Egyptian Dark Ages

An interesting read, for many reasons. An old paper on the Egyptian “Intermediate Periods”. Called that as they are in between well attested Dynastic periods. They were times of chaos and famine. Here’s the two wikis for the PC Background version:

And the paper:

The Dark Ages in Ancient History
1. The First Dark Age in Egypt!

Introduction I
Prehistoric Climate 3
Decline of the Neolithic Wet Phase 5
The Nile 6
The First Dark Age in Egypt 7
Texts relating to the first great famine,
c. 2180-c. 2130 B.C. 8
Texts from the years c. 2150-C. 2000 B.C 14
Texts from the years c. 2002-C. 1950 B.C. 16
Discussion 19
Bibliography 24

Take just a moment to look back at the very long term solar status graph in paper from the prior posting.

Look for about 2200 B.C. to 2500 B.C. (The wiki has 2181–2055 B.C.)

The second period was from about 1200 B.C. to 1600 B.C. so take a look at that as well. (The wiki has 1650–1550 B.C.)

Notice the big “dip” in solar activity at about 1500 BC ( -1500 on the graph) and at 2500 B.C and 2200 BC ( -2500 and -2200 on the graph)? Those were strong solar slumps.

This paper in this posting is from about 1971 if I’m reading things right.

In the history of the ancient Near East two striking Dark Ages have occurred. They occurred more or less simultaneously (within the limits of current dating accuracy) over a wide area extending at least from Greece to Mesopotamia and Elam, from Anatolia to Egypt, and probably beyond.

In Egypt, where the chronology is best established, the first Dark Age began around 2200 B.C., when at the end of Dynasty VI Egypt, until then a very stable society, with seeming suddenness fell into anarchy. About the same time the Akkadian Empire disintegrated. Byblos and a number of other sites in Syria and Palestine were destroyed by fire and some were abandoned for a time. Troy II, the wealthy citadel of Schliemann’s gold treasure, was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on only a very shabby scale. Lerna and other prosperous Argolid centers were burned and their destruction was followed by greatly lessened prosperity.

In western and southern Anatolia “the end of the E.B. [Early Bronze] 2 period is marked . . . by a catastrophe of such magnitude as to remain unparalleled until the very end of the Bronze Age” (Mellaart, 1962); widespread destruction is followed by a general decline in material culture and a decrease by about 75 percent in the number of known settlements. We may probably include also the decline of the Indus Valley civilization. The radiocarbon dates of Phase F (mature Harappan) lie between 2100 and 1900 B.C. (Dales 1965; half-life 5730), with an average of 1975 B.C. from 12 measurements. But when these dates are corrected for the systematic error in C-14 dates of this period, as determined by Suess (1967) and by Ralph and Michael (1969), the dates fall between about 2500 and 2250 B.C.

The second Dark Age began around 1200 B.C. It was marked by the disappearance of the Hittite Empire of Anatolia and the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. About the same time, or a little later, Egypt went into a prolonged decline, while Babylonia and Assyria were also weak for most of the 1100’S and 1000’S. When we turn to the revised Cambridge Ancient History (CAH) or other modern studies for explanation, we find numerous references to evidence of destruction by fire. The destruction is often attributed to invasions by barbarians about whom little is known, however, and for whose activities the archaeological evidence is often meager or nonexistent. Moreover Adams (1968) has pointed out that the interpretation of seemingly violent destruction and discontinuous layering in a habitation site is more complex and ambiguous than previously recognized, and cannot be considered clear evidence of either intermittent occupation or enemy attack. He thus urges more caution in inferring invasions when there is no clear positive evidence for the presence of invaders.

But even where it is clear that barbarian invasions did occur, we are left with the question of whether they are a sufficient cause or explanation for the destruction of a number of apparently powerful and prosperous states, and why so many different barbarian tribes were stirred to attack centers of civilization at about the same time. Anyone or two of the above disasters, standing alone, might be sufficiently explained by political factors. But the concentration in time of so many disasters and the universal absence of prosperity throughout the area strongly suggest a common underlying cause. Of “historical truth,” Frankfort (1951) wrote that a concept whereby “many seemingly unrelated facts are seen to acquire meaning and coherence is likely to represent a historical reality.”

It is the thesis of this study that the two Dark Ages, and the numerous disasters in the periods c. 2200-2000 and c. 1200-900 B.C., can be given coherence and can all be explained at once by a single primary cause. The cause I postulate as “historical reality” is drought-widespread, severe, and prolonged lasting for several decades and occurring more or less simultaneously over the entire eastern Mediterranean and adjacent lands.
This is not to deny the significance of contemporary political and social factors; it is, however, to assert that a climatic economic deterioration of sufficient magnitude can set in motion forces beyond the strength of any society to withstand.

