Reading about Aboriginal Cultures

When I was in grade three, we studied about northern Alberta’s native life and history.  It was interesting, but it was so long ago, I can’t remember much about it.  In grade four, we studied about the Australian Aborigines.  That was also interesting, but my memory is mostly about art on rock faces.  In grade six, we studied about the Aztecs.  Now that was absolutely fascinating.  I remember a lot more about that.

As I read Deadhouse Gates, I have come to notice that there are a lot of different tribes of people in the area the story takes place.  It got me to thinking that learning about aboriginal groups in the world would not only be interesting, but would give a good idea about how different kinds of cultures lived in the past.  This could potentially be useful for writing fantasy and creating believable native cultures.

So, I’d like a little help.  Do you know of any websites that are good resources for learning about different aboriginal cultures?  Please let me know in the comments below.

An Ocean on Ganymede

It seems that after I posted about possible life-bearing worlds in our solar system, all these announcements have come out.  Well, now it’s Ganymede’s turn.  Not on my top five list, it may need to be included, though looking at the structure of Ganymede, it’s still a low possibility.

Ganymede_g1_true_2Ganymede is the largest natural satellite in the solar system, even larger than the planet Mercury, but it doesn’t contain as much mass.  The reason is that Mercury has a huge iron core, while Ganymede’s is smaller.  It’s also not common for a moon to have an iron core, and it and Europa are the only two icy moons to be lucky enough.  Ganymede’s molten iron core gives it the distinction of having its own magnetic field, and even aurora.  And it’s just that particular feature that scientists were looking at with the Hubble Space Telescope.  What it enabled them to discover (or rather confirm what has been guessed) that Ganymede has a very thick salty ocean that is 100 km deep.  That means that it has more liquid water than Earth does.  That is quite remarkable.

So what does this mean for life on Ganymede?  Well, considering that the ocean layer is sandwiched between an icy crust and an ice mantle, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of hydrothermal vents.  More like no chance.  That ice mantle is extremely thick.  This differs from Europa in that the smaller icy moon has a liquid water ocean over a rocky mantle.  Europa has a far better chance at having hydrothermal vents and life.  But it’s still very interesting, and I’m really enjoying the recent discoveries.

You can read a full writeup on this at The Planetary Society.