Category Archives: The Science-Minded Citizen

Standing Up for Sexual Selection in Human Evolution

By Adam D.A. Manning

Evolution by natural selection as set out in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species from 1859 is often thought of as a constant and bloody struggle for survival.  Here, living organisms are engaged in an incessant fight to survive long enough to reproduce and over the long stretches of geological time, species adapt to their environment so as to enhance … Read more

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Looking Back at the Millennium’s Eclipse

By Adam D.A. Manning

Disclaimer: Viewing a Solar Eclipse can be dangerous. Do not look directly at the Sun as this can cause pain, damage to your eyes and sight and even blindness

1999 always sounded like a momentous year growing up in the 70s and 80s; the last year with a 1 at the front (until 10,000 of course!), the last year of the … Read more

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The Age of Dinosaurs – Today

By Adam D.A. Manning

“The dinosaurs are not extinct.”

Robert T. Bakker, Paleontologist.

Imagine the dinosaurs, imperiously soaring, loftily above lowly, scurrying mammals. They are the rulers of all they survey from one horizon to the other.  Is this hierarchy confined to a prehistoric scene, 100 million years ago? No. This is our world, today.

The name “dinosauria” was first used by biologist Richard Owen … Read more

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It Really Is Rocket Science

By Adam D.A. Manning

Space has long been a wonderful source of inspiration for many people. Numerous scientists and engineers have pursued careers from having the touchpaper of their imagination lit by the thrill of exploring Space, whether that be in the context of science fiction such as Buck Rogers or Star Trek or the real deal, such as the Apollo moon missions.

Even those, Read more

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Space Law and Extraterrestrial Resources – Who Owns the Moon?

By Adam D.A. Manning

The legal aspects of the ownership and use of lunar and other extraterrestrial resource, such as asteroids, and their implications for endeavours of this sort are important in considering how space development may proceed. The law will have an influence on such efforts, particularly if they are private and commercial, as the nature of ownership will directly influence how they Read more

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Climate Change – What Happens Next?

By Adam D.A. Manning

As a possible apocalyptic scenario, climate change is sometimes ranked alongside, or even superior to, nuclear war in severity.  Headlines tell us that the ever escalating concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will relentlessly push the temperature higher, unleashing all manner of dangers and adversity, threatening our way of life and harming Earth’s ecosystems. Sometimes it seems so terrifying that … Read more

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Space Based Solar Power – the key to a bright future?

By Adam D.A. Manning

Solar energy directly beamed to Earth’s surface from space has for over fifty years been proposed as a cheap and endless source of energy.  In more recent years, this Space Based Solar Energy (SBSP) has also been suggested as a way to tackle climate change by weaning us away from fossil fuels. Yet for all its perceived usefulness, the practical implementation … Read more

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Wildlife in your Neighbourhood

By Adam D.A. Manning

It’s all too easy to think of wildlife as something that lives somewhere else. Living in a built up area, we can imagines ourselves as inhabitants of an artificial, purely human environment. Yet nature is all round us all the time, no matter where we are and even in urban areas, there is often a great deal of non-human living matter, … Read more

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A New Home on a Bright Moon

By Adam D.A. Manning

Humanity has the potential to become the agency by which life from Earth radiates out into the cosmos – the rest of the Solar System and then the stars beyond.  This is the most exciting role in the universe for us, the most optimistic future for our species.  Far from a curse to life on Earth, we would become one of … Read more

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An Environmental Issue We Can All Clear Up

By Adam D.A. Manning

The Earth is doomed. We are doomed. There is nothing we can do and it is not worth even trying.

How easy it is to feel like this! Pushed up against sheer cliffs of despair by the mass of headlines about our world’s environmental dangers, we are squeezed into a narrow ravine of thought. Only think of now and here and, … Read more

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