Sunday, October 22, 2017

China's new Cruiser may be Comparable to the US Navy's Ticonderoga Class


Chinese state television has broadcast the first clear, overhead view of the Chinese navy’s first Type 055 cruiser. The image confirms what foreign analysts have expected since the new cruiser began taking shape in 2014.

The Type 055 carries no fewer than 122 missiles in vertical cells — any mix of anti-air, anti-ship and land-attack models. That matches the weapons-loadout of the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers … and exceeds the armament of every other surface warship in the Pacific region.

The new cruiser could enter service as early as 2018.

The Type 055 — which is an estimate 590 feet long and displaces at least 10,000 tons — represents a new class of warship for the Chinese navy. When Beijing launched its naval rearmament program in the 1990s, it focused on building large numbers of small- and medium-size corvettes, frigates and destroyers.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Paleolithic Papers #16

Genus Homo:

H. sapiens (modern humanity):

Humans are still evolving.

Did modern humans leave Africa to attempt to escape a drying climate?

Facial phenotypes support a multiple dispersal for modern humans.

Modern human spit contains some surprises about our hominin ancestry.

It appears settling down and abandoning, or at least reducing the nomadic life style, allowed technology to start developing faster 64,000 years ago.

Some of the mutations associated with white skin have an African origin.

Did Paleolithic humans realize the dangers of inbreeding and have breeding networks?

A child from 2,000 years ago in south africa gives hints that modern humans originated 300k years ago.

Rock art in Australia appears to show the extinct giant bird Genyornis.

H. neanderthalensis (Neandertals):

DNA analysis of different Neandertal populations advances our understanding of hominin evolution.  (psst, the Altai Neandertals were the hillbillies of their world).

DNA analysis also suggests a higher percentage of Neandertal DNA survives in modern populations.

Neandertals appeared to grow at a similar rate as modern humans.

How thick was the enamel of the Neandertal canine teeth?

Were Neandertals distilling and using tar?

Neandertal City aka Gibraltar, gets profiled.

Rethinking the Upper Paleolithic Transition in Grotte Mandrin.

What was the mechanism that caused the Neandertals to go extinct and be replaced by modern humans?

What traits are tied to the introgression of Neandertal genes into the modern Human line?

H. georgicus:

The Georgian hominins from Dzudzuana and Satsurblia caves are described.

H. erectus:

A trackway from H. erectus in Kenya is studied.

Genus Paranthropus:

P. bosei:

The probable source of herpes has been claimed: Paranthropus bosei.  Yes, friends, one human ancestor couldn't keep it zipped.  I'm looking at you, H. erectus.  Like we REALLY believe the watering hole story, Upright Man.

Genus Australopithecus:

A. anamensis:

Where did A. anamensis live?  What sort of environment was it?

META:

The fossils trackways from the Greek hominin from 5.7 million years ago are in danger.

How facial features have evolved in hominins through time.

Chimps can learn to use tools without being taught.

Savannah living chimps don't seem to eat more meat than their forest cousins.

The rest of their dietary comparison is here.

Tool using macaques are wiping out shellfish populations.

Was bipedality in hominins a by-product of developmental processes?

The differences in loading on the 3rd metacarpal heads in humans and chimpanzees.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bigelow, United Launch Alliance Plan Lunar Orbiting Space Station in 2022


Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance said Oct. 17 that they are cooperating on the development of a habitat orbiting the moon that they hope to build in a public-private partnership with NASA.

The companies said they are working together on a concept for a “lunar depot” using an expandable module provided by Bigelow and launched by a next-generation ULA rocket that could support both NASA and commercial uses as soon as 2022.

Under the concept, a ULA Vulcan 562 rocket would launch the Bigelow B330 module into low Earth orbit. The module would remain in Earth orbit for up to a year to undergo tests and be visited by crews.

