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Comet 2

Study confirms that it was a giant meteorite impact that caused massive extinction in the late Cretaceous

Impact Event
© Universitat de Barcelona
The Zumaia cliffs are characterized by an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma).
A study published in the journal Geology rules out that extreme volcanic episodes had any influence on the massive extinction of species in the late Cretaceous. The results confirm the hypothesis that it was a giant meteorite impact what caused the great biological crisis that ended up with the non-avian dinosaur lineages and other marine and terrestrial organisms 66 million years ago.

The study was carried out by the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona, and the experts Vicente Gilabert, Ignacio Arenillas and José Antonio Arz, from the University Research Institute on Environmental Sciences of Aragon (IUCA-University of Zaragoza).

K/Pg boundary: the great extinction of the Cretaceous in Zumaia coasts

The scenario of this study were the Zumaia cliffs (Basque Country), which have an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma). In this environment, the team analyzed sediments and rocks that are rich in microfossils that were deposited between 66.4 and 65.4 Ma, a time interval that includes the known Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (K/Pg). Dated in 66 Ma, the K/Pg boundary divides the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and it coincides with one of the five large extinctions of the planet.

This study analysed the climate changes that occurred just before and after the massive extinction marked by the K/Pg boundary, as well as its potential relation to this large biological crisis. For the first time, researchers examined whether this climate change coincides on the time scale with its potential causes: the Deccan massive volcanism (India) ─one of the most violent volcanic episodes in the geological history of the planet─ and the orbital variations of the Earth.

"The particularity of the Zumaia outcrops lies in that two types of sediments accumulated there ─some richer in clay and others richer in carbonate─ that we can now identify as strata or marl and limestone that alternate with each other to form rhythms", notes the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics of the UB. "This strong rhythmicity in sedimentation is related to cyclical variations in the orientation and inclination of the Earth axis in the rotation movement, as well as in the translational movement around the Sun".

These astronomic configurations ─the known Milankovitch cycles, which repeat every 405,000, 100,000, 41,000 and 21,000 years─, regulate the amount of solar radiation they receive, modulate the global temperature of our planet and condition the type of sediment that reaches the oceans. "Thanks to these periodicities identified in the Zumaia sediments, we have been able to determine the most precise dating of the climatic episodes that took place around the time when the last dinosaurs lived", says PhD student Vicente Gilabert, from the Department of Earth Sciences at UZ, who will present his thesis defence by the end of this year.

Bullseye

Ironic: The role of variants in driving Covid surges is good news for sceptics

covid coronavirus illustration
As an addendum to my piece yesterday on the evidence for variants driving Covid surges, a comparison between India and neighbouring Bangladesh is illuminating. Once again, the curves below are the positive test rate and they are superimposed on the graphs of variant proportions over time from the CoVariants website.

India

India has had one large surge in 2021 so far, occurring in spring and associated with the Delta variant (which was first identified there; in dark green). It has had no summer surge, and no new variant since.
india covid variants infections
© CoVarients.org
India

Stock Down

The 'pandemic' has ended for much of India - how did they do it? Ivermectin

india ivermectin
Dr. Pierre Kory, an American pulmonary and critical care specialist and founding member of FLCCC, is "thrilled as the pandemic for much of India is over." Cases are rare, deaths near zero - in Indian states which use ivermectin in early treatment protocols.

In Uttar Pradesh, India, 33 districts have been declared "Covid-free." With a combined population of 241 million there are only 199 active cases and the positive test rate is 0.01% - statistically zero. It is a poor state and worse, the most-populous in the nation and has extremely high-density cities — the most-fertile environment imaginable for a pandemic virus — yet they defeated Covid with a cheap, widely-available drug.
india ivermectin
Last month, The Desert Review wrote: "The New York Times reported India's colossal drop in Covid cases was unexplainable, while the BBC declared that Kerala's rise was also a mystery. While new cases of Covid in Uttar Pradesh are rare as million-dollar lottery tickets, in Kerala, a tiny state located in southern India, new daily cases are the same as the United States, nearly one case per thousand. Yet, as we have seen in this series, there has been a curious media blackout on India's overall success against Covid ... So, what could Kerala be doing wrong? Hint: Over-reliance on vaccines and under-reliance on ivermectin."

