Last updated 03/09/2006
2 Sep 2006 A minor update just to remove some of the scripts I had been linking to that suddenly had started popping up nasty advertising on the page. Sorry about that everyone. Also, just to satisfy Ian: I still only have one head, and it still has hair on it.
24 Oct 2005 By popular (?) demand here's a quick update on what I'm doing now: I'm currently working for a city startup (how long can one justify calling it a startup?) called Columba Systems. I'm working with Chris and the office is just accross the road from Tammay and Richard.
Some time ago now, I did a Ph.D. with the Hot-Star Group at University College London. My main research interest is in the field of photospheric abundances in O stars, but my work to date has also included a study of rotational velocities of O and B stars. A CD version of my thesis is available upon request.
MKBL Animated logo Do you have problems keeping track of you references? Do you find all your papers are just a complete mess, and you can never find anything? Well, here's the solution: The MK Bibliography Language and Compiler! Turn your reference list into a cross-linked hyper-text html document! Your reference list is always only a few key-strokes away!
www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Davidsbrt. Make your own badge here.


New Scientist - News
Longer ?penis? drives evolution of bigger brains in female fish
Experiments that grew mosquito fish with longer sperm-delivery organs led to females with larger brains ? possibly to better avoid male harassment
Light therapy could break down Alzheimer?s brain deposits
An hour a day of light therapy has been found to boost gamma brainwaves and break down brain deposits in mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms
First images from Cassini?s final dives over Saturn?s north pole
The Cassini orbiter's penultimate mission around Saturn begins with a swoop over the planet's northern hemisphere - and gorgeous photos of the churning storm there
Monkeys should be able to talk just like us ? so why don?t they?
There?s nothing anatomical stopping monkeys from making human-like sounds we could understand finds a new study, which suggests they lack the brains for it
Exclusive: Mexico clinic plans 20 ?three-parent? babies in 2017
The first baby made using the technique to prevent inherited disease was born this year, and New Scientist has learned that tests suggest he is healthy
Ancient leftovers show the real Paleo diet was a veggie feast
Early humans seem to have eaten a wide variety of vegetables and nuts, alongside delicacies such as elephant brain and fish
Lazy coders are training artificial intelligences to be sexist
Machines are only a reflection of culture ? and a mix of linguistics and laziness encourages them to pick up our prejudices
Vaping by US high schoolers has increased by 900 per cent
The US surgeon general has warned that nicotine can contribute to mood disorders and attention deficits in teens, following a sharp increase in those who vape
Machine learning lets computer create melodies to fit any lyrics
AI lends a hand to songwriters by setting their words to a pop song melody. And later, the aim is to get it to create whole compositions with lyrics by itself
Fresh look at old data shows the sun is surprisingly sluggish
The standard scale for stars' magnetic activity is all tied to a single telescope ? and we couldn't observe the sun with it. Now we have a workaround
Posture could explain why women get more VR sickness than men
Women are more susceptible to nausea when using virtual reality, but working out why means understanding what causes motion sickness in general
Fish rapidly adapt to pollution thousands of times lethal levels
Genome sequencing reveals how killifish evolved to thrive in extremely polluted estuaries in the US in well under 60 years
Antibacterial products may help bacteria beat antibiotics
The antibacterial agent triclosan is often present in anything from cleaning products to toys, but tests suggest it can help MRSA survive antibiotics
T. rex cousin?s 99-million-year old tail feathers found in amber
The small amber piece containing the valuable find was on sale as a curiosity or item of jewellery in a market in Burma
Brain cell transplant helps fearful mice overcome anxiety
Post-traumatic stress disorder and related disorders are difficult to beat, because our fears can resurface. Could a transplant of young brain cells help?
Biodiversity betrayal as nations fail miserably on conservation
A bold plan to save the world's biodiversity is failing at its halfway point, and countries need to up their game to meet their agreed targets
Dark matter that talks to itself could explain galaxy mystery
A team of astronomers think a new explanation for dark matter can best explain its mysterious effects on the speed of stars within galaxies
Third-ever natural quasicrystal found in Siberian meteorite
A tiny grain of metallic rock from a meteorite found in north-eastern Russia contains a form of matter called a quasicrystal ? the third one ever found in nature
More potent stun guns for British police will enrage critics
Arming UK police with a new breed of taser must go hand in hand with greater efforts to address fears over safety and misuse, says David Hambling
Global sea ice has reached a record low ? should we be worried?
A graph showing global sea ice levels hitting unprecedented lows for this time of year has caused a social media storm. Here?s what you need to know
Are caesareans really making us evolve to have bigger babies?
