Ancient Nitrogen Metabolsim

We are often told how bad it is to keep sitting at the computer, but one good outcome at least...

Why are Women more opposed to Fracking?

A storm has been brewing, over why in Britain women are more opposed to fracking than men. ...

From Prohibition to Ferguson?

G.K.Chesterton (1874 – 1936) visited the United States twice, in 1921 and 1930.  I...

2015 — a Space Oddment

During the morning of last Monday (28th September) in Europe and Africa, or the evening of the...

User picture.
picture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Hank Campbellpicture for Hontas Farmerpicture for Helen Barrattpicture for Sean Gibbonspicture for Ed Chen
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,

... Read More »


was the title of a history book I had as a boy.  Good things, in their way — without them, I wouldn’t be able to sit here talking to you all and meeting some very interesting people online.  But some decidedly unpleasant customers do all too often hitch a ride.

I have just downloaded a paper featuring some research from the University of Durham and our own School of Biological Sciences here at Reading:

In 1986, an expedition off the South-East coast of Australia near Tasmania, from depths of between 400 and 1,000 metres, brought up some jelly-like creatures, which were seen to be unusual and immediately preserved in ethanol. Now they have been examined, and assigned to a new genus Dendrogramma (from their resemblance to a tree diagram), with two species D. enigmatica and D. discoides.

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I was recommended the account by Edward J. Larson in When Science and Christianity Meet, edited by DC Lindberg and RL Numbers (ISBN 0226482162).  .  It’s a very informative book, and wide-ranging too: out of 12 chapters, only one on Galileo and one on Darwin.

A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, received rather a lot of comments.  Among these were a few about the place of women in the world: however these tended to be lost among the welter of other comments.  Indeed, the article seemed to attract a large number of orcs.  Now in some ways I am a highly discriminatory sort of person, and here I am discriminating between trolls

Recently this headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye: Carbon-12 Nucleus Shaped Like Equilateral Triangle.  It led to an article in Physics World, entitled