'Sideways Look' Blog

A Pioneer Who Deserves More Recognition

November 06, 2013

If you are in an aircraft that is landing at London Heathrow Airport from the east (i.e., approaching over London) and you are sitting on the left side of the ‘plane, and it is a

Publications That (Should have) Made a Difference: No. 3. 'Thinking Out of The Box'

October 03, 2013

If you go to a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) and make your way to the bar around 6pm an elderly but sprightly gentleman in a full white beard will be dining

A Fly on the Wall

September 02, 2013

I have spent much of the summer (but not as much as I should have done) going through the entries in the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and editing them into a format suit

Peer-Review: An Endangered 'Species'?

May 20, 2013

In the old days one of the “perks” of being medically-qualified in the UK was that if you or your family were sick, colleagues would bend-over-backwards to make sure you or your family were seen as

Whither the Peer-Review System?

April 25, 2013

My first real non-clinical job was as a very junior lecturer in the Anatomy Department of The Middlesex Hospital Medical School.

Careless Talk Costs Lives

An Unrepentant Prescriptivist

April 06, 2013

The New Yorker is a constant source of delight. If a person finds nothing of interest to read or look at in an issue you should check their vital signs.

Chant of Pleasant Exploration

Fruits of Browsing: No. 4. "A Feisty Spat"

March 16, 2013

I bought a copy of Wilfrid Le Gros Clark’s autobiography, Chant of Pleasant Exploration, when I was a junior doctor, but I was pleased to see a very clean copy in a secondhand bookstore in

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

February 25, 2013

Consider this thought experiment. You spend many years of your life preparing to be the first person to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain.

Guide to Academic Life

January 14, 2013

Never pass down an opportunity to visit the UC Irvine campus. It does not have history on its side, but it beats Oxford and Cambridge hands down for climate.

All In

December 30, 2012

I was sworn-in as a US citizen today in Portland, Oregon.

Percy Butler


November 26, 2012

The composer Elliot Carter died on November 6th. It would be dishonest to pretend that I listened much to his music, but I know musicians consider him an important composer.

Remembering a Different Kind of Consistency

November 12, 2012

The armistice at the end of the First World War (also called the Great War) was signed at 11am on November 11th in 1918.

Reprint request form

The Good Old Days

October 08, 2012

I spent most of the day yesterday ‘fall cleaning’ my office, and in doing so I recovered/uncovered some old ‘reprints’ of papers of mine, a copy of Current Contents, sheets of Letraset, a

All for Naught

September 04, 2012

If you Google “phases of the research process”, the first item is

It Takes All Sorts

August 25, 2012

Just what sort of work habits, intellect and personality do you need to be a successful researcher? And in particular, is there anything special about the work habits, etc.