Planolites

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a research on the consequences of the evolution of the first animals on the Earth’s climate over 500 million years ago. A team of researchers investigated the consequences of the process called bioturbation, the reworking of soil and sediment by animals or plants, the cycles of phosphorus, oxygen and sulfur concluding that it led to a drop in oxygen in the seas and a global warming with various mass extinctions over the next 100 million years.

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

The novel “Autonomous” by Annalee Newitz was published for the first time in 2017.

Judith “Jack” Chen was able to pirate Zacuity, a new drug that has yet to be officially launched on the market, creating a low-cost version. However, people who tried it soon start suffering from very serious side effects. Jack realizes that her pirate version of Zacuity has the same effects as the official drug, which means that the pharmaceutical company that developed it must be aware of its side effects.

Agent Eliasz is following in Jack’s tracks with the assistance of the robot Paladin. The two of them will stop at nothing to capture Jack, whom Eliasz considers a terrorist. Their mission leads them to infiltrate an anti-patent group with the need to cover each other’s back, a situation that will strengthen their bond in an unexpected way.

Views of a Dolichogenidea xenomorph specimen (Image courtesy Erinn Fagan-Jeffries. All rights reserved)

An article published in the “Journal of Hymenoptera Research” describes the discovery of some new species of parasitoid wasps endowed with particularly long ovipositors. The most interesting one was named Dolichogenidea xenomorph, a name suggested by the really gruesome life cycle in which its needle-shaped ovipositor is used to inject its eggs into a host and then its larvae devour it from the inside until they burst out of its body, like the xenomorph seen in the movie “Alien” and its sequels.

Harlan Ellison address fans at Minicon 41 (photo ┬ęDavid Dyer-Bennet)

The news came of the death of writer and screenwriter Harlan Ellison: the cause hasn’t been released but he died yesterday in his sleep.

Harlan Ellison’s character was certainly not easy but behind his disputes there was an artist who worked in various ways, sometimes not easy to notice immediately. He wrote very few novels so his visibility has always been lesser than that of many colleagues and the fact that he became famous and appreciated for the courage of his works says a lot about his importance in the field of science fiction.

Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace

“The Underwater Menace” is an adventure of the fourth season of “Doctor Who” classic series, which aired in 1967. It’s a four parts adventure written by Geoffrey Orme and directed by Julia Smith.

The Tardis materializes on Earth and the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines), Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills) go out to explore what looks like a deserted volcanic island. However, the nearby caves are inhabited and the travelers are immediately captured.

The local inhabitants are the survivors of Atlantis and their high priest decides to sacrifice the travelers to their god Amdo. They receive one last meal but the Doctor realizes that it must have been prepared by Professor Zaroff, a scientist whose traces were lost. In fact, Zaroff is working on a plan that can have terrible consequences for the whole world.