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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20 Jun 2011
Odd Mercury

Mercury isn't a bit like it was supposed to be. NASAs Messenger spacecraft shows craters on the planet that are deep and cold enought to hold frozen water - but Mercury is the rock closest to the Sun. Images of other regions indicate large eruptions have taken place - which somehow they can date to 3.7 billion years ago. When journalists or press releases express these numbers with such certainty one can't help being amused - but then again someone must have fed them the information. Craters are in fact thought to be buried beneath the lava - or basalt floor of the planet.

20 Jun 2011
The St Kilda archipelago

BBC News (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13753643?print=true ) on June 17th reported on archaeologists discovering an extensive field system and terraces cut for cultivation on Boreray, a small island in the archipelago. The evidence was covered in turf and soil but is unmistakable - at some point in the past farmers lived on this small outcrop in the Atlantic which today is home just to seabirds. The St Kilda group lie some 41 miles from the Hebrides - and there is deep water between them.

18 Jun 2011
The star eaten by a black hole

This story is at http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/06/16/black-hole-eats-star-producing... is actually what was drawn from the appearance of a bright flash of light observed on March 25th by a camera on a satellite. The news report has the title, 'black hole eats star, producing bright gamma-ray flash'. However, in the next sentence we are led to understand it is an hypothesis to explain the bright flash of light - and a black hole has not actually been seen but merely intimated by what is thought might cause such a bright flash of light.

18 Jun 2011
Comet Hartley2 - provisional diagnosis

NASA has released preliminary information on its Deep Impact mission of November 2010 when a spacecraft flew near Comet Hartley2. It is a small cosmic body with a six and a half year orbit around the Sun and appears to eject huge amounts of dust and gas. Most of this activity, they say, is confined to one part of the comet - which they describe as a large halo of fluffy, icy grains. Chandra detected x-ray emissions - due to the impact of atoms in the solar wind with molecular gas surrounding the comet.

18 Jun 2011
Points of Climate view

At www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/6/16/ideological-money-laundering.html ... this story is based on some muddling around and genuine research by Steve McIntyre over at www.climateaudit.org and a reaction to it by Mark Lynas, the author of several pro-AGW books and a climate change blogger still insisting the science is right. Obviously, he reads the McIntyre blog - and also Bishop Hill as he made a comment. Lots of people who are not sceptic must read the blogs just to see where the other side is at - and Steve McIntyre hit the needle on its head.

16 Jun 2011
Nok

The Roman Warm Period that began in around 200BC and lasted until the 3rd century AD seems to have had an effect on tropical Africa as well (not necessarily as far as climate is concerned but in so far as the flowering of culture has been ascertained).

16 Jun 2011
Bats, the furry things, and Vikings, the bearded ones

At www,cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(08)0075-3 there is an abstract of an article in Current Biology on bat fatalities near wind turbines, and one of the causes is called barotrauma - rapid air pressure reduction changes that creates damage to their lungs due to an expansion of air in the lungs that is not accommodated by the appropriate exhalation. Contact with blades was perhaps responsible for half the bat fatalities but barotrauma was a strong secondarily cause.

15 Jun 2011
Magnetic Ropes and Solar Storms

George Mason University scientists have discovered that giant magnetic ropes are the cause of solar storms. Jie Zheng and Xin Cheng used images from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. It seems they are a long suspected process but could not previously be seen as the ropes moves extremely quickly. Magnetic ropes trigger solar eruptions which send charged plasma into space. When the magnetised cloud reaches earth a huge amount of energy comes into contact with the magnetosphere of the earth.

15 Jun 2011
Solar doomsaying

It seems the sceptic blogosphere is doing a bit of doomsaying of it's own over the last few days - latching on to a controversial claim that the next Sun cycle (we are only half way through the present one) will be void of sun spots - like the Maunder Minimum of the Little Ice Age. We don't know but some sceptics are getting excited - if the world enters a new very cold phase of climate that might put to bed AGW but it will be a tragedy. Cold is a killer - unlike warm weather, which is a blessing.

14 Jun 2011
Art and Science

More information on the upcoming Electric Universe conference on July 6-9th in Maryland, the US of A.