Topic Archives: Science

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…

swap solar eclipse 2015_03_20

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

Solar Eclipse Belfast UK 2015 Mar 20

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…

What colours are #thedress ?

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We were told this morning that the internet had been ablaze all night with the most urgent question in the world’s history. Exactly what colour was #thedress ? Most people thought it was blue and gold; a minority saw it as blue and black. A quick check with the colour picker in Photoshop shows that more…

Closing time at The Dish. How Andrew Sullivan’s blog pioneered change.

“I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.’’ – British Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, Oct, 2011. Following Mick’s link to Tim Montgomerie’s conservative case for gay marriage, it is well worth paying tribute to Andrew Sullivan, the Tory-American writer who literally more…

3 Mayors for all 4 Corners – ‘The problem lies in the person who thinks the act of reconciliation is a sign of weakness.’

3mayors

Belfast’s last three Lord Mayors have been praised for transforming the role from apolitical representative to promoter of unity and even reconciliation. Last night at the 4 Corners Festival, the current Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon (SDLP), and the previous two, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (Sinn Féin) and Gavin Robinson (DUP), shared stories from their experiences and more…

Your 60 second guide to ‘three-parent’ babies…

The Westminster parliament will discuss ‘mitochondrial transfer’ or ‘three-parent’ babies today. Concerns about the ethics and safety of this have been raised. If parliament agrees, such procedures will become legal in the UK. There has already been considerable discussion and debate about this, as Polly Toynbee describes. The problems seem to centre around the mitochondrial more…