|Peruvian City, |
Duck Dinos and
|Peruvian City May Be Birthplace of Civilization |
|In the wake of the Peruvian shoot down tragedy (see below), Northern Illinois researchers announced the discovery of the oldest city in the Americas so far: |
|Peru Complex May Be Oldest City in Americas |
WASHINGTON April 26, 2001 (AP) -- About the time that pyramids were being built in Egypt, a civilization in Peru was building the Americas' first urban center, a complex of stone pyramids, plazas and intricate irrigation canals, researchers say.
A site called Caral, 125 miles north of Lima, "may actually be the birthplace of civilization in the Americas,'' said Winifred Creamer, a Northern Illinois University professor and co-author of a study appearing Friday in Science.
Jonathan Haas of Chicago's Field Museum, Creamer's husband and a co-author of the study, said that Caral has been aged-dated to as early as 2,627 B.C. and excavations show it once covered some 160 acres on the floor of Peru's Supe Valley.
The people living there created a civilization of farmers, craftsmen and fishermen. Haas said there was a central government or organization strong enough to induce hundreds of workers to labor long to build a sprawling complex of six pyramids, apartment-like buildings, open stone-cobbled plazas and irrigation canals that tapped a nearby river.
Researchers say that the site, some 125 miles north of Lima, shows evidence of being a thriving inland metropolis that lasted for hundreds of years and then declined into oblivion. It was rediscovered in 1905, but is only now being studied in detail.
"What we're learning from Caral is going to rewrite the way we think about development of early Andean civilization,'' said Haas.
Caral's civilization was age-dated from woven reeds and other material extracted from a 60-foot high pyramid. Haas said the people used reed bags to carry stones to put inside the pyramid as it was being built.
"They filled the reed bags with stones, carried them on their shoulders to the building site and then dumped them in, bag and all,'' said Haas. In Peru's dry climate, the reed material survived the ages and scientists used it to age-date the site, he said.
Haas said that the people of Caral lived on vegetables -- squash, beans and root crops -- and seafood. They did not grow grains or make pottery, both of which are common for other ancient civilizations.
Instead, Haas said, the Caral people grew cotton and wove it into nets used for fishing. The researchers found evidence that the people ate lots of seafood -- anchovies, sardines and shellfish. He said there were no large animals in the area to provide food so they depended on the sea. The Pacific Ocean coast is about 14 miles from Caral.
Caral thrived for more than 600 years and was home over the centuries to thousands of people, although Haas said the peak population of the city is still not known.
Eventually, the Caral society faded, replaced by new complexes in other civilizations built to the north and to the south. It's believed that descendants of the Caral people became the Incas, who were ruling the Andes when the Europeans arrived in the 16th century.
Haas said that six pyramids, some rising by 60 feet above wide bases, dominate the site. There are also fitted-stone plazas and smaller pyramids with stairs and top-floor rooms that were probably upper class housing. Nearby, more modest homes, built of adobe, have been excavated.
People at Caral depended heavily on irrigated farming and the site may have been the first in the Americas where water was moved in large volumes for agricultural use, said Haas. The water came from the nearby Supe River.
There were no nearby forests or other sources of wood, said Haas, but there is evidence that the people chipped stones to make tools and carved large rocks to fit into building walls.
On the Net:
Northern Illinois University: http://www.niu.edu/pubaffairs/presskits/wcjo
|Scientists Discover Ancient City In Peru |
April 26, 2001 (Scripps Howard News Service) - While the Egyptians were building some of the first pyramids 4,600 years ago, their Peruvian contemporaries were building stone platform mounds, plazas and canals in what new dating techniques show to be the oldest major city in the Americas.
New radiocarbon dates from plant fibers indicate that the city known as Caral in central Peru was thriving between 2600 and 2000 B.C., more than a thousand years before other known cities in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report in the Friday edition of the journal Science.
"What we're learning from Caral is going to rewrite the way we think about the development of early Andean civilization," said Jonathan Haas, curator of anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago and co-author of the study. "Our findings show that a very large, complex society had arisen on the coast of Peru centuries earlier than anyone had thought."
Sitting on a dry desert terrace above a green valley floor watered by the Supe River, Caral is one of 18 large sites featuring "monumental" architecture. The largest stone pyramid at Caral is about two football fields long, nearly as wide and five stories tall. The entire city covers some 200 acres.