Such an hypothesis has indeed already been advanced by Rhys Carpenter (1966) for the Second Dark Age
, c. 1200-900 B.C.; his argument is based primarily on study of the decline of Mycenaean Greece and the Hittite Empire. And in a subsequent paper I plan to discuss this period with primary reference to Egypt. The present paper will examine the evidence for the hypothesis that the First Dark Age of Egypt, the so-called First Intermediate Period, was brought on by a similar prolonged and intense drought. Later papers will examine the evidence from other lands, but there are several advantages in beginning with Egypt:

It goes on from there in very readable fashion. Particularly haunting are some of the actual texts from those eras that are being discussed. There are also various descriptions of the nature and degree of known changes in the climate and precipitation:

average difference between high and low water is 22′ (6.7 m.), with a yearly variation that depends on the volume of the equatorial rains; 4-5′ (1.21.5 m.) below average is a “bad Nile” and in antiquity a succession of these usually resulted in crop failures and famine, while a flood of 30′ (9 m.) or more would cause widespread destruction. Deposits south of Wadi HaIfa suggest that flood levels in early predynastic times were about 10 m. higher than today, that they declined in an oscillatory way to about 5 m. above today in early dynastic times, and to the present level by the time of the New Kingdom (Trigger 1965:31). It is hoped that the present study, in this and subsequent papers (now including Bell 1970), will provide additional details on the flood levels in historical times.

So talk about your ‘climate extremes’. They had stronger rainy periods in general by about 10 m at full flood. And then they had one heck of a drought. The implication seems to be that the next time a great drought comes, it will be even lower rains as our flood stage is already lower.

If Egypt is a politically unstable mess now, how will they be after 10 years of extreme drought?

This interpretation would still leave tzw as an appropriate figure of speech to mean famine due to insufficient flood, but not for famine from other causes. This view is supported also by the phrase from the Book of the Dead from whose prototype Vandier (1950) believes that Ankhtifi’s scribe derived the terms of the tomb inscription: O master of the stormclouds (igp) … O thou who sailest the bark (of/ Re) by this sandbar (tzw) of Apophis. … Thus the appearance of tzw in a context of famine may, and indeed should be taken as evidence of a very low flood, quite sufficient in itself to cause severe famine without any political complications.

Returning now to the inscription of Ankhtifi, we find a very severe famine indeed: . . . All ofUpper Egypt was dying of hunger (/:zkr), to such a degree that everyone had come to eating his children, but I managed that no one died of hunger in this nome. I made a loan of grain to Upper Egypt. … I kept alive the house of Elephantine during these years, after the towns of He/at and Hormer had been satisfied. … The entire country had become like a starved (?) grasshopper, with people going to the north and to the south (in search of grain), but I never permitted it to happen that anyone had to embark from this to another nome. … Vandier (1936 :8) points out that this is one of only two known references to cannibalism in Ancient Egypt, an act of desperation that also occurred during famines in mediaeval Arab Egypt (see Toussoun 1925 :458-474, for details).

It is just a joy to read decent academic work that does not stretch beyond the facts and data, has not a single “model” in it anywhere, and is written in an engaging and compelling style.

The story it tells is one of episodes of famine and associated social chaos, all driven by droughts. That these come at times of abnormally low solar output, and that we are entering just such a period of low solar output, and with Egypt already “on the edge” of food riots; well, it’s something to ponder…

Indeed, women are barren and none conceive. Khnum fashions (men) no more because of the condition of the land . .. hearts are violent, plague is throughout the land, blood is everywhere … many dead are buried in the river; the stream is a sepulchre and the place of embalmment has become a stream (E: the corpses are too numerous to be buried; they are thrown into the water like dead cattle)…. Squalor is throughout the land, and there is no one whose clothes are white in these times. … Indeed, the land turns round as does a potter’s wheel. The robber possesses riches. … (Considering the second sentence, the first would seem to refer to the social order; but I wonder whether it might not refer also to the land itself, keeping in mind Ankhtifi’s sandstorms, and Butzer’s invading dunes, and possible shiftings in the course of the Nile.)

Somehow it’s extraordinarily haunting to read the words of the survivors.

All in all, this paper shows that historical swings of climate and weather have been far worse than anything recent, and it shows just how bad things can get when the rains fail in dramatic fashion for a couple of decades. It also shows that this is not a ‘one time event’ and has elements of periodicity about it. With luck, we are not in a period of solar slowdown quite as strong as those were; or there were some other causes that were also contributory. IF, and it is a very big IF, past is prologue, this is not a very good picture.

To our great advantage now, if rains fail regionally, we can ship food from anywhere on the planet. In an earlier posting we saw that when the Gulf Stream slows down bringing cold, snow and such to Europe, the warmth and rains stay in Florida and down near the Gulf of Mexico (i.e. more rain in the “Desert South West”). To the extent that whatever change of rain patterns causes droughts in Egypt just moves that rain somewhere else that needs it, it becomes a ‘transportation problem’ not a ‘production problem’.

So there is a lot of hope that “this time will be different” as we have much more capacity to use technology and machines to provide food and get it where it is needed. We also are a couple of thousand years further along in the changes of obliquity and precession, so with luck the effects of any solar slowdown are different now. Finally, we don’t know if this solar slowdown is anywhere nearly the same as those solar slowdowns. As near as I can figure it, the next Really Big One isn’t for about another 300 years. Then again “I could be wrong”… In an ideal world, this will be just a quick short cold snap, just enough to break the AGW myth, but not so much as to result in famine and death. We came through the Dalton and Maunder in relatively good form.

