UK National Grid Power Status
Oct19

UK National Grid Power Status

If you ever want to see how much power is being generated by coal, nuclear, gas, and wind in the United Kingdom, or see the gigawatt demand throughout the day, and you want that information presented on retro dials and in line graphs – and, let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then the place to go is U.K. National Grid Status. The data it uses comes from a series of web services here provided by...

Read More
Science Fiction Book Covers
Oct19

Science Fiction Book Covers

I’m a sucker for science fiction whether that’s in film form or literature. As such I follow a lot of science fiction-themed websites’ RSS feeds. One of the things I love discovering through these sites are vintage sci-fi books. Sometimes it’s the author or title that will stand out – someone who may only have had a small distribution in another country, for instance, or something so bizarre-sounding you wonder how it ever came to be published in the first place – and sometimes it’s the cover artwork that catches my eye. Sometimes it’s both and I’ve picked a few examples to show off below. Originally found via 70s Sci-Fi...

Read More
Genetically Modified Organisms
Jul19

Genetically Modified Organisms

Everyone knows that genetically modified foods are bad for you, right? I mean, they must be because non-governmental organisations such as Friends of the Earth say so and just look at their name! They’re “friends” of the Earth for flip’s sake and “friends” never get things wrong or lie, do they? It’s very easy to believe “friends” and other NGOs, and it’s very easy to disbelieve the government. However, just believing something doesn’t make it right. Putting beliefs aside for the moment if you want to actually know whether GM crops are safe to eat it’s best to consult scientific bodies as they won’t (generally) have any ulterior motive in disseminating falsehoods. An article titled Why NGOs Can’t Be Trusted On GMOs explains more, pointing out as well how some NGOs use wordplay to spin the message away from the facts and towards a biased, unscientific, unsupported standpoint. Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm wrote on the Just Label It website that “all the research conducted around the safety of genetically engineered crops has been funded by the GMO patent holders themselves.” […] Hirshberg’s claim is wrong. […] The European Commission spent more than 200m euros of public funds on GMO research between 2001 and 2010. The EU summarizes about 50 studies in this 264-page report, which is easily found online. The article is concise, balanced, and most likely will be completely ignored by those who have already made up their minds that genetically modified food is dangerous. But that’s probably a build up of pesticides on apples forming a knowledge shield around their brains if I had to hazard a...

Read More
The Daily Mail Explains The Supermoon
Jul13

The Daily Mail Explains The Supermoon

You should always take what you read in the Daily Mail with a pinch of salt. Maybe a vat of salt. A large one. If you’re after news then it’s not exactly the most reliable source in the world. And it’s not just news where the Daily Mail fails to provide accurate information as demonstrated by this promotion for a piece of news on the science section of their website. Now I’m no astronomer but when it comes to supermoons I expect to see an explanation that involves regular...

Read More
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Jul02

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Eric Idle, Professor Brian Cox, and Robin Ince star – or, at least, their puppets do – in this video to the new theme music for BBC Radio 4 programme The Infinite Monkey...

Read More
The Dream Of Knowledge
Apr29

The Dream Of Knowledge

Congratulations sleeper! You have been selected to have the Dream of Knowledge, answering that question that keeps plaguing you, that question you raise so often, that question that plays on your mind as you drift off at night. Remain calm and control your breathing as information is imparted to you. You will awake slightly despondent but this is perfectly normal behaviour. Shall we begin? Ah, begin. That’s a loaded word, isn’t it? It’s a word tied to matters temporal and it’s precisely because of matters temporal that this dream has become necessary. But I’m probably confusing you. Still, when have dreams ever been straightforward? If you want you can ask this translucent chicken, a remnant from the dream you can barely remember before this one which we so rudely interrupted. We can wait. Stop! The translucent chicken’s answer is a lie! Let us really begin. Picture the multiverse. In your dream the multiverse is this infinity pool at the top of a skyscraper. See how it perfectly reflects the night sky. See every star and galaxy upside down in its mirror surface. Well, try to ignore them. They’re kinda distracting. Instead, look at the surface and watch what happens when a single drop of rain hits the infinity pool… Sorry, what? Well, I don’t know. It’s a dream. The raindrop could have come from anywhere. I know there aren’t any clouds. Look, I already said the reflection was distracting. Can we get a move on? The raindrop hits the surface of the multiverse and a universe springs into being! Expanding, rippling… And fading. The universe came into being, existed, and died, but the multiverse lives on! This is not the knowledge we want to share but it’s a start. Now look at many raindrops hitting many points on the surface of the infinity pool. Each one is a universe springing into existence from a big bang event through to heat death when the ripples lose energy and stability returns to that part of the multiverse. Each universe has its own laws of physics, concept of time, religious fundamentalists, and so on. Right now, outside this Dream of Knowledge, you’re living in your universe on the crest of a wave at a point in time on its ripple towards nothingness. No, this doesn’t explain biorhythms. Why would you even ask that? Do people still believe in that? Wow. Really. Wow. Well, good, it’s nice to see knowledge can travel in two directions. Let’s get back to the rain, shall we? Are you wondering what happens when two raindrops fall too close to one another in the multiverse? You are now?...

Read More