Archive for the ‘History’ Category

[click on image to enlarge]

[click on image to enlarge]


Another one to add to the ‘how and why did they do that?’ list of ancient sites. Years of research lie ahead.

Imagine you are about to plan and construct a building that involves several complicated geometrical shapes, but you aren’t allowed to write down any numbers or notes as you do it. For most of us, this would be impossible.

Yet, new research from Arizona State University has revealed that the ancient Southwestern Pueblo people, who had no written language or written number system, were able to do just that – and used these skills to build sophisticated architectural complexes, reports Phys.org.

Dr. Sherry Towers, a professor with the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, uncovered these findings while spending several years studying the Sun Temple archaeological site in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, constructed around A.D. 1200.

“The site is known to have been an important focus of ceremony in the region for the ancestral Pueblo peoples, including solstice observations,” Towers says. “My original interest in the site involved looking at whether it was used for observing stars as well.”

However, as Towers delved deeper into the site’s layout and architecture, interesting patterns began to emerge.
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Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ [image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]

Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
[image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]


They seem to base their estimates of the past solar cycle length on a study of only 79 years’ worth of data which is almost certainly too short for high accuracy, but the results are interesting nevertheless.

A pair of German researchers has found evidence in ancient tree rings of a solar sunspot cycle millions of years ago similar to the one observed in more modern times, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Geology, Ludwig Luthardt and Ronny Rößler describe how they gathered an assortment of petrified tree samples from a region in Germany and used them to count sunspot cycles.

Scientists know that the sun undergoes a sunspot cycle of approximately 11 years—some spots appear, grow cooler and then slowly move toward the equator and eventually disappear—the changes to the sun spots cause changes to the brightness level of the sun—as the level waxes and wanes, plants here on Earth respond, growing more or less in a given year—this can be seen in the width of tree rings.

In this new effort, the researchers gathered petrified tree samples from a region of Germany that was covered by lava during a volcanic eruption approximately 290 million years ago (during the Permian period), offering a historical record of sun activity.
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Still from pulsar animation.  [Image credit: NASA]

Still from pulsar animation. [Image credit: NASA]


The exoplanet revolution began 25 years ago today. On Jan. 9, 1992, astronomers Alex Wolszczan and Dale Frail published a paper in the journal Nature announcing the discovery of two planets circling an incredibly dense, rapidly rotating stellar corpse known as a pulsar.

It was a landmark find: while several alien-world “candidates” had recently been spotted, Wolszczan and Frail provided the first confirmation that planets exist beyond our own solar system, reports Mike Wall.

“From the very start, the existence of such a system carried with it a prediction that planets around other stars must be common, and that they may exist in a wide variety of architectures, which would be impossible to anticipate on the basis of our knowledge of the solar system alone,” Wolszczan, who’s based at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in a note about the pulsar planets for the “Name Exoworlds” contest sponsored by the International Astronomical Union.
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Winter solstice sunrise at the historic site in Sicily [image credit: Giuseppe La Spina]

Winter solstice sunrise at the historic site in Sicily [image credit: Giuseppe La Spina]


A team of researchers exploring the southern coast of Sicily have found an intriguing prehistoric calendar rock, reports Ancient Origins.

After conducting some empirical observations, they discovered the rising sun of the winter solstice aligns perfectly with a large hole in a rock formation on a hill near a prehistoric necropolis.

They also discovered a fallen megalith that would have stood directly in front of the hole. Stonehenge-like comparisons abound in the media.
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Titanic: was this dark mark due to excessive heat from the boiler room?  - asks TV prog.

Titanic: was this dark mark due to excessive heat from the boiler room? – asks TV prog.

Was the Titanic going faster than usual because its coal supplies were in danger of running out due to a fire? This is one theory put forward in a new TV documentary as Sott.net reports. The TV report also shows how the ship’s internal flooding could have been accelerated by metal buckling due to intense heat from the fire.

Fire had been raging in the Titanic’s boiler room even before it left Southampton for New York, weakening the liner’s hull and turning a collision with an iceberg into the infamous disaster, a new British documentary claims.

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Some stones of Rego Grande, known as the 'Amazon Stonehenge'

Some stones of Rego Grande, known as the ‘Amazon Stonehenge’


As soon as the Mail Online report of this historic site said there were 127 stones, an idea occurred. In the lunar Metonic cycle of ~19 years there are 254 lunar orbits (= sidereal months) of the Earth, which is 127 x 2. If this has already been suggested somewhere, I’m not aware of it!

Wikipedia says: ‘the Metonic cycle…is a period of very close to 19 years that is remarkable for being nearly a common multiple of the solar year and the synodic (lunar) month.’

