PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet, 13/2000 - 31 January 2000
--------------------------------


     QUOTES OF THE DAY


     "‘Several texts suggest that some kind of upheaval resulting in
     civil disorder occurred at the end of the Old Kingdom,’ says Dr.
     Donald B. Redford, professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean
     studies. ‘Until now, there has been no archaeological evidence of
     these events.’ [...] Final positions of the bodies -- arms placed
     over the heads and bodies sprawled in contorted attitudes exactly
     as they fell -- indicate that the individuals died of trauma.
     Masses  of mud bricks covered the bodies with the uppermost layer
     fire-blackened indicating destruction of the surrounding area."



     "Leaving behind it a bright trail of light of a fine Silver
     Colour, which continued Visible about 20 minutes, altho' but half
     an hour after Sunset, and then gradually disappeared, after
     changing from a Strait line to a very crooked one. [Meteors are]
     bodies altogether foreign to this Earth, but meeting with it, in
     its Annual Orbit, are attracted by it, and on entering our
     Atmosphere take fire and are exploded, something in the manner
     Steel filings are, on passing thro' the flame of a Candle. 
     [It made a] glorious appearance at the distance of a few miles,
     yet from its prodigious Magnitude it must have been quite
     terrible. [Had the] Cataract fallen on the plain whereon
     Philadelphia stands, half its inhabitants would probably been
     [sic] drowned."
         -- David Rittenhouse in a letter to Benjamin Franklin
    on the the meteor fall of  31 October 1779



(1) FOSSILISED BACTERIA FOUND IN METEORITES, RUSSIAN
    SCIENTISTS CLAIM
    Brig Klyce <bklyce@panspermia.org>

(2) FIREBALL DEBRIS FOUND IN IRELAND
    BBC Online News, 31 January 2000

(3) ARMCHAIR EXPLORATION OF ANTARCTIC METEORITES
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(4) YUKON METEOR FLASH CAUGHT ON FILM
    Space.com, 28 Januray 2000

(5) EARLY UNDERSTANDING OF METEORITES
    Rolf Sinclair <rolf@santafe.edu>

(6) EVIDENCE FOR CATASTROPHIC COLLAPSE OF EGYPTIAN OLD KINGDOM
    Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.edu>

(7) MORE VICTIMS DISCOVERED OF POMPEII CATASTROPHE
    Discovery Online, 31 January 2000


================
(1) FOSSILISED BACTERIA FOUND IN METEORITES, RUSSIAN
    SCIENTISTS CLAIM

From Brig Klyce <bklyce@panspermia.org>

Dear Benny --

At a conference in Denver, July 20-22, 1999, a pair scientists from the
Russian Academy of Sciences presented sharp images that look very much
like fossilized microorganisms taken from fragments of several
carbonaceous meteorites. The Russian scientists are Stanislav I. Zhmur,
Institute of the Lithosphere of Marginal Seas, and Lyudmila M.
Gerasimenko, Institute of Biology. The conference was "Instruments,
Methods and Missions for Astrobiology II," the third in a series
organized by NASA's Richard Hoover. In December, The Conference 
Proceedings became available from SPIE, the conference sponsor.

We contacted Dr. Zhmur and asked permission to publish some of those
images on the Cosmic Ancestry website. He agreed. He comments:

"Comparative analysis of  bacteriomorphic structures from the
carbonaceous meteorites, Murchison, Efremovka and Allende,... and
morphology of  microorganisms of modern and ancient terrestrial
cyanobacterial community showed that they are analogous. This gave
us reason to consider that these bacteriomorphic structures are
fossilized remnants of microorganisms. The lithified remnants ...are
tightly conjugated with the mineral matrix, removing the possibility
that they are contaminants. The selection of microfossils capable of
being interpreted as biological is quite wide. Some of them are
demonstrated in the pictures."

Six photos can be seen at http://www.panspermia.org/zhmur1.htm

Brig Klyce
Acorn Enterprises LLC
Memphis, TN 
http://www.panspermia.org

===============
(2) FIREBALL DEBRIS FOUND IN IRELAND

From the BBC Online News, 31 January 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_622000/622499.stm

Woman finds space fireball debris

By BBC News Online's Damian Carrington

Meteorites which spectacularly crashed on the British Isles two months
ago have been recovered. It is the first time the remnants of a
fireball have been found for many years.

