Archive for the ‘Science & technology’ Category

How many cases of coronavirus been caused by touching contaminated surfaces?

November 6th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The World Health Organization has warned about surfaces being a source of transmission, while conceding there are no reports demonstrating infection in this way. It said: “Despite consistent evidence as to Sars-CoV-2 contamination of surfaces and the survival of the virus on certain surfaces, there are no specific reports which have directly demonstrated fomite transmission. People […]

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We know that there is lots of life on Earth, but is there any lyfe on Mars?

July 30th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

For centuries, there has been speculation about whether there is any life on our nearest planet Mars. After all, there are those ‘canals’ and there is some kind of atmosphere. Of course, it depends how you define “life” and, believe it or not, there is no absolutely agreed definition, but the American space agency NASA […]

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Universe, they discover a black neutron star

June 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Scientists have discovered an astronomical object that has never been observed before. It is more massive than collapsed stars, known as “neutron stars”, but has less mass than black holes. Such “black neutron stars” were not thought possible and will mean ideas for how neutron stars and black holes form will need to be rethought. […]

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Which countries are doing best and worst in tackling the coronavirus? Is Britain really doing that badly?

May 27th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Of course, it depends on how you measure this. Do you use the number of confirmed cases which depends massively on the testing regime in that nation? Or the number of deaths confirmed as caused by or involving Covid-19? Or the number of excess deaths over and above what would be expected for the time […]

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In the age of Covid-19, how far should we be physically distancing?

May 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Ever since the UK started social (or, more accurately, physical) distancing in the face of the coronavirus crisis, we have been observing a 2-metre rule. But where does this guidance come from and is it the ‘right’ measure? In fact, most older people – who are the most vulnerable – are not so familiar with […]

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Word of the day: anosmia

May 19th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The word means a loss of the sense of smell. This is often accompanied with loss of a sense of taste. One of my grandmothers had this on a permanent basis which meant that she could not smell if she had left on the gas cooker and she did not really enjoy her food. The […]

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Think coronavirus is the worst thing that could happen to the world? Think again. It could be worse, much much worse. Feeling better now?

April 26th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Things are tough just now, right? You want to be cheered up, don’t you? Well, consider this: things could be much worse. The existence of humankind is not a given. There are a variety of existential threats out there and, put is this way, the odds could be better. I was reminded of this by […]

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Evolution got us here and hopefully science will get us out of here

April 16th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

For four weeks now, I’ve been providing a weekly online lesson in Victorian history to two nine year olds who cannot be at school, one a granddaughter and the other the son of a close friend. This week, we covered some developments in science and technology in the Victorian era. The engineer we looked at […]

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Coronavirus is not an enemy; it is a pandemic. This is not a war; it is a crisis.

April 12th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

It’s interesting how some politicians like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson talk of the coronavirus as if it is a person – a cunning arch enemy with evil intent that can be defeated like the Nazis. On his discharge from hospital today, the Prime Minister declared “We will win”. What does winning mean when already […]

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How has this week in lockdown been for you? The Internet has made it tolerable for me.

April 5th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

I live alone and I’m in a vulnerable group age-wise for the coronavirus. So I’ve been observing all the lockdown precautions, but still having a walk each day. What has made this experience much more tolerable though has been access to modern communications, especially the Internet. On Monday, I used FaceTime to deliver an online […]

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