I’ll start with some interesting links, and then follow up with personal news further down.
- Skulls carved out of fruit and vegetables.
- Lots of photographs of rare cloud formations.
- Ancestors of whales. Includes an overview of the fossil discoveries as well as a captivating drawing.
- Mathematics of tree branches.
- Why using genetic engineering to combat mosquitos is not easy.
- Archaeological remains of a man who had been crucified.
- Short article by Paul Willis on pushing back the date of America’s earliest inhabitants.
- I liked the November 18 edition of 365 Days of Astronomy, which discusses constellations recognised by Aboriginal Australians. I especially like the way it includes examples from different parts of the country.
- Lovely video from space, with city lights, aurorae, and more.
- Under Europa’s ice, not just the deep ocean but shallow lakes as well.
- The star I once informally adopted as my fictional homeworld can be found at pixel coordinates (2206, 526) on this recent Astronomy Picture of the Day image. On the ultra-high resolution version available here, the coordinates are (1337, 4413). It also happens to be a lovely image in its own right.
- A video on extremism and anti-extremism. Meanwhile, I’m somewhat intrigued by this book on Islamic history. I won’t add it to my wishlist just yet, but it merits consideration.
The most memorable event in the last fortnight was the evening of November 14, when my parents came for tea. We had Indian takeaway food and afterwards played with Ganjifa cards. The games were simple and familiar card ones like Fish, the idea being to get familiar with the cards without complicating things by learning new rules as well. Later in the evening we went to the movies, but the time spent around the table was more enjoyable.
Another evening of note was November 11, when I went to the pub to meet Paul Willis, Australian palaeontologist and science communicator. I’d been meaning for some time to go along to one of the pub gatherings hosted by the Royal Institute Australia (of which Paul is the director), but until now it hasn’t worked out for me. He showed us a lovely fossil crocodile jawbone, which looked at first like a stick (poetically appropriate given how live crocodiles look like logs) until you turn it around and see the tooth sockets. I gave him a copy of the Q/A sheets from my science history trivia quiz, but there wasn’t enough time that night to discuss it.
My copy of Babel’s Dawn (the book about the evolution of speech) arrived on the morning of the day I write this. I look forward to reading it.
The housework is done, at least for now, so this place is clean for the first time since I got back from Europe in September. Hopefully this means I’ll have time to write some blog posts I’ve been meaning to get to.