Ken Perrott

Dr Ken Perrott trained as a chemist and his research background is in surface chemistry, soil science and fertiliser chemistry. After working in the DSIR (Chemistry Division and Soil Bureau), MAF, MAFTech and AgResearch he is now retired. Ken enjoys discussion of the wider social and philosophical issue surrounding science. Unfortunately these issues are often misrepresented in our society and he believe scientists have a responsibility to counter unscientific thinking and movements. This is one of the reasons Ken got into blogging, starting up Open Parachute in the middle of 2007.

Dangerous science denial - Open Parachute

Apr 15, 2010

Science denial seems to be rampant at the moment. The climate change denial promoted by “climategate” is just an extreme current example. We still face other forms of science denial with respect to evolutionary science, alternative medicines, spiritualism, etc. Even bloody  alternative fertilisers, for god’s sake! So this TED talk by Michael Spector is timely. [...]

Arresting comedy - Open Parachute

Apr 12, 2010

We are advised to take what we read in the newspapers with a grain of salt. For good reason. So the headline Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI was suspicious. It turns out Dawkins had very little to do with the story. He explained: “Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will [...]

A more transparent approach - Open Parachute

Apr 11, 2010

A recent statment from the Royal Society of NZ has drawn out some comment. Entitled Science, Climate Change and Integrity it is by  Professor Keith A Hunter. Of course some of the local climate change deniers have been busy raking up pseudo-scientific arguments to discredit the article (see Errors in Royal Society of NZ climate [...]

Orbital debris, the ISS, moon and sun - Open Parachute

Apr 09, 2010

Here’s an animation showing the accumulation of debris in near earth orbit due to human activity since 1957. It does look very cluttered but remember the articles aren’t to scale. YouTube – Space debris over time. And where is all the junk coming from (click on image to get more detail – thanks to Michæl Paukner’s [...]

Getting to the truth — gradually - Open Parachute

Apr 06, 2010

I guess reaction to the UK Parliamentary report on “climategate” (see Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated) is predictable. The more extreme climate change denier blogs are shouting “whitewash.” Scientific blogs are generally accepting the conclusions. No scientific dishonesty Anybody who had objectively read through the emails and explanations could not have been surprised.  The report [...]

Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated - Open Parachute

Mar 31, 2010

The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee has released its report into “climategate” – some of the issues surrounding the release of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. It effectively exonerates Phil Jones from  charges of withholding data and questionable scientific ethics. The text of the press release is below and the [...]

The origins of science? - Open Parachute

Mar 31, 2010

Have a look at this short video for a humorous explanation of the origins of science. Then listen to this podcast of Professor AC Graylings version.   (Download AC Grayling on “Atheism, Secularism, Humanism: Three Zones of Argument”). A little more serious – but fascinating. YouTube – Mr. Deity And The Equation. I mentioned Grayling’s talk in my [...]

The rickety bandwagon of climate change denial - Open Parachute

Mar 30, 2010

OK, this cartoon is lampooning extremest attitudes within the US Republican Party. But I think it is also very relevant to this whole “climategate” hysteria. Relevant because some of the most extreme pronouncements from climate change deniers do smack of McCarthyism. To be honest they also remind me of the campaigns against scientists and intellectuals launched [...]