C-sections mean that babies whose heads are too big or whose mothers? pelvises are too narrow, are able to survive ? a fact that might be changing our species
Jeremy Hunt's magical plan to block sexting is no help for teens
Like most visions of technology as a magic wand, UK health secretary Hunt's proposals sound easy but offer as many problems as solutions
More at-risk people will get access to HIV preventive treatment
NHS England has announced plans to expand access to PrEP to 10,000 people, but only as part of a three-year trial investigating how best to roll out the drug
Should fertility clinics offer experimental unproven treatments?
Are clinicians that offer experimental menopause reversal and three-parent babies providing desperate patients with a last stab at parenthood, or offering false hope?
?I feel young again?: Why a woman injects her ovaries with blood
Private clinics are offering to reverse early menopause by injecting a woman?s ovaries with her own blood products, but the treatment hasn?t been through clinical trials
Galaxy?s rapid growth spurt may have spawned 3000 suns per year
A distant, ancient galaxy far more massive than our own formed all its stars in less than half a billion years
Half surface water in some countries has been lost since 1980s
Overall more land is covered by water now than three decades ago ? but there have been huge losses in Central Asia and the Middle East
Quantum computers ditch all the lasers for easier engineering
Some schemes for making quantum computers require millions of ions, each with their own laser - making them impractical. But it seems there is another way
Skull casket holding human bones reveals weird burial rituals
The first Brazilians seem to have been surprisingly sophisticated in how they buried their dead some 9600 years ago
Need your roof repaired? There?s a space-based app for that
It?s like Uber for roofing: companies use Google Earth images to estimate how much repairs should cost and connect customers to competitive contractors
Fake news shapes our opinions even when we know it?s not true
You might think you?re immune to post-fact politics and fake news, but you?re more susceptible than you think ? especially if you hear something more than once
X-rays show how gas ?pillows? make lithium-ion batteries explode
A build-up of gas between spiral layers of electrodes can make batteries ?pillow? and even explode. X-rays reveal what?s happening inside when this occurs
Our brains record and remember things in exactly the same way
You might think your memories are special, but you?re wrong. A study of people watching Sherlock has shown how similar our memories are for the first time
Bees of the sea: Tiny crustaceans pollinate underwater plants
Seagrass pollen doesn?t just ride the tides - the grains of at least one species hitchhike on undersea invertebrates  
Europe?s green energy policy is a disaster for the environment
The EU's massive renewable energy drive is backfiring and its proposed solutions are just greenwashing, say campaigners
Robotic hand exoskeleton lets quadriplegic people use cutlery
A surgery-free system turns brain signals into movement to let people with paralysis eat with a knife and fork or sign their name
Cosmic dust grains found on city rooftops for the first time
Sifting through muck trapped in roof gutters in Paris, Oslo and Berlin yielded 500 tiny particles from the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago
Whales talk to each other by slapping out messages on water
Humpback whales break the surface and splash down to make a long-distance call, while fin-slapping is for local conversations
Breakthrough Prize hands out $25 million for ?Oscars? of science
The prize, founded and funded by Silicon Valley billionaires, aims to ape the film industry and make scientists into celebrities with a televised ceremony
How much do you know about alcohol?
