Category: Radiation

Reading this can damage your health

nz wifi screengrab 2

Remember, folks, if (a) it’s new, (b) it’s popular, and (c) it’s invisible, then you know what it is. That’s right. It’s a cancer-causing death ray inflicted by lazy-minded bureaucrats who wilfully want to kill your kids. Or “WiFi”, to you and me.

Yes, WiFi causes cancer now. And that’s official (kind of). How do we know? Well, it said so on the Internet. And, some parents campaigning to have it banned have been getting emails from all over the world “expressing concern” about the dangers of WiFi. Yep. Looks like it’s true alright.

As a result, and in no way an alarmist reaction, a school in New Zealand has decided to remove Wi-Fi from junior classes and replace it with cable-based internet. You know, because electrical cables have never hurt anyone. Continue reading “Reading this can damage your health”

Galway nuked, radiation fireball blasts Athlone :(

The other day, a live World War II hand grenade was found in a garden just down the street from my house. Thirty families were evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night while the army bomb disposal unit came along to do their stuff. This is very unusual around where I live. For one thing, Ireland wasn’t in World War II, so how there came to be leftover weaponry lying around is something of a mystery. Nonetheless, for those who could have been affected, it’s a little scary to think that a live hand grenade could have detonated in a suburban housing estate.

By coincidence, today I came across this website, which enables you to simulate a bomb explosion in any part of the world. And not just any old bomb explosion, but a nuclear bomb explosion. All you need to do is point the little red arrow somewhere on Google Maps, select your kiloton yield, and — as might be expected from a website-based apocalypse dashboard — click on a button marked ‘Detonate‘. And there you go. The software returns an image showing the blast radius in various concentric degrees of severity.

So I did what any red-blooded man in my position would do. I plonked the target right down on top of my own house, selected the biggest bomb available (the pimped-up 100-Mt version of the USSR’s Tsar Bomba), panned back so that I could see the full fallout, and then Continue reading “Galway nuked, radiation fireball blasts Athlone :(“

Is there actually evidence for anti-ageing creams?

Here is a short piece I wrote for Tuesday’s Irish Independent. It was part of their ‘Science For Life’ supplement (not available online), in which scientists provide answers to “some of life’s big questions“. I was asked to respond to a question raised by current affairs broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan (@miriamocal), who asked “Is there any scientific evidence that anti-ageing creams work?” Naturally, given my own wrinkle-free visage (as featured prominently in the awesome and not-at-all embarrassing photograph that accompanied the piece), I was quickly identified as a suitable expert for this type of thing.  

The version below is the final draft prior to typographical edits. The Irish Independent’s ‘Science For Life’ section is edited by Katherine Donnelly, and its production is assisted by support from the Higher Education Authority and Dublin City of Science 2012, hosts of ESOF 2012.

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This question divides scientific opinion. On the one hand, we know lots about the science of cell ageing, and many studies show how certain substances alter the skin’s appearance. However, lots of scientists are sceptical as to whether these substances can be made into a workable anti-ageing cream. And there is a dearth of scientific research showing that commercially available creams actually make a real difference. Continue reading “Is there actually evidence for anti-ageing creams?”

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