Conversation in a huff

The Conversation, a US politic rag that is a bit self righteous and 'right on' has apparently had a hissy fit. At http://phys.org/print356942688.html ... we learn that one of its correspondents is not happy and is in denial that a sun spot minimum may cause lower global temperatures. He also claims that as we have so much more co2 in the atmosphere than we had back in the 17th century it is false reasoning to think a new Maunder Minimum necessarily means a return to a Mini Ice Age scenario.

warming the data

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/16/the-three-faces-of-the-giss-land-o... ... is an interesting post by Bob Tisdale, a specialist on ENSO events (and well clued up). He has looked at US data that has recently got a lot warmer (recently) and a lot cooler (50 to 100 years ago) simply by adjusting the data sets, or switching to a different data set (and splicing the two). This is all quite blatant and the purpose appears to have a political slant. The ambition of the present administration is  to go out with something memorable under their belts.

nutrients and life

At http://phys.org/print356248555.html ... news of an interesting theory that evolution of life was driven by Plate Tectonics. One could substitute the latter for catastrophims and reach a similar conclusion.

Ice Age Americans

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/uoc--gap072115.php ... a genome study at the University of California-Berkeley has concluded Native Americans ae descended from a single migration from Siberia which they now date 23,000 years ago (purely on DNA evidence and assumed rates of divergence). From the perspective of neo-catastrophism this date is highly significant - at the height of the last Glacial Maximum.

Velociraptor update

At http://crev.info/2015/07/feathered-velociraptor/ ... there is a post with the title, 'Feathered Velociraptor - untangling the Spin' and refers to the Nature journal 'Scientific Reports' on a feathered dinosaur with similarities to the Velociraptor of 'Jurassic Park' movie fame. The fossil was found in dinosaur beds in China (see post a couple of days ago) but in the link above the author claims it was found by a farmer (who wouldn't give his name).

Circle of God

The Circle of God by Brian Hobley will set you back £105 but it appears to be a pretty comprehensive study which may attract SIS members to indulge themselves. Is it worth trying the public library system, I wonder?

lots on Pluto this past week

The flyby of Pluto by a NASA mission to the far reaches of the solar system has caught the imagination of the media, and Joe Public. At http://phys.org/print356246204.html ... we have icy mountains on Pluto and some nice pictures of Charon, its largest moon (Pluto has 5 moons). A close up image of an equatorial region of Pluto shows up a mountain range with peaks as high as 11,000 feet. There is also a large heart shaped feature - probably ice. Charon on the other hand has a 6 mile long canyon.

soft tissue fossils

At http://phys.org/print356593679.html ... apparently, soft tissue is often preserved in fossils - such as worm sperm from Antarctica (80 million years ago). Such worms reproduce by releasing their eggs and sperm and weave it into protective cocoons - and it is this that kept it intact in what are shallow marine gravels.

A tiny ostrocod, or seed shrimp, was found in Silurian rocks on the Welsh borders - preserved in 3 dimensions with all its soft tissue fossilised. Apparently, it was smothered and petrified in volcanic ash 400 million years ago.

comets

Useful links as we are having a talk on comets at our autumn speaker meeting. At http://phys.org/print356337886.html ... Comet PanSTARRS made an appearance in northern skies in June on the NE horizon, at around dawn. In early July it became vaguely visible in the evening in southern latitudes. At perihelion it was 28 million miles away from the Sun, much closer than the Rosetta comet will come next month.

Velociraptor

At http://phys.org/print356258414.html ... a dinosaur with wings, and feathers, and it is reminiscent in outline to the 'Jurassic Park' Velociraptor - being described as a cousin. It was uncovered in China, which has rich dinosaur era deposits.