Are women, on average, as funny as men? Who cares?

I read an interesting piece earlier by Lindy West, formerly of this parish and one of the funniest writers around. She came to my attention a couple of years ago with a splendid evisceration of the second Sex and the City film, which she memorably described as a “146-minute home video of gay men playing…

The lake that time forgot

After 20 million years below the Antarctic ice, Lake Vostok will finally reveal its secrets At the bottom of the Earth, two miles below Antarctica’s ice sheet, scientists have broken a 20-million-year silence. A Russian team has drilled 3,770 metres (2.3 miles) through the polar ice to a vast freshwater lake, called Lake Vostok. It…

Guest post: The Green Party’s Jenny Jones responds

After yesterday’s startling news that Jenny Jones of the Green Party backed the “decontamination” of GM research crops at Rothamsted, and my blog post on the topic, she asked for the right to respond, which I am happy to give her; I haven’t edited the below except for house style. Because this is my pulpit,…

Don’t vote Green until they drop the anti-science zealotry

• Interestingly, the page on which the Green Party’s Jenny Jones called for the vandalism of scientific research (linked below) seems to have gone down. Whether that’s deliberate or not I don’t know. Here’s a cached version (thanks Nathaniel Avery on Twitter). This is one of those agonised posts. I actually like the Green Party….

The porn filter that tried to block Telegraph Blogs

A funny-ish thing happened yesterday. I was in the pub with a few friends, as were most Londoners, I expect, with the sunshine. One of them decided to read something I’d recently written. Some of you may find that hard to believe, but I promise that I did not threaten him with violence or bribe…

Facts aren’t Left- or Right-wing

I was intrigued, the other day, to be labelled a Right-winger. I dare say a few of the commenters here will have an opinion about that. But I heard it a few times, among other things. It came after I wrote a piece saying that parental influence on our personalities and intelligence is far less…

We should build the Starship Enterprise. Seriously

• UPDATE: Sign the petition! Private space exploration, part II. My evil twin Ed West has drawn my attention to the coolest, geekiest idea I have almost ever heard of: an initiative to build a full-scale, working [sort of: more on that later], Starship Enterprise. The people behind buildtheenterprise.org claim (and I have no easy…

SpaceX: to privately go where none have gone before

[ooyala id=”p2dndxNDrg7RsDKE1w-Eh403G97blhY_” ] The idea of a privately run space travel firm, for people with experience of the British rail franchise system, might be a bit unnerving. But as a rocket made by the Californian company SpaceX becomes the first private-sector craft to set off for the International Space Station, it’s time to hail the…

Another chapter in the rise of the e-book

Waterstones’ embracing of the Kindle is hugely significant – but don’t write off paper and ink For all the talk about the rise of e-books, 92 out of every 100 books sold in this country are still made of wood-pulp and glue. The future may be coming, but it’s not here yet. Today, though, it’s…