Posts byRichard Hodson

12 amazing hummingbird facts for kids!

Fast, small and always hungry. Sounds familiar...

Hummingbirds are some of the prettiest birds around, but there’s more to the tiny feathered friends than meets the eye. Click the red targets in the pictures to discover some incredible hummingbird facts!   Golden-tailed Sapphire – Venezuela (Photo: Marcial Quintero) Green Violet-ear – Finca Lerida, Boquete, Panama. (Photo: mdf) Psst… we know a lot
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The Great Asian Space Race

Live from the World Conference of Science Journalists 2015, Seoul, South Korea

A new space race is on: the Asian space race. On the 24th September 2014, the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), or Mangalyaan, entered orbit around the Red Planet. India is the first Asian nation to reach Mars, ahead of China and Japan whose attempts have so far proved unsuccessful. And as was the case
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What makes a scientific paper go viral?

Combing through data reveals surprising relationship between news coverage and social media activity

Scientific papers are often years in the making. For the researchers responsible, the moment of publication is the culmination of an awful lot of work, and cause for both celebration and relief. But it’s also the opportunity, if only for a little while, to be a celebrity. In December 2013, Professor Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological
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Flying through data in a planetarium

Because sometimes data visualisations need a bit more space

One of the things I often feel when I’m trying to visualise data it is that I just don’t have enough space. Take the interactive part of this article for instance. There’s a limit to how big visualisations like that can be, and deciding what information to leave off is tough. In the end, I
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The most common injuries where you work

Accidents will happen, and we're not talking about papercuts

Have you had an accident at work? Maybe. Have you seen an advert on TV offering you compensation? Definitely. Workplace accidents are big business. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), compensation for workplace accidents in 2013 cost employers £1.4 billion. But compensation isn’t the end of the story. Throw in lost productivity
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How to build an interactive map with CartoDB

It'll take you much less time than it took me to write this guide

Yesterday I published an article about the recent eruption of the Calbuco Volcano in Chile, and a central part of it was an interactive map of every volcanic eruption for the last 2,000 years. In case you didn’t see it (shame on you), here it is again. Darker red blobs on the map represent a
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Is the eruption of Chile’s Calbuco volcano a surprise?

It's the first major eruption in decades - but how big is big?

Two weeks ago, the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted for the first time in decades. Its last major eruption was back in 1962, but it’s now erupted three times in eight days since April 22nd. Everyone within 12 miles of Calbuco has been evacuated – over 4,400 people – and happily that seems to
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Make data more open – make it wearable

The most accessible data are the data you can touch

A single graph can convey a whole lot of information quickly and clearly, but I’ll be the first to admit that they aren’t always the most exciting things to engage with. Traditional data visualisations don’t float everybody’s boat, and that presents a problem for people who believe in open data. The motivation behind making data
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This infographic is full of holes

A pretty infographic is not necessarily a good one

For the uninitiated, an infographic is a visual representation of information. Done well, it’s a great way of getting information across quickly and clearly. Go wrong though, and you risk leaving people with more questions than answers. By way of illustration, take a look at this eye-catching infographic of the highest and lowest points on
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US lawmakers don’t work together anymore

Cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in the US Congress is at an all time low

The United States Congress is not the hive of activity it should be. In 2011-2012, the House of Representatives passed a measly 561 bills. The 60-year average is 1,176 bills, but it’s been falling steadily for years. In 1949, the 81st Congress passed 2,482 bills – more than four times the number US lawmakers are
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How much energy does the ‘greenest government’ get through?

They may not be the greenest, but they should be one of the warmest

Cast your mind back five years to 2010. The tallest building in the world had been open just a few months. The World Cup was around the corner, and people genuinely thought England had a chance. And the United Kingdom got its first coalition government since the Second World War. Politicians aren’t exactly known for
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Waste Water

The machine that turns sewage into clean water, electricity - and money.

The Janicki Omni-processor, funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, tuns sewage into clean drinking water, electricity, and money.
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LIVE: Are robots really after our jobs?

Live coverage of the BioCentre event "Are robots really after our jobs?" from University College London

I don’t know much about robots, but what I do know – thank you Hollywood – is that they all want to take over the world. The question is, how close are we to that becoming a scientific reality? And should we be worried? A report by Pew Research canvassed 2,000 experts on artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and economics,
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NHS trusts: deficit or surplus? Get the data!

With the NHS receiving a £300m cash injection to get it through the winter, we look at how they performed financially in the same period last year. The answer: not great.

Emergency funds of £300m have been made available to NHS England by the Department of Health, due to fears that the system may not be able to cope with the increased demand over the winter. The fears were prompted by an October which, despite mild weather, saw the number of waiting time targets missed hit a higher
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Is antibacterial smartphone glass any use?

New smartphone screens can kill bacteria - in theory

Around this time every year, technology companies large and small gather for a few days of ridiculously large televisions, peculiar inventions (bluetooth fork anybody?) and loud advertising stunts. Every now and again something piques my interest. This year it comes from an unlikely source – the glass maker, Corning.
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