Remembering The Odessa Massacre: 2 May 2014

"The 2nd of May marks the three year anniversary of one of the most tragic events of the 21st century. 42 peaceful protesters were killed when gangs of fascist thugs, most from far outside the region, went on a rampage that can only be described as hellish."



Australia's megafauna


"Ancient giant animals that once roamed Australia were not wiped out by climate change as was previously assumed, a study has shown. Human communities that lived on the continent 50,000 years ago might instead have hunted the megafauna to extinction.

Around 45,000 years ago, many of the unique megafauna species that thrived in Australia disappeared. Among the casualties were huge 1,000-pound kangaroos, two-tonne wombats known as diprotodons, and 400-pound flightless birds. There were also 25-foot-long lizards that looked right out of a sci-fi movie, and marsupial lions and tortoises the size of a car were also decimated in just a few hundred years."


Mysterious gap in evolutionary transition


"A 15-million-year gap in the tetrapod fossil record, called Romer's Gap, made that classic tale more of an estimation than something set in stone – until now.

An interdisciplinary team of paleontologists, geologists, and other specialists describe five new tetrapod species from fossils dating within just that gap, from about 360 million to 345 million years ago, in a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. And these new fossils are already revealing insights into the deep evolutionary history of life on Earth."


A Telling Smile and a new perspective after recent analysis of prehistoric teeth

Scientists now suggest that the remains of Homo floresiensis, popularly known as the Hobbit, seem to show it belonged to a unique species of hominin, rather than being a modern human with a physical deformities.

The analysis goes against previous theories that the Hobbit had teeth exactly like modern humans, and therefore were merely an enclave of people who suffered from microcephaly, a rare neurological condition resulting in an abnormally small head, a small body and developmental issues.

The Hobbit teeth showed blended traits of primitive and modern human, and were found to be most similar to Java Man. Credit: Yousuke Kaifu

Homo floresiensis reconstruction


the improbably young galaxy

This image - made up of exposures in visible and infrared light taken
with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Elderly galaxies tend to be more massive through mergers and
collisions with other galaxies. They are enriched with heavy elements
forged in stellar furnaces over multiple generations of stars, and
contain stars as old as the galaxy itself.
Young galaxies are mostly composed of the lighter primordial elements
hydrogen, helium, and lithium, which were created in the Big Bang.
Based on its structure, appearance, and chemical composition the galaxy - named DDO 68 - seems relatively youthful.

Young galaxies are commonly only found in the very distant universe. It
takes a long time for the light from these galaxies to reach us so we
see them as they were billions of years ago, when they were still very

However, DDO 68 is only 39 million light years away and usually all the
galaxies near us are old - like our own 12 billion year old Milky Way

Is DDO 68 a young galaxy?

Indonesian cave art

Hidden in a network of seven caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, Australian researchers have dated a series of paintings to nearly 40,000 years old. This is the oldest confirmed cave art anywhere outside Europe.

The discovery, made by a team led by Dr Maxime Aubert at Griffith University in Queensland, is revealed today in the journal Nature. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13422.html

The age of the paintings was determined by measuring ratios of isotopes of uranium and thorium in ‘cave popcorn’ – tiny stalactites that had formed on top of the paintings.


The weird rainbow

Is it a rainbow serpent?

or is it an alien?

or is it a ufo?

or is it a rapture?

no it is a fallstreak cloud also known as a punch hole cloud,

“They form when the water temperature in the cloud is below freezing,
but the water has not yet frozen due to a lack of ice nucleation
When the water does start to freeze, it falls down to
the surface ... so you’re left with this cloud surrounding it, this
clear area.”

New planets are forming around the star HL Tauri

The new images released by researchers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) show in stunning detail, the formation of new planetary bodies around a young star named HL Tauri. In the image, the ALMA(Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) telescopes have managed to take a close look at the newly formed star HL Tauri which is estimated to be around 450 light years away from the earth.

In the image, a set of concentric bright rings, separated by gaps are seen. These features, according to the European Southern Observatory are the result of the formation of new planet like bodies around the newly formed star. This image is almost a mirror of what our own young solar system might have looked like a few billion years ago when the young Sun had just formed. However, in its present form the planetary system under formation round HL Tauri is way bigger than our own solar system.

It is a widely accepted fact that our solar system was formed out of a giant gas cloud. However, the discovery of this new budding star and planetary system will help us study the formation of our own solar system in detail. Also pertinent to note is the fact that whatever we have postulated about the origins of our solar system is simply theory.

You can find more photos and information here http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1436/