black hole, cold thunderstorm

14 Jul 2010

At researchers have discovered a black hole emitting powerful jets of particles that spew forth some 1000 light years. Black holes are usually associated with X-rays rather than jets of particles (see Nature July 8th).

Meanwhile, reports a NASA instrument has captured cold thunderstorm clouds above Tropical Depression 2, as it wound its way across Texas towards NE Mexico - prompting warnings of flash flooding and torrential rain (see Piers Corbyn's weather prediction for mid-July made a couple of weeks ago, at

NASA also appears in a story at where it reports the land vehicle has taken images of a giant volcano, the biggest in the solar system. Microsoft Research provided a 3-D close encounter (on their high resolution 3-D map of Mars).

At we are informed a very important and clever scientist, apparently a vegetarian for many years, and now a Vegan, based at the US School of Medicine, is going to ween us all off red meat - even Europeans and others around the world. We might wonder if vegetarian Hindus display any evidence of being fitter and more healthy than red meat eating westerners - so why the obsession? He is of course a man of the true faith, an AGW proselytiser who thinks hamburgers, greasy chicken, and other fast food 'unlovelies' are not what we should be chucking down our throats. No argument there, most of us might say - but give up a roast joint, bacon sandwiches, or the occasional steak? That is extreme group think - it smacks of 'I'm a scientist and I know best'. This clever chappie is cockeyed of course, chips are made from a vegetable, and Indian sauces are full of fats and chloresterol forming gue, as starters. Secondly, he rails that cows create methane and nitrous oxide which contribute to AGW (we've been down that route a couple of months ago and the argument is a little tired) and they eat lots of grain (and also grass, which he conveniently forgot to mention) and this causes water shortages in various parts of the world. It doesn't in Britain - cows and sheep browse the very wet hills of Wales, and Scotland, as well as the equally wet English uplands and Ireland in general (where it still rains when the sun is shining). He deplores the fact that 30 per cent of land is devoted to animal farming - but what you do with all those upland fields. They are unsuitable for growing crops. Let them go wild - or stick wind turbines all over them. How depressing. Definitely a man with an agenda - he is clever and he knows best.

At we learn that researchers in Spain have discovered a mathematical relationship between the number of hurricanes produced and the energy they release (a paper published in Nature Physics). It is a prime mathematical formula all cyclones seem to obey in a very surprising manner, regardless of where on the planet they appear. On the issue of global warming having a role in hurricanes - it is true there have been more hurricanes since the mid-1990s he says, when compared to the period starting in the 1970s - but hurricanes in the 1950s were at an activity level very similar to that of today. Therefore, it is not possible to blame AGW for the current increase in hurricane and cyclone numbers.