Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Population Genetics Of India

A new preprint has no really shocking results, but provides many refinements to our previous understanding of historical genetics in India. Credit where credit is due for acknowledging the existing of early waves of modern humans in India even though they haven't left much of a genetic trace in modern populations. It also seems that there was secondary Neanderthal admixture in South Asia in addition to the admixture that took place in the Middle East.
India has been underrepresented in whole genome sequencing studies. We generated 2,762 high coverage genomes from India––including individuals from most geographic regions, speakers of all major languages, and tribal and caste groups––providing a comprehensive survey of genetic variation in India. With these data, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of India through space and time at fine scales. 
We show that most Indians derive ancestry from three ancestral groups related to ancient Iranian farmers, Eurasian Steppe pastoralists and South Asian hunter-gatherers. 
We uncover a common source of Iranian-related ancestry from early Neolithic cultures of Central Asia into the ancestors of Ancestral South Indians (ASI), Ancestral North Indians (ANI), Austro-asiatic-related and East Asian-related groups in India. 
Following these admixtures, India experienced a major demographic shift towards endogamy, resulting in extensive homozygosity and identity-by-descent sharing among individuals. 
At deep time scales, Indians derive around 1-2% of their ancestry from gene flow from archaic hominins, Neanderthals and Denisovans. By assembling the surviving fragments of archaic ancestry in modern Indians, we recover ∼1.5 Gb (or 50%) of the introgressing Neanderthal and ∼0.6 Gb (or 20%) of the introgressing Denisovan genomes, more than any other previous archaic ancestry study. Moreover, Indians have the largest variation in Neanderthal ancestry, as well as the highest amount of population-specific Neanderthal segments among worldwide groups. 
Finally, we demonstrate that most of the genetic variation in Indians stems from a single major migration out of Africa that occurred around 50,000 years ago, with minimal contribution from earlier migration waves
Together, these analyses provide a detailed view of the population history of India and underscore the value of expanding genomic surveys to diverse groups outside Europe.
Elise Kerdoncuff, et al., "50,000 years of Evolutionary History of India: Insights from ∼2,700 Whole Genome Sequences"  (February 17, 2024).

Aztec Human Sacrifice

"For the re-consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they killed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. According to Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, "between 10,000 and 80,400 persons" were sacrificed in the ceremony."
From Wikipedia.

Recall that this city had a population of 200,000 non-prisoner residents, which while huge for the time, is only about three times greater than the number of people sacrificed.

Monday, February 19, 2024

The XENONnT Dark Matter Experiment

The XENONnT dark matter experiment will have about ten times more sensitivity to WIMPS (a type of dark matter candidate) than the previous XENON1T. 

I fully expect that it will produce a null result without detecting any traces of dark matter that don't turn out to be false positives in the end.

The Black Hole - Galaxy Mass Correlation

The mass of the central supermassive black hole of a galaxy and the inferred mass of its dark matter halo (and the total mass of a galaxy) are correlated, although not terribly tightly. 

Some of the scatter in the relationship may be due to measurement error as central supermassive black hole mass, inferred dark matter halo mass, and galaxy total mass are all challenging to measure.


Archaeologists have finally found examples of and deciphered a Bronze Age alloy associated with the lost city of Atlantis called "Orichalcum."

This insight, in my view, this is quite consistent with my leading candidate for Atlantis which is the capital city of Tartessos. Their Paleo-Hispanic language is by default an isolate but seems closer to Basque than to any Indo-European language, despite some Celtic borrowings and the use of a Phoenician derived script and their culture's adoption of Phoenician religious practices.

A group of naval archeologists has uncovered two hundred ingots spread over the sandy seafloor near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The ingots were made from orichalcum, a rare cast metal that ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote was from the legendary city of Atlantis.

A total of 39 ingots (metal set into rectangular blocks) were, according to Inquisitr, discovered near a shipwreck. BBC reported that another same metal cache was found. 47 more ingots were found, with a total of 86 metal pieces found to date.

The wreck was discovered in 1988, floating about 300 meters (1,000 ft) off the coast of Gela in Sicily in shallow waters. At the time of the shipwreck Gela was a rich city and had many factories that produced fine objects. Scientists believe that the pieces of orichalcum were destined for those laboratories when the ship sank.

Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily’s superintendent of the Sea Office, told Discovery News that the precious ingots were probably being brought to Sicily from Greece or Asia Minor.

Tusa said that the discovery of orichalcum ingots, long considered a mysterious metal, is significant as “nothing similar has ever been found.” He added, “We knew orichalcum from ancient texts and a few ornamental objects.”

According to a Daily Telegraph report, the ingots have been analyzed and found to be made of about 75-80 percent copper, 14-20 percent zinc and a scattering of nickel, lead, and iron.

The name orichalucum derives from the Greek word oreikhalkos, meaning literally “mountain copper” or “copper mountain”. According to Plato’s 5th century BC Critias dialogue, orichalucum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of the legendary Atlantis in ancient times.

Plato wrote that the three outer walls of the Temple to Poseidon and Cleito on Atlantis were clad respectively with brass, tin, and the third, which encompassed the whole citadel, “flashed with the red light of orichalcum”.

The interior walls, pillars, and floors of the temple were completely covered in orichalcum, and the roof was variegated with gold, silver, and orichalcum. In the center of the temple stood a pillar of orichalcum, on which the laws of Poseidon and records of the first son princes of Poseidon were inscribed.

For centuries, experts have hotly debated the metal’s composition and origin.

According to the ancient Greeks, orichalcum was invented by Cadmus, a Greek-Phoenician mythological character. Cadmus was the founder and first king of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.

Orichalcum has variously been held to be a gold-copper alloy, a copper-tin, or copper-zinc brass, or a metal no longer known. However, in Vergil’s Aeneid, it was mentioned that the breastplate of Turnus was “stiff with gold and white orachalc” and it has been theorized that it is an alloy of gold and silver, though it is not known for certain what orichalcum was.

Orichalcum is also mentioned in the ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ (1 st century AD) – Book VIII, sect. 88 by Josephus, who stated that the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were made of orichalcum (or a bronze that was like gold in beauty).

Today, some scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity the process of cementation, which was achieved through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

The latest discovery of the orichalcum ingots that had laid for nearly three millennia on the seafloor may finally unravel the mystery of the origin and composition of this enigmatic metal.

From Archaeology World

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Combined LHC Top Quark Mass Measurement

A new combined LHC top quark mass measurement, the excludes the latest highest energy LHC runs, however, is available. The two sigma range for the top quark pole mass in this combination is 171.86-173.18 GeV with a best fit value of 172.52 GeV. This result is essentially the same as the Particle Data Group value, but cuts the uncertainty in half.
A combination of fifteen top quark mass measurements performed by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC is presented. The data sets used correspond to an integrated luminosity of up to 5 and 20^−1 of proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass energies of 7 and 8 TeV, respectively. The combination includes measurements in top quark pair events that exploit both the semileptonic and hadronic decays of the top quark, and a measurement using events enriched in single top quark production via the electroweak t-channel. The combination accounts for the correlations between measurements and achieves an improvement in the total uncertainty of 31% relative to the most precise input measurement. The result is m(t) = 172.52 ± 0.14 (stat) ± 0.30 (syst) GeV, with a total uncertainty of 0.33 GeV.
CMS and ATLAS Collaborations, "Combination of measurements of the top quark mass from data collected by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at s√=7 and 8 TeV" arXiv:2402.08713 (February 13, 2024).

