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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8 Dec 2010
Solar flares -- and solar activity

The NASA website and various blogs such as December 7th have video clips of a massive flare on the surface of the Sun (see below). This follows the malfunction of one of NOAAs weather satellites a day or so ago - also as a result of solar activity.

8 Dec 2010
A Jupiter sized dark object lurking at the edge of the solar system ... and trillions of potential earths

These two stories come from December 7th ... and one begins by claiming comet data over the last hundred years suggests there is a dark Jupiter sized object lurking at the edge of the solar sysem - and it may be hurling ice and dust chunks towards the earth. Planetary scientist John Matese thinks there is a hidden companion to the Sun in the Oort Cloud that is responsible for the trajectories of comets.

8 Dec 2010
Australian fire history

A paper in Quaternary Science Review (see ) claims Aborigines were not responsible for landscape fires and other environmental impacts shortly after their arrival, assumed to be around 50,000 years ago - but in  reality, an unknown. On long timescales fire activity in Australia reflects prevailing climate - less during cold glacial periods and greater activity in warmer phases.

8 Dec 2010
Dogs and Maths

At,1518,732654,00.html 'Egyptian dog bones could help solve canine conundrum'. Scientists are trying to work out how the wolf evolved into 400 breeds of dog - and they have turned their attention on Egypt and the cult of Anubis, the Jackal god. Thousands of mummified dogs (as well as jackals, foxes, and hyenas) were placed in what is a huge cave. Other cemeteries exist of other cult animals - such as cats, snakes, baboons, mice, fish, crocodiles and bulls.

8 Dec 2010
City of David

At ... Robert Draper in the December 2010 issue of National Geographic has an article on the controversy around David and Solomon - was Jerusalem the centre of a glorious empire or was it just a small scale early Iron Age affair? It begins with Eilat Mazar and her claim that a low stone wall abutting an ancient terraced retaining wall some 60 feet high, was the work of Hiram of Tyre in the time of David.

8 Dec 2010
Israel in Palestine before pharaoh Merenptah?

This paper by Peter van der Veen, well known to SIS, with co-authors C Thies and Manfred Gorg, was published in the Journal of Egyptian Interconnections, and it bears heavily on the debate surrounding David and Solomon. I downloaded the article in pdf format from December 7th so it is just one click away - in full. It concerns a 19th dynasty inscription, possibly from the reign of Ramses II, but is said to have resemblances reminiscent of the Merenptah stele.

7 Dec 2010
Flickering flares

At ... astronomers have been looking at the waxing and waning light of exploding stars and have seen patterns that aren't yet accounted for within the consensus view. The paper was published in The Astrophysical Journal and the instrument used in the study was the Solar Mass Ejection Imager in California.

7 Dec 2010
Rivers cut notches in glacial valleys

Again, can be found at ... a geological conumdrum as rivers form steep inner gorges in some broad glacial valleys in the Alps. The U shaped valleys were formed by slow moving glaciers, eroding the bedrock over hundreds and thousands of years. When the glaciers receded rivers carved V shaped notches, or inner gorges, into the flow of the glacial valleys.

7 Dec 2010
Roman Sea Level ... and a paper blasting climate models

There are currently a succession of very good posts at EM Smith (December 6th) begins by bemoaning the constant bleating about the hottest year ever - before it has reached its end. As many other people have looked at the medieval warming he thought it might be interesting to look at what is called the Roman Optimum.

7 Dec 2010
Archaeology Round-Up

At ... Tel Aviv University archaeologists have explored Naukritis, a Greek trade emporium in Egypt during the 7th and 6th centuries BC. It existed under the protection of powerful political forces, namely the Lydian empire which had a formal alliance with the Egyptian Empire. The Lydians, at the time, controlled the Greek settlements in Ionia, and in western Anatolia.