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Wed, 08 Dec 2021
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Blue Planet

Mammoths survived in Siberia until just 3,900 years ago, climate change likely responsible for extinction, new study reveals

© Flying Puffin (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en).
Replica of a Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The display is from 1979, and the fur is muskox hair.
Thousands of years ago, massive woolly mammoths roamed the Mammoth Steppe — a chilly, but flourishing Arctic ecosystem that was once the largest biome on Earth. These megafauna trampled high grasses and fed on ample vegetation.

Comment: Note that this "ample vegetation" isn't present today in those regions formerly inhabited by mammoths.

Woolly mammoths thrived there — until they disappeared. According to some scientists, the appearance of humans in the Arctic coincided with the extinction of the woolly mammoth.

Now scientists have a new hypothesis — one that lets humans off the hook for the animal's demise. It also suggests a new timeline for woolly mammoth extinction.

Comment: In Of Flash Frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes , Pierre Lescaudron details just how ''woolly' mammoths were perhaps not so woolly after all; that they were likely were temperate creatures, not polar ones; and what these insights reveal about the great shifts our planet has undergone over the last 15,000 years:
Mammoths remains are usually found piled up with other animals, like tiger, antelope, camel, horse, reindeer, giant beaver, giant ox, musk sheep, musk ox, donkey, badger, ibex, woolly rhinoceros, fox, giant bison, lynx, leopard, wolverine, hare, lion, elk, giant wolf, ground squirrel, cave hyena, bear, and many types of birds. Most of those animals could not survive the arctic climate. This is an extra indication that woolly mammoths were not polar creatures.

French prehistorian Henry Neuville conducted the most detailed study of mammoth skin and hair. At the end of his thorough analysis, he wrote the following:
"It appears to me impossible to find, in the anatomical examination of the skin and [hair], any argument in favor of adaptation to the cold."

- H. Neuville, On the Extinction of the Mammoth, Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1919, p. 332.
Last, but not least, the mammoth's diet argues against the creature existing in a polar climate. How could the woolly mammoth sustain its vegetarian diet of hundreds of pounds of daily intake in an arctic region devoid of vegetation for most of the year? How could woolly mammoths find the gallons of water that they had to drink everyday?

To make things worse, the woolly mammoth lived during the ice age, when temperatures were colder than today. Mammoths could not have survived the harsh northern Siberia climate of today, even less so 13,000 years ago when the Siberian climate should have been significantly colder.

The evidence above strongly suggests that the woolly mammoth was not a polar creature but a temperate one. Consequently, at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, 13,000 years ago, Siberia was not an arctic region but a temperate one.
See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Chinese scientists build anti-satellite weapon that can cause explosion inside exhaust

© Shutterstock
China tested its first anti-satellite weapon in 2007 and had been exploring alternative technologies since then.
A team of Chinese military researchers say they have built and tested an anti-satellite robotic device that can place a small pack of explosives into a probe's exhaust nozzle.

Rather than blowing the satellite into pieces, the melt-cast explosive can produce a "time-controlled, steady explosion", Professor Sun Yunzhong and colleagues from the Hunan Defence Industry Polytechnic in Xiangtan wrote in a paper published in the domestic journal Electronic Technology & Software Engineering last month.

The device could stay inside the satellite for an extended period by using a locking mechanism driven by an electric motor. If needed, the process can be reversed to separate it from the target.

satellite nozzle
© Handout
The explosive device fastens itself to the thrust nozzle’s narrowest point.
The project was funded by a government scheme to develop a new type of warhead for rocket missiles, according to the paper.


Physicists announce results that boost evidence for new fundamental physics

Results announced by the LHCb experiment at CERN have revealed further hints for phenomena that cannot be explained by our current theory of fundamental physics.
CERN experiments
© University of Cambridge
In March 2020, the same experiment released evidence of particles breaking one of the core principles of the Standard Model - our best theory of particles and forces - suggesting the possible existence of new fundamental particles and forces.

Now, further measurements by physicists at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory have found similar effects, boosting the case for new physics.

The Standard Model describes all the known particles that make up the universe and the forces that they interact through. It has passed every experimental test to date, and yet physicists know it must be incomplete. It does not include the force of gravity, nor can it account for how matter was produced during the Big Bang, and contains no particle that could explain the mysterious dark matter that astronomy tells us is five times more abundant than the stuff that makes up the visible world around us.