How much do you know about alcohol limits, how long it takes to break down your beers, and when people drink most? Identify the science in your bar-room banter
Quantum solar cells could explain why plants are green
An attempt to make more efficient solar cells shows that green light might be the least useful hue ? maybe that's why plants reflect it
The campaign against alcohol abuse deserves two cheers
After years of public health messaging alcohol consumption is falling ? now we need a sober assessment of how much further to push it
Virgin Galactic takes first solo glide flight since 2014 crash
The commercial space flight company sent its space plane, VSS Unity, for its first untethered test flight in two years, a step towards space tourism
Spikes in search engine data predict when drugs will be recalled
An algorithm can predict drug recalls on the basis of internet searches made using Microsoft?s Bing, and might help identify faulty batches
North Dakota oil pipeline may still be built despite army block
Indigenous people and environmentalists have won the latest battle in a long stand-off with companies over an oil pipeline going under a lake and through sacred sites
Why baby flatfish grow into the wonkiest animals in the world
These fish have a travelling eye and swim on their sides in what is the most extreme example of vertebrate asymmetry ? now we know how they develop this useful trait
In Castro?s Cuba, this is what life as a doctor was really like
Amid Fidel Castro's funeral and furious debate over his legacy, Cuba's health system is often praised. Despite its flaws, it deserves it, says Rich Warner
Magic mushroom drug helps people with cancer face death
A single dose of the psychedelic drug psilocybin can relieve feelings of depression and anxiety in people with cancer and increase their quality of life
Zap to the brain alters libido in unique sex study
Analysing how people?s brainwaves changed when expecting an erotic buzz to their genitals indicates that brain stimulation can boost sex drive
ESA approves 2020 ExoMars rover despite crash earlier this year
Putting aside the dramatic loss of the Schiaparelli lander in October and concerns about cost, ESA member states voted to go ahead with the next part of the life-hunting ExoMars mission
Google Translate AI invents its own language to translate with
The translation tool is thought to have made up its own language to find common ground for translating between language pairs it isn?t trained on
Weeping rock mystery down to microbe builders and barnacle chefs
It's a first: barnacles provide food for the bacteria, which in turn dig out shelters for the barnacles, creating curious tear shapes on Australian rocks
Parkinson?s disease may start in the gut and travel to the brain
It seems the nerve damage behind Parkinson's starts in the stomach or colon before spreading to brain cells - but we don't know what's causing it
Concerns as face recognition tech used to ?identify? criminals
A computer that gauges if someone has a conviction based on their photo has aroused much scepticism, but it's a reminder of the ethical dilemmas of smart tech
Stop buying organic food if you really want to save the planet
With global emissions from farming rising fast, we have to find a way for us consumers to make informed, rational choices about the food we eat
Buzz Aldrin evacuated from South Pole after falling ill
The former astronaut was visiting Antarctica as part of a tour group when his health deteriorated
Moral consensus: a CEO should earn five times what workers get
In many nations there is a universal desire for a narrower pay gap between executives and workers. No wonder the reality is so toxic, says Michael Norton
Seismic sensing app detects 200 earthquakes in first six months
Earthquake detecting app MyShake turns smartphones into an earthquake sensor network. Its creators hope it will be able to give warnings of seismic events
World?s highest plants discovered growing 6km above sea level
Coin-sized pioneers are the highest vascular plants ever found, living at more than 6100 metres above sea level on India?s dizzying Himalayan peaks
Dragon lizards fly by grabbing their fold-up wings with ?hands?
The unique way of gliding may allow the lizards to steer using their front legs, which seem to have adapted to rotate and grab the extendable wings
World?s first city to power its water needs with sewage energy
The city of Aarhus will supply fresh water using only energy created from its household wastewater and sewage - but will others be able to do the same?
LIGO turns back on to hunt for more gravitational waves
The premier gravitational wave observatory just turned back on for another six months - and it's expected to catch twice as many black holes as last time
Early hominin Lucy had powerful arms from years of tree-climbing
Evolving to walk on the ground didn't stop our famous ancestor and others of her species spending a lot of their time up trees
Quantum particles seen distorting light from a neutron star
Astronomers have at last observed polarisation of light by virtual particles in a neutron star's magnetic field, a long-expected quantum effect
The plan to ban fishing in more than half the world?s oceans
A handful of countries are putting fish stocks at risk by exploiting the riches of the high seas, but conservationists are working on a scheme to stop them
Is Uber a taxi firm or digital service? European court decides
Europe?s top court will consider whether Uber should be regulated like a transport company, in a case that will inform how ?gig economy? firms can operate
UK?s first three-parent babies likely to be conceived in 2017
The approach might not always work but it should be safer than existing methods for preventing harmful and sometimes fatal mitochondrial diseases
Polar species spotted in the deep seas of the Mediterranean
A host of invasive species, including some polar species, have been spotted in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Lebanon, some of them wreaking havoc
Jeremy Hunt?s magical plan to block sexting is no help for teens
Like most visions of technology as a magic wand, UK health secretary Hunt's proposals sound easy but offer as many problems as solutions
India?s grand plan to create world?s longest river set to go
