Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No hawks in church please

I'm reading The Wars of the Roses by Alison WeirKing Henry VI of England was pious, even to the extent that he would not allow his courtiers to bring their hawks into church.  Apparently in the middle ages it was customary to bring your hawks and dogs to church and there were even cases when the right to do so was an express stipulation.

Strange radio pulses

In 2007 there was a report in Science of an intense radio burst which overloaded the detector at the Parkes radiotelescope in Australia. It was originally thought that the burst must be of extragalactic origin and of incredible power.  But in the meantime 16 additional similar pulses have been identified at Parkes - however they clearly originate on or near the Earth.  But the exact source is still unknown:  Radio Bursts with Extragalactic Spectral Characteristics Show Terrestrial Origins  .  The authors of that report whimsically refer to these odd bursts as "Perytons" after a winged deer which casts the shadow of a man in Borges'  Book of Imaginery Beings.

Parkes radio telescope