A matter of some controversy this week. You may have seen in the news lately that an ancient viking burial with all the trappings of an experienced warrior was shown to be that of a female. I first became aware of this story about a week ago when scientists in my Twitter feed started highlighting… Read More The Female Viking Warrior Controversy
This week, science fans, the small matter of life on Earth as we know it. You have probably heard of the Cambrian explosion, that point about 540 million years ago when multicellular life suddenly appears in the fossil record. For the previous 3 billion years or so all life on the planet had been comprised… Read More On Algae, And How They Terraformed The Earth
You may remember last year when the USDA approved a field trial of genetically modified mosquitos in Florida. Although there were the usual ideologically opposed protests the trial is progressing. Well, last week the USDA approved another field trial of a GM insect, this time the diamondback moth. The diamondback moth is an invasive species… Read More USDA Approves Release Of Genetically Modified Moth
Why do we help others? More specifically, why do we help others that are not related to us? What do we get out of it? Evolutionarily speaking it doesn’t make any sense. Every organism in nature seems to be entirely focussed on doing whatever it takes to reproduce their own genes, and yet humans can… Read More Human Altruism: Social Construct or Hardwired Behaviour?
Two astronomical updates for you today; one good, one bad. Let’s start with the bad news. Two faulty helium valves on the Juno spacecraft mean that it is unlikely that it will be able to make the super close orbits that had been intended. The plan was that Juno’s elliptical orbit would be ever curtailed… Read More Jupiter Update: Good News and Bad News
Two days ago I blogged about the exciting discovery of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. One point that I had intended to make but forgot to mention was what impact it may have on the Drake equation. The Drake equation is a thought experiment created by Frank Drake, an astronomer from the US. He has… Read More The Drake Equation
It has been just over a decade since the Cassini space probe first detected the plumes of Enceladus, the 6th largest moon of Saturn. Back then it was a huge surprise to us all, no one was expecting geological activity in the icy depths of the far solar system. Since then we have learnt all… Read More Enceladus: A Fond Farewell
Interesting news. Scientists have potentially discovered the hallmarks of the earliest ever life on earth. It takes the form of tiny particles of 12carbon-rich graphite in a crystal of zircon. The crystal was taken from Jack Hills in Australia, famous for the age of its rocks, and is only 70 or so microns across. Of… Read More Ancient Crystal Could Push Back Record of Life by Hundreds of Millions of Years