Kudos to Stephen Colbert. Not many chat shows would feature a scientific breakthrough in this way. And scientist Brian Greene does a great job in explaining the hugely important Gravitational Waves discovery for the average viewer. No scientific knowledge required.
Category: "Science & Nature"
Maybe I'm getting old - but I'm increasingly enjoying sitting and watching the birds in our garden. We live in a small rural village and there is all manner of wildlife in the area. We hear owls hooting at night. In summer we watch the bats flit hither and indeed thither across our garden, and you can't drive a few hundred yards before seeing some unfortunate created splattered across the road.
In addition to the natural wildlife we hear cows moo and sheep baa. So all in all we're in the centre of a swathe of busy none-human creatures. For a long time we've had a simple peanut feeder in the garden for the birds. It was only mildly popular. A few weeks ago my wife bought a Gardman Feeding Station and I set it up in our garden.
It has taken a few weeks for the birds to get used to the idea. But now we have a feeding station that's become very popular among lots of different birds. I placed the feeding station next to a fence and some shrubbery. This allows birds a more covert approach to the feeding station and avoid attacks by the local sparrowhawk. So far we've had no fatalities surrounding the feeding station.
Deadly goings on in our garden this morning as a Sparrowhawk captures a small bird. The prey was still very much alive at this point and screeching. The reason the hawk was standing like that was to defend itself as all the birds in the garden were dive bombing it in little squadrons to try to get it to leave. Meanwhile the poor sparrow wasn't being finished off quickly and was very loud. So I went outside with the hope of either getting the hawk to move off with its prey or leaving the prey behind. It picked up the sparrow and flew down under a tree, then over the wall and out of the garden - followed by lots of small birds trying to scare it away.
I know it's a bit late for talking of new year resolutions but earlier in the month I couldn't actually think of anything I wanted to promise myself in 2012. After some thought I've now decided on something - partly inspired by the approach of the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage. Over the years I've embroiled myself in many a complex argument with creationists and those that subscribe to the intelligent design concept.
The sad fact is these people are too into their delusions and lies to admit their error. You can't change the opinion of people this stupid. And I've come to realise I'm just wasting my breath. The other problem with debating with creationists and especially intelligent design advocates is that they believe that their view is of equal value in a scientific discussion as those who offer real scientific theories. In trying to debate with these muppets we've given them credence, which is far from what they deserve. They peddle their "evolution is just a theory" nonsense at length - despite not understand what "theory" actually means in a scientific context. They believe that "theory" means guess, it doesn't.
This is a picture of the Mediterranean Sea. Do you see anything wrong with it? No. Then like me you're likely to be from Planet Earth.
But I think you have to prepare yourself for a shock.
There's a very interesting article about media attitudes to science over at The Guardian Online today. While regular readers of the blog will know I have very little time for religious groups who attack science I hadn't given much thought to the way the mainstream media uses scientific research.
But just look at the whole MMR jab scare. While the media doesn't report the issue anymore there are millions of parents or prospective parents who still believe the hysterical claptrap about the immunisation programme, and this has resulted in people putting their children at risk thanks to mass hysteria.