As a result, physicists have long been hunting for signs of physics beyond the Standard Model that might help us to address some of these mysteries.

One of the best ways to search for new particles and forces is to study particles known as beauty quarks. These are exotic cousins of the up and down quarks that make up the nucleus of every atom.


Mosquitos from East Asia spreading throughout Europe could be vector for viruses - study

mosquito italy
© parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com
An invasive species of mosquito from East Asia is slowly spreading throughout Italy and could serve as a vector for viruses, according to a new scientific report.

An article in the Parasites & Vectors scientific journal last week claimed to have evidence that the concerning mosquitos, known as Aedes koreicus, have been expanding toward southwest Italy since being discovered in the north in 2011.

Comment: With the increasing harm to people's health from lockdowns and the experimental vaccine campaign, the situation is ripe for outbreaks of all kinds, and, in addition, it seems that the vast majority of people are oblivious to where possibly the most serious viral threat to humanity comes from: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Is The Government Hyping Shortages? And is 'Vaccination Shedding' Really a Thing?

Bad Guys

Lockdown: Where did 'the science' come from?

In a previous post, I looked at where 'The Science' of community masking came from. Here I'll do the same thing for lockdowns.

As many lockdown sceptics (including myself) have noted, lockdowns represent a radical departure from conventional forms of pandemic management. There is no evidence that, before 2020, they were considered an effective way to deal with influenza pandemics.

In a 2006 paper, four leading scientists (including Donald Henderson, who led the effort to eradicate smallpox) examined measures for controlling pandemic influenza. Regarding "large-scale quarantine", they wrote, "The negative consequences... are so extreme" that this measure "should be eliminated from serious consideration".

Likewise, a WHO report published mere months before the COVID-19 pandemic classified "quarantine of exposed individuals" as "not recommended under any circumstances". The report noted that "there is no obvious rationale for this measure".

And we all know what the U.K.'s own 'Pandemic Preparedness Strategy' said, namely: "It will not be possible to halt the spread of a new pandemic influenza virus, and it would be a waste of public health resources and capacity to attempt to do so."

As an additional exercise, I searched the pandemic preparedness plans of all the English-speaking Western countries (U.K., Ireland, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand) for mentions of 'lockdown', 'lock-down' 'lock down' or 'curfew'.


Infrared light therapy appears to aid dementia patients

infrared light therapy dementia
© Durham University/North News & Pictures
Tracy Sloan with the infrared light therapy helmet. Tracy used the helmet to try and help improve her memory.
Infrared light therapy might have the potential to help people living with dementia, according to researchers.

A pilot study, led by Dr. Paul Chazot, Durham University, UK, and Dr. Gordon Dougal, of Maculume Ltd, found improvements in the memory, motor function and processing skills of healthy people with normal intellectual function for their age.

As a result, the researchers said transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (PBM-T) - where infrared light is self-delivered to the brain using a specially designed helmet worn by the patient — might potentially also have benefits for people with dementia.

They stressed that more research into the use and effectiveness of the therapy was needed, but that the findings of their pilot were promising.

The research is published in the journal Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.



New evidence suggest Earth tipped on its side 84 million years ago

Hold on to your hats, because scientists have found more evidence that Earth tips over from time to time. We know that the continents are moving slowly due to plate tectonics, but continental drift only pushes the tectonic plates past each other. It has been debated for the past few decades whether the outer, solid shell of the Earth can wobble about, or even tip over relative to the spin axis. Such a shift of Earth is called "true polar wander", but the evidence for this process has been contentious. New research published in Nature Communications, led by the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology's Principle Investigator Joe Kirschvink (also a Professor at Caltech) and Prof. Ross Mitchell at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing, provides some of the most convincing evidence to date that such planetary tipping has indeed occurred in Earth's past.
Limestone exposed near Furlo, Italy
© Ross Mitchell
Figure 1.
Scaglia Rossa Limestone exposed near Furlo, Italy, in the Northern Apennine Mountains. Limestone at this locality accumulated on the bottom of a shallow sea, in an arm of the ancient Mediterranean ocean nearly 85 million years ago, during what is called Late Cretaceous time.
True polar wander bears some dissecting. The Earth is a stratified ball, with a solid metal inner core, a liquid metal outer core, and a solid mantle and overriding crust at the surface which we live on. All of this is spinning like a top, once per day. Because the Earth's outer core is liquid, the solid mantle and crust are able to slide around on top of it. Relatively dense structures, such as subducting oceanic plates and massive volcanoes like Hawaii, prefer to be near the Equator, in the same way that your arms like to be out to your side when you are spinning around in an office chair.