The small bits of the paper I quoted here can’t come close to the effect of the whole thing, and I do recommend reading it. If for no other reason than to appreciate how really good we have it now.


I’m adding part of that very large graph of reconstructed TSI. There’s enough references to it that it really needs to be easily seen:

TSI Reconstruction -2500 to 500 A.D.

TSI Reconstruction -2500 to 500 A.D.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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33 Responses to Egyptian Dark Ages

  1. Petrossa says:

    Since Egypt was conquered in the 7th century by Islam it steadily went downhill from there on till it somewhat stabilized on kind of 3rd world tourist attraction based on the ancient structures under Sadat and Mubarak.
    Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has taken the reigns its in freefall economically and it really doesn’t need a drought to starve the nation. The government does a fine job all on it’s own. No sane tourist is going to set foot in that hellhole, and what with the instability no sane investor is going to invest in the further development of their oilreserves. The IMF doesn’t want to loan money unless conditions are met which the religious fanatics refuse to comply to, the US is only very sparsely doling out parts of the annual 3 billion$ and only wacko EU gave 5 billion without strings attached. They are so desperate to play with the big boys they’d give money to China (oops, they do actually, foreign aid money) only to feel they make a difference.

    Which goes to prove that democracy isn’t a good system in itself, but totally depends on the participants being able to make rational decisions. Voting democracy away at first vote isn’t one of them.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    It was already well down hill before the Islamic overrun. It was largely a Greek Theme Park under Alexander the Great and the Ptolemy era. Then the Romans turned it into a farm and trading post under Imperial Domination. Followed by the Sassanid domination (Persian invasion). By the times the Arabs came along, it had 1000 years of grinding cultural domination to endure. Yes, the Greek period is called “Classical Antiquity” and a lot of renovation happened. But the Greeks lived in Greek Cities and were Greek citizens. Egypt was second class… So they “Fixed it up” as one fixes up a rental property or puts new paint on the theme park. But don’t confuse that with being a vital Egyptian Egypt… The Romans didn’t even bother with the fixing up… and don’t get me started about the Persians…

    The Persian invasion of Egypt began either in 617 or 618, but little is known about the particulars of this campaign, since the province was practically cut off from the remaining Roman territories. The Persian army headed for Alexandria, where Nicetas, Heraclius’ cousin and local governor, was unable to offer effective resistance. He and the Chalcedonian patriarch, John V, fled the city to Cyprus. According to the Khuzistan Chronicle, Alexandria was then betrayed to the Persians by a certain Peter in June 619.

    After the fall of Alexandria, the Persians gradually extended their rule southwards along the Nile. Sporadic resistance required some mopping-up operations, but by 621, the province was securely in Persian hands.


    Egypt would remain in Persian hands for 10 years, run by general Shahrbaraz from Alexandria. As the new Roman emperor, Heraclius, reversed the tide and defeated Khosrau, Shahrbaraz was ordered to evacuate the province, but refused. In the end, Heraclius, trying both to recover Egypt and to sow disunion amongst the Persians, offered to help Shahrbaraz seize the Persian throne for himself. An agreement was reached, and in the summer of 629, the Persian troops began leaving Egypt.

    Essentially the Romans and Persians used Egypt as a war football for a few decades, then went at each other to the point of exhaustion. That left things in enough rubble for some rabble from the desert to take over the place…

  3. glenndc says:


    Dr. Bell is quite a find. Here is her brief bio and a link to the containing document. – “BELL, Barbara, Astronomer Emeritus, Harvard College Observatory. A.B. (1944), Ph.D. (1951) Radcliffe College. Research specialties: Associations between solar phenomena and geomagnetic disturbances; postglacial climate fluctuations and their possible role in ancient history, especially Egypt and the Nile; spectroscopy; solar spectrum; solar gf values.”

    She also wrote another, more in depth article in 1975 in the American Journal of Archaeology re the Egyptian dark ages.

    And her take on the extreme vigor of Solar Cycle 19 (1957 and 1958 specifically), quote and link below. “The current sunspot maximum is remarkable in several respects…..”

    In support of Bell’s thesis, it is good to consider Joseph Tainter’s dark vision on the collapse of complex societies, and the ease and rapidity with which it happens. For an opposing voice, you can try Robert Drew’s “The end of the bronze age…” that explicitly rejects Deus ex machina weather and droughts in favor of a purely/mostly military interpretation.

    Great find

  4. R. de Haan says:

    So here we have yet more evidence of periods of a few hundred years (just like the Little Ice Age) that turn the luck charts of human civilization into a looser mode. Great to hear from Dr. Bell, who made a wonderful career. I would love to see her as a poster at WUWT.

    In the mean time we have to deal with a political establishment that is rapidly becoming a disgrace for human civilization on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The current political breed must have been selected for their low standards and back stabbing tendencies. It’s the same breed who ended the political career of Thatcher and they are prepared to say or do anything to further an agenda, any agenda, as long they receive the right price. Cameron is one of these characters but the worst of the worst lives on the other side of the Atlantic and goes by the name Swift Boat Kerry. Fortunately Kerry is on the brink of severely burning his fingers over his own Global Warming BS = Bad Science, when in 2009 he predicted an ice free Arctic in 2013, an event which is not going to happen, unless he nukes the Arctic:

    Kerry is one of those politicans who has made himself a name as a political back stabber and who even made it into the Wikipedia with the term “Swiftboating”:

    Because no dog in the US would ever cast a vote in favor of this heck, Obama “appointed” him to replace Mother Clinton, another pathetic liar.

