It’s funny how things change. These days allergies are well understood as a genuine medical matter, they can affect anybody, and they can also be fatal if we’re not vigilant. What’s more, allergies seem to be getting more prevalent in western society. That’s totally turned around from when I was a kid. Back then, allergies … More Why are allergies becoming an epidemic?
This week’s obscure English word is hornbeam. It’s a species of tree, genus Capinus, known for its hard wood. The word is of Middle English derivation. And it is, I suspect, no coincidence that the late Professor T. called one of his Ents Quickbeam. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using … More The obscure word of the week is hornbeam
When I was growing up the definition of music was simple: it was anything composed from about 1650 up to about 1910 involving orchestras, opera singers, pianos and similar instruments. And the definition of a musician was somebody who could perform this stuff. One of the conceits poured over me on that basis was that … More Why classical music snobbery doesn’t cut it today
Someone suggested to me the other day that the world is becoming less kind, thanks to social media, especially Facebook. I agree. The term ‘world’ in this sense means ‘first world’, of course. And the slide has been insidious. But the way one social media service after another seems to descend into personal bagging matches … More Is the world becoming less kind thanks to Facebook?
This week’s obscure English word is horripilation. It means hair standing on end due to cold, or fear. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word. Copyright © Matthew Wright 2018
One of the reasons I got interested in physics as a kid – and still am today – is because of the way sound works. In physics terms, sound is simply a succession of alternate compressions and rarefications of the air, carrying energy which moves our eardrums. What does that mean? The first point is … More Making waves – the physics of sound
The best lecturer I ever had at university, Lucie Halberstam, passed away on Tuesday this week at age 87. Lucie was a consummate historian, passionate about her subject, and absolutely devoted to teaching her students. I learned a great deal from Lucie while an undergrad and subsequently post-graduate student at Victoria University in the early … More A quiet tribute to a great teacher