Research impact – public engagement is key

Britain’s research councils have just published their much awaited concordat for engaging the general public with the academic world. Supported by a whole host of worthy bodies, the concordat outlines the “expectations and responsibilities” of senior managers through to contract researchers, postgraduate students and other toilers at the wheel of academe. RCUK have published a […]

Read More →
Science on the attack

An hour very well spent it was, watching Nobel prizewinning biologist Paul Nurse discussing why science is under attack from political interests, right and left. Much of the programme centred on climate science, and featured interviews with those at the heart of the manufactured scandal that was ClimateGate. I found myself quibbling with a few […]

Read More →
Off the tit (or breastfeeding bloggox)

According to paediatric specialists at University College London, breastfeeding infants exclusively until they are six months old may not be the best approach. A paper published yesterday in the British Medical Journal is critical of advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is accepted by a minority of European Union governments, including that of […]

Read More →
What do the English Bacc results show?

The new year saw Britain’s head teachers complain that the inclusion of the “English Baccalaureate” in this year’s school league tables is unfair. Note that the English Bacc is not a new educational programme, but rather a performance metric based on the proportion of secondary school students who achieve a C grade or above at […]

Read More →
A software cartel in the making?

Open source software advocates have requested that Germany’s industry regulator investigate the purchase of patents currently owned by Novell, a multinational with assets of over €1.5 billion that specialises in operating systems, data security and general business software. Novell holds a large number of UNIX patents, and owns SuSE Linux Enterprise, a Linux distribution aimed […]

Read More →
“I’m busy, there are two wars I have to end”

I headline this post with the words of the living but soon-to-be crucified saint Julian of Melbourne, as reported by his former Wikileaks colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg in a forthcoming book. This comes from a long and juicy article by Sarah Ellison that has appeared today, courtesy of Vanity Fair, in which the author details the […]

Read More →
Closure on the MMR fraud?

Andrew Wakefield and his colleague John Walker-Smith are no longer allowed to practise medicine in Britain. Their infamous Lancet paper alleging a link between childhood autism and the MMR vaccine has been discredited, and disowned by almost all of its original signatories. Brian Deer, the investigative journalist who was key to uncovering this “elaborate fraud”, […]

Read More →
Legal highs and the side effects of recreational pharmacology

The journal Nature begins this International Year of Chemistry with an essay by Purdue University chemist David Nichols, whose work on synthetic psychedelic compounds has been used by amateur and other chemists looking to develop recreational pharmaceuticals that sidestep drug control laws. Nichols is clearly distressed by the negative and sometimes fatal consequences of dance-floor […]

Read More →
Lift thine eyes to the heavens!

This is just to say that I’m impressed with the series of three popular astronomy programmes broadcast this week by the BBC. When human populations are increasingly concentrated in urban areas, with artificial light polluting the night sky as well as doing its intended job, it is a challenge to get people interested in stargazing. […]

Read More →
fff