Month: December 2010

I was a little confused when I first encountered the term asexual. The person who used the term defined as asexual and yet, living with him at the time, I knew he had sex. Or at the very least that he sometimes brought people home who then spent the night. In common with most people, my […]

Characteristically, the scientist confronts a complex interaction system – in this case, an interaction between man and opium. He observes a change in the system – the man falls asleep. The scientist then explains the change by giving a name to a fictitious ’cause’, located in one or other component of the interacting system. Either […]

An interesting article in today’s Times (which I can’t link to because of the paywall) about the growth of ‘friendship with benefits’. It reports findings of research in the US which suggests that such relationships are becoming a lot more demographically varied (rather than being the preserve of university students) and that “unexpectedly … both […]

Young chimps play make-believe games in which they pretend that a favourite stick is a baby for nurturing and even putting to bed, according to a 14-year study of the animals in Uganda. Biologists watched the chimps in the forests of Kibale National Park in Uganda and found intriguing differences in the way young males and […]

Lada Adamic, a researcher at HP Labs, studied the users of an online student centre at Stanford called Club Nexus and found that two students were likely to be friends if their interests overlapped, and that the likelihood rose if the shared interests were more specific. (Two people who like fencing are likelier to be […]

The historians taught us long ago that the King was never left alone. But, in fact, until the end of the seventeeth century, nobody was ever left alone. The density of social life made isolation virtually impossible, and people who managed to shut themselves up in a room for some time were regarded as exceptional […]

“Why should those who are less well off subsidize the education of people who’ll earn a lot more money as a result of getting a degree?” An interesting parallel to the issue raised by this question can be found in the relationship of smokers to the NHS. Why should non-smokers help ‘subsidize’ the additional health costs of […]