5,000 Year old Inhabited Cave Collapse Inspires Greek Myth of Hades?

CREDIT: Gianluca Cantoro, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas
CREDIT: Gianluca Cantoro, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas

According to Live Science article, a cave in Greece, re-discovered in 1958, had suffered a catastrophic entrance collapse that left stranded people to die within.   The cave is so large that a river flows through part of it.  Here’s more on the story of Alepotrypa cave:

“The legend is that in a village nearby, a guy was hunting for foxes with his dog, and the dog went into the hole and the man went after the dog and discovered the cave,” said researcher Michael Galaty, an archaeologist at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. “The story’s probably apocryphal — depending on who you ask in the village, they all claim it was their grandfather who found the cave.”

Excavations that have taken place at Alepotrypa since 1970 uncovered tools, pottery, obsidian and even silver and copper artifacts that date back to the Neolithic or New Stone Age, which in Greece began about 9,000 years ago.  

Could this pre-historic cave collapse have been the myth-maker for the Bronze Age Hades?

“Alepotrypa existed right before the Bronze Age in Mycenaean Greece, so we’re kind of seeing the beginnings of things that produced the age of heroes in Greece,” Galaty said.”


Study Shows that Since 1992, Polar Ice Caps have Shrunk

National Geographic Antarctic Ice
National Geographic Antarctic Ice

This study, published in National Geographic says that a rapid loss of ice caps in the last 20 years has contributed to sea-level rise.  Here’s more:

“Between 1992—when polar satellite measurements began—and 2011, the results show that all of the polar regions except for East Antarctica are losing ice, said study leader Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds in the U.K..”

The scientists have concluded that sea-levels are rising faster than predicted by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) model.   If this trend continues, they say that the effects could be devastating for sea-side dwellers.

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo Says Weather is Cyclical

Joseph D’Aleo of WeatherBELL Analytics sees weather patterns as cyclical.  In this report, he uses graphs recording Arctic ice, volcanos, hurricanes, Atlantic and Pacific ocean warming and cooling patterns, to show decadal trends in weather patterns.  Current weather patterns do not show an ongoing increase in temperature nor greenhouse gas, according to D’Aleo’s research.  Interestingly, the 1930’s were very hot and dry by comparison to any weather patterns seen since then.

D’Aleo believes that a cooling trend is in store and that this will be far more of an issue than heat could be, with shorter growing seasons, and harsher winters.   He believes that the sun is the actual driver for global temperatures, as it effects ocean temperature which then effect Polar ice amounts.

New Vision for Hawaii; Return to Agriculturally Resilient Small-scale, Bio-diverse Farming

This documentary by Hawaii GMO Justice calls for a return to crop bio-diversity and sustainable methods of small-scale farming.   It examines the large-scale, “Plantation agriculture,” style of growing genetically altered seeds for food and the tremendous amount of chemicals inputs that are required to maintain these practices.



“Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris and contemporary Christian music superstar Steven Curtis Chapman will join headliners Ricky Skaggsand The Whites for the 15th Annual Concert for Cumberland Heights on December 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The evening will be a holiday-themed, variety-style show titled “A Skaggs Family Christmas,” featuring both holiday classics and new Christmas music, bringing together the love of family and friends with the beauty of song for a great cause. This is the Ryman’s longest running benefit concert series, and tickets are now on sale at ryman.com.

Since 1996, the annual Concert for Cumberland Heights (www.cumberlandheights.org) has raised more than $1.8 million for the John Hiatt Fund for Adolescent Treatment. Singer/songwriter John Hiatt will host the event, sharing his own recovery from alcohol and drug abuse to inspire others.
“Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, and now Emmylou Harris and Steven Curtis Chapman…what an outstanding night of music this will be,” said Cumberland Heights CEO Jim Moore. “We are thrilled to have these legendary artists come together to celebrate the holidays and raise funds for one of our most important programs at Cumberland Heights.”
Cumberland Heights’ Youth Program is designed to help adolescents ages 14 to 18 and their families find the most effective way to deal with the challenges they face and commit to recovery. One of its most highly praised programs, the Youth Program includes a residential program with intensive outpatient treatment; an extended care program for adolescents who have completed primary treatment; and outpatient services for those in the early stages of chemical dependency. The Youth Program is staffed with highly trained and licensed educators who operate River Road Academy, a state-approved, private high school that provides a drug-free environment for students in recovery. 
Expected to be a sellout, the Concert for Cumberland Heights is a festive family event in an intimate setting that highlights the need for compassionate care for adolescents in crisis.”

Musical ‘Annie’ Opens on the Main Stage for CTC

Press Release:

Chattanooga Theatre Centre Presents The Holiday Musical ANNIE December 7 – 23

Everybody’s favorite little redhead, ANNIE, makes the holidays brighter at The Chattanooga Theatre Centre December 7 – 23.

