Truely Breathtaking

Saturn’s moon Dione hangs in front of Saturn’s rings in this view taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during the inbound leg of its last close flyby of the icy moon. North on Dione is up. The image was acquired in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on 17 August 2015. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 98,000 miles (158,000 kilometres) from Dione and at a sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 35 degrees. Image scale is 3,100 feet (950 metres) per pixel. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

This spectacular image of Dione and Saturn’s rings is simply fantastic.  Dione is a small moon with a diameter of 1,120 km, surface gravity of 0.232 m/S2 and semi-major axis similar to that of Earth’s moon.  Its orbital period is only 2.7 days however, 10% of our moon, reflecting the Saturn’s greater mass (95 times that of Earth).

What is Your Real Age?

How old are you?  Before you respond, there might be more than one answer.  We have all noticed that there are always some individuals who seem to age slowly, have plenty of energy and vitality and don’t suffer from too many diseases.  There is a reason for this.

Heart Rate during exercise

The first answer to this question is of course your astronomical age, the number of times the Earth has rotated on its axis or around Sol.  If this metric was relevant then we might all age in precisely the same manner.  There is another metric that likely offers a more realistic measure of biological age and offers some indication about your likely longevity.  Fitness Age!

Exercise Analysis by Zone

This measure was created by Ulrik Wisloff and his team  from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  It takes into account your  respiratory health with such measures as heart rate and weight, bodily dimensions, exercise routine and little more.  

This test is hosted by and managed by the university and has no advertising or “payment options”.

There are a  number of reasons why this test is significant.  The lower your Fitness Age relative to your astronomical age, the lower your mortality risk and that has to be a good thing.  Secondly you can use the “Back” key to alter the inputs and see what changes to your lifestyle mean to your effective mortality risk.


The Big Bonanza – “the richest mineral discovery in world history”

To the Daily Alta California, it was “the great discovery of the age”.  After emerging from the underground at the California Mine on the Comstock Lode Dan de Quille called it “the richest mineral discovery in the world’s history” and he named it The Big Bonanza.    In a field of exceedingly high-grade mineralization the Big bonanza would generate immense wealth.

Virginia city circa 1870

“Not a pebble in the crosscut was worth less than US$600 per ton and no small sample could be reasonably assayed for fear of grabbing a sulphuret nodule that would run the chunk into the thousands of dollars a ton.”  Bear in mind these are 1870 dollars, likely worth US$20,000 per tonnes in today’s dollars.

“Sometime in the first half of 1875, as cross cuts on the 1,500 foot level reveled that the ore body did indeed span the entire length of the California mine, John Mackay must have realised that The Big bonanza would make him one of the richest men in the world.”

Virginia city circa 1870
Pyrargyrite silver ore from the Comstock Lode, Storey Co., Nevada, U.S.
Chris Ralph/Nevada Outback Gems

The Bonanza King is a well researched history of the Comstock Lode and characters involved.   The book underlines the importance and occasional reward for focused hard work in the industry.   Strongly recommended for mining folks.

Pyrargyrite is a sulfosalt mineral consisting of silver sulfantimonide, Ag3SbS3. Known also as dark red silver ore or ruby silver, it is an important source of the metal.

Additional Reading

Bonanza Ores of the Comstock Lode, Viginia city, Nevada, Economic Geology, 1922

Review in the WSJ by Patrick Cooke

Crouch, Gregory. The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Riches in the American West.   

Fantastic Oatmeal Muffins

Healthy Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

We all love muffins, but they are not the healthiest of snacks.  Here is an alternative, which is free of flour, refined sugars and added oils.  For those that believe they are gluten intolerant these contain no wheat flour!  This is a genuinely healthy alternative, high in fibre and essential nutrients.

In this recipe minimally processed rolled oats replaces refined flour, bananas or mangoes replaces oil or butter and a little honey sweetens the recipe and replaces refined sugar.  To take this a step further you can replace the eggs with chia seeds, just soak I tablespoon of chia in three tablespoons of water and allow to stand for 30 minutes.  I usually replace the banana with a large ripe mango for a different flavour and Rhum Clements 1952.


