I've just finished reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. It was published in 2008 but is still relevant today. Indeed I think it should be compulsory reading for high school students and all journalism undergraduates. There's a fascinating chapter on the placebo effect, an eerily familiar chapter about the denial by some that HIV causes… Continue reading Bad science
The New Zealand betrayal of science
I follow Richard Dawkins on Twitter. I don't read all his Tweets but one recently caught my attention because it mentioned the "New Zealand betrayal of science". I naturally took a closer look and also stole his click-bate words for my title. It turns out he's written a letter to the Royal Society of New… Continue reading The New Zealand betrayal of science
Meatless Farm and Elizabeth’s biology poster
We had Meatless Farm burgers for dinner last night. I've become a Meatless Farm convert: they're UK-based and much cheaper than the Beyond Burger but with similar ingredients. Both are made with pea protein. They taste delicious too and are good for a quick, easy meal when you don't feel like cooking. As part of… Continue reading Meatless Farm and Elizabeth’s biology poster
Roots Catering, science experiments, and my crochet fox
We splashed out and ordered the three-course meal from Roots Catering on Friday night. Roots is an Aberdeen vegan food business. In normal times they sell vegan burgers by the beach. During lockdown they switched to an online purchase and delivery model for their burgers. Once a week they do a decadent three-course meal which… Continue reading Roots Catering, science experiments, and my crochet fox
British test and trace and scientific experts
There are some letters to the editor in the Guardian about getting a test for Covid-19 in the UK and they sound more like episodes of Little Britain than a "world-beating" testing system. One person went to a drive-through testing facility and was given a testing kit and told to swab her tonsils herself. How… Continue reading British test and trace and scientific experts
Science press briefing #COVID2019
There was a good press briefing today with Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance in which they explain the reasons for the decisions the UK has made since the start of this outbreak. It starts at around 5 minutes. Chris Whitty explains the strategy, "The idea that we're going to put this virus back to… Continue reading Science press briefing #COVID2019
When no one comes to your talk
Yesterday I gave a talk at the Aberdeen Science Centre to, er, 6 people. That's embarrassing enough as it is but 3 of the 6 people were Daniel, Elizabeth, and Ben. The other 3 were staff at the centre. I won't give up my day job for paid speaking gigs just yet. My talk was… Continue reading When no one comes to your talk
Being an atheist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rational
I watched this terrific Potholer54 YouTube video last night before bed and it was very funny in the typical Potholer style and quite scathing and derogatory. Potholer54 is the YouTube handle for a British science journalist who produces a series of videos debunking nonsense on the internet. I think it was he who used the… Continue reading Being an atheist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rational
A little while ago I donated to the Kickstarter campaign to bring the Thin Ice climate change documentary to US television. My name is even listed on this page. WooHoo! I haven't heard anything about it for some time and so went looking to see what stage they're at. It turns out the documentary began… Continue reading Thin Ice
Ice-skating, The Satrosphere, and climate change
It has been a very sunny and warm 17°C today. We've been out on our bicycles and I must admit that it was almost a bit too hot. Whose idea was it to move to such a balmy climate? For me the range from 5°C-10°C is the best for cycling otherwise I get stinky armpits. We went to… Continue reading Ice-skating, The Satrosphere, and climate change
No, this post is not about climate scientists fabricating data to make it look like the earth is warming because they're not and the earth really is warming. This post is about Daniel's science homework. He had to perform an experiment which involved observing the difference between evaporation in a sunny spot and evaporation in… Continue reading Fabricating data
Rejecting the advice of experts simply because you don’t like it is unwise
Today I took Daniel to the same paediatric dentist Elizabeth saw last week. He's been seeing the school dental nurse since he was four but I couldn't help wondering whether they had missed something with him as well? After all, they only discovered one cavity in Elizabeth's teeth when the dentist found four. Thankfully, his… Continue reading Rejecting the advice of experts simply because you don’t like it is unwise
Is climate change responsible for recent flooding in the UK?
I'm not going to answer this question because I can't but you can help to answer another question which is has climate change made extremely wet winters like the last in the UK more likely? Oxford University early this month launched the weather@home project which seeks to answer this question. The winter of 2013/2014 was… Continue reading Is climate change responsible for recent flooding in the UK?
The denial of science
Daniel's recent battle with a Thai monkey got me thinking about vaccinations. He has had all of his rabies vaccinations now but it was quite a detailed process with lots of shots required and at very particular intervals and all of the same type i.e.there are a few options for rabies vaccinations I am told… Continue reading The denial of science
Science Fair Nightmare
This is a funny youtube video about a climate change contrarian Dad at the school science fair. It's well worth watching especially if you've got some contrarians in your family 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NMTzNazfTI Thanks to the blogger at I'm not yet dead who brought it to my attention and who has an excellent post today called… Continue reading Science Fair Nightmare
Women and scientists threats to society
Australian politics has become so extreme that it is now bordering on funny. Australians have shamelessly elected someone who not only thinks coal and cars are king but who also inexplicably once said, I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number… Continue reading Women and scientists threats to society
Australia’s anti-science government
A little while ago I wrote a post titled Should politicians choose what research to fund? This was based on news from America that a Republican Representative was attempting to install a set of criteria chosen by politicians for funding research. One of the criteria was that research must be of the utmost importance to society… Continue reading Australia’s anti-science government
Can scientists have opinions on policy?
This post is in response to an opinion piece in The Guardian this week, Climate scientists must not advocate particular policies that is written by a climate scientist, Tamsin Edwards. It has spawned a number of blog posts already so I probably don't particularly need to add my own but being the opinionated person that I… Continue reading Can scientists have opinions on policy?
Should politicians choose what research to fund?
When should politicians decide which research to fund and which research not to fund? NEVER. Because if we let our politicians shape scientific enquiry, it will become skewed, biased and will lose the innovation and creativity of a discipline that ought to be driven by curiosity and the search for truth. So imagine my surprise… Continue reading Should politicians choose what research to fund?