The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Swedish Scientists of Gothenburg University Identify that Water Once Flowed on Mars

New research has suggested that water was flowing across the surface of Mars some 200,000 years ago. The nature of rock formations in a Mars crater suggests the sediment deposits and channels it contained were formed by ‘recent’ flowing water.
Swedish scientists from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg identified“Very young …and well-preserved deposits of water bearing debris flows in a mid-latitude crater on Mars,”according to the study published in the journal Icarus. 

It was previously estimated that liquid water flowed across the Red Planet during its last ‘ice-age’, some 400,000 years ago. However, the young age of the crater means the features signifying water must have appeared since. 

The scientists drew comparisons between the geomorphological land formations and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The crater had features of areas on earth where debris flow had caused material to be deposited by fast-flowing water. 

“Our fieldwork on Svalbard confirmed our interpretation of the Martian deposits,” stated Andreas Johnsson, a spokesperson for the research team. 

“Our study crater on Mars is far too young to have been influenced by the conditions that were prevalent then. This suggests that the meltwater-related processes that formed these deposits have been exceptionally effective also in more recent times,” said Johnsson. 

“If we find on Mars evidence for a second genesis, that changes everything,” Johnsson added. 

A debris flow takes place when liquid water soaks through debris lying on an incline to the point that it becomes saturated and heavy, causing it to descend down the incline. 

On earth, debris flow can result in material destruction and sometimes casualties, depending upon their severity. 

When the flow stops, new landforms are made, including lobate deposits and paired levees. It is these that Johnsson has identified on the planet. 

“Gullies are common on Mars, but the ones which have been studied previously are older, and the sediments where they have formed are associated with the most recent ice age. Our study crater on Mars is far too young to have been influenced by the conditions that were prevalent then,” Johnson said.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Moyra Melons' Ear Rings in Tantalising Glory

As one might well imagine; a lady like Moyra is always going to get noticed if she shows off such dynamic ear rings. Don't they look splendid? Everything else dulls by comparison, when a poor chap's eyes fall upon such glorious ear decoration.

Just picture yourself walking into the living room with Moyra Melons reclined on the sofa, sporting such fine ear rings. I'm sure, like me, your breath might be taken away as you gasp in surprise. "Good Lord! What delightful ear rings." 

I might try to contain myself - keep a firm grip of my seasoned British resolve and resort, cunningly, to good old British understatement. I would pretend not to notice. The front room door would be shut from prying eyes and I would find a way to indulge myself with a more detailed inspection. What would you do if confronted by such fine ear rings?

Skara Brae - Neolithic Village wins Protective Status.

Taken from Orkney Heritage

Skara Brae

The discovery of the village

"On the far curving shore of the bay lies Skara Brae, hazy 
through the sea-haar."

George Mackay Brown - Rockpools and Daffodils

On the southern shore of the Bay o' Skaill, in the West Mainland parish of Sandwick, is the Neolithic village of Skara Brae - one of Orkney's most-visited ancient sites and regarded by many as one of the most remarkable monuments in Europe.

In the winter of 1850, a great storm battered Orkney. There was nothing particularly unusual about that, but on this occasion, the combination of wind and and extremely high tides stripped the grass from a large mound, then known as "Skerrabra".

This revealed the outline of a number of stone buildings — something that intrigued the local laird, William Watt of Skaill, who embarked on an excavation of the site.

In 1868, after the remains of four ancient houses had been unearthed, work at Skerrabra was abandoned. The settlement remained undisturbed until 1925, when another storm damaged some of the previously-excavated structures.

A sea-wall was built to preserve these remains, but during the construction work, yet more ancient buildings were discovered.

"I hear says the writer in The Bulletin that the excavations at Skerrabrae in Orkney, which attracted so much attention last year, are to be resumed at an early date.

"Professor V. Gordon Childe will again co-operate with the representatives of the Office of Works.

"There are still some problems to be solved, and its hoped that this season's researches will throw a flood of light on the period of the underground structures and the people who dwelt in them."

