Archive for the 'Science' Category


Skin Deep

Skin Deep is a website by the Environmental Working Group – go and check out what’s really in the products you are using.  This is a bit scary/shocking.  Also check out their sunscreen test.  If the product you are using isn’t there, you can add it.  Warning though, this will make you think twice about using your favorite shampoo et al…

Billing the environment

Orange have started charging for itemized billing… I’ve always been impressed by the fact that they didn’t charge, it’s even been one of the reasons for sticking with them. It’s a small thing, but small things count. Anyway so this guy tried to tell me the reason they were charging was to save the environment… Well I kinda lost my top, because if they were really doing things to ‘save the environment’ I’d be happy, but he was telling me this, whilst I was holding my crisp white paper bill, with it’s pointless top page, which in turn had come out of a similarly crisp white envelope. And I’m carrying around my new mobile phone, which their policy encouraged me to buy when my old one still works, whose packaging, with it’s numerous plastic bags (even small ones count) is still hanging around the house. So I lost my top because I want these companies to start doing things environmentally and when they have a consistent policy I’ll be happy, but if they are going to use the ‘environment argument’ as an excuse to make more money out of me, I’m going to be angry.

Dogma all the same

I just watched Richard Dwarkin’s Enemies of Reason on Channel 4. I’ve wanted to write for a while about the group of doctors and scientists who are trying to stop the NHS from funding homeopathy and especially the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital. The Hospital was recently refurbished as Dwarkin showed in the programme, partly with NHS support – it is now a beautiful space, wooden floors and all – other hospitals could learn a lot.

The campaign to stop funding is a serious one with many Trusts either stopping or cutting support. The Hospital has already lost four floors of it’s building to Great Ormond Street Hospital, permanently changing the atmosphere within the building from what was an amazing sanctuary of calm in the middle of London, into a ‘stressed’ environment of any other hospital and I can only think that greedily, they would like the rest of this now beautifully refurbished building, that has been a homeopathic hospital for over 100 years.

In fact it’s interesting that a number of the doctors who oppose the funding, work within the same trust as the Hospital (University College London Hospitals). The Hospital joined the trust in 2002, and although ‘the merger was supposed to enable closer collaboration between complementary therapies and conventional medicine’, it has taken just five years to shrink it to a fraction of it’s former size and leave it facing permanent closure.

Dwarkin gave a quote that anyone who said they could understand quantum physics probably didn’t understand it –but for homeopathy it can only be legitimate if we can totally understand it. It’s strange then that so many of his peers seem to think otherwise (all those practising at the Hospital are trained doctors) and a real shame that this group is so actively giving NHS funding bodies an excuse to stop funding this amazing place which helps thousands of people every year – people who have often found little help from ‘scientific medicine’ – placebo or not, if it works and it does, surely that’s a good thing? If as he says we spend £1.6 billion a year on ‘alternative’ remedies, perhaps we do not mind and even support that the NHS helps to fund some of them.

True Love?

The New York Times on the science of tail wagging.

Sky maps

Explore the night sky – amazing the number of stars and planets – over at wikisky.org – like google earth in space. Alternatively, Stellarium is an open source download, which looks quite impressive (I can’t open it as the Mac version is only for 10.4 and I’m still running along on 10.3, waiting for the release of Leopard). [via]

It’s only March

We are having April showers arn’t we…

Zonked

Over the years countless friends and even complete strangers have asked if I might be anemic, I used to have very pale skin, less so now, I used to wear blusher just so people wouldn’t ask. A while ago a doctor suggested that I get my iron levels checked. Kind of ironically, three blood tests later as there was a bit of a balls up, it turns out that right now, I am officially anemic, which hopefully explains why I have been feeling so absolutely zonked.

It’s also an explanation for the lack on posts, because I really haven’t been doing much.

[Also, I have a craving for a M & S Roast Beef and Horseradish sandwich – not good for a vegetarian].

Brain skills

Check out this article by a cognitive neuroscience Prof. who tried to use his knowledge of how our brains work to win Millionaire.  [via]

Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Download from here. 2500 scientists from 130 countries and 6 years research. The report backs up what we* already believe, but maybe drums it in a little bit more, which can only be good. When I was in Berlin the awareness of environmental issues were everywhere, where they are not here. Solar panels on roofs, bins for different types of waste on the street and in train stations. L had a whole stack of cloth bags for grocery shopping; absolutely no free plastic bags at supermarkets and lights on timers. There was even a joke in my guidebook about different coloured bins for recycling in every courtyard for every residential building.

[* Maybe this is a royal ‘we’, cos obviously not everyone believes this.]