    Types like Cameron and Kerry are a typical example of what’s wrong with our establishment.
    Tar and feathers are not a good enough for these parasites.

    The Shaka Zulu Treatment comes to mind first: But there is always a chance that these pathetic back loaders will like the treatment.

  5. R. de Haan says:

    By the way, if Egypt is hit by another “Dark Age” period it will be manmade, like the current Muslim Brotherhood reign. Egypt has huge shale reserves which could serve them for centuries to come, just like Jordan. Technology eventually will save them. All they have to do is to grow up.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    You might want to tone down the “wishing ill” at individuals. In some jurisdictions that can be thought an illegal act. (Threatening harm to the President, for example, gets you visited by the Secret Service – even if it is seen as ‘hyperbole’ or ‘venting’ by others… )

    Generally, you can describe them in very non-flattering terms, but suggestions of physical harm become “an issue” with some agencies and jurisdictions.

    Unfortunately, for Kerry and related types, their party does not mind if they are caught in blatant lies and stupidities, as long as they are “party faithful” and “reliable for the cause”. The other party already would like them gone. Net net is that it doesn’t matter who wrong they are or how crappy their policies; as long as they supported the right folks and kissed the right asses rings…

    Drew, eh? Have to look that one up. But yes, Bell is a delight to read. Restores my faith that some good science was done on the topic, even if a while ago.


    Nice added links. I’ll “fix up” the broken one in a few minutes, but you might want to read about how to “fix” links with “…” in them in worldpress. It’s in here:

    (Basically you put in the unicode for ‘.’ )

  7. I don’t know why I waste my time on other blogs. They simply don’t compare when it comes to what Chiefio puts out (apparently without much effort) and the quality of the comments of “y’all”.

    How does Chiefio find all this fascinating stuff? And why are y’all so much smarter than I am?

  8. John F. Hultquist says:

    Seems they lived in interesting times.
    There was a major volcanic eruption (Minoan or Thera), apparently during the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age – date now seems to be between 1627 BC and 1600 BC. Chariot usage and “chariot warfare” also are cited as important issues during these times as are population migrations (cause or effect ??). Those Nile River flow differences are startling.

    Unrelated time-wise:

    Years ago I read Alan Moorehead’s books – The Blue Nile (1962) & The White Nile (1960) – some of the geographical/physical characteristics are covered.

    Drought has been implicated in the demise of the pueblos of the Mesa Verde Period in the US southwest.

  9. Alex says:

    “”R. de Haan says:
    29 April 2013 at 4:09 am
    By the way, if Egypt is hit by another “Dark Age” period it will be manmade, like the current Muslim Brotherhood reign. Egypt has huge shale reserves which could serve them for centuries to come, just like Jordan. Technology eventually will save them. All they have to do is to grow up.””
    Practically every country in the world has some shale gas reserves. Israel has just become an energy giant due to the gas finds in their section of the Mediterranean sea. It’s a matter of which countries are stable and which are not. Egypt is not same as many other muslim ones. Opec has already become powerless, energy prices are getting cheaper and as soon as shale is everywhere, or mostly everywhere, the industrialised nations will purchase their energy sources from politically stable/friendly countries.

    Meanwhile Brazil=mega oil finds
    Canada=mega oil extraction
    US=mega shale oil and gas

    Egypt investing and selling its shale gas? Forget it. It is predicted that even Saudi Arabia will lose its clients.

    Bye Bye oil from the moslems. They will soon be riding their old camels, not having enough money to change the engine oil in the Mercedes Benz

  10. punmaster says:

    @ R. de Haan
    You shouldn’t hold back if you feel you need to because of our tender sensibilities. The folks who come here are adults; go ahead and tell us what you think. ;)

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    The “not much effort” part is the ‘making connections’. It’s built in to the brain. The hard part is the 4 or 5 hours looking for something that connects… Then the ‘write up’ can be as short as an hour, or up to 3 or 4 sometimes.

    The worst times are when something looked interesting, but ‘digging’ gives ‘no joy’ and there’s no connection. That’s when posts thin out and I end up looking at some less interesting thing to make a posting out of it. (Like “Look, my latest stove!” ;-)

    It really is just a question of ‘digging’ and then editing out the parts that really don’t interest me.

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Yes, indeed they did. And it didn’t end there. There’s a “3rd Intermediate Period” as well. Sometimes called the “Iron Age Cold Period”. It will come around in a future posting… this one was already getting a bit long (read: I was running out of time ;-)

    It is pretty darned clear that there is a “long cycle” swing from Really Good Times to Cold As Hell (and about as pleasant). We’ve been at the tail end of 700 years or so of ‘getting warmer’ from the start of the LIA and the sun has now decided to ramp down hard. I’m really not liking what that implies…. but I think we have about 300 years before it gets to the bottom OMG.

