Syrian chemical warfare: 'Highly likely' or 'Compelling evidence'?

Parliament has just voted not to join in a war. MPs were recalled from their summer break to vote on whether the UK should join in US-led strikes on Syria if such strikes go ahead. There has been chemical warfare in Damascus. An attack on 21st August has killed around 350 people, including women and children. That has been widely reported, and the evidence for it seems good.

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Protests in Egypt: how many are out on the streets?

The street protests going on in Egypt this month have been claimed as the biggest ever – even ‘the biggest uprising in history’ according to the BBC. Reuters has described the number of pro-Morsi supporters on the streets in Cairo alone as in the ‘tens of thousands’  with more in other cities; Wikipedia says  ‘millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets’ before Morsi was overthrown. Millions? Really?

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Syrian chemical warfare and Obama welfare cuts: measurement, retirement and war

Chuck Hagel
A recent New York Times article stated that U.S. officials believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels in that country. This conclusion is based on the “testing of soil samples and blood drawn from people who had been wounded”. The agent found, according to U.S. officials, is sarin gas. This is the same agent that was used in a deadly Tokyo subway attack back in 1995.

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Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister who took science seriously

The death of Lady Thatcher was reported today. Better known as Margaret Thatcher, she was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990. A controversial figure, her life and career will doubtless be reported at greater length in many other outlets. But on this site we should record one important fact about her: She had a degree in Chemistry, from Oxford. She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. She was also our first, and so far only, Prime Minister whose initial training was in science.

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The Pope vote: left to chance?

115 Roman Catholic cardinals have been having an almighty lock-in to decide who will be the next Pope. With a two-thirds (rounded up to 77) majority required to get to wear the fanciest of hats (pictured left), some suspect they could be there some time, but what would happen if everyone voted at random?