Mach's Principle Considered

The possibility that inertia could be an emergent phenomena derived from gravity, and that gravity itself might even be an emergent phenomena from quantum physics and thermodynamics, is seductive but elusive.
The question of where the inertial properties of matter come from has been open for a long time. Isaac Newton considered inertia an intrinsic property of matter. Ernst Mach held a different view whereby the inertia of a body comes from its interaction with the rest of the universe. This idea is known today as Mach's principle. We discuss Mach's principle based on transactional gravity, the recently developed completion of the entropic gravity program by the physics of quantum events induced by transactions. A consequence of the analysis is a fundamental relation between the gravitational constant G and the total mass in the causal universe, derived by means of entropic principles. 
A. Schlatter, R. E. Kastner, "A Note on the Origin of Inertia" arXiv:2402.09365 (February 14, 2024).

Galaxy Formation Was Underway 600 Million Years After The Big Bang

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has seen proto-galaxy formation about 600 million years after the Big Bang (about 13.2 billion years ago), which is shortly after galaxy formation should be possible.
The most distant galaxies detected by JWST are assembling in a Universe that is less than 5% of its present age. At these times, the progenitors of galaxies like the Milky Way are expected to be about 10,000 times less massive than they are now, with masses quite comparable to that of massive globular clusters seen in the local Universe. Composed today primarily of old stars and correlating with the properties of their parent dark matter halos, the first globular clusters are thought to have formed during the earliest stages of galaxy assembly. 
In this article we explore the connection between star clusters and galaxy assembly by showing JWST observations of a strongly lensed galaxy at zspec = 8.304, exhibiting a network of massive star clusters (the 'Firefly Sparkle') cocooned in a diffuse arc. 
The Firefly Sparkle exhibits the hallmarks expected of a future Milky Way-type galaxy captured during its earliest and most gas-rich stage of formation. The mass distribution of the galaxy seems to be concentrated in ten distinct clusters, with individual cluster masses that straddle the boundary between low-mass galaxies and high-mass globular clusters. The cluster ages suggest that they are gravitationally bound with star formation histories showing a recent starburst possibly triggered by the interaction with a companion galaxy at the same redshift at a projected distance of ∼2 kpc away from the Firefly Sparkle. The central star cluster shows nebular-dominated spectra consistent with high temperatures and a top-heavy initial mass function, the product of formation in a very metal poor environment. Combined with abundance matching that suggests that this is likely to be a progenitor of galaxies like our own, the Firefly Sparkle provides an unprecedented case study of a Milky Way-like galaxy in the earliest stages of its assembly in only a 600 million year old Universe.
Lamiya Mowla, et al., "The Firefly Sparkle: The Earliest Stages of the Assembly of A Milky Way-type Galaxy in a 600 Myr Old Universe" arXiv:2402.08696 (February 12, 2024).

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

New Cosmology Bounds On Neutrino Mass

In V. Ghirardini, et al., "The SRG/eROSITA All-Sky Survey: Cosmology Constraints from Cluster Abundances in the Western Galactic Hemisphere" (Feb. 13, 2023), a major new dataset constrains the possible range of the sum of the three neutrino masses. 

The best fit value of the lightest neutrino mass eigenstate (considering both cosmology and oscillation data) is 1 meV, with a range of 0-5 meV at the 95% confidence level.

7.3. Constraints on the νCDM Cosmology 

Albeit their small size and mass, the left-handed neutrinos influence the formation of large-scale structure by hindering the formation of small-scale haloes and leaving their imprints on the gravitational collapse process. The relative number of low-mass haloes in cluster abundance measurements can shed light on the summed masses of three left-handed neutrino species. With the discovery of neutrino oscillations between different flavors, electron, muon, and tau neutrinos, it has become clear that neutrino eigenstates must have non-zero mass (Fukuda et al. 1998; Ahmad et al. 2002). The theoretical predictions indicate a hierarchical relation between the mass eigenstates of the three species of neutrinos; however, their ordering in mass remains elusive. Based on the normal neutrino mass hierarchy model, the third neutrino mass eigenstate, associated with the tau neutrino, is the heaviest among the three. This is followed by the eigenstate of the muon neutrino, which has an intermediate-mass, and that of the electron neutrino, i.e., mτ >mµ >me. The ordering is swapped in the inverted mass hierarchy model such that mτ < mµ<me. Recent constraints of their summed mass show that the lower limit provided by the oscillation experiments depends on the assumed underlying hierarchy model (Qian &Vogel 2015; Esteban et al. 2020), with a lower limit of mν >0.059eV for normal mass hierarchy and mν>0.101eV for the inverted hierarchy models (Tanabashi et al. 2018; Athar et al. 2022). Constraining the summed mass to <0.1eV implies that the inverted model is excluded. The ground-based experiments through beta decay of tritium imply the sum to be mν <1.1eV at 90% confidence level, a narrow range for the allowed summed mass (Aker et al. 2019). The space-based Planck CMB measurements provide a similar upper limit of mν<0.26 eV at 95% confidence level (Planck Collaboration et al. 2020a). As we probe the largest collapsed objects in the Universe, galaxy clusters, the cluster number counts can be used to constrain the summed masses of the neutrinos. To do so, we allow the sum of neutrino masses to be free in the cosmology pipeline, with a uniform prior of U(0eV,1eV). We stress that our lower limit is set to 0eV instead of a value of 0.059eV (Tanabashi et al. 2018) adopted by the PlanckCMB 2020 analysis. As the lower limit on the neutrino mass depends on the assumptions of the neutrino mass model, we do not make any prior assumptions about its value and adopt uniform priors on its value to avoid this parameter from affecting our posterior distributions. The cosmological constraints with free neutrino mass components are; 

Ωm=0.29+0.01 −0.02 



mν<0.22eV (95% CL) (36) 

These results are visualized in Fig.11. The upper limit to the sum of neutrino masses is mν <0.22eV. Our results represent the tightest limits on the sum of neutrino masses from cluster abundance experiments; for instance, the SPT-SZ sample results in an upper limit of <0.74eV(95% confidence interval) (Bocquet et al. 2019). The eROSITA upper limits on the neutrino masses are competitive and informative at a similar precision with thePlanckCMB2020 measurements, mν < 0.26eV (95%CL) (Planck Collaboration et al. 2020a). We verify that the values of the Ωm and σ8 remain statistically consistent when mν is allowed to be non-zero, see Fig.B.4. We find that eRASS1 and PlanckCMBνCDM parameters are consistent at the 2.0σ level.