    I’ve added a segment of that 7000 BC to 500 AD reconstruction of TSI graph to the bottom of the posting. If you look at a “Peak then trough”, say, about 510 A.D. to the bottom, it’s about 100 years. (One hopes it is not ‘smoothing’ as a data collection artifact or data processing artifact…)

    So I’m hopeful that it takes time for the transition to full on Aw Shit.

    OTOH, the historical record seems to indicate that the drought / calamity switch happens in a scale of years to decade. So we might have something like “20 years of it’s all still good continue to party” as the ocean cools, then a threshold is hit and the rains are suddenly moved / gone.

    It also looks like there is a 700 ish year period involved (with the 1470 year Bond Event cycle as double dip of it). That “1/2 period Bond Event” cycle question.

    Which makes that ‘start of the LIA at 1300 A.D.’ a bit of a worry…

    Populations moves (major migrations) are almost always due to some kind of calamity. Look up “Migration Era” (i.e. Dark Ages).

    I’m pretty sure that Mesa collapse was also solar mediated cyclical…


    And if Rossi even delivers 1/4 of the promise, it’s ‘game over’.


    Wasn’t asking him to hold back, just not wanting him visited by “agencies”… I can say “My esteemed colleague ought to have a close encounter with a circular inclined plane” after all

    I can also say “I wish a speedy end to the Obama Regime and their despicable acts” and leave a bit vague “by what means”…

    The Secret Service has been, um, ‘vigorous’ in doing things like arresting folks for interrogation for what where clearly “venting” and not serious ‘threats’. It’s also the case that, as blog operator, I need to be on record as discouraging violence. (If not, I can be tagged as promoting it). So, in keeping with my “About Box”, the desired atmosphere is “Garden Party” or “Pool Party”. Saying “That evil S.O.B. ought to be run out of office is shame” is just fine. That’s a personal opinion without violent intent. Saying “I’d like to lynch the bastard” about most any public official falls into threat of public violence and starts that whole Secret Service and “promoting violence” sanctions cycle. I’d really rather not “go there”…

    Besides, it can be fun to find the, um, ‘appropriate circumlocutions’. “Hoisted on his own petard” is a fun one, since it is accepted and a petard is a specialized mortar… or “raked over the coals”… few would take that as literal. Heck, even “groveling in the Seventh Level Of Hell” would likely pass casual inspection… and is plausibly explained as “I just picked a random number” especially if in other cases you used some other number, like, oh, The Ninth.

    One of my other favorites is “He needs a giant squirrel visit”. (Think about it… what do squirrels collect?…)

    So “be creative” not “agency fodder”…


    Oh, nice one. Interesting site. Where did you find it?

    ;-) of course… ;-)

    My ‘worst worry’ is that 1/2 way into the cold and snows, Katla or similar lets loose. It is most likely what happened in about 540 A.D. in the Roman Dark Ages start. If we “go cold” until about 2020 (using up what little stored food capacity there is) and then Katla or something in Indonesia blows, well, “Year without a summer” is likely and a whole lot of folks die of starvation as that is NOT regional. So about that Food Storage System:

    I just used mine, again, last night. Ran out of sugar when the spouse was making a cake. Pulled a 1/2 gallon jar of sugar out of the box. No need to run to the store. This morning had it for breakfast, will soon have some in tea. “Whenever” we go to the store, I’ll buy more sugar and refill that jar. I’ll also be getting it at bulk Wally World prices, not 7-11 Prices…

    Even if all you put into it is dirt cheap sugar, salt, and rice bought in 50 lb bags at Costco (about 50 ¢ / pound last time I looked) it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing and keeps essentially forever. Though the rice ought to be rotated once a decade or so… Beans ‘get hard’ after a year or two, peas in one, so I use Lentils for the beans. I’ve had them keep for 16 years and still sprout.)

    Am I expecting Armageddon? No. I’m expecting a 7.5+ quake. I’m just prepared for Armageddon if it happens ;-) while mostly avoiding unplanned trips to the grocery store…

  12. R. de Haan says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    29 April 2013 at 5:04 am

    @R. de Haan:

    You might want to tone down the “wishing ill” at individuals. In some jurisdictions that can be thought an illegal act. (Threatening harm to the President, for example, gets you visited by the Secret Service – even if it is seen as ‘hyperbole’ or ‘venting’ by others… )

    Generally, you can describe them in very non-flattering terms, but suggestions of physical harm become “an issue” with some agencies and jurisdictions.

    Unfortunately, for Kerry and related types, their party does not mind if they are caught in blatant lies and stupidities, as long as they are “party faithful” and “reliable for the cause”. The other party already would like them gone. Net net is that it doesn’t matter who wrong they are or how crappy their policies; as long as they supported the right folks and kissed the right asses rings…

    Drew, eh? Have to look that one up. But yes, Bell is a delight to read. Restores my faith that some good science was done on the topic, even if a while ago.

