Thursday, May 31, 2012
Yesterday we posted on a compelling piece of ancient evidence in the form of a manufactured chunk of aluminum alloy known as the Wedge of Aiud. It looks like a tooth from an excavator and the metal mix is that of an aluminum alloy. We know also from the mix that it was likely cast. The oxidation layer is extraordinary and conforms with the Pleistocene age of the other artifacts.
I posted that this conforms with my developing conjecture for a Pleistocene era rise of humanity that included modernism matching and ultimately surpassing our present achievements. In fact, for this conjecture to stand up, such artifacts must exist however scarce.
There are in fact many other similar anomalous artifacts out there that beg interpretation. These include manufactured metallic items contained inside coal and stone. These have had substantial ages assigned to them that has also been off putting.
Most important however, we have a source of human artifacts matching modern capabilities originating from 42000BP through 13900BP. That is a long time and inevitably, accidents do happen and stuff gets lost. Yet metal itself would have always been scavenged, just as we presently scavenge our metallic wastage. In time I expect we will actually mine out landfills for remaining metal content. So any metal recovery took an unusual set of events to be lost in the original time and space.
Because rare aluminum artifacts could be found, it is no surprise that they have shown up in Bronze age grave goods and beyond. The reason is simple. The metal is easily remelted and reworked into belt buckles (as found in a Chinese grave) and surely would be. Thus ancient post Pleistocene Nonconformity aluminum artifacts have a natural provenance that precludes some implausible form of Bronze Age aluminum production.
That leaves us with the problem of super aged human artifacts and bones found in geological settings.
The problem is actually one of geological aging. The classical assumption of uniformism has imposed some age calculations that are completely untested and in fact suspect. Any given age is typically one geologists opinion based on good ideas and assumptions but capable of been wrong.
An example of this is the super high mountains of the present. It is plausible that under the crustal shift brought about by the Pleistocene Nonconformity, that the major part of these uplifts took place over a few days some 13900 years ago. It this turns out to be an accurate description of what happened, then two hundred years of geological aging research becomes rubbish.
The crustal movement itself would have accelerated cold creep and likely finished the job. I certainly cannot imagine coal mine tunnels holding up during a sustained period of vibration as was experienced.
The reality is that the ages quoted in most geological work is the apparent age of the host rock within its adjacent strata showing a chronological sequence. It may turn out that a more correct assumption to make would be to assume that all known faults are generally 13900 years old unless shown otherwise.
Artifacts can be lost in such strata as part of mining efforts. What is not so obvious is that deep structures such as coal and shale are quite deformable over great reaches of time if the surrounding material is under great pressure. Twenty thousand or so years is quite ample (two inches or so per century) to squeeze out voids leaving little trace of any workings. Thus contained artifacts are evidence of antiquity, but not beyond the cold creep time on the encasing rock.
So once we get past the common geological error (done in aging faults all the time) of aging physical evidence against the age of the rock itself, we find that these artifacts do conform to the 42000BP through 13900BP window rather well.
To date we have only a handful of such artifacts and the aluminum artifact is actual proof of the underlying conjecture. It is Pleistocene and can not be faked without modern metallurgy. It is also the metal most likely to be used and lost out on a project site. You can even see the breakage that allowed it to be lost. I also doubt that lab work will show an alternative explanation but it certainly is needed here to provide all possible negative evidence.
For the record, the only thing preventing aluminum from totally replacing steel is a cheap way to produce the metal itself. Cheap energy will do the trick in the next twenty years and after that steel will be generally retired as alloys can match any characteristic package of steel you can imagine. After that for the next million years or so, the only metal objects that we will lose will be aluminum based.
The only other way to explain away this evidence is to either loudly yell fraud in the hope serious researchers will be scared away, or alternatively assume it is all evidence of an alien exploratory visit. Except that aliens are no more profligate with metal than we are. There we have around 100,000 sightings and a handful of controversial physical evidence at best and no massive excavator tooth.
There are two obvious strategies available for the use of so called cyber war. The first is to infiltrate a hidden tool that actually causes direct damage, Stuxnet is possibly the best example of that and the damage caused was serious and similar to a direct hit with a real bomb. In the end, the target loses time and that is as good as it might get.
The second strategy is to fill the environment with live threats causing internal security to become a straitjacket. This is what the Flame appears to be doing. Now your computer is watching you and sending the data back to your enemies.
All this consumes scarce personnel and naturally interferes with other priorities. On top of that the publicity induces societal resources to be spent in hunting down these threats and their clones. There will be other ones out there right now that have yet to be identified.
In the meantime it is pretty clear that the USA and Israel and possibly others are fully engaged in an effort to change the government of Iran somewhat short of a full shooting war. However, it is also clear that the gloves are off and a major effort is under way. Expect more curious stories out of here.
Iran Threatens U.S. as New Cyber Super-Weapon Strikes
Posted by Ryan Mauro Bio ↓ on May 30th, 2012
Iran is threatening to attack U.S. bases in the region with its missiles if it is attacked, but the reality is that the regime is already under attack. The latest all-but-certain covert operation is the deployment of sophisticated malware that is being called “The Flame.” Its purpose appears to be the mass cultivation of intelligence and it is assessed to be 20 times more complex than Stuxnet, the original “cyber super-weapon” that ravaged Iran’s nuclear program.
The Flame has been discovered in seven Middle Eastern countries, though the number of infections found in Iran is more than the rest combined with 189 instances. There have been 98 infections detected in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Sudan was hit with 32 infections, a country whose regime is increasingly Islamist and friendly towards Hamas. There have been 30 infections found in Syria, 18 in Lebanon, 10 in Saudi Arabia and 5 in Egypt.
It is not believed at this time that the Flame targeted a specific industry or program like Stuxnet did. Instead, it is meant to act as the “the ultimate spy,” copying hard drive data, logging instant messages and other online communications, recording keystrokes, taking screenshots and even secretly turning on computer microphones to record nearby conversations. There is also the potential for sabotage because it can potentially delete information and change settings on computer systems, opening up doors for attack.
