Last updated 03/09/2006
2 Sep 2006 A minor update just to remove some of the scripts I had been linking to that suddenly had started popping up nasty advertising on the page. Sorry about that everyone. Also, just to satisfy Ian: I still only have one head, and it still has hair on it.
24 Oct 2005 By popular (?) demand here's a quick update on what I'm doing now: I'm currently working for a city startup (how long can one justify calling it a startup?) called Columba Systems. I'm working with Chris and the office is just accross the road from Tammay and Richard.
Some time ago now, I did a Ph.D. with the Hot-Star Group at University College London. My main research interest is in the field of photospheric abundances in O stars, but my work to date has also included a study of rotational velocities of O and B stars. A CD version of my thesis is available upon request.
MKBL Animated logo Do you have problems keeping track of you references? Do you find all your papers are just a complete mess, and you can never find anything? Well, here's the solution: The MK Bibliography Language and Compiler! Turn your reference list into a cross-linked hyper-text html document! Your reference list is always only a few key-strokes away!
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New Scientist - News
The campaign against alcohol abuse deserves two cheers
After years of public health messaging alcohol consumption is falling ? now we need a sober assessment of how much further to push it
Virgin Galactic takes first solo glide flight since 2014 crash
The commercial spaceflight company sent its space plane, VSS Unity, for its first untethered test flight in two years, a step towards space tourism
Are caesareans really making us evolve to have bigger babies?
C-sections mean that babies whose heads are too big or whose mothers? pelvises are too narrow, are able to survive ? a fact that might be changing our species
Ancient leftovers show the real Paleo diet was a veggie feast
Early humans seem to have eaten a wide variety of vegetables and nuts, alongside delicacies such as elephant brain and fish
Spikes in search engine data predict when drugs will be recalled
An algorithm can predict drug recalls on the basis of internet searches made using Microsoft?s Bing, and might help identify faulty batches
North Dakota oil pipeline may still be built despite army block
Indigenous people and environmentalists have won the latest battle in a long stand-off with companies over an oil pipeline going under a lake and through sacred sites
Why baby flatfish grow into the wonkiest animals in the world
These fish have a travelling eye and swim on their sides in what is the most extreme example of vertebrate asymmetry ? now we know how they develop this useful trait
Sherlock Holmes shows memories have a common fingerprint
People remember and recount scenes from a TV show using the same patterns of brain activity, suggesting an evolutionary mechanism for acquiring knowledge
Breakthrough Prize hands out $25 million for ?Oscars? of science
The prize, founded and funded by Silicon Valley billionaires, aims to ape the film industry and make scientists into celebrities with a televised ceremony
In Castro?s Cuba, this is what life as a doctor was really like
Amid Fidel Castro's funeral and furious debate over his legacy, Cuba's health system is often praised. Despite its flaws, it deserves it, says Rich Warner
Magic mushroom drug helps people with cancer face death
A single dose of the psychedelic drug psilocybin can relieve feelings of depression and anxiety in people with cancer and increase their quality of life
Zap to the brain alters libido in unique sex study
Analysing how people?s brainwaves changed when expecting an erotic buzz to their genitals indicates that brain stimulation can boost sex drive
Europe?s green energy policy is a disaster for the environment
The EU's massive renewable energy drive is backfiring and its proposed solutions are just greenwashing, say campaigners
ESA approves 2020 ExoMars rover despite crash earlier this year
Putting aside the dramatic loss of the Schiaparelli lander in October and concerns about cost, ESA member states voted to go ahead with the next part of the life-hunting ExoMars mission
Google Translate AI invents its own language to translate with
The translation tool is thought to have made up its own language to find common ground for translating between language pairs it isn?t trained on
Whales talk to each other by slapping out messages on water
Humpback whales break the surface and splash down to make a long-distance call, while fin-slapping is for local conversations
Weeping rock mystery down to microbe builders and barnacle chefs
It's a first: barnacles provide food for the bacteria, which in turn dig out shelters for the barnacles, creating curious tear shapes on Australian rocks
Bees of the sea: Tiny crustaceans pollinate underwater plants
Seagrass pollen doesn?t just ride the tides - the grains of at least one species hitchhike on undersea invertebrates  
Parkinson?s disease may start in the gut and travel to the brain
It seems the nerve damage behind Parkinson's starts in the stomach or colon before spreading to brain cells - but we don't know what's causing it
Concerns as face recognition tech used to ?identify? criminals
A computer that gauges if someone has a conviction based on their photo has aroused much scepticism, but it's a reminder of the ethical dilemmas of smart tech
Stop buying organic food if you really want to save the planet
With global emissions from farming rising fast, we have to find a way for us consumers to make informed, rational choices about the food we eat
Buzz Aldrin evacuated from South Pole after falling ill
The former astronaut was visiting Antarctica as part of a tour group when his health deteriorated
Moral consensus: a CEO should earn five times what workers get
In many nations there is a universal desire for a narrower pay gap between executives and workers. No wonder the reality is so toxic, says Michael Norton
Seismic sensing app detects 200 earthquakes in first six months
Earthquake detecting app MyShake turns smartphones into an earthquake sensor network. Its creators hope it will be able to give warnings of seismic events
World?s highest plants discovered growing 6km above sea level
Coin-sized pioneers are the highest vascular plants ever found, living at more than 6100 metres above sea level on India?s dizzying Himalayan peaks
Dragon lizards fly by grabbing their fold-up wings with ?hands?
