Topic Archives: Science

NI Festival of Social Science: From the Lecture Theatre to the Black Box

“I think the people of this country have had enough of experts.” It was perhaps one of the most memorable – and controversial – lines from recent political discourse. Agree or disagree with this particular view of the former Justice Secretary, one thing cannot be ignored: quite a few people agree with him. Perhaps the more…

Mercury Transit 2016 via SDO

Mercury in motion

If you missed yesterday’s rare Mercury transit across the Sun – the last was in 2006, the next in 2019 – then where were you! [Busy… – Ed]  But even if you were paying attention you’re unlikely to have had as wondrous a view as that of Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. They’ve helpfully released a stunning time-lapse video more…

Another view…

Vote… don’t vote…  In the meantime, here’s another in an occasional series of wondrous views from the International Space Station, via the Nasa Crew Earth Observations videos – Sunglint over the Ocean.  [Video courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center] This video was taken by the Expedition 47 crew more…

Torture_Inquisition

Torture and Cognitive Dissonance

When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir? —JM Keynes A couple of recent, unrelated articles caught my eye. The New Scientist carried a review of ‘Why Torture doesn’t work’, a forthcoming book by Shane O’Mara, an academic at Trinity, Dublin. The scientific answer is that torture doesn’t work, in more…

Colum Eastwood MLA

Who is Colum Eastwood?

Colum Eastwood, you may not know that much about him, but he is the man set to take on the sitting SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell. If memory serves me right, I think he is the first person to challenge a sitting SDLP leader. I know Patsy McGlone was preparing to challenge Ritchie in 2011 but more…

“The point all this misses is that the Conservatives won…”

Ah, one more wee gem (literally) in the wake of the Corbyn effect as Simon Wren Lewis was finishing Can Labour Win?: Perhaps part of the problem is that a great deal of this analysis comes from Labour party people who are, quite rightly, really interested in policy. So all the analysis is about which policies more…

North Korea is adopting a new time zone.

A Brief History of Time

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 Charon

New Horizons: Live Briefing

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 Pluto 11 July 2015

New Horizons: Countdown to Pluto

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…

tumblr_inline_mggioxQYiG1qdzgac

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…

Nasa's Dawn at Ceres

Fly Over Dwarf Planet 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…