A megalithic stone circle in Brazil hints that the indigenous people of the Amazon may have been more sophisticated than archaeologists first thought.

Rego Grande, known as the ‘Amazon Stonehenge’ after the famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, is located in Amapá state, near the city of Calçoene. Experts say the unusual stone arrangement may have been used as a place of worship as well as for astronomical observations related to crop cycles.

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Trumped!

Posted: November 9, 2016 by tallbloke in Accountability, History, humour, Politics

Nice one Josh. 🙂

josh-trumped

Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)

Posted: October 24, 2016 by tallbloke in Education, History, innovation

leeuwenhoeksmall

. . . my work, which I’ve done for a long time, was not pursued in order to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge, which I notice resides in me more than in most other men. And therewithal, whenever I found out anything remarkable, I have thought it my duty to put down my discovery on paper, so that all ingenious people might be informed thereof.Antony van Leeuwenhoek. Letter of June 12, 1716


Antony van Leeuwenhoek was an unlikely scientist. A tradesman of Delft, Holland, he came from a family of tradesmen, had no fortune, received no higher education or university degrees, and knew no languages other than his native Dutch. This would have been enough to exclude him from the scientific community of his time completely. Yet with skill, diligence, an endless curiosity, and an open mind free of the scientific dogma of his day, Leeuwenhoek succeeded in making some of the most important discoveries in the history of biology. It was he who discovered bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes and rotifers, and much more. His researches, which were widely circulated, opened up an entire world of microscopic life to the awareness of scientists.

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Brodgar standing stones, Orkney [image credit: BBC]

Brodgar standing stones, Orkney [image credit: BBC]

University of Adelaide research has for the first time statistically proven that the earliest standing stone monuments of Britain, the great circles, were constructed specifically in line with the movements of the Sun and Moon, 5000 years ago. H/T ScienceDaily

The research, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, details the use of innovative 2D and 3D technology to construct quantitative tests of the patterns of alignment of the standing stones.

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Michael_HartInterview at Lifesitenews with Michael Hart.

Michael Hart is a former official in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and now emeritus professor of international affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he has taught courses on the laws and institutions of international trade, Canadian foreign policy, and the politics of climate change. He held the Fulbright-Woodrow Wilson Center Visiting Research Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations and was Scholar-in-Residence in the School of International Service, Senior Fellow at American University in Washington, and is the founder and director emeritus of Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law. In addition, he has taught courses in several other countries. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than a dozen books and several hundred articles.

LifeSiteNews interviewed him during a conference on Catholic Perspectives on the Environment, sponsored by the Wojtyla Institute for Teachers, held at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, August  4-6, 2016.

1)  Professor Hart, your book Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, has recently been published. In it, you challenge a worldwide project that has become something of a sacred cow. Can you tell our readers what motivated you to begin your research into the subject?

I was initially motivated by questions from my students – and my wife – about the policy implications of climate change. The more I looked into it, however, the more I learned the extent to which it fit with one of my research interests: the extent to which modern health, safety, and environmental regulatory activity relies on poor science advanced by activists to push an agenda. I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives.

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[image credit: BBC]

[image credit: BBC]


Controversies about Stonehenge are never far away. Here’s another one, as the Daily Telegraph reports.

Stonehenge began life as an impressive Welsh tomb which was dismantled and shipped to Wiltshire, archaeologists now suspect.

Experts have known for some time that the smaller bluestones of the 5000-year-old Neolithic monument were brought 140 miles from the Preseli Mountains in Wales. But the question has always been why?

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Stonehenge transport mystery solved?

Posted: May 24, 2016 by oldbrew in History, methodology

Stonehenge [image credit: BBC]

Stonehenge [image credit: BBC]


Whether this is ‘case closed’ is uncertain but it does seem to offer another option to resolve the puzzle, as the Telegraph explains.

It is an archaeological conundrum that has baffled generations of experts. Just how did prehistoric Britons manage to transport the huge bluestones of Stonehenge some 140 miles from the Preseli Mountains in Wales to their final home on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire?

The answer is surprisingly simple. The feat really isn’t as hard as everyone imagined.

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The full version of Brexit The Movie is now available on Vimeo. Google took it down from Youtube citing copyright infringement. Establishment forces are still trying to prevent the truth about the EU getting out there.

 

The premiere was a superb occasion. with many top Brexiteers in attendance. At the aftershow party I got the chance to chat with several including Nigel Farage MEP, Lord Matt Ridley, Dan Hannan MEP, David Davis MP, Steven Woolfe MEP, Suzanne Evans, James Delingpole and of course, Martin Durkin. Pics below the break.