  • 2 ½ cups rolled-oats
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup Pumpkin seeds

Step I (30 minutes)

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C
  • Place all the oats on a baking sheet or whatever and toast until very lightly brown – but no more than 6 minutes.  Let them cool to room temperature.  This gives a slightly nutty taste.
  • Put 1 ½ cups of toasted oats into a blender – and blend to a fine flour
  • Place bananas or mango (yes take the skin off!) in the food blender with milk and honey and vanilla and – blend until smooth.  No not 30 minutes!
  • Mix the dry ingredients, oats and your blended oat meal, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl
  • Add the sultanas and pumpkin seeds and lightly mix (its about time for a little Rum, we strongly recommend the Rhum Clement 1952 – you deserve it)
  • Fold in the dry ingredients and allow to soak for 10 minutes (the unprocessed oats will absorb some of the fluids)
  • Fold in the blueberries lightly
  • Spray a 12-pot muffin tray with olive oil
  • Spoon a generous portion of the mix into the muffin tins
  • Bake at 170° C for 20 minutes. Insert a tooth pick into the centre of a muffin –  if cooked it should come out clean.

Step 2

  • Allow to cool
  • Best served with anything cold and accompanied by tea or of course more the of the Clements.
Rhum Clements 1952


You can replace the eggs with Chia –  see above.  You can replace the blueberries with, dried cranberries, apple and walnuts, frozen raspberries, diced dried apricots, pecans or virtually anything else you must hand.


Likely about 50 cents per muffin and US$1,000 for the Rhum Clements 1952.

If this recipe results in a hangover –  Enjoy!

49 Years Ago – Today

Neil Armstrong on the Moon, July 1969: NASA/JPLOn this day 49 years ago , Apollo 11 landed the first two people on the Moon, mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.  Our first step into the cosmos?  There are 14,000 stars within 100 light years of Earth, where will we be in 10,000 years?

To put this event into perspective some of the historic documents merit review and provide some understanding of the challenges and the technology of the time.

Reports from the Research Steering Committee on Manned Spaceflight, Space Sciences board etc for the period 1959 through 1971.  From the NASA Historical archives

The Apollo 11 Press Kit, released Sunday July 6, 1969

“The United States will launch a three-man spacecraft toward the Moon on July 16 with the goal of landing two astronaut-explorers on the lunar surface 4 days later.

If the mission –called Apollo 11–is successful, man will accomplish his long-term dream of walking on another celestial body.”

Apollo 11 Mission Report, Manned spaceflight Center, Houston Texas, November 1969

“The purpose of the Apollo 11 mission was to land men on the lunar surface and to return them safely to earth. The crew were Neil A. Arm¬strong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot.

The space vehicle was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 8:32:00 a.m., e.s.t., July 16, 1969. The activities during earth orbit checkout, translunar injection, transposition and docking, spacecraft ejection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10. Only one midcourse correction, performed at about 27 hours elapsed time, was required during trans lunar coast.

Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon. July 20, 1969. Image AS11-40-5873 courtesy NASA/JSC

The spacecraft was inserted into lunar orbit at about 76 hours, and the circularization maneuver was performed two revolutions later. Initial checkout of lunar module systems was satisfactory, and after a planned rest period, the Commander and Lunar Module Pilot entered the lunar module to prepare for descent.

The two spacecraft were undocked at about 100 hours, followed by separation of the command and service modules from the lunar module. Descent orbit insertion was performed at approximately 101-l/2 hours, and powered descent to the lunar surface began about 1 hour later. Operation of the guidance and descent propulsion systems was nominal. The lunar module was maneuvered manually approximately 1100 feet downrange from the nominal landing point during the final 2-1/2 minutes of descent. The spacecraft landed in the Sea of Tranquillity at 102:45:40. The landing coordinates were 0 degrees 41 minutes 15 seconds north latitude and 23 degrees 26 minutes east longitude referenced to lunar map ORB-II-6(100), first edition, December 1967. During the first 2 hours on the surface, the two crewmen performed a postlanding checkout of all lunar module systems. Afterwards, they ate their first meal on the moon and elected to perform the surface operations earlier than planned.

Crater 308: This photo was taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts as they circled the far side of the Moon, which is rough with craters and marks. Image AS11-44-6611 courtesy NASA/JSC.

Considerable time was deliberately devoted to checkout and donning of the back-mounted portable life support and oxygen purge systems. The Commander egressed through the forward hatch and deployed an equipment module in the descent stage. A camera in this module provided live television coverage of the Commander descending the ladder to the surface, with first contact made at 109:24:15 (9:56:15 p.m. e.s.t., July 20, 1969). The Lunar Module Pilot egressed soon thereafter, and both crewmen used the initial period on the surface to become acclimated to the reduced gravity and unfamiliar surface conditions. A contingency sample was taken from the surface, and the television camera was deployed so that most of the lunar module was included in its view field. The crew activated the scientific experiments, which included a solar wind detector, a passive seismometer, and a laser retro-reflector. The Lunar Module Pilot evaluated his ability to operate and move about, and was able to translate rapidly and with confidence. Forty-seven pounds of lunar surface material were collected to be returned for analysis. The surface exploration was concluded in the allotted time of 2-l/2 hours, and the crew reentered the lunar module at lll-l/2 hours.

