PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet, 10/2000 - 25 January 2000
--------------------------------


     QUOTE OF THE DAY

     "The way things stand now, the problem is whether
     all homemade iceballs plus all iceballs from airplanes
     account for the total number of events. If not, we
     might have some scientifically interesting iceballs.
     However, this apparently simple equation cannot be
     resolved until the scientific team that studies the
     subject publishes the results of its analyses. I have
     been asking for details about the methods and results
     of the analysis performed so far to but have only found
     opacity."
         -- Josep Corbella, Barcelona


(1) SPANISH ICE: THE PLOT THICKENS
    Mark Kidger <mrkidger@hotmail.com>

(2) FALLING ICEBALLS: QUESTIONS REMAIN
    Josep Corbella <jcorbella@vanguardia.es>

(3) YUKON FIREBALL
    JEREMY TATUM <UNIVERSE@uvvm.UVic.CA>

(4) FIRST EROS MOVIE FOR ALL: CLIMAX EXPECTED ON VALENTINES DAY
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(5) TOP GUN ASTRONOMERS SPY ASTEROID
    BBC News Online, 24 January 2000

(6) ROBOT SPOTS ITS FIRST POLAR METEORITE
    MSNBC Space News, 24 January 2000

(7) HOW COMETS MIGHT SEED PLANETS
    Space.com, 24 January 2000

(8) AND FINALLY: NOAH’S FLOOD IS ANCIENT HISTORY
    ABC NEWS

==============
(1) SPANISH ICE: THE PLOT THICKENS

From Mark Kidger <mrkidger@hotmail.com>

Benny:

An update on the Spanish ice ball saga. Incidentally, I am on the
investigating commission now...

Mark

On January 21st the Spanish CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific
Research) released its first findings about the mysterious ice balls
that have been bombarding Spain according to news reports. These
findings are strictly preliminary and based on isotopic analysis and
composition. Some of the finding though may be of interest to CCNet
readers

To date, more than 50 falls have been claimed. However, from 80-90% of
these falls appear to errors, practical jokes, or frauds. These have
complicated the analysis and the search for an explanation. One ice
ball that was analysed was found to be a block of salt another
contained significant amounts of salt and builder's plaster and is
most definitely "home made". A significant core of ice balls remain
that are of reliable origin and can be verified to have fallen from
the sky. Some of the falls are of significant mass. The second fall
(although the first to be widely reported), had a mass of some 4kg and
caused irreparable damage to a car, completely crushing its roof.
Another early fall perforated a factory roof. A recent ice ball struck
a passer-by a glancing blow, causing minor injuries. There have also
been two reports of possible falls in Italy in recent days, which are
being investigated.

A wide range of possible origins has been considered. These are
grouped into four broad classes:

* Meteorological - The ice has been produced naturally in the
  atmosphere.
* Aviation - The ice has fallen from aircraft, either due to natural
  ice formation on the fuselage, or leaks/ejection of on-board water.
* Cosmic - The ice represents fragments of a comet, or possibly
  mini-comets that have fallen from space.
* Fraud - The ice has been manufactured artificially.

To date, none of these can be rejected definitively, although it is
already evident that some of these theories can be shown to be highly
improbable.

The initial analyses show that the isotopic composition of the water
is highly constant, thus allowing genuine and artificial ice balls to
be distinguished, although the exact chemical content of the ice shows
wide variations. The isotopic composition corresponds very closely to
the natural isotopic mix of atmospheric water.

This last finding has led to a meteorological origin being considered
the most probable at this stage for authenticated falls. Several of
the ice balls show ablation structures that indicate that they have
fallen from a considerable altitude. This has led to the suggestion
that they may have formed naturally within the stratosphere due to a
previously unknown meteorological process. However, it is also true to
say that meteorologists have generally received this suggestion with
scepticism, pointing out that the low water vapour content of the
stratosphere makes the formation of large ice blocks there highly
problematic. A second problem with this theory is the fact that the
majority of the authenticated falls have occurred in a relatively
small region of southern Spain, which also seems inconsistent with a
meteorological explanation.