The golf-ball sized fragments of space rock were discovered lying on a
local road by a grandmother, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Samples have been sent to the Natural History Museum in London and Dr
Sara Russell, a meteorite expert told BBC News Online: "There's no
doubt, they're definitely from a meteorite."

Booming explosions

The rock, billions of years old, fell to Earth at 2200 on 28 November,
1999. Witnesses in County Carlow, Republic of Ireland, said the
fireball lit up the night sky and sent out booming explosions.

Justine O'Mahony of the Carlow People newspaper said: "It caused a lot
of excitement. A lot of people heard explosions in the sky and talked
about flashing lights."

Meteorite dealer and collector Rob Elliott, based in Scotland, told BBC
News Online: "The reports of loud detonations gave me a strong
suspicion that some part of the meteor would have survived."

So, Mr Elliott contacted the Carlow People, who ran a story telling
local people that he would pay up to 20,000 for large pieces of the
meteorite.

A second story a week later prompted the arrival of an anonymous
envelope containing earth and 13 stones, ones of which turned out to be
a meteorite. The lack of a customs declaration delayed the
parcel.

It took a third story in the paper, and the dismissal of some crank
calls, to flush out the person who found the fallen rocks.

First since 1865

The meteorites, totalling 220 grams in weight, are the first recovered
in Ireland since 1865. And they are the first fallen rocks found
anywhere in the British Isles since 1991.

Only 17 meteorites have ever been found in the British Isles.

Meteorites can be extremely valuable, worth up to $50,000 per gram. The
premium prices are paid for the rarest specimens, which are lunar
meteorites. These rocks have been blasted off the Moon by an impact and
have then fallen to Earth. Only three have been found outside
Antarctica. The international treaty in place on the frozen continent
means those found there cannot be sold.

Oddly, Martian meteorites are more common, but still reach $4,000 per
gram..

"Meteorites have really grown in value over the last few years," said
Dr Russell. "The fuss in 1996 over the possible bacteria in the Martian
meteorite really captured people's imagination and they really started
collecting very seriously."

Very rare find

However, Mr Elliott claims he will seek only to cover his costs -
2,000 - with the Irish meteorite and will make specimens available to
scientists.

The Natural History Museum will verify the space rock and will retain a
piece for its collection by way of payment. The final stamp of
authenticity is given by the International Meteorite Nomenclature
Committee. Traditionally, the meteorite is named after the nearest post
office to where it fell.

"We get several people bringing material into the museum every week,"
said Dr Russell. "But it is very rare that it turns out to be a
meteorite. There has only been one in the last year and that came from
Tunisia."

Copyright 2000, BBC

==============
(3) ARMCHAIR EXPLORATION OF ANTARCTIC METEORITES

From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

Carnegie Mellon University

Contact: Meg Siegel, msiegel@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-5765

January 27, 2000

Interactive Web Site "Big Signal" Allows Public To Explore Antarctica
Through a Robot's Senses

PITTSBURGH -- Big Signal (www.bigsignal.net), an interactive Web site
and interface for remote experience that features the daily activities of
Nomad, a robot that has been searching for meteorites in Antarctica since
Jan. 17, is now available to the public.

The Web site and interface were also deployed at the Carnegie Museum of
Natural History, where it will be available to users at a Macintosh
computer cluster for the next month. It will also be used by teachers in
classrooms at Pittsburgh's Arsenal Middle School, Greenfield Elementary
School, Columbus Middle School, as well as suburban locations including
Peters Township Middle School, Keystone Oaks High School and Quaker
Valley Middle School.

Big Signal, a two-year project directed by Peter Coppin, a research fellow
in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts,
gives users the experience of exploring a remote location through Nomad's
sensors, including a 360-degree panoramic camera and other sensors that
allow students to engage in remote geology. Big Signal receives information
from Nomad daily, making the robot's expedition easily accessible to users.