Ascent preparation was conducted efficiently, and the ascent stage lifted off the surface at 124-l/4 hours. A nominal firing of the ascent engine placed the vehicle into a 45- by 9-mile orbit. After a rendezvous sequence similar to that of Apollo 10, the two spacecraft were docked at 128 hours. Following transfer of the crew, the ascent stage was jettisoned, and the command and service modules were prepared for trans earth injection.

The return flight started with a 150-second firing of the service propulsion engine during the 31st lunar revolution at 135-l/2 hours. As in trans lunar flight, only one midcourse correction was required, and passive thermal control was exercised for most of trans earth coast. Inclement weather necessitated moving the landing point 215 miles downrange. The entry phase was normal, and the command module landed in the Pacific Ocean at 19 5-l/4 hours. The landing coordinates, as determined from the onboard computer, were 13 degrees 19 minutes north latitude and 169 de-grees 09 minutes west longitude.

After landing, the crew donned biological isolation garments. They were then retrieved by helicopter and taken to the primary recovery ship, USS Hornet. The crew and lunar material samples were placed in the Mobile Quarantine Facility for transport to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston. The command module was taken aboard the Hornet about 3 hours after landing.

With the completion of Apollo 11, the national objective of landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth before the end of the decade had been accomplished.”

Understanding Donald J. Trump & Many Entrepreneurs

No-one likes me and that is Perfect! Image: CNN

To understand Trump (and a sizeable portion of the entrepreneur class) you only need one photograph and this is the one.

His level of trait Agreeableness is exceedingly low.  Sub traits Compassion and Politeness are  without question in the zero percentile.  What does that mean? If there were 100 people in a room, 99 of them would be more compassionate and polite than Donald J. Trump.  Likely,  its 1 in 10,000.  Importantly he understands this and he truly owns his low trait Agreeableness.

Courtesy of CNN

This is not a criticism of DJT, it is simply his  personality and likely a significant portion of that is genetic.  Is he so different to his father –  it would not appear so.  There is a  reason for the preservation of personality traits within the human population, those variations enhance the potential for survival of the species.

Now interestingly, those at different ends of trait Agreeableness (in particular) find it remarkably hard to understand the position of the other and this trait more than any other seems to be a determinant of political persuasion.  Low trait Agreeableness (plus low trait Openness)  and you are much more likely to be Conservative while high trait Agreeableness (plus high trait Openness), far more likely to be left leaning.

The challenge for those with high trait Agreeableness and high sub-trait compassion is that you are easy to manipulate and both the politicians and the media have become expert in your manipulation.  Why? It triggers the release of neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonin and it results in selling more newspapers and winning seats.  There are logical reasons for the evolution of the political environment in this direction!

Combine low trait Agreeableness and modest trait Conscientiousness (in the case of DJT it is off the charts trait Industriousness but low trait organisation) you have the perfect entrepreneur, who will never stop and who is not concerned about the consequence of action as long as their trait Neuroticism is low and DJTs is very low.  His level of trait Neuroticism, sub-trait Volatility is high but simply an act while his neuroticism, sub-trait Withdrawal is in the zero percentile.  Both sub-traits of Enthusiasm are.. off the charts.

There you have Donald, easy enough to understand.  As to outcomes, he will never stop, he speaks without preparation, he is not concerned about consequences and does not care what people say about him.  He cannot be understood by the left and never will be.  If within the sphere of DJT and you have similar personality traits to DJT, your days are numbered.  Those that survive likely are more Open, more Agreeable, more Conscientious and probably more Neurotic.

Where are you?

sonoro makes oil discovery in Indonesia and looses licence

Sonoro Energy acquired promising oil and gas acreage from Stockbridge Group in 2016 and set about drilling what proved to be a discovery.  The company commenced drilling the LG-1 Updip appraisal well in October 2017, with site operations lasting 50 days, in part due to difficult drilling conditions and numerous gas shows and kicks.

Sonoro attempted to test the well in an open hole using a formation testing tool.  High porosity and weakly consolidated Miocene sands saw considerable sand and fluid ingress into the well and testing was not successful.  It was determined that further testing in an uncased well was potentially dangerous and then cased and cemented and suspended the well.  This operation was approved by the regulator, SKKMIGAS.

The permit however was at the end of this term and a renewal was required to perforate and test the well with a work-over rig.

