Archive for the ‘Science & technology’ Category


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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When did you last write a letter?: The rapid decline of long-form communication

September 16th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This week, I have chaired two meetings at which we’ve discussed different forms of communication and which have led me to draw the same conclusion: we are witnessing the rapid decline of long-form personal communications whether in the form of text or voice. One meeting was at Citizens Advice which is the statutory body representing […]

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How old is the germ theory of disease?

September 12th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Colombia which finished in the Caribbean port of Cartagena. Since my return, I’ve started to read the classic novel by Colombian Nobel prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez “Love In The Time Of Cholera”. Although the novel does not specifically identify the location of the story, it is very […]

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Ofcom reports on a decade of digital dependency

August 2nd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Ofcom study shows how a decade of technological revolution has transformed our behaviour One in five people spend more than 40 hours a week online Brits now need constant connection to internet, and are checking their smartphone every 12 minutes Most people in the UK are dependent on their digital devices, and need a constant […]

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