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A Tale of Two Mushrooms

In 1986, an expedition off the South-East coast of Australia near Tasmania, from depths of between...

Many Species Or One?

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I...

Women and Authority

A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s...

Carbon, Oxygen, And Stars

Recently this headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye: Carbon-12 Nucleus Shaped Like Equilateral...

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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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The sailing event of the recent 2012 London Olympics were held at Weymouth, half-way along Dorset and East Devon’s famous Jurassic Coast.  Thinks:


Sources: Sailing picture: goc2012.culture.gov.uk; Plesiosaur LHL Digital Collections

The BBC (cue: Land of Hope and Glory!) has just started yet another series on Chinese food.  In Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure, two famous chefs, the illustrious Ken Hom OBE and the rising star Ching-He Huang (黃瀞億) (neither of whom has an entry in Chinese Wikipedia) are travelling around China, and so far have been travelling around the region of Beijing, encountering a Grandmaster of Peking Duck.  Crisp skin and moist meat are essential, but the Chinese are becoming increasingly health-conscious, and over half of the ducks they eat are now of a reduced-fat v

This is an almost verbatim copy of a press release from the London Centre for nanotechnology.

When Watson, Crick and Wilkins discovered the DNA double helix nearly sixty years ago, they based their structure on an X-ray diffraction image (courtesy of Franklin) averaged over millions of DNA molecules (derived from squid sperm, I understand). Though the double helix has become iconic for our molecular-scale understanding of life, thus far no-one has ever “seen” the double helix of an individual double-stranded DNA in its natural environment, i.e, salty water.
Kills 99% of all known germs!” is a common advertising slogan for toilet (and other) cleaning products.  So, where would anyone want to add bacteria rather than take them away?

The answer – rural India, in particular the Lakshadweep Islands off the South-West coast (Clean India Journal, 2010).  If one does not have a nice sewage system to remove one’s waste, then the equivalent of millions of tiny dung-beetles might do the job for you.
For about a day I had been trying to read Real Clear Science, particularly the article linked Evolution Debate: Blame Atheists.  Alas, every time I visited the site I got a message:
This site is temporarily down and we are working on restoring service. Sorry for the inconvenience.
It’s now back up, but in the interim I have taken the opportunity, since I run on OScar from Sesame Street Systems, to have a Grouch.  Fear not, North Americans, it is directed at my fellow Brits.
Is your laboratory environment something like this?