ULA would then launch two more Vulcan rockets, each placing an Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) upper stage in orbit. One of the ACES would refuel the other, which would then dock with the B330 and send the module into a low lunar orbit.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Russian Experimental Nuclear Warheads Were Deployed in Parallel

It appears that we have an answer to the question of what kind of "experimental warheads" were tested in the September 12 Yars launch. And a confirmation of a guess made on Twitter by @artjomh shortly after the test. The image above is from that post - it's from a textbook they use at the Bauman University. According to The Diplomat's Ankit Panda, Russia tested "an independent post-boost vehicle (IPBV) configuration for a three-warhead version [of the Yars ICBM]." The Bauman textbook calls it "an RV with independent (parallel) deployment." As can be seen from the image, each RV is sitting on top of its own mini-bus, which is different from a more common configuration, when one bus deploys RVs one after another.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pondering the Precambrian #6

Proterozoic:

NeoProterozoic:

There is evidence of a potential blacksmoker vent from the NeoProterozoic.

Ocean subduction evidence has been found in China.

Comb Jellies appear to have be the oldest divergent, yet still living, branch of animals.

Ediacaran:

An Ediacaran protist fossil seems to show how those organisms' reproduction in action.

Evidence of the opening of the Iapetus Sea in Russia during the Ediacaran has been uncovered.

The submerged Batavian Knoll is a microcontinent with evidence of the assembly of Gondwana.

Biostratigraphical evidence is coming together for the Ediacaran from China.

The nuclei and nucleoli in the embryos found in Ediacaran China's Weng'an Biota.

Understanding the Ediacaran paleoecologies.

Should the extinction of Cloudina lucianoi mark the Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary?

Could Ediacaran rangeomorphs actually burrow?

Cryogenian:

It appears the Sturtian Snowball Earth episode began circa 717 million years ago.

Tonian:

The Tonian/Cryogenian boundary has been proposed for specific spots in Scotland.

A vase shaped microfossil has been found in the Tonian deposits around the world.

There appears to have been a mass extinction during the Tonian prior to the Snowball Earth episodes.

Mesoproterozoic:

There is evidence Archean granites were reworked and uranium deposited during the Calymmian in the Olympic Dam Breccia in Australia.

Eukaryote fossils were found in Calymmian deposits in China.

Are some fossils that are normally thought to be NeoProterozoic (Tonian/Cryogenian) found in the MesoProterozoic deposits of Russia?

At the dawn of the Mesoproterozoic, at the Statherian/Calymmian boundary, Australia made contact with northwestern Laurentia and began a long slide along its margin.

Paleoproterozoic:

Evidence of an island arc from the Paleoproterozoic came from West Africa.

There may have been two island arcs in Finland during the PaleoProterozoic.

How the Francevillian formation formed in the Rhyacian.

The microfossils of the Francevillian Biota get examined.

Evidence from India for proto continents in the Rhyacian.

Archean:

Findings from the NeoArchean from the North American Craton support local evidence of plate tectonics.

Did the development of carbonate platforms in the NeoArchean pave the way for the Great Oxygenation Event?

Is there evidence of biogenic atmospheric oxygen during the MesoArchean?

The emergence of the continents may have happened over multiple differentiation events.

Evidence of life was found in EoArchean sediments from Labrador, Canada.

Hadean:

Caution should be taken when examining Hadean zircons.

Did life form in warm little pools?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Commercial Crew Launches Schedule Slip

The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements.


[...]

Targeted Test Flight Dates:

Boeing Orbital Flight Test: August 2018
Boeing Crew Flight Test: November 2018

SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: April 2018
SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (crewed): August 2018

Editor’s Note: Note the careful wording of this latest press release: “most recent publicly releasable dates.” So, how far are the latest slips? Here is where they were in July.

Previous Targeted Test Flight & Milestone Dates (July 20, 2017):

Boeing Orbital Flight Test: June 2018
Boeing Crew Flight Test: August 2018
Boeing Operational Readiness Review: September 2018
Certification Review: October 2018

SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: February 2018
SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (crewed): June 2018
SpaceX Operational Readiness Review: August 2018
Certification Review: September 2018