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The Voynich Wikiwars - Episode 2

The Voynich Wikiwars - Episode 2This is a follow-on to my previous article about an opinion piece...

Gibbs, Voynich, Wikiwars and the Times Illiteracy Supplement

Gibbs, Voynich, Wikiwars and the Times Illiteracy SupplementDeclaration of interest: I have been...

Hurricane Information Updates

Hurricane Information UpdatesA site which has been providing potentially life-saving updates about...

Patterns of Latin in the Voynich Manuscript

Patterns of Latin in the Voynich ManuscriptThe Voynich manuscript, more properly identified as...

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Patrick LockerbyRSS Feed of this column.

Retired engineer, 71 years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics. Interested in every human endeavour except the scrooge... Read More »

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Cycling for Science #1 - Tensegrity

Velocipedological science

Cycling is more than just a pleasant way to keep fit: it is a pleasant way to learn some interesting velocipedological science facts.  Don't just exercise your muscles: exercise your brain by cycling for science.
Scientists with too much time on their hands have spent more than a century trying to understand how bikes ride and steer and fail to fall down in the way they do.
Phil Daoust

The first and most important scientific fact about the bicycle is that you can never own enough bikes.  This fact may be expressed as a formula:
Charles Hatchett - Tribologist to the Royal Mint
Neatly Scattered Papers

In an article in Scientific American* on the possibility of time running backwards, the author states:
Increasing entropy is a cosmic certainty because there are always a great many more disordered states than orderly ones for any given system, similar to how there are many more ways to scatter papers across a desk than to stack them neatly in a single pile.

That sentence contains an implied statement of fact: "there are many more ways to scatter papers across a desk than to stack them neatly in a single pile."

But is it a fact?
Mobile Phones - No Link To Cancer

Although some members of the public express concern that mobile phones may cause cancer no credible evidence exists for a causal link between cancer and the weak magnetic fields associated with mobile phones.

A paper published today* by a team from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology in Interface, a Journal of the Royal Society, following a study of the effects of weak magnetic fields on key human proteins shows that such weak fields have no detectable impact on flavoproteins.
Undiscovered Worlds and Pale Blue Dots

May 9th 2015 will see the inauguration of Cornell University's new Institute for Pale Blue DotsDetails here.

The first image of a "pale blue dot" was sent back by Voyager 1.  The "dot" is a single pixel.

"all of human history has happened on that tiny pixel, which is our only home"
Carl Sagan, speech at Cornell University, October 13th 1994
A Quantum of Political Entanglement

If you like your science laced with humour, or your politics laced with (almost) science, then you will enjoy reading this scientific analysis of a politician.

Friction, magnetism, relativity, quantum mechanics - all are covered in “The physics of Nigel Farage”.

Even the URL is worth a read - http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/may/07/physics-nigel-farage-.