“Incapacitated” on Radio 4

November 10th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science, onanism, podcast | 33 Comments »

So I’ve got a documentary on Radio 4 at 8pm this evening on incapacity benefit, and it’s a bit of a veer from the norm, because it’s a subject where I’m not entirely sure what I think.

Here’s why I care. I once sat drinking with a group of medics, arguing over what would be the single contemporary medical activity that future generations would look back on with horror, and think, “what, on earth, were you playing at?” Would it be another thalidomide, or perhaps a social issue that doctors blindly and obediently waded in on, like when we unhelpfully tried to electrocute gay people straight. The answer we came up with was “nurse-led prescribing”. Read the rest of this entry »

Coolest science toy ever

March 4th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science, toys | 25 Comments »

Phun is without question the greatest computer toy in the history of the universe, if this had been around when I was a kid I would be a frickin genius by now. You don’t need things any more.

You can download the program for free here:


It’s extremely easy to use. As a starter tip, turn gravity off when you’re attaching stuff to the background (right click after selecting “affix” tool). Amusing and probably non-existent prize for the rudest video.

Ten pieces of advice for old media

August 30th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science, onanism | 67 Comments »

I have to read a lot of newspapers, and I enjoy doing it. Recently I found myself in a gentlemens’ club, chatting, in passing, with a couple of fairly senior chaps from the better known ones. This is the kind of situation I would generally avoid, but emboldened by the Diet Pepsi I began to offer unsolicited advice on what newspapers should do with the internet: as a punter, as a microfamous internet oligarch and, of course, as a gentleman. These were my words of wisdom, many of them developed in conversation, and therefore not entirely my own.

I’d be properly interested to know your thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

RIP Joe Engressia, the original Phone Phreak

August 23rd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science | 3 Comments »

The deepest and most universal geek impulse is to screw the back off a piece of equipment and poke about, to understand how it works, and to work out how it can work better for you. It’s an impulse celebrated in the work at places like Make, but also more than that, in every good classroom and university in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

For Those About To Rock…

November 2nd, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, not bad science | 35 Comments »

Yes! Axe-wielding glam rock astronomy PhD hero Brian May has written a new popular science book on space, time, and the history of the universe, and more than that, he has recorded a soaring multi-tracked guitar solo promo for it with Patrick Moore on drums. Epic genius, play loud:


Read the rest of this entry »

How important did you say you were again?

September 20th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science | 19 Comments »

In celebration of the upcoming Powers Of Ten Day, October 10th, here is the Eameses’ educational movie classic…

“This emptiness is normal, the richness of our own neighbourhood is the exception…” Via Frank Swain in the forums. Read the rest of this entry »

Time Distortion Strobe Fountain Thing

September 14th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science | 18 Comments »

This has got to be the most elegant geek toy I have seen since we got back from Dorkbot: it’s just a UV strobe light, shining on a steady stream of fluorescent water drips, but by tweaking the timing, you can make the drips stop, and go backwards or forwards. The most amazing thing, though, comes in the second half, where they show how you can interact with the drops, whilst also making time flow slowly, or the wrong way. Mindblowingly beautiful. I am totally making one.

Full story at cre.ations.net, via the ever brilliant Make.

Burning Dork

September 4th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, not bad science, onanism | 6 Comments »

I’m just back from Burning Dork, the totally excellent mini-BurningMan Dorkbot camp in the Read the rest of this entry »

Geekmusic – MRI Update

August 18th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in not bad science | 14 Comments »

rca synth

Not bad science but there’s a great story in the Mail on Sunday about Prof Don Kurtz and his recordings from space: he’s changed the speed to get the frequencies into the audible Read the rest of this entry »