The Tony Award®-winning musical that is once again a hit on Broadway is based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip by Harold Gray. Music is by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre production is directed and choreographed by Maria Chattin-Carter with musical direction by Andrew Chauncey.

The cast of 27 is headlined by 10-year-old Emmy McKenzie of Decatur, Tennessee who plays the title role, and includes one canine, Rocky, who plays the role of Sandy in the production.

Daddy Warbucks is played by local attorney Scott Shaw. Thaddeus Taylor is Rooster, Laura Holland is Lily St. Regis, Jennifer Major is Grace Farrell and Scott Dunlap is Miss Hannigan. The cast members are all from the Chattanooga area and all are volunteers. (Full cast list follows)

Performance and special events for the CTC production of ANNIE are as follows. (Note: Due to popular demand, Saturday matinee performances have been added):

Friday, December 7 at 8:00 – Opening Night Gala begins at 7:00 with complimentary hors d’oeuvres from Events with Taste and complimentary beverages. (Nearing sellout)

Saturday, December 8 at 2:30 – First Saturday matinee

Saturday, December 8 at 8:30 – Late curtain so that evening-show patrons can enjoy the city’s lighted boat parade from the CTC deck at 7:00 p.m. and the holiday fireworks at 8:00. (Note: There is no additional cost beyond that of the ticket and $2 parking. Complimentary beverages and snacks will be served.) (Nearing sellout)

Thursday, December 13 at 7:00 – Performance with real-time captioning for our deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons. (Nearing sellout)

Friday, December 14 at 8:00 – Learn more about the production at Talk Back after the performance with the cast and director.

Saturday, December 15 at 2:30 – Second special matinee

Saturday, December 15 at 8:00

Sunday, December 16 at 2:30 – SOLD OUT. Bring your camera and take photos with Annie and Sandy after the show.

Thursday, December 20 at 7:00

Friday, December 21 at 8:00 – Girls’ Night Out sponsored by Brewer Media with complimentary adult beverages and snacks.

Saturday, December 22 at 2:30 – Final special matinee

Saturday, December 22 at 8:00

Sunday, December 23 at 2:30 – Final performance. Bring your camera and take photos with Annie and Sandy after the show.

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre is located next to Coolidge Park at 400 River Street on Chattanooga’s NorthShore. Parking is available for $2 in the adjoining lot for performances. Tickets are available at 423-267-8534 or online at TheatreCentre.com.


CTC’s Annie Photo


The Orphans

Annie – Emmy McKenzie

Rose – Emma Bayer

Duffy – Emma Flanagan

Tuesday – Aubrey Adams Floyd

Pepper – Cayci Holt

Maisy – Zoë Major

Molly – Aliyah Mastin

Daisy – Maggie Meller

July – Chapin Montague

Kate – Kara Brooke Mullins

Tessie – Lilli Narramore

The Grown-ups

Cordell Hull and others – Ben Cain

Bert Healy and others – Mitch Collins

Ronnie Boylan and others – Annie Collins

Miss Hannigan – Scott Dunlap

FDR – William Galloway

Lily St. Regis – Laura Holland

Star-to-Be and others – Erick Lorinc

Grace Farrell – Jennifer Major

Mrs. Greer, Perkins and others – Beth McClary

Drake and others – Steve Meller

Mrs. Pugh, Connie Boylan and others – Marcia Parks

Wacky and others – Branden Schwartz

Daddy Warbucks – Scott M. Shaw

Judge Brandeis and others – William Smith

Bonnie Boylan and others – Madison Smith

Rooster – Thaddeus Taylor

and Sandy – Rocky

Director – Maria Chattin-Carter

Choreographer – Maria Chattin-Carter

Musical Director – Andrew Chauncey

Stage Manager – Thomas White

Assistant Stage Managers – Corey Hunnicutt and Lauren Craig

Organic Material Covers Frozen Water on Mercury

NASA photo of Mercury

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has found frozen pockets of ice covered by what they believe to be organic material on the planet Mercury, reports Discovery News.    The Baltimore Sun has also published about this major announcement by the Messenger mission.  Scott Dance reports:

“Instruments aboard Messenger discovered deep deposits rich in hydrogen using spectroscopy, which views radiative energy outside of the visible spectrum. Scientists then used a laser altimeter to make detailed maps of Mercury’s topography, much like ships use sonar to detect variation in the ocean floor, which corroborated evidence of irregular deposits.”

