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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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One has to be careful how one reads.  A few years ago I used this short bit from Darwin’s Descent of Man (page 174) to tease a Welsh friend:


Saffron


In one of my school history books, as I remember, there is a story that saffron was introduced into Europe by a pilgrim from concealing some corms in his staff, to avoid the death penalty if found by the agents of the Sultans who controlled its export.  However, the history of saffron, including a 14-week ‘saffron war’, seems much more complicated that this.

Alerted by a link on Real Clear Science, I turned to an article on Slate.com, namely

Felony Science


Sixteen-year-old Kiera Wilmot’s curiosity was apparently piqued when a friend told her that if you mixed hydrochloric acid and aluminum, an exciting reaction happened. . . . . . She was expelled from school and now faces felony charges.

Recently, there was found in Spain a shelled Pre-Cambrian Critter which showed distinct evidence of a gut.  This got me thinking about the distinction between the deuterostomes and protostomes, interest in which was sparked again by the even more recent article from National Geographic: