Category Archives: Science

Interwebometry Looks at How the Web is Tied Together

The phenomenal growth of the World Wide Web has led to the study of how to measure the Web (and its growth and its impact on people and other things). The definitions of what and how to measure this stuff and the measurements themselves are called Webometrics.
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Scientists identify Solar System’s internal clock

I doubt you’ll find any news articles that actually put these events together this way, but it seems to me that separate research projects whose findings were published over a year apart have established that the Solar System maintains or runs an internal “clock” that affects planetary behaviors, including climate change.

In December 2008, CalTech researches established that Martian climate changes occur every 100,000 years as part of a 1-million year cycle. Although this article compares the Martian cycle of rotational shifts to Earth’s cycle (100,000 years versus 41,000 years), another article establishes a similar 100,000 year cycle in Earth’s climate that is also tied to the planetary wobbling (changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit).

While these two studies correlate climate changes on both planets to different causes, the strikingly similar cyclical changes demand further study. Could it be that the Solar System pulses every 100,000 years and — if so — why does it pulse like that?

Furthermore, what is the significance of the duo 1-million-year cycles as well? Dr. Lisiecki’s study suggests that three different orbital systems may be playing roles in Earth’s 100,000-year cycles but we are only just beginning to develop Mars science now. Planetologists and astrophysicists should be looking at the data coming out of these kinds of studies to determine if there isn’t a system-wide pattern at play.

But wait! Maybe scientists began to notice this pattern back in 2002, when a Dartmouth scientist noticed the sun has a 100,000-year magnetic cycle. Hm. We’re running into this 100,000-year phenomenon everywhere.

So, basically, the sun’s magnetic field seems to be breathing (inhaling and exhaling) in cycles that tune up or tone down the Solar radiation, which in turn may be connected to the Earth’s (and Mars’ and other planets’) orbital functions. These cycles produce regular climactic shifts.

Sounds like someone could put together a theory about all this, doesn’t it? Well, heck — before you and I go claiming any credit for Nobel Prizes to be awarded for this research, I have to point out that Serbian mathematician Muletin Milankovitch proposed what is now called the ‘Milankovitch theory of ice ages’ in the 1940s. Milankovitch suggested that Earth’s climactic cycles might be tied to Solar cycles.

Science since then has questioned and revised the data and calculations that went into Milankovitch’s hypothesis but it seems to have withstood the test of time pretty well.

What may be most significant about this branch of science (perhaps it’s too soon to call it Milankovitchistic Science) is that it may help help scientists distinguish between true planetary bodies and other bodies, or perhaps identify “rogue” bodies passing through star systems. After all, if you detect a planet-sized body close to a star but it doesn’t appear to be attuned to that star system’s internal clock, you have an anomaly.

While there may still be a need to further validate the Milankovitch theory within our own Solar System, it may be time for scientists to start analyzing the planetary systems we have discovered so far to determine if there are resonances of those suns’ internal clocks that tie their planets to them.

While we cannot yet study climate on planets outside the Solar System, we can study planetary behaviors, including some if not all of their orbital behaviors. And that, I think, should be good enough for a start in ascertaining how universal Milankovitch’s Principle may be.

Three more stories covering the Rhine princess

So the news is still spreading. Apparently this is turning into a major story. These three articles say much the same thing as the last group but I just wanted to keep a running tally.

You never really expected to hear about the discovery of a previously undocumented prehistoric civilization in the Rhine valley, did you?

Astonishing Find in Rhine Valley Surprises Archaeologists opens with:

Have you ever heard of the Princess of the Golden Wood? Dutch, French, and German scientists have just published a report on an excavation of a previously unknown prehistoric grave in a small copse of “golden” woodlands somewhere in the Black Forest region of the Rhine valley. The grave site’s lone occupant, a female of approximately 10,000 years’ age, has been dubbed the “Princess of the Golden Wood” by the archaeologists.

French Anthropologist Stakes Her Reputation on Controversial Research opens with:

Felecia Bonnet had a promising career in French academia until two years ago. That was when she accepted a teaching position at the Reinhard Van Gelder Institut fr Anthropologie und Archologie at the Universitt des Rheins near Basel, Switzerland. The institute, founded by eminent Dutch archaeologist Dr. Ernst Voorst, is named for the legendary Dr. Reinhard Van Gelder, whose work in the North Sea and Swiss Alps drew attention to previously unstudied aspects of European prehistory.

