You gotta love Science. Every week scientists continue to push back the limits of our knowledge and discover new things that astonish and stimulate the mind. Who can say how all this will change the future, but I hope it’s for the better. Here are a few things from the past few weeks.

Canadian researchers have created a cure for cancer, but thanks to the lack of reportage, no one really knows about it. Could it be because the pharmaceutical companies won’t be able to make any money off of it? Oh say it aint so!

The Voyager probes continue to send back data from the edge of the solar system, where they’ve shown that the sun’s magnetic field forms dynamic elongated ‘bubbles’ as it rubs up against deep space.

Maybe the sun might capture a wandering interstellar planet?

Scientists have been able to trap and study anti-matter for the first time, being able to trap such particles for longer than ever before.

They’ve been able to show that dark energy exists and it is the driving force behind the expansion of the universe. There’s no need to worry about a ‘Big Crunch’ causing the end of the universe, as it looks like the universe is destined to expand forever.

Speaking of dark stuff, dark matter’s strength seems to vary with the seasons. This could be caused by variations in te speed of the Earth as it whizzes around the Sun and causing the inetraction with dark matter particles (also called WIMPs) to vary. This could exaplin why these particles have been so difficult to detect, but on the surface it doesn’t seem to make much sense either…

One of the big problems with solar power is what to do about clouds, as well as night. A Japanese company has proposed a simple (?) yet logical , albeit extraordinarily expensive solution – building a giant ring or solar cells around the equator … of the Moon.

Speaking of the Sun. It seems to be emitting a new form of particle that’s causing a lot of heads to be scratched. One of the fundamentals rules of the cosmos was that particles decay at a steady, predictable rate. Note my use of the past tense there, since it seems this new particle could be causing decay rates to change. That isn’t supposed to happen. The idea that it is the Sun causing this could be very worrying indeed.

The universe was quite a sight 11 billion years ago…

Closer to home, PepsiCo has invented a new kind of salt, as well as a way to maintain the sweetness of their cola products while cutting the amount of sweetner they use. Coming to a junk-food aisle near you very soon.


A little roundup of things that have caught my eye…

India launched its own mission to the Moon recently –  a satellite that will make the highest resolution map on our closest extra-terrestrial neighbour yet. Apparently we have better maps of Mars than the Moon. Whoops. It sent back some nice shots of Earth recently – featuring Australia in all its glory.

NASA also recently made available some spectacular shots of one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus taken by the Cassini orbiter.

I have this fascination with North Korea… Call it playing on my fetish for industrial decay, as well as my interest in power and the way it has been used and abused over the centuries. There’s nowhere on Earth like it, so I think I would like to visit there if I had the chance. I stumbled across this site showing photos of the theme parks of Pyongyang – an spooky notion if ever there was one!

The fascination continues across abandoned hotels, towns and cities. There’s even a place close by in Japan I would like to visit.

The Capri Theatre has made a book on 500 places to see before they disappear. The Capri is decorated in the art deco style and has been meticulously restored. It is also one of the few places where you can catch a performance on an eye-popping and entertaining Wurlitzer theatre organ. Highly recommended.

One place not on the list will be Berlin’s Templehof Airport which has shut down. You should have a read of Wikipedia’s entry on the Berlin Airlift to get an idea of how important this airport was in history.

Ssssh. The protective shield of the sun is shrinking.

Quietly, under the radar of the US election hysteria, a story about a drug resistant form of TB. Not good.

Also, quietly whispered, a chance for peace in Kashmir, as a trade route opened across the fractured divide.

I now have an itinerary for when I go to Ireland. Also an idea of what I would like to do if I could ever open a business. I swear I’m not an alcoholic.

Finally – flying car!

Some bright spark with a good sense of irony has documented China’s rise as an economic superpower through images of its people sleeping. Someone needs to do this for Japan too – although my friend, Vince, certainly put forth a great effort.