Category Archives: Uncategorized

Now it’s the Jews who ban women from driving

How are Jews like Muslims? Answer: in both cases some sects ban women from driving. We know about that ban in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, but now one group of Jews—British Jews—have done the same thing. According to the Jewish Chronicle, a group of Orthodox Hasidic Jews has issued a Jewish fatwa against women driving. And […]

In London on June 11? Come and hear The Story of Life at the Royal Institution.

by Matthew Cobb Professor Ceiling Cat is travelling, so I am using the opportunity to indulge in some shameless self-promotion. As regular readers will know, my book Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code is out in June in the UK (Profile Books) and in July in the USA (Basic Books). To launch […]

On the swift’s scuttly wingless fly friend

by Matthew Cobb Earlier today I posted a video of a pair of swifts that met up for the first time in 9 months. In the comments, Mark Sturtevant pointed out that on the male (the front bird) you can see an ectoparasite scuttling about: Here’s the video again. Go to 50 seconds, which is […]

Cooperative hunting in groupers and moray eels

Here’s a short video from Nature that isn’t based on a single research paper, but on the continuing work of Redouan Bshary, a biologist in Switzerland who studies interspecific communication and behavior in fish.  The article itself, a summary of Bshary’s work written by Alison Abbott, is called “Animal behaviour: Inside the cunning, caring and greedy minds […]

Swifts reunited

by Matthew Cobb Spring is about to give way to summer in the northern hemisphere, and the swifts are back! My favourite bird, the swift (closely related to the nightjar, don’t you know) arrives in Europe at the beginning of May. They produce one clutch of eggs, and then return to Africa in the middle of August. […]

After the party: what the Yes vote in Ireland means for the Catholic Church and its position on homosexuality

by Grania Spingies Quite a lot of headlines around the world announced that Ireland’s voting for equality by endorsing same-sex marriage last week was the dawn of a new era for the position of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The truth of the matter is that it was really just the most recent and most […]

“No true Christian. . . “: I get email

Here is just one of the several emails I’ve received in the last few days from people who claim that I’m misunderstanding religion. (Surprise!) What the writers invariably mean is that “you’re misunderstanding my religion.” And that is compounded, in the case below, by the person misunderstanding my book, for he seems not to have […]

Lessons from a talk

Yesterday I gave a 45-minute talk on Faith versus Fact at the University Club of Chicago, a ritzy venue akin to a British club. (There is a library, places to eat, and hotel-like rooms for members and their guests.) To its credit, the Club sponsors occasional talks on books. The talk I gave was a modified version of […]

His finest hour. . . .

You think YOU have problems?

Here’s a sad photograph from Piotr Naskrecki’s Facebook page, which you should join as it’s chock full of great photographs. This is one he took in Mozambique. It’s also worth following his website, The Smaller Majority. Piotr’s caption: You think you have problems? Imagine that you have to live with a chicken-sized, blood-sucking parasite attached to […]


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