Given the excellent agreement with PlanckCMB measurements, the resulting cosmological parameters of two probes can be combined in a statistically meaningful way, enabling a much tighter measurement of the impact of massive neutrinos on both the formation and evolution of the large-scale structure and on the primordial density field. As performed in the ΛCDM analysis, we combine our results with the PlanckCMB constraints to break the degeneracy between Ωm and σ8. We obtain;




mν<0.11eV (95% CL) (37) 

Simultaneously fitting our measurements with Planck CMB 2020 likelihood chains yield an upper limit of mν < 0.11eV, consistent with the results in the literature results with marginally consistent with the inverted mass hierarchy model, which requires mν > 0.101eV. 

As a final step, we combine eRASS1 cluster abundance measurements through importance sampling with PlanckCMB and with the lower limits from ground-based oscillation experiments (Tanabashi et al. 2018). In the case of a normal mass hierarchy scenario, the summed masses of mν=0.08 +0.03 −0.02eV, while assuming the inverted mass hierarchy model, we obtain summed masses of mν =0.12 +0.03 −0.01eV. 

It is interesting to point out, from Fig.C.1, that the constraints on the mass of the lightest neutrino eigenstates are similar: for both mass hierarchy we obtain m(light) = 0.01 +0.020 −0.005 eV (68% confidence intervals) or with an upper limit of 0.04 eV.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Easter Island May Have Independently Developed A Written Script

The people of Easter Island may have independently developed their own written script in a language that is now lost. The script is undeciphered.

A tablet of wood inscribed with the undeciphered "rongorongo" script from the Eastern Pacific island Rapa Nui, also called Easter Island, predates the arrival of Europeans there, strengthening the likelihood that the script is one of the few independently invented writing systems. The wood from one of four rongorongo tablets preserved in a collection in Rome dates to between 1493 and 1509 — more than 200 years before the first recorded arrival of Europeans on the island in the 1720s[.] . . . the results support the idea that rongorongo was an original invention by the Rapa Nui islanders rather than being influenced by the writing they'd seen used by Europeans.

Rapa Nui, which sits nearly 2,400 miles (3,800 kilometers) off the coast of Chile, was settled by humans between 1150 and 1280. Although Europeans arrived in the 18th century, they didn't notice the local glyph-based script until 1864, which now exists on only 27 wooden objects, none of which are still on the island. Catholic missionaries took four of these tablets in 1869 and sent them to the bishop of Tahiti, who later sent them to Europe.

Ferrara and her colleagues conducted radiocarbon dating on tiny samples of the four rongorongo tablets held by a congregation of Catholic nuns based in Rome. The radiocarbon dates suggested that three of the tablets were made from trees felled in the 18th or 19th centuries, but the radiocarbon date of a fourth indicated it came from a tree felled in the 15th century, Ferrara said. That predates the arrival of Europeans on Rapa Nui and suggests that the rongorongo script was in use before then, she said.

(Image credit: INSCRIBE and RESOLUTION ERC Teams) 

In this case, however, the inscription was probably made about the time the wood was obtained, because the alternative explanation — that the wood had been stored for more than 200 years before it was used — seems unlikely, she said. The new analysis also suggested the wood from the oldest tablet came from a tree species not native to Rapa Nui, and the researchers think it was probably a piece of driftwood.

Rapa Nui is famous for its many archaeological mysteries, including the giant stone heads known as moai, and many people have tried — without success — to decipher the rongorongo script.

Ferrara said more than 400 different rongorongo glyphs have been recognized among the roughly 15,000 surviving characters, and none correspond to any other known system of writing.

Rafal Wieczorek, a chemist at the University of Warsaw who was not involved in the latest study but has investigated other rongorongo tablets, said that while the new research isn't conclusive, it is a strong indication that the script was an independent invention — perhaps one of only a handful of times when a writing system had been invented from scratch, without knowledge of other writing systems. . . . "I actually believe that rongorongo is one of the very few independent inventions of writing in human history, like the writing of the Sumerians, the Egyptians and the Chinese," he said. "But belief is a different thing than hard data … so ideally, we would like to test all the tablets."

Given that only sample on "old wood" was driftwood anyway, the possibility that the script is not as ancient as the date of the wood suggests is less of a stretch than it might seem. It wouldn't have to have been stored for 200 years. It would be enough for it to have lingered where it originally fell for decades and then for it to have drifted to Easter Island much later.

The fact that the script didn't spread elsewhere in Polynesia when it was known to have some level of trade with it is also a challenge to the notion that the script was developed independently in the late 15th or early 16th centuries.

But, the age of the wood makes it at least possible that the script predates European contact, and the lack of any connection to other known scripts is also an important factor favoring its status as an independent script.

Wikipedia covers it at length here. It notes that: "some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, none of these glyphs can actually be read. . . . Oral history suggests that only a small elite was ever literate and that the tablets were sacred." It states that the conventional view is that this is a proto-language mnemonic device, which students wrote on fragile banana leaves, rather than a true language. Unlike other proto-linguistic scripts, like the Harappan script (of the Indus River Valley) and Vinca script (of the Balkans), and early hieroglyphs, however, this one does not appear to have had a primarily economic purpose.

The paper and its abstract are as follows:
Placing the origin of an undeciphered script in time is crucial to understanding the invention of writing in human history. Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, developed a script, now engraved on fewer than 30 wooden objects, which is still undeciphered. Its origins are also obscure. Central to this issue is whether the script was invented before European travelers reached the island in the eighteenth century AD. Hence direct radiocarbon dating of the wood plays a fundamental role. Until now, only two tablets were directly dated, placing them in the nineteenth c. AD, which does not solve the question of independent invention. Here we radiocarbon-dated four Rongorongo tablets preserved in Rome, Italy. One specimen yielded a unique and secure mid-fifteenth c. date, while the others fall within the nineteenth c. AD. Our results suggest that the use of the script could be placed to a horizon that predates the arrival of external influence.
Ferrara, S., Tassoni, L., Kromer, B. et al. "The invention of writing on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). New radiocarbon dates on the Rongorongo script." 14 Sci Rep 2794 (Feb. 2, 2024) (open access)

Monday, February 12, 2024

Cultural Diversity In The European Upper Paleolithic

The earliest modern humans in Europe were not monolithic culturally. Similar studies examined Neolithic Europe.
Mechanisms governing the relationship between genetic and cultural evolution are the subject of debate, data analysis and modelling efforts. Here we present a new georeferenced dataset of personal ornaments worn by European hunter-gatherers during the so-called Gravettian technocomplex (34,000–24,000 years ago), analyse it with multivariate and geospatial statistics, model the impact of distance on cultural diversity and contrast the outcome of our analyses with up-to-date palaeogenetic data. We demonstrate that Gravettian ornament variability cannot be explained solely by isolation-by-distance. Analysis of Gravettian ornaments identified nine geographically discrete cultural entities across Europe. While broadly in agreement with palaeogenetic data, our results highlight a more complex pattern, with cultural entities located in areas not yet sampled by palaeogenetics and distinctive entities in regions inhabited by populations of similar genetic ancestry. Integrating personal ornament and biological data from other Palaeolithic cultures will elucidate the complex narrative of population dynamics of Upper Palaeolithic Europe.
Jack Baker, Solange Rigaud, Daniel Pereira, Lloyd A. Courtenay & Francesco d’Errico, "Evidence from personal ornaments suggest nine distinct cultural groups between 34,000 and 24,000 years ago in Europe", Nature Human Behaviour (January 29, 2024).