Some cyber experts think it was deployed in February or March 2010, while others think it has been active as far back as five years ago. It is unknown who authored the Flame, but suspicion immediately fell on Israel, possibly with U.S. assistance. Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs encouraged such suspicion during an interview, saying, “Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a serious threat would be likely to take different steps, including these, in order to hurt them.” He hinted at his country’s involvement, saying, “Israel is blessed to be a nation possessing superior technology. These achievements of ours open up all kinds of possibilities for us.”
The latest known cyber attack on Iran happened in late April. Iran announced that its oil industry was being targeted by foreign hackers, specifically its Oil Ministry and its Kharg Island terminal where the majority of Iran’s oil is exported from. “Data related to some of the users have been compromised,” the Iranian regime said, though it denied that there was any serious damage.
In October 2011, “Duqu,” also called “Son of Stuxnet,” was found in Iran and it is believed to have been infecting computers since late 2010. The powerful weapon is similar to Flame in that it records keystrokes and could potentially hijack a computer and allow an outside country to operate it. Duqu, however, was not used for that purpose. It opened up back doors in systems for 36 days and then left. Symantec determined, “The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.” Amazingly, those behind Duqu continued to improve it, enabling future infections even though it was already discovered.
Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is reacting to the failure to reach an agreement over its nuclear program during the meetings in Iraq on May 23 with bravado and threats. A Revolutionary Guards website said it would fire missiles at all “enemy bases” in the region if the country is attacked.
This isn’t a new threat. Iran has long threatened to respond to any military strike against it, by Israel or the U.S., with missile and “martyrdom” attacks on American military bases. In December, a regime-controlled website wrote a detailed assessment of U.S. bases in the Middle East and how they could be struck with missiles. The article specifically mentioned bases in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed. The author argued that the base in Bahrain is an extremely vulnerable target because Iran’s anti-ship missiles can hit American vessels shortly after they leave the base.
On November 15, a Basiji commander said at a convention that Iran could use proxies to attack U.S. forces in Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. The bases “are entirely surrounded by holy fighters of the Islamic ummah who are counting the minutes in anticipation of the command to wipe out the U.S.”
The next month, a regime-tied website carried an article that said that Hezbollah has determined targets for retaliation in the event of an attack and would launch “martyrdom operations” in each of the 112 countries where U.S. forces are based. The author used anti-war sentiment in the U.S. as proof of America’s weakness. “America needs to know that while American youth shout the slogan, ‘Stop the War,’ for fear of dying, the children of Ruhollah [Khomeini] never flee from war and always pray, ‘Allah, give us martyrdom for your sake.’”
The European Union’s oil embargo becomes officially enacted on July 1. Iran can ill-afford further losses to its economy and has threatened Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that are encouraging the embargo by increasing their oil output. On January 27, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts warned that Iran could intercept tankers departing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for Europe.
The dispute with Iran is coming to a head. The West must hope for the success of the sanctions and covert operations like “The Flame.” Should they fail to halt Iran’s nuclear program, Israel will be left with the decision to strike or accept a nuclear-armed Iran. By all indications, Israel believes that final decision will have to be made this year.
Somehow after all these years someone is well on the road to fixing the flavor problem with tomatoes.
A favorite summer fruit for farm kids is to go pick a ripe tomato and cut it open and sprinkle either salt or a little sugar on the cut surface and eat it just as is. This is hardly worth it with the supermarket produce that is already a couple of days picked or ripened indoors anyways.
It is one of the reasons everyone grows tomatoes in their back yard no matter how cheap the product in the stores.
The apparent complexity involved here is amazing but somehow we knew that anyway. Other produce have a bit of this immediacy but none are so pronounced as the tomato. Let us hope that it is soon. All I want is a fresh sun-ripened beefsteak in the hot august sun.
The secret to good tomato chemistry
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 28, 2012
A sophisticated statistical analysis of the chemistry and taste test results showed that flavor intensity traces to 12 different compounds and sweetness to another 12, including 8 that were also important for overall flavor.
There is nothing better than a ripe, red, homegrown tomato, and now researchers reporting online in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have figured out just what it is that makes some of them so awfully good (and your average supermarket tomato so bland). "We now know exactly what we need to do to fix the broken tomato," said Harry Klee of the University of Florida.
Tomato flavor depends on sugars, acids, and a host of less well-defined aroma volatiles (so named for the ease with which they vaporize, sending scent molecules into the air). Klee's team set out to define the chemicals that are most important to our fondness for one particular tomato or another.
First, they assembled chemical profiles of 278 tomato samples representing152 heirloomvarieties, most of which were bred before the ubiquitous commercial tomatoes of today even existed. That effort turned up an unexpectedly large chemical diversity within the heirloom tomatoes-with variation in some volatile contents of as much as 3,000-fold across cultivars.
That diversity presented the researchers with an opportunity to really explore what makes consumers favor one tomato over another. They did a series of taste tests with a consumer panel using a subset of those heirlooms that represented the most chemical diversity.
Panelists rated their overall liking of each variety as well as the overall tomato flavor intensity, sweetness, and sourness. Panelists also rated supermarket tomatoes in the same way.
A sophisticated statistical analysis of the chemistry and taste test results showed that flavor intensity traces to 12 different compounds and sweetness to another 12, including 8 that were also important for overall flavor.
The researchers also found that some flavor volatiles influence the perception of sweetness through our sense of smell. "In other words," Klee says, "there are volatile chemicals unrelated to sugars that make things taste sweeter."
That raises the tantalizing possibility that this feature might be played up in tomatoes and other foods to make us experience no-calorie sweetness through our noses instead of our tongues.
The analysis also showed that some of the volatiles most abundantly present in tomatoes offer little in terms of our enjoyment of them in comparison to other and much more rare ingredients bring good flavor in commercial tomatoes," Klee says, and that could go a long way.
"Consumers care deeply about tomatoes," he says. "Their lack of flavor is a major focus of consumer dissatisfaction with modern agriculture. One could do worse than to be known as the person who helped fix flavor."