While there are some other small town sites with modest mounds in the region that seem to be older, nothing else from the third millennium B.C. come close to the scale or complexity of buildings in and around Caral.
The mounds were partly ceremonial but also used at least some of the time as bases for homes of high-status residents - beginning a pattern of mound building cultures in the Americas that stretched to the Mayans, the Kehokian culture of the Mississippi Valley and the Aztec empire found and conquered by the Spanish 3,000 years later.
"The size of a structure is really an indication of power," Haas said. "It means that leaders of the society were able to get their followers to do lots of work. People don't just say, 'Hey, let's build a great big monument.' They do it because they're told to and because the consequences of not doing it are significant."
Like the Egyptians building the Great Pyramids half a world away, the builders working in the Supe Valley lacked advanced tools, draft animals or the wheel. In fact, they didn't even know how to make pottery, a deficiency that caused archaeologists who first found the sites in 1905 to dismiss them as unimportant.
Workers building the enormous platform mounds used an ancient kind of gabion construction - carrying bags woven from reeds and filled with stones and debris from larger cut stone and placing them intact inside stone retaining walls.
Those reeds, which live for only a year, provided the fibers that Haas and colleagues Winifred Creamer of Northern Illinois University and Ruth Shady Solis of the Universidad National Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima, used to date the construction.
"The radiocarbon dates help to put the site in context. Certain structures at Caral are common in the Andes, but now we know that these are some of the first. It's like saying we're looking at the first Christian church," Haas said.
The terraced mounds were used by the ruling elite to administer the city and surrounding area as well as living quarters, with stairs, rooms, courtyards and other structures placed on top of the pyramids as well as on side terraces. Ongoing excavations are planned to determine if there were rooms, passageways or even tombs inside the mounds, as well as to try and determine if all the sites in the valley were occupied at the same time.
Caral also had a variety of apartment-house type buildings made of mud, wood and stone, with varying degrees of construction quality that suggest class differences. Debris left behind in the foundations shows people lived in them.
There are also three circular sunken plazas, the largest 150 feet across, that were probably used for religious ceremonies. Similar ceremonial structures continued to be built in the Andes for thousands of years.
Caral apparently was a hybrid society that lived both from agriculture and harvests from the sea. Aspero, a smaller coastal village near the ocean 14 miles from Caral, has been dated to nearly 5,000 years ago.
People in the valley raised such plants as squash, beans and cotton, but no corn or other grains. This dashes the notion of many anthropologists that a civilization must cultivate grains that can be stored and exchanged for work in order to build monumental architecture. Creamer speculates that the food currency of the society may have been dried fish.
Creamer also suspects that the canals of Caral may have been the first built in the Americas to help support agriculture.
|Peruvians Hold Memorial Service for Missionary Plane Victims |
|By MONTE HAYES |
Associated Press Writer
IQUITOS, Peru April 28, 2001 (AP) - More than 500 Peruvians packed a university auditorium for a memorial service for an American missionary and her infant daughter killed when a Peruvian air force fighter fired on their small plane, mistaking it for a drug-smuggling aircraft.
The Peruvians, along with a dozen American missionaries who work here, sang spiritual songs and prayed for Veronica "Roni" Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter Charity, as well as for her husband Jim Bowers and their son Cory, both of whom survived the April 20 attack unhurt.
"It's sad that we have been left without them, but we are also happy because we know there is eternal life," Larry Hultquist, a Baptist missionary, said in opening the memorial service Friday in Iquitos, a city 625 miles northeast of the capital, Lima.
"May God help Jim and little Cory to overcome this difficult moment," said David Garcia, president of the Association of Evangelical Churches of the Amazon. "In time the truth will be discovered."
U.S. officials say Peru's air force shot down the missionary aircraft despite signs it was probably not a drug-running plane. Peru's air force contends the pilot of the attack plane followed proper procedures, firing only after the single-engine Cessna failed to identify itself.
About 1,300 people attended a service Friday in Fruitport, Mich., for the victims, where Jim Bowers said he has forgiven the Peruvian pilot who shot down their small plane and said his wife would have done the same. "God's given me peace," he said.
President Bush telephoned his condolences to Jim Bowers. Among the flower arrangements near the closed white casket holding the bodies of both mother and child were four dozen red roses with a note that said "From the government and people of Peru."
