At June 18th ... coming up to our July meeting on Wal Thornhill's theory of electricity in the universe we may note a paper published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics concerns the discovery of a magnetic field at the surface of the supergiant star Betelgeuse. The rotation of stars like the Sun produces flows of ionised material in their inner layers - triggering a dynamo mechanism causing the generation of a magnetic field.

C02 and the Oceans

At June 18th ... in looking at ice cores from up to 800,000 years ago scientists have found a link between ice melt and C02 abundance in the atmosphere. There has been a 40 per cent increase of C02 in the atmosphere since the last glaciation - and this can largely be attributed, it is being said, to changes in the circulation of oceanic waters surrounding Antarctica.

Earthquake synchrony

At we are informed that in nature random signals often fall mysteriously in step, one after the other. Fireflies flashing sporadically in the early evening have a tendency to flash in unison, or very closely after each other - flashing in bunches, and a similar harmonic behaviour can be conjectured while listening to crickets (grasshoppers) or even swinging clock pendulums.

Egyptian C14 dates are right according to new analysis

BBC News Thursday June 17th ... experts have used scientific dating techniques to show the chronology of ancient Egypt is largely right. C14 was used to date material from museums around the world and the OK, MK and NK dates as devised by academics over the years have proved to be spot on - hardly a variation of note. However, it was not C14 as it was formerly used, which tended to produce somewhat erratic dates, but a new C14 technique by a laboratory regarded as state of the art.

YD impact debate update

At we have a couple of stories on what is an ongoing debate - have scientists found evidence of a cosmic connection with the advent of the Younger Dryas or can the anomalies be explained by terrestrial based events. There is a critique of a paper by Pinter and Scott that claims carbon spherules of the type found in the black mat layer can also be found in forest fire incidents and therefore do not prove a cosmic origin for them.

Panspermia and meteorites

At Daily Galaxy we have an interesting story on June 15th ( .... on meteorites and panspermia. This might be a bad example of scientists using large rocks to find evidence of panspermia when it was originally suggested it arrived on earth via particles and debris with an origin in comets - material flared from the surface of comets and captured by the atmosphere of the earth. Meteorites also have an origin in space - but ten per cent of those that strike earth have been found to have an origin on Mars.

Update on Jupiter hit

The recent Jupiter impact, a week or so ago, has left behind a mystery. It produced a flash of light so bright it was visible in attic and garden telescopes but it did not create a cloud of debris - which is what observers from around the world have been waiting for. Alternatives to an impact are not being suggested, one of which is that it was not an object striking Jupiter but a Jovian lightning bolt. NASA are not impressed with this idea and a spokesperson said that NASA had seen plenty of night-side lightning on Jupiter but never lightning on the day time-side.

Studies of Fossils June 15th ... reports on attempts to extract further information from fossilised creatures - the behaviour of ancient life forms. I don't know if there is sleight of hand involved here but instead of using fossils as a means of classifying and cataloguing the diversity of life in the past scientists are looking at the possibility of discovering clues about behaviour from that frozen moment of death. Insects caught in amber is one example given.

Skulls and Immigrants ... the online journal PLoS One has an article on the differences between palaeo-americans and amerindians, a huge morphological dissimilarity involving crania shape and size. The claim is that the earliest Americans were Australo-Melanesians and the second wave of immigrants came from East Asia.

Rare Earth Elements

At June 15th ... mentions the recently discovered mineral wealth of Afghanistan, worth an estimated one trillion dollars. These include rare earth elements such as dysprosium, erium, and ytterbium which are found concentrated in ores and these and other strangely named elements are used in computer hard drives, TV screens, and smartphones, LED lights, and magnets in electronics, wind turbines and hybrid cars etc.