Things have been a bit quiet here lately, so I thought I’d post a quick update with some of the stuff I’ve been up to.
First off, I’ve contributed an article about gunshot forensics (the idea of using the sound of a gunshot to help solve a crime) to the new issue of Guru magazine, out today. This issue also features articles about GM foods, social media, and the Fukushima disaster, and you can download it for free here.
I’m probably slightly biased, but I reckon Guru does a great job of making science accessible and easy to digest. The magazine is now in its 7th issue, and it’s really exciting to watch the number of writers and followers growing by the month. Good work, Dr Stu and co.
Elsewhere, I’ve written a piece for the current issue of BBC Focus magazine about the history and future of television (cool fact: the first TV viewers in the 1930s were called ‘lookers-in’), and I’ve also been writing regular blogs for the magazine’s website. Finally, I recently covered a news story for physicsworld.com about one of the most controversial debates in geology – how hotspot volcanoes such as the Hawaiian Islands are formed.
Anyway, that’s all for now folks. There’ll be another (more interesting) blog post before too long. Toodle pip.
This article first appeared in the February 2012 edition of an awesome new science magazine called Guru. You can download the magazine for free here.
Please listen carefully. There is life on Europa. I repeat: there is life on Europa…like huge strands of wet seaweed, crawling along the ground…Imagine an oak tree…flattened out by gravity…Tendrils, stamens, waving feebly…”
Tendrils, stamens, waving feebly (credit: George L Smyth)
Professor Chang is stranded on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. His air supply is rapidly running out and he’s got no chance of being rescued; all he can do is die with dignity and hope that somebody hears his final radio message.
“I’ve only two requests to make…When the taxonomists classify this creature, I hope they’ll name it after me. And – when the next ship comes home – ask them to take our bones back to China.”
Fiction becoming fact
If this sounds like science fiction, well, that’s because it is. This gloomy scenario takes place near the beginning of 2010: Odyssey Two, Arthur C. Clarke’s sequel to his most famous novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In Odyssey Two, Clarke imagines Europa to be teeming with extraterrestrial life, sustained by a liquid ocean beneath the moon’s surface. He was undoubtedly inspired by images sent back by the Voyager space probes during the late 1970s, which revealed Europa’s surface to be covered with a smooth shell of ice, raising the possibility of an underground watery ocean.
Europa has since become one of our Solar System’s most enigmatic bodies. Evidence now points to a huge ocean under its icy surface, possibly containing twice as much water as all of the Earth’s oceans combined. And where there’s water, life is often not too far away. Suddenly, Arthur C. Clarke’s story doesn’t seem quite so outlandish… Continue reading
Just a quick plug for Guru, a new digital ‘science lifestyle’ magazine that was properly unveiled this week. Guru is the brainchild of Stuart Farrimond (Dr. Stu), who noticed a distinct lack of fun, jargon-free science magazines on the newsstands and decided to fill the gap.
Head over here to download issue one for free, lovingly crafted by Dr. Stu, Ben Veal, Sarah Joy, and a host of other contributors. In this issue…painting love and death, chatterbots, the art of making false memories, diet myths, Harry Potter success secrets, and a review of the Uncaged Monkeys tour by yours truly.
Guru magazine...go and download the first issue!