Sing a Song of Politics

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The Voynich Wikiwars - Episode 2

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Hurricane Information Updates

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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 »

Oceanlab Scientists Film Supergiant Amphipod and Deepest Fish

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen have set a new record for the world's deepest fish, a species of snailfish, which was filmed in the Mariana Trench this year.

The new finding was just one of several new species discovered, as well as the first footage of a living supergiant amphipod.

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