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My attention was recently drawn to a link to the Science Codex, which begins:...

Pluto, Stígandr, Omoo?

What do you say to Pluto’s demotion to “dwarf planet” status?  I did not approve of...

Thoughts from Pluto?

Pluto really does seem to have captured people’s imagination.  With the announcement that...

Jupiter And Venus Conjunction

We have already had a view from the Mediterranean of Jupiter, Venus and the Moon in Seeing Jupiter...

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Robert H OlleyRSS Feed of this column.

Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

I would describe myself as a Polymer Morphologist. I am not an astronaut,

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The man who stopped smoking

is the title of a video from the British Medical Journal (BMJ).  The blurb says:

Richard Doll was a luminary of clinical research whose case control study, published in the BMJ in 1950, first identified smoking as an important cause of cancer and other diseases. The paper's findings were received with apathy, anger and disbelief. This 10 minute film to promote the BMJ archive now being fully searchable back to 1840 charts Doll's remarkable life and the impact of both of this paper, and his follow-up British Doctors' Study.
One of the pleasures of working at Reading University is being able to walk across to our Agriculture Department at lunchtime and join the table talk.  Today, they were discussing the following press release.

Rising energy costs give an important role for organic farming in securing long-term food supply

The nub of this is as follows:

Feeling increasingly uncomfortable on this blog, as it seems to be becoming an outlet for the Anti-God Squad, I nevertheless want to share with my friends this interesting news item which I first spotted in the Times of India Health&Science Section, where it was headlined

Cabbage fuel reduces carbon release.
WASHINGTON: Jet fuel's grave carbon emissions can be reduced by about 84 per cent by refining it from the seeds of a lowly weed, which is a cousin to the cabbage, says a Michigan Technological University researcher.

A possible breakthrough in understanding of cancer pain has been announced. A group at Heidelberg University, led by Prof Dr Rohini Kuner, has just published an article in Nature Medicine entitled Hematopoietic colony–stimulating factors mediate tumor-nerve interactions and bone cancer pain link to abstract.

An indignant letter in this month's Chemistry World has drawn my attention to a forthcoming ban on the use of dichloromethane, except by the most professional of professionals. EU sidesteps Reach to ban paint stripping solvent goes the relevant article, Reach being an acronym for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals.

Practically every month in my Chemistry World there appears an article where a group of workers has synthesized some natural product with amazing ingenuity. But why, to use a Hogwartsian analogy, does one go to such great effort when the greenhouse is only a walk away from the potions department? So let us join Professor Sprout for a walk around the Hogwarts greenhouses.

Some plant families, such as the Cruciferae and the Labiatae are remarkably free from poisonous plants, whereas others such as the Araceae all seem to come with a toxic hazard warning sign.