The unique way of gliding may allow the lizards to steer using their front legs, which seem to have adapted to rotate and grab the extendable wings
World?s first city to power its water needs with sewage energy
The city of Aarhus will supply fresh water using only energy created from its household wastewater and sewage - but will others be able to do the same?
LIGO turns back on to hunt for more gravitational waves
The premier gravitational wave observatory just turned back on for another six months - and it's expected to catch twice as many black holes as last time
Early hominin Lucy had powerful arms from years of tree-climbing
Evolving to walk on the ground didn't stop our famous ancestor and others of her species spending a lot of their time up trees
Quantum particles seen distorting light from a neutron star
Astronomers have at last observed polarisation of light by virtual particles in a neutron star's magnetic field, a long-expected quantum effect
The plan to ban fishing in more than half the world?s oceans
A handful of countries are putting fish stocks at risk by exploiting the riches of the high seas, but conservationists are working on a scheme to stop them
Is Uber a taxi firm or digital service? European court decides
Europe?s top court will consider whether Uber should be regulated like a transport company, in a case that will inform how ?gig economy? firms can operate
UK?s first three-parent babies likely to be conceived in 2017
The approach might not always work but it should be safer than existing methods for preventing harmful and sometimes fatal mitochondrial diseases
Polar species spotted in the deep seas of the Mediterranean
A host of invasive species, including some polar species, have been spotted in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Lebanon, some of them wreaking havoc
Jeremy Hunt?s magical plan to block sexting is no help for teens
Like most visions of technology as a magic wand, UK health secretary Hunt's proposals sound easy but offer as many problems as solutions
India?s grand plan to create world?s longest river set to go
A highly ambitious and controversial project to link up the nation's rivers in a single inter-connected system is ready to start, even as environmental concerns are mounting
Brexit puts Europe?s nuclear fusion future in doubt
Leaving the EU might also mean exiting Euratom, the international framework for safe nuclear energy, jeopardising the future of the world's largest fusion reactor
Quitting smoking in your 60s can still boost life expectancy
A new study suggests that it is never too late to stop smoking - and the earlier you give up, the longer you are likely to live
Incredible physics behind the deadly 1919 Boston Molasses Flood
The molasses flood toppled buildings and killed 21 people. Now physics is giving fresh clues as to how the sticky-sweet tsunami happened
Private moon mission plans to revisit Apollo 17 landing site
A team competing in the Google Lunar X Prize says it will send two rovers to the site of the final Apollo mission and study the buggy astronauts left behind
Africa?s tallest tree measuring 81m found on Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is home to centuries-old giant trees around 30 storeys tall ? a finding that may help protect the area from logging
Proxima Centauri really does orbit its two bright neighbours
After a century of speculation, we now know the little planet-bearing star revolves around Alpha Centauri A and B every 550,000 years
Bad memories stick around if you sleep on them
Students shown disturbing images found it hardest to suppress memories of them after a kip, hinting that sleep deprivation could help after traumatic events
New Zealand is the first country to wipe out invasive butterfly
The great white butterfly is an invasive species whose caterpillars devour both crops and native plant species.  Now the country has fully eliminated it
Can nation states hit back at cyberattackers with ease? No way
Governments need to stop claiming they can strike back at criminal gangs and state-backed hackers with pinpoint accuracy, says Paul Marks
Finland set to become first country to ban coal use for energy
Tomorrow, the nation is expected to announce a move to phase out coal and switch to renewable energy, becoming the first to outlaw the fossil fuel
Deepest water found 1000km down, a third of way to Earth?s core
Water identified far below the surface suggests Earth may contain many oceans?-worth of hidden water throughout the mantle
We may be able to tap into our memories from infancy
Studies in rats suggest that our earliest memories may lie dormant in the brain, ready to resurface given the right triggers
AI learns to predict the future by watching 2 million videos
A deep learning system generates the next few frames of a story based on just one image, helping it to predict the future and understand the present
Build green highways for bees to help save vital pollinators