Last year, India developed a "miraculously" effective and safe Covid treatment kit - containing zinc, doxycycline and ivermectin - costing merely $2.65 (£1.93) per person. As early as March 2020, India recommended hydroxychloroquine ("HCQ") in its national guidelines affirming it "should be used as early in the disease course as possible." But following the June 2020 discovery of ivermectin's efficacy in treating the virus, Uttar Pradesh announced in August 2020 that it was replacing their HCQ protocol with ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of Covid.

Toys

Satellite photo reveals wreckage of $2 BILLION US B-2 Stealth bomber, landing gear gave way after emergency landing - reports

B-2 Spirit stealth bomber crash

While it hasn't been confirmed this was the cause, satellite images seem to coincide with theory of the gear collapse/wing down aspect of the incident
Satellite images show the exact moment a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, one of the most deadly weapons in the United States' military arsenal and worth $2billion, crash landed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri yesterday.

Sources said the B-2 experienced a hydraulic failure during a routine training and had its port main landing gear collapse during landing. As a result, the B-2 was sent off the runway with its wing dug into the ground.

While it hasn't been confirmed this was the cause, satellite images seem to coincide with theory of the gear collapse/wing down aspect of the incident.

Comment: It's not a good sign, and it certainly doesn't seem like the bomber would be much match for the latest technology coming out of Russia. Although, the Pentagon did just get another hike in its budget, this time an eyewatering $24 BILLION, so it could waste even more taxpayers money on these kind of projects should it wish:


Chalkboard

Bootstrapping geometric 'theory space'

geometric theory space bootstrap
© davidope
A decades-old method called the "bootstrap" is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.

In the 1960s, the charismatic physicist Geoffrey Chew espoused a radical vision of the universe, and with it, a new way of doing physics. Theorists of the era were struggling to find order in an unruly zoo of newfound particles. They wanted to know which ones were the fundamental building blocks of nature and which were composites. But Chew, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, argued against such a distinction. "Nature is as it is because this is the only possible nature consistent with itself," he wrote at the time. He believed he could deduce nature's laws solely from the demand that they be self-consistent.

Scientists since Democritus had taken a reductionist approach to understanding the universe, viewing everything in it as being built from some kind of fundamental stuff that cannot be further explained. But Chew's vision of a self-determining universe required that all particles be equally composite and fundamental. He conjectured that each particle is composed of other particles, and those others are held together by exchanging the first particle in a process that conveys a force. Thus, particles' properties are generated by self-consistent feedback loops. Particles, Chew said, "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Chart Bar

Paradoxes in the reporting of Covid19 vaccine effectiveness

pfizer moderna vaccine vials
© REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021.
The full pdf version of the following article (which includes the Appendix) can be found here.

Why current studies (for or against vaccination) cannot be trusted and what we can do about it

The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to establish the safety and effectiveness of Covid19 vaccines produced impressive results (Polack et al., 2020) but were inevitably limited in the way they assessed safety (Folegatti et al., 2020)[1] and are effectively continuing (Ledford, Cyranoski, & Van Noorden, 2020; Singh et al., 2021). Ultimately, the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines will be determined by real world observational data over the coming months and years.

However, data from observational studies on vaccine effectiveness can easily be misinterpreted leading to incorrect conclusions. For example, we previously noted the Public Health England data shown in Figure 1 for Covid19 cases and deaths of vaccinated and unvaccinated people up to June 2021. Overall, the death rate was three times higher in the vaccinated group, leading many to conclude that vaccination increases the risk of death from Covid19. But this conclusion was wrong for this data because, in each of the different age categories (under 50 and 50+), the death rate was lower in the vaccinated group.
Public Health England

Figure 1 Data from Public Health England, June 2021
This is an example of Simpson's paradox (Pearl & Mackenzie, 2018). It arises here because most vaccinated people were in the 50+ category where most deaths occur. Specifically: a) a much higher proportion of those aged 50+ were vaccinated compared to those aged <50; and b) those aged 50+ are much more likely to die.

