Friday, 12 February 2016

So what are Gravity Waves

Two black holes, when they met, cause a cavity
In the space time contin’um called gravity
And the waves, fast as light,
Prove that Einstein was right,
As the scientists claim, with audacity.

The science involves much complicated mathematics but a simple model will explain the basic idea.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Why were stone handaxes made in the same way for a million years?

Early man made some useful hand tools
And no-one could say they were fools
But the axes they made
They failed to upgrade
‘cause no-one could teach them the rules.

In considering the evolution of human intelligence there is uncertainty about when an effective language first emerged and there is also a mystery of the early stone hand axes, which were made to the same design for about a million years. If the early hominins who made these tools were really that intelligent one might expect that someone in more than 70,000 generations would have found a way of making better stone hand axes.

The Black Kite - A Bird that uses fire as a tool/

An intelligent bird is the kite,
For a fire it knows how to ignite.
And some scientists claim
It can carry a flame
So its prey can be caught in their flight.

Yesterday the British newspapers were full of the news that Black Kites in Australia deliberately removed burning embers from a bush fire and dropped it on nearby grassland, setting the grass alight. The small mammals and lizards living deep in the grass would become visible as they tried to escape from the flames, and could then be easily caught.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

What trees should we plant to combat global warming

An old oak tree at Ashridge
Climate change is a fully proved fact.
Keep our woods and our forests intact.
But should we plant more?
Conifers I deplore;
Oak and beech are the trees that attract.

This limerick was inspired by today's news on the BBC web site "Wrong type of trees in Europe increased global warning." 

The Time Machine (and other "futures" short stories)

“Eureka” shouted the scientist as he completed work on the new super-intelligent computer which controlled an attractive looking robot. A little more work and we can all live like Greek gods, waited on by robots.

In the next lab another scientist was building a time machine and decided he couldn’t wait and used his invention to visit this idyllic Grecian future.

He landed in a wonderful garden where rather bloated but otherwise god-like figures feasted. He discovered they were called Eloi and marvelled at the success of his fellow inventor’s computer. "Surely this must be a living Paradise" he thought.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Environmental Limericks

On FutureLearn there is a course
(New South Wales is a source I endorse)
It's environmental
With  humanities (gentle)
Put over with plenty of force.

I  have recently been doing a number of FutureLearn courses, as they encourage me to think outside the box and the current one is on Environmental Humanities, put on by the University of New South Wales. As scientist with little formal training in the humanities I have found the discussion so far interesting- and the comments between the students on the course stimulating.

We are all trapped on a planet where the climate is changing and part of the course involved students suggesting a task area and relating it to the discussions. I though about how, through this blog, I could introduce more environmental posts to alert people of the issues by linking simple poetry to a topic - by resurrecting my limerick posts - although I do not promise one a week, which was the original idea.