Nomad, a planetary rover prototype, is funded by NASA and was created at
Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. The principal researcher on the Nomad
project is William L. "Red" Whittaker and the project manager is Dimitrios
Apostolopoulos.

"Big Signal extends the senses of ordinary people to a faraway place and
lets users engage in a real remote experience" said Coppin. "The goal of
Big Signal is to place students in a real scientific setting by giving them
access to the same data that a scientist would access."

NASA recently gave Coppin and colleagues at the Robotics Institute a
three-year $500,000 grant to develop "EventScope," an enhanced system
based on Big Signal. EventScope will allow its users to feel as if they
are conducting their own scientific explorations when NASA sends rovers
to other planets. Pittsburgh-based Three-Rivers Connect and the Heinz
Endowments are providing more than $70,000 in matching funds for
EventScope.

The Big Signal project has received more than $100,000 from foundation
sources, including the Heinz Endowments, Grable Foundation and the Henry
Clay Frick Fund of the Buhl Foundation. Engineers from Carnegie Mellon's
Robotics Institute, Carnegie Institute of Technology and The Center for
Innovation in Learning have contributed to the project. William Cassidy,
professor of geology and planetary science at the University of Pittsburgh,
and Kurt Schwehr of NASA's Ames Research Center, have also contributed
to Big Signal. Web hosting has been provided by Electronic Information
Network, a collaborative project of the Allegheny County Library
Association (ACLA), Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Commission
on the Future of Libraries in Allegheny County.

Experience Nomad's search for meteorites at
   www.ri.cmu.edu/~meteorobot2000

To join Nomad's search for meteorites in Antarctica, visit
www.bigsignal.net

==============
(4) YUKON METEOR FLASH CAUGHT ON FILM

From Space.com, 28 Januray 2000
http://www.space.com/space/yukon_flash_000128.html

By Robin Lloyd
Senior Science Writer
28 January 2000

An alert Canadian man snapped an illuminating sequence of photos of the
gaseous trail left in Earth's atmosphere minutes after a recent meteor
explosion over the Yukon Territory.

The flash occurred around 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time on Jan. 18 over the
remotely populated stretch of northwestern Canada, said Ewald Lemke, a
63-year-old realtor who posted the images he took on his Atlin Realty
online web site.

Lemke writes that he started taking pictures outside his realty office
in Atlin, British Columbia, just south of the Yukon border, within two
minutes of the "flash," at which time the vapor trail appeared reddish
(below).

"I had all the lights on in the office and was working on the computer and this whole
room lit up," Lemke said.

"The whole room was three times brighter. So what's going on? I ran
outside thinking something had exploded but I didn't hear a noise. The
noise came some time later," he said.

He continued to take photographs as the trail changed (below).

The final picture in a quick series of four was taken 14 minutes after
the first in the series (below), with the vapor trail extending
significantly.

By 18 minutes after the flash, Lemke says the trail extended beyond the
frame allowed by the camera's lens (below).
                 
Finally, 45 minutes after the flash, the trail was still visible under
a cloud, as shown in the photo at the top of this story. Lemke used a
digital camera for the shots, because it's a long drive to get
conventional film developed, he said.

NASA dispatched its Airborne Sciences ER-2 from the Dryden Space Flight
Center in the Mojave Desert in California to the scene on Jan. 21,
where it combed the skies in search of traces of the massive meteor.

The meteor exploded 16 miles (25 kilometers) with the energy of two to
three kilotons of TNT, ratlling houses, knocking snow off roofs and
shaking seismic monitors in the region.

The explosion produced two sonic booms and a sizzling sound over Alaska
and northwestern Canada, according to a NASA news release.

Lemke said it sounded like a snow load falling onto his building. "But
there was no snow, so I wondered what the heck it was," he said. "Then
when people talked about a sonic boom, I connected the two events."

Two small paddles mounted on the ER-2 and coated in sticky silicon oil
collected particles during the one-day, round-trip expedition. The
paddles have been sealed hermetically and returned to NASA's Johnson
Space Center where they will be analyzed by cosmic meteorologist
Michael Zolenski.

The results will come in two weeks, NASA says, giving scientists an
opportunity to learn more about the meteor's origin and composition.

