What’s the harm? That’s the question I’m sometimes asked when I’ve explained why a particular pseudoscience or alternative medicine is nothing but BS. If someone wants to have a few needles stuck in them or to swallow a sugar pill, who cares? They’re happy and they’re not harming anyone. My answer is that belief in… Read More What’s The Harm?
Two astronomical updates for you today; one good, one bad. Let’s start with the bad news. Two faulty helium valves on the Juno spacecraft mean that it is unlikely that it will be able to make the super close orbits that had been intended. The plan was that Juno’s elliptical orbit would be ever curtailed… Read More Jupiter Update: Good News and Bad News
In a statement released last Thursday the British Antarctic Survey commented on data showing that sea ice in the Antarctic this summer reached a record new low. Satellite data shows that sea ice contracted to 2.28m sq km on February 13th beating the previous low from February of 1997. It would be easy to assume… Read More Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Low
I grant you, the title of this post makes a bold claim but I’m confident I’m not misrepresenting the science. A couple of weeks ago an interesting, open access paper was published in PLOS Biology. It detailed how people that were completely paralysed were able to use a brain-computer interface (BCI) to communicate. The subjects… Read More Device Reads Mind of Completely Paralysed Patients
Today it is widely accepted that the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs was caused by the giant meteorite impact at Chicxulub, Mexico; this has not always been the received wisdom, however. Fifty years ago it was thought that the enormous amount of volcanic activity of the Deccan Traps was what wiped them out. The reality… Read More Meteor Impact Or Volcanic Eruption; That Is The Question
Happy Darwin Day everyone.
The first time I saw the image below I was quickly flicking through my Twitter feed without paying too much attention. I assumed it was an artists impression of some new exoplanet or some such; beautiful but not real and so I moved on. It was a few days later when I saw the image… Read More Jupiter: As You Have Never Seen Her Before
We turn now to one of my favourite whipping boys of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM): acupuncture. More than 3000 research studies into acupuncture are yet to show any kind of effect other than that of an elaborate placebo. Why would they, of course? What possible rationale could there be for sticking needles into your… Read More Breaking News: Sticking Needles in Babies Does Not Stop Them Crying
By the middle of this century it is expected that there will be 9 billion humans alive on this planet. That’s really rather a large number of hungry mouths to feed and it is thought that global food production will need to increase by 40% to cope. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet solution that… Read More Trial Of Super Yielding Genetically Modified Wheat Approved
I’m going to tell you two stories. The first is a story about a group of researchers from Cambridge, UK; China and Germany. The team discovered very ancient fossils in the rocks of Shaanxi province in China that, they report, are the oldest deuterostome fossils ever described. They date to 540 million years ago which… Read More Ancient Two Mouthed Fossil Inspires Two Stories