Science magazine discusses the paper:
For ice age hunters in Europe some 30,000 years ago, styles of ornaments including amber pendants, ivory bangles, and fox tooth beads may have also signaled membership in a particular culture, researchers report today in Nature Human Behaviour. The study, which compared thousands of handcrafted beads and adornments from dozens of widespread sites, suggests at least nine distinct cultures existed across Europe at this time.

“It’s a landmark paper,” says archaeologist Peter Jordan, a professor at Lund University and Hokkaido University who was not involved with the study. For centuries, archaeologists have tried to distinguish ancient peoples based on similarities in their artifacts. In recent years, however, sorting populations by ancient genetic group has at times overshadowed the archaeology. Here, “The archaeology strikes back,” Jordan says. “[It’s] showing that we can generate new narratives that also use a very rigorous, quantitative approach to the study of material traditions.”

The earliest known ornamental beads—seashells punched for stringing—come from early Homo sapiens sites dated to between 150,000 to 70,000 years ago in Africa and the eastern Mediterranean coast. Unlike knives or awls, ornaments offer no obvious survival functions. Instead, anthropologists think they likely communicated one’s traits and achievements, such as reaching adulthood, hunts completed, or family lines. “It’s a kind of common language or common discourse with other individuals in that group,” Jordan says. Many scholars think the invention of beads indicates that our ancestors had also evolved the capacity for symbolism and language.

Between 34,000 and 24,000 years ago, foragers in Europe fashioned beads from a diverse array of materials including ivory, bone, human and animal teeth, and flashy stones. These communities also painted caves and crafted so-called Venus figurines resembling voluptuous women, while coping with the glaciers and frigid temperatures of the last ice age. Despite the “horrendous” conditions, their artistic expressions suggest these people “weren’t just surviving—they were thriving,” says University of Bordeaux archaeologist and doctoral student Jack Baker.

As part of his dissertation, Baker aimed to find out. In 2020, he began to comb the literature for every ornament reported from 112 Gravettian burial and habitation sites excavated between the mid-1800s to 2010s. He classified thousands of beads into 134 types based on their raw materials and other design elements.

Next, he compared bead types between sites and found that places with similar accoutrements clustered geographically. Nine distinct groups emerged. People at the easternmost sites, such as Kostenki along the Don River in Russia, seemed to prefer ornaments made of stone and red deer canines, whereas those in northwest Europe wore tube-shaped shells of Dentalium mollusks.

Because of the widespread locations of figurines and similarly fashioned spearpoints, archaeologists traditionally clumped all these people into a single culture known as the Gravettian, spread from what is now Portugal to Russia. More recently, though, analyses of subtle differences in stone toolmaking, funerary practices, and ancient DNA have suggested more than one group roamed the continent at this time. Could the diverse beads found from this period result from different cultures?

The Gravettian was not “one monolithic thing,” Baker says, but instead included several culturally distinct groups, each hewing to their own ornamental traditions. His team thinks these groups crossed paths: The team’s computer simulations suggest the patterns of bead differences most resemble a scenario in which neighboring groups occasionally swapped styles or territories. Perhaps ivory-adorned people gazed across a river and spotted a band decked in vibrant seashells: “They would have been like, ‘Oh my God! Someone completely different!’” Baker imagines. Despite those differences, some cultural and genetic exchange seems to have occurred.

DNA from human remains excavated from Gravettian sites identified two major genetic lineages in Europe at the time: one situated around the Pyrenees Mountains, and another in central and Eastern Europe. The bead-based groups mostly accorded with these populations, but added more subdivisions and a few twists, including data for places that have yet to yield ancient DNA, such as Moldova and southern Spain.

For groups for which genetic data are available, being closely related didn’t necessarily mean they wore matching jewelry. Ancient groups living in modern-day Italy, for example, shared ancestry but some buried their dead with cowrie shells and others put fish vertebrae and ivory beads into graves. In contrast, in what’s now France and Belgium, individuals with different ancestry sported similar ornaments. These results imply somewhat porous, shifting cultural boundaries, and perhaps some adornment differences for people with special social roles.

It makes sense that some peoples with shared ancestry may develop different cultural identities, reflected by their fashions and other behaviors—and conversely, that distinct genetic groups can blend culturally, says Cosimo Posth, a paleogeneticist at the University of Tübingen who was not involved with the new study. “It’s expected that genes don’t always match the culture that you’re carrying.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A Higgs Boson Anomaly?

Scientists analyzing all available Higgs boson data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) observe a 2 sigma tension between the Standard Model prediction for the coupling of quarks and leptons to the Higgs boson and the observed values of those couplings, but see no tension between the predicted and observed couplings of W and Z bosons to the Higgs boson.

This isn't all that significant. Two sigma tensions disappear all the time with later more precise measurements. But it is something to be on the lookout for in future measurements of Higgs boson properties.
We perform global fits of the Higgs boson couplings to the full Higgs datasets collected at the LHC with the integrated luminosities per experiment of approximately 5/fb at 7 TeV, 20/fb at 8 TeV, and up to 139/fb at 13 TeV. Our combined analysis based on the experimental signal strengths used in this work and the theoretical ones elaborated for our analysis reliably reproduce the results in the literature. 
We reveal that the LHC Higgs precision data are no longer best described by the SM Higgs boson taking account of extensive and comprehensive CP-conserving and CP-violating scenarios found in several well-motivated models beyond the SM. Especially, in most of the fits considered in this work, we observe that the best-fitted values of the normalized Yukawa couplings are about 2σ below the corresponding SM ones with the 1σ errors of 3-5%. On the other hand, the gauge-Higgs couplings are consistent with the SM with the 1σ errors of 2-3%. Incidentally, the reduced Yukawa couplings help to explain the excess of the H→Zγ signal strength of 2.2±0.7 recently reported by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations.
Yongtae Heo, Dong-Won Jung, Jae Sik Lee, "Higgs Precision Analysis of the Full LHC Run 1 and Run 2 Data" arXiv:2402.02822 (February 5, 2024).

Ratio Of Proton Mass To Electron Mass Unchanged For 11.5 Billion Years

A recent paper observed that the proton-electron mass ratio has been unchanged since at least z=3.025 (about 11.5 billion years ago). The observed ratio of the difference in this ratio to the ratio itself at that redshift is(0.120±0.144)× 108. This is consistent with null hypothesis of zero at the one sigma level. All previous efforts to determine changes in physical constants in the distant past using astronomy observations have likewise seen no statistically significant difference.

