Global warming bullshit

Up on Blackheath this week it’s all compositing toilets this and global warming that. They have a point, these climate campers, as it appears that the production of animal manure is increasing concentrations of nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide concentrations have been increasing since the industrial revolution, and this potent […]

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Press photographer assaulted at Climate Camp

Freelance photojournalist Jonathan Warren reports that he was kicked in the stomach yesterday by a Climate Camp participant who was attempting to force another photographer to delete pictures from his camera. This is what happens when a group of know-nothing hotheads attempts to set up “media free zones” in a public space, the inevitable consequence […]

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Self-regarding and possibly self-defeating

This year’s Climate Camp is happening now, in my manor. The camp is located no more than a few hundred metres from where I’m typing this post in Blackheath Village: a leafy suburb on the border of south east London and Kent, next to Greenwich and the River Thames, on a hill overlooking Canary Wharf […]

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The Wire comes to Blackheath

By jove that nice Mr Grayling is right! During my three-decade-long association with this once genteel corner of suburban south east London, I’ve seen Blackheath Village inhabited in turn by hash-toking bohemian musicians, artists and writers (fond, yet hazy memories), loadsamoney Thatcherite yuppies, massed estate agents, and, most lately, city finance types who’ve succeeded in […]

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Europe overreaches on chemical controls

The European Union’s REACH regulations on chemicals came in for serious criticism during the planning stages, and since the programme was launched in 2006 it has been under close scrutiny, both expert and activist. In tomorrow’s edition of Nature, toxicologist Thomas Hartung and chemist Costanza Rovida look in detail at animal testing of chemicals under […]

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Ethical weight loss

Introducing a feature article on the stimulation of energy burning brown fat in overweight adults, and a news report on the development of a drug which reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body, a recent editorial in New Scientist claims that the traditional remedy for expanding waistlines – eat less and exercise more […]

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Suburban Britain becoming “like Desperate Housewives”

Parts of Britain are turning into scenes from the cult American TV drama Desperate Housewives, says Tory home affairs spokesman Chris Grayling. Vast swathes of the Home Counties surrounding London are now blighted by the sight of middle class professionals lounging about on discounted sofas parked on immaculately kept front lawns. Drug taking is rife […]

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Selfless thinker has thunk some thoughts

Noted thinker and writer Madeleine Bunting has recently perused a few popular science books, and as a result experienced the giddy revelation that there is no such thing as a truly autonomous self. We are told that science has just discovered that popular ideas about the brain and human nature are myths, and Our Maddy […]

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New whines in old bottles (redux)

Adam LeBor has used the privilege of a guest column in The Times to rail against New Labour’s authoritarianism and assault on civil liberties. Tub-thumping rhetoric it is, and while the core argument is sound, LeBor, like so many other commentators on this issue, misses the point. Unlike LeBor I have only a largely unread […]

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DNA and self-organisation in the nanoworld

On the BBC News website and elsewhere there are reports of an interesting paper just published in Nature Nanotechnology on the use of DNA in the production of next-generation computer chips. This has to do with the ability of genetic material to self-organise or self-assemble chemical compounds into complex structures. As a journalist I’ve written […]

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