Monthly Archives: August 2010

In this week’s podcast: We introduce a new feature to the podcast, that of how literature and the arts are influenced by science and scientists. We start this week by hearing from novelist AS Byatt about her passion for science and how this passion permeates her writing.

Guest in the studio is materials scientist Mark Miodownik, who has just been named this year’s RI Christmas lecturer. He talks about scale and self-healing materials.

Science Mag’s contribution is all about ants and epigenetics.

Presented by Clive Cookson, with Diana Garnham

Produced by LJ Filotrani


Over the past decade there has been a steady onward march of objects, activities and emotions from hearth to cubicle, so there is now almost nothing left that belongs entirely at home.


The idea that the policies adopted in the last few months of the Bush administration and the first months of this one were far better than nothing is weirdly controversial in the US, says Martin Wolf


Interest rates could rise sharply if inflation gets out of control – so how can savers find the best deals? Not all absolute return funds are making absolute returns – we look at why. And could being too near to a shop or a pub prevent you getting a mortgage?


Cheap tracker mortgages – why there’s no need to get them while stocks last. Inflation proofed savings are here again. And cautious managed funds – why it turns out that data providers can’t get their facts right


Last night I did what I always do when I am feeling jaded – I got out my boxed-set of Mad Men and immersed myself in the hedonistic, glamorous world of Maddison Avenue in the 1960s, when all women were a 38 triple-D cup, all men drank scotch from lunchtime till bedtime, everyone chain-smoked and fornicated whenever they got the chance.


Listen to a clip of a US radio interview with Rohit Jaggi on the subject of pilotless aircraft


The e-mail was waiting for me on my return from holiday, just as I knew it would be. Shortly before I went away, I had written a column in which I had borrowed not merely someone else’s idea but his very words. At the time I thought I’d get away with it, but in the middle of the night had woken in a sweat. In the age of the internet, plagiarists nearly always get punished.


Last Tuesday, during the final assembly of the year at my daughter’s school, pupils said  goodbye to a teacher who was being elbowed out. Miss T was famous for her feebleness at imparting knowledge; the new broom of a head had decided it would make more sense to give the job to someone who could teach instead.


How can house sales be increasing when mortgage approvals and house prices are falling? When is a cautious managed fund not a cautious managed fund? And what should parents of students be doing: renting or buying universtity digs?