Blog Profile / Sciencebase

Filed Under:Academics / General Science
Posts on Regator:1153
Posts / Week:2.3
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Does asthma drug boost athleticism?

If you’re an athlete taking the WADA allowed 1600 micrograms of salbumatol each day that’s the equivalent of 16 doses from a standard metered dose inhaler. If you’re taking so much that it leads to you failing a drug test, then you have serious problems. Most lay people take two doses at a time to … Continue reading "Does asthma drug boost athleticism?"

Using a light switch to turn chemical reactions on and off

My latest news article in Chemistry World is about a light switch, not a lightswitch, that can control chemical reactivity. The PR team at the research centre involved have put together a nice video showing the experiments involved,Show More Summary

Computer code for children and politicians

We need some new computer code that interprets user input and assigns an appropriate tag to terse messages. For instance, if one’s offspring respond to the suggestion that they assist with household chores and the respon is “Yay!”, then the code would automatically enclose the message in tags so that no one would … Continue reading "Computer code for children and politicians"

How to take photographs in the snow

When photographing snow you have to pretty much ignore what your camera thinks the scene looks like otherwise you will get an underexposed, grey shot. Conversely, if it’s sunny there will likely be a blue cast over the photo and the snow whites will be blown out. So, if it’s dull and snowing take your … Continue reading "How to take photographs in the snow"

Starring All Saints’ Church

A few snaps of All Saints’ Church, Cottenham, with the stellar backdrop of the Milky Way. In the third picture down, you can see the light trail of a satellite I spotted as I was framing up. Milky Way is perhaps most obvious in the last photo. For those interested in such things, these were … Continue reading "Starring All Saints’ Church"

Green sandpiper confirmed

In mid-October I spotted a bird I didn’t recognise scooting along Cottenham Lode. It looked mostly black/very dark-brown but with a white rump and a square tail. It was a quick flyer shooting along the fen drain close to the water’s surface. I’d say it was just a little smaller than a swift and with … Continue reading "Green sandpiper confirmed"

What’s happening to our birds?

The RSPB/BTO/WWT state of the UK’s birds report is out now. Here’s the exec summary cribbed from the RSPB’s press release. Climate change is helping some species, hindering others. Bird abundance and distribution are changing, more reaching further north. Show More Summary

How to photograph a meteor shower

My good friend Paul Sutherland alerted his Facebook cohort to the upcoming spectacle of the Geminid meteor shower. My immediate thought was what settings do I need to use with my camera having dabbled with astrophotography earlier this week. Show More Summary

Lobster cola

There’s a piece in The Graun about somebody finding a lobster with an imprint of a drinks can logo on its claw…very strange…and, of course, the paper makes it an excuse to discuss the growing problem of waste in our oceans; which is fine there is a problem. But, it also reports that the discoverer … Continue reading "Lobster cola"

Photographing the stars

I blogged and posted photos of starscapes I shot last on a chilly November night this week at about 11pm. Here’s the executive summary for getting a sharp photo without star trails caused by Earth’s rotation. It was a clear night, but there was a quarter moon so not perfect conditions, best to shoot after … Continue reading "Photographing the stars"

A microbe called Rush

There’s an orange-haired hunstman spider that has the scientific name Heteropoda davidbowie…now there’s a triumvirate of microbes (specifically, parabasalian protist flagellates) named after the members of Canadian power trio Rush:   Pseudotrichonympha leei, P. Show More Summary

Birdlife at Stiffkey Marshes

We made an impromptu trip to Stiffkey on the North Norfolk coast, stopped overnight at the Red Lion Inn, it is almost dark by the time we got there but there were lots of loose flocks of geese coming home to roost on the marshes. The initial attractor had been rumours of waxwings around the … Continue reading "Birdlife at Stiffkey Marshes"

Stellar photography shoots for the stars

We’ve all seen those amazing shots of the Milky Way with some stunning vista, an enormous bridge, mountains, a rainforest…well, there’s not a lot of that around here but I fancied shooting the stars. Basic things: you need a tripod, a remote shutter control or the ability to set a shutter release timer, and a … Continue reading "Stellar photography shoots for the stars"

The pelican brief: birds of Australia

Following on from my earlier Australian bird of the year post (no Kylie nor Nicole jokes, purleez), here are a few grainy scans from the albums of Mr & Mr Sciencebase from Oct-Dec 1989. Top to bottom: Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus),...Show More Summary

Australian bird of the year

ClassicFM’s @TimLihoreau alerted me over breakfast this morning (via the “airwaves”, that is) that The Grauniad is publicising the vote for Australia’s bird of the year. Now, having visited and traveled several thousand miles through Australia back in October-December 1989, I can vouch for the abundance and have a few photos in my collection. Show More Summary

Photographing birds in flight

Unless, you have been avoiding me this year, you will know I have been photographing a lot of birds. Well over 120 native and migrant species in the UK so far. I am stockpiling the best photos for my forthcoming book: “Chasing Wild Geese“. One thing that everyone but the most experienced photographers struggle with … Continue reading "Photographing birds in flight"

The Element in the Room

Festival of the Spoken Nerd’s Helen Arney and Steve Mould have a puntastic pop science book out now. All the science-y stuff staring you in the face. From their website: The Element In The Room takes you on a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled and irreverent adventure to explain the elements of science that other books ignore, with … Continue reading "The Element in the Room"

What is quizbait?

Some time ago, I coined the term “quizbait” as a portmanteau of quiz and bait, along the links of clickbait and linkbait, the kind of trivial end point you reach when you get suckered into following a URL to something trivial, untrustworthy or fake. It’s everywhere and as my incredibly social media savvy friend Jo … Continue reading "What is quizbait?"

From Ayer’s Rock to Uluru

It’s almost 28 years to the day that Mrs Sciencebase and myself (although we weren’t Mr&Mrs at the time and Sciencebase didn’t exist) backpacked our way around Australia. Greyhounding from Melbourne to Adelaide, North through Coober Pedy to the Red Centre, Alice and Uluru, onward to the Top End via Kakadu to Darwin, then back … Continue reading "From Ayer’s Rock to Uluru"

Are great tit beaks really getting greater?

Heard a news snippet on R4 this morning reporting on how Brits using bird feeders has apparently led to great tits (Parus major) evolving longer beaks. I read an article or two (National Geographic and The Guardian) to check out how the science was being reported elsewhere and then took at a look at the … Continue reading "Are great tit beaks really getting greater?"

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