The First Known Deuterostome?

A few days ago I read an article in the Telegraph Humanity’s earliest known ancestor discovered...

Happy Chinese New Year 2017

Today is the first day of the Chinese Year of the Rooster, 2017. I am addressing this in particular...

Electromagnetic Mayhem

Not long ago, I read an article Apocalypse now? Nuclear proliferation is the least of our worries...

Lang may yer lum reek – especially in Alaska

In Scotland, traditional New Year greeting isLang may yer lum reek meaning “long may your chimney...

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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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Research finds no advantage in learning to read from age five

says a press release from the world's southernmost university, the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Comparing children from Rudolf Steiner schools, who usually start learning to read from age seven, and children in state-run schools, who start learning to read at five, Dr Sebastian Suggate found that the later learners caught up and matched the reading abilities of their earlier-reading counterparts by the time they were 11, or by Year 7.  Of his third series of experiments, he says:
When Dmitri Mendeleev first published his table of elements in 1869 (picture), only 60 of these were known. One group in particular was absent, namely the inert gases.  Now you may have heard this song:

"All these gases are inert
  Helium, neon, argon.
I’ll sing this song until it hurts
  Krypton, xenon, radon." **
Some years ago, I was watching a wildlife TV programme, where a mother leopard was leading her three cubs, and they encountered a bank. Two of the cubs jumped it on the first go, but the third struggled until it found a piece of overhanging vegetation which enabled it to take the bank in two leaps.

When one leaves school and enters university, one can find that leaps are required which can overtax the brain. I am always pleased to find books in maths and the sciences which allow one to make these leaps. In Mathematician’s Delight (Pelican 1943), W. W. Sawyer wrote:
16-bit Blues

16-bit Blues

Dec 30 2009 | 3 comment(s)

How often have you taken a picture with a digital camera, only for it to come out looking like this? The sky’s too bright, the shaded parts are too dark, and however much one juggles with it with software, it won’t come out right.

The eye managed to adapt to it all right, effortlessly moving over the scene. With film, if one were a darkroom wizard, one could play tricks with the processing. But digital – what do we get for our multi-megapixels and our 16777216 colours?

Water management has always been a big thing in China.  This morning I read about the South-North Water Project, in which China is starting to divert huge quantities of water from the sub-tropically wet south-west of the country, moving it to the arid north and north-east.

The project is not without human cost, as this article Migrants bear sacrifice for China's south-north water diversion project from China's own news agency shows.

In Anglo-Saxon orthography, so we understand, the letters "ge" often represented the sound "ye".  With that little bit of information, you should have no trouble in construing the following:

And if you want to go back a bit further in time, here is my idea of a Christmas greeting: