Wednesday, May 20, 2015

There Was An English Colony Called "New England" In Crimea During The Crusade Era

A blog post by Caitlin Green on the topic appears here.  It was established shortly after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and persisted until sometime in the 1200s, around the time that the Crusader states were also falling apart. Allegedly, it was founded by Anglo-Saxon exiles from the Norman Conquest who went first to Constantinople, the capitol of the much diminished (post-Islamic expansion) Byzantine Empire.

According to these sources, what seems to have occurred is that, in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a group of English lords who hated William the Conqueror's rule but had lost all hope of overthrowing it decided to sell up their land and leave England forever. Led by an 'earl of Gloucester' named SigurĂ°r (Stanardus in the Chronicon Laudunensis), they set out with 350 ships—235 in the CL—for the Mediterranean via the Straits of Gibraltar. Once there, they voyaged around raiding and adventuring for a period, before learning that Constantinople was being besieged (either whilst they were in Sicily, according to the Edwardsaga, or in Sardinia, as the CL). Hearing this, they decided to set sail for Constantinople to assist the Byzantine emperor. When they reached there, they fought victoriously for the emperor and so earned his gratitude, with the result that they were offered a place of honour in his Varangian Guard.

This sequence of events appears to underlie all four of the sources mentioned above and is moreover supported by contemporary Byzantine sources too[.]
The probably left in 1075 CE.

New Study Sorts Y-DNA Lineages Of Europe By Age Of Expansion

Some of the major Y-DNA lineages in Europe are traceable to the early Neolithic era or are even older, while three others (specific subsets of I2, R1a and R1b) expanded at a breathtaking pace more of less simultaneously around the late Neolithic/Enolithic/Copper Age/early Bronze Age era.  Once this major expansion was complete, the population genetic of Europe have mostly been fairly stable, with a few exceptions that prove the rule due to well documented historical events.

A new study provides a detailed analysis based mostly upon the diversity of modern Y-DNA lineages in Europe and their phylogeny, clearly sorts the two, while also providing useful corroboration from a nearly complete index of ancient Y-DNA finds, by haplogroup, in Europe in the relevant time frames.

The ancient DNA classified by the archaeological context of the finds, also provides strong circumstantial evidence regarding which Y-DNA lineages were associated with the pre-Neolithic hunter-gather populations of Europe.  In sum, hunter-gatherer men appear to have been predominantly Y-DNA I1 in most of Europe and Y-DNA R1b and R1a on the Northern and Southern part, respectively, of the Russian steppe.

The remaining major European clades appear to have arrived with the wave of mass migration that drove the Neolithic revolution (i.e. the introduction of the farming and herding of domesticated plants and animals), although a very late Upper Paleolithic arrival (i.e. "Epipaleolithic" a.k.a. "Mesolithic") cannot be ruled out in most cases, and is established by ancient Y-DNA in others.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Moffat's MOG Makes A Prediction About Black Hole Shadows

John Moffat's modification of gravity, one version of which is called MOG, is a leading alternative to dark matter theories.  A recap at Backreaction of a recent Perimeter Institute talk identifies an experimental test of his theory that may soon be possible to ascertain, namely, the size of a black hole's "shadow" (a name of the extreme lensing effects near its event horizon).