Yearly Archives: 2008


This is another archival repost from the old blog. At the age of ten, nearing the end of the final year of primary school, we, the class, were sent for a week to Brenscombe Farm, near Poole Harbour, on the coast of Dorset. One of the days was devoted to […]

Three cheers for Radio 4!

This is another archival repost from the old blog, originally from september 2008. It’s a right good science fest on Radio 4 at the moment. If you missed it, you must listen to Physics Rocks (available until 17/9). It’s Brian Cox talking to comedians about their enthusiasm for science. It’s […]

The lazy gene: in which I review a nature versus nurture debate six years late

This is another archive repost from the old blog, written in aug 2008. The psychologist Oliver James was on The Late Edition a couple of weeks ago.[1] His argument was unconvincing and his behaviour unimpressive. So I took a quick look at his website. He offers for download a Radio […]

Light years upstream, dipping in the River out of Eden

This is another archival repost, originally written for the old blog in May 2008. Darwin’s 1837 phylogeny, with root and branches. I’ve talked about Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) on the blog a few times before, particularly in the context of bacteria acquiring genes for things like antibiotic resistance, and in […]

A rambling introduction to chemical carcinogenesis

This is an archive from the old blog, originally written in 2008. Regular readers may have noticed that I get rather annoyed by the casual use of the word “chemical” to mean “synthetic chemical”, and the use of the naturalistic fallacy (natural good, chemical bad) that is associated with this […]

Sunday syndrome #6: Welcome to life

This is another archival repost from the old blog — this one from january 2008. This post is part six in a series. The series so far can be found here. Cogito, ergo sum. René Descartes, 1637. I’ve given five posts and several thousand words over to introductions to principles […]

Experiment avoidance: a short history

I’ve been reading John Gribbin’s In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat. He casually mentions the atomic (or, rather, ‘atomistic’) theories of the ancients — in particular Democritus. Gribbin accuses historians of science and popular writers of attributing too much to Democritus, whose ideas about the world do not resemble modern physics. […]

Sunday syndrome #5: The anarchist that wasn’t

This is another archival repost from the old blog — this one from January 2008.  The post is part five in a series. The series so far can be found here. In the first installment of Sunday Syndrome I used the example of Prader-Willi Syndrome. This week we’ll bring in […]