The problem is bone simple. It is impossible to produce gas or oil without a significant water handling problem. Fracking by its nature increases the problem surely by an order of magnitude. The water itself is mineralized once it is finished with and is no longer usable for surface release. The industry has had two options. The common one is injection were a dry or already produced formation is used as a reservoir that places it far below the surface and represents no surface danger. The second alternative is the either throw it in the ocean or to store it forever on the surface. Both these have lousy optics.
The tar sands are quite busy producing their own private salt sea in
mostly because they could never get anyone to accept doing a slow release into
the Mackenzie River which may have at least ameliorated
the problem. The water is recycled a
number of times until it is truly briny instead. If a controlled flow was
injected into the bottom of the river, it is reasonable that this charge would escape
to the Arctic Ocean with least damage.
This suggests that the best solution is to use recycling to use the water several times before it is finally injected deep. This can minimize the volume several fold possibly if the tar sands are representative. They probably already do some of this and likely can do a lot more whenever injection lacks sufficient capacity.
Beyond all that, it is obvious that we have been coping on the ground and by the time a miracle solution arises, it will all be over. The search for a solution is already decades old.
How Can We Cope with the Dirty Water from Fracking?
Advanced membranes, unusual solvents and new drilling processes could clean and recycle a growing flood of contaminated water
Earth Thirst: Solving the Freshwater Crisis New approaches help keep our water supplies safe, but much remains to be done around the world »May 21, 2012
The nation's oil and gas wells produce at least nine billion liters of contaminated water per day, according to an
National Laboratory report. And that is an underestimate of the amount of
brine, fracking fluid and other contaminated water that flows
back up a well along with the natural gas or oil, because it is based on
incomplete data from state governments gathered in 2007.
The volume will only get larger, too: oil and gas producers use at least 7.5 million liters of water per well to fracture subterranean formations and release entrapped hydrocarbon fuels, a practice that has grown in the U.S. by at least 48 percent per year in the last five years, according to the Energy Information Administration. The rise is quickest in places such as the oil-bearing Bakken Formation in
North Dakota or the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale
underlying parts of New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and . West Virginia
The problem is that the large volumes of water that flow back to the surface along with the oil or gas are laced with everything from naturally radioactive minerals to proprietary chemicals. And there are not a lot of cost-effective options for treating it, other than dumping it down a deep well. But as certain states that are experiencing drought begin to restrict industrial water usage, fossil-fuel companies are experimenting with traditional and untraditional water treatment chemistries and technologies to try to clean this dirty water—or limit its use in the first place.
Recycling is not enough
The first option is to reuse wastewater in whatever ways possible. For fracking, "to the extent possible, fracturing fluid is recovered and recycled for reuse in future fracturing operations," says Reid Porter, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group. "Recycling of flow-back water reduces demand for freshwater and reduces the need for disposal of wastewater."
But that water still has to be cleaned before it is reused, otherwise it loses the ability to do its subterranean dirty work. Simply dumping it improperly is not an option, because the high levels of salts and minerals will poison a river, stream or aquifer or it will render land incapable of supporting life for generations, like the salt pans of Utah or the ancient farm fields of Carthage salted by the Roman army. The cleansing technologies employed range from high-tech membranes that selectively filter out specific contaminants to the crude solution of boiling away the water, leaving scales of salts and other minerals behind on the walls of the boiler.
"Most of what we get out of the water are salts and a low-level of organics" (hydrocarbons and other contaminating carbon-based molecules), explains environmental engineer Steve Hopper, executive vice president of the industrial business group at Veolia Water, which is helping oil and gas companies cope with such "produced" water. "We have an example in
where we treated the water until it was so pure we had to add minerals back
into it to be able to discharge it." The problem, thus far, has been cost,
although Hopper argues Veolia's technologies add only "5 percent" to
the cost of a given well. California
A diversity of waters
To add to the challenge of sheer volume, the water produced by each oil and gas well is often different—with varying levels of acidity, saltiness or types of contaminants, whether dissolved hydrocarbons or heavy metals leached from the surrounding rock.
Traditional wastewater treatment plants, designed to deal with sewage or storm water runoff, cannot cope with these kinds and levels of contaminants. That's where a company like Veolia comes in, which partners with the oil or gas company to assume the liability for the water. "Give us your wastewater and we'll get it where it needs to be," argues geologist Ed Pinero, Veolia's chief sustainability officer.
In California Veolia has partnered with PXP Plains Exploration & Production, an energy company, to design, build and operate a 45,000 barrel-per-day water treatment facility employing ceramic membranes and reverse osmosis to recycle water produced from the Arroyo Grande oilfield near San Luis Obispo. (A barrel of water or oil is 159 liters, or 42 gallons.) Much of the cleansed water would be turned to steam to scour yet more oil out of the ground, and the rest would be clean enough to discharge into local waterways. "We have the technology to meet those requirements," Veolia's Hopper says.
The technologies include membranes, filtration and even selective ion precipitation, where specific chemicals are added to cause particular contaminants, such as heavy metals, to precipitate, or fall out of the water. In certain cases Veolia employs a suite of technologies in a row—bubbling out gas; chemically reducing acidity; filtering; and employing pressure and membranes to extract salts and other contaminants—to deal with a wide variety of contaminated waters, such as that produced from oil and gas wells.
Complications can arise, however: Membranes, for example, often do not stand up to the harsh conditions created by such tainted waters. High acidity or alkalinity, or even just high salinity levels, can quickly foul membranes or simply render them ineffective. Boiling can cost as much as $8.50 per barrel of water, and the residue can quickly wear down even an industrial boiler. So scientists are working on new alternatives.
One option is to cut down on water use in the first place: so-called waterless fracking. A technique offered by the company GASFRAC Energy Services employs high-pressure propane—another hydrocarbon—as a gel in place of water to frack wells. The propane then mixes with the oil or natural gas coming back to the surface and can be used as a fuel, avoiding any of the contamination that leaches out of the rock when water is used. The process is being tested by a variety of companies, including Chevron and Shell.
Another alternative is to use what those who invented it have dubbed a "directional solvent"—liquids that molecularly bind to water but not the other contaminants in it. For example, soybean oil will absorb pure water by bonding to it with heat, leaving any contaminants behind. The water can then be recovered from the solvent by simply cooling it down so that the water flows back out, like cooling air releasing water vapor as rain. "This is the first molecular approach to water treatment," explains engineer Anurag Bajpayee, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on the new solution. The trick "is finding a solvent that will dissolve water, not dissolve other contaminants and not dissolve itself in water. It is rare."
