The first population explosion

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/03012014/article/the-first-great-hu... ... genetic studies, we are told, indicate Palaeolithic people grew in huge numbers between 80,000 and 60,000 years ago. Why this should have happened is not clear - but the idea of growing numbers of people at around that time is very convenient for the Out of Africa theory (and therefore should be treated with a bit of caution).

Feeding a hungry world in the future

Most ethanol produced uses high temperature fermentation to chemically convert corn, sugar cane, palm oil or any suitable plant material into liquid fuel. A new technique has been developed at Stanford University and requires no fermentation - and little raw material from the plant world - see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/09/making-ethanol-without-the-need-to... ... which must be a good thing in the long run. At the moment it is a lab based experiment - will it be efficient in practise?

Galaxies powered by black holes

That is the inference in a story at www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2014/04/young-galaxies-powered-by-massive-... .... and opens with the statement, all matter of fact, 'quasars- are young galaxies powered by massive black holes, extremely bright, extremely distant, and highly red shifted ...'

Cambrian Surprises

No - not a shindig in Wales but a reference to Cambrian fossils at www.livescience.com/44654-first-fossil-blood-vessel-arthropod.html .... where it has been found that creatures living 520 million years ago had a sophisticated heart and blood vessel system similar to lobsters and other creatures in the modern world. The remarkable fossils come from a site in Yunnan Province in China which preserved intact the blood vessel system.

speak of the devil ...

Speak of the devil. I mentioned Neanderthal DNA research two days ago and the very next day spied this story at http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/new-method-confirms... ... Technical objections to the idea Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of EuroAsians have been overcome thanks to a genome analysis method described in the April 2014 issue of the journal Genetics. The research is ongoing and already thee are two camps in the debate.

Ptolemy and Astrology

For those interested in Ptolemy and the origins of astronomy, or just astrology, one might be interested in the post at http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/astrology-the-aesthetic-and-th...

More on Mercury as a newer member of the solar system

The original research has now reached the pages of New Scientist - go to www.newscientist.com/article/dn25372-volcanic-blasts-hint-that-mercury-i... ... although they aren't calling it a loose canon, or an exo-planet  that has been captured by the solar system, astronomers are thinking in terms of Mercury migrating from elsewhere in the solar system - the how and why is not mentioned. Volcanic blasts have rocked Mercury over a long period of time which seems to contradict the consensus view on the formation of the solar system.

Wet and Green in Arabia

At www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2014/140403_1.html ... a team led by the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities has discovered a giant tusk from an extinct elephant - out in the desert. The species is known as Palaeoloxoden and was twice the size of modern elephants - but most Pleistocene animals were much larger than their Holocene descendants. It has been dated 325,000 years ago (by the geology in which it was found).

Humans in South America

At www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/americas/discoveries-challenge-beliefs-... ... which is a piece on discoveries at Serra da Capuara National Park in Brazil (in the NE of the country). Rock art depicts people and animals in various activities - paintings numbered in their thousands. When excavations began, in a rock shelter associated with rock art, they unearthed stone tools going back 22,000 years ago.

Climate Japes

It seems a local ecologist in East Africa is now saying there is no chance the Mount Kilimanjaro glacier is going to melt - in spite of CAGW doomsayer Lonnie Thompson making a career out of saying it was. Go to http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/07/kilimanjaro-glaciers-just-wont-die... .... while over at the anti-fracking protest at Barton Moss in Manchester the Greenies have sent out an SOS - they have run out of gas.