Fundamental Physics Prize

I had the good fortune last night to attend the inaugural ceremony for the Fundamental Physics Prize, which awards outstanding achievements in fundamental research, hosted by the wonderful Morgan Freeman. There were nine recipients of the FPP for individual achievement, as well as two recipients of special achievement awards. One of the recipients of the…

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Renewable Spring

In the spirit of eternal renewal, on this first day of spring I thought I’d talk about plastics. Infinitely adaptable, modern plastics are integral to modern life more than almost any other material. Plastics are the very stuff of modernity. Take away the excessive packaging, the unnecessary plastic bags, the plastic drink bottles and even…

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Something Rich and Strange

Scientists exploring an undersea crater near the South Sandwich Islands have come across a whale skeleton, that of a southern Minke whale, a mile beneath the ocean’s surface near Antarctica. Finding a ‘whale fall’ is a rare enough occurrence, since whales sink to the ocean floor when they die (beached whales account for only an…

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Lion Lights & Big Enemies

“Me and the lions, we are enemies. Big enemies. We can never forgive one other anything.” Richard Turere Richard Turere is a young Maasai boy who lives on the outskirts of Nairobi National Park, and up until recently, he was responsible for looking after the family cattle. He invented a simple and inexpensive solution to…

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Swiss Pomology

Today I’m driving up to the Aubonne Valley National Arboretum in Switzerland. It’s a large park situated in a valley between mountains and the vineyards of Lake Geneva’s northwestern shore. The last time we were there, many years ago, the manager of the arboretum kindly gave us a tour. Once he found out I was…

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Whisky Advent Calendar – An inventory

I wanted to list the contents of our 2012 Whisky Advent Calendar by day. We purchased the calendar from Master of Malt, which explains the MoM listings. Whisky calendars are available from other suppliers and I imagine their drams contain other whiskies. My next attempt will be to place them on the Whisky Tasting Wheel.…

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A Floral Buzz

It seems the way to make yourself memorable to a bee is to give it a little something that will jazz its buzz and keep it coming back for more . There was the recent study on flowers that offer a mild electrical jolt, and now there’s evidence that some flowers are able offer a…

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Brother Sun, Sister Moon

A new pope was elected yesterday,  Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. He has taken the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226), patron saint of animals, the environment, of Italy, of merchants and stowaways. A papal predecessor, Pope John Paul II, declared St. Francis to be the Patron of Ecology on November 29, 1979.…

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Farewell Forest Symphony

The fundamental chords that hold a symphony together aren’t always apparent to the untrained ear. The symphony of an ecosystem is often more complex than we comprehend. A recent study draws a vital connection between elephant poaching, tree reproduction and forest ecosystems. Certain trees – in this case, large bush mango trees – have evolved…

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A bigger snowflake

It’s raining here, the snow at our altitude is all but gone, the first flowers have already pushed up through the recently thawed earth. But just a little more than an hour’s drive from my doorstep, up in Val d’Isère of the French Alps, it’s still winter. So I thought I’d post a picture of…

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