Greifswald, Northeastern Germany, 2016. Physicists at the Max Planck Institute have been racing to find a way of producing sustainable, clean energy with a stable nuclear fusion reactor. The challenge? Re-creating the Sun’s powerhouse on a much, much smaller scale. Continue reading Engineering A Star – Nuclear Fusion, Tokamaks and Stellarators
As World leaders meet for COP26 in Glasgow, the Earth has already reached 1.2 °C warming above pre-1880s industrial levels. Continue reading Our Burning Planet – Beyond Net Zero, Will We Adapt Or Die?
Human blood is quite remarkable. It transports oxygen, hormones and nutrients. It tracks down and kills pathogens, carries away waste products, helps regulate body temperature, and it irrigates all our internal organs. And the blood is packed with information. Continue reading Within The Blood
A clock is ticking inside a mountain in Western Texas. It is a monumental clock. Hundreds of feet tall, its mechanism is designed to tick for 10,000 years. It’s a real clock. The first of several millennial clocks being built around the World, to endure for centuries. Tick…
A 42-year-old converted oil exploration ship, JOIDES Resolution is one of the few drilling vessels available to earth scientists for the geological study of the seabed at ocean depths below 8,000 metres. Its ultimate aim is to become better acquainted with what goes on beneath the Earth’s crust. Continue reading Looking Into The Abyss – The JOIDES Resolution Progress Update
This 2.5-tonne lump of rock is a banded iron formation. It marks a turning point in the history of life on our beautiful planet. A crucial chemical transition. When oxygen started becoming abundant. And life took its next step towards complexity… Continue reading Rock of Ages – Why Banded Iron Formations Are Far From Boring…
It’s unclear why so many great whales beach en masse around the World. And it’s really difficult to estimate their number, especially when the cetacean strandings occur along remote shores. But there is hope. Scientists are now developing techniques to monitor marine populations from space. Continue reading Saving Hope… – Cetacean Strandings and Satellites
A hypothetical Ninth planet has been lurking on the outskirts of our Solar System. But Planet Nine may not be a planet at all… Continue reading Nine – The Elusive Planet in Our Solar System
The very latest technology in scanning and 3D printing is now providing vital clues and evidence in murder. And as it happened, scientists can now ascertain that World famous flightless extinct bird… the Dodo… died… AFTER BEING SHOT… in the back of the head… Continue reading Digital Forensics and The Case of the Dead Dodo
Canada. A land of unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty, led by the poster boy of progressive politics Justin Trudeau who has cast himself as an environmental champion. Canada as the World sees it… Continue reading Trudeau’s Canada: From Climate Champion to Environmental Pariah?
Come in. Step into the pristine environment of a modern science laboratory. With all its cutting-edge equipment neatly arranged and organised work spaces clearly delineated, you might just be forgiven for thinking it is a model of sustainability but… Look a bit closer! You might be surprised…
Pesticides have a dramatic impact on the health of ecosystems, posing real risks to pollinating insects, such as bees. But did you know that your favourite bouquet may be posing a risk to your own well-being? Continue reading A Bouquet of Pesticides – The Dark Side of Flowers
The Universe is accelerating
For a while now, astrophysicists have known that our Universe is expanding, and accelerating. And much like the surface of a rubber balloon getting inflated, space is getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger… Continue reading The Universe Expands Far Faster Than Anticipated…
Five years after the Chelyabinsk asteroid impact, a three-in-a-century event happens again over the Bering Sea. And almost no-one notices. I say “no-one”… but the Earth is a planet under constant scrutiny. Continue reading Large Asteroid Impacts Earth…
When Mice Serenade the Forest…
Until now, you might have been forgiven for thinking that singing mice were merely the product of Disney’s prolific imagination. Not anymore! Although it wasn’t classically trained by a modern P.T. Barnum, the singing mouse is a reality. Continue reading The Strange Operetta of the Singing Mouse
What If You Could Cure Malaria?
The fields of Senegal are at the centre of a controversial battle against deadly malaria. With mosquitoes increasingly resistant to insecticides, and the parasite’s developing resistance to conventional remedies, the humanitarian emergency becomes ever more pressing worldwide. A plant genus could be the answer: Artemisia. But that goes against the wishes of the WHO…
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the systematic and artful manipulation of the organised mores and moods of the average population is essential to maintaining democracy. With well-rehearsed strategies, that is how the decision-making elite maintains its hold on power over the majority of us. For you see, it’s like this…
Pushing the Boundaries
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster left behind a highly toxic landscape. Thirty-two years hence, the area around the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat largely reverted to forest. Despite the contamination, wildlife gradually took over. Hints of recovery emerged as animal species began to thrive, free from the disruptive influence of human activity. And for the first time, researchers recorded evidence of a young wolf boldly venturing away from the danger zone.
The Universe never sleeps. Every now and then, the night sky presents us mere mortals with some heavenly spectacle. A Bonnie Tyler moment. This Friday, the Moon will enter the catwalk dressed in red to accomplish its otherwise normal nightly travel around the Earth. For one night only. A strange and rare celestial sight at dusk – a total lunar eclipse. Continue reading Crimson Moon – A Total Lunar Eclipse
If so, are you a man?? Mmmh… yes… The Male Idiot Theory: it’s not new but I thought I’d mention it in passing… Ladies, enjoy… Continue reading The Male Idiot Theory – Sex Differences in Risky Behaviour
On 19 June 2018, a peculiar number emerged from the blockchain space. The series of numbers and letters sent the cryptosphere into overdrive, sparking rampant talk of quantum computing breakthroughs, time travel, Satoshi’s return, and the esoteric meaning of Bitcoin. Continue reading Time Travel or Quantum Leap – Where Does Bitcoin Meet Relativity?
Viewing tiny objects, like cells, under a microscope is a real game of hide-and-seek with the light. It follows that the specimen must be carefully prepared, or ‘mounted’ on a slide. Here we get a little closer to the eukaryotic cell. The building block of life itself… Continue reading Life Under The Microscope
The Scottish coast is renowned for the wealth of its rocky features. And if you can’t abide Geology, you can while away the hours with the local marine biology. It’s dead quiet and if you’re lucky on a clear day, you might even see Arran magically emerge from the mist across the waters of the Clyde estuary.
Our environment is permeated by radiation, present around us at all time. We are constantly exposed to radioactivity from natural sources for the most part naturally occurring radioactive nuclei in rocks and cosmic rays – the ‘background’. Without ado, this is my lowdown on radioactivity.
Mercury is rising. And in many more ways than one. As global temperatures go up, the Arctic ice is melting. Sea level rises. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. But below the permafrost, another threat is lurking.