Monday, January 08, 2007

olives, dark matter, pyracantha

After finishing Les Soleil des Scorta by Laurent Gaudé, there remains in my head this lyrical account of olives: "'They are made of gold,' said his uncle, 'Those who say that we are poor, have never eaten a crust of bread, dipped into our oil. It is like taking a bite from our hillsides . It smells of stone and of sun. It is beautiful, thick, unctuous, our olive oil. It is the blood of our land.'"

The best bit of news today is the announcement, by Dr Richard Massey of the California Institute of Technology, of the first three dimensional map of dark matter - the invisible material that makes up at least 80% of the universe. "A filamentary web of dark matter is threaded through the entire universe," he explains, " and acts as a scaffolding within which the ordinary matter - including stars, galaxies and planet, are built."

The seeds of pyracantha are bright in the rain this afternoon and seem to be lit from within.

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