Proxima B

An earth like orbit of an exoplanet has captured the science world. Jovan Kesic forwarded a link to an article in Scientific American - go to ... It is a useful link as it illustrates some of the problems in zooming in to have a closer look.

Maps of Sea Kings

Jovan Kesic came up with a brilliant study of Hapgood's 'Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings' - I have probably read the conclusions elsewhere but the subject matter goes back to the 1970s and 1980s and was completely ignored by mainstream. Hapgood wasn't one of them I suppose and had come out with outlandish ideas, in their minds eye, such as Pole Shift (a really no go subject in mainstream). In 'Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings' he thought ancient mariners had mapped the outline of Antarctica and showed it ice free.

algae blooms

At ... a giant algal bloom in the Southern Ocean may tell us something about how the chalk of southern England formed. Chalk is one of the mysteries of geology. It is known what it is made from - the shells of microscopic algae (coccoliths). These shells are generally broken and in a state of disrepair and the major theory is that they have been eaten and the shells deposited as detritus that has fallen on to the sea floor. However, in most cases the chalk is exceedingly pure - white as white can be and hundreds of feet thick.

dark matter challenge

At ... we learn that in the late 1970s astronomers Vera Rubin and Albert Bosma independently found that spiral galaxies rotate at a nearly constant speed. The implication was that stars and gases inside a galaxy do not decrease with radius as one might expect from Newton's law of the distribution of 'visible' matter. It remains approximately constant.

spinach is useful

At ... researchers have used spinach in a novel way in order to take advantage of its interplay with sunlight to produce electricity. The findings are written up in Nature Communications (Sept 2016) and the idea is to take advantage of the way plants photosynthesise. They used the membrane of a spinach leaf (nice fat leaves) to create a photo electro chemical cell that can produce electricity and hydrogen from water and sunlight. The raw material of the device is water - its product is an electric current, hydrogen and oxygen.

Aquatic Apes

David Attenborough's recent TV programme that waltzed around the aquatic ape theory has been given a roasting in some quarters (at WattsUpWithThat for example). A response at ... encapsulates the negative  reaction but the comments at the WattsUpWithThat piece may perhaps catch the flavour of the response from the general public.

Hunting Dogs

Dogs are an extremely useful as hunting companions of humans. They seem to be the difference between getting food on the plate and going empty (making do with berries and roots). I've seen it argued dogs are more valuable as a hunting tool than the bow and arrow - or certainly a modern equivalent.

Fish Hooks

At ... Japanese archaeologists have unearthed fish hooks on Okinawa dating from deep in the Late Glacial Maximum. It is know humans have been visiting the island of Okinawa for an estimated 50,000 years but this appears to be evidence of permanent settlement. They also seem to have eaten frogs, birds, small mammals, eels, as well as fish. People appear to have been living on Okinawa from 35,000 years ago - and the assumption made is that it was an island then as now and people arrived in boats. 


At ... a mammoth head complete with tusks has been unearthed in a canyon  on one of the Channel Islands (Channel Islands National Park, N America). It raises two interesting points. One, charcoal samples taken from near the skull have been dated 13,000 years ago. This coincides with another C14 date of human skeletal material found on the same Santa Rosa island back in 1959, of around the same point in time.

electrostatic space

At ... Steve Roescraft has self published a paper arguing that electrostatic forces could be preventing galaxies from flying apart. He contradicts mainstream by saying that extreme activity at the centre of galaxies (black hole jets) is is able to propel electrons and negatively charged particles towards the outer regions of those galaxies. This would give the galactic core a net positive electric charge while the outskirts wee negatively charged.