In Iquitos, a letter written by Roni Bowers shortly before her death was read to the auditorium. She said she knew at 13 that she wanted to be a missionary. "I decided I would never accept a date unless it was with someone who also wanted to be a missionary," she said in the letter.
Bowers, 35, and her husband had worked in Peru as Baptist missionaries for the last six years. They traveled the Amazon and its tributaries in a houseboat, carrying the message of the Bible to remote villages.
In a recorded message, Jim Bowers told the auditorium that the deaths of his wife and infant daughter "seem like a senseless accident, but I know that God has a plan for everyone."
The tragedy prompted the United States to suspend a much-praised program in which U.S. surveillance planes pass information about suspected drug-smuggling aircraft on to Peru's air force, which then decided whether to force or shoot down the plane.
|eBay Bans Alice Randall Book |
|By PATRICIA M. LaHAY |
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA April 25, 2001 (AP) - On Wednesday four advance copies of Alice Randall's "The Wind Done Gone" were pulled from the Internet auction site eBay, after bidding reached a high of $485 for one copy.
U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell blocked publication of the book last week, ruling that Randall's work constituted "unabated piracy" of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind" and could not be published.
Martin Garbus, a lawyer for the Margaret Mitchell Trust, said he asked eBay to remove the books. "My fear is that the whole book is going to end up published on the Internet," he said.
Randall has said her novel, an account of life at a plantation named "Tata" narrated by the daughter of a black slave woman and the white plantation owner, is a parody and should be protected as free speech.
Chris Donlay, a spokesman for eBay, said the company pulled "The Wind Done Gone" once it determined who owned the rights.
"That's our policy with all intellectual property that appears for sale on the site," Donlay said. "In this case, the (Mitchell) trust was able to show us through legal documents that these items infringed on their copyright."
Matthew Budman was the first seller to offer Randall's book on the eBay site. He bought it for 97 cents in a Manhattan book store, he said, after newspaper stories about the author's legal battle piqued his curiosity.
"It didn't occur to me when I bought it that it might be valuable," Budman said. "I just thought it was interesting, and I thought I might want to read it someday."
By the time eBay stopped the bidding, 32 offers came in for the glossy, soft-covered book - including one for $485.
Houghton Mifflin said Tuesday it had appealed Pannell's ruling. "We stand by Alice Randall's right to tell her story," said Wendy Strothman, an executive vice president at the publishing company.
Garbus has asked Houghton Mifflin to get back the advance copies that were distributed to book reviewers.
"It won't be easy, and they aren't going to get all of them back," he said. "But they have to make an effort."
|Great Barrier Reef Choking To Death |
|BRISBANE, April 18, 2001 (Reuters) — Australia’s Great Barrier Reef risks choking to death on fertilizer-soaked silt that comes from development around wetlands and destruction of rainforests, scientists said Wednesday. The Australian Institute of Marine Science said research from 30 scientists around the world showed reef needs urgent help to survive the impact of farming and other human activities. |
“Without fresh thinking and fundamental attitudinal and management changes, the Great Barrier Reef will not survive as we enjoy it today ... it will be slowly and continuously degraded both biologically and aesthetically,” Frank Talbot of Macquarie University concluded in a report published by the institute.
It said much of the wetlands and rainforests along the tropical Queensland coast had been cleared for sugar cane farming, releasing a stream of fertilizer-loaded sediment.
“The sediment run-off is choking the reef; satellite photography shows huge, muddy planes reaching the mid-reefs,” the institute’s senior research scientist, Eric Wolanski, told Reuters.
Sediment was one of the biggest threats to corals and many of those buried in silt were likely to die, he said.
“Terrestrial runoff may have serious indirect and long-term impacts when acting in combination with storms, coral bleaching or crown of thorns starfish outbreaks,” the report said.
The report looks at the impact of coastal towns, fishing and farming on the reef, the world’s biggest coral structure.
Wolanski said further damage had been done to marine life and fisheries by the stripping of seagrass beds from Queensland’s coastline.
The report said dugong populations had declined by 50 to 80 percent in the last 10 years, and loggerhead turtle breeding had collapsed by up to 80 percent in eastern Australia since the 1970s.
“Activities and decisions in the past decade show disturbing patterns in the way the Great Barrier Reef is being managed and there are serious problems which may affect its long term health,” the report said.
