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Fri, 14 Aug 2020
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Black Death casts a genetic shadow over England

black death england
The Black Death continues to cast a shadow across England. Although the modern English population is more cosmopolitan than ever, the plagues known as the Black Death killed so many people in the Middle Ages that, to this day, genetic diversity is lower in England than it was in the 11th century, according to a new analysis.

Rus Hoelzel at the University of Durham, UK and his colleagues looked at the mitochondrial DNA from human remains at 4th and 11th century archaeological sites in England, and compared them to samples from the modern population stored on DNA databases such as GenBank. They found there was more variation in the ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences than in modern sequences.

Hoelzel thinks random genetic drift may have lowered genetic diversity naturally. But the large unexpected drop in diversity was more likely to have been caused by population crashes following major outbreaks of the Black Death in England during the 1340s and the 1660s.

"The main factors in support of a role for plague are the timing and the fact that it affected different families [to a differing degree]," says Hoelzel.

Comment: Note that, 600 years ago, they CLOSED BORDERS!

This is something only a handful of countries seem prepared to do with the current Coronavirus epidemic. Russia did so wrt China early on, and it has still only recorded two cases, both of them Chinese nationals, and both now recovered.

But the 'Black Death' of the mid-14th century, and its similar recurrences over the next two centuries, were in a whole other league. The astrobiologists are likely correct: truly civilization-decimating viruses come from outer space...

New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection


Arrow Down

Miami Beach impact crater totally ignored by main stream science

If you seek an indication that something is terribly wrong with science look no further. In 2012 brave citizen of Miami Cory Boehne noted that just south of the Port of Miami ship channel, less than two miles from downtown Miami Beach in 30′ of water, was the unmistakable signature of a cosmic collision: A multi-ringed impact complex crater with a central peak.
Impact Crater_1
© NOAA
Cool. At best it is an easily accessible opportunity for complex crater research. So much easier than Greenland or the Moon.

Or, at worst, a chance to demonstrate geological forces other than impact are crafty, and conspire to produce "pseudo-craters" in order to fool pajama scientists like the Tusk.

So what do you think was the response from the scientific "community" to these compelling images? Crickets. Not a word.

Despite what appears to be a sincere attempt to bring some attention to the amazing find, and another wonderful effort by astronomer Charles P.T. O'Dale, as far as I can tell, the community of academic and research scientists in Florida and elsewhere could not get up the gas money to take a boat out there.

See if you can find a single published paper.

Yet again we learn the lesson: The closer the subject hits to home, the more verboten it becomes.

Comet 2

New Comet C/2020 B3 (Rankin)

MPEC 2020-C111, issued on 2020, February 06, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~20) by D. Rankin in the course of the Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96), in images taken on 2020, Jan 29 with a 1.5-m reflector + 10K CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2020 B3 (Rankin).

I performed follow-up measurements of this object while it was still on the PCCP webpage. Stacking of 16 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2020, February 03.2 from X02 Telescope Live (El Sauce, Chile) through a 0.6-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 5" in diameter slightly elongated toward PA 250.

My confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
Comet C/2020 B3 (Rankin)
© Remanzacco Blogspot
Comet C/2020 B3 (Rankin)

Chess

Dems clamor for Bolton impeachment testimony as strategically 'leaked' manuscript claims Trump-Ukraine quid-pro-quo

bolton trump
© Reuters / Leah Millis
John Bolton
Ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton's book claims Donald Trump admitted a Ukraine quid-pro-quo, prompting Democrats to declare it's game-over for the US president, as his supporters dismiss it as yet another nothingburger.

Democrats have renewed their demands for Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial after a manuscript of the inveterate hawk's new tell-all book on his time in the White House asserted Trump had told Bolton the administration should keep sitting on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Kiev reopened an investigation of Burisma Holdings, the natural gas firm tied to former vice president and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden's son.

Trump has flatly denied the claim, accusing his former security council chief of lying to sell books and observing that Bolton "never complained about this at the time of his very public termination" in a tweet on Monday. The president reminded his detractors that he "released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule" and begged them, once again, to read the transcripts of his calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Comment: Those same Democrats refused to let the administration call witnesses during the House sessions. Seems a bit hypocritical now to be demanding more.


Fireball 5

Asteroid fireball explodes over the Great Lakes

Asteroid oevr Great Lakes
© illustration PX Fuel
The asteroid landed in Lake Huron on Tuesday.
The shattered remains of an asteroid now lie on the floor of one of North America's Great Lakes after travelling from beyond Mars to rain down on Earth in a blaze of fire.

Numerous eyewitnesses reported seeing the raging fireball streak across the sky on Tuesday night and experts calculate that it travelled nearly half a billion kilometers before coming to rest in its watery grave on the floor of Lake Huron.

Meteor scientist Peter Brown reported that the trajectory of the space rock's flight reveal that it travelled from the asteroid belt beyond Mars before hitting our planet.

The University of Western Ontario astronomer shared observatory footage on Twitter which captured the space visitor lighting up the night sky.