The Orcadian, July 4, 1929

'Modern' investigations

Further excavations followed and, between 1928 and 1930, the dwellings we see today were released from their protective cocoons. At the time, the village was thought to be an Iron Age settlement, dating from around 500BC — but this was no Pictish village.

Radiocarbon dating in the early 1970s confirmed that the settlement dated from the late Neolithic — inhabited for around 600 years, between 3200BC and 2200BC.

Today, Skerrabra — or Skara Brae as it has become known — survives as eight dwellings, linked together by a series of low, covered passages.

Because of the protection offered by the sand that covered the settlement for 4,000 years, the buildings, and their contents, are incredibly well-preserved. Not only are the walls of the structures still standing, and alleyways roofed with their original stone slabs, but the interior fittings of each house give an unparalleled glimpse of life as it was in Neolithic Orkney.

Each house shares the same basic design - a large square room, with a central fireplace, a bed on either side and a shelved dresser on the wall opposite the doorway.

In its lifetime, Skara Brae became embedded in its own rubbish and this, together with the encroaching sand dunes, meant the village was gradually abandoned. Thereafter, the settlement was gradually covered by a drifting wall of sand that hid it from sight for for over 40 centuries.

But the elements that exposed Skara Brae to the world are also the its greatest nemesis. The village remains under constant threat by coastal erosion and the onslaught of the sand and sea. In addition, the increasing number of visitors to the site annually are causing problems. Steps are being taken, however, to alleviate, or minimise, this damage.

Exciting New Star Cluster Photos Taken by Nasa Hubble Space Telescope

Clip Taken From Independent Newspaper
Nasa has released a stunning image of a brightly coloured ancient cluster containing more than 100,000 stars captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

This description suggests Messier believed M5 was a nebula, a cloud of dust, hydrogen and other gases, when developments in observation technology later revealed it was actually a cluster of stars.

Nasa said: “Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more.”

NASAM5 is one of the oldest globulars and its stars are believed to be almost 13 billion years old, making it one of the oldest globulars to be associated with the Milky Way Galaxy.

“Even close to its dense core at the left, the cluster's aging red and blue giant stars and rejuvenated blue stragglers stand out in yellow and blue hues in the sharp color image”, Nasa added.

The Hubble Telescope was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on 25 April, 1990 and celebrated its 24th year in orbit on Friday. The telescope's orbit outside of the Earth's atmosphere allows it to take high resolution images within almost no background light.

Friday, 25 April 2014

German Shepard Puppy

On Thursday 24th April 2014, Carole and I decided to go for a guard dog that could be trained from a pup. We looked on the various internet sites and found some German Shepard pups ready to go at 10 weeks. The lady who bred them, was from near Crowlands in Lincolnshire. Less then a 20 mins drive from March, Cambs. Carole and I speed off in the evening very excited at the prospect of getting a puppy German Shepard. We drove to a small country village and kennels on the outskirts.

The lady showed us four pups (all girls) and I fell for the long haired one in the pictures below. At first, she was very timid and weary of us. Even when I got up, for work, she was hiding in alcove spying on me.

By the time I had finished work, Sashia (our puppies' name) had become acclimatised to the house and was coming up to me. She had spent the day with Carole and very quickly socialised herself with both of us and the cats, ducks and chickens. She is a real bundle of joy and seems very happy with her new home.

Monday, 21 April 2014

It could make a good film set in Roman Britain

A story about Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes during the time of early Roman Britain. She tells her story to three Roman guards during the year of 69 AD (The Year of the Four Emperors)

She tells of her one meeting with Queen Boudicca the Iceni Warrior Queen in the Year if 61 AD (The time of Boudicca's revolt against Rome.)

Queen Cartimandua reigned for 26 and more years from 44AD to 69AD before going into exile. She was around during Queen Boudicca's revolt, but would not aid the Warrior Queen. She was loyal to Rome and Rome never deserted her.


If you are interested, I would be happy to forward a book or kindle of Meeting Boudicca. It might make a good movie.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Air Force Bugbot Nano Drone

This is a new terrifying yet fascinating type of warfare. Any organisation or nation that can control this technology could do great harm to the most powerful nations. Soon, people will not know who the enemy is or the friend. If this gets into the wrong hands; what would the world be like in the future?