“Many basic values of the Great Barrier Reef have been chipped away... (from) decisions that support development, tourism and fishing at the expense of the long term protection of the reef.”
|Princeton Unseals Lindbergh Documents |
|By Linda Johnson |
Associated Press Writer
PRINCETON, N.J. April 19, 2001 (AP) - Controversial manuscripts written by Charles and Anne Lindbergh on the eve of World War II and thousands of letters in response to them unsealed by Princeton University earlier this month.
The documents included drafts of a magazine article by Charles and a book by Anne, both advocating that the United States stay out of World War II.
The Lindberghs had stipulated that the documents not be unsealed until both had died. Anne, who penned 13 books of memoirs, fiction, poems and essays, died in February at age 94. Charles died in 1974 at age 72.
They were revered for aviation exploits including Charles' solo nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927 and for setting the transcontinental flight speed record together in 1930.
But when anti-German sentiment spread across the country, the couple were reviled by many for Charles Lindbergh's refusal to denounce Adolf Hitler or return the Service Cross of the German Eagle that Herman Goering gave him in 1939 during a trip to survey German airpower for the U.S. military.
Don C. Skemer, curator of manuscripts in Princeton University's libraries, said repeated revisions to Lindbergh's magazine article show his convictions were not as firm as is now believed.
''You find him changing his opinion every day on every page,'' Skemer said. ''He went through a lot of agony as to what he was going to say.''
Lindbergh gave numerous speeches at the time denouncing President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jews as ''warmongers.'' He opposed entering the war partly because he was convinced America could not defeat the German military.
When his article, ''A Letter to Americans,'' was published nearly a year before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, as many as 90 percent of Americans opposed U.S. involvement in the war in Europe, Skemer said.
Included among the documents made available to researchers Thursday were 1,500 letters written to the Lindberghs after the fall 1940 publication of her book, The Wave of the Future: A Confession of Faith, and his March 1941 article in Collier's magazine.
The letters, most of which strongly supported the Lindberghs' position, came from average Americans as well as powerful and famous ones, including poet W.H. Auden and writer and Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck.
''Some people would say, 'You're just a Nazi swine,' but others would say, 'I'm just a salesman from Iowa, but you're on the right track,''' Skemer said.
The papers are the first of thousands of archived Lindbergh documents made public, Skemer said.
None of the papers released Thursday mention the 1932 fatal kidnapping of the couple's infant, Charles Jr., from their New Jersey home. After Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted in a sensational trial, the couple moved to Europe to escape the media glare. They returned after the start of the war in 1939.
More than 1,000 boxes of Lindbergh family files remain sealed at Yale University and other locations around the country, generally with more stringent conditions for their release. But Skemer expects most will be made public within a few years.
|Lakota Indian Graves Suit Settled |
|By BRIAN WITTE |
Associated Press Writer
BISMARCK, N.D. April 23, 2001 (AP) - After months of negotiations between the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a lawsuit over erosion of American Indian graves along the Missouri River has been settled.
Both parties filed to dismiss the case from federal court on Monday.
Remains of descendants of Chief Mad Bear, leader of a band of Hunkpapa Lakota Indians, were found near Wakpala, S.D., in August, when water levels dropped in Lake Oahe.
Tribal members filed suit, contending that poor management of the Missouri River led to exposure of the remains and left them open to looters.
"This was not a lawsuit about getting money," said tribal attorney Michael Swallow. "This was a lawsuit about protecting the remains of the deceased and to provide some kind of assurances to the relatives that this will not be a continual process of bones being exposed."
Cheryl Dupris, an assistant U.S. attorney representing the corps, said she could not comment on the settlement.
The agency is required to follow the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act when human remains are uncovered. The act sets out the process in notifying lineal descendants and tribes, the recovery of items, repatriation and reburial.
As part of last week's settlement, the corps agreed to pile large stones around the area, a process known as rip-rapping, to protect one of three sites by Lake Oahe, a key reservoir on the Missouri in South Dakota.
The corps also agreed to survey a nearby site to make sure no remains are there, Swallow said, adding that he hoped the corps would rip-rap a third site that is believed to be threatened by erosion.