The isotopic composition makes cosmic origin highly unlikely, although
the mini-comet hypothesis cannot be ruled out at present. One of the
aviation-based hypotheses (leakage of faecal waters) can be ruled out,
although there are several other aviation-based scenarios that are
still possible.

A first meeting of the commission appointed to study the falls will be
held in Madrid on January 28th. At this meeting, a multidisciplinary
gathering, experts from different fields will try to understand the
conflicting evidence and come to some solid conclusions about the
cause of these falls.

Mark Kidger

================
(2) FALLING ICEBALLS: QUESTIONS REMAIN

From Josep Corbella <jcorbella@vanguardia.es>

I agree with Mark Kidger that many of the iceballs that have
reportedly fallen in Spain over the last two weeks are of the home
made variety. This would have caused an increase in the number of
reported iceballs until the trick was discovered; afterwards, there
would have been a sudden decrease in the number of iceballs because,
once discovered, the joke wouldn't be fun any more. This is exactly
what has happened.

I also agree with Mark that some of the iceballs probably come from
airplanes. However, a source from SEPLA (the trade union of pilots,
whose interests are seldom coincident with those of airplane
companies) told me that, if that happened, the problem would
probably be discovered after the flight when the water tanks in the
plane are cleaned and replenished. Besides, some of the iceballs
have fallen outside the airplane routes (although I haven't checked
if all those fallen outside these routes are frauds).

Then there is the hypothesis favoured by the scientific team that
has been officially designated to study the subject, which I find
particularly esoteric: that iceballs form in the stratosphere for
some unknown meteorological mechanism.

The way things stand now, the problem is whether all homemade
iceballs plus all iceballs from airplanes account for the total
number of events. If not, we might have some scientifically
interesting iceballs. However, this apparently simple equation
cannot be resolved until the scientific team that studies the
subject publishes the results of its analyses. I have been asking
for details about the methods and results of the analysis performed
so far to but have only found opacity.

Josep Corbella
La Vanguardia
Barcelona, Spain

==============
(3) YUKON FIREBALL

From JEREMY TATUM <UNIVERSE@uvvm.UVic.CA>

As a result of instant analysis, it now seems to have entered
skylore and become established fact that, following the Yukon
fireball of January 21, a meteorite landed near Carcross in the
Yukon.  Any experienced meteor researcher is aware that it is almost
invariable that, following a bright fireball, instant statements are
made indicating that a meteorite was seen or is known to have fallen
at some locality or other. Subscribers should be aware of this
before it becomes too irreversibly and generally believed that a
meteorite fell near Carcross or, indeed, elsewhere. Members of the
Meteorites and Impacts Advisory Committee to the Canadian Space
Agency are indeed very interested to know if a meteorite did land
anywhere, and would be delighted to learn if one is found near
Carcross or elsewhere, but we caution against accepting as
established fact early reports about where it landed or might have
landed. This is not intended to discourage those who might wish to
search for the object, and indeed we hope there will be searches;
but a note of caution is probably in order.

Jeremy B. Tatum
MIAC, and University of Victoria

=============
(4) FIRST EROS MOVIE FOR ALL: CLIMAX EXPECTED ON VALENTINES DAY

From Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

http://near.jhuapl.edu/iod/20000121/index.html
January 21, 2000

First Eros Rotation Movie: MPEG (3.6 MB) || QuickTime

On Jan 12 the multispectral imager on the NEAR spacecraft acquired
the first in a series of rotation movies that will be taken during
NEAR's approach to the asteroid 433 Eros. When these images were
acquired, NEAR was approximately 27,500 miles (44,000 km) from the
asteroid so Eros still appeared very small. The movie was created
from 780 images, one every 1/2=B0 of Eros's rotation for 1.1
rotations or Eros "days." The time index at the bottom indicates
when each frame was acquired in Greenwich Mean Time.

Even at this low resolution the highly irregular shape of Eros is
apparent. Over the next 4 weeks Eros will appear larger and larger
until the spacecraft goes into orbit on Valentine's Day (February
14th). Several more movies at progressively higher resolutions will
be acquired over the next month.