Habitat loss, farming and climate change are behind the loss of wild pollinators, which are crucial to three quarters of the world's crops
Moon-dust cake mix shows moon may have had water from the start
Early moon geology recreated in the lab suggests water was there to begin with, not added later by comets
Rare river dolphins get trapped in fishing nets as waters drop
Draining rivers for irrigation puts the Ganges river dolphin at higher risk of being ensnared by fishing nets
Why diet drinks with aspartame may actually help make you fatter
Experiments in mice suggest that aspartame neutralises a key enzyme, which could be why some people put on weight even when they have sugar-free soft drinks
Truly global internet access will be a double-edged sword
Efforts to beam the internet to all parts of the globe are gathering pace. It could ultimately liberate billions but may bring upheaval too, says Jamais Cascio
Making cells ignore mutations could treat genetic diseases
Diseases like cystic fibrosis and some cancers can be caused by mutations that make very short proteins. Changing how cells read the genetic code could help
New UK surveillance law may see mass data shared with Trump?s US
UK intelligence services will have new powers to access swathes of our data, which could be shared with the US during a Trump presidency, warns Ray Corrigan
Coconut crab?s bone-crushing grip is 10 times stronger than ours
It?s the largest of all land arthropods and it has the strongest claw of any crustacean on Earth ? strong enough to lift a child or break bones
It?s time to relax the rules on growing human embryos in the lab
Researchers can only study human embryos up to 14 days past fertilisation, but new techniques can go beyond that ? a change in the law would benefit all of us
Gravity may have chased light in the early universe
A new twist on a controversial idea suggests the speed of light varied just after the big bang - and could overturn our standard cosmological wisdom
Language trends run in mysterious 14-year cycles
An analysis of nouns used over 300 years of writing shows their popularity regularly rising and falling, which may hint at a pattern to how language evolves
Speech synthesiser translates mouth movements into robot speech
Vocoders just got a serious upgrade. A new speech synthesiser lets people talk without using their voicebox, and may one day help paralysed people speak
Being popular is good for health ? in monkeys, at least
Life at the bottom of the social ladder can be damaging to health ? but now a study in rhesus monkeys shows that health can improve in tandem with social standing
Bacteria taught to bond carbon and silicon for the first time
Carbon-silicon compounds are used in products like drugs and semiconductors, but are not found in nature. Now scientists have taught a protein to make them
Zika is no longer an emergency ? it?s worse than that, says WHO
The Zika virus looks like it?s here to stay. It will take years to find out the real risk of the virus and its full effects? and a vaccine is still years away
Brain stimulation guides people through an invisible maze
Completely without seeing it, people successfully navigated a virtual maze guided only by flashes of light in their brain caused by magnetic stimulation
The devoted spider dads who fix up nurseries for their babies
Male spiders from Brazil build dome-shape homes, fix silk nurseries and actively defend their offspring ? a unique behaviour among solitary spiders
The shape of post-Brexit science is becoming clearer
Theresa May has promised to invest an extra £2 billion in British R&D a year by 2020 ? but proposals to reform research funding are troubling
Treatment for chronic pain can be lethal, but there is an answer
Findings that chronic pain affects the brain's wiring should force the medical profession to take complainants seriously
Time to stage trials of engineering the atmosphere to cool Earth
Tests of controversial geoengineering methods, especially poorly researched options such as radiation management, must begin in earnest, says Matthew Watson
SpaceX wants to launch more satellites than are already in orbit
Elon Musk?s space firm is seeking permission to launch 4425 satellites into space with the aim of delivering superfast broadband to the masses
Hubble rounds up the first worlds we?ll check for alien life
The space telescope is set to spend hundreds of hours over the next year picking out the perfect planet for its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, to probe in earnest
Window to hell: Io?s strongest volcano changes face as we watch
The innermost moon of Jupiter is in an almost constant state of eruption - and its most persistent volcano, Loki Patera, keeps an unsteady rhythm
Dinosaur-killing asteroid turned planet Earth inside-out
Pulling samples from the Chicxulub crater shows that the impact caused rocks to move like liquid and form pores in which life could flourish
Killer bird flu has spread across Europe ? are humans next?
