Egotism disguised as piety

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 20 October 2006. When believers complain that atheists are out to restrict their legitimate right to self-expression, they have completely lost the plot. In a Guardian article on religious expression, Stephen Beer of the Christian Socialist Movement erects a straw giant – a virtual […]

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Sulking in the corner of Europe

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 19 October 2006. The European Union has its faults, but the biggest problem is member state governments, not the Commission or Parliament. During a speech on Monday of this week, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso effectively challenged the two likely contenders for the […]

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Misleading the public over toxic chemicals

Some environmentalists are misleading the public over toxic chemicals in the environment, focussing on their presence and ignoring the amounts involved. Having myself criticised environmentalists who go overboard in order to attract media attention and spread fear, it’s always good to see scientists fighting back against bad science and public deception. Leading toxicologists are taking […]

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There be no dragons

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 13 October 2006. Biotechnology promises much, but it’s in everyone’s interest that we proceed with cautious optimism and not cut corners with research. Debate surrounding the promises and pitfalls of genetic engineering and other biotechnologies is often polarised, with vested interests on both sides […]

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What defines a “scientific expert”?

How can a sociologist pass himself off convincingly as a physicist? Slate magazine has an article reporting on a sociologist who posed as a physicist and managed to convince a number of experts. The case is reported also by OpenScience and Daniel Davies. Professor Harry Collins conducts sociological research into ‘expertise’, but has also a […]

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Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2006

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to: Andrew Fire Craig Mello “for their discovery of RNA interference – gene silencing by double-stranded RNA” Andrew Fire is Professor of Pathology and Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and Craig Mello a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical […]

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2006

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to: Roger Kornberg “for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription” Dr Kornberg is Professor of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. The first thing to note about Roger Kornberg is that he follows his father in winning a Nobel prize. Arthur […]

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Nobel Prize in Physics 2006

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2006 has been awarded to: John Mather George Smoot “…for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.” Dr Mather is a senior staff scientist based at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Dr Smoot a professor of physics at the University […]

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Russian interference in Sakhalin oil project

After reading a news report in this week’s New Scientist about the Russian government’s decision to block the Sakhalin Energy consortium’s plans to drill for oil and gas on Sakhalin Island, I decided to look into this further. The Sakhalin-2 project is under joint development by the Anglo-Dutch Shell oil company, and the Japanese firms […]

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Age discrimination outlawed. So what?

This article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 2 October 2006. Age discrimination in employment is now illegal in the UK. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, which follow an EU directive, make it unlawful to discriminate against workers under the age of 65 on grounds of age. Fantastic, you might be […]

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