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Obama, Ancestry, and DNA

On the 23rd of April, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America (fanfare!) issued...

Tully Monster Unmasked

Today in Science Codex I read this article...

Is The Tungsten Bulb On Its Way Back?

In the last few days, there has been a spate of reports that the incandescent bulb is on its way...

Ancient Greek attitudes today

The Ancient Greeks (Archimedes being an honourable exception) have a reputation for having been...

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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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Germans: ‘We’ve found second solar system’

This sounds like something from a science fiction comic when I was young, back in the days when Dan Dare was with Spacefleet, which was effectively the RAF in Space before the Russians and Americans took over.

However, this bit of news is quite contemporary.  According to one of my favourite online newspapers*, a team of German scientists claim to have discovered a “second solar system” made up of seven planets orbiting a star similar to our own.

Bug Dracula

Bug Dracula

Oct 31 2013 | 0 comment(s)

Today is Reformation Day, which until recently (so I have heard) was a national holiday in Germany, but the government decided that the Germans were getting too many holidays, and took it out of the calendar.  It is still, though, a civic holiday in Slovenia, since the Reformation contributed profoundly to their cultural development, although the Slovenes are mainly Roman Catholics.

Since I retired three years ago, I have been becoming almost as sessile as a sea squirt, sitting in front of my computer, reading not just news but comment and what people are thinking about things.  Among the ‘things’, women’s equality is very much to the front these days.
A few days ago, I was watching an episode of the Antiques Roadshow.  People were bringing their treasured objects for expert examination to the grounds of a stately house in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.  The items included an early pocket calculator by Sinclair (made locally), and a traction engine arrived in full steam.  But my ears really pricked up when a valuable jug bought for a fiver (in today’s money, perhaps $50) was identified as a Bellarmine Jug