Nature Biotechnology (2012) doi:10.1038/nbt.2269
On 7th March, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, testifying before a Senate committee, declared that “it is not clear what constitutes the Syrian armed opposition – there has been no single unifying military alternative that can be recognized, appointed, or contacted”. He was right. Continue reading
In 1937, the BBC were to cover the Illumination of the Fleet at the Spithead Royal Naval review with live commentary by Lt Cdr Thomas ‘Tommy’ Woodroffe. Pre-transmission naval hospitality had been lavish, and Woodroffe was already listing heavily to port, awash in pink gins.
What followed was a masterpiece. The full eloquence of his commentary is a monument to radio broadcasting, full of long gaps, repetition, vagueness, and sudden changes of tone from obsequious to aggressive, against the whistling crackle of vintage radio.
There’s nothing between us and heaven. Nothing at all.
At this point Woodroffe was faded out and replaced by music. He later denied being “lit up” himself, claiming to have been affected by the emotion of the occasion – possibly the first recorded example of broadcaster euphemism.
The time for analyses is over. You’re better off burning your money and arming yourself with a bow and arrow. There may not be many mammoth still roaming the wastelands but at least you’ll die with dignity.
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A fascinating interview with 2008 Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, in which he describes the last two possible solutions to the Euro crisis. Both are impossible.
He basically sees two possible outcomes, both of which are “impossible.” Continue reading
These last twenty years have seen a spate of defence white papers and policy announcements by various western nations. They have failed.
A white paper on defence has one purpose: to define a future strategic posture. All of the armed forces reorganisations announced since 1990, particularly those of France and the UK, have had to be revised, often after a couple of years.
If the new structures do not meet the new requirements, then the whole exercise is a (very costly) failure. Barring the United States in its latest Defence Strategic Guidance, no western nation has had the political courage and intellectual honesty to define the new threats. So they tinker with budgets and sketch out strategies to fight yesterday’s wars.
The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a fifth moon circling the dwarf planet Pluto.
The new moon (P5 in the picture), visible as a speck of light in Hubble images, is estimated to be irregular in shape and between 10km and 25km across.
We need a new name for Pluto’s new companion. After Charon, Nix and Hydra, the fourth moon is sitll nameless. And now comes the fifth. I propose Orpheus and Eurydice. Didn’t Orpheus visit the underworld to rescue his Eurydice?
As an alternative, we could try Continue reading