NASA photo

NASA held a press conference today, making this announcement:

“Observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft have provided compelling support for the 20-year old hypothesis that Mercury hosts abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters. Three independent lines of evidence support this conclusion: the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury’s north pole with MESSENGER’s Neutron Spectrometer, the first measurements of the reflectance of Mercury’s polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths with the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury’s north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury’s surface measured by MLA. These findings are presented in three papers published online today in Science Express.”

“Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf”


Antiquity World Archeology Quarterly published a SPLASHCOS study of the Continental Shelf at a time when sea-levels were much lower than they are now.  The introduction by Geoff Bailey, Dimitris Sakellariou and members of the SPLASHCOS network states:

“For most of human history on this planet—about 90 per cent of the time—sea levels have been substantially lower than at present, exposing large tracts of territory for human settlement. Europe alone would have had a land area increased by 40 per cent at the maximum sea level regression (Figure 1). Although this has been recognised for many decades, archaeologists have resisted embracing its full implications, barely accepting that most evidence of Palaeolithic marine exploitation must by definition be invisible, believing that nothing has survived or can be found on the seabed, and preferring instead to emphasise the opportunities afforded by lower sea level for improved terrestrial dispersal across land bridges and narrowed sea channels.”

In the past decade, opinions have begun to change in response to a number of factors: evidence that marine exploitation and seafaring have a much deeper history in the Pleistocene than previously recognised; the steady accumulation of new underwater Stone Age sites and materials, amounting now to over 3000 in Europe, and often with unusual and spectacular conditions of preservation (Figure 2); availability of new technologies and research strategies for underwater exploration; and the growth of targeted underwater research (Erlandson 2001; Bailey & Milner 2002; Anderson et al. 2010; Benjamin et al. 2011).”

Click here or on the link above for full study and amazing photos collected by the SPLASHCOS team.

The Stalagmite that Recorded 13,000 Years of Winters in Oregon

Cave Oregon Stalagmite

Oxford Press journalist, Pete Wilton wrote about a study published this week that examined stalagmite growth from within a cave in Oregon.  Here’s what the study found:

“The stalagmite record suggests that there have been important variations in both rainfall and temperature (c.1 degree Celsius) over the last 13,000 years – with the region’s climate switching between extreme dry-warm and wet-cold periods within just a few decades.”

Vasile Ersek of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences, the lead author of the reported studies on this cave stalagmite is quoted from the article:

“Most other ways of estimating past climate, like tree ring data, only tell us about summers, when plants are growing… This work gives us a unique insight into winter climate over thousands of years with an unprecedented combination of length, detail and dating accuracy.” 

Can Solar Flares Cause Radiation Bursts on Earth?

NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory images a typical solar flare as it spits ionized gas off the surface of the Sun

An article posted on the Nature.com news blog suggests that solar flares might have indeed caused a radiation burst of carbon-14, as found by Japanese scientists in cedar tree-rings that date back to the 774 growing season.  According to the article by Ananyo Bhattacharya:

“Carbon-14 (14C) is created when high-energy radiation strikes the Earth’s upper atmosphere, converting nitrogen-14 into carbon-14, which eventually makes its way into plants via photosynthesis.”

A team of physicists discovered the radiation spike in the tree rings earlier this year, but were unable to figure out what caused this radiation spike.   University of Kansas at Lawrence physicist, Adrian Mellot believes that this spike of radiation may have come from the sun.   The article continues:

“The problem, Melott says, is that the Japanese team treated solar storms as if they shone like lightbulbs, radiating energy uniformly in all directions. But actually they produce “blobs” of energetic plasma that explode outwards unevenly. Adjusting for that, he says, reduces the size of the solar storm needed to produce the observed 14C spike from 1000 times larger than anything known, to only 10 to 20 times larger — meaning that a giant solar storm is suddenly back on the table as a reasonable explanation.”

Could a giant, earth-facing solar storm have caused the huge radiation spike found in these 8th-Century tree rings?  The Kepler telescope has detected super storms on other G-2 class stars, although these findings suggest this to be a rare occurrence.

“Furthermore, observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope have found that sun like stars are capable of generating super-storms of this type every few hundred to 1,000 years. This doesn’t mean the Sun does the same, “but it suggests it’s reasonable”, Melott says.”

The article goes on to suggest that this radiation spike could have been caused by a passing supernova.   Dr. Melott is currently working on a NASA funded project called, “Astrophysical Ionizing Photon and Primary Productivity of Earth’s Oceans.”   The stated purpose of this project, according to the Washburn Astrobiophysics Department is:

  1. To better understand how different astrophysical events (such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts) might be to life on Earth.  This involves studying observational data of these events and using previous research results to determine their likely rate and destructive potential.
  2. To better understand how radiation events will affect Phytoplankton in the oceans.  These microscopic plants make up the base of the food chain and provide 1/2 of the world’s oxygen supply.