As a small child, exactly when I cannot remember, I realised that in nature there are few peaceful deaths….birds, bees and butterflies do not grow old then lay down to shuffle off their mortal coils in the company of loving friends and family. Everything is a source of sustenance for other organisms from the bacteria and amoebae within our guts up through the branches of the tree of life. Brutal, and unemotional – but that is the way of the natural world it seems.

  by Paul Harcourt Davies  There seems to be a concerted conspiracy on the part of the world’s media to pander to, and even to generate, fear.  A while ago I read sensationalist blog post from someone saying that one of the “world’s most poisonous spiders ” – Argiope bruennichi – had invaded Europe. This striking animal is neither poisonous to humans nor is it an invader: it is a European native. I can have nothing but contempt for this fear-mongering, based on ignorance and stupidity and there are quite…