Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Angkor Wat [image credit: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen @ Wikipedia]


What might the ‘abrupt climatic changes’ described here be due to?

The city may have been overstressed by climatic changes, leading to its rapid abandonment, says Discover magazine.

Angkor, one of the most significant archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, was a thriving metropolis at the center of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century. Then its inhabitants suddenly left town.

Now, researchers find abrupt climatic changes and vulnerable infrastructure led to the city’s demise.

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The research includes an animation which explains ‘how three ancient land masses collided to form the British Isles’.

Scientists have for centuries believed that England, Wales and Scotland were created by the merger of Avalonia and Laurentia more than 400 million years ago, says EurekAlert.

However, geologists based at the University of Plymouth now believe that a third land mass – Armorica – was also involved in the process.

The findings are published in Nature Communications and follow an extensive study of mineral properties at exposed rock features across Devon and Cornwall.

They reveal a clear boundary running across the two counties, with areas north of it sharing their geological roots with the rest of England and Wales but everything south being geologically linked to France and mainland Europe.

Among other things, scientists believe the research explains the abundance of tin and tungsten in the far South West of England – metals also found in Brittany and other areas of mainland Europe, but not so evident in the rest of the UK.

The research’s lead author, Lecturer in Igneous Petrology Dr Arjan Dijkstra, said: “This is a completely new way of thinking about how Britain was formed. It has always been presumed that the border of Avalonia and Armorica was beneath what would seem to be the natural boundary of the English Channel. But our findings suggest that although there is no physical line on the surface, there is a clear geological boundary which separates Cornwall and south Devon from the rest of the UK.”

Continued here.

NASA mission to Jupiter’s
trojan asteroids


Could evidence from a specific binary asteroid pair upset existing planetary theories? ‘The Jupiter trojans, commonly called Trojan asteroids or just Trojans, are a large group of asteroids that share the planet Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun.’ – Wikipedia. There are over a million of these, inhabiting two oval-shaped zones based around what are known as the Lagrangian points L4 and L5 of Jupiter’s orbit (see animation below).

Scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) studied an unusual pair of asteroids and discovered that their existence points to an early planetary shake-up in our solar system.

These bodies, called Patroclus and Menoetius [see flyby 6 in the graphic], are targets of NASA’s upcoming Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids. They are around 70 miles wide and orbit around each other as they collectively circle the Sun.

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dr-tim-ball-icTim Ball, head of CLEXIT Canada writes:

 I am proud to be the Canadian representative for the climate exit (CLEXIT) movement. Canada has more culpability than any other nation in creating and perpetuating the deception. It is not hyperbole to say that Canada was central to creating and mobilizing the false claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The idea that humans were causing runaway global warming originated with the Club of Rome. Formed in 1968 by David Rockefeller, it expanded on the Malthusian idea that the population would outgrow the food supply. The expansion was that world population would outgrow all resources. They made three major assumptions.

  • The demand for resources would increase every year because the population is increasing every year.
  • Developed nations increase the demand by using resources at a much greater rate than developing nations.
  • More nations are changing from developing to developed and accelerating demand.

They produced a few books and reports to substantiate the claims about population and demand. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 The Population Bomb garnered enormous attention. Less well read but still influential was the 1972 book Limits to Growth by Meadows et al. It used a very primitive computer program that started with two components. The known volume of a resource and the current rate of use. Then, using a simple linear trend, it projected the point at which the resource would run out. It also projected the point at which the volume of the resource use peaked. Another book published in 1977, Ecoscience, Population, Resources, and Environment, influenced policy for a long time because of Paul Ehrlich’s co-author John Holdren. He later became Science Advisor in the Obama White House.

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Tiros 1 instruments [credit: NOAA]


These are extracts from an ESA article. In 1954 British science-fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke wrote to Wexler promoting satellite ideas. In 1960 after years of work and lobbying the first weather satellite was launched.

Wexler was a man of vision, ready to face danger and to give his all to collecting useful data.

He was the first scientist to deliberately fly into a hurricane and also participated in polar expeditions.

His was the mind behind the very first meteorology satellite and even before it reached orbit, he was already dreaming of a global network of satellites to watch the weather worldwide.
. . .
[He] gained a PhD in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939.

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Newgrange UNESCO World Heritage Site


The story of an amazing chance discovery by amateur drone enthusiasts at the UNESCO world heritage site near Newgrange in Ireland this week.

“What the f*** is that?”

It materialised out of almost nowhere, reports ScienceAlert.

Thousands of years after disappearing from human sight and knowledge, an ancient ‘henge’ site has been discovered hidden within the archaeological landscape of Ireland’s Brú na Bóinne.

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As we’ve been warning for years on the talkshop, the incoming solar grand minimum is likely to hit world food production negatively.

Politicians and policy makers have no excuses here. They’ve been enthralled by the scientists they pay to tell them what they want to hear for years.