=============
(5) TOP GUN ASTRONOMERS SPY ASTEROID

From the BBC News Online, 24 January 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_617000/617214.stm

Astronomers in America have been flying in supersonic fighter
aeroplanes in order to get a better look at the stars.

The "top gun" scientists are able to fly over clouds, which might
obscure a view, and easily reach remote vantage points, such as over
the open ocean.

Using the military planes also means they can be "scrambled" to spy
on short-lived astronomical events.

FULL STORY at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_617000/617214.stm

======================
(6) ROBOT SPOTS ITS FIRST POLAR METEORITE

From MSNBC Space News, 24 January 2000
http://msnbc.com/news/340170.asp?cp1=1

By Alan Boyle, MSNBC
        
Jan. 24 —  A rock-hunting robot has detected its first meteorite
untouched by human hands, during an experiment in Antarctica that
could smooth the way for future robotic geologists on faraway
worlds.

FULL STORY at http://msnbc.com/news/340170.asp?cp1=1

================
(7) HOW COMETS MIGHT SEED PLANETS

From Space.com, 24 January 2000
http://www.space.com/science/planetearth/dna_spacegerm_000124.html

By Robert Roy Britt

Like giant interstellar sperm, comets might transport the seeds of
life from collapsed space clouds to fledgling and otherwise barren
planets, depositing their life-giving substances in a colossal impact.

While as of yet unproven, a new computer model shows that at least one
building block of DNA could develop in space when giant clouds of
molecular matter collapse under their own gravity, squeezing
substances and forcing chemical reactions.

If the controversial theory gains support it would be a shot in the
arm for an idea more than 20 years old: that life on Earth originated
in space. It might also explain how life emerged so quickly after our
planet formed, and it certainly proposes that life is not as rare or
as tough to kick-start as we might think.

FULL STORY at
http://www.space.com/science/planetearth/dna_spacegerm_000124.html

====================
(8) AND FINALLY: NOAH’S FLOOD IS ANCIENT HISTORY

From ABC NEWS
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/MichaelGuillen/Michael_Guillen.html

By Michael Guillen

The story of Noah’s Ark has timeless attraction. In a recent Gallup
poll, it came in third in the all-time list of things people want to
know more about.

John McHugh, a young archaeologist from Utah, and his colleagues
have found evidence that long before the invention of writing, the
original version of the basic Noah’s Ark story was written in the
stars by the Sumerians, a culture that existed before modern
civilization, as early as 6,000 to 7,000 ago.

The story was told by using the constellations. To figure out the
tale, researchers first took into account that Earth wobbles as it
spins, which means that constellations back then appeared elsewhere
in the sky.

Then they used computer simulation to figure out what the sky looked
like to early Sumerians. According to the researchers, the Sumerians
imposed on these stars figures that corresponded to the three main
characters in their flood story. Those constellations are what we
call Aquarius, Orion and Argo.

The shape of the ark back then was crescent, keeping with the real
ships of the time. That began to change around 700 B.C., because as
Earth wobbled, Argo began to dip below the horizon. The ancients
needed to pick a substitute in order to keep the picture story
intact. So they picked Pegasus, which is square-shaped. As a result,
we see in depictions of the ark after that time that they are mostly
square-shaped.

This latest discovery doesn’t settle the mystery of the Great Flood,
but it certainly assures us that the story is ancient history.

