Education Wars: the Empire Strikes Back?

One of the difficulties of judging the ways of people is the fact that highly intelligent individuals...

Is this a Huorn?

Those familiar with the Lord of the Rings will remember the Huorns.  According to the Lord...

Palyn- or Palin-?

About ten years ago, what is now the Electron Microscopy Laboratory at the University of Reading...

Is colour helpful?

A couple of days ago, I read this on Real Clear Science:Why Spelling Tests Don’t Help Kids Spell...

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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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There recently appeared on Scientific American Blogs an article by Jennifer Ouellette

Perfluorinated Polar Bears!

No, this is not an exasperated exclamation by Captain Haddock, but might well be a shout of surprise at learning that Canadians have been searching for compounds of that nature in these snowy animals.  But why should Scott Mabury and his group at the University of Toronto be looking for them?
The simple answer is that they are terribly persistent in the environment.  Bit odd, one might link, considering that Fluorine is the most reactive of all the elements in the periodic table.  So reactive[1], in fact, that
Use by date?

Use by date?

Feb 04 2012 | 3 comment(s)

In the USA, it is, I understand, a great insult to call a member of the fair sex a “Tub of Lard”.  So folks from across the Pond may do a slight double-take when they read 

Tub of lard found fit to eat after 64 years

William Macaulay, in a review (1839) about the recently-published book by William Gladstone, The State in its Relations with the Church, wrote:

    Mr Gladstone conceives that the duties of government are paternal; a doctrine which we shall not believe till he can show us some government which loves its subjects as a father loves his children, and which is as superior to its subjects in intelligence as a father to his child.

For the last two days we have had our BBC television naturalist Chris Packham presenting us with “Nature’s Weirdest Events”. Here are my three favourites from this session.