Soybean oil is not the ultimate solution, of course, because too much oil is required to recover even a little bit of clean water. But the M.I.T. team is working on new alternatives and seeking new solvents with the same properties. At the same time Bajpayee and his colleagues are testing solvents they have already found on produced water from six different wells, including brines eight times saltier than seawater. "It's early, we're not in the field yet," Bajpayee says of the new option for water treatment, which likely will not be commercially available for years. "This is still work in the lab."
Throwing water away
The most common solution, in the end, remains simply to inject the contaminated water down a disposal well that penetrates deeper than any drinking-water resources. More than 90 percent of the water used or produced in oil and gas operations is disposed of in this way, in the nation's more than 150,000 such wells. More and more new disposal wells are being drilled to cope with the rising flood of frack water.
But this injected water is lost forever. Some states such as
Pennsylvania also make it difficult to drill such wells,
which means operators fracking the Marcellus Shale there must pay to truck the
produced water to
for disposal. That can cost as much as $15 a barrel, and "sooner or later Ohio
is going to get a bit panicky about that," Bajpayee notes. In
addition, it costs at least $5 million to drill each new disposal well. Ohio
In states such as Texas that are enduring prolonged droughts, the millions of liters of water required to frack new wells grows more and more problematic.
suspended water use for
fracking in some parts of the state this spring due to drought. As Veolia's
Hopper argues, "with the water scarcity trends that we see, the trend will
be to reduce the net usage of water." After all, reducing the dependence
of energy supplies on water—whether drilling for oil and natural gas or
generating electricity—will be critical to ensuring there is enough energy and
water to go around. Pennsylvania
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
We have recently discovered that the core is actually rotating at a slightly different speed than the crust. This is very good news for my crustal shift conjecture that was involved with the Pleistocene Nonconformity. I had no difficulty in explaining how it could move at the contact horizon with molten elemental carbon providing a thin slip layer some hundred meters thick and demonstrated in the geological record by the genesis of diamonds. I still had no demonstration that it did move. Now we know that it is moving continuously anyway removing that objection.
Thus impacting a comet on the north Polar Region becomes precisely predictable in terms of its effect of crustal momentum. This is very good news as it makes such an attempt more than simply realistic, it even makes it practical if it addresses a need such as ending the great northern Ice Age.
Recall that the Ice Age was ended by rotating the crust through thirty degrees along an arc from the North Pole to the center of Hudson Bay. This had the immediate effect of moving the Gulf of Mexico south thirty degrees and placing a huge body of water into the tropics. This then powered up the Gulf Stream to pump warm water north into the Arctic. The impact really had to be precise.
In the event, we now know that the two layers are not directly attached to each other and are in fact in motion relative to each other.
The Enigma 1,800 Miles Below Us
DEEP THOUGHTS Jules Verne's classic "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" has inspired several film versions, including one in 2008.
By NATALIE ANGIER
Published: May 28, 2012
As if the inside story of our planet weren’t already the ultimate potboiler, a host of new findings has just turned the heat up past Stygian.
Geologists have long known that Earth’s core, some 1,800 miles beneath our feet, is a dense, chemically doped ball of iron roughly the size of Mars and every bit as alien. It’s a place where pressures bear down with the weight of 3.5 million atmospheres, like 3.5 million skies falling at once on your head, and where temperatures reach 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit — as hot as the surface of the Sun. It’s a place where the term “ironclad agreement” has no meaning, since iron can’t even agree with itself on what form to take. It’s a fluid, it’s a solid, it’s twisting and spiraling like liquid confetti.
Researchers have also known that Earth’s inner Martian makes its outer portions look and feel like home. The core’s heat helps animate the giant jigsaw puzzle of tectonic plates floating far above it, to build up mountains and gouge out seabeds. At the same time, the jostling of core iron generates Earth’ magnetic field, which blocks dangerous cosmic radiation, guides terrestrial wanderers and brightens northern skies with scarves of auroral lights.
Now it turns out that existing models of the core, for all their drama, may not be dramatic enough. Reporting recently in the journal Nature, Dario Alfè of University College London and his colleagues presented evidence that iron in the outer layers of the core is frittering away heat through the wasteful process called conduction at two to three times the rate of previous estimates.
The theoretical consequences of this discrepancy are far-reaching. The scientists say something else must be going on in Earth’s depths to account for the missing thermal energy in their calculations.
They and others offer these possibilities:
¶ The core holds a much bigger stash of radioactive material than anyone had suspected, and its decay is giving off heat.
¶ The iron of the innermost core is solidifying at a startlingly fast clip and releasing the latent heat of crystallization in the process.
¶ The chemical interactions among the iron alloys of the core and the rocky silicates of the overlying mantle are much fiercer and more energetic than previously believed.
¶ Or something novel and bizarre is going on, as yet undetermined.
“From what I can tell, people are excited” by the report, Dr. Alfè said. “They see there might be a new mechanism going on they didn’t think about before.”
Researchers elsewhere have discovered a host of other anomalies and surprises. They’ve found indications that the inner core is rotating slightly faster than the rest of the planet, although geologists disagree on the size of that rotational difference and on how, exactly, the core manages to resist being gravitationally locked to the surrounding mantle.
Miaki Ishii and her colleagues at Harvard have proposed that the core is more of a Matryoshka doll than standard two-part renderings would have it. Not only is there an outer core of liquid iron encircling a Moon-size inner core of solidified iron, Dr. Ishii said, but seismic data indicate that nested within the inner core is another distinct layer they call the innermost core: a structure some 375 miles in diameter that may well be almost pure iron, with other elements squeezed out. Against this giant jewel even Jules Verne’s middle-Earth mastodons and ichthyosaurs would be pretty thin gruel.
Core researchers acknowledge that their elusive subject can be challenging, and they might be tempted to throw tantrums save for the fact that the Earth does it for them. Most of what is known about the core comes from studying seismic waves generated by earthquakes.
