“Such high temperatures would completely melt an automobile in less than a minute”

That statement is from a report analyzing the destruction of Abu Hureyra, an early agricultural settlement in Syria, some 12,800 years ago. Abu Hureyra, it turns out, has another story to tell. Found among the cereals and grains and splashed on early building material and animal bones was meltglass, some features of which suggest it was formed at extremely high temperatures—far higher than what humans could achieve at the time—or that could be attributed to fire, lighting or volcanism. “To help with perspective, such high temperatures would completely melt an automobile in less than a minute,” said James Kennett, a UC Santa Barbara

Continue reading

The lighter side of the dysfunctional apocalypse

I had to laugh at this video prediction of everything that can (and will) go wrong when the dystopian apocalypse finally happens.  It’s so dire, it’s funny. Oh, well.  At my age, I don’t have to worry about most of those problems – I doubt I’ll live long enough to encounter them.  I’ll leave them to my younger readers, who can write their own blogs (by then doubtless circulated on paper, rather than electronically) to describe them! Peter

Continue reading

“What would happen in an apocalyptic blackout

That’s the question asked by the BBC in a very interesting analysis of how dependent we are on electricity for our very survival in urban areas.  It looks at Venezuela’s real-life experience of prolonged blackouts, and extrapolates from that to the situation in most major cities.  Here’s an excerpt to show you the scale of the problem. In our modern world, almost everything, from our financial systems to our communication networks, are utterly reliant upon electricity. Other critical infrastructure like water supplies and our sewer systems rely upon electric powered pumps to keep them running. With no power, fuel pumps at petrol

Continue reading

Saturday Snippet: The USS Enterprise and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

As we all know, the US aircraft carriers weren’t at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked it on December 7th, 1941.  However, they weren’t far away.  USS Enterprise was one of only three US carriers (along with USS Saratoga and USS Ranger) to serve throughout World War II from the first day to the last.  As the Japanese attack went in, she was returning to Pearl Harbor after delivering fighter aircraft to Wake Island, soon to be occupied by Japan. Cdr. Edward P. Stafford wrote a history of the ship, “The Big E”.  Published in 1962, it’s become one of the classic accounts of naval warfare.  I’m particularly pleased

Continue reading

Democrats are also getting fed up with Congress crying “Wolf!”

A week ago, I noted that politicians on both sides of the aisle had been crying “Wolf!” for so long that the ordinary people of this country were becoming jaded, cynical and downright disgusted by their antics.  That process appears to have been accelerating.  I’m now seeing lifelong Democrats, who’ve been loyal to their party for decades (if not generations in their families), openly saying that the Democratic Party in Congress has gone way too far, and is destroying itself and this country.  I’m even finding such comments in far-left-wing and progressive Web sites – not many of them, to be sure, but they’re there. 

Continue reading

Robert Mugabe’s death: too late to undo the damage he caused

I can’t help feeling at least some pleasure at the news that Robert Mugabe, former dictator of Zimbabwe, has shuffled off this mortal coil.  He was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his people, and transformed Zimbabwe from a flourishing economy, the breadbasket of Africa, to a famine-stricken wreck of a country.  As former Rhodesians were wont to say cynically, “People used to come to Rhodesia to see the Zimbabwe Ruins.  Now they come to Zimbabwe to see the ruins of Rhodesia.”  That was, overwhelmingly, Mugabe’s doing. My friend Lawdog has written a less restrained farewell to Robert Mugabe.  He doesn’t mince

Continue reading

Ebola: new drugs show promise, but we’re not out of the woods yet

I’m encouraged to hear that two new drugs to treat Ebola are showing promise, but the process of testing them has been fraught with difficulty – and bloodshed.  Nature reports: The race to develop treatments for Ebola has accelerated since the largest epidemic in history devastated West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Scientists responding to the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have enrolled more than 500 participants in an unprecedented study of experimental drugs, vaccinated nearly 170,000 people, and sequenced the genomes of more than 270 Ebola samples collected from the sick. . . . Working

Continue reading

Ebola: the numbers tell their own story

The grim statistics of the current Ebola outbreak in north-western Congo are, frankly, horrifying to those who know the disease, and know the area.  The Telegraph reports: According to the DRC Ministry of Health, 1,008 people have died from the deadly virus, including 942 confirmed deaths and 66 probable. There have been 1,529 cases since the outbreak began last August – less than a third of those infected have survived. . . . On Tuesday, the DRC’s Ministry of Health confirmed that 26 people had died from the virus – the highest death toll on a single day. And with 126

Continue reading

Trump’s tax records

Isn’t it interesting how the Democratic Party in Congress and their allies in Democratic Party-controlled states are pushing so hard to get their hands on President Trump’s financial records?  I can’t recall them ever doing the same about their own tax records.  When do we get to see Nancy Pelosi’s returns, and her husband’s?  How about Chuck Schumer’s?  The partisanship is so obvious it’s blinding . . . except to the mainstream media, of course, who wouldn’t recognize bias if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. I note there’s even an attempt by some states to flout the

Continue reading

Notre Dame

I share the sadness of millions around the world at the loss to fire of much of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday. In cultural and historical terms, it was a tragedy of the first magnitude.  What’s lost can be rebuilt, but the original can never be replaced.  Of greater cultural import, at present it’s believed that something like 70% of the religious relics housed in the sacristy at the cathedral have been destroyed, or are still not accounted for.  Their loss (if confirmed) will be a grievous blow to the Catholic Church, where such items are regarded with far greater importance

Continue reading