The settlement ends a judge's restraining order that required the corps to maintain a water level of 1,597 feet at Lake Oahe to prevent changing water levels from eroding graves.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann issued the order in November to prevent further erosion of about 100 exposed graves until the case was resolved.
|Donald Dinosaur Re-Ignites Huge Debate |
April 25, 2001 (AP) — A duck-sized dinosaur fossil unearthed in China last year sports a downy coat from head to tail, bolstering evidence that feathers arose first for insulation and not flight, scientists report. The fossil, which will likely stoke the debate over the origin of birds, is the most complete of several found with featherlike features in China in recent years. It is dated between 126 million and 147 million years old.
Lying in a slab of petrified mud, the skeleton is fringed with feathery impressions that researchers said were left by tufts of down and primitive feathers. One scientist said the downy coat suggests that it and other two-legged carnivores called advanced theropods were warm-blooded.
“There’s strong evidence that these body coverings were originally insulation for warm-blooded dinosaurs and were only later co-opted for flight,” said Mark Norell, chairman of the division of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The fossil, which was discovered last year and went on display Wednesday at the New York museum, is described in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
Norell said the dinosaur was a dromaeosaur, a small, swift relative of the vicious Velociraptors portrayed in the film “Jurassic Park.” Scientists have not determined if it represents a new species.
A scientist who examined it last year in Beijing said he saw no evidence of feathers.
“To me it’s the best specimen yet showing that these structures are not feathers,” said Storrs Olson, curator of birds at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. “There’s nothing there that has a structure like a feather.”
Olson said the featherlike covering could be many things, including impressions of decaying skin or feathery mineral crystals common to many fossils.
He also questioned Norell’s contention that the fossil supports the case that theropods pioneered feathers before ancient birds. Olson notes that finds of feathered theropods all appear younger than the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx, which had highly advanced feathers.
But Norell said that because theropods date back at least 235 million years they likely developed primitive feathers well before Archaeopteryx, which is about 145 million years old.
Olson and a minority of other scientists believe dinosaurs and birds had separate origins, putting them at odds with most scientists’ position that birds arose from the small, meat-eating theropods.
The new fossil was found in northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, a fossil-rich region where animals were entombed in lake bottoms by volcanic ash.
Thomas Holtz Jr., a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Maryland, said he is particularly intrigued by herringbone patterns protruding from the fossil’s arms and tail.
The patterns suggest that structures such as barbs seen in modern feathers were organizing the feather fibers into adjacent rows of parallel lines. The fossil makes it increasingly plausible that theropods — including Tyrannosaurus rex — were fluffy and not scaly, at least in their adolescence, Holtz said.
“These things were fluffy, probably sort of like a kiwi bird today, from the snout to tail,” he said. “Sort of fuzzy killing machines.”
Richard O. Prum, curator of birds at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, predicted the fossil will buoy the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
“It is now impossible for any credible person to claim that birds are not theropod dinosaurs,” he said. “It’s the final straw. We’ve all lived long enough for the dino-deniers to have to face the evidence. This comes as close to proof as we find in science.”
|Lawmakers Want Federal Ban on Human Cloning |
|By ANJETTA McQUEEN |
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON April 26, 2001 (AP) - A number of lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal ban on human cloning.
"There is no need for this technology to ever be used with humans," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
He supports legislation in the House and Senate that would make it a federal crime to clone a human, participate in human cloning or import human clones to the United States. Violators could get 10 years in prison and a minimum $1 million fine.
Federal regulators have never approved such experiments, fearing the research could produce deformed babies.
Lawmakers want to keep scientists from applying the same technique used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1997 on humans.
The White House has indicated that if Congress passes a cloning ban bill, President Bush would sign it.
The Food and Drug Administration says any human cloning experiments in the United States would need its approval, but opponents want a federal law strong enough to back up the regulators' authority.
There are human clone bans in Germany and other nations, the lawmakers said.
Clones are created when the genetic material from a single cell is injected into an egg cell that has had its own genes removed. The resulting baby would be like an identical twin born years later.
Despite the success of Dolly, cloned cows, mice and pigs, most animal clones die during embryonic development. Others are stillborn with birth defects. Mothers miscarry, and sometimes die, too.
Most scientists oppose human cloning because of such risks, but some infertility doctors and a religious cult plan to try human cloning within the next year.
Those plans, aired at a congressional hearing last month, have spurred opponents to action.
