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Binary Gender — Mud across the Atlantic

I have recently been enjoying a bit of cross-Atlantic mud-slinging with some of our most prolific...

Dance of the Planets

Yesterday (8th) I took this photograph of Venus and Mercury from the grounds of Reading University...

Brain like a Jelly?

A news release from Heidelberg, In Search of the Origin of Our Brain, treats us to these two picture...

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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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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:

In 2001 there was a massive outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the United Kingdom.  This caused, in terms of prices at that time £8bn / $13–16bn of loss to the UK economy, and much distress in agricultural communities.

 One of the most memorable things of that time was images of cattle and other carcasses being burned.