Universities have sown their own demise with blended learning and short courses

The start of autumn has seen the start of the university term for students since time immemorial. This time round of course, the ritual of hauling luggage round the country to the halls of residence has not quite been on the same scale as usual. Some universities, including members of the prestigious Russell Group, are […]

Hikes to national insurance funds a level of public services we can’t afford

The government’s plan to increase National Insurance has sparked the predictable furore.  The pressures to raise taxes to pay for the level of public services the electorate have come to expect is hardly new.  The welfare state was created immediately after the Second World War. For a time, the financial demands were held in check. […]

Science has been overrun with politics – it’s time to take it back

At the onset of the Covid pandemic in February 2020, the pages of the Lancet, a very prestigious medical journal, carried a statement eulogising China and the efforts it had already made to deal with the virus. For the luminaries who signed the statement, no praise could be too high for the Chinese. They had […]

From Covid deaths to Usain Bolt: statistics are never black and white

Who is the greatest 100 metre male runner of all time? The answer seems obvious, even if you lack sporting common knowledge, it is only a quick Google search away.  Usain Bolt’s time of 9.58 seconds is unchallenged. Both Tyson Gaye and Yohan Blake are quite away behind with records of 9.69. This year’s Olympic […]

The influencer economy: online ranking systems are a purveyor of inequality

To the victor the spoils.  This well-known phrase might be thought to relate to the recent Olympics. Except that it is not a really accurate description of the Games themselves. True, the gold medallist gains more kudos than the silver or bronze. But at future athletics meets, for example, all three can expect an increase […]