Category: Space

“Life Matters” (Because it just does)

rte lm

Here is Sunday’s episode of “Life Matters” on RTÉ Radio 1, which features (among many luminaries) none other than yours truly. Entitled The God of Aliens, the programme addresses those famous bedfellows, science and religion. It’s all a very interesting package and I encourage you to give it a listen (don’t worry, it’s mostly other people).

My contributions relate to the evolutionary basis of religiosity, and its implications for our understanding and appreciation of morality. All of which seems far more profound as I type it than it probably really is. Go have a listen and see what you think yourself.

The “Life Matters” series is relatively new (it’s six weeks into its run) and is presented by Seán Duke and Colette Kinsella. The aim is to explore “the ethics of how we live today“, no less. I think it’s been a really great series so far — strong in narrative, diverse in perspective, and comprehensively researched — a terrific example of cerebral but accessible programming.

Previous episodes (and, in due course, future ones) can be streamed here.

Bandwagon latest: ‘Science news’ with tenuous World Cup relevance doing the rounds right now

1. Analyzing John Brooks’ Dream About Scoring the Winning Goal

Source:, ‘HEALTH’ section (17 June)

One-line summary:  A US soccer player scored a goal and then says he previously had a dream about doing so. So then, can your dreams predict or influence your future? Scientists say maybe or maybe not. By which they mean: ‘Actually not.’

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say:So while it’s not exactly ‘scientific’…

World Cup relevance: 4/5

Science relevance: 2/5


2. The Story Behind the Foam That World Cup Refs Use To Stop Cheating

Source: (17 June)

One-line summary: That vanishing spray, invented in 2002, is now on TV a lot. So without actually explaining how it works, here’s what a ‘free kick’ is.

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say: Continue reading “Bandwagon latest: ‘Science news’ with tenuous World Cup relevance doing the rounds right now”

Reverse the Earth’s rotation? I’d want to get off

Here is the spinning globe atop the University of São Paulo’s international webpage. Tut, tut, tut:

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s the wrong direction of rotation! Why, if the Earth rotated in that direction, we’d all be killed!” Or something.

Well, as well as messing up time zones so that it would be morning in the US before it is in Europe, it would certainly confuse meteorologists: Continue reading “Reverse the Earth’s rotation? I’d want to get off”

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