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leaveeu

Oct 23-24 2015  Yougov   Feb 3-4 2016

Reblogged from Rt Hon David Davis MP’s website, this is a comprehensive look at the case for Brexit.

David Davis: Brexit – what would it look like? – 4 February 2016

It has been over 43 years since Britain joined the European Economic Community. For all that time there have been calls for Europe to reform. For Europe to be more democratic, more competitive, more functional. And for Britain to lead that reform.

The result? If anything Europe has become less democratic, less competitive and more dysfunctional. And Britain has become more side-lined.

The EU has been in decline for some time now. There is no change of course in sight. The risks involved in staying are clear for all to see – low growth, high unemployment, and waning influence.

In 1975 the EU was the bright future, a vision of a better world. Now it is a crumbling relic from a gloomy past. We must raise our eyes to the wider world.

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A new paper shows how a recently re-discovered 50 year old photo of a clay tablet holds the key to a geometrical method used by the Babylonians to calculate the position of Jupiter.

babylon-jupiterAncient Babylonian astronomers developed many important concepts that are still in use, including the division of the sky into 360 degrees. They could also predict the positions of the planets using arithmetic. Ossendrijver translated several Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE and found that they contain a sophisticated calculation of the position of Jupiter. The method relies on determining the area of a trapezium under a graph. This technique was previously thought to have been invented at least 1400 years later in 14th-century Oxford. This surprising discovery changes our ideas about how Babylonian astronomers worked and may have influenced Western science.

Science, this issue p. 482

 

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A fascinating letter from Michael Faraday to Richard Philips written in 1854.

faradayTo Richard Phillips, Esq.

Dear Sir,

At your request I will endeavor to convey to you a notion of that which I ventured to say at the close of the last Friday-evening Meeting, incidental to the account I gave of Wheatstone’s electro-magnetic chronoscope; but from first to last understand that I merely threw out as matter for speculation, the vague impressions of my mind, for I gave nothing as the result of sufficient consideration, or as the settled conviction, or even probable conclusion at which I had arrived.

The point intended to be set forth for consideration of the hearers was, whether it was not possible that vibrations which in a certain theory are assumed to account for radiation and radiant phaenomena may not occur in the lines of force which connect particles, and consequently masses of matter together; a notion which as far as is admitted, will dispense with the aether, which in another view, is supposed to be the medium in which these vibrations take place.

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Tim writes: here we have a demonstration of both sides of scientific and organisational integrity. Ten years later, 2005, there was confirmation of the poor practice.

Some time ago Part 1 was published

The last line of the 1995 email was withheld. Here it is

Our daily series is anchored to the monthly one so that
each months average calculated from the daily data equals its value
in Manleys monthly series.

The Met Office promote “Hadley Centre Central England Temperature” and HadCET but avoid “Manley CET”. There was and is no daily Manley CET. The Met Office made one up, adjusting daily figures to average the Manley CET monthly value exactly.

January 1974 onwards there is no Manley CET data to constrain Met Office daily figures.

Image

Above is an image of the email, the verbatim server files from US publishing site are here inside a zip. File timestamps are preserved, presumably from original FTP disk write here on a contemporary computer system.

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Gordon Valentine Manley and his work

Posted: December 11, 2015 by tchannon in climate, History, weather

This recent paper turned up when I was looking for information on Manley of CET fame. This may be of interest to some readers. Side effect I can reference this from an article I am producing on CET.

Endfield, G. H., Veale, L. and Hall, A. (2015), Gordon Valentine Manley and his contribution to the study of climate change: a review of his life and work. WIREs Clim Change, 6: 287–299. doi: 10.1002/wcc.334

To my surprise with Wiley group this appears to be open access.

Quoting a quote from the paper

“Have you ever wondered why we in this country
have been so active? Have you ever looked at a world
population map and wondered why the great ‘blobs’
of world population are where they are? Have you
ever wondered why the active subscribers of world
civilisations are primarily in Europe?”

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New paper in A&A of interest to some Talkshop readers. The authors use drawings by Schwabe, from there estimate details about solar marks. Recently solar cycle 24 has been likened to solar cycle 7, adding interest

Sunspot areas and tilt angles for solar cycles 7–10
V. Senthamizh Pavai, R. Arlt, M. Dasi-Espuig, N.A. Krivova, and S. K. Solanki
A&A 584, A73 (2015)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201527080
Open access on registration

 

Image

Fig.2. Example of the drawing style in the initial period of 1825-1830.
This full-disk drawing of 1827 June 13 shows large spots which com-
bine several umbrae and at least part of the penumbral area, as is re-
vealed by the detailed drawings.

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