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19th February 2020
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  • International Youth Day

    Posted 15/08/2016 by sevans

    A missed opportunity to communicate? In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly (UN) declared August 12 International Youth Day. The 2016 Day is focused on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It promotes the leading role of young people in ensuring eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development, through sustainable production and consumption. Surely this is an opportunity to raise the awareness amongst the younger citizens of the Earth that such creditable goals...

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  • Water, water everywhere

    Posted 26/04/2016 by sevans

    A new briefing paper published by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) examines environmentalists' statements about droughts and heatwaves and finds them to be highly misleading. According to the new report, claims that droughts are getting worse are not supported in the scientific literature. And the report highlights that this is true for both on a global level and for the UK, where historical records indicate much longer and more severe droughts occurred long before hum...

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  • Slug trouble

    Posted 12/05/2015 by sevans

    The sun is out, Spring is in the air and already the lovingly nurtured seedlings in my garden have taken a hammering from a veritable army of slugs. Britain, according to an article I found on the web, is the ‘slug capital of the world’. Apparently there are more than 30 different species, of which four - the Field Slug. The Garden Slug, The Keel Slug and the Black Slug - are the most damaging in our gardens, notes Professor William O. C. Symondson, a world authority on the subject ...

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  • How green is your chemistry

    Posted 17/04/2015 by sevans

    Green chemistry has been a buzz term across chemistry for a number of years, based on the 12 principles developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner back in the late 1990s. Indeed, it would be hard to find a chemist anywhere that does not have these principles tattooed on their brain and influencing everything they do. In our environmentally aware times, chemical companies too have attempted to apply the principles to their production operations, and have trumpeted their successes in their fashio...

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  • Dancing with the budget

    Posted 23/03/2015 by sevans


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  • A free curry Emma

    Posted 11/03/2015 by sevans

    In case you may have missed it, Sunday 8 March this week was International Women's Day (IWD), the day when apparently we are supposed to celebrate the achievements of women – 'while calling for equality', according to the organiser's website. So just how far has feminism come? Not quite as far as offering to foot the bill for a dinner date, if we are to believe the fuss surrounding actress Emma Watson's headline grabbing 'admission' in Monday's papers. Even with more than a few million sq...

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  • Computer rage

    Posted 09/03/2015 by cgodfrey

    Have you ever felt like taking a hammer to your desktop computer or laptop? It might sound extreme to some, but you are among good company. A study as long ago as 2007 showed that 75% of office workers admitted to resorting to physical violence against their computer – one might assume that the remaining 25% only subjected their inanimate work mate to mental abuse. The other side of the coin is, of course, the increasing numbers of people, young and old, who are addicted to their computers...

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  • Education for all

    Posted 18/02/2015 by sevans

    I almost didn't go. Day two of the AAAS conference in San Jose, CA, and still waking up at 3am in the morning with jet lag, I'd already saturated my grey matter through hours of high level discussions on everything from the future of the internet to autonomous cars, visualising chronic pain and e-cigarettes. The 5pm plenary lecture on 'The online revolution: learning without limits' was by Daphne Koller, someone I'd never heard off, and wouldn't end until 6. I'm so glad I went. Daphne Koller, i...

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  • Pro-nuclear – or against?

    Posted 04/02/2015 by cgodfrey

    The House of Commons this week voted by 382 to 128 – a majority of 254 – to allow mitochondrial donation through a controversial amendment to the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. The regulations, which are likely also to be approved in the House of Lords, put the UK firmly on course to become the first country in the world to allow the creation of so-called ‘three-parent babies’. The first baby with DNA from three people could be born as early as 2016. Along ...

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  • Suffering rejection

    Posted 30/01/2015 by sevans

    Ever wondered what happens when you drop some ideas into your company’s suggestion box? Do they disappear into that waste paper mountain or are they considered carefully for their potential by the management? If they do take the time to read your thoughts – and they like what they see – do you ever hear anything in response? And if you do hear back, does it encourage further thinking or just stop the creative juices, or even redirect them to something else more personal? Well,...

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  • Milking it

    Posted 21/01/2015 by cgodfrey

    How much for a price of milk? It’s the standard question used to sound out whether an MP is or is not ‘in touch’ with his or her constituents. At just 20 pence per litre from some retailers, however, the cost of a pint of milk now falls far short of the actual cost of production. It is a price that is simply not sustainable and is forcing farmers out of business every week, according to the UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. In December 2014, the Nation...

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  • Lest we forget

    Posted 10/12/2014 by sevans

    One hundred years after the outbreak of World War 1, while the ceramic poppies have been disappearing from the moat of the Tower of London, the flower that has come to symbolise the lives lost in conflict is also disappearing from the former battle fields of northern France and Belgian Flanders. Research has found that overall plant biodiversity in the region has increased during the past 100 years; but this rise in the number of plant species is not good news. The findings highlight increasing...

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  • Power of spit

    Posted 03/12/2014 by sevans

    Outrage seems to be the general reaction surrounding the UK launch this week of a new genetic testing kit by US biotech 23andMe. For a mere £125, the firm's DNA 'spit' test kit promises to provide information on any of 100 genetic conditions – including personal predisposition to Alzheimer's, cancer, CF and Parkinson's – along with a welter of data on whether you like sprouts, how closely you may be related to the Neanderthals, if you are a fast runner – and even your ris...

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  • Diagnostics and defence

    Posted 19/11/2014 by cgodfrey

    Keeping your enemy in the dark about your military capabilities is one of the most basic rules of modern warfare. In the continuing war on antibiotic resistance, however, there is no choice but to use antibiotics to vanquish the infections that the bacteria cause.

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  • Climate change

    Posted 11/11/2014 by cgodfrey

    The latest figures from the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that almost all car and van manufacturers have met European carbon dioxide emission limits several years ahead of their deadlines.

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