Antarctic Volcanoes

There has been lots of talk about volcanoes beneath the West Antarctic peninsular and now we seem to have proof - see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2017-291 ... as a NASA study adds evidence that a geothermal source (a mantle plume) lies deep under Antartica's Marie Byrd Land. This may thus be able to explain why the West Antarctic peninsular has been unstable recently, in direct contrast to the large block of Antarctica which has stubbornly remained very cold and surrounded by lots of sea ice.

The Square and Compass

I expect many thousands of people have enjoyed a pastie and a pint at the Square and Compass public house in Worth Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck, over the years. Lots of walkers for example, as there is a nice walk on narrow paths with hedges thick with primroses and wild garlic in the spring, leading eventually to the cliffs and a fine view of the Jurassic Coast. The pub is also popular with geologists and it seems a new species recently found has been named after the landlord of the Square and Compass - a nice touch. See https://phys.org/print429258235.html ...

Killer Floods

William sent in this link to Nova films. This one is about Killer Floods - go to www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/killer-floods.html .. for the moment only a trailer of the movie is available but Gary has forwarded a link to a You Tube video on the programme - go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbEoNujXyS0

climate policy and wildlife

At https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/will-climate-change-controver... ... although the political story is interesting there is something else that may interest SIS members, a video of Benny Peiser talking to Fritz Vahrenholt on renewables and the effects on nature and wildlife. Benny used to be a member of the SIS council - back in the old days when he was a bit younger and all that. Scroll down to the first comment, by Oldbrew.

Neutron Star Collision

Worlds in Collision becomes ever more popular with astrophysicists and astronomers and is basic to the gravitational wave theory currently getting a lot of attention - colliding neutron stars and merging black holes. Apparently, a nearby neutron star collision could cause calamity on Earth - but think of all that gold and platinum it would produce. Even merging black holes would be a disaster, if they occurred too close to our galaxy - and that old bugbear, a supernova event would also be deadly. How near is near?

Step Pyramid

A 4600 year old step pyramid has just been uncovered in Egypt - see www.scientificamerican.com/article/4600-year-old-step-pyramid-uncovered-... (link provided by Jovan). It once stood 43 feet high, one of seven scattered but similar pyramids from the same period, of almost identical dimensions. The new pyramid, at Edfu, is new just 16 feet high having been robbed of its stone blocks and as a result of weathering over the centuries. The similarities between the seven pyramids are said to be amazing but for some reason by the 5th dynasty these pyramids had been abandoned.

One Step Closer

Again, this is astrophysics rather than astronomy but never mind, its the universe. The claim is that scientists are one step closer to defining dark matter - go to https://phys.org/print428759704.html ... where  we are told the search is on for dark matter - where it is and what it might be. Dark matter, we are led to believe, makes up to 85 per cent of all matter in the universe. We are apparently another step closer to discovering how to detect dark matter and to define it more accurately. What kind of particles are involved?

Speed of Gravity

At https://phys.org/print428727744.html ... Gravitational waves have allowed astrophysicists to confirm with greater precision what Einstein predicted in his Theory of General Relativity - that gravity does not act instantaneously as Newton thought but propagates at the speed of light. Is this circular reasoning.

Pyramid Void

This is the big story this week - the discovery of a big void in the Great Pyramid of Khufu. See for example https://phys.org/print428839163.html .... a hidden chamber has been found in Egypt's Great Pyramid at Giza, courtesy of an article in November's issue of Nature journal. A scan of the pyramid, looking for chambers, has found a large void directly above the Grand Gallery. Is it simply a gap in the pyramid's architecture or did it have a function of some kind?

Female Leadership

An amusing story sent in by Robert at www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5040151/Why-70-mammoth-remains-c... ... it seems the feminists are providing a new way of doing science - looking at gender issues. You might not be surprised to learn it comes courtesy of the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The pun on feminism appears to be deliberate and no doubt they are perfectly serious. Apparently, 70 per cent of mammoth remains found buried in Siberia (from 98 samples analysed) were male.