Here is a chart converting redshift z to look back time (i.e. how long ago that z occurred). Note the shift from z amount in the left body of the table, to look back time in billions of years in the right body of the table, starting at z=6.

How Many Atomic Isotopes Are Possible?

The chemical properties of and element classification of an atom, i.e. composite structures made out of protons and neutrons bound in a nucleus by the residual strong force, is determined by the number of protons it has, but its isotopes depend upon the total number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus.

There isn't an obvious maximum number of isotopes. But isotopes with more nucleons (i.e. protons plus neutrons) decay because the residual strong force has limited range and can only bind so many nucleons.

Theorists have now calculated, at least in the case of isotopes with an even number of protons (i.e. how many even-Z nuclei are possible), how many different possible bound isotopes there are and have found that there are 4829 possible bound even-Z nuclei with 8 to 120 protons, of which we have experimentally measured masses for about a quarter of them. The atomic element with the most protons ever observed as of 2018 was element 118, called Oganesson (which is in the noble gas column of the periodic table even though it is a solid at room temperature), with a mass in atomic mass units of about 300. It has a half-life of 0.7 ms. This study didn't examine the number of possible isotopes with more than 120 protons.

Assuming that there are an order of magnitude similar number of odd-Z nuclei that are possible, and adding in the isotopes with Z=1 to Z=7, there are about 10,000 possible atomic isotopes with bound nuclei and 120 or fewer protons.

The model used also predicts the mass of each isotope, and for the 1244 isotopes for even-Z atoms for which experimental data is available, the root mean square difference between the experimental data and the predicted values is 1.477 MeV which is very good considering that the mass of a proton is about 938.3 MeV, the mass of a neutron is 940.6 MeV, the mass of an electron is 0.511 MeV (atoms are a bit heavier than the sum of the masses of their protons, neutrons, and electrons due to their binding energy). An atomic mass unit has a mass of about 931.5 MeV.

For example, Gadolinium with Z=64 in the middle of the range studied has an average mass of 157.25 amu which is about 146,478.4 MeV. So the model is predicting the masses of nuclear isotopes to a precision of about ten parts per million.

In all, about 3300 atomic isotopes (a.k.a. nucleotides) have been observed, of which 251 are stable (i.e. having no observed decays). Attempts to synthesize atomic elements 119 to 127 have so far been unsuccessful.
The mass table in the deformed relativistic Hartree-Bogoliubov theory in continuum (DRHBc) with the PC-PK1 density functional has been established for even-Z nuclei with 8≤Z≤120, extended from the previous work for even-even nuclei [Zhang et al. (DRHBc Mass Table Collaboration), At. Data Nucl. Data Tables 144, 101488 (2022)]. The calculated binding energies, two-nucleon and one-neutron separation energies, root-mean-square (rms) radii of neutron, proton, matter, and charge distributions, quadrupole deformations, and neutron and proton Fermi surfaces are tabulated and compared with available experimental data. A total of 4829 even-Z nuclei are predicted to be bound, with an rms deviation of 1.477 MeV from the 1244 mass data. Good agreement with the available experimental odd-even mass differences, α decay energies, and charge radii is also achieved. The description accuracy for nuclear masses and nucleon separation energies as well as the prediction for drip lines is compared with the results obtained from other relativistic and nonrelativistic density functional. The comparison shows that the DRHBc theory with PC-PK1 provides an excellent microscopic description for the masses of even-Z nuclei. The systematics of the nucleon separation energies, odd-even mass differences, pairing energies, two-nucleon gaps, α decay energies, rms radii, quadrupole deformations, potential energy curves, neutron density distributions, and neutron mean-field potentials are discussed.
DRHBc Mass Table Collaboration, "Nuclear mass table in deformed relativistic Hartree-Bogoliubov theory in continuum, II: Even-Z nuclei" arXiv:2402.02935 (February 5, 2024) (392 pages).

Another study (admittedly not a terribly credible one given that it is a pre-print on the Social Science Research Network by authors not affiliated with universities or chemical/physics research institutions) argues from a different perspective, that there can be no more than 137 possible chemical elements:
Using the particle-wave dualism of microparticles and the Bohr model of the atom, it is strictly shown that the maximum number of chemical elements in the periodic table cannot be more than 137. Since, starting from element 138, the speed of a 1S-electron when moving around the nucleus of an atom must be higher than the speed light in a vacuum. Therefore, Feynmanium (Z=137) is the last chemical element. It was also shown that a decrease in the half-life of chemical elements correlates with an increase in the 1S-electron relativism.
Volodymyr Bezverkhniy, Vitaliy Bezverkhniy, "The Speed of Light and the Number of Chemical Elements" SSRN (December 4, 2020). 

A 2022 paper has questioned the reasoning behind this calculation, however.

Another study has predicted properties of atomic nuclei with up to 174 nucleons plus one with 184 nucleons.

How Hot Is Quark Gluon Plasma?

Quarks and gluons are normally "confined", i.e. they can be observed only within hadrons and not "free" of a composite particle (except for top quarks with decay via the weak force before they have time to hadronize). But if you add enough energy, hadrons fall apart and their quarks and gluons from a quark gluon plasma (QGP).

At temperature does this happen? 

A recent measurement says (3.40 ± 0.55) × 1012 degrees Kelvin.

This is about 150 MeV in electron-volt units, and corresponds to 10-12 seconds after the Big Bang in the standard chronology of the universe.

Monday, January 29, 2024

An Organic Neutrino Telescope

The idea of just hooking up instruments to trees in a forest is the most novel approach to developing a high energy neutrino telescope I've seen.
The primary challenge in detecting ultrahigh energy (UHE) neutrinos with energies exceeding 10^16 eV is to instrument a large enough volume to detect the extremely low flux, which falls as ∼E^−2. 
We explore in this article the feasibility of using the forest as a detector. Trees have been shown to be efficient broadband antennas, and may, without damage to the tree, be instrumented with a minimum of apparatus. A large scale array of such trees may be the key to achieving the requisite target volumes for UHE neutrino astronomy.
Steven Prohira, "The forest as a neutrino detector" arXiv:2401.14454 (January 25, 2024).

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Which Came First? Canals Or Cities

Irrigation canals arose so long before cities did that these canals and the agriculture that they are a testament to, couldn't have been the reason that cities came to be. So, maybe religion and not agriculture is the key factor.

The latest data from Ancient Mesopotamian city of Girsu shows that agriculture built around system of irrigation canals existed for a 1000 years before the first city was built.

From the Old European Culture blog

The excerpt below is from the body text of the linked article (an educated layman's level publication, not a scientific journal):

Rey and his team used new technologies to understand the development of the city, flying drones over the vast, 250-hectare site. The images they gathered show the extent to which the irrigation system was embedded throughout the city and its surrounds.