    You’re probably right although Tar and Feathers and Shaka Zulu (first time I heard of it was Lucky Luke and Shaka Zulu by the movie Shaka Zulu) is a rather metaphorical way of saying they’re doing a bad job. As for our great scientists, they have been put aside over the past two decades to make way for the activist scientists and the Gore minded faculty management who got into a position to tell them to shut up in a convincing manner. Anyhow, I am glad we still have them around.

    In the meantime we have this nice movie “Grinding America Down” to watch

  13. punmaster says:

    I thought the smiley suggested the sarcasm I intended. I will try harder.

    You make a good point about the ” on a list ” language, but I have assumed that any opinion expressed against Washington, D.C. has put that person on a watch list, even if only at the bottom. Any written support for the 2nd Amendment since Newtown, and especially since the Boston bombing, has certainly gotten notice by some officialdom. Paranoid? Not me; why do you ask? :)

    I like the ‘appropriate circumlocutions’ challenge. If I ever decide to make a political statement I know what to shoot for.

    7th Level of Hell? Good name for a heavy metal band, and still available, as far I can tell.

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    I got the /sarc; implication. Unfortunately, trying to say to a person with a badge, or as jury, it was sarcasm. He had a parenthesis colon and dash… is, er, not very effective. So every so often I make sure my position discouraging law breaking and / or discouraging violence is clearly ‘on the record’. Nothing about you. A lot about our legal “niceties”…

    My favorite description of the ‘attitude’ is “I’m not paranoid, I’m the SysAdmin. Theyare out to get me!”. And it is true!

    Wonder if I know anyone forming a band… ;-)

    @R. de Haan:

    Unfortunately, I think you are correct that there has been an organized “top down” seeding effort. It’s the only thing that fits all the known facts. It is no accident that the universities are so incredibly skewed in their political representation…

  15. agimarc says:

    The YD guys have suggested a cometary impact around 2200 BC as an explanation for the sudden climate shift. Here’s a link that also ties it to the myth of Gilgamesh:

    And one that also includes a possible impact around 1650 BC.

    Finally, there is a link to a pdf of a book on the subject. h/t to the Cosmic Tusk.

    Click to access Comet-Asteroid-Impacts-and-Human-Society.pdf

    Clearly there was a lot of other stuff going on at the time – massive volcanic eruptions (Thera and the destruction of the Minoan civilization around 1630 BC), but it also appears that there was some sort of irregular bombardment going on. If you buy into the Taurus Complex theory, all the chunks of that large body had to go somewhere. I suspect a lot of it ended up impacting the terrestrial planets whose orbit the debris stream crosses twice a year.

    Want to get really interesting? Take a look at Burkle Crater, which may be tied into an impact around 2800 BC and biblical flood myths. Cheers –

  16. punmaster says:

    I never thought of having to explain that to a jury. Good point! But my wife says make a few jokes and they will know I’m crazy . . .

    As for band names, I have others:
    Swirls before Pine
    War N Peas
    We Gave It Up for Lint, which requires seeing the biilboard or CD cover to make it work. :-)

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    Having been through “Managers and the Law” training every year for most of a decade, then through “Media training” as a board member, you get “defensive thinking” built in to your brain. Never say things like: “Well, as an example, say I was a thief; then I ought to go to prison” in an explanation of a position. Ask your self how you would respond to a lawyer saying ‘Just YES or NO. Have you ever said “I was a thief” or “I ought to go to prison”?’ Now your choices are saying “Yes” and hoping for a chance to explain in a hour when called back on redirect, IFF that happens… or being shown a transcript and getting to discuss perjury… Make sure every single “sound bite” is safe, stand alone. Never say anything where “tone” inverts the message (as in almost all sarc; cases…) etc. etc. I violate about 1/2 of the ‘rules’ in any one day… it’s very stultifying…

    So I’m likely a bit “over the top” on the whole thing. Then again: “I’m not paranoid. They are out to get me, I’m the SysAdmin!”…

    “lint” is a debugger syntax checker, so “we gave it up for lint” would work for a hacker band ;-)

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    Just trying to make sure I don’t get to bed early tonight, eh?

    ;-) Looks like fun reading…

  19. agimarc says:

    EM –

    Naw. I think it is fascinating stuff. But have to be careful because of the old saw that to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. And if you look hard enough, there were a LOT of impacts in the thousands of years following the YD impacts. Not so many in recent times.

    Problem is that it is a multi-variable system, as you have to add in whatever impact events you got from the Taurus Complex to the normal combination of volcanic eruptions, variations in solar output, ADO, PDO, La Ninas, El Ninos, and everything else you can think of. Interesting detective story though.

    There is a lot more out there that I can link to upon request. Cheers –

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    Gotto ask our friend M.Vukcevic what is it happening now with Earth´s magnetic fields…

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Might want to look at this first:

    And on that ‘resonance’ theme, realize that the lunar cycles are in ‘resonance’ with other orbital objects, like the Taurids, so we could easily have “The all come together when the come” from lunar / tidal to solar changes to meteors and volcanoes (from lunar tidal effects).

    So any stuff not already covered there, sure, link away! ;-)

  22. Gail Combs says:

    “….So I’m hopeful that it takes time for the transition to full on Aw Shit.”

    I think the answer to that is “It depends.”

