January 2017

Megistaspis hammondi specimens (Image courtesy University of Adelaide)

Two articles published in a very short time describe two research on trilobites, arthropods that were very common in the Paleozoic era. An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes three specimens of trilobites of the species Megistaspis hammondi of which part of the digestive system and the first pairs of legs fossilized. An article published in the journal “Geology” describes the discovery of a fossil of trilobite of the species Triarthrus eatoni together with its eggs, the first discovered of these animals.

The Stealers of Dreams by Steve Lyons

The novel “The Stealers of Dreams” by Steve Lyons was published for the first time in 2005.

The Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness are visiting a planet colonized by humans where the situation doesn’t look very cheerful. Any form of fictional work is prohibited so for example on television only news and documentaries are broadcast.

The travelers discover that there’s an underground movement that spreads literature and a man who calls himself Hal Gryden spreads pirate television broadcasts. The Doctor and his companions try to understand the origin of that situation, which turns out to be more complex than they thought.

John Hurt in 2015

The actor John Hurt passed away. In the ’60s, John Hurt started having roles in some TV shows and films, beginning with “The Wild and the Willing” in 1962. His first major role came in the 1966 movie “A Man for All Seasons”, which won several awards and earned him his first nomination to the BAFTA award. He won that award for his role in the 1975 TV movie “The Naked Civil Servant”.

The following years brought great success to John Hurt with roles such as Caligula in the 1976 mini-series “I, Claudius” and others that became famous in movies such as “Midnight Express” (1978), for which he won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, “Alien” in 1979, “the Elephant Man” by David Lynch in 1980 and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” in 1984.

Among John Hurt’s prominent television appearances there’s certainly the one as the War Doctor in “Doctor Who” among the protagonists of the special episode for the show’s 50th anniversary “The Day of The Doctor”. The actor reprised that role in some audio adventures.

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes the creation of a semi-synthetic organism. A team at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California, led by Floyd Romesberg created a bacterium of the Escherichia coli family with a modified genome that contains two artificial nucleotides in addition to the four existing in the DNA.

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a way to activate the superconducting properties of graphene. A team of researchers from St John’s College at Cambridge University found a way to activate those properties that exist as potential but had remained hidden. The most interesting thing is that graphene can become a superconductor at room temperature.