Cannabis Joins The Fight Against Addiction

Rachael Rhodes explores the potential medical applications of a Class C drug In 1996 Californians voted to introduce an untested medicinal drug into the public marketplace. Although the drug had not been through clinical trials, plenty of people had apparently tested it for themselves and were convinced of its effectiveness. I’m talking about cannabis (aka: marijuana, pot, weed), a drug that was illegal nearly everywhere else at the time. This

Love on the Line

Jordan Ramsey explores how technology has reshaped our romantic relationships Technology has transformed the ways in which we form, interact in, and maintain romantic relationships. In contrast to the great number of unknowns involved in meeting people at parties, through friends, or at school, online dating now allows us to carefully browse potential mates and use matching algorithms to make our search more efficient. The most popular dating websites and

Open For Everyone

Haydn King describes the open-source software movement and two of its most striking characters “I’m doing a free operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional)…” announced a young Finnish PhD student to an internet message board on the 25th of August 1991. In the two decades since Linus Torvalds made this announcement, what started as a small and amateur operating system has revolutionised the IT world. Linux,

Cracking Codes

Philipp Kleppman deciphers the advance of cryptography throughout the centuries Recently, a dead carrier pigeon with a secret message from World War II was found during renovation of the chimney of a house in Surrey. It is believed that the message was sent from Nazi-occupied Normandy in June 1944. The encrypted message has been sent to the UK Government Communications Headquarters to be deciphered, so far without success. The amount

Decoding Quantum Computing

Simon Watson demystifies the complex world of quantum computing Quantum computers are regularly heralded as the future of computing, harnessing the power of atoms and elementary particles to perform calculations that today’s computers could only dream of. Quite how this remarkable feat is achieved is either complicated with jargon such as ‘qubits’, ‘superposition’ and ‘entanglement’ with no further description, or dismissed as too complicated for a layman. This article aims to explain how

Fracking: Facts and Fiction

Ollie Stephenson explains why the fracking debate is far from simple “I’m not a pessimist.  I’ve always had a great deal of faith in people that we won’t succumb to frenzy or rage or greed. ­ That we’ll figure out a solution without destroying the things that we love. I have not lost that sense.’’ So begins Josh Fox’s 2010 film, Gasland, which shot the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking,

Our Neanderthal Ancestry

Alba Landra uncovers the ancient ancestry that underlies modern human evolution. MODERN HUMANS have managed to reach every corner of the globe and with current population sizes rising rapidly, we could stake a claim to being the most ‘successful’ hominid species yet. However, how much has our recent ancestry impacted our evolution, and have our previous interbreeding events helped, or even hindered, our success as a species? About 100,000 years ago,

The World Is What We Eat

Jacob Ashton tackles one of the biggest challenges facing mankind. “If we fail on food, we fail on everything,” said Charles Godfray in a paper five years ago, addressing concerns over food production and security. Throughout history, being able to sustain a growing population has been at the forefront of the minds of philosophers, politicians and scientists alike. We have always managed to find a way to feed the population,

Come Flu with Me

Holly Giles tracks the spread of post-World War II collaborations within international research communities In 1947, in a post-war world divided by intense political tensions, scientists from countries all over the planet joined their effort to tackle together one of the most serious threats to human health: influenza. Every year, flu epidemics are responsible for approximately 250,000 to 500,000 deaths around the world. Whilst it is commonly believed that the

No Time for Hot Air

Lauren Broadfield reflects on the state of climate change policies in an increasingly hostile political environment In a recent interview with fellow naturalist Chris Packham, Sir David Attenborough proclaimed that “humanity must come to its senses or face environmental disaster”. We are never short of reminders that climate change is a pressing global problem: we see climate refugees forced to flee their homes, changes in the distribution of some water-borne