I like Trek ‘the original series’ way better than Star Wars ‘Part IV’ because…

I like Trek ‘the original series’ way better than Star Wars ‘Part IV’ because Trek gave us Spock. That’s it, really. But let me explain some more. When Lucas developed Star Wars (by which I mean the original 1977 movie) he deliberately wrote a story that spoke to our deepest senses of mythic self –for… More I like Trek ‘the original series’ way better than Star Wars ‘Part IV’ because…

What a real science lab actually looks like

Every so often I see an advertisement on TV for some product or other – usually toothpaste – that’s being demoed in a ‘science lab’. All these labs are the same: sparsely furnished, clean, white, sparkling benches; brilliant lighting; lots of Perspex; bits of immaculate lab gear and high-tech flat-screens with glamorous white-coated supplicants wandering… More What a real science lab actually looks like

Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

It occurred to me the other day that one dandy way to clean a microwave oven is to chuck a cake of soap into it and blast it on ‘high’ for a few minutes. It was a better idea than my previous microwave-inspired trick which involved dismantling the rotating platter and using egg whites and… More Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…

One of the genius moments in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey comes when Dave Bowman, locked out of the Discovery in a ‘pod’, without his suit helmet, re-enters anyway, via the emergency airlock. He’s unprotected in vacuum – but he doesn’t die instantly, or freeze, or explode the way people usually do in movies when… More What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…

Planet 9 won’t be as big as Uranus. Really.

This week’s news in the Astronomical Journal that Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin of CalTech have predicted a ninth planet got the usual barrage of silly media headlines about ‘discovery’. The thing is, Brown and Batygin haven’t found anything. They’ve hypothesised that there’s a planet. And they are not the first to wonder about some… More Planet 9 won’t be as big as Uranus. Really.