comets and coated ice creams

I don't know what it is with NASA news releases that compare astronomical features with food and eating disorders but here we have another one at ... where comets are being described as deep fried ice creams. Mind you, they are said to have a soft centre. Ostensibly, they are saying the hard surface of comets is caused by a coating - somewhat like the chocolate on an ice cream lolly (I'm doing it as well, must be catching).

Lenborough Hoard

The British Museum now have the hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins found in a field in the UK (at Lenborough). Go to or the same thing at See also

Plates and Dynamite

At ... concerns the origin of the Canary Islands - which are, like the Hawaian islands, located in the middle of a plate rather than at the plate boundary. In 2011 and 2012 there was a lot of volcanic activity off the Canaries which led to the study. The research found sedimentary material which contained small fossils of the Cretaceous Period - which seems to rule out the idea it was dredged out of the mantle (where volcanic magma is thought to originate).

Big Bang dynamics

At .... a German cosmologist says the theory of the quantum mode of structure in the universe has been confirmed - even proved. However, he also says that a reported signal said to confirm the existence of primordial gravitational waves can be attributed to dust in our own galaxy.

Indo European roots

This is one of those subjects where one side has the upper hand for a while and then another point of view prevails. At ... an anthropology blog which looks interesting, reviews a new paper that claims Indo European roots were on the steppes from around 4500BC - moving into the  Balkans and subsequently into Anatolia. The blog author obviously favours the alternative view that Indo European languages were disseminated by early farmers - which moved through Anatolia into the Balkans (the opposite route of migration).


At ... we have some images of Ceres from a distance of 90,000 miles away.

    Ceres is either a dwarf planet or a very big asteroid - take your pick of nomenclature. It is full of craters - and there are lots of white spots that are mysterious. Some of the craters have a central peak - see the Electric Universe web site for the significance of this.

The White Cliff of Belize

In an article available in pdf format to download, 'A Place for Pilgrimage: the ancient Maya sacred landscape of Cara Blanca in Belize' by Lucero and Kinkella (go to describes an interesting piece of geology as it has 23 pools or small lakes but is backed by a white limestone ridge directly overlooking the watery places where offerings were made to the Mayan gods. It is also a region of poor soils so was not developed by the Maya as an agricultural resource. The agriculture took place away from Cara Blanca.

architecture and the solstices

At ... the Taj Mahal in India, built by a Moghul emperor following the death of one of his wives, is aligned to sun rise on midsummer day. It rises above a pavilion in the garden and the sun sets on the same day behind another pavilion. The mausoleum and minarets of the Taj Mahal are located between these two pavilions.

blow-outs and bumps in the nether parts

At ... it has been suggested a massive volcano that blew around 40,000 years ago led to the demise of the Neanderthals. Benjamin Black, a geologist at the University of California, has explored the issue and found it wanting. The criticism sounds reasonable. What was not asked is what caused such a big volcanic explosion?

slowly getting there

Mainstream is slowly getting its head around the idea that something peculiar happened at the end of the Bronze Age. Claude Schaeffer was making the point 70 years ago - but his work was largely ignored as too daring to contemplate. At ... we learn that a salt lake at Larnaca on Cyprus has revealed evidence of a long drought from an analysis of pollen grains in lake sediments which coincides with the end of the Late Bronze Age.