Topic Archives: Science

A Brief History of Time

North Korea is adopting a new time zone.

In what is claimed to be a blow against one of the last remnants of Japanese Imperialism, North Korea will move to a new time zone on 15 August, the 70th Anniversary of the surrender of Japanese forces on the Peninsula at the end of World War Two. Clocks will move back by half an more…

New Horizons: Live Briefing

New Horizons Charon

Having survived yesterday’s fly-by, follow the live-briefing from the Nasa New Horizons mission to Pluto as they reveal the first hi-resolution images from the dwarf planet system nearly 5 billion km away. Adds The big news is that Pluto, and Charon, may still be geologically active. There are 3,500metre (11,000feet) high water-ice mountains on the more…

New Horizons: Countdown to Pluto

New Horizons Pluto 11 July 2015

Nasa’s New Horizons mission spacecraft is now within two days journey time to the dwarf planet Pluto and its complex system of 5 moons.  [Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)]   Travelling at 14km/s, New Horizons’ swift fly-by of the dwarf planet is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 14 July, at more…

ISS Night-time Compilation

A brief musical interlude, accompanied by a selection of wondrous time-lapse videos, old and new, from the International Space Station, by NASACrewEarthObs.  Full-screen mode recommended.  Enjoy! [Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.] The final video clip shows the surprisingly robust sun-grazing Comet Lovejoy as it emerged triumphant from its close encounter with Sol in December 2011.

Life, death and heartbeats…

The diagnosis of death is mostly straightforward; the medical practitioner looks for somatic, cardio-respiratory and neurological features. Clearly, someone with rigor mortis is dead. Someone with no spontaneous breathing, no heartbeat and no pulse, and whose pupils are fixed and dilated presents the classical features of death. This is usually enough to diagnose most cases more…

A quick guide to carbon monoxide poisoning – the silent killer…

All organic matter contains carbon which has the chemical symbol C. When burnt in the presence of adequate air, fuels such as wood, peat, coal, oil and gas produce carbon dioxide in the chemical process. There is about 21% oxygen in air. The chemical symbol for oxygen is O though in air it exists as more…

Fly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres

Nasa's Dawn at Ceres

In March Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid  belt.  As I mentioned at the time… [Image credit: Nasa/JPL] Using images taken during Dawn’s first mapping orbit at Ceres, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have produced more…

Antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistance

The control of infectious disease in the 20th century was very largely due to public health measures, such as vaccination programmes in the population, and to the use of antibiotics in the individual. In the past, lobar pneumonia was a major killer of otherwise healthy you adults; and the progression of this illness was often more…

Raise a glass to Hubble! – Redux

Hubble Space Telescope 25th Anniversary Image - Westerlund 2

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th Anniversary in space today, 24th April, with the release of this wondrous image of the giant star-cluster, Westerlund 2, in the stellar nursery, Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina.  [Image credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund more…

In case you missed the eclipse…

Or, like me, cloud cover obscured the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015.  Here’s probably the best view of this morning’s event, from ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 mini-satellite.  [Image credit: ESA/ROB] And via ESA on YouTube. As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside more…

“Sinn Féin’s purported defence of social welfare recipients will play well to their galleries”

Noel Whelan in his Irish Times column notes a cooling in Washington towards the leader of the Sinn Fein this week: …there was a sense that Gerry Adams was feted and focused on less during this year’s St Patrick’s festivities and exchanges than in previous years. The situation with his on/off/on again meeting with the US state more…

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be more…

Dawn over Ceres

Dawn at Ceres

On Friday afternoon [GMT], ahead of Ireland cricketers’ epic encounter with Zimbabwe, Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid belt. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA] From the associated text The slim crescent of Ceres smiles back as the more…

Beyond the niche: women in frack-free politics

With other Green Party members, including Ciaran McClean, candidate for West Tyrone, at Tamboran’s site last August.

It might just be the alliteration, of course, but it’s rare these days that I meet anyone east of the Bann who doesn’t say, when I mention where I live, “Fermanagh?  Where they have the fracking?” Well we don’t ‘have the fracking’, not now, though it’s been a close shave, and, to mix my metaphors, more…

#UCIHourRecord Live

Join celebrity cycling fan Stephen Fry [loving the on screen metrics! – Ed], and others, watching paralympian Sarah Storey attempt the UCI Hour Record live on the UCI YouTube channel.   The current record stands at 46.065km, set by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of the Netherlands in October 2003 in Mexico City.  Storey is in London’s Olympic velodrome, at more…

Women; they miss nothing, and here’s why

It’s distinctly uncomfortable for us men, but some women are, biologically, much more equal than we are. Of course, women can do all sorts of things that we can’t, like having babies, but this is far worse. They have better colour perception. Well, perhaps 20-50% of them do. And they can use it against us, more…

Friday Thread: The dangers of ‘willful blindness’…

Margaret Heffernan speaking at a TedX in March 2013 put her finger on a fundamental problem which is found all over the world. Willful blindness is a legal concept which means, if there’s information that you could know and you should know but you somehow manage not to know, the law deems that you’re willfully more…