RIP Politiken (1884-2010)

Denmark’s once respected broadsheet newspaper Politiken yesterday lost its battle with journalistic integrity, and gave up the ghost in a deep sigh of petite-bourgeois liberal angst. The funeral will be a private affair, attended only by a small number of shame-faced hacks and members of the Copenhagen chatterati who would rather not be photographed, let […]

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A right to archive?

In grave tones the British Library warns that Britain’s “online heritage” could be lost forever if the government does not grant it a “right to archive”, similar to that which governs print publications. Britain’s official über-library has since 2004 been archiving UK websites, but has so far succeeded in covering just 6,000 of an estimated […]

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“Research without Google would be like life without electricity”

It’s a strong statement, made by Nanjing ecologist Xiong Zhenqin, that defines the world’s most popular Internet search engine as one of a jobbing scientist’s bare necessities. But, if we are honest, many of us would have to admit our dependence on Google. There may be other options, but Google is the dominant player in […]

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Orlando Zapata Tamayo (1967-2010)

“He wasn’t a murderer. He wasn’t a thief. He wasn’t a rapist. He was simply a young man who wanted a better future for Cuba.” [Laura Pollan, Ladies in White] RIP Orlando Zapata Tamayo – plumber, democrat, dissident, prisoner of conscience.

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Predicting El Nino and La Nina

It may be a little stronger than the metaphorical flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil causing a hurricane on the coast of Australia, but the localised Pacific Ocean climate pattern known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation is associated with floods, droughts and other severe weather effects throughout the world, and affects the livelihoods of […]

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Quackery – one step forwards, two steps back

1. Forward… British MPs call for public funding of homeopathy to be withdrawn. 2. Back… Andreas Moritz – “a medical intuitive; a practitioner of Ayurveda, iridology, shiatsu, and vibrational medicine” (i.e., a new-age wanker) who believes that cancer “does not kill a person afflicted with it!”, and makes part of his living from selling various […]

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Sizergate and the moderation of fools (2)

Further to the recent kerfuffle over a Christian priest who breaks bread with antisemites, the victim of that spat, one Joseph Weissman (aka “Seismic Shock”), writes on his own blog and also over at Harry’s gaff about Stephen Sizer’s attempt to portray himself as an opponent of the current regime in Iran. This when the […]

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“Where there’s belief there’s hope”

Last night the BBC broadcast a brilliant spoofumentary. Up there with the likes of Chris Morris and Brass Eye it was, and perhaps even better. Presented by actor-geezer Danny Dyer, the hour-long film “I believe in…UFOs” took what I believe is called a sideways look at those who believe that extraterrestrial higher intelligences are regular […]

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Science for all

The UK government-commissioned Science for all expert group has published its report and action plan, which is available from the websites of the British Science Association and Department of Business Innovation and Skills. There is also a discussion forum on the BIS site. Chaired by Roland Jackson, chief executive of the British Science Association, the […]

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Saturn’s wonky magnetic field

Earth is not the only planet in the solar system that features the colourful polar light shows we know as the aurora borealis and aurora australis, or northern and southern lights. Jupiter and Saturn have similar auroral displays, which arise from an interaction between planetary magnetic fields and the constant stream of electrons and protons […]

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