Book review, Opinion, Philosophy, Science, science fiction

The Universal Consents of Things: Francis Bacon’s visions of the future

I thought I’d take a scenic diversion from more modern science fiction, and touch upon some far older predictions of future science: those found in the works of the early 17th century statesman Francis Bacon, justly famous for his works on improving human knowledge, and considered an early “modern” scientist. I’m focusing on his 1626 Utopian fable, New Atlantis (which may be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg here). This uncompleted piece, in which he outlines the plans for a scientific research institute (“Salomon’s house”), is interesting enough just for that, but there are some prescient and occasionally astonishing predictions for future science in there as well, both as descriptions of what the inhabitants of his imaginary island are engaged in researching, and as possible future projects, which is what I’ll be looking at.

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General opinion, NHS, personal, political, Uncategorized

For the junior doctor who might have saved my life

When I started this blog, my main aim was to talk about science and science fiction and the overlap of both. I also have some pieces on the backburner about working life as a scientist, but that’s where they’re staying for the moment. A couple of areas I decided to stay well clear of are the personal and the political: the former because, well, that’s what friends and family (or at most Facebook) are for, and I’m too much of an English stereotype to be getting all that confessional; the latter, because I would rant, and rant, and rant…

I am now about to break that resolution, for a special case. This is in response to the ongoing dispute over “Junior” doctors’ contracts in the NHS in England. I do promise not to rant too much, however. Continue reading

General opinion, science fiction

Getting the science in science fiction “right”…or wrong.

Regrettably, the solution to your Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus problem is unlikely to involve a green glowing liquid.


How “right” should the science in science fiction be?

This is one of those questions that tends to rise to the surface every so often, and then sinks beneath the waves again, after a lot of turbulent discussion. I’ve certainly been guilty of it myself, but, hey, we all like a good argument every now and then, right?

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