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Arizona, USA


Amazing what can be gleaned from a 1,700 feet long rock core.
H/T Ian Wilson

Every 405,000 years, gravitational tugs from Jupiter and Venus slightly elongate Earth’s orbit, an amazingly consistent pattern that has influenced our planet’s climate for at least 215 million years and allows scientists to more precisely date geological events like the spread of dinosaurs, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The findings are published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports ScienceDaily.

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Monks Mound, part of Cahokia


The theory here is that the Cahokians had no experience of Mississippi floods for several centuries, likely due to the drought-prone Medieval Warm Period, and had no defence when one eventually did occur.
As one expert (Pauketat) noted:
“Cahokia was so large – covering three to five square miles – that archaeologists have yet to probe many portions of it. Its centerpiece was an open 50-acre Grand Plaza, surrounded by packed-clay pyramids. The size of 35 football fields, the Grand Plaza was at the time the biggest public space ever conceived and executed north of Mexico.”

In those days of course there were no oil or power companies for agitators to point the finger of blame at for such natural disasters, and they didn’t know they were on a flood plain.

Cahokia’s run just happens to line up with a hiatus for the area, as Scott Johnson explained in this 2015 article.

Long before Europeans arrived to settle St. Louis, an impressive human construction stood on the eastern side of the Mississippi River. It was the Native American city of Cahokia.

At its height, tens of thousands lived in and around Cahokia, leaving behind great earthen mounds as testament. The largest still stands about a hundred feet tall today, minus what was likely a temple that once adorned its crest.

Like all societies that disappear, we naturally wonder what brought this one to an end around 1350 AD, after a run of hundreds of years.

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Room for one more? [image credit: NASA]


There’s a suspicion of confirmation bias, or seeing what you wanted to see, in stories like this. But we’ll look for any merits in the ideas anyway. Claims that Planet 9 can’t hide much longer haven’t proved correct so far.

Observations made a thousand years ago could help modern scientists find the theoretical “Planet Nine” in the outer reaches of the solar system, says Live Science.

The far reaches of the outer solar system may be home to an icy giant — a hypothetical planet scientists have dubbed “Planet Nine.”

Meanwhile, archives back on Earth are home to dozens of medieval records documenting the passage of comets through the heavens. Now, two researchers from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland are hoping to use these old scrolls and tapestries to solve the modern astronomical mystery of Planet Nine.

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Artistic interpretation of the flooding of the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Strait, 5.3 million years ago [image credit: Paubahi @ Wikipedia]


“We may be dealing with the one of the largest floods that ever occurred on our planet,” said the lead author of the study.

It was the most abrupt environmental change, at a planetary scale, since the end of the Cretaceous, says Discover magazine.

One of the largest floods in Earth’s history may have deluged the Mediterranean Sea more than 5.3 million years ago, leaving behind a mass of debris roughly the size of Greece’s largest island, Crete, researchers say.

Scientists investigated a roughly 640,000-year span of time starting nearly 6 million years ago when the Mediterranean became a hyper-salty lake.

This so-called Messinian salinity crisis “was the most abrupt environmental change, at a planetary scale, since the end of the Cretaceous — that is, a sudden mass extinction, including dinosaurs, due to a meteorite impact,” said study lead author Aaron Micallef, a marine geoscientist at the University of Malta.

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Image credit: ScienceDaily


It seems there was ‘a distinct increase in sea ice extent’ at some point in time that led to a switch to longer ice age intervals, but the reason(s) for it are not known.

Researchers from Cardiff University have revealed how sea ice has been contributing to the waxing and waning of ice sheets over the last million years, says Phys.org.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the team have shown for the first time that ice ages, occurring every 100,000 years, are accompanied by a rapid build-up of sea ice in the Earth’s oceans.

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The secret on the ocean floor

Posted: February 21, 2018 by oldbrew in exploration, government, History, innovation

Hughes Glomar Explorer at Long Beach, California (1976) [image credit: TedQuackenbush @ Wikipedia]


One mining forecast claims ‘an emerging undersea industry in oceans around the world could be worth $30bn a year by 2030.’ Do the origins of this go back to the Cold War?

Did a 1970s CIA plot spark a boom in deep sea mining? – asks BBC News.

In the summer of 1974, a large and highly unusual ship set sail from Long Beach in California.

It was heading for the middle of the Pacific where its owners boasted it would herald a revolutionary new industry beneath the waves.

Equipped with a towering rig and the latest in drilling gear, the vessel was designed to reach down through the deep, dark waters to a source of incredible wealth lying on the ocean floor.

It was billed as the boldest step so far in a long-held dream of opening a new frontier in mining, one that would see valuable metals extracted from the rocks of the seabed.

But amid all the excited public relations, there was one small hitch – the whole expedition was a lie.

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What’s in a place name?