Rhine Valley Archaeologists Publish Stunning Discovery opens with:

In an announcement that is sure to turn the scientific world on its ear, a controversial archaeologist has published the first pictures from a secret dig site located near the Rhine river in the Black Forest region. Dr. Ernst Voorst, Director of the Reinhard Van Gelder Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology from the Univerisity of the Rhine, gave the media and the scientific world outside his team their first look at a prehistoric woodland community.

Putting all the pieces of this story together has been an amazing experience. I can’t wait to see what else Dr. Voorst and his colleagues have in store. This kind of research is what makes the world of archaeology (and anthropology) so exciting.

Way to go, Dr. Voorst and team! Keep up the good work!

More news about Rhine princess and her city in the trees

So like I suspected, word is spreading across the Web about this incredible archaeological find. Here are excerpts from a few more stories that I have come across.

Archaeologists Announce Stunning Rhine Valley Discovery opens with:

Eminent Dutch archaeologist Dr. Ernst Voorst announced a new discovery to the media in Basel, Switzerland this week. Dr. Voorst, Director of the Reinhard Van Gelder Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of the Rhine, has led a team in a secret excavation of an ancient woodland culture over the past year-and-a-half. The research is a follow-up to his previous study of two ancient fortresses in the Rhine valley.

Controversial Archaeologist Stuns Science World with ‘princess’ opens with:

Eminent but controversial archaeologist Dr. Ernst Voorst announced to the world earlier this week that a team of archaeologists and anthropologists from his recently established Reinhard Van Gelder Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology have excavated the first solid evidence of a once-thriving prehistoric culture in the Rhine valley.

Rhine Archaeologists Unveil First Photo of ‘Princess of the Golden Wood’ opens with:

In a stunning announcement earlier this week, Dutch archaeologist Dr. Ernst Voorst, Director of the Reinhard Van Gelder Institute at the University of the Rhine, reversed his scientific fortunes by offering up what seems to be compelling evidence that his earlier claims regarding an ancient prehistoric warring culture along the Rhine were accurate. In 2007 Dr. Voorst and his colleague/mentor Dr. Reinhard Van Gelder published a controversial report documenting two ancient fortresses in the Rhine Canyon that, the scientists claimed, had waged a long war.

Rhine Archaeologist Tries to Salvage Reputation with New Discovery opens with:

Have you heard of Dr. Reinhard Van Gelder? He was an eminant archaeologist whose career ended in disgrace and ruin after he and a colleague released a widely disputed field report in 2007 claiming to have uncovered a prehistoric European war between two fortresses on the Rhine. Van Gelder died in 2008 but he left most of his estate to the University of the Rhine to fund an institute specializing in Rhine archaeology. The institute is now headed by Dr. Ernst Voorst, the Dutch archaeologist who co-authored the controversial report.

New Discovery Reveals Ancient Tree City, Archaeologists Claim opens with:

Science can be stranger than fiction. Sometimes, science seems to compete with fiction. Take the story of Atlantis, for example. For centuries people assumed that Plato had made it all up and then archaeologists began associating the Mediterranean island of Thera with Plato’s story. Thera had been destroyed by a huge volcanic eruption, much like Atlantis in Plato’s story.

I’m just blown away by this absolutely incredible news. Think about it. An entire civilization existed along the Rhine river over 10,000 years ago and only now are scientists just beginning to see remnants of it! It makes you wonder what else is out there, waiting to be discovered.

There might be some more articles about this out there. I’ll take a look later today and see what I can find.

Rhine princess burial excavation leads to major discovery

This has to be one of the most amazing archaeological stories of 2010. It seems to be spreading across the Web like wildfire. I’d love to hear more about it.

Rhine River Dig Unveils Ancient Princess of Golden Woods opens with:

Rhine river archaeology was turned on its ear once again this week by the amazing results published by Dr. Ernst Voorst concerning a secret archaeological project in the Rhine Canyon area. Dr. Voorst made headlines and waves in 2007 when he and the late Reihard Van Gelder announced their controversial theory that twin opposing fortresses positioned on either side of the Rhine had engaged in extensive warfare more than 10,000 years ago.