As John Vidale of the University of Washington explained, most earthquakes originate in the upper 30 miles of the globe (as do many volcanoes), and no seismic source has been detected below 500 miles. But the quakes’ energy waves radiate across the planet, detectably passing through the core.
Granted, some temblors are more revealing than others. “I prefer deep earthquakes when I’m doing a study,” Dr. Ishii said. “The waves from deep earthquakes are typically sharper and cleaner.”
Dr. Ishii and other researchers have also combed through seismic data from the human equivalent of earthquakes — the underground testing of nuclear weapons carried out in the mid- to late 20th century. The Russian explosions in particular, she said, “are a remarkably telling data set,” adding that with bombs, unlike earthquakes, the precise epicenter is known.
Some researchers seek to simulate core conditions on a small, fleeting scale: balancing a sample of iron alloy on a diamond tip, for example, and then subjecting it to intense pressure by shooting it with a bullet. Others rely on complex computer models. Everybody cites a famous paper in Nature in 2003 by David J. Stevenson, a planetary scientist at Caltech, who waggishly suggested that a very thin, long crack be propagated in the Earth down to the core, through which a probe in a liquid iron alloy could be sent in.
“Oh, the things we could learn, if only we had unlimited resources,” Dr. Ishii sighed.
The core does leave faint but readable marks on the surface, by way of the magnetic field that loops out from the vast chthonic geodynamo of swirling iron, permeating the planet and reaching thousands of miles into space. Magnetic particles trapped in neat alignment in rocks reveal that the field, and presumably the core structures that generate it, has been around for well over 3 billion of Earth’s 4.5 billion years.
For reasons that remain mysterious, the field has a funny habit of flipping. Every 100,000 to a million years or more, the north-south orientation of the magnetosphere reverses, an event often preceded by an overall weakening of the field. As it turns out, the strength of our current north-pointing field, which has been in place for nearly 800,000 years, has dropped by about 10 percent in the past century, suggesting we may be headed toward a polarity switch. Not to worry: Even if it were to start tomorrow, those of us alive today will be so many particles of dust before the great compass flip-flop is through.
The portrait of the core emerging from recent studies is structured and wild, parts of it riven with more weather than the sky. Earth assumed its basic layered effect as it gravitationally formed from the rich, chunky loam of the young solar system, with the heaviest ingredients, like iron and nickel, migrating toward the center and lighter rocky material bobbing above.
Traces of light, abundant elements that bond readily with iron were pulled coreward, too, and scientists are trying to figure out which mix of oxygen, sulfur or other impurities might best match the seismic data and computer models. Distinct boundaries of state or substance distinguish the different layers — between the elastic rock of the mantle and the iron liquid of the outer core, and between the liquid outer core and the solid inner core.
The core accounts for only one-sixth of the volume of the Earth but one-third of its mass, the great bulk of iron maintained in liquid form by the core’s hellish heat. “Liquid” in this case doesn’t mean molten like lava. “If you could put on your safety gloves and stick your hands into the outer core, it would run through your fingers like water,” said Bruce Buffett, a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The viscosity is so low and the scale of the outer core so large,” Dr. Buffett added, “that the role of turbulence is a relevant feature in how it flows. Think planetary atmosphere, or large jet streams.” Only in the inner core does pressure win out over temperature, and the iron solidify.
The core’s thermal bounty is thought to be overwhelmingly primordial, left over from the planet’s gravitational formation and mostly trapped inside by the rocky muffler of the mantle. Yet as the hot Earth orbits relentlessly through frigid space, the core can’t help but obey the second law of thermodynamics and gradually shed some of its stored heat.
The heat can be transferred through two basic pathways: conducted straight outward, the way heat travels along a frying pan, or convected out in plumes, the way hot air rises in the atmosphere or soup bubbles in a pot.
Conduction is considered a wasted or even boring form of energy transfer — heat moves, but the Earth does not. Convection, by contrast, is potentially industrious. Convection currents are what ripple through the mantle and shuffle around the tectonic plates, and convection stokes the geodynamo that yields our switching field.
In their report in Nature, Dr. Alfè and his colleagues used powerful computers and basic considerations of atomic behavior to calculate the properties of iron and iron alloys under the presumed conditions of the core. They concluded that the core was losing two to three times as much heat to conduction as previously believed, which would leave too little thermal energy to account for the convective forces that power the Earth’s geodynamo. Hence the need to consider possible sources of additional heat, like stores of radioactive potassium or thorium, or a fast-crystallizing inner core.
Dr. Buffett suggests that water on the surface may also help Earth balance its thermal budget, — by slightly weakening the Earth’s rocky plates and making them more readily churned and recycled in a vigorous, sustainable convective stew.
Life needs water, and maybe its planet does, too.
As I have posted in the past, human prehistory is broken into two separate eras. The Holocene (ours)and the Pleistocene. What we have discovered is that the crustal shifting impact of a comet on the northern Ice Cap could only have been deliberate and carefully planned. This implies that mankind arose during the late Pleistocene with modern technology long before this. My best estimate is that this happened around 42,000 BP. or 30,000 years before they caused the caused the Ice Age ending shift around 12900 BP
During this era, the population itself concentrated naturally on the continental shelf were the ocean would establish a stable climate allowing for food production. However, as we do today, penetration onto the highlands would be common. It is reasonable that metal artifacts would be lost from time to time.
However, I must also repeat a caution here. Our own experience shows us that metal is always recycled. At the best grave goods will store some and no more. Recall that every block and cut stone on Giza required a fine bronze saw, none of which have ever been recovered. For all intents and purposes two thousand years of global stone work has nearly zero evidence of the bronze tools.
So finding a Pleistocene metal artifact will be a challenge and we have to accept what we get.
Here we have a lost item that is clearly an aluminum alloy similar to what is used today and it is of a blend that is suitable for casting.
