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Category Archives: Science

What if ‘net-neutrality’ was a really bad idea? Guest post by Brian Hanley

[SL: Despite long-term engagement with technology, I remain something of a tech sceptic. I'm not the only lawyer who's noticed that modern computer software often impedes the completion of important, time-critical tasks, or who has witnessed the property department at three different law firms refuse to part up with their IBM Selectrics. This article, however, […]

Enlightenment foreclosed?

Uttering the cliche that “what Islam needs is a Reformation” merely shows that the speaker understands neither Islam nor the Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was the rejection of traditional accretions in favour of the authority of scripture; an attempt to return to “original” Christianity. Islam has experienced waves of such reformism throughout its history, also […]

Pacu Man

Experts have warned Swedish men to keep their swimming trunks on if taking a dip in a sound off the country’s southern coast, after a South American fish known for attacking testicles was discovered in the area. The alert came after a fisherman in the Oresund Sound last week retrieved a 21 centimetre pacu – […]

Fracking Hell

The whole of the country must “get behind fracking”, which ought to get “real public support” once its benefits are explained, David Cameron has said. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said he wanted all of the UK to benefit from shale gas drilling – “north or south”. The prime minister moved to allay concerns […]

Government by expert, scientists, and those Platonic Guardians (again) #QEDcon

Over the weekend, I was a guest at this really rather splendid skeptical convention (responsible for the terrific animation above). I and my fellow panellists (three lawyers, one science writer) got to talk about libel and defamation law, and how it relates to social media. This is, I think it’s fair to say, controversial right now. […]

The unforeseeable plaintiff

Making sense of the world requires–nay, demands–that we find patterns in events. And, as part of modernity, we’ve become used to the clear-headed, formalised pattern-finding of law and science. There are ways to look for explanations, and things that ought properly to be discarded along the way. That’s why we have ‘legal method’ and ‘scientific […]

Scientists found guilty for ‘causing’ earthquake deaths

I was very interested to read that some scientists had been found guilty of manslaughter in relation to advice given about an earthquake: Six Italian scientists and a government official have been found guilty of multiple manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009. They were sentenced to six years […]

Eye Candy du Jour: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012

Been a while since I did one of these, so I thought I might draw your attention to the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 slideshow currently available on the BBC. Steven Christenson was ‘only’ a runner-up with his photo of hikers Lost In Yosemite national park (which gives you some idea of the standard […]

Science humour

Have you seen this cat? Does it generate a sense of uncertainty? This is the Saturday chit-chat post.

‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’

As many of you know, I won the 2012 Law Society of Scotland Essay Award for a piece entitled ‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’. The question to which my paper was a response was this: An MSP would like to bring forward a member’s bill in the Scottish Parliament. She would like it […]