- Alice Roberts is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She is a physical anthropologist, author, and popular TV science presenter, and was once nominated for the Prime Ministership of Italy;
- comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of different organisms;
- my use of the phrase ‘on the nature of limbs’ is a reference to a book of that name by Richard Owen (Amazon uk|.com);
- Richard Owen was a brilliant Victorian anatomist. An adversary of Charles Darwin, he invented the word dinosaur, and was responsible for the creation of what later became the Natural History Museum in London. Owen believed that the anatomies of all vertebrates shared the same basic blueprint, which he referred to as the archetype;
- Charles Darwin was a total dude, who realised that Owen’s so-called archetype in fact represented the common ancestor of all vertebrates;
- Ernst Haeckel was a brilliant German biologist, who developed his own (mostly wrong) version of Darwinism;
- Edward B. Lewis was an twentieth-century American geneticist, who co-received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering work on fruit flies;
- Horizon is a long-running, BBC popular science television programme.
Or, to put it another way:
- Alice Roberts sent me a tweet mentioning Charles Darwin!
My work here is almost complete.
BBC: World’s ‘lightest material’ unveiled by US engineers
A team of engineers claims to have created the world’s lightest material.
I should sue. These guys have clearly been stealing my material.
For some time now, I’ve fancied having a go with a pinhole camera. That’s a camera without a lens. You take the photo through a tiny pinhole, which, due to its tiny, pinholish nature, focuses the image for you. It works on exactly the same principle as my legendary hatescope. The tinier the pinhole, the better.
So, yesterday I gave it a shot:
Yours truly yesterday.
I used my super-duper digital SLR camera, removing the lens and replacing it with the body-cap intended to protect the camera when the lens is off. I had a spare body-cap, so (before I put it on the camera, obviously) I drilled a smallish hole though it, then stuck a small piece of black plastic with a pinhole pushed through it over the hole. The plastic was cut from an old flowerpot.
This is a bit like having the world’s best hi-fi and using it to play Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins.
More soft-focus (not blurry) pinhole photos here.
We did that!
Taken very hurriedly outside my house this evening. The black line is a telegraph wire. The white line is the International Space Station.
True story: Last year, my mate Karen received a phone call from the International Space Station. She was out. So the astronaut left a message that he’d call back later. Which he did.
BBC: Scientists claim sperm ‘first’
Scientists in Newcastle claim to have created human sperm in the laboratory in what they say is a world first.
The dirty little bastards.
You can get arrested for that sort of thing you know.