Great piece in .net magazine about

October 28th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in onanism | 5 Comments »

Hi, just to say, there’s a great piece in this month’s .net magazine about, the crowd-sourced dorky-days-out Why-Don’t-You project I built with Applecado, Aaron Rudd, and Jo Brodie.


Tanya Combrinck: Tell us about your ideal kind of day trip.
Ben Goldacre: I’m not really interested in guide book stuff, I’m interested in stuff that’s off the beaten track. There’s a really great abandoned slip road off the M1 around Hendon which has this strange, otherworldly quality, it’s like something out of a zombie movie. The plants are pushing up through the concrete and it’s huge, but it’s just been left to rot because it didn’t fit in with whatever the road plan was. So places like that, or abandoned nuclear bunkers that haven’t been turned into museums, that’s the sort of thing I’m interested in, and it’s the sort of thing you only get from local knowledge rather than guide books. That’s the kind of thing I want people to post on

TC: What else is there in the UK?
BG: The Royal Observatory Core built a network of underground bunkers laid out at seven mile intervals that covered the whole of the UK. They’re very tiny underground bunkers which somebody would live in, and in the case of nuclear attack they signalled how much radioactive fall-out there was by blowing fireworks out of the top – so three bangs meant “Run away and hide, you’re all going to die!” and so on. Lots of them are still around, they’re only about 15ft by 6ft, and if you know where to find them – they’re often just in a farmer’s field somewhere – you can lift up the hatch, climb down the steps and you’re inside.

So that kind of thing is totally optimal to me. Or another great one is The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Narrow Gauge Railway. It’s a narrow gauge railway that starts off being a really dinky, nice kind of touristy sea-side attraction, but then after a while you start going through slightly awful council estates, and then you end up in this barren wasteland until you’re finally dumped at the bottom of an enormous nuclear power station in Dungeness. That’s quite good.

Read more!

I’ll be posting the backlog of bad science columns soon. Might also have some interesting other news in a while.

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

5 Responses

  1. misterjohn said,

    October 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Royal Observatory Corps, I think you’ll find.
    Apples and planets have cores.

  2. QuietKnoll said,

    October 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    In his recent book The Kill Call crime writer Stephen Booth includes such a Royal Observer Corps Bunker – as you describe – in a farmer’s field in the Peak District as a major part of the evolving story line.

  3. richardelguru said,

    October 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Yeah! The Sutton Hoo burial site used to be like that before the bastards turned it into an amusement park (well by my standards an amusement park). In the old days you’d have to walk over fields (I mean carefully round the edges of fields) to find it. There were just the mounds and a little garden-sheddish hut with perhaps some local as a docent (a decent docent too).

  4. LeceaHuch said,

    April 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Apples & Planets, 🙂

  5. luminiferous said,

    September 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm


    Would be great if you could search by category/region/type of activity on this website. Also, if a user has preference for the recommendations of a particular location-tagger, couldn’t we view a list of all of his/her posts?

    I suppose flattery here is a little like buttering up the Pope in the Vatican but I enjoyed ‘Bad Science’ and found it illuminating and fun!