Monthly Archives: August 2011

Loch stock and a smoking barrel

Apologies for terrible pun.  For my friend Amy’s birthday celebrations we are taking part in a round-robin dinner; each of the 6 of us prepares one of the courses.  This obviously means that we have to have 6 courses – … Continue reading

Posted in Food, General | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Grade inflation as a method for restricting social mobility

Another day, another pronouncement of record exam results.  I commented on the A level case last week, so I’ll not bother going into the ridiculous mechanisms of manipulation again.  This time, I’m going to go into the outcome of such … Continue reading

Posted in Education, General | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The original bacterial infection

A couple of days ago it was announced that fossils have pushed back the date of earliest known life on Earth to 3,430,000,000 years ago.  The New Scientist article does an excellent job of summarising the science and the relevance … Continue reading

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Look what they’ve done to us

Disclaimer: I’m going to be making a set of  generalisations here. There are, of course many exceptions to these, but I’m dealing in broad strokes. I had a rather interesting day yesterday, waking up to discover a post I made … Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The miracle generation

For the 29th year running, we have record A Level results. Now, given that exam difficulty is supposedly set based on previous exams, we can assume that the chances of one years results being higher or lower than the previous … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Media & Perception | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Nothing is sacred

Royal Holloway, University of London are closing their Classics department. Now, I want you to read the title again, this time as a declaration of intent rather than as if bemoaning something. RHUL Classics is actually being scaled down, and … Continue reading

Posted in Education, General | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

The oil-related post you all knew was coming

So another day, another oil leak. Nearly 1500 barrels of crude pumped into one of the most active fisheries in Europe, oil companies playing responsibility tag, and industry spokespeople assuming the position yet again. To be honest, as far as … Continue reading

Posted in Geology, Media & Perception, Nuclear Power, Petroleum Geology, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hazard Assessment Part 4: A case study in misreporting

If this article is to be believed, “Another giant UK ash cloud ‘unlikely’ in our lifetimes”.  The original paper was recently published in Geology, and consists of a systematic study of peat cores to look at how many ash fall … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Geology, Hazard Assessment, Media & Perception, Science, Sedimentology, Volcanism | Leave a comment

London’s Burning

Another night of unrest in the capital, and apparently spreading to other cities too.  6000 police on the streets, firefighters getting assaulted, the public calling for intervention by the military, and self-organised clean-up crews of people trying to reclaim their … Continue reading

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Cooking with fissile material

Nuclear power has come in for something of a bad press in the last few months following Fukushima, despite the fact that the actual outcome of that event was that an ageing nuclear plant just about withstood an event which … Continue reading

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