Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Pet Power

Posted on April 2nd 2012 in Features with Comments Off on Pet Power

You might think your best friend is pretty awesome. Obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be friends with them, and you have very good taste. How long have you known this marvellous mate, your champion chum? Maybe since you moved jobs or since university, maybe even your whole lives. Well, I have known my best friend for over 35,000 years. We have seen civilisations rise and fall, and all the while our relationship has only got stronger and stronger. We’ve had many great adventures and likely will have for many thousands more years to come. My name is Man and my friend’s…

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All things tend towards jazz

Posted on February 4th 2012 in Features with Comments Off on All things tend towards jazz

Midnight is approaching. Smoke fills the air of the dark, subterranean jazz club. People crowd the room, drinking heavily and talking softly. As tonight’s performers take to the stage, silence descends on the waiting audience, afraid that they might miss a single note. Why such reverence? Because the music  they are about to hear is improvised – it has never been performed before, and will never be played again.

I must have it!

Posted on December 5th 2011 in Features with Comments Off on I must have it!

Every year our minds are assaulted. Shops, advertisers and corporations bombard us with a variety of psychological techniques with the sole purpose of getting us to part with our hard earned cash. Having investigated the ingenious ways we are duped; here’s a five-point “insider’s guide” to the ways retailers manipulate us. Not that knowing any of this will help you save any money – you’re still going to have to shell out for all your loved ones. You don’t want to look like a Scrooge, after all… (This is a feature I have written for Guru Magazine. You can read…

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Invasion of the body snatchers

Posted on October 29th 2011 in Features with Comments Off on Invasion of the body snatchers

Our bodies are the most personal thing we have. Every living thing on the planet has its own unique combination of DNA. Our DNA, interacting with the environment, creates an organism that will never be seen again in the universe. The cloned sheep Dolly was not the same as her doppelganger. Not even the most identical of identical twins are the same. In humans, our genes not only control how we look, but how we think too. Contained in our DNA is the recipe that governs the development and organisation of the neuron cells in our brain, from which comes…

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Hey there, sexy!

Posted on October 4th 2011 in Features with Comments Off on Hey there, sexy!

Blind dates are stressful affairs. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being set up on one, you’ll know the feeling: dozens of different emotions coursing through your body – anxiety, anticipation, hope, excitement – and all because you’re about to meet someone who could, potentially, be the person of your dreams. Alternatively, they could be a complete nightmare, and an excuse to leave as quickly as possible… (This is a feature I have written for Guru Magazine. You can read the full article below. Hope you enjoy!) Open publication – Free publishing – More entertainment

Cancer diagnoses going viral

Posted on August 10th 2011 in Features with Comments Off on Cancer diagnoses going viral

A genetically modified virus that can make hidden tumours light up may lead to a new and more effective way of screening for cancer. Some cancers are helpful enough to give off obvious clues to their existence. Prostate cancer, for example, can be detected as it raises the levels of a protein called PSA in the blood. Many, however, leave no such trace. Sufferers of these diseases can, therefore, remain in the dark about their condition, delaying treatment and lowering their chances of survival. What if there were to artificially force these normally hidden cancerous growths into the light? A…

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The dance of the starlings

Posted on August 8th 2011 in Features with 6 comments

This amazing video by Mark Rigler demonstrates the beautiful complexity that exists throughout the natural world. Like a Bach fugue, patterns emerge and fade, interweave, and are exquisitely modified to form an endless variety of beautiful structures. The end result seems too complicated, too ordered, too apparently designed to have appeared by chance. But, like the fugue which is built from just one or two simple musical patterns, the dance of the starlings is choreographed from only a few simple rules, which scientists are now only just beginning to decode. Across the animal kingdom, large numbers of similar individuals will…

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A new spin on computing

Posted on July 2nd 2011 in Features with 1 comment

Spin, as anyone who has ever heard Alistair Campbell speak, is a tricky thing to figure out. Quantum spin – a property many subatomic particles have – is equally confounding, but, if understood, could lead to a powerful new breed of computer technology called spintronics. Despite its name, quantum spin does not actually refer to a rotating ball such as the Earth. “The electron is not physically spinning around but it has a magnetic north pole and a magnetic south pole,” says Professor Philippe Jacquod, a researcher in spintronics at the University of Arizona. “Its spin depends on which pole…

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Carbon dioxide could fight global warming

Posted on June 21st 2011 in Features with 2 comments

It was on a cool, clear autumn day in northern Minnesota when two scientists, driving towards a fieldwork station, stopped for gas. It was at this petrol station that Martin Saar and Jimmy Randolph had a flash of inspiration that could one day help in the fight against climate change. Road journeys in America are notoriously long, allowing for many long discussions. On this particular trip, the men had only two things on their mind. Firstly, the work they had been commissioned to do by Minnesota Geological Survey on the potential for storing carbon dioxide in the local area. And…

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Probing the Depths

Posted on March 3rd 2011 in Features with Comments Off on Probing the Depths

Ever since man has been able to think of clichés, he has dreamed of heading to the stars.  The staff and students at Imperial College London are no exception, and have been involved in numerous missions to explore our solar system. Here, we take a look at just some of the missions Imperial is involved with. From landing on a comet 750 million kilometers away and investigating the unique  weather system on one of Saturn’s moons, to hunting for the signs of life on other planets, and even why it might be better to keep our feet firmly on the…

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