25 May 2011

Another Reader's Digest

This week, we’re sticking mostly the BBC for the most interesting stories.

First up, there is a terrible story of my own alma mater accepting money from British American Tobacco to fund scholarships.

On a brighter note, the university did regain its place in the top 10 universities on the Guardian’s rankings, though they have insisted on going with status over substance, by looking at the top few.

Surely, the headline says it all: Exploding watermelons!

A fascinating look at corporate branding. It should tie in well with my forthcoming reading, as I’ve got Naomi Klein’s No Logo near the top of my reading list at the moment.

Here’s one for all you science geeks: planets orbiting backwards! As Nature doesn’t believe in the open democratisation of science, you can’t view the article in the magazine without paying through the nose. However, the paper in question was issued as a pre-print last year on arXiv and can be downloaded at no extra cost here.

Back to the Beeb for this one: coffee reduces risk of cancer in men! Of course, any such story needs to handled with the scepticism due to any such sensationalist article. I certainly won’t be increasing my coffee dosage in light of this.

Finally, another science article. This time on one of my all time favourite subjects: Non-Euclidean Geometry (in Amazonian tribes)!!!


  1. Anonymous25 May, 2011

    Slightly off-topic I know, but I resent your comments on the guardian website regarding Luton. As a fellow Lutonian, I have spent many years away from the town, but will always have a soft spot for the place. Granted, its not the prettiest place and has its fair share of problems, but this is true of many towns. However, Luton has a lot to commend it - excellent transport links to London, a thriving airport, a rich heritage in the motor industry to name but a few. It was also one of the earliest examples of a truly multi-cultural society in the UK. I for one had an extremely enjoyable upbringing in the town and I am proud to call myself a Lutonian. I try to get back there as often as I can. Its all too easy to jump on the anti-Luton bandwagon and proclaim what an awful place it is, you are not alone in doing this, but I think this is such a blinkered approach. Take time to think about the positives the town has to offer and how the time you spent in your home-town went towards shaping the person you are today. You are obviously a well-educated individual, which makes the ignorance of your comments even harder to comprehend. Shame on you!

  2. Greetings, anonymous.

    While you may resent my comments, that pales into insignificance compared to the resentment I have for the place itself. Of the things you mention as being positives, the motor industry stands out. This is a former industry that is now hardly present there. Many of my friends and parents thereof were made redundant and their families fell on hard times as a result of the collapse of the industry. You also call upon the multi-cultural nature of the town, ignoring the fact that it is ghettoised and segregated. Travel a mile through Bury Park during a busy day and you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of white people. Do the same around Putteridge and the reverse is true. And what happens when the ethnicities meet? Well, I still remember being able to see the burning cars during the Marsh Farm riots in the 1990s.

    While it is certainly easy to criticise Luton, the “bandwagon” defence doesn’t stand up when the criticism is legitimate and evidenced. You also accuse me of being blinkered and ignorant. The truth is far from this. I have seen far too much and all too well-informed for that to hold any weight. People have been stabbed at the bus stop where I used to wait, friends of mine have been attacked by strangers, I have been chased down the road by people with knives, my family have been robbed and that is all before the personal memories which still haunt me, though I have no desire to recount those here.