December 2019

Some meteorite NWA 1172's dust fragments colonized by Metallosphaera sedula (Image courtesy Tetyana Milojevic)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes a study on the ability of a species of archaea called Metallosphaera sedula to grow into typical meteorite materials using the metals they contain as an energy source. A team of researchers led by astrobiologist Tetyana Milojevic of the University of Vienna examined these archaea living and interacting with a real meteorite. The results can provide clues to the origin of life on Earth thanks to the possibility of identifying with greater certainty microfossils containing metals. This also means having better chances of evaluating possible traces of microscopic life found in other places in the solar system.

Mimodactylus libanensis specimen (Image courtesy Kellner et al)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the identification of a new species of pterosaur that was named Mimodactylus libanensis that lived about 95 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, in today’s Lebanon. A team of researchers studied a nearly complete specimen from the Hjoûla site concluding that it had significant differences compared to other pterosaurs that lived in the current Afro-Arab area and had a closer relationship with the species Haopterus gracilis, which lived in today’s China. For this reason the researchers also created a new taxonomic group that includes those genera that was named Istiodactylifomes.

D.C. Fontana in 2016

Dorothy Catherine Fontana, passed away on Monday December 2. She was a writer, screenwriter and producer whose name is linked in various ways to the Star Trek saga since the original series. Known as D.C. Fontana, she was one of the most important people in the development of the Star Trek saga, a task that began at a time when it was difficult for women to write scripts for shows that weren’t soap operas or variety shows. The recollection by people who collaborated with her stresses the importance of her work.

Head On by John Scalzi

The novel “Head On” by John Scalzi was published for the first time in 2018. It’s the sequel of “Lock In”.

Hilketa is a sport that has become popular thanks to the fact that players are on the field through their threeps, robots remotely controlled through a neural implant. This makes it practically a monopoly of Hadens, people who got struck by a disease that made it impossible for them to use their organic body, because they’re the only ones who can use a threep with the skills needed for the game.

When Duane Chapman dies after his threep’s head was cut off during a Hilketa match, establishing what happened to him is crucial because there are many interests behind Hilketa, with a league trying to expand outside the USA. FBI agents Chris Shane and Leslie Vann investigate and immediately start discovering complications, starting with the apparent suicide of a league executive.