Prehistoric Rhine Woodland Princess Surprises Archaeologists opens with:

Who was she? Archaeologists don’t know but they believe (based on radiocarbon dating) that she may lived about 10,000 years ago in a small wooded region they have dubbed the Golden Wood. Located in the Black Forest region of the Rhine valley, the secret locale first rose to prominence in 2007 when Dr. Reinhard Van Gelder and Dr. Ernst Voorst published a revolutionary theory explaining their proposed history for twin opposing fortresses that face each other across the Rhine.

Rhine Archaeologists Suggest Fourth Human Species May Have Lived in Ancient Europe opens with:

Archaeologists have long suspected that humans moved into the Rhine region thousands before current evidence suggests. But finding new evidence to support that belief has be difficult. In 2007 two eminent leaders in the field of Rhine archaeology published controversial findings about two fortresses facing each other across the Rhine. The fortresses, the scientists suggested, had served as the focal points for an ancient war that may have lasted a thousand years. But they were unable to produce any real evidence and a highly skeptical scientific community dismissed their findings as a joke.

Legacy of Dr. Reinhard Van Gelder Lives on opens with:

This is a new one for the books. An eminent archaeologist is being co-credited for a massive new discovery more than 2 years after his death. Reinhard Van Gelder left a considerable sum of money to the University of the Rhine to be used to establish an institute that specializes in Rhine valley archaeology.

A graduate of the University of the Rhine, Dr. Van Gelder for years held the position of Senior Archaeologist, Northern Europe, with the Royal Museum of Antiquities in Amsterdam. Van Gelder first rose to prominence when he excavated the twin fortresses of Illyrium and Italy in the 1980s. His work was considered to be groundbreaking in a prehistoric period that few had until his time attempted to study.

Here is a picture from one of the articles:
Archaeologists announce the discovery of a Princess of the Golden Wood near the Rhine river.

Actually, I think this is the more interesting picture. It depicts a reconstruction of a tree house from an ancient village:
A reconstruction of the palace from the City in the Trees.

I’ll post more information when I get it.

Welcome to the Anthropocene Epoch

Several scientists are now suggesting that we have entered the Anthropocene Epoch. That seems a radical departure from a rather odd timescale in my opinion.

The Geologic Time Scale provides scientists with a frame of reference that seems like a mishmash of names to the rest of us. The GTS is both hierarchical and segmented within the hierarchies. People have drawn all sorts of pretty charts and written reams of books on the subject, explaining the system, of which I have yet to make heads or tales.

It appears to be based on changes in rock strata (hence, the word Geologic in the system’s name). The proposed name for the new era, Anthropocene, suggests that Man is responsible for changing the formation of rocks (an event that, I suppose, won’t be documented for millions of years).

The proposed name change is related to the fact that we’re about to enter a global climactic crisis that may result in a Sixth Mass Extinction of Life on Earth (including, possibly, humankind).

The Geologic Time Scale hierarchies are:

  1. SuperEons
  2. Eons
  3. Eras
  4. Periods
  5. Epochs
  6. Ages

We are, technically, at the tail end of the latest confirmed Epoch — the Holocene Epoch, which began about 12-15,000 years ago when the great ice sheets of the north began retreating.

I cannot find any agreement between online sources on what SuperEon or Age we are currently in, and frankly there are so many names in the various tables I don’t have the patience to type them all out into a nice ordered list.

Any time you see something like “Cambrian” you’re talking about a time frame of around 540 milllion years ago. Pre-Cambrian (the previous SuperEon, of which there are so far only two) events are more than 542 million years old.

For reasons I don’t know, the Cambrian was a Period rather than a SuperEon (so much for science being well organized and rational).

The Atlantic Age ended about 4,000 years ago (after lasting about 4,000 years). I have no idea of what Age we’re supposed to be in — perhaps the Ages of the Sun? (That’s a Tolkien/David Day joke.)

I can confirm through numerous sources that we are currently in the Holocene Epoch, Quarternary Period, Cenozoic Era, Phanerozoic Eon, and some nameless SuperEon.

You would think that with all the thought that had gone into naming these various geohistorical periods, someone would have remembered to name the current SuperEon. Perhaps there was too much politicking. I don’t know.

I suggest we call it the Martinez SuperEon — I have the ego to match it.

So, welcome to the tail end of the Martinez SuperEon. I have not yet decided whether to include the Anthropocene Epoch in it. I doubt anyone else has that figured out yet, either.