Paviland Cave access, Gower

Looking out from Paviland cave, Palaeolithic burial site in foreground.

Looking out from Paviland cave, Palaeolithic burial site in foreground. (0)PUBLIC DOMAIN

Paviland Cave on the Gower peninsula of south Wales was the site for one of the oldest ceremonial burials in Western Europe, the misnamed Red Lady of Paviland. Tides make this cave rather difficult to access, and on a recent visit I couldn’t find many online details about accessing the cave by foot. I found two ways to reach the cave, one a short but rather dangerous scramble. Continue reading

Plotting the geological timescale in R

225px-Calycoceras_(Newboldiceras)_asiaticum_JIMBO_spinosum_KOSSMAT_microconchI’ve been figuring out nice ways to use R to plot the entire geological timescale. This being R, there is a package (called “geoscale“) which does this already, but I want one where the age is converted linearly to greyscale, and which can fit entirely onto one page, with the short periods of the Holocene and Pleistocene crammed in somehow. I also want to be able to update it easily when new values are published. Continue reading

Finding public domain images of lifeforms

A PD bat, from Commons via EoL

I’ve put up a page to help get hold of pretty pictures of living organisms. I often need to do this when giving talks and trying to¬†avoid text-heavy slides. One time I might need a rather general picture, such as a bat to discuss animal sonar. Other times I might need much a more specific image, such as a vampire bat nose (when talking about the nasal heat receptors of bats, and their evolutionary links to spicy heat).

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Burn holes using an invisible sunlit rainbow

HoleBurn While messing around with ideas for my talk at the Cheltenham Science Festival, I hit on the idea of combining a piece of acrylic that only passes infrared light, with a cheap Fresnel magnifying lens. Completely by accident, I managed to get the rather pretty effect to the right. You can see that the paper is burning where there is no visible light, in the infrared portion of the spectrum. Even better, it’s quite a cheap effect to achieve.

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