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Witches Brew

The general knowledge of women’s role in the invention of beer, and the establishment of the industry around it, has largely been lost to the hands of time, and…. witch-hunters?…

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Alpha, Gamma, Aha!

A flash of insight might feel like a spontaneous, instantaneous revelation, but experts say they can see signs that something is brewing several seconds in advance…

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Hallucinogenic Books

Libraries can expand your mind in more ways than one. A leading London mycologist has claimed that old books, particularly those stored in less than perfect conditions, can provide inspiration without the need…

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Petrichor

The natural world is full of gods, goddesses and other mythological creatures, in name, if not spirit. For nomenclature convention draws heavily on the Greek and Roman classics when labelling new species…

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Pyramid Of Death

In the 1820s, the tallest building in London was St Paul’s Cathedral, at 111 metres high. But architect Thomas Willson had grander plans. In 1829 he proposed to build a massive granite pyramid on Primrose Hill…

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I’ve Made A Magazine – Phox Pop

On my right wrist I’ve got a tattoo of music notation. It’s a piece from the 1965 Bob Dylan song ‘Maggie’s Farm’ (which I first heard on Rage Against The Machine’s 2000 covers album, ‘Renegades’). The lyric it corresponds to is: "I’ve got a head full of...

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Decoding A Star

"You wouldn't believe how many goths we get posing outside for pictures," says Father Brian Ralph, vicar of the church of St Barnabas at Bethnal Green. At street level on the corner of Roman Road and Grove Road in East London, it's not immediately obvious...

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I Eat Cheese, Therefore I Write

Of course it's slightly more complicated than my play on Rene Descartes' famous philosophical proposition. But in simple terms, the discovery of cheese and the evolution of human tolerance to lactose had an influence on the development of written language....

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Butterflies Emerge

Over the Easter weekend the first batch of blue morpho butterflies began to hatch at the Natural History Museum's Sensational Butterflies exhibition. And I was there to catch the process on film. Each individual butterfly takes only a minute or so to...

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