Monthly Archives: March 2012

Whales’ Legs, Flies’ Eyes and Human Tails

German scientist Ernst Haeckel made many contributions to the sum of human knowledge. He described thousands of species, coined scientific terms such as ecology and stem cell and made one of the first serious attempts to construct a tree of … Continue reading

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The Immunology of Bats

A few years ago I suffered a needle-stick injury at work. The needle was attached to a syringe containing Nipah virus. I spent the next two weeks alone in a quarantine unit, watching DVDs and checking my temperature regularly. My … Continue reading

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Tree Lobsters and Other Lazarus Species

In 1918, the S.S. Makambo ran aground on Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. It took nine days to repair and refloat the ship and when it sailed away, it left behind some of its non-paying passengers. Black rats … Continue reading

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The War Magician

Susanna Clarke’s 2004 novel Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell is set in an alternate Georgian-era Britain at a time when magic has fallen into disuse. The two eponymous characters resurrect the art, becoming the first practising magicians in centuries, and … Continue reading

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