Last week I posted about New Zealand being a lost world of dinosaurs – as long as we think of birds as a dinosaur. Which, of course, they are. This isn’t hyperbole. Today, birds are formally part of the dinosaur clade – the greater family. Specifically, they are avian dinosaurs, whereas the ones that went extinct… More New Zealand – the lost world of the dinosaurs – part 2
If the larger dinosaurs hadn’t been extinguished some 65 million years ago, what would today look like? To me the answer is largely in my own backyard, here in New Zealand. Up until humans first landed here around 800 years ago, New Zealand was very much a ‘lost world’, a place where Jurassic forests survived, and where the classic… More New Zealand – the lost world of the dinosaurs – part 1
Back in 2007, a science team under Eric Mamajek of the University of Rochester announced something unusual – a giant world, orbiting the star 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6 with a ring system so immense it makes Saturn’s look like a kiddie toy. This world – officially known as 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6b to differentiate it from its star 1SWASP… More Saturn’s no longer the Lord of the Rings…
Would anybody who lived on Pluto be called a ‘Plutocrat’, or something? I might not be the first to ask this question – I think Heinlein did it in Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, where his hero ended up being kidnapped by the Wormface aliens and taken to Pluto. Being Heinlein, the story was a lot better than… More Would a denizen of Pluto be a Plutocrat?
There was speculation the other week to the effect that smart people live longer – the genes for ‘smart’ and the genes for ‘long life’ apparently being the same. Once upon a time this would have merely meant that geeks got to spend longer being picked on by bullies. But, of course, one of the big… More So it seems smart people live longer. What does that mean?
This post begins on a personal note. My Mum passed away, suddenly, last week. Mum got me writing, encouraged me to write – and was an avid reader of what I wrote. Including this blog, where her favourites were my science posts. Mum taught me to wonder about everything – about the way our curiosity fuels our… More Of the sense of wonder that casts light into the darkness
A few years ago my wife and I took the ultra high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris. It tore through the Netherlands and Belgium at what to our New Zealand eyes seemed a sharp pace. Then it got to France, at which point the driver opened the throttle. Pow! Suddenly we were rattling along at over… More How things happen faster than you sometimes notice