Meta

RSS

Robin's RSS feed

Robin Mckie

For Robin Mckie's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Did climate — or man — kill off megafauna?

Mar 16, 2014

Did climate — or man — kill off megafauna?

They were some of the strangest animals to walk the Earth: wombats as big as hippos, sloths larger than bears, four-tusked elephants and an armadillo that would have dwarfed a VW Beetle. They flourished for millions of years, then vanished from our planet just ...

Svante Paabo, prehistoric sleuth

Feb 16, 2014

Svante Paabo, prehistoric sleuth

Leipzig’s Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology is a striking edifice. Set among the drab housing blocks of former East Germany, the building, erected in 2003 and made largely of glass, curves gently like a banana around the edge of a suburban crescent. There ...

U.K. to debate allowing germ-line gene therapy

Feb 16, 2014

U.K. to debate allowing germ-line gene therapy

Deniz Safak was 5 years old when he first displayed symptoms of the disease that would later take his life. “He started being sick and had intense, stroke-like seizures,” his mother, Ruth, recalled. Doctors were baffled by the boy’s condition, and it took months ...

Spacecraft set to uncover past, future of galaxy

Nov 17, 2013

Spacecraft set to uncover past, future of galaxy

European scientists are preparing to launch a probe that will transform our understanding of the galaxy. The spacecraft, called Gaia, will carry the world’s biggest, most accurate camera, which it will use to pinpoint more than a billion stars with unprecedented precision and create ...

China's voyage of discovery to cross the less frozen north

Aug 23, 2013

China's voyage of discovery to cross the less frozen north

For a ship on a mission of worldwide importance, the Yong Sheng is a distinctly unimpressive sight. The gray and green hull of the 19,000-ton cargo vessel, operated by China’s state-owned Cosco Group, is streaked with rust, while its cargo of steel and heavy ...

Curiosity rover's descent to Mars — the story so far

Aug 2, 2013

Curiosity rover's descent to Mars — the story so far

Nestled below the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory outside Pasadena has a surprisingly low-tech feel. For more than 40 years, space missions to the planets have been controlled from its operations rooms, yet the place is still striking for ...

Fracking battle lines drawn in England's countryside

Jul 12, 2013

Fracking battle lines drawn in England's countryside

For a site symbolizing a future that will either poison our countryside or bring us unlimited amounts of cheap, pollution-free energy, Elswick, in northeast England, is a distinctly underwhelming destination for a visit. The gas-power station, owned by the U.K. drilling company Cuadrilla, lies ...

Living in the material world

Jun 23, 2013

Living in the material world

In 1961, Oxford archaeologists uncovered a pit at the site of Gen. Gnaeus Julius Agricola’s headquarters at Inchtuthil, the site of a Roman legionary fortress, in Scotland. Unsavory Caledonians had made his troops’ position untenable. STUFF MATTERS: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials ...

Why do identical twins lead such different lives?

Jun 8, 2013

Why do identical twins lead such different lives?

Barbara Oliver has had an intriguing relationship with her identical twin sister, Christine, over the decades. Throughout their childhoods, they were effectively treated as two versions of the one person: they were dressed in exactly the same manner and were given the same hairstyles. ...