//


March
2010

Bacteria build pyramids

Yay! And true.  Not the ones with which we’re all familiar, of course (and by these I am referring to the Giza structures). [Interesting sidenote: bacteria are capable of building structures with sand, which they turn into sandstone, and there's a fascinating TED talk which looks at how this ability could be used to build human habitats in the desert.] Back to the post at hand, though: scientists at the Nanorobotics Laboratories – a name [...]

It's been a very sciencey few days

Yea, and verily. Just a brief check-in, this, to assure everyone that yes, I am alive, but I’ve had my head buried in all kinds of science-based goings-on recently. It all started on Tuesday evening, when I was lucky enough to be in the gallery listening to Martin Lord Rees speak.  For those not in the know, he’s the President of the Royal Society of London (which is 350 years old this year) and also [...]

High temperature superconductors and cars – it doesn't get any cooler (seriously)

Ok, so I’m going to go about this in the fashion most often called ‘arse-about-face’. First, a word of explanation.  I was lucky enough to get to go to the ISIS-18 open day a little while back.  During said day, I developed what is probably going to be a lifelong fascination with all things high temperature superconductor-ish.  I went to the day knowing very little about the subject, and left knowing somewhat more factually, and [...]

Carl Zimmer's Science Reader Survey

In a fit of market-research madness, Carl Zimmer (one of my favourite science writers)  assembled a little survey looking into people’s science reading habits. In essence, it asked how people get their ‘science fix’, where they get it from, and how they feel about paying for it. Now, it must be said – and it’s admitted to cheerfully by Zimmer himself – that he is not a market research professional.  Having been one of those [...]

You know your 'type'? It's stress dependent…

A number of interesting revelations to be had here, and all to do with our choices of ‘mate’. And by mate, I don’t mean the antipodean colloquialism meaning ‘friend’.  Nope, I mean mate as in, you know, someone you want to shag.  As it were. The first revelation in this paper* is that, for the most part, we tend to choose mates who are similar to us. Certainly I’ve heard that we tend to pick [...]

Why GeoNet rocks my world

Last week, my colleague Dacia and I were fortunate enough to go out to Avalon to meet Ken Gledhill and Kevin Fenaughty, two of the people involved in GeoNet. The website will be one familiar to many Kiwis – a GNS initiative, it is the  public face of a project which aims to collect data for all the various natural hazards which can, and do, occur in New Zealand: from earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanoes [...]

An exhortation to Research Bloggers

Good morning everyone, and welcome. As those of you who are part of Research Blogging are likely aware (following a missive that should have appeared in your inbox in the last few hours), voting has opened to choose the winners of the Research Blogging Awards 2010. And this is where the exhortation bit comes in: do go have a look at the nominations.  Particularly in the categories in which David and I were nominated.  And, [...]

How to get sober quicker

This is great news for all of us drinkers.  And, frankly, if I was just a little better at actual chemistry, how I’d make my first couple of fortunes* And now I have the song ‘Tiny Bubbles‘ stuck, unfortunately, in my head. (When I first heard it, though, it was an Aero jingle.  Possibly) So yes.  To give it to you simply, before going into all that explanation stuff, it’s very simple – loading more [...]