Hopes and fears

charlestonThree items of news have caught my attention recently. The first is the decision by America’s Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage. Such a decision may have seemed impossible a couple of decades ago, and yet with hindsight it seems incredible that it took so long.

I know that not all readers of my blog will be in favour of this move, but we can all surely be thankful that we live in democratic countries where such decisions are made transparently and peacefully, according to the rule of law, and where open debate about them is possible. Continue reading

Counting on my fingers

tenfingersThe iPhone is perhaps the ultimate symbol of 21st-century technology. How peculiar then, that the Apple website gives its size in inches and its weight in ounces – units of measurement that the Victorians would have heartily approved of, over a century ago. How odd too, that in the United States, oil is measured in barrels, land in acres and temperature in Fahrenheit. Continue reading

Alternatives to faith

confidenceI wrote recently about how one of the valuable functions that religion fulfils is that it offers a powerful motivational force. If we believe that God (or luck, or some other supernatural notion) is on our side, then we are empowered to fearlessly take on life’s challenges. Continue reading

Picking the low-hanging fruit

WP_20150618_003June is my favourite month of the year. There are many reasons for this.  Here are just a few. Continue reading

Top 10 undead creatures you might actually want to be

ghostEver wondered what it would be like to become an evil undead monster spreading fear and panic wherever you go? I know I have.

Here’s a run-down of the options, starting with my least favourite – the zombie, at number 10. Continue reading

Dogwood up

dogwoodA few months ago I published a post showing how I had ruthlessly pruned a dogwood shrub in my garden. Some sensitive readers were concerned that I had been too brutal, and had in fact murdered the dogwood. Here, I want to present some photographic evidence that the dogwood came to no harm and in fact has given birth to new life in a spectacular way. Continue reading

I was wrong about nuclear power

dounreayMany years ago, a young idealistic Physics graduate set out to make the world a better place. He perceived that one of the greatest technological challenges facing his generation was the need to replace fossil fuels with a clean energy source, to avoid the impending disaster of global warming. He saw the obvious solution to that problem – nuclear power – and decided to dedicate his working life to making nuclear power cheap, safe and abundant. Continue reading