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  • The Dodo Dragon and other stories
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  • A Breathtaking Window on the Universe
Samuel Ting being given his star in the San francisco convent in Santa Cruz de La Pama

Another Star of Science

Samuel Ting won the Nobel prize for physics for discovering the subatomic J/? particle. He’s been on La Palma for a conference about the  Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer  which is on the International Space Station. ( It’s looking for  antimatter in cosmic rays, to learn more about dark matter and the formation of the Universe.) The Cabildo (the island council) took the chance to include him in their Stars of Science lineup. The idea is…

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A jade flower

The jade vine or emerald vine Strongylodon macrobotrys, is flowering in the garden at Hacienda de Abajo, Tazacorte. The plant comes from the Philippines, and it’s in the same family as peas and beans. To be picky, I’d say it’s more turquoise than green but it’s certainly very pretty and I’ve never seen one before.

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The oldest part of Puntallana

Puntallana originally grew around the spring of St John the Baptist (San Juan). Today,the spring is still there, but it’s nobody’s drinking water (which is a good thing, seeing as the water’s green.) Still, it’s a peaceful spot to visit, and they still hold a yearly procession where they take the statue of the village’s patron saint, St John the Baptist, to the spring to give thanks for the water….

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Pillow lava in the Caldera de Taburiente

Pillow lava

Pillow lava is formed underwater, on the sea-bed. When the lava comes out and hits the sea water, the outside cools and freezes pretty much immediately, while the inside keeps on flowing. That means that it forms tube, which lengthens and widens until the pressure at the inlet end breaks open the tube and starts a new one. So you get the tubes interlocking. This is how La Palma grew…

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Twin Dragon Trees in Breña Alta

Twin dragon trees (Dracaena draco), Breña Alta These trees stand in Breña Alta, just off the minor road which winds over the central ridge to El Paso. They grow so close together that it’s hard to tell where on trunk ends and the other begins. Of course there’s a legend associated with the trees. Two brothers lived nearby, and were very close, but they fell in love with the same…

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Training vines

  Spring is here, and the vines are sprouting all over the island. In the south of the island, particularly in Fuencaliente, it’s dry. In a hot summer day, the wind sometmies feels almost like a hairdryer. This could turn the grapes to raisins before you harvest them, so the vines are trained low to the ground to keep them out of the wind. They’re usually planeted in hollows, or…

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