All at sea: a history of maritime communications

Titanic's Marconi apparatus

Titanic’s Marconi apparatus

Communication is something that has been around since the dawn of life. Animals and plants use many different methods of communicating with each other, using sounds, smells and other signals.

Before the discovery of electromagnetic fields and electricity, humans communicated using direct speech, semaphore or hand signals. Semaphore signalling, devised by Lord George Murray, uses six shutters, two vertical rows of three – on a white background. By changing the pattern of the black and white stripes of the shutters, words and sentences could be spelled out to communicate between ships. Continue reading


The next war will be fought over water

Did you brush your teeth this morning? Did you flush the loo? Did you have breakfast? I’m going to assume you did all these things and a lot more. If not, then I hope for your sake and those around you, that you’re still in bed. But did you think about the water you used when doing them?

What role will science and technology have in the distribution of water?

What role will science and technology have in the distribution of water?

If you’ve got an old loo, one without a dual flush, you could be using 13 litres of water with every flush. That’s a lot of water. We’re lucky in the UK to have an almost continuous supply every day of our lives. In some developing countries, the average water supply per person is less than 20 litres, and you just flushed half that amount down the toilet. Continue reading