Heavy rainfall, a product of climate change, also washed away the top layer of the soil, making the outlines even more apparent. 
Working with archaeologists from five universities in Iraq, led by Jaafar Jotheri of Al Qadisiyah, the British Museum team dug out shells and other material from the bottom level of the canals to be carbon-dated. The results were startling: the canals seem to have been dug in the fifth millennium BC. .

“The big surprise is that the largest irrigation canals date to the prehistory of Mesopotamia. That means they are much, much older than the birth of the city, by about 1,000 years," says Rey. "Traditionally, what you read is that development in Mesopotamia begins at the end of the fourth millennium, around 3300 BC. That’s when there was an important transition from pre-urban to urban and the invention of writing.

"But the canals that we have dated recently sets the date back to the fifth millennium, which means that irrigation is not the key, the spark that triggered the urban construction and the invention of writing. And that's a really important discovery.”

Before, archeologists believed that once the ancient Sumerians learnt to irrigate their crops, they were able to move from subsistence farming to the social and religious hierarchy that the elaborate temples of Girsu attest to.

But the Girsu Project’s discoveries, which Rey has written up for a paper that has passed peer review but which is still to be published, show that the Sumerians were living with well-watered plains for a full millennium before they began to build the temple complexes.

What changed? What moved the needle towards a more complex society?

Rey speculates that the shift was unrelated to the environment but rather owed to the pattern of thinking of those living in Girsu: an ideological transformation. Temples and administrative buildings allowed the powers ascribed to the gods to reside in one site, which was embedded into a larger social and political structure.

“It was a domestication of the power of the gods,” Rey says, in an adaptation of the phrase usually used for Sumerian development of the domestication of water.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

New Historical Linguistics Paper Get IE Languages Badly Wrong

A new paper in Nature Communications on historical linguistics fails disastrously by claiming that the Indo-European languages had a Neolithic dispersal time from Anatolia. This utterly undermines the credibility of the methodology as a whole, and makes it not worth even bothering to read carefully in any other respect. Mountains of work in myriad papers considering ancient DNA, linguistics, and archaeology, done by far more competent researchers, contradict this paper. This paper never should have cleared peer review.

The idiots who wrote this fatally flawed paper are Sizhe Yang, Xiaoru Sun, Li Jin, and Menghan Zhang.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Why Did The Amazonian Upano Civilization Collapse?

The Upano civilization in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Eastern Ecuador had a city the size of Roman era London at about the same time as Roman era London, the discovery of which was just published yesterday, in the journal Science.

This archaeological civilization collapsed in approximately 300-600 CE, and the area was only repopulated by the Huapula culture, ca. 800 CE, two centuries or more later.

Why did it collapse?

Several possibilities suggest themselves.

1. The Roman empire was brought down, in significant part, by a major climate event that was global in scope. It could be that the same climate event caused the Upano civilization to collapse halfway around the world. As explained at the link:
Work by dendro-chronologists and ice-core experts points to an enormous spasm of volcanic activity in the 530s and 540s CE, unlike anything else in the past few thousand years. This violent sequence of eruptions triggered what is now called the ‘Late Antique Little Ice Age,’ when much colder temperatures endured for at least 150 years.
But we don't know much about the climate impact of this event in Ecuador or its vicinity. We do know, however, that an extreme climate event did cause a massive population collapse in South America, including the Amazon region, around 6200 BCE. We also know that the Medieval Climate Anomaly, a warm period of the Northern Hemisphere from ca. 1000 CE -1200 CE was matched by similar effects in South America:
The vast majority of all South American land sites suggest a warm MCA. Andean vegetation zones moved upslope, glaciers retreated, biological productivity in high altitude lakes increased, the duration of cold season ice cover on Andean lakes shortened, and trees produced thicker annual rings.
Similar comparisons have been made to South America for Europe's Little Ice Age from 1500 CE to 1850 CE. In that time period, "the climate of southwestern Brazil was wetter than it is now, for example, while that of the country's Northeast region was drier."

The correlations seem to be driven, in part, by ocean temperatures.

2. After a thousand years, soil exhaustion similar to the soil exhaustion that was an important cause of the late Neolithic population crash in Europe could have made the civilization unviable. As the abstract of the 2019 paper linked in this paragraph explains that event:
The focus of this paper is the Neolithic of northwest Europe, where a rapid growth in population between ~5950 and ~5550 cal yr BP is followed by a decline that lasted until ~4950 cal yr BP. The timing of the increase in population density correlates with the local appearance of farming and is attributed to the advantageous effects of agriculture. However, the subsequent population decline has yet to be satisfactorily explained. One possible explanation is the reduction in yields in Neolithic cereal-based agriculture due to worsening climatic conditions. The suggestion of a correlation between Neolithic climate deterioration, agricultural productivity, and a decrease in population requires testing for northwestern Europe. Data for our analyses were collected during the Cultural Evolution of Neolithic Europe project. We assess the correlation between agricultural productivity and population densities in the Neolithic of northwest Europe by examining the changing frequencies of crop and weed taxa before, during and after the population “boom and bust.” We show that the period of population decline is coincidental with a decrease in cereal production linked to a shift towards less fertile soils.
3. They could have been defeated militarily by a neighboring civilization such as the Muisca confederation which was well established in the Northern Andes by the 8th century CE, the Tairona civilization thrived in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range in northern Colombia from the 1st century CE until the Spanish arrival in the 16th century, the Moche civilization that thrived on the north coast of Peru from about 100 to 800 CE, the Wari Empire was located in the western portion of Peru and existed from the 6th century to the 11th century, or the Tiwanaku empire was based in western Bolivia and extended into present-day Peru and Chile from 300 to 1000. See generally here.

4. They could have fallen to a wave of Old World diseases brought to South American through pre-Columbian first contact with Polynesian seafarers, albeit, a wave of diseases less severe (or overcome and recovered from with more time to do so) than in the Columbian European first contact case.

5. They could have not actually collapsed, but relocated. Precedents for this kind of mass migration include the Na-Dene people of Canada who migrated to the American Southwest (around 1000 CE), and the Ancestral Puebloans (around 800-900 CE). For example, the geographically nearby Cañari civilization, whose capital is reputed to be the source of the mythical city of El Dorado, that existed contemporaneous with the 13th to 16th century Inca civilization, could have been derived from the descendants of the Upano people.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

A Huge Lost City In The Amazon

The archaeological culture associated with this lost city, the same size as Roman era London, is so obscure that it didn't even have its own Wikipedia page and wasn't mentioned in the Pre-Columbian History of Ecuador page on Wikipedia.

LIDAR has discovered a city that was once home to 100,000 people in eastern Ecuador, in a time period roughly contemporaneous with the Roman Empire, that was ultimately reclaimed by the Amazon jungle. As Boing Boing explains:
Other reports describe it as a "valley of lost cities" spread throughout the region. The implications appear to be quite spectacular: a sprawling urban civilization larger than nearby Mayan cultures.
The linked report isn't quite as generous in estimating the number of people who lived there, but provides further details:
The settlements were occupied by the Upano people between about 500 BC and AD 300 to 600 – a period roughly contemporaneous with the Roman empire in Europe, the researchers found.