As farmers across Europe fatten up turkeys and geese for Christmas, a hybrid flu strain has killed many wild birds and invaded poultry farms. Could we be next?
AI pilot helps US air force with tactics in simulated operations
The ALPHA system was designed as a computer opponent in air combat simulations but is now working with pilots and could one day be used to fly real planes
Google?s DeepMind agrees new deal to share NHS patient data
The five-year partnership will see DeepMind develop and deploy its Streams app for hospitals, but concerns remain over the amount of information being shared
GM mosquitoes approved for field trial release in Florida
State officials have approved a controversial plan to fight diseases such as Zika and dengue with genetically engineered insects
Is new talk of interstellar drive too good to be true?
Speculation about the EM drive, a proposed fuel-free, physics-busting starship engine, is back but is it still strictly for dreamers, wonders Geraint Lewis
A dash of hydrogen and methane could have kept Mars warm
The Red Planet?s thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide can?t retain enough heat for water to flow on the planet, but new calculations suggest how it was once warmer
Porpoises plan their dives and can set their heart rate to match
The discovery suggests all cetaceans can do this, and provides a new clue to how noise pollution may trigger strandings
Global sea ice has reached a record low ? should we be worried?
A graph showing global sea ice levels hitting unprecedented lows for this time of year has caused a social media storm. Here?s what you need to know
Fijian ants grow their own plant cities and farm tropical fruits
For the first time, ants have been found farming plants in a mutually dependent relationship. The ants get food and shelter and the plants survive too
Gut tissue wired up with nerves created in lab for first time
Lab-grown intestinal tissue could reveal the causes of constipation and diarrhoea, and help treat inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn?s disease
Unconscious brain training beats phobias without the stress
Facing your fears can be unpleasant. But there may be a new way to treat phobias ? encouraging you to think about scary things without you even realising it
Dutch police use augmented reality to investigate crime scenes
An AR system streams video from body cameras to experts back in the lab, who can add virtual labels to help guide officers on the ground
Google?s DeepMind AI can lip-read TV shows better than a pro
An artificial intelligence system developed by researchers at DeepMind and the University of Oxford got so good by watching 5000 hours of BBC programmes
Chinese tourist town uses face recognition as an entry pass
A face-recognition system built by Chinese web giant Baidu has started to authenticate visitors? identities as they enter the Wuzhen tourist attraction
First ever lightning-mapping satellite set for take off
The US's latest weather satellite, due to launch 19 November, will be the first to watch lightning continuously, as well as monitor the sun and space weather
Are the US and China heading for a gene-editing ?space race??
News that researchers in China have become the first to trial the CRISPR technique in humans could see the US relax rules to keep up, says Sally Adee
Crowdsourced prime number could help solve a 50-year-old problem
A group of maths enthusiasts pooled their computer power to discover a new prime number, edging closer to a solution to the decades-old Sierpinski problem
Napping before an exam is as good for your memory as cramming
Revising for an exam? Students who spend an hour napping do just as well in tests as those who cram ? and may even develop a better memory in the long run
Bleached corals in the Pacific have started bouncing back
Small signs of recovery and arrival of new baby coral and fish have left scientists somewhat upbeat about prospects of coral recovery following major bleaching last year
How can Facebook and its users burst the ?filter bubble??
Social media filter bubbles have come under scrutiny following the US election. Design tweaks and new habits could help pop them and expand our views  
Kangaroo-bone nose piercing is oldest bone jewellery ever found
The carved kangaroo bone ornament shows that Australia's first modern human inhabitants were as advanced as people elsewhere
Girl with terminal cancer wins right to be cryogenically frozen
The girl, who had a rare form of cancer, had taken legal action in the hope that she could be brought back to life in the future
Pluto may have tipped over when Charon tugged at its heart
The iconic heart-shaped feature on Pluto is so dense that it could have led to the entire dwarf planet swivelling over time
Stopping brain protein from going rogue may prevent Alzheimer?s
Interfering with a crucial protein in mice can stop it turning bad ? a trick that seems to prevent Alzheimer?s and may explain why other treatments have failed
Watch cockatoo genius chew out a tool from a piece of cardboard
A parrot genius known to make tools has now shown that it does this with a specific purpose in mind, making useful items from twigs, wood and cardboard
Watch some of the most endangered seals caught napping underwater
We used to think they only slept on land in caves, now endangered Mediterranean monk seals have been caught sleeping underwater for the first time
The world needs scientific values more than ever
As New Scientist enters its seventh decade, we'll continue to champion reason and urge others to join us
Kaj Wik Siebert © 1996-2016