This piece appears to have been cast and machined. The observed oxygenation is readily sufficient to support the artifact been contemporaneous with the kill site. Thus we have a clear antediluvian artifact confirming the existence of a modern civilization. Others also exist and all these have been assiduously ignored by archeologists or at least not speculated on.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Last week I posted Ancient Anomalies vs Accepted Awareness that referenced enigmatic artifacts found worldwide that simply do not fit the accepted geologic or historical timeline. These ancient anomalies, also referred to as ooparts (out-of-place artifacts), are objects that by scientific measure are very old, but in form or construction appear to be quite modern. If our current history of the world is correct, they just should not exist. And there are many examples...many more than geologists, archaeologists, and other scientists care to admit.
One example I want to emphasis is the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud. This particular artifact is a true enigma...and one of many I would like to examine in upcoming blogs.
In 1974, in Romania, East of Aiud, a group of workers, on the banks of the river Mures, discovered three buried objects in a sand trench 10 meters deep. Two of the objects proved to be Mastodon bones. These dating from between the Miocene and the Pleistocene periods.
The third object, the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud, also known as the Object of Aiud, is a mysterious wedge-shaped block of metal similar in some respects to the head of a hammer. The object was sent to the archeological institute of Cluj-Napoca. The examination of this object showed it to weigh about 5lbs. There are two holes of different sizes. The object has two arms. Traces of tool marks can be seen on the sides of the object and at its lowest part. It measures approximately 8″ x 5″ x 3″.
Dr. Niederkorn of the institute for the study of metals and non-metallic minerals located in Magurele, Romania, concluded that the object is comprised of a alloy of an extremely complex metal. Twelve different elements combine to form the Aiud Object. It consists of: 89% aluminum, 6.2% copper, 2.84% silicon, 1.81% zinc, 0.41% lead, 0.33% tin, 0.2% zirconium, 0.11% cadmium, 0.0024% nickel, 0.0023% cobalt, 0.0003% bismuth, and trace of galium.
Furthermore, this strange object is covered with a thick layer of aluminum oxide, which lends credence to its antiquity. After the analysis of this aluminum oxide layer, specialists have confirmed that the object is a minimum of 300 to 400 years old.
The fact that this strange metal object was found alongside Mastadon bones does cause one to wonder and raises many issues. These findings helped to ignite a heated debate within the scientific community.
The results puzzled the researchers because pure aluminum was not readily obtainable until the middle of the 19th century. Aluminum is not found freely in nature, but is combined with other minerals. The manufacturing process requires 1,000 degrees of heat. It has been thought that only in the last 100 years or so has the technology existed to successfully separate the materials from the mineral bearing ore.
Other specialists claim that the object could be 20,000 years old because it was found in a layer with mastodon bone. Perhaps this particular specimen lived in the latter part of the Pleistocene.
Some researchers suppose that this piece of metal was part of a flying object that had fallen into the river. They presume that it had an extraterrestrial origin. Other researchers believe the wedge was made here on Earth and its purpose has not yet been identified.
Not much information can be found on this subject. The lack of data can possibly be explained by the imposed restrictions on archaeology and history by the communist rule of the time.
The Aluminum Wedge of Aiud remains a mystery.
THE AIUD ARTIFACT OVERVIEW
1. The Aluminium Wedge of Aiud (also called the object of Aiud) is a mysterious artifact of uncertain origin in the shape of a wedge, which was found at an archeological site near the Roman town of Aiud, allegedly near by a mammoth skeleton.
It is composed of 89% aluminium covered by a thick oxide layer. The thickness of this oxide layer is said to be confirmation that the object is anachronistic, at least three-hundred or four-hundred years old.
The Aluminium Wedge of Aiud is often cited as "proof" that aliens visited earth at earlier times, because aluminium was difficult to produce in quantity before 1825. Most scientists, however, believe that this object is a fake.
2. The Aluminium Wedge of Aiud (also called object of Aiud) is a mysterious body in form of a wedge, which was found at digging works near the Roman town Aiud. It consists of 89% of aluminium, which is covered by a thick oxide layer.
The thickness of this layer is said to be so strong as it would lay over a million years in the ground. The Aluminium Wedge of Aiud is often citated as "proof" that aliens visited earth at earlier times, because there were no possibilities to produce aluminium before 1825.
Most scientists however, believe that this object, which existence is not clear, is a fake.
It all helps and sticking your tongue out at your smart phone is a great start in making medicine way more accessible.
In the best of worlds coming soon to a mall near you, we merely sit down in a testing device and hundreds of variables get measured and correlated. It becomes likely that ninety percent of all ailments get picked up early enough to prevent further development.
This type of technology allows valuable empirical insights to be applied uniformly and often. One does not need to understand the biological pathway that produces subtle changes related to various conditions. In fact all that theory is sometimes grossly misleading and distracting when it is enough to observe that a dog can smell the presence of cancer in a person’s body.
I suspect that all medicine will devolve into a automated diagnostic system that supports intervention that is skillful and often subtle.
Tongue Analysis Software Uses Ancient Chinese Medicine to Warn of Disease
ScienceDaily (May 26, 2012) — For 5,000 years, the Chinese have used a system of medicine based on the flow and balance of positive and negative energies in the body. In this system, the appearance of the tongue is one of the measures used to classify the overall physical status of the body, or zheng. Now,
have developed computer software that combines the ancient practices and modern
medicine by providing an automated system for analyzing images of the tongue. University
"Knowing your zheng classification can serve as a pre-screening tool and help with preventive medicine," said Dong Xu, chair of MU's computer science department in the
and study co-author. "Our software helps bridge Eastern and Western
medicine, since an imbalance in zheng could serve as a warning to go
see a doctor. Within a year, our ultimate goal is to create an application
for smartphones that will allow anyone to take a photo of their tongue and
learn the status of their zheng." College of Engineering
The software analyzes images based on the tongue's color and coating to distinguish between tongues showing signs of "hot" or "cold" zheng. Shades of red and yellow are associated with hot zheng, whereas a white coating on the tongue is a sign of cold zheng.
"Hot and cold zheng doesn't refer directly to body temperature," said Xu, who is also on the faculty of the
"Rather, it refers to a suite of symptoms associated with the state of the
body as a whole." Bond Life Sciences Center
For example, a person with cold zheng may feel chills and coolness in the limbs and show a pale flushing of face. Their voice may have a high pitch. Other symptoms of cold sheng are clear urine and loose stool. They also may prefer hot foods and drinks and desire warm environments.
