'Natural Nucleur Accelerators'

At www.physorg.com/print201279930.html there is a report on a paper in Physcial Review Letters with some interesting discoveries, one of which is that high energy cosmic rays were thought to come from remote galaxies that contained huge black holes capable of eating stars and accelerating protons like a bullet shooting out of a gun barrel. These protons, referred to as cosmic rays, travel through space and eventually enter our galaxy - the theory assumes.

Impact on Antarctica

At www.dailygalaxy.com August 17th ... there is a post on the impact crater discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica. At 500km across it is the biggest yet known. It dwarfs the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan (demise of the dinosaurs) so it must equally have been associated with geological and biological changes - so the reasoning goes. However, dating something under the ice is difficult but scientists have looked around for a suitable 'big' event and noted one at 250 million years ago, at the Permian-Triassic boundary.

The Obsidian Trade in North America

At http://geology.com/press-release/obsidian-artifacts/ is a story with some potential for the future (and like the previous story is also available at Science Daily). Obsidian, or volcanic glass, was prized for making tools, and an archaeologist in Idaho has plotted and catalogued obsidian pieces from his patch as he has devised a clever way of using them to shine a little window on the habits of Native Americans over the last 13,000 years.

Pompeii

At www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38729085/ns/technology_and_science-science/ there was a story going the rounds a week or so ago which I passed over at the time. However, for anyone interested, the common opinion was that most people in Pompeii died from suffocation due to a combination of ash and volcanic gases. A vulcanologist from the Naples Observatory has now shown they died from an extreme heat surge produced by the volcano - between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dark Attractors

At www.dailygalaxy.com August 16th .... 'Dark Attractors Believed to Shape the Universe' is the headline. The science community do not know what invisible or dark matter is but they think they know that it is out there and that without dark matter there would be no galaxies, no stars or planets, no life as we know it.

Supernovae and Amino Acids

A peculiar story is this one, and it was suitably published in Astrobiology as 'Supernovae and the Chirality of the amino acids' (but see www.liebertonline.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2009.0427?utum_source=io9+News but probably the peculiarity is due to the latter rather than the former. It appears to be an attempt to explain left handed amino acids and the virtual exclusion of right handed ones.

Vindunum

The Guardian August 17th (or view online at www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/17/france-archaeology/ a huge Roman town has been unearthed near Le Mans, and attention is being made to the temples that existed there. This was Vindunum, occupied between the first and third centuries AD.

Venus ... in the eye of a Japanese spacecraft

There are two stories on Venus today and both are well worth keeping an eye out for updates.

NGC 4696

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100812065911.htm we have, 'NGC 4696: A Cosmic Question Mark'. It's all about a strange galaxy that curls around at one end like a great question mark in outer space, on the edge of the field of vision of the Hubble Advanced Camera. It is the biggest galaxy in the Centaurian cluster and is at the moment a bit of a mystery.

Pyramids and small robotic explorers

At www.csmonitor.com August 16th there is news of a robot developed at Leeds University which is designed to penetrate deeper into the Great Pyramid at Giza than ever before - known as the Djedi Project. No doubt it will be big news if anything is found, but there are a lot of ifs involved in what is a nice bit of technology. The robot will explore a shaft otherwise found inaccessible by previous robotic attempts and the hope is that a hidden chamber will be found. However, there are a few problems to overcome before such a prize.