Anglo-Saxon England was unusually warm and stormy. Place names coined then could hold clues to how the weather will get wetter and wilder as the climate changes, says Sott.net. Assuming the weather does do that, of course. The author asks: “Is it a surprise that places with watery names are more prone to flooding?”

It’s blowy on the B4380 to Buildwas, writes Richard Webb in the New Scientist. A keen wind whipping across the floodplain from Shrewsbury flaps a misarranged saddle bag strap against my back wheel.

As I cross the river Severn at Atcham, and bend right down the back road past Wroxeter, a black cloud delivers the first dribbles of rain.

England’s place names are a treasure trove of hidden history – if only we could find the key.

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Sun at solar system barycentre 1990 [via Arnholm’s solar simulator]


H/T Michele Casati

INFLUENCE OF SOLAR RETROGRADE MOTION ON TERRESTRIAL PROCESSES
N.S.Sidorenkov, Ian Wilson

ABSTRACT. The influence of solar retrograde motion on secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes, and other terrestrial processes is investigated. Most collected data suggest that secular minima of solar activity, powerful volcanic eruptions, significant climate changes, and catastrophic earthquakes occur around events of solar retrograde motion.

Keywords: barycentric motion of the sun; secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes; the historical process of humankind.

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Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy


It turns out that the temperature target of the agreement was never properly defined.

New study puts the 1.5°C and 2.0°C temperature limits of the Paris Agreement into a historical climate context, says The GWPF.

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 during the COP21 climate conference stipulates that the increase in the global average temperature is to be kept well below 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” and that efforts are pursued to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above “pre-industrial levels.”

Closer inspection of the treaty text, however, reveals that the term “pre-industrial levels” is nowhere defined in this epochal UN-document, that has meanwhile been ratified by 170 Parties.

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Alaskan permafrost [image credit: insideclimatenews.org]


The idea, so heavily pushed these days, that we are on the brink of ‘hot’ times looks more than a bit weak when compared to some earlier epochs on Earth. Regarding raised CO2 levels, the finding that ‘the most likely source of the carbon [dioxide] came from thawing permafrost during the period studied’ strongly suggests that the thaw would be causing the gas release, not the other way round. Phys.org reporting.

Concentration of carbon dioxide during an intense period of global warmth may have been as low as half the level previously suggested by scientists, according to a new Dartmouth College study.

The study found that carbon dioxide may have been less than 1000 parts per million, or ppm, during the Earth’s early Eocene period. This runs counter to thinking that concentration levels were as high as 2000 ppm in the same time frame.

By comparison, current levels of carbon dioxide observed at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory are around 400 ppm.

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Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley, suspended from a crane during her recovery from Charleston Harbor, 8 August 2000 [image credit: Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center]


The Hunley was the first combat submarine to sink a warship, in 1864. It was very basic, being designed for a crew of eight, seven to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat. Its discovery in 1995 was described by the Director of Naval History at the Naval Historical Center as “probably the most important find of the century.” ‘Tens of thousands’ attended an official funeral in Charleston, South Carolina in 2004, including all five branches of the U.S. armed forces.

A full 22 years after their bodies were discovered, scientists have come up with an explanation for the mysterious deaths of the crew of the Civil War submarine the H. L. Hunley 150 years ago, reports the IB Times.

The Confederate crew of eight were found seated in their stations on the hand crank that powered the ship. They showed no sign of struggle or trying to escape. They also displayed no sign of physical injury. The bilge pumps hadn’t been used and they hadn’t tried to escape through the air hatches.

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Some Pythagorean triples [credit: Cmglee / Wikipedia]


Could Babylonian base-60 maths be about to make a comeback? The tablet has been dated to between 1822 and 1762 BC and is based on Pythagorean triples, as Phys.org reports. It uses ‘a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles’.

UNSW Sydney scientists have discovered the purpose of a famous 3700-year old Babylonian clay tablet, revealing it is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, possibly used by ancient mathematical scribes to calculate how to construct palaces and temples and build canals.

The new research shows the Babylonians beat the Greeks to the invention of trigonometry – the study of triangles – by more than 1000 years, and reveals an ancient mathematical sophistication that had been hidden until now.

Known as Plimpton 322, the small tablet was discovered in the early 1900s in what is now southern Iraq by archaeologist, academic, diplomat and antiquities dealer Edgar Banks, the person on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based.

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Is there a contradiction in this IB Times report? First it says volcanism causes cooling, then we’re told the resulting volcanic CO2 could have caused warming.

High concentration of mercury identified in ancient sediments suggest that large-scale episodes of volcanism coincided with the end-Triassic mass extinction around 201 million years ago.

It is likely that these huge pulses of volcanic activity led to great environmental perturbations, leading to the extinction of many species living on Earth at the time and setting the scene for the dawn of the dinosaurs.

Previous studies had already shown that volcanic activity was happening around the time of the extinction and there was some evidence for an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

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