The Dorchester Monkey, the Loch Ness Cat and the Cat of the Baskervilles

My Sunday Telegraph column: This week the nation shook with fear at the sighting of the Primate of Dorchester. A “hunched, scampering” beast, “about the size of a small gorilla” (how small a gorilla, incidentally? A gorilla the size of, say, a gibbon? A gorilla the size of a capuchin monkey?), was spotted walking “on…

David Miliband joins International Rescue

Yes, I know, it’s obvious. But I had to do it. I was going to put it in someone else’s blog, but everyone’s being very serious about the whole Milibot Delta thing, so it didn’t really match the tone. Anyway, he’s joining International Rescue, Thunderbirds, hilarity ensues, etc. Read more by Tom Chivers on Telegraph…

The Monkey of Dorchester: what it is, and is not

A few things that the Monkey of Dorchester most definitely is not. 1) Bigfoot 2) A yeti 3) The Loch Ness Monster 4) The Beast of Bodmin Moor 5) The Hound of the Baskervilles 6) Tess of the D’Urbervilles 7) George of the Jungle 8) A lion 9) A sewer crocodile 10) A monkey And…

Feel the exasperation of the ‘aspiration nation’

From Friday’s Daily Telegraph: Sound bites are a curse of our politics, and the latest slogan is the worst we’ve heard yet Writers shouldn’t, really, be allowed to recruit the ghost of George Orwell to their cause. We do it all the time, on both Left and Right, describing civil-liberties legislation as Orwellian, attacking the “newspeak”…

How the echo of the Big Bang was mistaken for bird poo

The Big Bang theory was hardly in need of further confirmation, but in case anyone wanted any, they’ve got it in the form of the spectacular Planck telescope image of the early universe. The details have been updated a bit – the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, not 13.7; there’s a little more…

Three-parent babies: no longer ‘playing God’, it seems

Britain is likely to become the first country to allow “three-parent babies”, according to our  science reporter Nick Collins. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has recommended that the process – which involves taking a donor’s egg and replacing its nucleus with that of the would-be mother, before undergoing IVF – be made legal…