Weekly Round up: Covid origins, Chinese memories, Venus surprises Roman neighbours and David Byrne

stories that caught our eye

Covid: It’s a racoon dog’s life Two for you today on the mysterious origins of Covid-19, one in English, one in Spanish, Latest culprit is the Racoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides). We remain to be convinced by any of them at this stage.



China Crisis You won’t understand modern China until you have considered the terrible Opium Wars of the nineteenth century, which ushered in a century of instability and humiliation for that proud civilisation. Since 1949 their overwhelming cry has been “never again!”


Venus Volcano Are other worlds in our solar system geologically active? If so, what are the implications for finding life? Nature answers the first question here

Scientists think they’ve spotted a volcano erupting on Venus. Radar images taken 8 months apart by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft in the early 1990s show changes to a volcanic vent that suggest an eruption or magma flow. Venus is covered in volcanoes, and this is some of the strongest evidence yet that at least one of them is still active. Venus doesn’t have plate tectonics that could drive volcanic activity, so it could be caused by heat released from radioactive elements.Nature | 5 min read
Reference: Science paper

History rethought We’re encouraged to think of History in neat periods. You know the sequence:The Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Romans, the Anglo Saxons, Medieval, Tudors, Industrial Revolution, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hippies, Punk, reality cooking shows….and so it goes. Each major new era is a fresh start, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. But reality was more complicated, as this amazing discovery from England shows Romans and Anglo Saxons rubbing along cheek by jowl. Did they realise they’d failed a history exam?


The Last Emperor? One of the best western films that tried to make sense of the Chinese experience was Bertolucci’s The Last emperor (1987) Here’s a slice of David Byrne (yep-he of Talking Heads) as he tries his take on oriental themes for the title sequence

#chine #covid-19 #racoon dog #venus #geology #romans #anglo saxon #opium wars #british empire

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