New Earth Type Planet Discoverd - Earth 2 Kelper - 186f

From Metro News

Earth 2.0 discovered, may be capable of supporting life
Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin (Picture: AP/NASA)

A planet bearing strikingly similar characteristics to Earth and potentially capable of supporting life has been discovered in the Milky Way.
Dubbed ‘Earth 2.0’, Kepler-186f is the closest match to our own planet ever discovered and renews hopes that life in outer space may be a reality.
Slightly bigger and colder than Earth, the planet is said to be in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ because it sits at just the right distance from its star where temperatures allow water, and therefore potentially life, to exist.
‘Kepler-186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star,’ said Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute and Nasa’s Ames Research Center.
‘It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet.’
Dr Quintana is the lead author of a scientific paper detailing the planet’s discovery, 500 light years from Earth, in this week’s issue of the Science journal.
The group of scientists have been keeping watch over 150,000 stars in the universe looking out for slight drops in brightness when a planet passed in front, according to the New York Times.
Further analysis of the planet will now take place to determine whether indeed it does hold water.
Over 2,000 planets outside our own solar system have been found in the last 20 years but Kepler is particularly good news because the star it orbits is similar to 70 per cent of those in the Milky Way and therefore finding other similar planets is now a real possibility.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

HMS Monitor - A World War I warship is to be turned into a visitor attraction

Taken from Newspaper clipping

WWI HMS Monitor M33 to become Portsmouth tourist attraction

A World War I warship is to be turned into a visitor attraction after winning Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) backing. The £1.79m grant will see the interior of HMS Monitor M33, a coastal bombardment vessel which served in the Gallipoli campaign, refurbished. The work on the ship, built in 1915, will be done at Portsmouth’s National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN).

Minister for Tourism Hugh Robertson said the vessel provided a “tangible and compelling” link to WWI. The ship initially saw action during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, supporting allied troops attempting to land on the coast of Turkey. The 180 ft (55m) ship’s role was to provide cover for troops landing on beaches using a pair of 125mm guns on board. It returned to Portsmouth Harbour after being involved in the Russian Civil War in 1919 and was acquired by Hampshire County Council in 1990.

The NMRN’s Professor Dominic Tweddle said the institution, where the vessel has been held since it ceased being seaworthy, was “absolutely thrilled”. “We’ve long seen M33 as both culturally and historically important, and this symbolises the start of a new era for her.” The restoration work, funded by the HLF alongside a £250,000 grant from the county council, will see the rusting interior turned into a visitor attraction, which will illustrate what life was life for sailors on board.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Battle of River Plate Memorial to Brave Men on Both sides of Conflict

A Memorial to the brave men on both sides of the conflict
The German pocket battleship, Admiral Graf Spee, which fought an epic sea battle with the British Cruisers Exeter, Ajax and Achilles, at the mouth of the River Plate

A lasting memorial has been unveiled to the sailors on all sides who fought and died in the Battle of the River Plate during the Second World War 75 years ago.On the landmark anniversary of what was the war's first major naval engagement, a handful of the battle's surviving veterans gathered to see a plaque unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, today.

