Kenneth Clarke twitters but does not tweet

UK justice secretary Kenneth Clarke, that hip jazz cat and political relic of a bygone age wheeled in by prime minister David Cameron to appease the Tory patrician old guard, has been sounding off in Brussels about European Commission plans to implement a revised data protection law. Clarke disapproves of the idea, and to the […]

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Homo sapiens reclassified near base of evolutionary tree

Subediting is an art form with results that are occasionally unintended. Take the following headline from a press release issued by the VIB life sciences institute in Gent… “People fall into three categories of gut microbiota” Misanthropic science from a country that barely exists? Actually, the work is quite interesting, showing as it does that […]

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Science and the philosophical nature of the world

It may take a scientist to unravel the details of the physical world, but it would seem that philosophers are still required to make sense of all the verbiage. Or at least philosophers of the more materialist type. Take, for example, the eminent thermodynamicist Peter Atkins, who in an interview with The Browser came out […]

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How to end a senseless war

Lives cut short, communities devastated, economies corrupted and criminal power elites reinforced. Yep, it’s the market in illicit drugs, and the state’s so-called war against it. From Avaaz… “For 50 years current drug policies have failed everyone, everywhere but public debate is stuck in the mud of fear and misinformation. Everyone, even the UN Office […]

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Grimsvötn belchings

Watching BBC news broadcasts over the past few days, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the tone and content of UK transport secretary Philip Hammond’s comments on the eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano in Iceland. Not only are forecasters and civil aviation authorities better prepared this year than they were for the Eyjafjallajökull eruption […]

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Transforming fibre-optic communication

BBC News reports on a fascinating paper published today in the journal Nature Photonics which describes a technique for transferring data along a fibre-optic cable using a single laser for the light source. A record-breaking transfer rate of 26 terabits per second has been achieved by a team of physicists, with Karlsruhe-based doctoral student David […]

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Underemployed Tory calls for unemployed to build information superhighway

Former Tory home secretary and one-time party leadership contender David Davis has used an increasingly unread newspaper to call for British Telecom to raise an army of unemployed workers to build the UK’s next generation broadband network. Until it was picked up by industry rag PC Pro, Davis’ Times article (£) attracted just seven reader […]

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Greenwich Cyclists praise Thames Path development

I may be a cynical old bugger, but it’s nice not having to complain all the time, and to be able to plant a good news story in the local press which is a little more substantial than one of an old lady being kind to cats. Greenwich Cyclists have something to be thankful for […]

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Scientific advice in times of crisis – the government responds

In March I discussed a report by the UK parliament’s Science and Technology Committee which identifies a number of failings in the official response to national emergencies. The committee made a number of detailed recommendations to government, among which are improvements to the practice and communication of scientific risk assessment, and the role and location […]

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