恭賀新禧 And The Moon

To observers in much of North America and East Asia, on January 31st, the second full moon of the...

De Haut En Bas

Recently, in the New Statesman, under the headline David Attenborough: Brexiteers “probably don’t...

Is Betelgeuse A Cannibal Star?

A day or two ago I came across this article ...

Rocket salad, enantiomers, and nomenclature

Yet another article in the Telegraph: this time Supermarket rocket salad healthier than homegrown...

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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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It's now almost Midnight in Moscow, so it's already tomorrow in China.  Therefore may I take this opportunity to wish all readers of Scientific Blogging . . .
Blackboard qualitative proofs of the "existence" of, say, an equilibrium between demand and supply - beloved of economists trained in the maths of the department of mathematics rather than the maths of the departments of physics or engineering - are meaningless because they don't tell how big is big.
Now being at present in woolly monkey mode, I could a tail unfold about this comparison between the mathematics of mathematics and the mathematics of physics, but that would distract from the main point.


is Dutch for Chemistry, and literally means "Separation Science".  Now, if one has a carpet made of 85% polypropylene and 15% wool, how does one go about separating them?

Have no fear!  Nature already has a solution.  I found these cocoons (about half a centimetre long) on the surface of said carpet, and decided to look at them under a video microscope.  This is what we saw:


As you can see, these caterpillars emerged from the cocoons and resumed their analysis, selectively removing the wool fibres from the polypropylene matrix. 

A few days ago, I read Oldest Biblical Inscription Deciphered, Archaeologists Say by our News Staff, and found it fascinating.  It takes one back to Solomon, who, according to the Bible, had a thousand wives (that’s includin’ concubines, I have to tell ya.)  Now people like to embellish these stories, and my mother sometimes would sing this:

Oh Solomon, he had a thousand wives
And bein' a kind hearted fella,
He wanted all o' them
To lead contented lives
So he bought each mamma
A grand piana, ....

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: