The face that could bring down a regime

This is the face of Neda Soltan, a 27-year-old Iranian who on 20 June 2009 was shot dead by paramilitary police while demonstrating on the streets of Tehran. Neda’s mother Haja comments: “Her death has been so painful – words can never describe my true feelings. But knowing that the world cried for her… that […]

Read More →
Organic food and inorganic reporting

Much as it pains me to agree with Peter Melchett of the pro-organic food Soil Association, I think he is quite right when it comes to the presentation and reporting of a new review of the nutritional value and health effects of organic and conventionally produced foods. In the press release and media reports of […]

Read More →
Mandelson on higher education

It’s summer, and therefore time for the annual row over higher education funding. This year into the ring steps the peer of the realm and cabinet minister formerly known as Peter Mandelson, who wishes to see social mobility and academic excellence supported. In a speech delivered at Birkbeck, University of London (the institution formerly known […]

Read More →
“Stand by me!”

When the night has come And the land is dark And the moon is the only light we’ll see No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me There were chants aplenty of “Marg bar dictator!” outside the Iranian Embassy in London, but it was […]

Read More →
Climate Camp whitewash

The policing of last year’s Climate Camp near Kingsnorth power station in Kent lacked “tactical plan”, according to a review by South Yorkshire Police. Maybe so, but its strategic objectives were clear enough to those of us who witnessed the operation at first hand. These appeared to include the intimidation of protesters, and obstruction of […]

Read More →
Praise be to NANOG!

Harvard cyberlawyer Jonathan Zittrain explains the workings of the world wide web, and gives due credit to its guardians in the North American Network Operators Group… “Your neighbourly duty is to pass the beer along – at risk to your own trousers – to get it to its destination.” There may be the occasional belch, […]

Read More →
An early Thameside harvest

I nearly fell off my bike yesterday, what with the shock of seeing a vast sea of flowering blackberry bushes on the bank of the River Thames near Erith in Kent. Once recovered, my foraging instincts took over. I filled a small carrier bag with the juicy fruits, and proceeded on my way. Yes, I […]

Read More →
Green grease

The oils and greases that keep the wheels of industry turning tend these days to be based on non-biodegradable synthetic oils and petroleum derivatives, and include thickeners made from metallic soaps. They perform very well as lubricants, but millions of tonnes of hydraulic and industrial oils made from such materials are discharged every year into […]

Read More →
Cold comfort for sacked Canadian nuclear regulator

At the start of the year I commented on the political defenestration of Linda Keen, head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The dirty deed was done by a conservative government embarrassed by technical faults and lax management at a research nuclear reactor responsible for producing around half the world’s supply of medical isotopes used […]

Read More →
I wouldn’t go (in) there if I were you

You can take the following as my contribution to the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk. This piece has nothing whatsoever to do with the late entertainer Michael Jackson Esq., and little to do with the moon, for that matter. I had just turned five years old on 20 July 1969, and, on my primary […]

Read More →
fff