Um . . . have they thought this through?

I note with interest a potential new scientific approach to bone loss. Deer antlers may hold the secret to curing osteoporosis and other debilitating bone diseases, researchers have revealed. A new study has identified the specific genes responsible for the growth and strength of antlers, paving the way for a future genetic treatment for human bone conditions. A form of temporary external bone, antlers grow at a speed unique in the animal kingdom. They sprout in the spring and by the summer can grow at up to 2cm a day, before beginning to shed by the start of winter. Peter Yang,

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Hot! Hot! HOT!

In this part of northern Texas, and for several hundred miles around, the heat is worse than it’s ever been since Miss D. and I moved here, two and a half years ago.  The thermometer hit 114° (Fahrenheit – for readers who use Celsius, that translates to 45.5°) this afternoon, and as of a few moments ago it had cooled to a mere 111°.  Inside our home, despite the best efforts of our air conditioning system, it’s currently 82° – which sounds bad, until you go outside and realize it’s still almost 30° cooler than the ambient temperature!  The contrast as you

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One sees why they design submarines with that shape

Courtesy of Daily Timewaster, we find this beautiful picture of an orca (killer whale)cutting through the water.  Note how the liquid flows around its smooth, streamlined body.  Click the image for a larger view. One begins to understand why modern submarine hulls are similarly streamlined. That’s a great photograph. I’d love to know how it was taken: from what sort of platform, how far away, and so on. Peter

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Somebody should tell President Trump . . .

. . . that a failed Israeli project might be useful for  US border security. One thousand crocodiles have been left homeless in the war-torn West Bank after a man’s failed bid to open a tourist attraction. The ill-fated attraction is causing a huge headache for authorities, as the ‘escape artist’ creatures are stranded with nowhere to go. Israel’s Defense Ministry was forced to admit it had no idea what to do with the snappy reptiles. The Petza’el farm was originally set up with the intention of bringing holidaymakers to the region more than 20 years ago. However, this went badly wrong.

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Yes, it really is that hot in Texas

Following yesterday’s article about this weekend’s Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred cycle race, a couple of readers asked whether it was really that hot all through summer in northern Texas.  I told them that while there were mild periods, generally we expected our temperatures to hover between 95°F and 105°F all summer long.  This year, June/July was exceptionally hot, with the mercury hitting 114°F one day – a real scorcher. We’re not alone in that.  Southern Texas gets just as hot, and sometimes more so. ROMA, Texas — This week marks the end of the dog days of summer, the 40 hottest days of

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What a great photograph!

I came across this photograph on Gab.  It shows a stream of molten lava landing on a black sand beach, presumably in Hawaii, where volcanic eruptions continue.  Click the image for a larger view. I’d love to know whether that was taken by a human photographer, or a drone.  I presume the latter, because any human getting that close to a stream of molten lava is asking for trouble!  However it was taken, though, that’s a fascinating image.  Kudos to whoever took it. Peter

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The Sun as a ribbon in the sky

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday was this lovely image of the Sun’s analemma over Scotland during the past year. You can read more about it at the link. Also eye-catching is this video, courtesy of Daily Timewaster, showing four-year time-lapse footage of the explosion of star V838 Monocerotis between 2002 and 2006.  Watch it in full-screen mode for maximum impact. Things like that remind us of how truly insignificant humanity is, on a galactic and universal scale.  We aren’t even a speck of dust by comparison. Peter

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You never know when it may happen to you

We’ve spoken often in these pages of the need to prepare for emergencies.  Nevertheless, sometimes the emergency arrives so quickly and unexpectedly, and is so devastating, that all the preparations in the world won’t help. Consider yesterday’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Indonesia.  Just look at these video clips.  Both show a second tsunami arriving:  you can see damage left by the first tsunami before the next one strikes. Anyone whose emergency preparations were stored in one of the buildings hit by the tsunami, or who was relying for their getaway on a motor vehicle caught up in the flood . . .

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An interesting day in Cañon City and the Wet Mountain Valley

Miss D. and I had an enjoyable morning running (well, ambling, really) through the Royal Gorge aboard a tourist train.  We splurged on the deluxe package, which included a very tasty, well-prepared breakfast, equal to anything I’ve had in decent restaurants that weren’t moving.  We sat in the observation car, high up, with big curved windows offering the best view of the Gorge.  It was a cool, rainy, cloudy morning, not the best weather for viewing the sights, but one makes do with what Mother Nature provides.The train moves pretty slowly, probably at no more than 10-12 miles per hour, taking it

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