// Latest Posts

The meaning of lockdown

The other day, my father in Germany, who is quite old, phoned me and asked what lockdown meant. ‘Lockdown’ is now used in Germany instead of more native words like ‘Ausgangssperre’ (exit barrier, if you like). He especially wondered about the ‘down’ bit, as he understood the ‘lock’ bit and also had heard about ‘locking …

‘A fire raging’: Why fire metaphors work well for Covid-19

This is a post by Elena Semino, University of Lancaster. It was first published on the website of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) on 1 July, 2020. It provides a thorough and fascinating analysis of fire metaphors used during the pandemic. *** Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, metaphors have been …

Gene writing: Between art and nature

In the past, I have written a bit about genomics, synthetic biology and gene editing, from the perspective of language and culture. So, when Matthew Cobb alerted me to a new thing called ‘gene writing’ at the beginning of July, I pricked up my ears. I told myself that I should write a blog post …

Notes on color [colour] of protein spikes on COVID-19 virus

This is a quick guest note by Chris Toumey (6 July 2020) When the COVID-19 corona virus began to be depicted visually in early 2020, its protein spikes (which give it a semblance of a crown) were always colored red. This puzzled me, and I explored it by putting together several sources of information. From …

Bubbles: A short history

Last week we heard a lot about bubbles, especially school bubbles and travel bubbles. This metaphor has been bubbling up for a while during the pandemic and I became curious about how and where it emerged. Then I saw a tweet from Gareth Enticott which contained an article about New Zealand researchers who had come …

The Missing Ingredient: Capacity Building’s Role in Developing Responsible Innovation Systems

This is a guest post by Patrick Backhouse who is an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter Business School. Patrick has been studying responsible innovation as part of a module led by Dr Katie Ledingham. This blog post is based on an essay that he wrote for this module. *** Responsible Innovation (RI) is …

Lockdown words

I was looking at news articles about the lockdown and it suddenly dawned on me that something similar was happening here to what we observed around 2005 in terms of ‘carbon compounds’. At the time the climate crisis was extensively discussed in the news and people tried to find ways out of it. One focus …