Siding Spring update

At http://phys.org/print336388496.html ... the approach of comet Siding Spring to the planet Mars a few weeks ago has now been updated by including images and data from the Indian space mission to Mars. A streak appears to radiate out of the comet's nucleus and it is this ejection of dust and gas that might have caused the meteor storm - but again, it may have nothing to do with dust or gas. At the same time, it is being suggested by NASA that this was a one in 8 million years event - quite how they arrive at that estimate is left unsaid.

Ice Cores

Some interesting ideas on the ice cores. Are the mainstream dates acceptable because they fit into the uniformitarian model as they appear to rely on oxygen isotopes for dating the cores. An alternative method of dating the cores may have been rejected because the dates did not match the theory. This fascinating debate can be found at

http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/the-great-greenland-snow-job-0...

http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/the-great-greenland-snow-job-0...

Bees

Polar Bears have been out of it recently - or mostly so. They are in fact thriving. However, environmentalists have found something else to latch on - something with a sting. Bees. At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/26/claim-a-warming-world-may-spell-ba... ... is one of those stories you can't really say anything about - without being rude. Bees are in the news, it seems, and threaten our food supplies. I seem to have seen a lot of bees in the garden and elsewhere during 2014 - but there was a shortage of wasps. Very noticeable in August.

Milton Zysman

Milton Zysman, when discussing extinction events, said that around 30,000 years ago (please note modern calculations are anything between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago) the Earth reversed its magnetic field. This, he claimed, coincided with the appearance of modern humans and the disappearance of the Neanderthals (in western Asia and Europe). He suggested that electrical exchanges between the Earth and a passing comet was involved in the reversal event. It may even have toppled the axis of rotation, he said, re-establishing itself in an inverted position.

Baker's Hole

Baker's Hole at Ebbsfleet in Kent is an old chalk quarry situated next to a big railway station on HS1 and contains sediments going 250,000 years ago - which include Palaeolithic remains (Neanderthal). Stone tools, mammoth teeth and fossilised bones of deer, bison and lions have already come to light. See http://phys.org/print335608632.html

Rosetta Update

At http://phys.org/print335689483.html ... the spacecraft is still orbiting the comet but is not in contact with the probe. However, it is able to continue with its own research, gathering data. In the long term it is hoped that Rosetta will be around long enough to witness the development of the comet's coma - as it get closer to the Sun.

A boulder that was swallowed by a lot of clay

At http://phys.org/print335727974.html ... builders in Everett, Washington State, came across the boulder 30 feet beneath the ground - a rather large pebble

Tibet

Humans have been present on the high Tibetan plateau for at least 20,000 years and permanent villages have been there since 3200BC. Solid evidence of growing crops such as millet, barley and wheat is found from 1600BC onwards, which is remarkable as the plateau is between 2500m (8200feet) and 3400m (11,154 feet) in altitude. Even more remarkable is the fact that wheat and barley are crops more usually identified with western Asia rather than eastern Asia. Is this evidence of migration? (see http://physorg.com/print335713806.html).

vitrified forts in Scotland

Euan Mackie in an article, 'Can European Prehistory Detect Large Scale Natural Disasters?' came up with an interesting solution to the mystery of the vitrified forts of Scotland. Various strange ideas have been aired to account for them but the simplest solution is very often the most likely. For example, archaeologists were fond of suggesting that the wood was set alight at the point of building them, supposing they were a sort of design feature. The idea was mostly ditched when it became clear vitrification involved actually weakening the structure.

Solent archaeology washing away in the tides

The Mesolithic community discovered by a team of divers off Bouldnor Cliff on the Isle of Wight is being eroded away - by the actions of the tide. Previously it had been a buried and unknown feature on what is now the sea bed. In the Mesolithic period, or rather, prior to 6000BC, the Solent was dry land - through which a river flowed on its way to the sea at an undisclosed location deep in the English Channell. The story can be found at http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/solents-stone-age-v...