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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5 Jun 2018
Origin of Pluto

Also sent in by Jovan. Busy man. At https://astronomynow.com/2018/05/26/evidence-found-for-giant-comet-theor... ... what is the origin of Pluto? Is it a planet - or something else. It is being suggested Pluto is a great comet - of sorts. They say it is an agglomeration of a billion comets (in other words an inestimable number of comets). Another idea is that Pluto formed from coldices with a chemical composition similar to the Sun (but the giant comet theory is gaining traction it is alleged).

4 Jun 2018
Further on Stonehenge Landscape

Further updates on the Stonehenge landscape are outlined in Mike Haigh's 'archaeology review' in Northern Earth magazine 153 (June 2018) - see www.northernearth.co.uk ... It seems a causewayed enclosure has been found at Larkhill barracks during an archaeological survey prior to construction of new buildings - and the excavation is ongoing. Causewayed enclosures are usually concentric circles with sausage shaped ditches (or pits) with banks. A henge is a circle with a continuous ditch and bank.

4 Jun 2018
Iran archaeology

In Current World Archaeology 89 (June 2018) - www.world-archaeology.com ... there is an article on Iran's prehistory. It says the archaeology of Iran is dominated by the Zagros mountain chain which divides it from the flood plain of the Tigris and Euphrates. To the west of the Zagros are the fertile lands of Mesopotamia and to the east the hilly upland of the Iranian plateau (rich in metals but also fertile in places). The Neolithic revolution, we are informed, began in the hills and valleys of the Zagros between 10,000 and 8,000BC.

2 Jun 2018
Grand Canyon Geology

At https://phys.org/print447061881.html ... it is 50 years since the last formation was discovered and defined in the Grand Canyon but now geologists have been having a look at the Sixty Mile Formation - and their research is published in Nature Geoscience. It seems this particular piece of the Grand Canyon is somewhat younger than thought - ie it was generally labelled PreCambrian. The Sauk marine transgression event is dated between 600 and 500 million years ago and the formation is somewhat older.

2 Jun 2018
Electric Dark Matter

At https://phys.org/print446911328.html ... Does dark matter carry an electric charge is the headline - which turns out to be a bit of PR. Astronomers, it is said, have produced a new model for the invisible matter that is supposed to make up most of the universe - the so called dark matter (unseen and unverified). These particular astronomers and modellers think dark matter might have an electric charge. However, this is just a 'tiny' electric charge - so they are not jumping in with both feet.

2 Jun 2018
Stonehenge Landscape Research

British Archaeology magazine (May of 2018) has an interesting article by Mike Pitts. It concerns geophysics surveys around Stonehenge. The Hidden Landscape project and the First Monuments project are quite well known but there has been a lot more archaeology that does not reach the mainstream media but is done by local groups and most importantly, prior to development. In this case there are new housing schemes in the vicinity of Amesbury and a huge commercial park to the east of Stonehenge.

31 May 2018
Landscape Evolution

Scientists have struggled with a lingering question in geology. Why do the structures and elevations of some mountains continue to evolve long after the tectonic activity that formed them have ceased - see https://phys.org/print446805209.html ... and modelling has come to the rescue (or sort of). Sean Gallen from Colorado State University combined modelling with field research in a quite clever way to record the ebb and flow of activity in mountains in two national parks in the US. Activity clearly continued even after it was tectonically quiet.

31 May 2018
NASAs Space Engine Tested

Spaceflight is difficult. Blasting heavy cargoes and spacecraft to respectable speeds over interplanetary distances requires so much propellant to sent rockets to far away places - unless you have an engine that can generate thrust without fuel. Scientists at NASA have been building and testing the EmDrive - which is said to produce thrust simply by bouncing microwaves around inside a closed cone shaped cavity. Sounds wonderful. No fuel is required.

31 May 2018
Computer Modelling Hungry Black Holes

At https://phys.org/print446798161.html ... modelling works well when applied to for example, geology (rates of erosion etc) but how reliable is it when applied to the theoretical concepts such as black holes? We are informed that a star that approaches too close to a black hole will be torn apart and gobbled up in a violent cataclysm known as a tidal disruption event. It produces a bright flare of radiation - picked up in space telescopes. A study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters presents a theoretical perspective on this theory - using modelling techniques.

31 May 2018
Ipplepen

Metal detectorists came across a quantity of Roman coins in a field between Exeter and Newton Abbot in Devon and this led to an archaoelogical investigation that uncovered a Roman period settlement (at Ipplepen). See for example www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_225948_en.html ... and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-36596636 ...