The event was made famous by the 1956 Hollywood movie The Battle of the River Plate.
The engagement was triggered after three Royal Navy cruisers HMS Exeter, Achilles and Ajax, crewed by British and New Zealand sailors, began hunting the much larger pocket battleship the Admiral Graf Spee, after the German surface raider had successfully destroyed several Allied merchant ships.
Among the surviving veterans attending today was 91-year-old John Garrard, who said: "Of course, if the Graf Spee had done its job, we wouldn't be here having this conversation. She'd have sunk us."
The memorial, costing about £14,000, was paid for by donations and commissioned by the HMS Ajax and River Plate Veterans Association - it is the 300th memorial to be unveiled at the arboretum.
Among those attending the unveiling today were the family of the man who commanded the Royal Navy's attack squadron, Commodore Henry Harwood, who was later knighted and promoted admiral for his part in the action.
His youngest son, Stephen Harwood said: "The fact this event has been attended as it has been today, with more than 250 people here, is a very good thing."
He added: "It is actually the first memorial in this country to the battle - there's one in Montevideo and one in Ajax in Ontario in Canada, so it's a very good thing we've got this one at the arboretum."
In the opening months of the war the German pocket battleship, under the command of Captain Hans Langsdorff, had been a scourge of the southern Atlantic sea lanes sinking or capturing supply vessels vital to the Allies' war effort.
It was just after dawn on the morning of December 13, 1939, that the Royal Navy attack squadron commanded by Commodore Harwood first got to grips with Graf Spee near the River Plate estuary between Uruguay and Argentina, in South America.
Engaging the ship, Harwood had correctly predicted the German vessel's westward move across the south Atlantic to secure fresh provisions.
Mr Garrard, who at just 17-years-old was part of the forward turret crew on HMS Ajax, said it was the Graf Spee that spotted the Allied ships first, only advertising its presence when it dropped a salvo of shells short of the navy cruisers sending up plumes of water from the ocean.
He added German gunnery was "pretty accurate".
"We started to fire, and we seemed to be firing forever more," said Mr Garrard.
"The actual fighting and manoeuvring lasted about an hour - of course I knew nothing about that because I was manning one of the 6in guns.
"She (the Graf Spee) managed to get into Montevideo harbour and never came out again. She blew herself up - for which we were duly thankful."
While out-numbered, the Graf Spee heavily out-gunned each of the Royal Navy attackers and bearing towards them turned its main armament of six 11in (28cm) guns on HMS Exeter, badly damaging the British cruiser.
HMS Ajax and Achilles then moved in closer in an attempt to draw fire off Exeter and in turn forcing Langsdorff to flee under cover of a smoke screen - but not before it landed gun salvos on all its pursuers, including Exeter which had by then returned to the fight.
While not severely damaged, the Allied ships had mauled the German vessel and destroyed its ship's galley and food provisions, with Langsdorff also left concussed by shellfire.
The Graf Spee steamed for the neutral port of Montevideo and, bottled-up by the Royal Navy and unable to make significant repairs, the ship was later scuttled by its crew on December 18.
Captain Langsdorff, who along with more than 1,000 surviving crew had got off the ship before it was sunk, shot himself a few days later.
During the battle 36 German sailors and 72 Allied servicemen, the majority from HMS Exeter, were killed.
The result of the battle was the loss of a heavily armed capital ship of which the German surface fleet had precious few, and a morale-boosting victory for Britain.
In a speech to survivors of the Exeter and Ajax at the London Guildhall in February 1940, Winston Churchill, who would later that year become prime minister, described the battle as those "few glittering, deadly hours of action".
He added: "The brilliant sea fight, which Admiral Harwood conceived and which those who are here executed, takes its place in our naval annals, and I might add that in a dark, cold winter it warmed the cockles of the British heart."
Stephen Harwood said it was clear in hindsight that "that battle set a standard for the war" by the manner in which an out-gunned but "fighting" Royal Navy sought and won the engagement with what was on paper, a stronger foe.
"The British ships couldn't believe it - that this powerful ship had run away," he added.
"It wasn't that she was mortally damaged, but she was damaged in her galleys and elsewhere.
"The captain Langsdorff got concussed - it didn't work out."
Mr Garrard said the outcome might have been different had the roles of the battle been reversed.
"Langsdorff made the excuse that he couldn't feed his men, because we'd smashed up his galley," he said.
"I thought that was a poor excuse, actually.
"If the position had of been reversed, I am sure we'd have come out fighting - probably got sunk anyway.
"But he decided to save his men and blew the ship up."

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Norman Wisdom in On the Beat

I have always loved this movie as a kid and an adult. I never tier of watching it and it tickles the little kid that still lives somewhere inside of me. I love the old fashioned British stuffy up class characters that Norman has to deal with. In his own disorganised and 'without a clue' way he wins through against an arch Mafia villain (also played by himself) Its a wonderful comedy and a little blast from the Retro Brit past of my memories.