A highly ambitious and controversial project to link up the nation's rivers in a single inter-connected system is ready to start, even as environmental concerns are mounting
Brexit puts Europe?s nuclear fusion future in doubt
Leaving the EU might also mean exiting Euratom, the international framework for safe nuclear energy, jeopardising the future of the world's largest fusion reactor
Quitting smoking in your 60s can still boost life expectancy
A new study suggests that it is never too late to stop smoking - and the earlier you give up, the longer you are likely to live
Incredible physics behind the deadly 1919 Boston Molasses Flood
The molasses flood toppled buildings and killed 21 people. Now physics is giving fresh clues as to how the sticky-sweet tsunami happened
Private moon mission plans to revisit Apollo 17 landing site
A team competing in the Google Lunar X Prize says it will send two rovers to the site of the final Apollo mission and study the buggy astronauts left behind
Africa?s tallest tree measuring 81m found on Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is home to centuries-old giant trees around 30 storeys tall ? a finding that may help protect the area from logging
Proxima Centauri really does orbit its two bright neighbours
After a century of speculation, we now know the little planet-bearing star revolves around Alpha Centauri A and B every 550,000 years
Bad memories stick around if you sleep on them
Students shown disturbing images found it hardest to suppress memories of them after a kip, hinting that sleep deprivation could help after traumatic events
New Zealand is the first country to wipe out invasive butterfly
The great white butterfly is an invasive species whose caterpillars devour both crops and native plant species.  Now the country has fully eliminated it
Can nation states hit back at cyberattackers with ease? No way
Governments need to stop claiming they can strike back at criminal gangs and state-backed hackers with pinpoint accuracy, says Paul Marks
Finland set to become first country to ban coal use for energy
Tomorrow, the nation is expected to announce a move to phase out coal and switch to renewable energy, becoming the first to outlaw the fossil fuel
Deepest water found 1000km down, a third of way to Earth?s core
Water identified far below the surface suggests Earth may contain many oceans?-worth of hidden water throughout the mantle
We may be able to tap into our memories from infancy
Studies in rats suggest that our earliest memories may lie dormant in the brain, ready to resurface given the right triggers
AI learns to predict the future by watching 2 million videos
A deep learning system generates the next few frames of a story based on just one image, helping it to predict the future and understand the present
Build green highways for bees to help save vital pollinators
Habitat loss, farming and climate change are behind the loss of wild pollinators, which are crucial to three quarters of the world's crops
Moon-dust cake mix shows moon may have had water from the start
Early moon geology recreated in the lab suggests water was there to begin with, not added later by comets
Rare river dolphins get trapped in fishing nets as waters drop
Draining rivers for irrigation puts the Ganges river dolphin at higher risk of being ensnared by fishing nets
Why diet drinks with aspartame may actually help make you fatter
Experiments in mice suggest that aspartame neutralises a key enzyme, which could be why some people put on weight even when they have sugar-free soft drinks
Truly global internet access will be a double-edged sword
Efforts to beam the internet to all parts of the globe are gathering pace. It could ultimately liberate billions but may bring upheaval too, says Jamais Cascio
Making cells ignore mutations could treat genetic diseases
Diseases like cystic fibrosis and some cancers can be caused by mutations that make very short proteins. Changing how cells read the genetic code could help
New UK surveillance law may see mass data shared with Trump?s US
UK intelligence services will have new powers to access swathes of our data, which could be shared with the US during a Trump presidency, warns Ray Corrigan
Coconut crab?s bone-crushing grip is 10 times stronger than ours
It?s the largest of all land arthropods and it has the strongest claw of any crustacean on Earth ? strong enough to lift a child or break bones
It?s time to relax the rules on growing human embryos in the lab
Researchers can only study human embryos up to 14 days past fertilisation, but new techniques can go beyond that ? a change in the law would benefit all of us
Gravity may have chased light in the early universe
A new twist on a controversial idea suggests the speed of light varied just after the big bang - and could overturn our standard cosmological wisdom
Language trends run in mysterious 14-year cycles
An analysis of nouns used over 300 years of writing shows their popularity regularly rising and falling, which may hint at a pattern to how language evolves
Speech synthesiser translates mouth movements into robot speech
Vocoders just got a serious upgrade. A new speech synthesiser lets people talk without using their voicebox, and may one day help paralysed people speak
Being popular is good for health ? in monkeys, at least
Life at the bottom of the social ladder can be damaging to health ? but now a study in rhesus monkeys shows that health can improve in tandem with social standing
Bacteria taught to bond carbon and silicon for the first time
Carbon-silicon compounds are used in products like drugs and semiconductors, but are not found in nature. Now scientists have taught a protein to make them
Zika is no longer an emergency ? it?s worse than that, says WHO
The Zika virus looks like it?s here to stay. It will take years to find out the real risk of the virus and its full effects? and a vaccine is still years away
Brain stimulation guides people through an invisible maze
Completely without seeing it, people successfully navigated a virtual maze guided only by flashes of light in their brain caused by magnetic stimulation
The devoted spider dads who fix up nurseries for their babies
Male spiders from Brazil build dome-shape homes, fix silk nurseries and actively defend their offspring ? a unique behaviour among solitary spiders
Kaj Wik Siebert © 1996-2016