Twitter is a funny thing. A week or so ago I found myself in the Green Room at Radio 4, in my day-job capacity as a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK.
As is my habit, if I have any downtime (in this case, waiting for BBC Radio Berkshire to get their act together…) I’m usually found with some knitting in my hands. On this occasion, it was a rather fetching dark/pale green striped sock.
Having established that I was the knitter, rather than being the bishop, the Radio 4-following Twitterati then demanded pictures of the sock, updates on the sock’s progress, hand-knitted socks of their own, and even the replacement of Thought For The Day with Sock For The Day.
Sadly even at my prolific speed, I can’t knit a new sock every day. However, the stripey socks are finished, along with a lovely mint-humbug-coloured pair for Ricky (which ended up being knitted twice – long story, can’t be bothered to explain but it involves blind optimism and bad maths).
More socks - not quite one per day though
At the top of the pic, you can see the embryonic form of the next pair. These are going to be Bimbling Socks – although checking against the pattern, I see I’ve already made them too wide. Damn.
Today’s music choice is the sound of me blowing my own trumpet (as usual) 🙂
On Friday night four sevenths (57 per cent) of Sunday Driver turned up at the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to do an interview and live session on the Sue Marchant Big Night In, hosted in Sue’s absence by the very lovely Antonia Brickell.
We waffled on about our music and our influences, and played three stripped-down versions of tracks fom our upcoming album – Carousel, Music Box and Daniel’s Grave (currently all working titles). They’re all very strongly harp-led, which means they sound lovely and twinkly here. They’ll probably sound completely different on the album!
On Thursday night, ITV screened a half hour documentary entitled “Can We Beat Cancer?”, featuring me! (and a bunch of much more important scientists, doctors and cancer survivors…)
It was a really fun interview to do, if a bit gruelling – every time I gave a great answer, it would be ruined by somebody stamping across the floor in the office above or shouting into a phone in the corridor. *sigh* Anyway, I’m glad I got a haircut the week before 🙂
Although you may find it hard to believe, I don’t actually blog about everything I do. I’ve been a bit remiss about flagging up the Naked Scientists show, which I co-present every couple of weeks.
Last Sunday’s show was a corker, all about the science of volcanoes. I don’t know about you, but learning about these explosive wonders of the natural world was something that really turned me on to science as a kid. They’re just so cool! Or rather, really really damn hot.
Find out why scientists are drilling into a volcano near Naples (hint – it’s not to build an evil underground lair, despite my repeated insistence), and how one woman is bunging a gravity meter and heading off to ‘weigh’ Icelandic volcanoes. There’s also a fab – but very messy – kitchen science experiment involving cola and wallpaper paste.
Plus in the news, we cover off arm-wrestling sabre-tooth tigers, cancer stem cells, multicellular fossils, centenarians, and how to ‘core’ an atom with the world’s most powerful laser (sadly not located in a secret lair under a volcano).
Is the answer to our energy problems blowing in the wind?
I was back in the saddle on the Naked Scientists this week, co-hosting the show down the line from a cosy little BBC studio in Great Portland Street. Sadly, this means I miss out on the cake up in the Cambridge studio, although I do get to sneakily knit through most of the show.
But the highlight of the show was a real blast from the past – Chris found a cassette tape (remember those?) featuring the first ever time we were on air together, as part of National Science Week around a decade ago. I can’t believe how young and squeaky I sound!
Cuckoos. Pesky parasites or paragons of behavioural evolution, depending how you look at it
I was on the Naked Scientists again last Sunday, but back in the studio in Cambridge. I was so busy catching up on the gossip with co-host (and new author!) Helen Scales that I forgot to take any pictures this week. Blog FAIL.
Anyway, it was a really fun show, as always, based loosely on the science of birds. We had a fascinating discussion about cuckoos with Becky Kilner, and an interview with the aptly named Chris Bird talking about clever crows. Plus flying protractors in kitchen science.
In a fascinating show, we talked about stem cells for healing the heart and “soft” nanotechnology (and why the visions of tiny submarines floating around our bloodstream a la The Fantastic Voyage is a load of rubbish), as well as a fab kitchen science all about bendy bones.
What’s a bit different about this show is that I was coming down the line from a studio in London (Western House, home of Radio 2 and 6Music). Can you tell?
I think the only real blooper on the live show happened when I didn’t come in with a cue, because I couldn’t hear the trailer going out. We’ll fix it next time (and hopefully it’s edited out of the podcast).
I’m on the show again this Sunday (6-7pm live on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire), but I’ll be in the Cambridge studio (hurrah – cake!). Helen Scales and I will be talking about our feathered friends and twittering about the world of birds. But really it’s all about the cake.
The World Conference of Science Journalists. It was ace. I would like to be a science journalist when I grow up.
At the beginning of July I managed to wangle a pass to the World Conference of Science Journalists in London. This was an epic meeting – three days of intense and fascinating discussion on a wide range of topics related to science and its reporting in the global media.
As well as being there for my own personal and professional interest (and as vice-chair of the Association of British Science Writers), I was making a podcast for the Naked Scientists about the Wellcome Trust-funded biomedical strand of the conference.
Here’s my effort – it’s about 30 mins long but it’s really interesting, I promise.
Marvel!! as Ben Goldacre (off of that there Bad Science blog) goes off on a rant about how evil journalists are!
Gasp!! in amazement as a scientist accuses hacks of being rubbish at covering science!
Nod your head!! in agreement that crackpots probably shouldn’t be given the time of day!