Residential and ceremonial buildings erected on more than 6,000 earthen mounds were surrounded by agricultural fields with drainage canals. The largest roads were 33 feet (10 meters) wide and stretched for 6-12 miles (10-20km).

While it is difficult to estimate populations, the site was home to at least 10,000 inhabitants – and perhaps as many as 15,000 or 30,000 at its peak, said archaeologist Antoine Dorison, a study co-author at the same French institute. That is comparable to the estimated population of Roman-era London, then Britain’s largest city.

The article and its abstract are as follows: 

A dense system of pre-Hispanic urban centers has been found in the Upano Valley of Amazonian Ecuador, in the eastern foothills of the Andes. Fieldwork and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) analysis have revealed an anthropized landscape with clusters of monumental platforms, plazas, and streets following a specific pattern intertwined with extensive agricultural drainages and terraces as well as wide straight roads running over great distances. Archaeological excavations date the occupation from around 500 BCE to between 300 and 600 CE. The most notable landscape feature is the complex road system extending over tens of kilometers, connecting the different urban centers, thus creating a regional-scale network. Such extensive early development in the Upper Amazon is comparable to similar Maya urban systems recently highlighted in Mexico and Guatemala.

According to the Supplemental Materials:
Based on radiocarbon dating mentioned above and on the stylistic and stratigraphic classification of the remains discovered during our excavations, a cultural chronology of 2700 years could be established for the region. This sequence was recently revised and will be presented in a subsequent paper. It presents the succession of four or five cultural assemblages: 
1. Sangay culture: from around 700 to 500 BCE. This first occupation left few remains. 
2. Kilamope Culture: from 500 BCE. These were the first mound builders. Pottery of Kilamope culture is characterized by curvilinear incised decorations, the use of reddish slip and various fine prints and incisions.  
3. Upano Culture: probably from 500 BCE to 300/600 CE. They built earthen mounds and they were contemporaneous or successors of the Kilamope groups. Pottery of the Upano culture is mainly characterized by rectilinear incisions and painted decorations. 
4. Huapula Culture: from 800 to 1200 CE. After the disappearance of the Upano, Huapula groups reused the mounds abandoned by their predecessors. Huapula ceramic is characterized by decorations based on the corrugated modality using wavy patterns, and marks the appearance of modern Jivaroan-speaking populations in the region. 
5. Shuar Culture: They follow the Huapula of whom they are the direct heirs. The cultural evolution of this region is comparable with that known in other Amazonian areas: after sparse occupation, appearance of dense societies during the first phases (Kilamope and Upano cultures) while around 800 CE, the archaeological record indicates a fragmentation of the system with the emergence of smaller and dispersed groups. 
Since the European contact and until the end of the 19th century at least, the Upano basin has been occupied by Shuar groups of the Chicham-Aents culture (recent self-naming to replace the previous inadequate term “Jivaro”). Then came the Spaniards and, later, settlers coming from the Andean high plateaus.

The Supplemental Materials also mention and briefly describe four other ancient Amazonian urban centers that have been located in Cotoca, Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia; Hertenrits, Western coastal plain, Suriname; Kuhikugu, Upper Xingu, Brazil; and El Gaván, Llanos de Barinas, Venezuela.

The Hubble Constant Tensions And Related Tensions


This screenshot is from this recent blog post at Triton Station.

In the year 2007, there were as sweet spot where a lot of cosmology measurements seemed to line up consistently. But, seventeen years later, as a result of new and improved data, this is no longer true, because the cosmic microwave background data from Planck show that the Hubble constant was too small in the early universe and that the cluster baryon fraction was too high. 

The Hubble constant measurements (straight horizontal bar) and the Planck cosmic microwave background constraints (which includes an early after the Big Bang Hubble constant measurement) are flatly inconsistent, which is the "Hubble tension." 

Another Take On The Wide Binary Debate

While I'll need to look more carefully to see if the external field effect/stronger gravity regime effects (which normally makes MOND irrelevant at the solar system level) have been considered appropriately, this is a new paper looking at a different set of wide binary data in a different way that the GAIA data driving the main wide binary-MOND debate.
Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), postulating a breakdown of Newtonian mechanics at low accelerations, has considerable success at explaining galaxy kinematics. However, the quadrupole of the gravitational field of the Solar System (SS) provides a strong constraint on the way in which Newtonian gravity can be modified. In this paper we assess the extent to which modified gravity formulations of MOND are capable of accounting simultaneously for the Radial Acceleration Relation (RAR) -- encapsulating late-type galaxy dynamics -- the Cassini measurement of the SS quadrupole and the kinematics of wide binaries in the Solar neighbourhood. We achieve this by extending the method of Desmond (2023) to infer the location and sharpness of the MOND transition from the SPARC RAR under broad assumptions for the behaviour of the interpolating function and external field effect. We constrain the same quantities from the SS quadrupole, finding that it requires a significantly sharper transition between the deep-MOND and Newtonian regimes than is allowed by the RAR (an 8.7σ tension under fiducial model assumptions). This may be relieved by allowing additional freedom in galaxies' mass-to-light ratios -- which also provides a better RAR fit -- and more significantly by removing galaxies with bulges. We show that the SS quadrupole constraint implies, to high precision, no deviation from Newtonian gravity in wide binaries in the Solar neighbourhood, and speculate on possible resolutions of this incompatibility between SS and galaxy data within the MOND paradigm.
Harry Desmond, Aurélien Hees, Benoit Famaey, "On the incompatibility of the Radial Acceleration Relation and Solar System quadrupole in modified gravity MOND" arXiv:2401.04796 (January 9, 2024).

Forty Physics Conjectures

These are some conjectures about physics that are floating around in my head:

1. Sphalerons, the only Standard Model process in which baryon number and lepton number are not separately conserved, although baryon number minus lepton number is conserved, do not exist, because baryon number and lepton number conservation have the effect of making the energy density necessary for a sphaleron interaction physically impossible.

2. The baryon number of the universe minus the lepton number of the universe is zero, which in turn, implies that the number of neutrinos in the universe is extremely close to the number of anti-neutrinos in the universe.

3. Neutrinos are not Majorana particles and do not have Majorana mass.

4. There are no right handed neutrinos and there are no left handed anti-neutrinos.

5. Neutrinos do not acquire mass via a see-saw mechanism.

6. The Big Bang is at the center of the universe's time dimension. We are on one side of it in time. There is a mirror universe before the Big Bang in time, where due to entropy, time appears to flow in the opposite direction and the universe is anti-matter dominated rather than matter dominated.

7. Cosmological inflation does not exist.

8. Matter-energy conservation is absolute. Thus, the total mass-energy of the universe is constant and finite, although what this means in a global sense as opposed to a local sense is subtle and tricky due to the variations in the rate at which time passes and spatial contraction due to special and general relativity.

