When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

These days synthesisers are amazing instruments, often using technologies derived from computing – or existing only as software with the only hardware being a separate keyboard controller. That wasn’t always so. The commercial synths of the 1960s were built around analog hardware that played just one note at a time, like a wind instrument. By … More When was the first fully polyphonic synthesiser released?

Science silliness with Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One of the things the Star Wars franchise isn’t particularly known for is the ‘science’ part of the science fiction calculation. I’m talking about everything from visible bolts of laser light that move at about 130 mph (ie: 0.00002 percent of light-speed) through to one-climate worlds, space ‘fighters’ that manoeuvre like First World War dogfighters, … More Science silliness with Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Remembering the Hawke’s Bay quake of ’31 – and the ‘big ones’ of 1460

It’s the eighty-seventh anniversary today of New Zealand’s most lethal historical disaster;  the Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Around 10.47 am on the sunny morning of 3 February, a magnitude 7.8 quake struck the district and threw the towns of Napier and Hastings into ruin. Damage extended from Gisborne in the north to Whanganui in the south-west, … More Remembering the Hawke’s Bay quake of ’31 – and the ‘big ones’ of 1460

I’m not saying it’s aliens… but it’s aliens…

It always intrigues me that whenever we see something in the sky that doesn’t meet our existing idea of what’s out there, the first call is ‘ooh – aliens!’ It happened with KIC 8462852, also known as ‘Tabby’s Star’ after the astronomer Tabetha Boyajian – who led the intitial study. This star was exhibiting some … More I’m not saying it’s aliens… but it’s aliens…

Why I think a ‘paleo’ diet is scientific rubbish

I noticed the other day that the McDonalds Corporation are releasing a vegan burger. It brings home a point; in the west, particularly, we are constantly barraged by dietary fads. Vegan is one. Another, and one that I particularly object to, is ‘paleo’, which ostensibly returns humanity to the diet we supposedly evolved with in … More Why I think a ‘paleo’ diet is scientific rubbish