The femur bone that caused a ripple

In Current World Archaeology 67 (Oct., 2014) - or go to ... there is an article by Tom Higham on Denisova Cave which famously produced the finger bone from which a genome was produced of an entirely new human species. It is located in the remote Altai Mountains at the far side of central Asia. Clearly, it could not have been so remote in the past as it has produced remains of Homo erectus, Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Modern Humans.

radioactive decay rates

At face value this new paper at Astroparticle Physics 55 (2014) seems to be a case of circling the wagons, a sort of confirmation of the consensus view. Readers may like to make up their own minds by going to the press release - see


At ... there is an interesting piece on peptides which are being touted as a sort of missing link between pre-biotic chemistry and the building blocks of life. The ability to organise things within compartments and along surfaces underpins biology. It seems peptides may be involved in the process.

Stretching the Dark Age

At ... the Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought according to a Bayesian averaging of C14 dates undertaken in a recent study. It was a fairly comprehensive exercise by the sound of it - but there was perhaps a nefarious undercurrent at the same time as it was designed to fit in with the chronology advocated by those who would date the Thera eruption to the low growth tree ring event (and ice core acidity anomaly) around 1625BC.

Rendevous at the vicinity of Mars

October 19th, one week from now and Comet Siding Spring will pass closely to Mars. NASA is prepared - go to

African technology

At ... a post on a professor from Zimbabwe, Clapperton Chatanetsa Mavhunga (I like his Christian name, presumably from a missionary or somebody the family were aquainted with), who says that hunting technology in his part of the world was developed on the hoof and designed for the local and specific game animals of the region. In other words, it was novel to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.

Sam Carey

Australian geologist Sam Carey, in the 1930s, explored the continental drift theory of Alfred Wegener, which in those days was regarded as junk science. Carey took the trouble to build a model of a globe on which he could move around the continents as part of Wegener's theory was the single land mass known as Pangaea. He realised the continents would fit together if the Earth was smaller. If it was shrunk enough it all slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle - but it would mean doing away with the ocean basins.

Patten on Ionic Rain

Thunderbolts for October 6th is 'I'm singeing in the rain' and is about charged water molecules interacting with Saturn's ionosphere - ionic rain from Saturn's Rings. These are one of the unusual and unexpected findings of the Cassini Mission which has interesting equipment onboard in order to study plasma and electromagnetism.

Cracks in the Earth's Surface

At ... in Ethiopian a large crack opened up in the crust of the Earth in just a few days in 2005. At the time geologists became very excited as it was thought this was an embryo rift valley that would end up splitting Africa asunder and give birth to a new sea. That was of course as a result of consensus Plate Tectonics - the mainstream theory on how oceans form from rifts and faults, expanding into mid ocean ridges etc.

Fluid Dynamics

Tim Cullen is turning his attention to fluid dynamics but not sure what the end result will be - go to ... which may have repercussions on a lot of things we take for granted. He says there is no settled science involved because of natural complexities recognised by physicists, as such, and the use of approximations and exceptions and various controversies that have developed over the years. A good science subject then.