Noted in passing on Midsummer’s eve

Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden and we have a bright sunny day (so far) but rather cool (with a high of 16ºC expected).

Midsummer's Eve 2014

View from my kitchen window – Midsummer’s Eve 2014

The forecast is for sun in the south and some snow in the north. Snow at midsummer is unusual but not at all unknown in the north of Sweden.  No sign of either global warming or of an impending ice age.

Emotional contagion by Facebook could be a new disease. A case of the medium creating the new disease! Heightened emotions can apparently be transmitted by Facebook. The researchers find that “emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness”. And emotional contagion is what turns a crowd into a mob. And as this work from MIT shows, “Good people can do bad things. Belonging to a group makes people more likely to harm others outside the group.”

The wealth of bones found at the Sima de los Huesos site (Atapuerca, Spain)  are revealing more about the predecessors of Neanderthals. A new paper now suggests that “the hominin-bearing layer could be reassigned to a period around 430,000 years ago. The sample shows a consistent morphological pattern with derived Neandertal features present in the face and anterior vault, many of which are related to the masticatory apparatus. This suggests that facial modification was the first step in the evolution of the Neandertal lineage… “. Initially these fossils were dated to around 600,000 years ago and thought to be related to homo heidelbergensis. But it is now believed that these fossils are younger, from the direct lineage of Neanderthals and a link to homo antecessor who lived in Europe around one million years ago.

Poor Ed Miliband. As if his failings were not enough, he has now taken to a new “owlish” policy for free owls for everybody. This is giving photo-shoppers new opportunities but is creating panic among the Uk’s mouse population.

Saudi Arabia has warned the US and the UK not to interfere in Iraq and oppose the largely Saudi funded ISIS. (Saudi Arabian funds have supported and are still supporting more terrorists than almost any other country. Saudi funds are also well represented in supporting some of the radical preachers around the world). “Hands-off Obama” has obliged by holding off with any air strikes and restricting US involvement to the supply of 300 advisors. But be assured that he is asking very “hard questions”!!

Diagram illustrating water's phases

The mysteries of water are still being unravelled. This time it is the low temperature properties of water. Between supercooled water and “glassy” water, there is a region of great mystery (a “no-mans” land). Researchers have now suceeded in making some measurements  at -46ºC.

Just a few days ago the vast amounts of water deep in the earths mantle – some 600 km below the earth’s surface – were reported. Here the water is at high temperatures (over 1000ºC) and very high pressures as hydroxyls trapped in the mineral ringwoodite. “There is something very special about the crystal structure of ringwoodite that allows it to attract hydrogen and trap water. This mineral can contain a lot of water under conditions of the deep mantle.” 

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One Response to “Noted in passing on Midsummer’s eve”

  1. Why so much fuss that Facebook “manipulated” emotions? | The k2p blog Says:

    […] lately about an internal Facebook study which managed to be published in a scientific journal as I noted in passing about 3 weeks […]

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