Chief Pasadena Correspondent Andrew Bridges contributed to this story.

Copyright 2000, Space.com

===============
(5) EARLY UNDERSTANDING OF METEORITES

From Rolf Sinclair <rolf@santafe.edu>

Hi Benny --

Here is an interesting observation of a meteor observed in
Pennsylvania in 1779 that showed a prescient early understanding
of its nature. Note that this predates the apocryphal nonsense
about "not believing stones fall from the sky" erroneously
attributed to Thomas Jefferson. It does bring up the question of
when (and by whom) the nature of meteors (and meteorites) as
extraterrestrial solid bodies in orbit around the sun was first
realized. Do you have any comments on that? I am quoting from the
paper "Benjamin Franklin's Reconciliation of Popular Astrology and
Scientific Astronomy" by Monika Elbert (Montclair State
University) presented at the January 1999 INSAP meeting in Malta.

Rolf Sinclair


In a letter to Benjamin Franklin, David Rittenhouse describes most
poetically a meteor which fell on 31 October 1779:  "Leaving
behind it a bright trail of light of a fine Silver Colour, which
continued Visible about 20 minutes, altho' but half an hour after
Sunset, and then gradually disappeared, after changing from a
Strait line to a very crooked one" (Rittenhouse, 31 December 1780,
179). Rittenhouse speculates that meteors are "Bodies altogether
foreign to this Earth, but meeting with it, in its Annual Orbit,
are attracted by it, and on entering our Atmosphere take fire and
are exploded, something in the manner Steel filings are, on
passing thro' the flame of a Candle" (31 Dec. 1780). 

Moreover, Rittenhouse is awed by the power, velocity, and
potential damage of the meteor; it made a "glorious appearance at
the distance of a few miles, yet from its prodigious Magnitude it
must have been quite terrible" (31 Dec. 1780). Rittenhouse
concludes by saying that he is thankful that the meteor fell on
"uninhabitable Mountains" because had the "Cataract fallen on the
plain whereon Philadelphia stands, half its inhabitants would
probably been [sic] drowned" (31 Dec. 1780).

Reference: Rittenhouse, David.  The Scientific Writings of David
Rittenhouse.  Ed. Brooke Hindle.  N.Y.:  Arno Press, 1980.

David Rittenhouse (1732-96) was a self-taught native of
Philadelphia, Pa., who was noted for the instruments he both
developed and manufactured. He developed an interest in astronomy
and physics to the professional level, and made the first
telescope and established the first observatory in what was to
become the United States. "Rittenhouse Square" in Philadelphia is
named after him.

=============
(6) EVIDENCE FOR CATASTROPHIC COLLAPSE OF EGYPTIAN OLD KINGDOM

From Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.edu>

http://www.eurekalert.org/releases/penn-mfm012800.html

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 28 JANUARY 2000 (28 JANUARY 2000 GMT)
Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State

Mendes find may hold clues to Old Kingdom demise

University Park, Pa. -- The remains of 18 people apparently left as
they fell during an altercation at the end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt
may shed light on the last days of the Old Kingdom, according to a Penn
State researcher.

"Several texts suggest that some kind of upheaval resulting in civil
disorder occurred at the end of the Old Kingdom," says Dr. Donald B.
Redford, professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies.
"Until now, there has been no archaeological evidence of these events."

Toward the end of the Old Kingdom at about 2100 B.C., the state
declined in wealth. The Nile's annual discharge replenishing the
fertility of fields diminished and famine was frequent, according to
Redford, a faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts.

The remains were found at Mendes in Egypt, two hours north of Cairo in
the central portion of the Nile delta and 50 miles from the coast. The
site shows occupation during a long period from prehistory through the
26th dynasty or about 500 B.C. and includes a temple, necropolis and
harbor as well as habitation areas. Redford, along with Douglas Brewer
of the University of Illinois and Robert Wenke of the University of
Washington, has been excavating at the site since 1991.

Final positions of the bodies -- arms placed over the heads and bodies
sprawled in contorted attitudes exactly as they fell -- indicate that
the individuals died of trauma. Masses of mud bricks covered the bodies
with the uppermost layer fire-blackened indicating destruction of the
surrounding area.

