Physics and Cosmology

www.physorg.com January 28th ... One goal of the Large Hadron Collider is to find the Higgs boson, the only particle in the standard model that has not yet been discovered. Now, some physicists are suggesting, because it has not as yet been found, the Higgs is not actually a particle but an unparticle called the Unhiggs. At the present, the authors say, it is hard to say whether the idea is useful - or true, or whether it will solve problems troubling particle physicists.

Catastrophic Scenarios (real or imagined)

Science Daily January 27th ... the Neanderthals are now said to have died out in Iberia 37,000 years ago, coinciding with dramatic changes in climate and environment. Accurate C14 dating was achieved via the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator from a sample of cave sediment. This date is 5000 years younger than the demise of Neanderthals north of the Pyrenees but C14 techniques are notoriously difficult around the upper limits at 40,000 years ago. The new C14 methods developed in laboratories such as Vienna are thought to be much more reliable.

Earth Science Stories

Science Daily, January 21st ... the Kimmeridge Clay deposit is a well known geological formation that runs across middle England - only surfacing at a few points that have been worn down by glaciation but underlying a great swathe of later geological formations. It was deposited in the Late Jurassic between 160 and 145 million years ago and is the main oil source rock in the North Sea. Within the Kimmeridge Clay (which can be seen on Dorset's Jurassic coast and in various quarries) there are divisions, one of which contains many fossils and the other which has none.

Space Anomalies

Science Daily January 20th ... MIT professor Richard Binzel has examined what influence Earth might have on asteroids - which appear to be substantial. He has determined what happens when an asteroid comes within a certain range and found that the Earth causes, what he describes as 'seismic shaking' of the asteroid, an attempt to understand what is happening. The shaking, he says, is strong enough to bring regoliths to the surface, creating the kind of meteorites that regularly fall through the atmosphere of the Earth.

Chronological Matters

Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines and Early History, Atlanta, Society of Biblical Literature: 2009 ... an in-depth study of the different groups associated with Palestine at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. The chronology is conventional but this is an important study of a period of history often misrepresented by historians. It concerns the actual origins of Israel.

Anthropology

The Guardian January 22nd ... Israel is to fund a genetic study to determine if there is a link between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pashtun peoples of southern Afghanistan and its borders. The Afride tribe has been chosen for the study, many of whom live in northern India. Afride has been linked rather speculatively to Ephraim, while another tribe, the Yusufzai, are said to derive from Joseph.

Astronomy and Space

University of Buffalo News June 11th 2002 ... this is interesting though an old post. Research has squeezed evidence out of ice cores to show that sun spots have an affect on climate. Sun spots coincide with strong solar activity - such as we had around the turn of the millennium at the height of the AGW apocalyptic scaremongering. The research found that ice cores also include evidence of dust in the atmosphere (volcanic, cosmic, wind blown etc) and when this happens global temperatures are lower.

Douglas Keenan

www.informath.org ... the on-running web site of Dougls Keenan has some interesting articles including one on C14 dating and tree rings. Douglas Keenan has also been in the news of late in a dispute with Queens University Belfast over access to tree ring data. He wants this data specifically for global warming purposes which is not exactly what it was compiled for - or indeed used in the past. Queens have refused access, for whatever reason, one being that the tree ring unit closed down when Mike Baillie retired a few years ago.

Silbury Hill, and other archaeological news

Gazette and Herald, February 2nd ... letters that were archived over 200 years ago seem to suggest Silbury Hill may originally have been constructed around a huge pillar - or tree trunk. Letters written in 1776 and stored in the British Library describe a 40 foot pole which once stood at the centre of the hill - when it was much smaller, little more than a large mound. When the hill was built up to its present size the tree trunk was buried in situ as on separate excavations a long cavity was found or fragments of oak timber within a cavity.

Younger Dryas Event Update (January 2009)

George Howard, on his web site/ blog http://cosmictusk.com is reporting on the Fall Meeting of the AGU which included a session on the Younger Dryas boundary event. In the first of what will be several reports George begins with two speakers, Wally Broecker on the sceptics side, and Allen West, on the pro.