June 2020

Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen was born on June 29, 1920, in Los Angeles, California, USA. The first professional jobs for Ray Harryhausen were for director George Pal in short films that included animations. The great success came for Ray Harryhausen with “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” (1958), a milestone of stop motion animations. In the following years, he created more extraordinary animations for “The 3 Worlds of Gulliver” (1960) and “Mysterious Island” (1961) up to what is considered his masterpiece, “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963).

In the following years, the animations produced by Ray Harryhausen ranged from the space creatures of “First Men in the Moon” (1964) to the dinosaurs of “One Million Years BC” (1966) and “The Valley of Gwangi” (1969), a project Harryhausen had been trying to develop personally for years.

The Way Through the Woods by Una McCormack

The novel “The Way Through the Woods” by Una McCormack was published for the first time in 2011.

Emily Bostock is one of many people who vanished into thin air in the woods near Foxton, in an area where normally no one ventures. Many people believe that the legends concerning the area are only superstitions, yet cases of disappearance have been occurring for a very long time. Emily is scared, but finds help in a young man who tells her his name is Rory Williams.

The Eleventh Doctor is working to solve the problem of the disappearance of Laura Brown and Vicky Caine, but his behavior raises the suspicions of Detective Inspector Gordon Galloway, who arrests him. Amy Pond must continue the work necessary to eliminate the problem’s source on her own, but the only hope she has is to accompany Jess Ashcroft to the woods knowing that she’s another of the missing people.

Parts of the Fugaku supercomputer (Photo courtesy RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS))

The Japanese supercomputer Fugaku was crowned the new king of the Top 500 ranking by passing Summit, which held the title for two years. Fugaku has almost triple performance compared to its predecessor with a computing power of 415.5 Petaflops against 148.6 for a theoretical peak of 513.8 Petaflops against 200.8. As has been common for supercomputer kings for a long time, it uses the Linux operating system, specifically the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 distribution. An interesting novelty is that Fugaku is the first supercomputer king based on ARM architecture being built around 2.2GHz A64FX 48C processors. In the Top 500 ranking, only three other supercomputers are based on ARM architecture.

Transmission by Morgan Rice

The novel “Transmission” by Morgan Rice was published for the first time in 2018. It’s the first book in The Invasion Chronicles series.

Kevin is only 13 when he’s diagnosed with a disease that gives him just a few months of life. The blackouts and the visions he starts having seem only consequences of that disease, but Kevin starts having the doubt that there may be something more. When the visions include a series of numbers, he talks about them with his friend Luna, who has the idea of ​​inserting them in an astronomical website to see if they can be space coordinates. The result is that those numbers point to the TRAPPIST-1 star system, which has seven rocky planets.

Kevin’s mother doesn’t believe her son’s visions have any real meaning, but he decides to go through with the matter. He has no idea how the coordinates of a star system could get into his head, so he goes to SETI to ask for help from scientists who are looking for alien signals. It turns out that they may have found it, but Kevin may be the only one able to decipher it, simply by interpreting it in his mind.

Neanderthal relationships tree

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” reports a high-quality sequencing of the DNA of a Neanderthal woman. A team of researchers led by Svante Pääbo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, completed the third sequencing of a Neanderthal at such a level. The remains of this woman were discovered in the Chagyrskaya Cave, where she lived between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago, and consequently classified as Chagyrskaya 8. Her genetic characteristics indicate that she was more closely related to the population who lived in today’s Croatia than with the one who lived in Siberia 40,000 years earlier.