Copyright 2000, ABC News

----------------------------------------
THE CAMBRIDGE-CONFERENCE NETWORK (CCNet)
----------------------------------------
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please contact the moderator Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>.
Information circulated on this network is for scholarly and
educational use only. The attached information may not be copied or
reproduced for any other purposes without prior permission of the
copyright holders. The fully indexed archive of the CCNet, from
February 1997 on, can be found at http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html


*

LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR, 25 January 2000
-----------------------------------------


(1) SNEEZES vs COMET DUST
    Matthew Genge <M.Genge@nhm.ac.uk>

(2) QUESTIONS FOR WICKRAMASINGHE AND HOYLE
    Andrew Glikson <geospectral@spirit.com.au>

(3) TESTING THE HOYLE-WICKRAMASINGHE HYPOTHESIS
    Bill Dillon <bdillon@houston.geoquest.slb.com>

(4) RESPONSE TO MATTHEW GENGE & ANDREW GLIKSON
    Sir Fred Hoyel and Chandra Wickramasinghe <xdw20@dial.pipex.com>

(5) CLIMATE CHANGE & THE RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX
    Chris Ogilvie-Herald <CAOgilvie@aol.com>

(6) NIROMA'S SUNSPOT MODEL
    Juan Zapata-Arauco <juanwisdomquest@yahoo.com>


=============
(1) SNEEZES vs COMET DUST

From Matthew Genge <M.Genge@nhm.ac.uk>

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggest that carbonaceous cometary particles
with masses of 4x10^-15 g that are captured by the Earth could provide
a flux of biomolecule-bearing particles at the Earth's surface of
10^25 particle per year. This assumes that the entire 40,000 t of the
extraterrestrial mass flux is dominated by these sub-micron particles.
Measurements of the mass distribution of micrometeoroids from
microcraters on the LDEF experiment, however, suggest a maximum in the
distribution at ~10^-5 g (~100 mm dust particle; Love and Brownlee,
1993 Science) and are consistent with the mass distribution of
cometary meteoroid streams and sporadics described by Hughes (1989)
NATO ASI. The mass of particles smaller than 4x10^-15 g entering the
atmosphere suggested by these mass distributions is ~4 t or 10^21
particles a significant proportion of which, but not all, will be
carbonaceous. Assuming there is no screening affect due to entry
heating above 150C (even though the effective thermal emissivity of
these 10 nm particles will fall well below that of black bodies) the
abundance of particles is therefore very similar to the number of
aerosol particles that Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggest are produced
by humans during a pandemic. The only difference is of course that the
cometary particles fall all over the globe whereas those of human
origin increase with population density enhancing the possibility of
transmission.

===============
(2) QUESTIONS FOR WICKRAMASINGHE AND HOYLE

From Andrew Glikson <geospectral@spirit.com.au>

Dear Benny,

With reference to the ongoing "Panfluenza" and "Panspermia"
controversy, can the above gentlemen clarify the following:

1. Has any of the cosmic dust and micro-meteorites collected by NASA
spacecrafts around Earth, the Moon, Mars, Venus or anywhere else in
the solar system, over the last 20-30 years or so, revealed any trace
of evidence for the alleged cosmic viruses?  If I am correct, some of
these satellites are sterilised prior to despatch, to minimize
terrestrial contamination, and some are equipped to analyse collected
dust particles.

2. Would the authors care to comment on the distinct structure of
amino acids found in carbonaceous chondrites - isobutaric acid
(CH3)2CNH2COOH) and racemic isovaline (CH3CH2(CH3)CNH2COOH) (Zhao
and Bada, 1989; Nature, 339:463-464). Whereas these molecules would
form ideal tracers/markers of any such space-derived organic materials
and viruses as may have reached Earth, as suggested by Hoyle and
Wickramashinghe, they are in fact exceedingly rare on Earth and have
been only observed in conjunction with extra-terrestrial impact
deposits such as along the K-T boundary at Steve Klint, Denmark.

If the answers to these questions are in the negative, how are they
rationalized in terms of Panfluenza and Panspermia?

Kind Regards
Andrew Glikson
25.1.00

============
(3) TESTING THE HOYLE-WICKRAMASINGHE HYPOTHESIS

From Bill Dillon <bdillon@houston.geoquest.slb.com>

Dear Benny,

I noted that the same CCNet issue that contained several notes on
"Germs from Space" also contained notes about collecting meteorite
dust from aircraft and comet dust from spacecraft. 

Surely the controversial theory of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe could be
refuted or affirmed by: 1) finding no viruses in the stratosphere
(assuming one can collect them if they are there), or 2) finding
viruses returned by Stardust (assuming no contamination).

