Moon and Earth

At ... a paper by Robert Newton that was presented to the AAAS Symposium on 28th December 1971 has turned up on a Russian web site. They are interested in this sort of thing. In the west, CAGW and its spin-offs seems to dominate all science chat and research. Robert Newton also wrote a couple of important books - one at least was reviewed in SIS Review (by Laurence Dixon), quite recently.

Electric Universe Conference 2014

The EU Conference at Alburquerque, New Mexico, will feature for the first time physicist Dr Michael Brill (who is also into geology). Geological structures will be the focus of his talk - and in particular, the Ninety East Ridge in the Indian Ocean.

The 'bucky balls' chap will also be a feature of a play - yes, a play. David Novak, actor, will play the role of Dr Buckminster Fuller (which should be good fun). For more information on the other speakers and conference facilites etc go to

The Picts and their impact on other people

At ... Sherriffields, a large crop mark 20 miles east of Edinburgh, turned out to be a ditch measuring 8m across and 2 to 3m deep, representing the enclosure ditch surrounding a major hill fort. It prduced a C14 date of AD211-384, right smack in the middle of Pictish expansion into southern Scotland and elsewhere. The 3rd century AD was a period of turmoil right across the Roman empire, or a spell of 20 years or so.

Kauri fossils found in Patagonia

At ... the Kauri tree grows in Australia. It's close relative the Dammar grows in Indonesia - but neither grows in the Americas. However, fossils of them have been found in Patagonia - giant coniferous trees. The fossils belong to the Eocene geological epoch, when S America is thought to have been joined with Antarctica and Australia.

Carbon in the Oceans

One new branch of Doomsaying CAGW is that the oceans are about to lose lots of carbon but here we have a paper that puts it into a different perspective. At ... marine cyanobacteria, very tiny ocean plants, produce oxygen and make organic carbon using sunlight, and co2. They are engines of biogeochemical and nutrient cycles and nourish other organisms through the provision of oxygen and body mass and are thought to be the base of the ocean food chain.

Black Hole Feast - still waiting

At ... astronomers are looking forwards to a collision at the heart of our galaxy. Mind you, it was supposed to have happened last year - but is now moved to a date near you, in three months or so time. The NASA Swift telescope, in orbit, is taking display images of a gas cloud spiralling toward the black hole thought to reside in the centre of the Milky Way. The gas cloud was discovered by astronomers in Germany in 2011 and has been monitored ever since.

What is the Polar Vortex

Lots of handringing in mainstream media over a new terminology in the CAGW vocabulary, the Polar Vortex. In the past this phenomenon has been described as a 'cold front' or an 'icy blast' from the Arctic - so what gives. Why the new term?

Brown Dwarfs ... stars or planets

At ... a cosmic body orbiting a star about 440 light years away is causing astrophysicists a bit of a knotty problem. What is the difference between a failed star (a Brown Dwarf) and a planet. They have been observing and keeping track of the object over the last seven years but can't yet determine which of either it is. The paper, in Astrophysical Journal Letters (published this week) can also be viewed at

Brian Cox and raining glass

Brian Cox, on BBCs 'Stargazing Live' (9th January 2014), made a remark about recently discovered exoplanets where they believe it 'rains silica' (or raining glass according to some reports). The interesting thing here is that flint is made of silica and flint and related silica deposits are common on Earth. In the 19th century flints were collected from chalk pits and transported to London as an ingredient in the glass industry. Glass manufacture also involves sand - a form of silica.

Brown Dwarfs raining molten iron and sand

A different perspective on Brown Dwarfs can be viewed at ... violent storms and molten iron rain 'may' be a common occurrence on 'failed' stars known as brown dwarfs, according to research from a news conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. They say Brown Dwarfs are cool, star like objects that don't have enough mass to fuse hydorgen into helium, the main energy source for stars, they allege. They are, in effect, giant cousins of gas planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.