However, the Ministry of Energy in Indonesia declined to extend the Budong Budong production-sharing contract.   It would appear that Sonoro has undertaken the approved program and made a discovery.  The decision to not extend the PSC does not help the international image of the country and the Minister should reconsider.

Press Release


First detection of complex organics on an extraterrestrial water-world

200 AMU macromolecular organics detected in plumes on Enceladus

Cassini was intentionally crashed into the atmosphere of Saturn late in 2016, to avoid contamination of any of the moons of the planet.  While that ended data collection from Saturn and its moons, data analysis continues to produce surprises.  Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbours a global ocean beneath an icy crust and above a  rocky core.

Icey crust of Enceladus showing evidence of recent active “tectonism” and an absence of impact structures over large portions of the moon.  Source NASA/JPL

A surprising discovery in 2005 which initiated widespread debate on the potential of Enceladus to harbour life was the observation of active cryo-volcanic plumes ejecting ice and vapour into space.   It was conjectured that hydrothermal activity in the core of the moon was powered by tidal dissipation produced by the strong gravitational field of Saturn.  Studies of the plume in a close fly-by by Cassini revealed the present of simple organic molecules mostly below 50 Atomic Mass Units (AMUs).  In a new study just published in Nature, Frank Postberg et al report the observation of emitted ice grains containing organic material with molecular mass above 200 AMU, complex macromolecular organic matter.

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Plumes From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Hint That It Could Support Life. Source: CreditNASA/JPL-Caltech, via Space Science Institute

Two mass spectrometers onboard Cassini, the Cosmic Dust Analyser and the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer performed compositional in-situ measurements of material emerging from the surface of Enceladus, both within the plume and Saturn’s E-ring.  the E-ring has been formed by ice grains escaping the moon’s gravity.

The organic fragments, of up to 200 units of molecular mass, are created as the ice grains hit the dust-analysing instrument on Cassini at speeds of about 30 000 kilometres per hour, but the researchers believe that, prior to the collision, the grains contain the original, even larger molecules, which could have molecular weights of thousands of atomic mass units.

Scientists calculate molecular mass, or weight, as the sum of weights of individual atoms contained in the molecule. Previously, Cassini had only detected lightweight organic molecules at Enceladus that were much smaller than the most recently found fragments.

Such large molecules can only be created by complex chemical processes – including those related to life. Alternatively, they could come from primordial material as found in some meteorites or, more likely, be generated by hydrothermal activity.

The authors suggest the presence of a refractory organic rich film at the top of the oceanic water table as the most plausible way to generate the observed grains.  They suggest that this insoluble organic layer would exist at the top of the water layer likely at the base and within the large cracks evident on the surface of the moon.

This discovery is the first ever detection of complex organics on an extraterrestrial body.  In an European space Agency press release, Frank Postberg commented:

“It is the first ever detection of complex organics coming from an extraterrestrial water-world.  We found large molecular fragments that show structures typical for very complex organic molecules. These huge molecules contain a complex network often built from hundreds of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and likely nitrogen that form ring-shaped and chain-like substructures.”

“In my opinion the fragments we found are of hydrothermal origin, having been processed inside the hydrothermally active core of Enceladus: in the high pressures and warm temperatures we expect there, it is possible that complex organic molecules can arise,” says Frank.

Be very happy –  it happened in your lifetime.

Macromolecular organic compounds from the depths of Enceladus

Frank Postberg,  Nozair KhawajaBernd AbelGael ChobletChristopher R. GleinMurthy S. GudipatiBryana L. HendersonHsiang-Wen HsuSascha KempfFabian KlennerGeorg Moragas-KlostermeyerBrian MageeLenz NölleMark PerryRené ReviolJürgen SchmidtRalf SramaFerdinand StolzGabriel TobieMario Trieloff & J. Hunter Waite


Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbours a global water ocean1, which lies under an ice crust and above a rocky core2. Through warm cracks in the crust3 a cryo-volcanic plume ejects ice grains and vapour into space4,5,6,7 that contain materials originating from the ocean8,9. Hydrothermal activity is suspected to occur deep inside the porous core10,11,12, powered by tidal dissipation13. So far, only simple organic compounds with molecular masses mostly below 50 atomic mass units have been observed in plume material6,14,15. Here we report observations of emitted ice grains containing concentrated and complex macromolecular organic material with molecular masses above 200 atomic mass units. The data constrain the macromolecular structure of organics detected in the ice grains and suggest the presence of a thin organic-rich film on top of the oceanic water table, where organic nucleation cores generated by the bursting of bubbles allow the probing of Enceladus’ organic inventory in enhanced concentrations.

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