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 Jul 2010
Polynesian Pyramids

At we have a story on Polynesian temples on one particular island, Mo'orea - their evolution from small to monumental pyramids took place in less than 140 years. A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used what is said to be high precision thorium/uranium dating methodology to process samples of decorative veneers and religious offerings - all made of coral, found at 22 different temple sites.

13 Jul 2010
Titbits on archaeology reports

At excavators at a Late Bronze Age settlement on Cyprus might be of interest to chronologists, especially revisionists, as a rich assemblage of imported and local bronze and pottery has been unearthed. There are many Aegean artifacts as well as imports from the Levant and Egypt - so a series of interconnections can be determined.

13 Jul 2010
Gravity and the Big Bang

At July 12th ... a paper in Physical Review Letters might cause a stir as it says the theory of gravity as proposed by Arthur Eddington may require a review. Eddington was on an island off the coast of West Africa where he witnessed a solar eclipse and noticed the Sun's gravity bends starlight, an observation he thought which substantiated Einstein's 'general relativity'. Somewhat later, he appears to have had misgivings, and suggested it might mean something quite different.

13 Jul 2010
Bacteria is complicated stuff, don't you just know ...

At we learn that bacteria is proving to be more complex than scientists have thought previously - just another surprise nature has sprung on the considered opinion of a scientific discipline. A paper in Molecular Microbiology describes an example of that complexity as a molecular reaction inside the cell involving proteins. It modifies and thuse affects the function of those proteins - including the mechanism responsible for turning genes on and off.

13 Jul 2010
Pliocene Warmth

At July 13th ... we are informed, soaring Arctic temperatures may have almost reached tipping point. However, before dismissing this as just another scary tale funded by AGW 'big money' grants, we need to find out why they think the Arctic is so sensitive to what has been so far a minimal amount of warming. It stems from a connection made between the modern world and the Pliocene epoch.

12 Jul 2010
Zahi Hawass and C14 dating methodology

See ... Zahi Hawass, commenting on the new Bayesian C14 dates as reported on In the News June 18th (as published in Science). He says carbon 14 has a margin of error of 100 years. In order to date Egyptian dynasties we need specific dates, C14 should not be used to make changes to the chronology of ancient Egypt, not even as a helpful addition. We can use geoarchaeology, DNA, laser scanning - but carbon dating is unclear.

12 Jul 2010

At July 10th ... we have a story about the birth of Aphrodite but rather than rising up out of the foam of the sea she appears to have merged out of a fiery furnace - in this instance, Aprhodite of myth (a goddess figure) is equated with the planet Venus. Hence, the story is really about discoveries made by the 'Venus Express' of the atmosphere of that planet. In addition, it concerns the Russian Venura class landing vehicles that revealed a rock strewn and sandy terrain - with a surface temperature of 500 degrees.

9 Jul 2010
shrinking protons

a paper in Nature July 8th (see ) indicates protons are smaller than previously thought - by some 4 per cent. This doesn't sound a big deal, you might think, but scientists say this could have 'enormous implications' and 'something is 'drastically wrong'. It could be there is something amiss with quantum electro-dynamics, the theory of how light and matter interact by incorporating Einstein's special relativity into quantum mechanics (see also pre-publication news report on In the News last week).

9 Jul 2010
Plant genes is a story about how it is thought the wild grass teosinte developed into corn (maize). Experiments in domestication have shown it is possible that domestic plants took fewer than 20 generations to take place - a very short space of time. This appears to contradict the archaeology and this article is a bit of a fight-back by palaeo-botanists against geneticists.

8 Jul 2010
Hoard of Roman Coins in a field in Somerset

Some 52,500 bronze and silver coins dating from the 3rd century AD have been  found by a hobby metal detectorist in a field near Frome in the West Country. It is the largest single hoard ever found in Britain - and they all date between 253-293AD. A Roman road ran nearby but there is no trace, as yet, of a villa or settlement, so it is a bit puzzling. Archaeologists said that hoards are usually buried at times of invasion and civil unrest - the Irish and Saxon raids of the 5th century might be a more fitting time.