Parallel universes and the Black Widow

Is gravity from a parallel universe creating dark energy? Casey Kazan at has a different slant on a story that emerged a few weeks ago - the idea of gravity leaking from a parallel universe. The commenters at the end of what is a short piece are not impressed. Ivar Nielson of Denmark in particular.

Big Conks and Curly Locks

The Peoples Daily in China (see ) has a short story on a stone coffin from the Tang Dynasty (around AD800) which has a depiction of Greek like Europeans engraved on the outside - evidence of contact with Byzantium via the Silk Road.

Records in Stone

At ... is an abstract of a book edited by Clive Ruggles, Records in Stone: Papers in Memory of Alexander Thom. As well as a chapter by Ruggles which is critical of Thom's choice of markers and notches in the horizon the other authors are impressive as they include Anthony Aveni, Ed Krupp, Archie Thom, Aubrey Burl, Hans Motz, Chris Jennings and one of the SIS founders, Euan MacKie, 'Investigating the Prehistoric Solar Calendar'

Symbols from the Sky in Cave Art

See ... sent in by Gary Gilligan this is essentially about Rappengluck's novel interpretation of cave art - at sites such as Lascaux and executed by Magdalenians (physically modern humans living in the final stages of the Ice Age). Rappengluck suggests the art has heavenly parallels, and dots and freckles on the animals (backs and face etc) actually represent groups of stars in the night sky such as the Hyades and the Pleiades.

Plants and evolution

Research done at the University of Calgary (see ) has come up with some new ideas on the diversity of flowering plants - and what factors might affect the number of species in a particular lineage. It is not only what causes diversity but what has happened because of extinctions and die-offs - leaving openings. Geography is one factor and traits within a family of species is another which might encourage greater diversity - but why?

Galaxy super clusters and strings and things

At September 17th ... there is a story on galaxy super clusters that may be related to the distribution of dark matter. Galaxies seem to clump together and are surrounded by empty space. The piece goes on to say the goal is to capture the most ancient light in the universe - the cosmic microwave background.

Aboriginal astronomy and other bits of archaeological news

At is a report on the discovery of cave art at numerous sites in Somaliland. In the Irish Times (see ) there is a report on the discovery of a Viking site in County Louth, believed to be Linn Duchaill, founded in AD841 at the same time as Viking Dublin.

X-rays in Space

A University of Leicester press release on the 8th of September (see ) claims that the source of powerful X-rays in a nearby galaxy are said to be proof of the existence of a new species of black holes - targeted because of its extreme luminosity (and advertising a paper in the Astrophysical Journal published the same day).

Mysteries of the Moon

... or rather, mysteries of the Moon that really might not be as mysterious as this piece at would have its readers believe (sent in by Gary). It is actually reminiscent of a speaker at an SIS meeting a few years ago and begins rather tamely by telling us that the Moon is more complicated than scientists imagined. One such complication is said to concern the age of the Moon - which by its nature is highly speculative.

Comet Halley Again

At there is another version of the Comet Halley appearance in 466BC - with a bit more history. It could have been visiting the inner solar system for anything between 16,000 and 200,000 years (see also the Journal of Cosmology). The Chinese record the comet in 240BC and it is thought the Babylonians (people of the Middle East) record it in 164 and 87BC (as well as Tigranes, an Armenian king) and in 12BC it may have sparked messianic expectations - but who can tell.