"His calculations had caused great damage to the argument for carbon reduction."

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

"Why should we sacrifice 10 per cent of our income today to make Bill Gates better off?”
The sense of urgency about climate change might be more credible when government officials and celebrities start reducing their carbon footprint.

A Sweet Ukulele Tribute to Mersenne 48!

Here's my festive celebration of the world's biggest known prime number, Mersenne 48, discovered at the start of 2013 by Curtis Cooper. I thought a little song would be more interesting than just singing all 17 million digits... though feel free to add that to the chorus yourself... Happy Christmath 2013 everyone! 
PS the more auditorily observant amongst you will notice a plane going overhead around 1'10. You've guessed it, Sherlock. I live under the Heathrow flightpath, recorded this in one take, and didn't want to do it all over again because it was nearly dinnertime and I was hungry. Call it an Easter Egg, just for you, hey?


In January Professor Curtis Cooper found a number 
Not an ordinary number, but a number that’s humungous... 
...so I don’t want your mulled pies and you can keep your minced wine 
All I want for Christmas is the world's biggest prime! 

It's 2 to the power of 57885161 (minus one) 
Mersenne 48 - the perfect gift for everyone 
So give me oh give me this Christmas time 
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime 

It's rarer than a cracker joke that actually makes you laugh 
As useful as a pair of roller skates for a giraffe 
If I had one I could do whatever I like with it 
Well, anything I want apart from dividing it… except by itself and one... 

2 to the power of 57885161 (minus one) 
And if I tried to sing it in hours I’d need one thousand one hundred and eighty-one 
So give me oh give me this Christmas time 
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime 

You can type it and text it or write it and post it, 
Bake it in bread and then slice it and toast it 
If you can’t calculate it and send it in time 
I’ll accept 16 million decimal places of Pi 

So give me oh give me this Christmas time 
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime 
(One more recursion!) 
Give me give oh give me this Christmas time 
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime


released 30 December 2013 
Words, lyrics, ukulele and vocals by Helen Arney, December 2013 
With thanks to presenter Tim Harford and producer Ben Carter at BBC Radio 4 "More Or Less". They helped me with the first inkling of an idea for this song, and first broadcast it as part of their 2013 "Numbers of the Year" special:

Blue Angels

For my friends and family that understand “talking about formation flying with your hands”…!

A year or two old but still great.

Did you know that the pilot on the right of the formation is always a Marine? 
This is one of the best Blue Angel videos you'll see!! Great perspective  with much of it filmed from the cockpit. You see the formation then see it from the pilot or camera view. It is in HD. This was recorded in Pensacola FL. and El Centro, CA 


Irony alert

Global warming scientists forced to admit defeat... because of too much ice


You will love this one!

And this one...

Joke du Jour

Heisenberg and Schrödinger are out for a drive when they get stopped by the police. The policeman asks Heisenberg "Sir, do you know how fast you were going?" and Heisenberg says "No, but I know where I am!". Confused, the officer says "Sir, you were doing 80 mph", and Heisenberg throws his hands in the air and huffs "Great, now I don't know where I am anymore!".
The policeman thinks something is going on, and orders the pair out of the car so that he can search it for contraband. He looks under the seats, in the glove compartment, in the back, and then walks around the car and opens the boot. He stares into it for a moment, turns to Schrödinger and says "Sir, did you know there's a dead cat in here?!", so Schrödinger rolls his eyes and snorts "Yeah, we do now!".