Filed under science history

US Nuclear Bomb System Still on Floppy Disks

This is from last Friday’s i paper. It should strike fear into all of us. Or perhaps it says much about how solid and reliable they are. They may lack volume, but they are a lot harder to hack into or interfere with short of them being physically stolen. If they ain’t broke, don’t fix … Continue reading

Harry Kroto Nobel Prize Chemist

This is from Friday’s i paper. It is hard to imagine modern chemistry without the input of this man and his co-workers. As with so many top scientists, he was also a musician: Sir Harry Kroto, an English chemist who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize or his role in the discovery of the buckyball, a … Continue reading

Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge

The author that first got me interested in landscapes- not just the look, but the feel, the sense of deep history, was Alan Garner. We did his book The Owl Service at school, and from time to time I have dipped into his back catalogue, many of which are allegedly for children, but they are … Continue reading

The Origin of the Mayday Call

Between The Ears: Seelonce, Seelonce :This was a fascinating broadcast on BBC Radio3 by musician Tim van Eyken, dramatist Joseph Wilde and producer Juilan May on the history of the distress call. They began with the origins of distress calls; when the telegraph was invented, they used SOS, the initials of Save Our Souls, but … Continue reading

Space Mice and Liver Damage

This is from yesterday’s i paper, and may put on pause any plans for human space exploration: Hopes of sending astronauts to mars and beyond have suffered a setback with the discovery of early signs of liver damage in orbiting ‘spacemice’. Mice that spent 13.5 days aboard Nasa’s space shuttle, Atlantis, and samples of their … Continue reading

The Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum

This is a wonderful venue in the far south of London which is home to the collections of a single man, so provides us with not just an incredible amount of items, from stuffed animals to cultural artefacts, to music instruments, and a room full of international curiosities, a dinosaur room and a small aquarium. … Continue reading

Neanderthal Inheritance

Neanderthal Inheritance

Here’s an interesting piece on our genetic makeup from last week’s i newspaper: “Many modern health problems, from depression to nicotine addiction could have their origins i the limited interbreeding that took place between our early ancestors and Neanderthals more than 40,000 year ago, scientists said. A study of 28,000 people’s DNA found that some … Continue reading

Ode to Misaddressed Warning Systems

Ode to Misaddressed Warning Systems

The latest discovery from my bookshelf is Paul Jennings’ ‘the Living Village’, a survey of scrapbooks produced to celebrate the anniversary of the Women’s Institutes. This concerns the giant golfballs that are the early warning radar system of North Yorkshire, claimed to be in Fylingdales, but are in the adjoining parish of Lockton High Moor. … Continue reading

Bad Science

This is the sort of debate that really gets me angry: an article in the i titled “Bad habits or plain bad luck: experts split in cancer debate. Researchers divided on whether the disease is genetic or caused by carcinogens.” The debate is apparently between John Hopkins University where Christian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein claim … Continue reading