Category Archives: Science

Trust me. I’m a trained scientist. I know what I’m talking about.

You are awesome

supermanCongratulations on making it here. You’re a survivor. Not only did you survive childbirth, childhood and however many years you’ve lived since (an achievement that sadly most humans in history didn’t manage), but so did your parents, your grand-parents, and all your ancestors back to some single-celled organism swimming through ancient seas. Continue reading

Science, philosophy, and the Mountain of Ignorance

mountainofignoranceThere’s been a lot of debate online recently (like here and here) about whether philosophy is a waste of time. Here’s my metaphor for thinking about this question.

Imagine that ignorance is represented by a mountain. The mountain is big and in plain view of everyone. Even small children can see it clearly, and love to ask questions about it that their parents can’t answer. You know the kinds of questions I mean. Continue reading

Precisely inaccurate

idontthinksoThe instructions on my packet of Waitrose beef state confidently, Fry for 24 – 26 minutes. Really?

Not 23 minutes? Not 25 minutes? But 24 – 26 minutes. How precisely irritating. Continue reading

One billion good reasons to be afraid

asteroids65 million years ago an enormous lump of rock – a comet or asteroid over a mile in diameter – crashed into the Earth at enormous speed – perhaps 200 times the speed of sound – leaving a crater 193 km wide and 48 km deep.

Think about that for a moment. Continue reading

The Book of Dawkins

dawkinsIn the beginning was the word and the word was Dawkins. Dawkins said let there be a book that explains evolutionary biology to the layperson. The book was called The Selfish Gene and Dawkins looked on it and saw that it was good. Continue reading

The age of the Earth

earthPlanet Earth is 4.54 billion years old, but how do we know that? Continue reading

Ingredients for a miracle

embryo

  • 35kg water
  • 16kg carbon
  • 12kg oxygen
  • 3kg hydrogen
  • 1kg each of nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus
  • A sprinkle of potassium, sulphur and sodium
  • About a dozen trace elements Continue reading