Info

Yarrabubba is Earth's oldest known impact crater

Yarrabubba Crater
© Google Earth
Evidence that the 70-kilometre wide Yarrabubba crater in outback Western Australia may be the Earth's oldest known meteorite impact structure has been presented in the journal Nature Communications.

Dated at 2.229 billion years, 200 million years older than the next known asteroid strike at Vredefort Dome in South Africa, the impact coincides with the end of a deep freeze known as early Snowball Earth and could have contributed to the ice thawing.

After this time period there are no rock records of large glacial deposits for 400 million years, says lead author Timmons Erickson from NASA Johnson Space Centre, Houston, US.

"Because of this, we were interested in seeing the role that an impact crater could have had during a time of global glaciations and whether an impact could release enough water vapour, a strong greenhouse gas, to significantly warm the planet."

Calculating the impact of the meteorite on an icy continent, they found that it could have sent half a trillion tonnes of water vapour into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the global ice melt.

This highlights why the timing of "extraterrestrial bombardment" is important, as the authors write, so its effects on the Earth's environment can be understood.

To date, the historical impact record is fragmented, making it hard to understand how meteorites affect the planet - apart from the Chicxulub asteroid that triggered the last mass extinction and could explain the ocean's acidification.

Fireball 5

Hurricanes, earthquakes and now a daytime meteor: Fireball blazes over Puerto Rico in broad daylight

meteor puerto rico
© porlosmares / instagram
The US territory has been jolted by a series of powerful tremors since the beginning of this year. The island has also been recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria that ravaged the territory in 2017.

Citizens of Puerto Rico have taken to social media platforms to share photos and videos of an unusual celestial phenomenon they witnessed on Friday afternoon.

In the media posts, a meteor-like fireball was seen swiftly flashing through a blue cloudless sky before disappearing moments later.
puerto rico meteor
© NOAA
A bright meteor fireball disintegrated in the sky over Puerto Rico on January 17 at 4:30 p.m. EST time Friday. This was the moment it detonated in the atmosphere north of the island

Comment: A "rare" event, eh?...

10 Apr 2019: Bright meteor fireball filmed streaking through Puerto Rico skies
27 Jun 2019: Astronomers spotted a car-size asteroid just hours before it exploded over Puerto Rico
26 Jul 2017: Meteor fireball explodes over Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
03 Jun 2016: Bright meteor fireball visible from the entire island of Puerto Rico
03 Apr 2015: Big fireball over Puerto Rico
30 Apr 2014: Meteor fireball blazes over Puerto Rico


Comet 2

New comet discovered by Japanese astronomer

New Comet
© Masayuki Iwamoto
Discovery image taken by Masayuki Iwamoto on 5h 39m JST, Jan. 9, 2020.
A Japanese amateur astronomer has discovered a new comet.

Masayuki Iwamoto of Tokushima Prefecture discovered a new celestial object low in the eastern sky in the dawn on January 9, 2020 (JST) and communicated it to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's window for reports of new astronomical objects. On January 13 (UTC), this object was independently discovered by Gennady Borisov in Crimea. Through analysis of confirmation observations by other observers, this object was determined to be a comet.

Comet 2

Sun swallows newly discovered comet

soho comet sun

Screenshot
A new comet was discovered yesterday, and it's already history. "The first comet discovery of the decade goes to... SOHO!" reports Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC. During the early hours of Jan. 13th, coronagraphs onboard SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spotted the tiny comet plunging into the sun, where it rapidly evaporated:

SOHO is the most prolific comet hunter in history. "It's actually quite unusual that it has taken 13 days for SOHO to find a comet," notes Battams. "This is the furthest we've gone into a new calendar year without a discovery since 2008. We're closing in on 3,900 comets discovered, and should comfortably pass 4,000 sometime this year!"

Comment: See also: Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle


Info

Ancient impact crater discovered in Southern Laos

Impact Crater
© Shutterstock
An ancient impact scattered bits of glassy debris from Asia to Antarctica, but the resulting crater has long eluded detection.
About 790,000 years ago, a meteor slammed into Earth with such force that the explosion blanketed about 10% of the planet with shiny black lumps of rocky debris. Known as tektites, these glassy blobs of melted terrestrial rock were strewn from Indochina to eastern Antarctica and from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. For more than a century, scientists searched for evidence of the impact that created these pitted blobs.

But the crater's location eluded detection — until now.

Geochemical analysis and local gravity readings told researchers that the crater lay in southern Laos on the Bolaven Plateau; the ancient impact was concealed under a field of cooled volcanic lava spanning nearly 2,000 square miles (5,000 square kilometers), the scientists reported in a new study.

When a meteor hits Earth, terrestrial rocks at the impact site can liquefy from the intense heat and then cool into glassy tektites, according to the Jackson School Museum of Earth History at The University of Texas. Scientists can look at the abundance and locations of tektites to help locate an impact, even if the original crater is eroded or concealed, the study authors wrote.

In this case, there were plenty of tektites — so where was the crater?