    Dr. Joan Feynman looking at an 850-year period found, The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common – one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years.

    Recently geologists have found climate does not always change gradually as we always thought.

    ….The onset of the LEAP occurred within less than two decades, demonstrating the existence of a sharp threshold, which must be near 416 Wm2, which is the 65oN July insolation for 118 kyr BP (ref. 9). This value is only slightly below today’s value of 428 Wm2. Insolation will remain at this level slightly above the glacial inception for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again…..

    Richard B. Alley of the U.Penn. chaired the National Research Council on Abrupt Climate Change. From the opening paragraph in the executive summary:

    Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age….

    “Abrupt Climate Change – Inevitable Surprises”, Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 2002, ISBN: 0-309-51284-0, 244 pages, Richard B. Alley, chair :

    In his book, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future Richard Alley, one of the world’s leading climate researchers, tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. In the 1990s he and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years….

    Holocene temperature history at the western Greenland Ice Sheet margin reconstructed from lake sediments – Axford et al. (2012)
    ….As summer insolation declined through the late Holocene, summer temperatures cooled and the local ice sheet margin expanded. Gradual, insolation-driven millennial-scale temperature trends in the study area were punctuated by several abrupt climate changes, including a major transient event recorded in all five lakes between 4.3 and 3.2 ka, which overlaps in timing with abrupt climate changes previously documented around the North Atlantic region and farther afield at ∼4.2 ka…..

    From what I can see the many degree abrupt changes are normally Dansgaard-Oeschger events during glaciation when you get abrupt warming. However as we approach the “sharp threshold, , which must be near 416 Wm2” the climate is not as stable as during the middle of the interglacial. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of controversy over whether we are looking at glacial inception or an extended interglacial. That 416 Wm2″ is handwaving and not cast in stone.

    Comparison [of the Holocene] with MIS 19c, a close astronomical analogue characterized by an equally weak summer insolation minimum (474Wm−2) and a smaller overall decrease from maximum summer solstice insolation values, suggests that glacial inception is possible despite the subdued insolation forcing, if CO2 concentrations were 240±5 ppmv (Tzedakis et al., 2012)

    Can we predict the duration of an interglacial?
    P. C. Tzedakis, E.W. Wolff, L. C. Skinner, V. Brovkin, D. A. Hodell, J. F. McManus, and D. Raynaud

    Click to access cp-8-1473-2012.pdf

    And WUWT discussion:

    And another paper:

    Lesson from the past: present insolation minimum holds potential for glacial inception (2007)

    …Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial. Our findings support the Ruddiman hypothesis [Ruddiman, W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era began thousands of years ago. Climate Change 61, 261–293], which proposes that early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started….

    And another paper using Models (rolls eyes)

    Transient simulation of the last glacial inception. Part II: sensitivity
    and feedback analysis

    The sensitivity of the last glacial-inception (around 115 kyr BP, 115,000 years before present) to different feedback mechanisms has been analysed by using the Earth system model of intermediate complexity… We performed a set of transient experiments starting at the middle of the Eemiam interglacial and ran the model for 26,000 years with time-dependent orbital forcing and observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration (CO2 forcing). The role of vegetation and ocean feedback, CO2 forcing, mineral dust, thermohaline circulation and orbital insolation were closely investigated. In our model, glacial inception, as a bifurcation in the climate system, appears in nearly all sensitivity runs including a run with constant atmospheric CO2 concentration of 280 ppmv, a typical interglacial value, and simulations with prescribed present-day sea-surface temperatures or vegetation cover—although the rate of the growth of ice-sheets growth is smaller than in the case of the fully interactive model. Only if we run the fully interactive model with constant present-day insolation and apply present-day CO2 forcing does no glacial inception appear at all. This implies that, within our model, the orbital forcing alone is sufficient to trigger the interglacial–glacial transition, while vegetation, ocean and atmospheric CO2 concentration only provide additional, although important, positive feedbacks. In addition, we found that possible reorganisations of the thermohaline circulation influence the distribution of inland ice….


    ….In particular, Porter (2001) reports an increased mineral dust concentration in the Northwestern Pacific during glacial inception, which supports our approach. Our model does not account for the radiative effect of dust (Claquin et al. 2003)….

    In our model, glacial inception is triggered by a decrease in boreal summer insolation. Once a critical threshold is crossed, the snow-albedo feedback pushes the system from a interglacial to a glacial state (Calov et al. 2005).

    Is vegetation responsible for glacial inception during periods of muted insolation changes?


    The Marine Isotope Stage 11 interglacial, centred at ∼400 ka, appears to be the best candidate for understanding climatic changes in the context of low insolation forcing such as that of our present interglacial. Direct correlation between terrestrial (pollen) and marine climatic indicators and ice volume proxy from deep-sea core MD01-2447 (off northwestern Iberia) shows for the first time the phase relationship between southwestern European vegetation, sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Atlantic mid-latitudes and ice volume during MIS 11. A warmest 32,000 years-long period and three following warm/cold cycles occurred synchronously on land and ocean. The end of the warmest period sees the glacial inception which coincides with the replacement of warm deciduous forest by conifer (pine-fir) expansion in northwestern Iberia and, consequently, with the southward migration of the tree line in high latitudes in response to declining summer insolation. As weak insolation changes alone cannot account for ice growth, the associated vegetation changes must now be considered as a potential major feedback mechanism for glaciation initiation during MIS 11.

