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David Bradley

Sciencebase - Freelance Science Writer

Last Build Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2017 15:18:28 +0000


Pause for thought – a comma

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 17:06:19 +0000

It’s an odd name…for a butterfly…a comma. Formally known as Polygonia c-album. Raggedy edged wings with a little white fleck on the underside resembling a punctuation mark, hence the name. Not to be confused with an Oxford comma, a point of housestyle that avoids the confusions of phrases such as “eats, shoots, and leaves” although it’s not … Continue reading "Pause for thought – a comma"

Collared dove continuity error

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:11:50 +0000

You wouldn’t have heard the plaintive and ubiquitous sound of an English summer, the incessant “coo-coo-coooh” of a collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto) here until 1953, when they first began to settle and breed. According to Wikipedia: The collared dove is not migratory, but is strongly dispersive. Over the last century, it has been one of … Continue reading "Collared dove continuity error"

Bridges (Crossed and Burned)

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 20:45:41 +0000

Tuesday night, three-hour demo from first idea (the line “embedded with waifs and strays” which sprung unbidden into my head) and two evolutions of the chord progression, lots of lyrical ad libbing in various takes, played it “live” to friends at Sunday Arts Night with some tweaked and hopefully tighter lyrics and a bit of … Continue reading "Bridges (Crossed and Burned)"

Protection racket for your contactless cards

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:52:56 +0000

My astro news friend Paul Sutherland recently described how to make a simple protector for your wallet if your wont is to carry those new-fangled contactless debit and credit cards. The protection involves cutting a sheet of tin foil to size and backing it with a couple of strips of gaffer tape and then inserting … Continue reading "Protection racket for your contactless cards"

Tim Lihoreau’s Musical Treasury

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:15:45 +0000

Laugh-out-loud new book from ClassicFM’s award-winning breakfast DJ and Cottenham resident Tim Lihoreau out now from all good books shops, amazon etc. In his latest tome, Tim uses odd British place names to help him define missing and orphaned musical terms, such as swavesey: the cheesy side-to-side motion, stepping from foot to foot, beloved of … Continue reading "Tim Lihoreau’s Musical Treasury"

Three birds in one

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 17:28:12 +0000

Three birds in one: lapwing, peewit (pewit), green plover (Vanellus vanellus)…actually also known as a tuit (tew-it), so four birds in one. The fact that its scientific binomial (colloquially known as a species’ “Latin name” is in this species case a tautonym (both parts are the same word), this indicates that this species is the … Continue reading "Three birds in one"

The Sir James Knott Anti-aircraft flats

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:52:45 +0000

The “Sir James Knott Memorial Flats” in Tynemouth, commonly known as Knott’s Flats (although they have also been known locally as Colditz), were built when war clouds were gathering over Europe in the 1930s, ironically enough. They had special design features meant to protect the occupants from putative air-raids, probably the first residential building to be … Continue reading "The Sir James Knott Anti-aircraft flats"

Great spotted woodpecker – Dendrocopos major

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:44 +0000

Pleased to see this great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) clinging to a vertical branch at the top of a tall-ish ash tree in the local woodland (on 6th February 2017), as is their wont. Usually, they’ll manoeuvre themselves to the farside of a tree trunk and you’ll only really know they are there if they’re … Continue reading "Great spotted woodpecker – Dendrocopos major"

Mens Agitat Molem

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:47:04 +0000

UPDATE: Apparently, they’re renaming Mens Bar “Luther’s”, you just know that freshers will find that just as confusing and assume it’s a tribute to the cop show character played by Idris Elba. The “Mens Bar” at Newcastle Uni Student Union still causes ructions apparently, despite the lack of apostrophe and that it’s short for “mens agitat … Continue reading "Mens Agitat Molem"

Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:00:06 +0000

The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) unmistakable at the river bank if you’re quick enough to hear the “pip pip” just before it darts across the water or if you spot on perched on a branch or mooring staring keenly at the surface investigating the depths with speary intent. Numbers seem to be on the rise … Continue reading "Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis"