Antikythera Mechanism

At ... the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world's first computer, salvaged from an ancient ship wreck, may be older than scientists first thought. It seems it might go back as far as 205BC according to recent calculations. It is thought to be an eclipse calculator rather than a computer - but why the Greeks would want to predict eclipses is another matter. It may be that eclipses are the least controversial explanation of the mechanism. The latest research brings the date nearer Archimedes.

Steve Mitchell vindicated by Irish sea level changes in post Roman period

At .... red deer antlers shed by young animals and horse bones dating back to between 430 and 548AD appear to suggest pagan practises were still in vogue even after the introduction of Christianity to Ireland by St Patrick. I suppose that is one way of looking at it if you suppose there is a ritual angle. However, the author does not pick up the fact that the low growth tree ring events between 536-45AD are smack bang in the mix of the C14 margins.

Siding Spring update

At ... the approach of comet Siding Spring to the planet Mars a few weeks ago has now been updated by including images and data from the Indian space mission to Mars. A streak appears to radiate out of the comet's nucleus and it is this ejection of dust and gas that might have caused the meteor storm - but again, it may have nothing to do with dust or gas. At the same time, it is being suggested by NASA that this was a one in 8 million years event - quite how they arrive at that estimate is left unsaid.

Ice Cores

Some interesting ideas on the ice cores. Are the mainstream dates acceptable because they fit into the uniformitarian model as they appear to rely on oxygen isotopes for dating the cores. An alternative method of dating the cores may have been rejected because the dates did not match the theory. This fascinating debate can be found at


Polar Bears have been out of it recently - or mostly so. They are in fact thriving. However, environmentalists have found something else to latch on - something with a sting. Bees. At ... is one of those stories you can't really say anything about - without being rude. Bees are in the news, it seems, and threaten our food supplies. I seem to have seen a lot of bees in the garden and elsewhere during 2014 - but there was a shortage of wasps. Very noticeable in August.

Milton Zysman

Milton Zysman, when discussing extinction events, said that around 30,000 years ago (please note modern calculations are anything between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago) the Earth reversed its magnetic field. This, he claimed, coincided with the appearance of modern humans and the disappearance of the Neanderthals (in western Asia and Europe). He suggested that electrical exchanges between the Earth and a passing comet was involved in the reversal event. It may even have toppled the axis of rotation, he said, re-establishing itself in an inverted position.

Baker's Hole

Baker's Hole at Ebbsfleet in Kent is an old chalk quarry situated next to a big railway station on HS1 and contains sediments going 250,000 years ago - which include Palaeolithic remains (Neanderthal). Stone tools, mammoth teeth and fossilised bones of deer, bison and lions have already come to light. See

Rosetta Update

At ... the spacecraft is still orbiting the comet but is not in contact with the probe. However, it is able to continue with its own research, gathering data. In the long term it is hoped that Rosetta will be around long enough to witness the development of the comet's coma - as it get closer to the Sun.

A boulder that was swallowed by a lot of clay

At ... builders in Everett, Washington State, came across the boulder 30 feet beneath the ground - a rather large pebble


Humans have been present on the high Tibetan plateau for at least 20,000 years and permanent villages have been there since 3200BC. Solid evidence of growing crops such as millet, barley and wheat is found from 1600BC onwards, which is remarkable as the plateau is between 2500m (8200feet) and 3400m (11,154 feet) in altitude. Even more remarkable is the fact that wheat and barley are crops more usually identified with western Asia rather than eastern Asia. Is this evidence of migration? (see