In The News

Welcome to our "In the News" page, featuring summaries of Internet news, relevant to Catastrophism and Ancient History.

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20 Aug 2010
Probing Dark Energy

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/ August 19th (NASA newsletter) ... claims astronomers hav e devised a method to measure dark energy - the mysterious force purported to be pushing the universe apart at an ever increasing speed. They homed in on a huge cluster of galaxies at the extreme point of vision of the Hubble Space Telescope and they hope to be able to calculate the speed of energy involved - accurately. In turn, they hope this will eventually lead to an explanation of what dark energy actually is.

20 Aug 2010
Secrets of the vanished landscape

The story is at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817143818.htm and concerns a five thousand year old fossilised landscape beneath the Fens of what is now Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and the NE corner of Norfolk. It has been a giant wetlands for centuries - not quite land and not quite the sea. In the Bronze Age people hunted and fished there much like they did in the similar environment of the Middle Ages.

19 Aug 2010
Pompeii

At www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38729085/ns/technology_and_science-science/ there was a story going the rounds a week or so ago which I passed over at the time. However, for anyone interested, the common opinion was that most people in Pompeii died from suffocation due to a combination of ash and volcanic gases. A vulcanologist from the Naples Observatory has now shown they died from an extreme heat surge produced by the volcano - between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

19 Aug 2010
The Obsidian Trade in North America

At http://geology.com/press-release/obsidian-artifacts/ is a story with some potential for the future (and like the previous story is also available at Science Daily). Obsidian, or volcanic glass, was prized for making tools, and an archaeologist in Idaho has plotted and catalogued obsidian pieces from his patch as he has devised a clever way of using them to shine a little window on the habits of Native Americans over the last 13,000 years.

19 Aug 2010
Impact on Antarctica

At www.dailygalaxy.com August 17th ... there is a post on the impact crater discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica. At 500km across it is the biggest yet known. It dwarfs the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan (demise of the dinosaurs) so it must equally have been associated with geological and biological changes - so the reasoning goes. However, dating something under the ice is difficult but scientists have looked around for a suitable 'big' event and noted one at 250 million years ago, at the Permian-Triassic boundary.

19 Aug 2010
'Natural Nucleur Accelerators'

At www.physorg.com/print201279930.html there is a report on a paper in Physcial Review Letters with some interesting discoveries, one of which is that high energy cosmic rays were thought to come from remote galaxies that contained huge black holes capable of eating stars and accelerating protons like a bullet shooting out of a gun barrel. These protons, referred to as cosmic rays, travel through space and eventually enter our galaxy - the theory assumes.

19 Aug 2010
Boson

At www.physorg.com/print201193905.html a press release from the Pacific NW National Laboratory outlines the current status of Fermilab's search for the Higgs Boson particle. Scientists have now ruled out about a quarter of the Higgs mass rays allowed in earlier experiments in order to narrow it down. It will be a year or so before they can say whether the Higgs Boson particle is fact - or fiction.

18 Aug 2010
Venus ... in the eye of a Japanese spacecraft

There are two stories on Venus today and both are well worth keeping an eye out for updates.

18 Aug 2010
Vindunum

The Guardian August 17th (or view online at www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/17/france-archaeology/ a huge Roman town has been unearthed near Le Mans, and attention is being made to the temples that existed there. This was Vindunum, occupied between the first and third centuries AD.

18 Aug 2010
Supernovae and Amino Acids

A peculiar story is this one, and it was suitably published in Astrobiology as 'Supernovae and the Chirality of the amino acids' (but see www.liebertonline.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2009.0427?utum_source=io9+News but probably the peculiarity is due to the latter rather than the former. It appears to be an attempt to explain left handed amino acids and the virtual exclusion of right handed ones.