9. CPT (combined charge-parity-time) conservation is absolute.

10. The particle set of the Standard Model of Physics includes all fundamental particles except a massless spin-2 graviton that couples in proportion to mass-energy with a coupling constant that is a function of Newton's constant G. Quantum gravity does exist.

11. Dark matter effects are a non-perturbative effect of the self-interaction of gravitons, which are largely a function of the total mass-energy of the system and the extent to which the system is not spherically symmetric. Dark matter effects confine gravitons to within a gravitationally bound, non-spherically symmetric system to an extent greater than they would be if the system was spherically symmetric. The appearance that the amount of dark matter in the universe is constant is a function of early galaxy and structure formation. This implies that the tendency of satellite galaxies to be in the same plane of space is not a coincidence. This explains why the amount of apparent dark matter in a galaxy is related to the extent that it is non-spherical. This explains why there is relatively more apparent dark matter in galaxy clusters than in galaxies. Because gravity is so weak, these non-perturbative effects not considered in general relativity as conventionally applied, are negligible in systems smaller than galaxies. 

12. Dark energy phenomena are due to systems with apparent dark matter not exerting a gravitational pull on mass-energy outside the system to the same extent that these systems would if they were spherically symmetric. The notion that dark energy is a substance created as space-time expands is an illusion. The Hubble constant and cosmological constant are merely approximations of this effect which are not fundamentally constant and are a product of dark matter phenomena over time.

13. Self-interaction of gravity effects lead to earlier galaxy formation than would occur in their absence.

14. MOND is a phenomenological approximation of self-interaction of gravity effects. Gravitational self-interactions give rise to the external field effect predicted by MOND. The strong equivalence principle of general relativity is not a true hypothesis. 

15. There are no dark matter particles and there is no such thing as dark energy.

16. The sum of the square of the fundamental particle masses is equal to the square of the Higgs vacuum expectation value, which is a largely function of the weak force coupling constant. This sets the overall mass scale of the massive fundamental particles (i.e. the fundamental particles other than gluons, photons, and gravitons).

17. All neutrinos have a non-zero mass, even though the smallest neutrino mass eigenvalue is very small (on the order of 1 meV or less).

18. The three Standard Model neutrinos have a "normal" mass hierarchy.

19. The relative masses of the charged leptons, and the relative masses of the quarks, respectively, are dynamically balanced through W boson interactions, by a formula that is an extended Koide's rule formula. This inherently links the quark masses to the CKM matrix and the lepton masses to the PMNS matrix.

20. Koide's rule for charged leptons and charged lepton universality work because the neutrino masses are so tiny relative to the charged lepton masses, and so much more similar to each other than the charged lepton and quark masses, that the deviations from Koide's rule and charged lepton universality that they cause are negligible and undetectable with current technological means.

21. The masses of the neutrinos arise partially from their self-interactions via the weak force and partially from their W boson interactions with the charged leptons and the other neutrinos.

22. The point-particle paradox of the Standard Model is resolved because fundamental particles are fundamentally narrow waves, call them field excitations, and are not actually points.

23. There are no "extra dimensions" of space-time beyond the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time.

24. It is most accurate to describe the fact that quantum entanglement cannot be simultaneously respect causality, locality, and reality, as a causality violation. Thus, when one entangled particle's state is determined, that information goes backward in time to the point of entanglement and then forward in time to the other entangled particle.

25. The CKM matrix and the PMNS matrix completely describe the transition probabilities of the W boson, and the CP violating parameter in each of these matrixes is the sole source of CP violation in the universe. Forces with massless carrier bosons, i.e. electromagnetism carried by the massless photon, the strong force carried by massless gluons, and gravity carried by massless gravitons, can't violate CP because they travel at the speed of light and don't experience time, while Higgs bosons can't violate CP because it has no electromagnetic charge and has even parity, leaving only the weak force carries by the W and Z bosons as a potential source of CP violation. See also this Physics.SE post which observes that: "parity violating weak interactions forced the model to have massive vector and axial vector exchange bosons."

26. It is possible that CP violation actually has a separate fundamental source than the other CKM and PMNS matrix elements that just manifest inseparably from each other in what we can observe, and it is possible that the three non-CP violating parameters of each matrix can actually be described with fewer than three parameters in a deeper theory.

27. The probability of a two generation transition in either the CKM matrix or the PMNS matrix is equal to the product of the probabilities of each of the possible one generation transitions in those matrixes.

28. The beta functions of the Standard Model are slightly wrong, in a manner only discernible at very high energies, because they fail to include the slight impact of gravity on the running of the Standard Model constants.

29. There is no muon g-2 anomaly. The present anomaly is solely due to a miscalculation of muon g-2 because the experimental data that was used to substitute for first principles calculations of it are flawed.

30. The reason that there can't be more than three generations of fundamental fermions is that no fundamental particle can have a mean lifetime of less than the W boson as a t' or b' quark would, and fermions must come in complete generations.

31. The internal structure of the scalar mesons and axial vector mesons are basically isolated problems that will be solved one by one. There is not a single overarching cause that explains all of them. But all of them can be fully explained with existing QED and QCD, and the fundamental particles of the Standard Model. The full hadron spectrum is possible to calculate in principle from the Standard Model although this is challenging in practice and may require the development of new mathematical techniques.

32. It is not impossible that the universe flowing from our Big Bang (both before it and after it) is not all that there is, but any other universes have effects that are difficult or impossible to observe, not just as a matter of astronomy observation technology limits, but because any observable effects of other universes on our universe that have reached us at the speed of light, are so far slight.

33. The universe is not perfectly homogeneous and isotropic even at the largest observable scale, due to amplifications over time of effectively stochastic variation in the early instants after the Big Bang.

34. Big Bang nucleosynthesis is fundamentally sound, and most of the differences between theory and observation (e.g. in Lithium abundance) are due to errors in how we model post-Big Bang nucleosynthesis and our failure to find elements that are indeed out there.

35. The "Bang" of the Big Bang is due to matter-antimatter annihilation as matter tries to move forward in time from before t=0 and antimatter tries to move backward in time from after t=0.

36. The space volume of the Big Bang at t=0 is not necessary zero.

37. There was a maximum temperature and energy scale at t=0 in the Big Bang, which provides a de facto ultraviolet limit to the running of the fundamental constants of the Standard Model.

38. Newton's constant runs with energy scale in the same way that the Standard Model constants do, but the running of Newton's constant has been slight since shortly after the Big Bang.

39. There is probably a maximum mass-energy density equal to the mass per event horizon volume of the smallest possible stellar black hole, which is slightly higher than the maximum mass-energy density of the most dense possible neutron star.

40. It is possible to devise a "within the Standard Model" theory that explains why the Standard Model has the particle content, particle properties, and experimentally measured physical constants that it does in a more reductionist manner than the Standard Model plus quantum gravity, but it is not string theory, it is not supersymmetric, and it is probably not a conventional grand unified theory that fits the Standard Model into a single overarching Lie group.


41.    The Many Worlds Hypothesis is not correct.