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    Tirpitz and the science of conflict ecology…

    It has been said that, in war, truth is the first casualty. As understandable as it may be to tell lies, create and perpetuate falsehoods and deceptions, and spread disinformation – so as not to give any advantage to one’s enemy – the very suspicion that statements about wartime activities may not be true requires […] More

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    Between scientists and journalists, the PIO

    Handbook for Science Public Information Officers by W. Matthew Shipman, 2015. The University of Chicago Press. This book had been on my ‘to-read’ list for years, though it kept getting bumped down by other books. Partly this was because the ebook was the same price as the paperback, which I find off-putting in any book. […] More

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    Final course: ‘Coffee’… *

    Or, rather, something to ponder as you finish your meal, maybe with a coffee. Whatever your food(s) of choice, you need the right equipment – e.g. teeth – to cope with it (unless it’s a liquid or intravenously-introduced diet…). Although this item is a slightly offbeat ‘nutrition and teeth’ one, it’s a good one. Rather […] More

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    1st course: Seagrass ****

    What’s the one dietary fact everybody knows about sharks? Correct, they eat human beings – as graphically shown in the creature feature film sensation of 1975, the movie Jaws (and its various good, bad, and indifferent sequels…). As so-called apex predators, sharks are famously considered to be carnivorous, but, that’s not necessarily so. Samantha Leigh […] More

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    Food, glorious food! ***, ****

    Plants provide animals [and it is acknowledged that the following listing is somewhat human-biased] with many things: e.g. medicines; building materials; oxygen; useful chemicals (e.g. dyes such as madder, essential oils for aromatherapy, and the natural pesticide pyrethrin); fuel to heat our homes or move our motor cars; fibres (e.g. cotton and jute); ‘recreational’ drugs […] More

  • Schematic overview of the field and the actors of science communication
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    Science communication: Getting it right…

    Science is one of the most important of human activities, and consequently it’s often funded by the public via their taxes. In order to inform the public of the ways their ‘tax dollars’ have been spent – as part ‘thank you’ for that past funding, and partly to encourage future funding(?) – there is a […] More

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    Taking Glycine to the max!

    The Story of Soy by Christine du Bois 2018. Reaktion Books Ltd. Before encountering Christine du Bois’ book, The Story of Soy, I had little real idea about what soy was. OK, as a botanist I know it was a legume, Glycine max, I’d heard of – and used, occasionally too liberally! – soy sauce, […] More

  • Paeonia lactiflora
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    A tiny silver bullet for cut flowers?

    The cut flower industry – wherein stems of intact growing flowering plants are removed, and transported from their place of growth to a place of purchase by a customer and ultimately displayed in a vase (“a container for holding flowers”) containing water – is big business*. In the UK in 2006 it was estimated to […] More

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