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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13 Feb 2012
Solar Cycle

At the Wikipedia entry on the solar cycle is interesting - it looks at the history of the subject and notes that as long ago as 1908 sunspots were shown to  be strongly magnetised, and a bit later, the magnetic polarity of sunspot pairs was recogised - and the 22/11 years sunspot cycle. Now, as science doesn't proceed as agreeably as it is suggested at Wikipedia we can imagine there was some scepticism of this new finding.

13 Feb 2012
Clams and African iron smelting

At ... clams have been found at hydro-thermal vents in the deep ocean - in the Mariana Trench. This is located in the western Pacific, east of the Mariana Islands and the trench is around 1580 miles in length - a sort of underwater Rift Valley and created, it is thought, by one plate moving beneath another (paper published in PNAS, Feb 9th 2012).

13 Feb 2012
How contrary views are suppressed

At there is an article by a scientists who has worked at the US Geological Survey for over 40 years and is the author of 100 refereed articles from 1950 to the present etc. He accepts Plate Tectonics as a working hypothesis but he now realises one component of the theory, mantle plumes, is quite wrong (in his opinion, I should add). He was surprised at the antagonism his scepticism produced - and clearly it is not just climate science that generates bad feeling or brickbats instead of honest evaluation of new ideas.

11 Feb 2012
Venus ... variable day lengths

An unusual story can be found at (hat tipped towards member Gary Gilligan) from the European Space Agency web site, 10th February 2012. ESAs Venus Express spacecraft has discovered Venus is rotating a little slower than when it was previously measured in the 1990s by NASAs Magellan Orbiter spacecraft. The measurements are said to be precise and detailed and the idea appears to be to find out if Venus has a liquid or a solid core. What might cause it to slow? It has a dense atmosphere which could influence the rotation rate, it is argued.

11 Feb 2012
Magnetic Stripes on the Sea Floor

One suspects that many things have been factored into the uniformitarian scientific model not because they are inherently more likely than alternative ideas that are discarded but merely because they fit the pattern of the uniformitarian hypothesis. One of these is the discovery in the early 1960s of magnetic stripes on the sea floor, firstly in deep Atlantic waters, and then in other ocean basins such as the Pacific. In one of those Eureka moments several strands of science came together and locked in Plate Tectonics with the Milankovitch cycle of eccentricity.

10 Feb 2012
Black Holes gobbling Asteroids and Comets

This story is at and apparently the giant black hole at the centre of our galaxy may be devouring asteroids and comets, or anything that comes within munching reach. This, it is argued, will explain the frequent flares observed by NASAs Chandra x-ray observatory. The paper, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that large numbers of asteroids are needed in order to produce the amount of flaring in the assumed black hole. Why else would the flaring take place?

10 Feb 2012
The short and the long of the Siberian Traps

A new paper has suggested the Siberian Traps caused a long drawn out mass extinction at the Permian/Triassic boundary - described as a 'mass dying event' by some geologists as a result of so many species becoming extinct - to be replaced during the Triassic by new species that appear to have expanded relatively quickly. However, back in November the timeline of the event was much quicker - see where it is said it took place in the blink of an eye in geological time, a mere 20,000 years.

8 Feb 2012
Younger Dryas impact theory has not gone away

At news of a new paper, 'Framboidal iron oxide: chondrite like material from the black mat, Murray Springs, Arizona' where it is argued they are the product of a hyper velocity event. This paper, and another recent one by Andronikov, come a year after another group of researchers claimed the YD impact hypothesis had been put to bed. George Howard clearly thinks it still has some mileage - the evidence is piling up, he says. In contrast, the science press is keeping a low profile - very low.

8 Feb 2012
The Moon and the Weather

In the grander picture the galaxy rotates at a roughly constant velocity and relative to this the Sun and its planetary system move around the galactic centre in an elliptical orbit estimated to take around 240 million years - see The Sun and the solar system have a round and round motion around the galactic centre and an up and down motion across the galactic plane - simultaneously.

8 Feb 2012
Richard Mackey and the orbit of the Sun around the barycentre of the solar system

There is surprisingly a lot a sites out there that picked up on Richard Mackey's article in 2007. For instance, at ... it seems Jupiter moves on an eloptic trajectory and one Jovian year = 11.86 Earth years. Is it thus a coincidence that one sunspot cycle of the Sun takes 11 years?