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Superconduction With Stinks — A New Temperature Record

Back around 1960, at school I enjoyed a laboratory lecture on liquid nitrogen, watching a deep...

Decline Of Language — Are Women To Blame?

Recently we were treated to a repeat of a three part series, ...

Brain, Rhythm, and Music

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...

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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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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

For some time now in Britain, our “great and good” have been belabouring the more conservative part of our population [1] with accusations of Islamophobia and Homophobia.  The implication of those two epithets is that they are some kind of medical or — by extension — moral pathology.  I will attempt in this short blog to raise the subject of what I consider to be some errors of our “great and good.”

I have seen creeping into recent discussions of the TV show ‘Cosmos’ the idea that we scientists, because of our greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works, will somehow be intrinsically better when it comes to dealing with matters of ethics, politics or religion.  I beg to differ.

A Star that seems Brighter when Eclipsed


This paradoxical phenomenon was brought to my attention by a recent article in Physics World.  Quite an informative article, but like some bard of old, with legendary tales of kings and heroes, I would like to tell it as a story, in three episodes.

    1: Variable Star

One of the difficulties of judging the ways of people is the fact that highly intelligent individuals can at the same time be in the grip of a totally cockeyed ideology.  One reads things like this:

Parents who dress their daughters in pink are holding back the economy, says minister

Those familiar with the Lord of the Rings will remember the Huorns.  According to the Lord of the Rings Wiki:
 
Mostly the Huorns stood as dark trees in the deepest forests, gnarled and unmoving, yet watchful. When aroused in wrath they moved swiftly as if wrapped in shadows, falling on foes with deadly and merciless strength. . . . These were wild wood spirits who were bent on the destruction of all who threatened the forests. They were dangerous to all on two legs unless they were protected by Ents.