In Chinese traditional medicine both hot and cold zheng can be symptoms of gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining frequently caused by bacterial infection.
For the study, 263 gastritis patients and 48 healthy volunteers had their tongues analyzed. The gastritis patients were classified by whether they showed infection by a certain bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori, as well as the intensity of their gastritis symptoms. In addition, most of the gastritis patients had been previously classified with either hot or coldzheng. This allowed the researchers to verify the accuracy of the software's analysis.
"Our software was able to classify people based on their zhengstatus," said study co-author Ye Duan, associate professor of computer science at MU.
"As we continue to work on the software we hope to improve its ability," Duan said. "Eventually everyone will be able to use this tool at home using webcams or smartphone applications. That will allow them to monitor their zheng and get an early warning about possible ailments."
The study "Automated Tongue Feature Extraction for ZHENG Classification in Traditional Chinese Medicine" was accepted for publication in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study's first author was doctoral student Ratchadaporn Kanawong and the second author was post-doctoral researcher Tayo Obafemi-Ajayi.
Fundamentally the lesson that the USA refuses to learn is that banking is an in your face local business that is very profitable. If you step back from the source of profitability which is lending safely to your friends and neighbors, you put yourself into a far less profitable business and far riskier.
The natural inclination to accumulate more banks with cheaper money has always been a questionable proposition and we are rarely satisfied with the result. The exceptions treat their acquisition merely
as investments and keep them separated. GE comes to mind.
The problem with too large banks is that they need to lend to too large conglomerations. The economy needs the opposite. Germanies track record effectively proves the case. The distributed cooperative banking system allows German businesses to get cheap money and that is the bottom line folks.
In the USA, attempting to factor even great business is a trip down usury lane for most small to mid sized companies.
As Ellen makes clear the market will be satisfied and local banking is well on the way to been established. And this will ultimately end the drought.
Cooperative Banking is the Exciting Wave of the Future
Posted: 05/23/2012 4:22 pm
As our political system sputters, a wave of innovative thinking and bold experimentation is quietly sweeping away outmoded economic models. In 'New Economic Visions', a special five-part AlterNet series edited by Economics Editor Lynn Parramore in partnership with political economist Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, creative thinkers come together to explore the exciting ideas and projects that are shaping the philosophical and political vision of the movement that could take our economy back.
According to both the Mayan and Hindu calendars, 2012 (or something very close) marks the transition from an age of darkness, violence and greed to one of enlightenment, justice and peace. It’s hard to see that change just yet in the events relayed in the major media, but a shift does seem to be happening behind the scenes; and this is particularly true in the once-boring world of banking.
In the dark age of Kali Yuga, money rules; and it is through banks that the moneyed interests have gotten their power. Banking in an age of greed is fraught with usury, fraud and gaming the system for private ends. But there is another way to do banking; the neighborly approach of George Bailey in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Rather than feeding off the community, banking can feed the community and the local economy.
Today, the massive too-big-to-fail banks are hardly doing George Bailey-style loans at all. They are not interested in community lending. They are doing their own proprietary trading—trading for their own accounts—which generally means speculating against local interests. They engage in high-frequency program trading that creams profits off the top-of-stock market trades; speculation in commodities that drives up commodity prices; leveraged buyouts with borrowed money that can result in mass layoffs and factory closures; and investment in foreign companies that compete against our local companies.
We can’t do much to stop them. They've got the power, especially at the federal level. But we can quietly set up an alternative model, and that's what is happening on various local fronts.
Most visible are the Move Your Money and Occupy Wall Street movements. According to the Web site of the Move Your Money campaign, an estimated 10 million accounts have left the largest banks since 2010. Credit unions have enjoyed a surge in business as a result. The Credit Union National Association reported that in 2012, for the first time ever, credit union assets rose above $1 trillion. Credit unions are non-profit, community-minded organizations with fewer fees and less fine print than the big risk-taking banks, and their patrons are not just customers but owners, sharing partnership in a cooperative business.
Move “Our” Money: The Public Bank Movement
The Move Your Money campaign has been wildly successful in mobilizing people and raising awareness of the issues, but it has not made much of a dent in the reserves of Wall Street banks, which already had $1.6 trillion sitting in reserve accounts as a result of the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing in 2010. What might make a louder statement would be for local governments to divest their funds from Wall Street, and some local governments are now doing this. Local governments collectively have well over a trillion dollars deposited in Wall Street banks.
A major problem with the divestment process is finding local banks large enough to take the deposits. One proposed solution is for states, counties and cities to establish their own banks, capitalized with their own rainy day funds and funded with their own revenues as a deposit base.
Today only one state actually does this: North Dakota. North Dakota is also the only state to have escaped the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a sizeable budget surplus every year since. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the lowest default rate on credit card debt, and no state government debt at all. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) has an excellent credit rating and returns a hefty dividend to the state every year.
The BND model hasn’t yet been duplicated in other states, but a movement is afoot. Since 2010, 18 states have introduced legislation of one sort or another for a state-owned bank.
Values-based Banking: Too Sustainable to Fail
Meanwhile, there is a strong movement at the local level for sustainable, “values-based” banking—conventional banks committed to responsible lending and service to the local community. These are George Bailey-style banks, which base their decisions first and foremost on the needs of people and the environment.
One of the leaders internationally is Triodos Bank, which has local offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany. Its Web site says that it makes socially responsible investments that are selected according to strict sustainability criteria and overseen by an international panel of “stakeholder” representatives representing various community, environmental, and worker interest groups. Investments include the financing of more than 1,000 organic and sustainable food production projects, more than 300 renewable energy projects, 33 fair trade agricultural exporters in 22 different countries, 85 microfinance institutions in 43 countries, and 398 cultural and arts projects.
Two U.S. banks exemplifying the model are One PacificCoast Bank and New Resource Bank. Operating in California, Oregon and Washington, One PacificCoast is comprised of a sustainable community development bank with around $300 million in assets and a non-profit foundation (One PacificCoast Foundation). Its commercial lending business focuses on such sectors as specialty agriculture, renewable energy, green building, and low-income housing. Foundation activities include programs to “help eliminate discrimination, encourage affordable housing, alleviate economic distress, stimulate community development and increase financial literacy.”
