Archive for March, 2014

Word of the day: coprolite

March 24th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

When I come across a new word, I like to look it up and try to remember it . I am currently reading the J K Rowling novel “The Casual Vacancy” and she uses a word with which I was unfamiliar. It is ‘coprolite’ which I have learned means fossilised animal dung. Apparently this is […]

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How all life on Earth was almost wiped out – five times

March 24th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

Thos weekend,  I watched episode 2 of the fascinating new American television series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”. This episode concentrated on evolution and referred to the five great extinctions when substantial proportions of life on the planet were made extinct. The best known one – the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction – wiped out the dinosaurs, but the […]

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The pain and sorrow of saying farewell to so many books

March 23rd, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I love books. I love the look of them the feel of them, the smell of them. But we have too many – or at least my wife Vee says so. It is true that we have thousands and that, for years now, I have been forced to adopt a policy of ‘one in, one […]

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It is World Water Day

March 22nd, 2014 by Roger Darlington

For the past two years, one of my important areas of work has been in the water sector. I am the independent Chair of the Customer Challenge Group at South East Water which supplies drinking water to 2.1 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. So my heightened consciousness of the vital importance of water makes me […]

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How to critique a political system

March 22nd, 2014 by Roger Darlington

On my web site, I have produced short guides to 11 political systems [click here]. Since there are 193 members of the United Nations, there are obviously many more political systems although, for the purposes of this posting, I am only interested in political systems that are at least partially democratic. Comparing and contrasting political […]

Posted in World current affairs | Comments (0)

Understanding our universe (1): a review of “Deep Time”

March 21st, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I’ve always been fascinated by cosmology. How did the universe begin and develop? Where is it going? Where do we fit into the picture? “Deep Time” is one of the shorter and most accessible books that I have read about these questions and you can check out my review here.

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Understanding our universe (2): detection of primordial gravitational waves

March 21st, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I don’t fully understand it, but I’m excited by the news this week that scientists have for the first time found convincing evidence for the existence of primordial gravitational waves – described as the first tremors of the Big Bang that created our universe and ultimately us. As one newspaper put it: “The minuscule ripples in […]

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Was the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 caused by something as ‘simple’ as a fire?

March 19th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

On 8 March, a Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people on board simply  disappeared and so far no evidence of a crash has been found and no explanation for the incident has been determined. Chris Goodfellow has 20 years experience as a Canadian Class-1 instrumented-rated pilot for multi-engine planes. Check out his reasoning here.

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A review of the documentary film “The Unknown Known”

March 19th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

American politician Donald Rumsfeld – now in his 80s – had a remarkable political career, serving four presidents and twice holding the post of Secretary of State for Defense.  He was a leading architect of the “war on terror” which led to the fiasco of the Iraq invasion. Does he have any regrets or reflections? […]

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Why the Great War of 1914-1918 really was a world war

March 18th, 2014 by Roger Darlington

I recently attended an evening seminar at the London School of Economics addressed by three LSE academics in international history: Dr Anthony Best who spoke about East Asia, Dr Paul Mulvey who addressed the British Empire, and Professor David Stevenson who considered the rest of the world. Stevenson referred to an opinion poll which made […]

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