Science and Technology

Replacing nuclear by… gas?

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 12:08 Author: Mike Zubrowski
gas power

Hitachi has shelved plans for a new nuclear plant at Wylfa, Wales, months after Toshiba scrapped plans in Moorside, Cumbria, and Horizon suspended work at Oldbury, Gloucestershire. These withdrawals by three private Japanese corporations leave gaps in the UK government’s already bad climate and energy strategy.

Many old reactors are due to retire through the 2020s, and coal-fired power stations are due to be phased out by 2025. These new nuclear plants were due to fill the energy gap while contributing to the UK’s (insufficient) climate goals.

Where are the women in physics?

Submitted by AWL on 18 October, 2018 - 2:50 Author: Les Hearn
Emmy Noether

Physics pervades our lives, not just in the experiences of gravity, momentum, heat and cold that our ancestors would have felt but with the engines, electricity, communications and computing that are now taken for granted. The laws of physics have been elucidated by a group of people unknown for much of human history - scientists - and this group has been largely, but not entirely, male, the balance changing slowly throughout the last century.

Save the planet, stop fracking!

Submitted by AWL on 10 October, 2018 - 12:39 Author: Mike Zubrowski

On 8 October, a scientists’ panel convened by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after surveying more than 6,000 scientific studies, reported that the world is on course for catastrophic warming by the end of the century, due to carbon emissions.

And this same week the first UK site for “horizontal fracking” looks set to start in Lancashire.

“Fracking” pumps pressurised liquid deep underground to fracture rock, releasing natural gas. “Horizontal fracking” also drills sideways, accessing larger underground areas.

Psychedelic drugs as therapy

Submitted by SJW on 6 June, 2018 - 12:14 Author: Todd Hamer
Micro dose

On 19 April 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann ingested a small dose of a chemical he had synthesised and experienced the world’s first LSD trip. His experience ushered in two decades of experimentation and clinical research into psychedelic drugs until it was cut short by prohibition in 1970.

Democracy and social media

Submitted by SJW on 28 March, 2018 - 5:56 Author: Rosalind Robson

The scandal surrounding how Facebook shared with a Cambridge psychologist, and his firm (Global Science Research) the personal information of 50 million users, without their explicit consent, has revealed a gruesome network of right-wing academic, political and business connections.

We're here because we're here

Submitted by AWL on 17 March, 2018 - 7:15 Author: Les Hearn
Stephen Hawking

We’re here because we’re here

Les Hearn wrote this review of a Brief History of Time in 1989 for Socialist Organiser. We reprint it as a tribute to Stephen Hawking who died on 14 March.

In 1963, when he was a student, Stephen Hawking was told he had motor neurone disease and had possibly two years to live. Now, confined to a wheelchair, unable to move, breathing through a hole in his windpipe, communicating by computer and voice synthesiser, he is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists.

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