Does the Moon cause earthquakes – or is that a bit looney?

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit New Zealand on 14 November – and the sequence of events that followed – has been complex in every sense. The main shock itself was a highly complex rupture of multiple faults that extended northwards and delivered a hefty punch to Wellington, well distant from the putative epicentre. That … More Does the Moon cause earthquakes – or is that a bit looney?

Big brother is watching us because we asked for it – Huxley style

I have to admit to a certain cynicism about the age of big data – the age of online convenience where we can shop from home, buy stuff with the click of a button, and have it sent to us. Books, among other things. But there’s a down-side. ‘They’ know what you bought – and … More Big brother is watching us because we asked for it – Huxley style

The modern face of earthquakes in New Zealand

The latest batch of quakes to hammer central New Zealand got me thinking. In past decades the usual face of such events were street-scapes of broken buildings and scattered debris, typified by the ruin that struck Napier and Hastings in 1931. That disaster cued more than half a century of active quake-proofing measures, bolstered by … More The modern face of earthquakes in New Zealand

Would aliens attack us, Independence Day style?

The idea of aliens arriving and promptly attacking us, Independence Day fashion, recently popped up again largely on the back of another Independence Day movie. But it’s also been offered as a warning by no less a person than Stephen Hawking. And when Hawking says something – well, it pays to listen. Is it true … More Would aliens attack us, Independence Day style?

Proxima Centauri’s got a planet! Yay, but don’t get too wild yet

I think it’s exciting that we’ve found an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star right next door. Proxima Centauri – the closest star to us besides the Sun. Last week’s announcement of Proxima b by the ‘Pale Red Dot’ project, operating mainly from the European Southern Observatory in Chile, was ‘leaked’ a month or so ago. … More Proxima Centauri’s got a planet! Yay, but don’t get too wild yet