Archive for the ‘Science & technology’ Category


Where are we on research to enable us to combat dementia?

June 4th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

“Over recent decades we have begun to recognise dementia as a significant problem. Resultantly, we arefavouring a focus upon prevention rather than treatment. The relative number of new cases is now in decline, with approximately 50 million people currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia. However, as our life spans are increasing, so too are the recorded […]

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What’s so special about the orbit of the planet Mercury?

May 31st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Mercury is tidally locked with the Sun in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, and rotates in a way that is unique in the Solar System. As seen relative to the fixed stars, it rotates on its axis exactly three times for every two revolutions it makes around the Sun. As seen from the Sun, in a frame of reference that rotates with the orbital […]

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When 10,000 people turned up for a lecture on cosmology

February 25th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Actually it was called “a show” but it filled the SSE Arena at Wembley in north-west London on Sunday evening as people of all ages arrived for the sell-out performance. The show was titled “Universal Adventures In Space And Time World Tour 2019” and delivered by Professor Brian Cox of the University of Manchester and television […]

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Bacteria and viruses are fighting back, but will big pharma save us?

January 25th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

“An apocalypse is looming, warn the public health experts. The spectre of a benighted world where humankind again falls prey to bacterial plagues, wiping out the frail and the young, has been hanging over us for many years now. Infections we have conquered, such as pneumonia and typhoid, will return to kill us. Surgery and chemotherapy […]

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Which planet is most often closest to the Earth?

January 18th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

The closest planet to the Earth varies depending on where the various planets are in their orbits. So which planet is most often closest to the Earth? The approximate statistics for which planet is closest to the Earth are:Mercury: 46% of the timeVenus: 36% of the time Mars: 18% of the time It is a […]

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A review of “This Book Will Blow Your Mind”

December 22nd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The title certainly grabs the attention. The subtitle – “Journeys to the extremes of science” – is more explanatory of what to expect. However, while science books generally tell us what we know about a particular branch of science, this work suggests that much of what we think we know may be incomplete or even […]

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Ever heard of the idea of a fecal transplant?

December 3rd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

No, me neither. Until this weekend when I was happily eating a delicious Chinese meal with Czech/Mexican friends over from Prague and the subject came up of basically eating someone else’s poo. Apparently it is a serious and – in some circumstances – useful process. You can read more about it here.

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The vital role of UK Biobank

October 27th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

UK Biobank is a major national and international health resource, and a registered charity in its own right, with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia. UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged […]

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Who are the best providers of communications services?

September 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Choosing a communications provider should not be simply a matter of price but also of service quality – but which provider is the best for fixed, mobile or broadband? Fortunately Ofcom provides some very helpful data and I’ve reviewed the latest statistics in my new column on IT matters here. Today, at Ofcom headquarters, I’ll […]

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Who has saved more lives than any other person in history? You’ve probably never heard of him.

September 17th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Edward Jenner (1749-1823) was an English scientist who lived in the 18th century. He discovered the first vaccine, which was for the smallpox virus. This disease was widespread at that time and killed many people. Those who were infected but survived were often left badly scarred. Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had caught the cowpox […]

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