jellyfish lighter cigarette fire

Jellyfish Lights Cigarette

Using jellyfish as a lighter

I haven’t smoked for decades and have no intention to ever smoke again, but as a young student I was silly enough to think it was “cool” to work with a cigarette between one’s teeth.

And that’s what happened in South African waters on that memorable day of May 9th, 1967, when I used a jellyfish to light my cigarette. I am confident that in the whole world I am the only person who has ever used a jellyfish to make fire (and it had nothing at all to do with the fact that jellyfish can give you a nasty ‘burn’ when their tentacles brush against you). Continue reading

pothole biology april jamaica

Pothole Biology

A study of the toughest survivers

When I was living in Jamaica and had a series of science articles similar to this blog in the country’s largest newspaper, “The Gleaner”, I once planned to write a column for April 1st : I intended to explain how excellent the facilities for pothole researchers were in Jamaica. However, as I found out during stays in numerous other countries, it is not just the nation of reggae, Bob Marley, Blue Mountain coffee and Usain Bolt that offers opportunities for pothole research. Continue reading

relativity time biology age

The relativity of age

Time flies – but certainly not at the same speed for everyone

When Albert Einstein developed his “Theory of Relativity”, velocity played an essential role. If two trains, both speeding along at 100 km/h with regard to a stationary person on the ground, run side by side on parallel tracks, then -relative to one another- they do not move at all. If one of the trains is pulling ahead and increases its speed to 150 km/h, it is then travelling at a speed of 50 km/h relative the other, but for passengers in the faster train it looks as if the slower train has been moving backwards. Continue reading