Back to Kola

Pierre Gosselin, on his blog August 7th ... discusses a series of tree ring proxies near the Arctic shores of Euroasia which includes the Kola peninusular proxy mentioned on a post last week. Only one of these proxies actually showed any evidence of a hockey stick - but it's inclusion in the series gave shape to the multiplication of proxies (some four or five).

Marden Henge - what do we know?

Actually, we still know very little. The latest bit of archaeological investigation has now come to an end (see BBC News August 6th) and we know more than what was known previously - but that is not a lot as the excavations were made in just one small section of what is a huge site. Indeed, English Heritage have no say on most of the henge.

Neanderthal Sleeping Quarters

At otherwise Discovery News, there is a description in juvenile terminology of the discovery of a separate space set aside in a cave in Cantabria with a makeshift bed.

Almagest Ephemeris Calculator

At is a web page with Java Script calendar and ephemeris modules for calculating geocentric luni-solar and planetary positions for an arbitrary calendar date according to the kinematical models of the sun, the moon and the planets as described in the Almagest of Claudius Ptolemy in AD150.

Himalayan Odds

At html there is a report on a geological study into the formation of the Himalayas, the movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate. The Indian plate was subducted and this in turn led to the creation of the mountain chain as it just kept pushing against the other. The Indian plate also included oceanic crust which was pushed down into the mantle. Now, researchers on the high mountains have discovered eclogites and the samples have been found to contain garnet.

Demise of rainforests once again, and a paper in Conservation Letters says 45 per cent of plants and animals making up the rainforest habitat will remain intact over the next 100 years - but they add the caveat that may be as low as 18 per cent (to make it more scary). However, the rest of it will disappear, they say, but fear not this is a computer simulation based on an assumption that temperatures will continue to rise over the same period.

Strings and Things

At physicists use an offshoot of string theory to describe the puzzling behaviour of super conductors - material that conducts electricity without resistance. Published in Science August 5th


At there is a claim that the evolution of kangaroos was intricately tied to Australian climate change - but suitably confined to millions of years ago rather than anything to do with modern greenhouse gas emissions. The Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (August 2010) claims the appearance of kangaroos, wallabies, and similar animals occurred millions of years ago when they foraged on soft leaved forest growing plants.

Painted Stones by Painted People

The story is reported in The Scotsman (but see also ) stones painted with patterns such as zigzags and chevrons have been found in the Orkneys. The use of colour has been suspected but this is the first tangible evidence of it yet found in an megalithic structure in Britain. It occurs in Sardinian megaliths (as reported a couple of weeks ago) and now it has been found in the far north.

The auroral heartbeat of Saturn

At ... a paper in Geophysical Research Letters (Aug 6th) claims that Saturn's aurora, a low ultraviolet glow which illuminates the upper atmosphere near the poles, pulses roughly at one a day (Saturnian time). The study used Hubble Space Telescope images from 2005 to 2009. There is a pulse to radio emissions too and the aurora heartbeat appears to be in tandem with the radio emissions