London riots – journalists to blame

My friend the Canadian journalist Terry Glavin has been delving into the story of Mark Duggan, whose shooting dead by a Metropolitan Police officer helped spark the recent riots which saw large parts of England’s inner cities go up in flames. The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is tasked with investigating such incidents, has declared […]

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Nuclear power – the state of play

Risø DTU in Denmark has issued its eighth report in the series “Nuclear power and nuclear safety”. The document, aimed at policymakers, media the general public, but unfortunately published only in Danish, presents a concise picture of the status of nuclear power in 2010. So far I’ve read only bits of the Danish text. If […]

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Soil carbon sink less effective than expected

Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a positive effect on plant growth, and an increase in biomass leads to a greater carbon uptake by soils. This negative feedback could provide a mitigating factor in anthropogenic climate change, but its influence is likely to be less than previously understood. Biologists Kees van Groenigen, Craig Osenberg […]

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Offshore wind farm – a des res for marine life

A study by Dutch marine ecologists reveals that a wind energy farm in the North Sea has very few negative effects on local fauna. On the contrary, the turbine piles of the Egmond aan Zee offshore wind farm (OWEZ) have created a new habitat for seabed creatures such as mussels, anemones and crabs, and provide […]

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Cosmic flocculence

I’m used to to the adjective “flocculent” when applied to fluffy little clouds, but it makes a pleasant surprise to see it employed in the description of something as grand as a spiral galaxy located 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo. A “typical example of a flocculent spiral galaxy” is how […]

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London riots – number crunching

Additional police officers deployed to deal with riots in London: 1,700. Additional police officers deployed to cover the recent royal wedding: 5,000. Metropolitan Police Service motto: “Working together for a safer London”.

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The peasants are revolting innit?

Never mind the wanton destruction of buildings, livelihoods and communities, the damage done to democratic political discourse and the English language in the public reaction to the street violence currently engulfing Britain is quite extraordinary. The unholy rainbow alliance of lumpen rioters and looters, whether they be politically motivated nihilistic street fighters, opportunistic thieves, or […]

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London burning – politics at its most visceral

My friend the criminal historian John Carter Wood is interested in the etymology of American English terms such as “the Feds”, when used by rioters on the streets of Britain. It is a good question, but one should be wary of attributing too much to the influence of US culture. One could say that this […]

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