World News

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A Stable solar system

Could our solar system be a special place? In the last decade 160 planets have been detected circling suns outside this solar system, and most of them have eccentric orbits. As a result they have wide extremes of temperature as they come in close to the central sun, and then swing far out again. Dr Rassio, who has studied these extrasolar systems, states, ‘In these newly discovered systems things have not remained stable for billions of years. Our solar system, it appears, is rather peculiar in its long-term stability’.

Earthquake Lights

Throughout history there have been reports of flashes, glows or fireballs in the few days before and after an earthquake, which have often been dismissed as coincidental. However these are now being taken seriously and NASA are studying earthquake lights using satellites. It is well known that animals react to some unseen influence before quakes, as with other natural phenomena, and these lights may give a clue as to what is going on that the animals can sense.

Colour Effects

There are specific physiological responses to colour, which have been extensively researched. It is now well known that exposure to red results in increased blood pressure, an increase in the rate of breathing, and that the automatic nervous system takes over. Exposure to blue results in slowing of the pulse rate, a cooling of the body, and deeper breathing. There is a specific shade of blue, called cardiac blue, which is the most relaxing colour known; when a person looks at it, it causes the brain to secrete eleven neurotransmitters that have a tranquilising effect.

62 million year cycle

Following their detailed analysis of fossil records over the past 542 million years, two researchers have found that bio-diversity, the number of distinct and specific types of animals alive at any one time, rises and falls in cycles of 62 million years. They do not know why there should be such a cycle, but have tested this so thoroughly that their confidence in the results is 99% certain. They also found evidence of another cycle of 140 million years, but this was less pronounced.

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