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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4 Apr 2010
Bill Napier paper on the YD boundary event

The Bill Napier paper pops up at and is provided by the Royal Astronomical Society (see earlier post and link to pdf). Basically, Bill Napier is saying the YD event was not caused by a comet impact or airburst as such but by thousands of comet fragments and debris, a signifcant difference to the model developed by Firestone and West et al.

8 Apr 2010
Lava, climate change, and amber

Science Daily April 7th ( ) new research suggests the Columbia Plateau in the NW of the US was formed by a series of lava flows - and these happened much more quickly than previously imagined. It may even have changed earth's climate and caused some fauna and flora to become extinct.

8 Apr 2010
Indus Valley

At The Telegraph of India says a study of 100s of Indus Valley civilisation towns and cities have revealed factors previously unsuspected - growth and decline does not show a gradual eastward expansion (from Baluchistan outwards). The study instead showed three epicentres of the civilisation, i) Baluchistan ii) Gujarat, and iii) an ancient channel of the Indus that dried up, located in Haryana and the Punjab.

8 Apr 2010
Green Axe

The New York Times ( March 29th ) has a story taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'. It is striking, it notes, how many objects discussed by the series were symbolic rather than functional. For example, the famous 'gold cape' that was equisitely impractible, or an elaborate bronze bell from 5th century China that could hardly have been used in a practical way. An axe found near Canterbury and roughly 6000 years old was made of polished green jade (or jadeite).

8 Apr 2010
Cows Milk

The Observer April 4th (see has a story about cows being the key to human success in Europe. A study of the remains of 20,000 people from the 8th century BC to the 18th century AD has found that during the Roman Empire period our level of nutrition declined - but increased again in the 'dark ages' and the reintroduction of traditional northern European farming with it's emphasis on dairying.

8 Apr 2010

Aurorae (see March 29th) has an interesting article on the recognition that aurorae had electro-magnetic properties. In 1740 Anders Celsius, the inventor of the centigrade scale named after him, interpreted aurorae as an electro-magnetic anomaly after he noticed a large compass needle on his desk top changed orientation whenever an aurorae was visible in the sky above Uppsala in Sweden. In 1861 Benjamin Marsh theorised that an auroral streamer is a current of electricity that originates in the upper parts of the atmosphere.

9 Apr 2010

At has a story on Greenland glaciers - and what lies beneath them. The research is of course AGW orientated, but useful - the role of water flowing beneath the glaciers. They have found that such water has little actual influence on ice loss around the coast - which is caused by inter-action with the ocean.

9 Apr 2010
Solar flares and climate

At a new study has debunked a previous hypothesis suggesting the existence of a link between solar flares and changes in the earth's global temperature. Between 2003 and 2008 Scafetta and West analysed data that seemed to show solar flares influence temperature (published in Physical Review Letters) but the new research, published in the same journal, re-examined the data and found shortcomings.

9 Apr 2010
Tails of a Recent Comet

At there is a reference to an SIS article, 'Tails of a Recent Comet' by Milton Zysman and Frank Wallace, in which they describe eskers and drumlins that appear to swarm up hills and across streams and valleys in discontinuous strands sometimes for 100s of km. They say they have their parallel beneath the oceans - a reference I think to the material attributed to iceberg activity in the Heinrich event model.

9 Apr 2010
Tell Zeidan

Science Daily April 6th ( ) is all about the mound of Tell Zeidan near Raqqa in Syria, close to where the Euphrates branches into two. The site has been abandoned for 6000 years, it is claimed, and as such preserves a society rich in detail as far as trade, copper metallurgy (it dates prior to the Bronze Age) and pottery production is concerned.