New Resource Bank is a California based B-corporation (“Benefit”) with $171 million in assets, which focuses its lending and banking services on local green and sustainable businesses. New Resource was recognized in 2012 as one of the “Best for the World” businesses, being in the top 10 percent of all certified B-Corporations and scoring more than 50 percent higher than 2,000 other sustainable businesses in overall positive social and environmental impact.
All this might be good for the world, but isn’t investing locally in a values-based bank riskier and less profitable than putting your money on Wall Street? Not according to a study commissioned by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). The 2012 study compared the financial profiles between 2007 and 2010 of 17 values-based banks with 27 Globally Systemically Important Financial Institutions (GSIFIs)—basically the too-big-to-fail banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan, Barclays, Citicorp and Deutsche Bank. According to the GABV report, values-based banks delivered higher financial returns than some of the world’s largest financial institutions, with a return on assets averaging above 0.50 percent, compared to just 0.33 percent for the GSIFIs; and returns on equity averaging 7.1 percent, compared to 6.6 percent for the GSIFIs. They appeared to be stronger financially, with both higher levels of and better quality capital; and they were twice as likely to invest their assets in loans.
Along with the values-based banks, community investment is undertaken in the United States by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including community development banks, community development credit unions, community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds. According to the CDFI Coalition, there are over 800 CDFIs certified by the CDFI Fund, operating in every state in the nation and the District of Columbia. In 2008 (the last year for which a report is available), CDFIs invested $5.53 billion “to create economic opportunity in the form of new jobs, affordable housing units, community facilities, and financial services for low-income citizens.”
Two of many interesting examples are the Alternatives Federal Credit Union and Boston Community Capital. Alternatives FCU, located in Ithaca, New York, is committed to community development and social change and is part of the Alternatives Group, which includes a non-profit corporation (Alternatives Community Ventures); a 40-year old trade association of community groups, cooperatives, worker-owned businesses and individuals (Alternatives Fund); and a not-for-profit organization that facilitates secondary capital investment in the credit union (Tomkins County Friends of Alternatives, Inc.). The credit union has over $70 million in assets and offers many innovative financial products, including individual development accounts—special savings accounts for low-income residents that offer matching deposits of two to one up to a certain amount—in addition to more traditional services such as loans for minority and women-owned businesses, and affordable mortgages. The credit union also offers small business development (classes, seminars, consultation, and networking programs), free tax preparation, and a student credit union.
Although its lending programs focus on lower-income borrowers, Alternatives FCU has had lower delinquency and charge-off rates than many major banks that avoid these types of customers. Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a CDFI that is not actually a bank but invests in projects that provide affordable housing and jobs in lower-income neighborhoods. BCC includes a loan fund, a venture fund, a mortgage lender, a real estate consultation organization, a solar energy fund, and a federal New Markets Tax Credit investment vehicle. Since 1985, it has invested over $700 million in local organizations and businesses. These funds have helped build or preserve more than 12,800 affordable housing units, as well as child care facilities for almost 9,000 children and healthcare facilities that reach 56,000 people. Their investments have helped renovate 850,000 square feet of commercial real estate, generate 5.9 million KW hours of solar energy capacity, and create more than 1,500 jobs.
Less Money for Banks and More for Workers: The Models of Germany and Japan
Values-based banks and CDFIs are a move in the right direction, but their market share in the U.S. remains small. To see the possibilities of a banking system with a mandate to serve the public, we need to look abroad.
Germany and Japan are export powerhouses, in second and third place globally for net exports. (The U.S. trails at 192nd.) One competitive advantage for both of these countries is that their companies have ready access to low-cost funding from cooperatively owned banks.
In Germany, about half the total assets of the banking system are in the public sector, while another substantial chunk is in cooperative savings banks. Germany’s strong public banking system includes 11 regional public banks (Landesbanken) and thousands of municipally owned savings banks (Sparkassen). After the Second World War, it was the publicly owned Landesbanks that helped family-run provincial companies get a foothold in world markets. The Landesbanks are key tools of German industrial policy, specializing in loans to the Mittelstand, the small-to-medium size businesses that drive the country’s export engine.
Because of the Landesbanks, small firms in Germany have as much access to capital as large firms. Workers in the small business sector earn the same wages as those in big corporations, have the same skills and training, and are just as productive. In January 2011, the net value of Germany’s exports over its imports was 7 percent of GDP, the highest of any nation. But it hasn’t had to outsource its labor force to get that result. The average hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) of German manufacturing workers is $48—a full 50 percent more than the $32 hourly average for their American counterparts.
In Japan, the banks are principally owned not by shareholders but by other companies in the same keiretsu or industrial group, in a circular arrangement in which the companies basically own each other. Even when there are nominal outside owners, corporations are managed so that the bulk of the wealth generated by the corporation flows either to the workers as income or to investment in the company, making the workers and the company the beneficial owners.
Since the 1980s, U.S. companies have focused on maximizing short-term profits at the expense of workers and longer-term goals. This trend stems in part from the fact that they are now funded largely by capital from shareholders who own the company and want simply to grow their returns. According to a 2005 report from the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, equity financing is more than twice as important in the U.S. as in Europe, accounting for 116 percent of GDP compared with 62 percent in Japan and 54 percent in the eurozone countries. In both Europe and Japan, the majority of corporate funding comes not from investors but from borrowing, either from banks or from the bond market.
Funding with low-interest loans from cooperatively owned banks leaves greater control of the company in the hands of employees who either own it or have much more say in its operation. Access to low-interest loans can also slash production costs. According to German researcher Margrit Kennedy, when interest charges are added up at every level of production, 40 percent of the cost of goods, on average, comes from interest.
Globally, the burgeoning movement for local, cooperatively owned and community-oriented banks is blazing the trail toward a new, sustainable form of banking. The results may not yet qualify as the Golden Age prophesied by Hindu cosmology, but they are a major step in that direction.