A fascinating historical puzzle

I’m intrigued by the suggestion that a Chinese village may have been founded by former Roman legionaries, more than two millennia ago. For years the residents of the remote north western Chinese village of Liqian have believed they were special. Many of the villagers have Western characteristics including green eyes and blonde hair leading some experts to suggest that they may be the descendants of a lost Roman legion that settled in the area. Now DNA testing of the villagers has shown that almost two thirds of them are of Caucasian origin. The results lend weigh to the theory that

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #417

Today’s Doofus is from England. An amateur pilot in a Cessna caused chaos to an RAF fly-past marking the Queen’s Birthday when he strayed into its flight path. The pilots of the 29 military aircraft – which included Tornado fighter-bombers – were ordered to ‘dive, dive, dive’ after bungling David Remnant headed towards them. One of the Tornado pilots had seen the Cessna just 200ft away, heading straight at him, Aylesbury Magistrates Court was told. Air traffic controllers ordered the RAF crews to dive 300ft, while Remnant was ordered to fly 300ft upwards to avert a disaster. The 43-year-old amateur

Continue reading

The 500th planet!

Space.com reports that a milestone has been reached in the discovery of planets orbiting other stars. The 500th alien world appears to have been discovered, according to extrasolar planet trackers. Less than 20 years after confirming the first planet beyond our own solar system, astronomers have bagged exoplanet No. 500. The milestone was reached Friday (Nov. 19), according to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia, a database compiled by astrobiologist Jean Schneider of the Paris-Meudon Observatory. As of today (Nov. 22), the count stands at 502 alien worlds, the database reports. The 500th extrasolar planet was reported in the midst of the

Continue reading

Clearly my school days were all too innocent!

I can only stand in awe – or should that be amazement? – of any school that allows its students to carry on like this. An internet video featuring naked Swedish high school students frolicking with farm animals and riding tractors on school property is nothing out of the ordinary for Sweden, according to the school’s principal. “This kind of thing happens all the time,” the school’s principal, Peter Gustavsson told The Local. “There’s nothing wrong with being naked. That’s still allowed.” The eight-minute-long video, entitled “Farmers’ Daughters”, opens with a shot of a young man in bed with two

Continue reading

Computers and the imagination

I’m fascinated by the things people can think of to do with (and to) their iPads. Crescent Electronics blog has listed eight ideas that are both intriguing and a bit out there. Here’s one example. It was only a matter of time before someone with the skills required fitted an iPad into the dashboard of a car. On the face of it, the possibilities are very attractive: large screen satellite navigation, touchscreen access to your music, video…the only problem is, most of these activities would likely cause an accident if carried out while driving. Still, it looks good, right? Here’s

Continue reading

Of bugs, health, and interesting medical practices

Two news reports caught my eye today. Both deal with the importance of bacteria to our health: one in a normal sort of way, the other . . . well, let’s just say that normal doesn’t enter into it! The Australian Daily Telegraph reports that research has confirmed the value of getting your children outside to play, so that they can come into contact with useful bacteria. PARENTS, step away from the baby wipes and put that hand sanitiser away – eating dirt could actually make your child smarter. Research published in the current issue of Kidsafe NSW’s playgrounds newsletter

Continue reading

More on the fatheads at the TSA

I wrote last week about the Transportation Security Administration and its latest inanities (or should that be ‘insanities’?). I’m very pleased to note that a great many Americans are taking umbrage at the TSA’s gratuitously offensive and patently ineffective measures, and are not only objecting to them, but mocking them into the bargain. I sincerely hope that the protests that are apparently being planned for tomorrow happen in full force, and thoroughly disrupt their security charade. It deserves nothing less. One of the finest and most profane (definitely not safe for work!) debunkings of their idiocy comes from my blogging

Continue reading

More interesting photography

As regular readers know, I frequently post links to photographic exhibitions and displays. There are two of them tonight. The 2010 National Geographic Photo Contest is in full swing. There are some astonishingly good pictures on display. You can see many of them at the link, in relatively small sizes. However, the Big Picture has published over 40 of them in larger format. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite, reduced in size to fit this blog. There are many more at the link, some of them breathtakingly beautiful. Very highly recommended viewing. Another series of photographs that

Continue reading