Topic Archives: Science

Photo of the day – “The Milky Way” above Moor Lough, County Tyrone

Moor Lough Milky Way.

Photo by MNM Photography, Taken on September 26, 2014 The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter, which contains 100–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. As we all worry about if Stormont will collapse, who can march where more…

And then there were just two candidates left standing for the Seanad byelection…

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So John McNulty has gone. That just leaves Sinn Fein’s Lurgan based candidate Cat Seeley and independent candidate Gerald Craughwell, … That McNulty sure seems qualified. Board member of IMMA…impressive. pic.twitter.com/vdMNVr8hkU — Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) September 29, 2014 He cannot by law withdraw from his official candidacy but he’s indicated that people should not vote for more…

Time for an urgent review of all Northern Ireland’s oversight bodies

When the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland (PONI) recently accused the PSNI of refusing to provide his office with information relating to certain investigations, he acted on his interpretation of a set of facts. The police had their own, alternative interpretation, insisting that they have a legal responsibility for the care and management of all more…

OFMdFM “operating on a day-to-day basis, in the same way a chameleon changes its colour, reacting to its environment…”

Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan on the View last night, description of the two old Crumlin Road lags currently in possession of the Scottish Baronial splendor that is Stormont Castle (that’s OFMdFM to you and me): “They are very reactive to the temperature, the environment, the circumstances in which they are operating on a day-to-day basis, in more…

Red Squirrels and Pine Martens in Fermanagh

Amid all the fevered discussion of recent days I thought something much lighter and fun was called for. From the BBC: Queens academic Dr. David Tosh has been trying to gain further information about the distribution of red and grey squirrels in Fermanagh with help from the Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group and the National Trust more…

Killing me softly

At the start it is only fair to state that I am opposed to the death penalty. I respect those with a different opinion but I am clear that I do not support capital punishment. No one directly connected to me has ever been murdered so maybe I am naive and could change my mind more…

AFBI’s incentive scheme for scientific innovation ‘does not sit well’ with Stormont’s PAC

Small matter, but it is worth noting. Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee found an interesting detail in the relevant NIAO report that, it should be said did not particularly feature in the Audit Office report as a genuine matter of concern. The subject organisation is the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at New Forge in Belfast, more…

Vegetarian Stalinism Part 2: Ready the Gulags on the South Downs

Last month I highlighted the bizarre suggestion by the Green Party that in response to the flooding all government ministers and advisors who were sceptical of climate change should be sacked. Memorably when given the opportunity to refine and tone down this suggestion the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett claimed that even those more…

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 4

Four years after its work began, and following last year’s three years in three minutes, Nasa have released another wondrous short video of a year of selected solar activity as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Video via Nasa Goddard.  Full-screen viewing recommended.  Stunning. [Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby Gratis] The sun more…

Slight rise in road deaths in 2013

One of the grimmer statistics which is complied at the end of a year is the number of road deaths each year. In 2013 it was 56, which is an increase of 8 as compared to 2012. In 2011 it was 59 and 2010 55. These results still represent an approximately 7 fold decrease in more…

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

HRSC on Mars Express - Valles Marineris

Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some specialised instruments more…

Time-lapse: Earth

As the Guardian’s GrrlScientist says, “Wow. Just wow.”  And, “Oh, I recommend “full screen” mode.” Indeed. Adds – If you watch closely you can see Ireland and the UK pass underneath at around 2mins 30secs in. Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo. Video credits Music: “Manhatta” composed and performed by The more…

A year of Curiosity

Curiosity view of Mars

One year ago, after “seven minutes of terror“, Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, the 900kg rover Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet and was soon taking a look around.   [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems]  Full image and caption here. This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast Camera more…

“There’s no place like home…”

Cassini image of Earth in Saturn's rings

I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  Nor more…

SDLP to lodge an amendment to the DUP’s special motion on Tuesday…

And it seems that the SDLP will be putting an amendment down when the Assembly meets for a special sitting on Tuesday. Conall McDevitt: “On Tuesday when the Assembly meets the SDLP will seek to give parties the opportunity back an amendment to the DUP motion which condemns the violence, challenges the sectarianism displayed this more…