Terry Pratchett’s unpublished works crushed by steamroller

“It’s surprisingly difficult to find somebody to run over a hard drive with a steamroller.”

It is thought up to 10 incomplete novels were flattened at the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

The six-and-a-half tonne Lord Jericho was used to roll over the hard drive several times before a concrete crusher finished off the remains.

Read the full text, with pictures here.

Ichthyosaurus fossil is ‘largest on record’

The fossil of a marine reptile ”re-discovered” in a museum is the largest of its kind on record, say scientists.

The ”sea dragon” belongs to a group that swam the world’s oceans 200 million years ago, while dinosaurs walked the land.

The specimen is the largest Ichthyosaurus to be described, at more than three metres long.

It was discovered on the coast of England more than 20 years ago, but has remained unstudied until now.

Palaeontologist Sven Sachs saw the fossil on display at a museum in Hannover. He contacted UK palaeontologist, Dean Lomax, who is an expert on Ichthyosaurs….

…The reptile was an adult female that was pregnant at the time of death.

”This specimen provides new insights into the size range of the species, but also records only the third example of an Ichthyosaurus known with an embryo,” added Dean Lomax. ”That’s special.’

Full text, with pictures here.


Possible Auroras this Thus and Fri

Space Weather News for August 30, 2017

GEOMAGNETIC STORM IN THE OFFING: A canyon-shaped hole has opened in the sun’s atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of high-speed solar wind toward Earth. NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms (G1-class) when the gaseous material reaches our planet on August 31st. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras this Thursday and Friday. Visit Spaceweather.com for photos and updates.

Remember, SpaceWeather.com is on Facebook!
Above: This canyon-shaped “coronal hole” is a region in the sun’s atmosphere where the sun’s magnetic field has opened up, allowing solar wind to escape. Credit: NASA/SDO/Spaceweather.com

Local Sensors Detect…

Thanks to File 770 for these bits of news

  1.  World Con 75 videos
  2.   Brad Walsh, the new companion to the Doctor?
  3.  Australian city names streets after GoT characters
  4.   Actor Jay Thomas (1948-2017) died August 24.
  5.   Torchwood: Aliens Among Us Trailer

1.  Couldn’t go to World Con in Helsinki? Or, like me, couldn’t get into the room? First shock of the con was not being able to watch the opening ceremony because the room only held a couple of hundred! It seems the opening ceremony, the masquerade,  and several main event panels are on YouTube.  But no Hugo ceremony? How did that get missed? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT_U7RhKFr-If4pusZY6g8A/videos

2.  I have not yet seen confirmation, but some news sources are reporting that Brad Walsh is the new companion for the Doctor.

3.    A street too far? 

The developer of Charlemont Rise at Geelong in Victoria said he had been forced to change the name of Lannaster Road because of the link to the incestuous Lannister siblings from Game of Thrones.

“The name was knocked back by the developers next door because of the relationship between the Lannister brother and sister on the show,” said the project manager, Gary Smith. “I even changed the spelling to make it not as obvious.” Lannaster Road will henceforth be known as Precinct Road.

There have been no complaints about the other street names in the estate, more than a dozen of which were inspired by the show, Smith said. Among the names are Stannis, Winterfell, Greyjoy, Baelish and Tywin.

The most popular, however, is Snow Street – named after the fan-favourite Jon Snow. “The only big mistake we’ve made was naming a small street Snow Street. We thought Jon Snow was going to be dead but then he came back to life in the next season,” Smith said. “He’s everybody’s favourite – we should’ve given him a large avenue.”

4. Actor Jay Thomas (1948-2017) died August 24.His genre work included 20 episodes of Mork and Mindy, 6 episodes of Hercules, voicing an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and The Santa Clause 2 and 3. 