Which brings up an interesting point. I've read that material returned
from Mars will be treated as a bio-hazard, but what about material
returned by Stardust (perhaps more aptly named Stargerms)?

Remind me to be far away from Utah in 2006....

Regards,

--Bill Dillon

===============
(4) RESPONSE TO MATTHEW GENGE & ANDREW GLIKSON

From Sir Fred Hoyel and Chandra Wickramasinghe <xdw20@dial.pipex.com>

(1)  Genge's reference to the mass spectrum of micrometeoroids is
largely irrelevant for the organic particle flux from comets. Direct
sampling of the dust from comet P/Halley showed increasing fluences of
particles in the dust coma down to 10^-15 g, probably less (Simpson et
al., A&A 187, 742, 1987).  A dominance of submicron-sized particles in
the interplanetary medium is also indicated by the excess ultraviolet
component of the zodiacal light. 

(2) We refer to our calculations on the heating of small grains as they
enter the atmosphere (eg. in the Appendix to "Diseases from Space") to
refute the point about heat-sterilization.

(3) No viruses/bacteria/volatile organic molecules would survive very
high speed impact onto surfaces of the moon, satellites or spacecraft.
Collected dust particles (IDP's) are mostly refractories with traces of
trapped organics and interior organic structures in some instances.

(4) The amino acid content of carbonaceous chondrites, synthesised
abiotically, is largely irrelevant to panspermia. It is the volatile
component of cometary outflows that carry biological particles and
biological molecules in our model. The biological amino acid influx
would in any case overwhelm a trickle of non-biological amino acids
because the biological molecules would be vastly amplified within
cometary interiors. The fact that abiotic amino acids are rare on the
Earth could mean that they always come within larger meteoroids that are
all burnt up except in the rare situations such as an impact of a large
object, e.g. the K-T boundary impactor.

Fred Hoyle
Chandra Wickramasinghe

===============
(5) CLIMATE CHANGE & THE RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX

From Chris Ogilvie-Herald <CAOgilvie@aol.com>

Dear Benny,

I have been a member of your list since its inception when I was
freelance editor to Quest for Knowledge magazine. You may remember
QFK published your article and advertised the Cambridge conference
back in 1997. I have enjoyed your postings ever since especially
those relating to civilisation collapse and climatic upheavals. I
am writing to you now with regard to my research interests and
whether or not you or your colleagues can assist me with that
research.

In our book (Giza: The Truth published on 26 August 1999 by Virgin
Publishing) my co-author and I have taken a critical look at some
of the more leading alternative theories and controversies that
focus on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. One such theory is that put
forward by Dr Robert Schoch (geologist from Boston University) and
John Anthony West (writer and 'alternative Egyptologist').

Schoch and West maintain that the Sphinx is far older than the date
given by orthodox Egyptologist's of around 2500BC. Their main argument
is based upon Schoch's assertion that the Sphinx enclosure walls have
been weathered by precipitation induced weathering, rather than wind
and sand. For example West writes:

  "The Western enclosure wall can be viewed from the top part of the
  Southern enclosure wall (the right hand flank of the Sphinx) and the
  southern enclosure wall [see attached image], the most important
  single piece of evidence, can be viewed clearly from atop the
  western wall (behind the rump of the Sphinx). From either view, the
  deep vertical fissures on both western and southern faces of the
  enclosure wall can be seen clearly. These, according to Robert
  Schoch are the tell-marks of precipitation-induced weathering and
  can only be produced by rain and the extensive runoff coursing down
  the plateau and over the edges of the enclosure walls. It is this
  runoff that is responsible for the much deeper weathering on the
  enclosure wall compared to weathering on the Sphinx itself-subject
  only to the rain that fell on it. It is the weathering pattern of
  the southern face of the enclosure wall that provides, we believe,
  incontrovertible proof not only of the type of weathering, but of
  the kinds of conditions responsible for it, and therefore, by
  extension, the tremendous age of the Sphinx."