Despite this wandering of the crust, Earth' magnetic field is generated by electrical currents in the convecting liquid Ni-Fe metal of the outer core. On long time scales, the overlying wander of the mantle and crust does not affect the core, because those overlying rock layers are transparent to Earth's magnetic field. In contrast, the convection patterns in this outer core are actually forced to dance around Earth's rotation axis, which means that the overall pattern of Earth's magnetic field is predictable, spreading out in the same fashion as iron filings lining up over a small bar magnet. Hence, these data provide excellent information about the direction of the North and South geographic poles, and the tilt gives the distance from the poles (a vertical field means you are at the pole, horizontal tells us it was on the Equator). Many rocks actually record the direction of the local magnetic field as they form, in much the same way that a magnetic tape records your music. For example, tiny crystals of the mineral magnetite produced by some bacteria actually line up like tiny compass needles, and get trapped in the sediments when the rock solidifies. This, "fossil" magnetism can be used to track where the spin axis is wandering relative to the crust.

Arrow Up

Over a thousand cosmic explosions in 47 days detected by FAST

An international research team led by Prof. LI Di and Dr. WANG Pei from National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) caught an extreme episode of cosmic explosions from Fast Radio Burst (FRB) 121102, using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). A total of 1,652 independent bursts were detected within 47 days starting Aug. 29, 2019 (UT).
Fast Radio Burst
Fig. 1 FAST catches a real pulse from FRB 121102.
It is the largest set of FRB events so far, more than the number reported in all other publications combined. Such a burst set allows for the determination, for the first time, of the characteristic energy and energy distribution of any FRB, thus shedding light on the central engine powering FRBs.

These results were published in Nature on Oct. 13, 2021 (US Eastern Time).

FRBs were first detected in 2007. These cosmic explosions can be as short as one-thousandth of a second while producing one year's worth of the Sun's total energy output. The origin of FRBs is still unknown. Although even aliens have been considered in models for FRBs, natural causes are clearly favored by the observations. The recent focuses include exotic hyper-magnetized neutron stars, black holes, and cosmic strings left over from the Big Bang.

Fireball 3

Japanese astronomers record possible impact event on Jupiter

A group of Japanese astronomers just discovered a potential new impact at the planet Jupiter.
Impact Flash Jupiter
Get your scorecards out — Jupiter just took another interplanetary hit. If it's confirmed it would be the 11th observed comet or asteroid strike at the gas giant since the pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter in 1994.

A little more than a month after five amateurs independently recorded a similar flash, a team of astronomers, led by Ko Arimatsu of Kyoto University, filmed this most recent flare in Jupiter's cloud tops at 13:24 UT on Friday, October 15th.

The potential impact flash appears around the 12-second mark in this video of Jupiter made on Friday, October 15th.
Ko Arimatsu / Kyoto University

Fireball 2

Swarm of near-Earth comets linked to recent ice giant Encke's breakup

comet swarm
© NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist's illustration showing a cloud of comet fragments
The longest-studied comets in our solar system have inspired ancient myths, religious fervor and modern scientific controversies. Now, the discovery of 88 asteroids and meteoroids orbitally aligned with one of them, Comet Encke, suggests that they all formed from the relatively recent breakup of an even bigger, icy comet. The findings are welcomed by those who believe Comet Encke and the other products of this astronomical event are responsible for many of Earth's most violent and consequential impacts over the last 20,000 years.

Earlier Evidence

Comet Encke was first observed in 1786 and later identified as the source of numerous annual meteor showers. Known collectively as the Taurids, these showers light up the skies of both the northern and southern hemispheres as Earth passes through a stream of debris created by the comet. (This year, look to the stars throughout November for a glimpse of your own.) In the 1980s, however, astronomer William Napier and astrophysicist Victor Clube suggested that objects larger than your average "shooting star" had arrived from a similar source as the comet.

Comment: Clube's and Napier's hypothesis is being borne out by the worrying increase in fireball counts year-over-year. SOTT's Fire in the Sky section attests to that.