Uranus and Neptune: Cloudy with a chance of diamonds

Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have recreated the ice giants’ diamond rain.
Uranus and Neptune experience diamond rain deep within their atmospheres — and now scientists on Earth have watched this process occur in the lab. NASA/JPL-Caltech (Left, Uranus); NASA (Right, Neptune)
On Earth, we experience rain composed of liquid water. On Titan, it rains liquid methane. And on Uranus and Neptune, it rains solid diamonds. For the first time, researchers have now simulated and observed this process here on Earth, proving that this long-held assumption is likely correct, once and for all.

The work, published August 21 in Nature Astronomy, combined a high-powered optical laser with the X-ray free-electron laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). The LCLS creates X-ray pulses that last a million-billionths of a second, allowing for ultrafast high-precision monitoring of processes that occur all the way down to the scale of atoms. As a result, the researchers were able to watch tiny diamonds form as shock waves passed through plastic, offering a peek at processes that take place in planetary atmospheres on a much grander scale.

The experiment focused on inducing shock waves in a plastic material called polystyrene, which contains hydrogen and carbon — two elements found in abundance inside Uranus and Neptune. According to theory, methane (four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom) inside the planets’ atmospheres forms hydrocarbon chains that in turn form diamonds in response to the right temperature and pressure. This occurs more than 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) beneath the planets’ surface. There, the diamonds precipitate out and sink deeper into the atmosphere, a “diamond rain.”

Though this has been assumed to be the case for decades, the exact process has never been observed in experiments on Earth before now. Some previous experiments failed because the pressures and temperatures inside the atmospheres of these planets cannot be created in the lab for long, and without the ability to record data at the speed afforded by the LCLS, any transitions were missed. Other experiments produced graphite or diamond, but were conducted at lower pressures or required the introduction of additional materials.

WARP 99 is on line!

CLICK HERE to download WARP 99 from our website!

As always, the Table of Contents is linked to the articles, and the little graphics at or near the ends of articles will take you back to the ToC. Mouse around–there are hidden links!

Look for the MonSFFA rocket hidden in these pages! (Did you find the one in WARP 98? It’s being worn by a Kazon!)

New Dinosaur Species

It’s Official: Stunning Fossil Is a New Dinosaur Species

To read more, and see side show and video of the new dino  go directly to http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/nodosaur-dinosaur-fossil-study-borealopelta-coloration-science/

 A new study of the fossil also makes the controversial claim that the armored dinosaur had anti-predator camouflage.

About 110 million years ago in what’s now Alberta, Canada, a dinosaur resembling a 2,800-pound pineapple ended up dead in a river.




Today, that dinosaur is one of the best fossils of its kind ever found—and now, it has a name: Borealopelta markmitchelli, a plant-eating, armored dinosaur called a nodosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. After death, its carcass ended up back-first on the muddy floor of an ancient seaway, where its front half was preserved in 3-D with extraordinary detail.

Unearthed by accident in 2011 and unveiled at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum in May, the fossil immediately offered the world an unprecedented glimpse into the anatomy and life of armored dinosaurs.

“It’s a beautiful specimen,” says Victoria Arbour, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Ontario Museum who is studying another well-preserved armored dinosaur called Zuul crurivastator. “It’s great to have specimens like this one and Zuul that give us an idea of what these dinosaurs looked like when they were alive.”

In addition to announcing its name, the first scientific description of the nodosaur, published today in the journal Current Biology, is revealing even more of its secrets.

“We knew six years ago that this was going to be special,” says Don Henderson, the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s curator of dinosaurs. “I don’t think we realized how special it was.”

Preparations begin for our book and crafts sale


Workshops and a chance for our artisans to sell their creations.
The annual MonSFFA book sale will begin at noon.


Donations of gently used books are gratefully accepted, as long as they arrive before noon and you help us to sort them on the tables. (If you really, really, cannot make it to the November meeting, but want to donate books, bring them to an earlier meeting.)

As usual, volunteers who help set up get first choice of the books.

Prices run from 3 for a dollar for mass market pocket books, to 3$ for hardcover. Bargain prices available for large purchases.

SF Artisans wishing to sell their craft work may either rent a table, 5$ for 4 ft table, or have wares sold by MonSFFA staff for 10% commission.