Schoch and West claim that the only period when sufficient quantities
of rain could have produced such weathering is during the Nabtian
Pluvial c. 10,000 - 3000BC. In an article written in 1992 for the
Egyptology periodical KMT, Schoch quotes experts who seem unanimous
that the arid climate which has persisted in the modern era commenced
in approximately 2350 BC. This is only 150 years after the
conventional date for the carving of the Sphinx. Meanwhile geologist
James Harrell from the University of Toledo, one of the opponents of
the West-Schoch hypothesis, writing in the same journal in 1994
describes how even during the time of this arid climate there are
infrequent but heavy, intense and sudden rainstorms in the area,
during which rainwater infiltrates the sand and limestone before it
can evaporate. He further suggests that this intensity can result in
ground-water flows and even surface run-off.

In our book my co-author and I have come out in favour of the orthodox
dating having read the counter-arguments and taken into consideration
the elements of context. But I am now interested in
researching/eliminating the possibility that intense rainstorms
caused precipitation-induced weathering of the Sphinx enclosure walls
during dynastic times.

We know that there are at least four periods when the Sphinx enclosure
was free of sand, 2500-2100 BC, 1400-1200 BC, 600-500BC and
300BC-300AD. These intervals offer a collective 1300 year window in
which precipitation-induced weathering could have eroded the enclosure
walls as described by Schoch, but only if sufficient quantities of
rain fell during those periods, and as sudden rainstorms that created
ground-water flows and surface run-off. My request to you and your
colleagues is for any information that could indicate climatic
fluctuations leading to a cooler wetter period in Egypt during the
periods I have cited. I have contacted a some climatic research
institutions and have received positive comments from their staff
including indications that there are 'some suggestions of a wetter N.
Africa around 0-500AD', which falls within one of the windows I have
previously mentioned. They were also kind enough to forward monthly
rainfall totals for Cairo during the period 1897 to present. Although
this reveals some interesting 'modern' rainfall fluctuations, it does
little to help my understanding of  'ancient' climatic downturns,
catastrophic events, precipitation levels and their relation to my
line of enquiry. I would like to eliminate or continue this line of
research and will be most grateful if you or your colleagues could
supply me with any information, data or historical references towards
those aims.

Thank you for your assistance and your time.

Kind regards,

Chris Ogilvie-Herald.
Email: caogilvie@aol.com

"Rain-storms are sometimes mentioned in the Egyptian texts. It should
be noted that the temples of all periods have channels, on the roofs
(with spouts) and underground, to carry off rainwater". (Alexander
Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilisation).

=============
(6) NIROMA'S SUNSPOT MODEL

From Juan Zapata-Arauco <juanwisdomquest@yahoo.com>

Dear Benny:

Timo Niroma speaks about the coincidence of the extreme low solar wind
activity during May 10-12, 1999 measured in space and in Earth with
the timing of Jupiter perihelion and the chill experienced in Finland
during these exceptional hours (CCN Letters to the moderator, Jan 12,
2000).

I would like to add that I founded a unexpected coincidence during
this same weird geophysical period (approximately May 10/18:00 UT to
May 12/3:00) that was reported to the interested observers on Tuesday,
Dec 21, 1999.

During this time eight "true" Random Events Generators (REGs) located
in different geographical locations of the planet for registering
hypothetical "Global Consciousness Events" showed "a very strong trend
to smaller than usual deviations...The results are internally
consistent and extremely unlikely to be chance fluctuations." Quoted
from:

      "http://noosphere.princeton.edu

click "Brief Survey" and there the link "geomagnetic" for a disclose of
these preliminary observations and related (not based on REGs)previous
experimental work on possible consciousness anomalies dependence on
solar wind parameters.


-----------------
CCNet-LETTERS is the discussion forum of the Cambridge-Conference
Network. Contributions to the on-going debate about near-Earth objects,
the cosmic environment of our planet and how to deal with it are welcome.
The fully indexed archive of the CCNet, from February 1997 on,
can be found at http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html



CCCMENU CCC for 2000

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