Weekly Round Up: a Covid-Free zone

It seems the whole week has been nothing but Covid-19. In health, education, geopolitics, you name it. It’s been Covid this and Covid that, and Covid the other, from morn on Monday through to the last dregs of our Friday night Cocktail. So much so that we are going to give you an entire blog of Covid free news, gentle readers, and hope you like it. This week our theme is the errors of reading the wrong thing from incomplete data.

Dyatlenko Pass Followers of urban oddities will recall the strange case of the Dyatlenko Pass incident. Back in 1959, a group of young, experienced Soviet Hikers went rambling in the Urals, only for their bodies to be found in the snow, apparently half eaten by something. It has been the subject of numerous films, books and programmes, all featuring their tragic last diaries and snapshots. Fans of cryptozoology have no problem with an explanation ; “Yeti got ’em!”. Other explanations included dirty dealings by the security forces, dodgy defence experiments, and alienated local residents. Now Robin George Andrews of National Geographic reports on the real answer- a terrible combination of winds and avalanche drove the unfortunate victims from their tents to die of hypothermia. We love the way that the advanced simulation techniques from movies and science have been brought together on this one.

Has science solved the Dyatlov Pass incident, one of history’s greatest adventure mysteries? (nationalgeographic.com)

Is there life on Venus? Old hands on the LSS blog will recall how we covered the flurry of excitement caused by the discovery of phosphine on Venus. It was a hint of life on our nearest planetary neighbour, said some. But as so often, the passage of time is pouring tons of cold water on this burning question. Here’s Nature‘s take:

Two papers have dealt a fresh blow to the idea that Venus’s atmosphere might contain phosphine gas — a potential sign of life. In one study, researchers analysed data from one of the telescopes used to make the phosphine claim and could not detect the gas’s spectral signature. In the other, they calculated how gases would behave in Venus’s atmosphere and concluded that what the original team thought was phosphine is actually sulfur dioxide, a gas that is common on Venus and is not a sign of possible life. Still, the case isn’t closed yet. The new studies argue against the presence of phosphine, but can’t entirely rule it out.Nature | 5 min read
Reference: arXiv preprint 1 & arXiv preprint 2 (Both papers have been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters)

Do 10 000 steps every day! So they have been telling us for years. Of course walking is good-and enjoyable. But does it really have to be 10 000 paces every day? Here’s Lindsay Bottoms in the Conversation:

Do we really need to walk 10,000 steps a day? (theconversation.com)

Something to think about: What is still lying about in the ground? Who dropped it, and why? Here’s a fascinating from Isobella Nikolic of the Daily Mail, about how Charles I dropped a jewel depicting Henry VI which actually belonged to Henry VIII. It is worth £2million and lay under a tree in Northamptonshire for over 300 years until it was found by a metal detectorist named Kevin Duckett.

Metal detectorist finds £2million centrepiece jewel of Henry VIII’s lost crown buried under a tree | Daily Mail Online

#dyatlovpass #avalanche #yeti #venus #phosphine #exobiology #health #bodymass #treasure #metaldetector

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