culturally meaningful content, ancient history began with the 1968 Summer of Love, and the Reformation with the rise of the Sex Pistols a decade later. As for the ignoble Fourth Estate, our oft-repeated comparison of the noughties credit crunch […]

Read More →
We cannot live by scientism alone

Earlier this month in an essay in the journal Nature, Cardiff-based sociologist of science Harry Collins offered his thoughts on a possible resolution to the epistemological battle between natural science and the humanities. Harry Collins is a social scientist whose work I value and respect. He clearly understands natural science and its practitioners, and strongly […]

Read More →
Can blogging replace science journalism?

In this week’s Nature is an article by senior reporter Geoff Brumfiel on the decline in science journalism and rise of blogging, and an accompanying editorial. The question asked is whether blogging can replace traditional science reporting. One objection springs immediately to mind on reading these articles: the decline in science journalism is not universal, […]

Read More →
Saturn’s moons on parade

The US and European space agencies have just published some stunning images captured last month by the Hubble telescope of Saturn with four of its many moons passing in front of the planet. Click on the picture below for high-resolution versions of this and other images of the transit. Source: NASA, ESA and the Hubble […]

Read More →
Pope says Church under threat from superstition

Dr Josef Ratzinger, Chief Priest of the Universal Cult of the Invisible Friend (Western Rite), and former head of its ideological enforcement agency, has during a visit to Cameroon declared that the organisation faces a threat from the “growing influence of superstitious forms of religion”. “Papa Benedictus”, dressed in flowing white robes, then crossed himself […]

Read More →
fff