Beaker

Ioannidis on the politicization of science

scientists
Like other academics, I first became aware of John Ioannidis through his influential 2005 paper "Why Most Published Research Findings are False." That essay was widely praised as a salutary reminder from one scientist to his fellows of the need for their field to be self-critical. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Ioannidis would become far more widely known, this time for expressing skepticism about some of the scientific claims being made about the virus and the measures taken to deal with it. His warnings were in the same spirit as that of his earlier work, and presented in the same measured and reasonable manner - but this time they were not so warmly received. In a new essay at The Tablet, Ioannidis reflects on the damage that has been done to the norms of scientific research as politics has corrupted it during the pandemic.

The specific norms Ioannidis has in mind are, he says, "the Mertonian norms of communalism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism." The reference is to an influential account of scientific method proposed by sociologist Robert Merton. Science should be communal in the sense that research ought to be communicated to and shared with all scientists. It should be universal in the sense of being judged by objective and impersonal criteria. It should be disinterested in the sense that research should be pursued for its own sake rather than for the purpose of promoting some political agenda or personal aggrandizement. It should be skeptical in the sense that scientists should make testable claims and welcome critical evaluations of their research.

Ioannidis notes several respects in which these norms have been violated over the last year and a half. I want to call attention to two of his points in particular: the deleterious role that social media have played, and the damage that the politicization of science has done to science itself and to public health.

Pi

Unique quantum physical effect demonstrated in Russian lab

particle physics quantum effects
© Creative Commons
An international team of scientists led by experts from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI) were the first to demonstrate the recently predicted quantum electrodynamics effect. According to the authors, the results could improve the efficiency of solar cells, organic LEDs, and other photovoltaic equipment by several times.

An exciton is a quasiparticle, an auxiliary object of quantum theory, that describes the behaviour of a bound state of a pair of carriers of opposite charges - an electron and a hole. The concept of the exciton, as explained by MEPhI scientists, allows us to describe with high precision, for example, the electrical properties of organic semiconductors during interaction with light.

Cow

Potty-training cows - The MooLoo holds great pootential for reducing carbon emissions

A calf enters the latrine.
© FBN
A calf enters the latrine.
Cows contribute massively to global emissions because of the greenhouse gases they produce. We're not talking hot air here. It's the No. 1s and No. 2s. Which is why potty training can be part of the solution.

On farms, cows graze freely, but that also means they poo and pee freely too. Unfortunately, this waste often contaminates the soil and waterways.

On the other hand, keeping cows in barns causes their urine and faeces to combine. This releases ammonia, which leaches into the soil where microbes convert it to nitrous oxide - the third most impactful greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide.

To get around this, researchers from the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Germany, and the University of Auckland, came up with a novel solution: a potty-training program for cows.

"It's usually assumed that cattle are not capable of controlling defecation or urination," says co-author Jan Langbein from FBN.

"[But] cattle, like many other animals or farm animals, are quite clever and they can learn a lot. So why shouldn't they be able to learn how to use a toilet?"

"People's reaction is, 'crazy scientists,' but actually, the building blocks are there," says Lindsay Matthews of the University of Auckland.

"Cows have bigger urinations when they wake up in the morning, which demonstrates they have the ability to withhold urination. There's nothing in their neurophysiology that radically differentiates them from animals, such as horses, monkeys and cats, that show latrine behaviour."

Nebula

Magnet powerful enough to lift an aircraft carrier arrives in France as part of nuclear fusion project

artificial sun experiment
© Xinhua
China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US are jointly working on the ITER project.
Scientists in France have finally received one of their latest and most impressive tools in the effort to create nuclear fusion: a really big honkin' magnet.

Researchers at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) debuted the first part of the magnet on Thursday when they received it from its American manufacturer, according to The Associated Press. When fully assembled, the magnet stands at a staggering 60 feet tall and is 14 feet in diameter; it's also powerful enough to lift an aircraft carrier.

First-of-a-Kind

The magnet itself is actually known as a "central solenoid." It'll be used as a superconductor to attain the incredible amounts of heat and pressure necessary to produce nuclear fusion. The solenoid can generate a magnetic field roughly 280,000 times stronger than Earth's magnetic field, according to New Scientist.

Comment: China currently holds the record for creating the hottest and longest lasting plasma in their 'artificial sun'
China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new record in the latest experiment, where it achieved a plasma temperature of 216 million Fahrenheit (120 million C) for 101 seconds. Not just that, the scientists working on the "artificial sun", also achieved 288 million Fahrenheit (160 million C) for 20 seconds, according to state media reports.
See also: Why the sun's atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its surface