Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

Some of the ‘brain teaser’ puzzles doing the rounds at the moment annoy me. The problem is that if you don’t know the parameters on which the question is posed, you can’t get the ‘right’ answer. Take the one involving apples (10 points each), bananas and coconuts. Depending on how you read it, a banana… More Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

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

Einstein was right…again. Gravitational waves rule!

About 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes collided – and the whole fabric of space-time rang like a bell. Last September, researchers in the US detected the gravitational ripples. They announced it this week – and THAT, my friends, is awesome news. It’s not just the fact that Albert Einstein predicted them 100 years… More Einstein was right…again. Gravitational waves rule!

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…

Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

I have always been fascinated by the human ability to make what we imagine seem real. And then to take that reality and imagine something else built on it, and so on. Eventually, we build a ‘reality’ that is built not on physical evidence, but on our chain of imagined concepts – which society picks… More Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

Albert’s a spoilsport when it comes to going interstellar

The problem with going interstellar is that the distances involved are huge. Couple that with the fact that our friend Albert Einstein imposed an annoying speed limit on the universe, and going even to the nearest star at light-speed is going to take 4.3 years, Earth time. That’s always supposing you can get your rocket to… More Albert’s a spoilsport when it comes to going interstellar