    So according to some the only thing keeping us out of glacial inception is CO2, (or vegetation, or dust…) others think glacial inception has already occurred because of the resumption of the bipolar seasaw.

    Amazing how this very critical debate is no where in the news and instead we get “Global Warming”

  23. Egyptologists concede that there can be no doubt that these texts relate to fact. There is incontrovertible evidence that this terrible famine was caused by the reduction of the Nile floods.

    [Reply: This was in the SPAM filter, and is likely SPAM. The Email address is a bit convoluted and the URL web site is a Spanish ‘caring for pets’ site that looks a bit commercial. OTOH, it was ‘nice SPAM’ and the top picture at the site is just cool. “I Am Watching” has a very intriguing cat picture… -E.M.S ]

  24. Gail Combs says:

    Looks like my last comment got booted into the ether again.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Gail Combs: It looks as our @E.M. is being successful with his security issues….it´s so secure now that it vanishes data away from this universe :-)

  26. Gail Combs says:

    It is no accident that the universities are so incredibly skewed in their political representation…
    That was John Dewey’s goal to use education to mold good little socialists. See Dumbing Down America by Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld

    Also see Invisible Serfs Collar by Robin who often comments at WUWT. Robin has really dug into the present use of education for molding serfs.

    A clasic example is a question poll from the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, NC

    By T. Keung Hui and Kelly Poe

    In the age of texting, tweeting and other technological ways of communicating, North Carolina’s elementary school students could soon have to master a more old-fashioned craft: writing in cursive.

    A bill introduced in the state House this week would once again make cursive handwriting a part of the curriculum in state elementary schools. The “Back to Basics” bill also would require elementary students to memorize multiplication tables….

    Every child should know cursive,” said state Rep. Pat Hurley, an Asheboro Republican and a primary sponsor of the bill. “Our children can’t write a simple sentence. They think printing their name is their signature.”

    But others see teaching cursive as a waste of time.

    James Cunningham, a retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor and former director of literary studies, said teaching manuscript – or print – handwriting make more sense for the modern world.

    “The research says that adults who write manuscript, they write just as quickly as adults who write everything in cursive, but it’s more legible,” Cunningham said. “It’s just a simple matter that there aren’t any advantages to cursive handwriting.”

    …..But this school year, cursive supporters became more upset when North Carolina became one of 45 states to implement the “Common Core” standards in language arts and mathematics. Common Core – aimed at providing uniformity in what’s being taught in classrooms nationally – doesn’t mention cursive.

    The elimination of cursive as a part of North Carolina’s curriculum made the front page of The Wall Street Journal last month.

    Maria Pitre-Martin, director of K-12 curriculum and technology for the state Department of Public Instruction, said Common Core doesn’t explicitly prevent schools from teaching cursive. But she said the state doesn’t know how many school districts still teach the skill….

    “..Cursive isn’t part of the curriculum in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system, according to Jeff Nash, a district spokesman….” Chapel Hill is the home of UNC (University of North Carolina) where James Cunningham was a professor….

    When I saw this article in the paper a few days ago my jaw dropped. We need a BILL in the state legislature to make teachers teach kids how to write and do multiplication??? WTF!!!

  27. Gail Combs says:

    adolfogiurfa says:
    30 April 2013 at 11:06 pm

    @Gail Combs: It looks as our @E.M. is being successful with his security issues….it´s so secure now that it vanishes data away from this universe :-)
    Nah, I just write too much and have too many links and that makes WordPress go spastic.

  28. E.M.Smith says:


    What Gail said. ;-)

    Mostly it’s high link count. I’ve set the number up (7 or 8) bit Gail still hits it. Also some key words and then the stuff W.P. does that’s just unknowable… Oh, also a change in your I.P. can cause a whitelist reset, I think…

  29. Zeke says:

    Velikovsky wrote a book called The Peoples of the Sea, which re-analyzes the methods of dating the Egyptian dynasties; he finds that there are centuries added in places. I did not get to read the whole book. I have checked it out three times trying to get to it (: What I did read was thoroughly enjoyable – and he makes a reasonable argument. This is important because Egyptian dates are used to synchronize the rest of the Ancient World in many cases.

    He said he had difficulty getting at the writing of this book because at the time there were so many new revelations coming from space and the solar system. But he got it finished and I suppose I will get it read soon too.

  30. Quail says:

    Egyptian Pyramid as a hydraulic ram pump. Very long read, but fun!
    Maybe water fears spurred the massive construction projects?

  31. Pingback: Nile Floods, Sunspots, Planets | Musings from the Chiefio

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    The Egyptian Time Line has been found to have a ‘few hundred years off” problem by several approaches… His take on it would be interesting…


    Yes, I’d seen that write up (or one like it) before. Especially interesting is that claim that salts deposits and wear / erosion patterns indicate water flow inside the lower chambers.

    Would make a heck of a fountain / display for a people in the desert! ;-)

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