"The date of this destruction is clear from the ceramic record and the
stratigraphy that place it in the second half of the 6th Dynasty," says
Redford. "The presence of flimsy mud-brick walls built over the debris
is an apparent attempt to reuse the area afterwards."

Another interesting aspect of the 1999 summer dig was the discovery of a
series of curved walls and platforms, including a courtyard surrounded
by curved walls in the temple area.

"Typically, the Egyptians did not create curvilinear walls, but relied
on straight line walls and sharp angles," says Redford. "These curved
structures are interesting and puzzling."

This semicircular court, which the expedition has not completely
excavated, is the area where the 18 individuals were found.

In another area of the site, the deputy director, Susan Redford, found
11 granite sarcophagi that once contained the embalmed bodies of rams.
The temple at Mendes was originally dedicated to the ram god and the
practice was to choose a perfect ram as the embodiment of the gods.

"By 343 B.C., the Persians were tending towards monotheism," says
Redford. "They pulled the sarcophagi out of their burial chamber,
destroyed the mummified rams and threw the sarcophagi out."

During this season the excavators located the original vaulted cubicles
where the sarcophagi had originally rested. One sarcophagus was still
partly in place as were bronze fittings from the doors. Redford believes
that this burial vault dates from about 800 B.C. or the Third
Intermediate period, but is unsure where the Egyptians interred earlier
rams.

In 1991 the archaeologists excavated the royal necropolis and in 1995
began working on the temple area. The existing temple was built in three
phases and was destroyed probably in the Middle Ages. Redford plans to
return to Mendes this summer.

===============
(7) MORE VICTIMS DISCOVERED OF POMPEII CATASTROPHE

From Discovery Online, 31 January 2000
http://www.discovery.com/news/archive/news20000128/brief2.html?ct=3891ef90

48 More Vesuvius Victims Discovered

Jan. 28, 2000 -- Nearly 2,000 years after Mount Vesuvius covered
Pompeii and the nearby towns of Herculaneum and Stabiae with 9 to 20
feet of hot ash and pumice, new light is being shed on the most famous
eruption in history.

The 300 fugitives who sought refuge on the beach of Herculaneum did not
die from slow suffocation as long assumed, but from extreme thermal
shock.

By studying bone fractures and the position of the remains,
anthropologists at Naples University have established beyond a doubt
that the fugitives were wrapped in a 750-degree Fahrenheit cloud and
died in a fraction of a second.

The recent finding has its roots in an 18-year dig led by archaeologist
Mario Pagano near the ancient seashore. Begun in 1981, the excavation
has unearthed 48 nearly-intact bodies trapped by death as they packed
into 12 storerooms on the beach to escape the molten lava and boiling
mud pouring down from the crater.

Archaeologists found bodies of adults on the surface, many carrying
money and valuable objects; deeper down, they found children and
newborns.

"This is a significant and precious sample of Herculaneum's population
at the time of the eruption. By studying the skeletal remains and the
objects the fugitives carried with them, we have been able to make
an accurate picture of the daily life in the town and its last hours,"
says Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, superintendent of archaeology at Pompeii.

Studying the bone fractures and the position of the remains,
anthropologists at Naples University have established beyond a doubt
that the fugitives died instantly from extreme thermal shock when the
surge hurled down on the beach area.

Following the technique invented in 1863 by Giuseppe Fiorelli, the
archaeologists made casts of the dead, using modern silicone rubber
instead of plaster. Like the famous casts of 13 victims made in 1966 in
Pompeii's Garden of the Fugitives, the 48 impressions offer an
appalling frozen picture of the city's last hours. The casts will be
shown in the exhibition "Ancient People of Herculaneum" at the end of
March.

"It is indeed an impressive find," says Pedar W. Foss of DePauw
University in Indiana, author of a forthcoming book on Pompeii.

"While our understanding of the eruption sequence of Mount Vesuvius has
been greatly enhanced over the last 15 years, we still have much to
learn about the particular reactions of the inhabitants, and their
group behavior, on that August day in A.D. 79."

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News Brief

Copyright 2000, Discovery.com

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