"The scientists who created Dolly had over 200 attempts before Dolly was born," said Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., a physician. "The prior attempts resulted in malformed, sickly creatures that had to be euthanized.
"We cannot allow this scenario to play out with humans," said Weldon, who is co-sponsoring the House bill with Bart Stupak, D-Mich.
Some Congressional lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to ban cloning a couple of years ago, but lawmakers couldn't agree on whether a ban should stop disease-fighting research that uses techniques similar to cloning.
Debate over funding of such research - using embryonic stem cells - has emerged this year.
During the Clinton administration, the federal government published guidelines that would permit funding of embryonic stem cell research provided the funds were not used to kill the embryo. Private researchers would extract the stem cells from fertility clinic embryos and then pass the cells along to federally funded researchers.
The Bush administration has placed this federal funding on hold pending a Health and Human Services Department review. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson told a House committee Thursday that a decision should be made in about a month.
|Scientists Say Men and Women Are Not Alike |
|By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID |
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON April 24, 2001 (AP) — Men and women are different and, when it comes to medical research, that's important.
That's the word Tuesday from a panel of scientists convened by the Institute of Medicine to review medical research programs.
Their conclusion: "Sex matters.''
"Sex ... is an important basic human variable that should be considered when designing and analyzing studies in all areas and at all levels of medical and health-related research,'' the committee wrote.
Historically, medical researchers have assumed that, other than their reproductive systems, men and women basically reacted the same way to drugs. That has drawn criticism from women's groups, who contend research has focused on men and too little attention has been paid to the differing reactions and needs of women.
In its report, "Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?'' the panel noted that the sexual differences extend to the cellular level.
Men and women differ in their patterns of illness and life spans, the report observed, they are exposed to disease differently, have different methods for energy storage, have different metabolisms and respond differently to drugs.
In addition to urging more research into how the sexes respond to disease and drugs, the report calls on clinical researchers to design their programs to take these differences into consideration.
The panel said studies should be designed so their results can be analyzed by sex, the sex breakdown of the participants should be reported in scientific papers and studies involving women should note the status of their menstrual cycle.
The Institute of Medicine is a division of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent scientific organization chartered by Congress to provide scientific advice to the federal government.
Women Want Security - Men Want Sex
LONDON April 26, 2001 (Reuters) - Women stay in monogamous relationships for security and men stay in them for sex, a science journal says.
"It's a cynical view of human relationships, but researchers now say it is the driving force behind the evolution of monogamy -- and women started it," New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.
In most species, females only have sex when they are fertile and males know through visual and chemical cues when the time is right. When it is not, males look elsewhere.
But in birds, porcupines and humans, females have sex whether they are fertile or not, making it more likely that the males will stick around because fertility is no longer an issue.
"There is a search cost. It takes some time to find a female," Magnus Enquist of Stockholm University told the magazine.
Enquist and his colleague Miguel Girones of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Nieuwersluis developed a mathematical model to test their theory. They found that monogamy is often the top choice when fertility is hidden, even among males who are used to having many partners.
"Classical explanations of sexual behavior always focus on the male. But this gives stronger focus on the woman," said Enquist.
On the Net:
National Academy of Sciences: http://www.nas.edu
|Who Built the H-Bomb? Debate Revives |
|By WILLIAM J. BROAD |
April 24, 2001 (NY Times) - After suffering a heart attack, Edward Teller took a breath, sat down with a friend and a tape recorder and offered his views on the secret history of the hydrogen bomb.
"So that first design," Dr. Teller said, "was made by Dick Garwin." He repeated the credit, ensuring there would be no misunderstanding.
Dr. Teller, now 93, was not ceding the laurels for devising the bomb — a glory he claims for himself. But he was rewriting how the rough idea became the world's most feared weapon. His tribute, made more than two decades ago but just now coming to light, adds a surprising twist to a dispute that has roiled historians and scientists for decades: who should get credit for designing the H-bomb?
The oral testament was meant to disparage Dr. Stanislaw M. Ulam, Dr. Teller's rival, now dead, and boost Dr. Richard L. Garwin, a young scientist at the time of the invention who later clashed with Dr. Teller and now says he would wipe the bomb from the earth if he could.
The New York Times obtained a transcript of the recording recently from the friend with whom Dr. Teller shared his memories. Some historians of science praise Dr. Teller's tribute to Dr. Garwin as candid; others fault it as disingenuous.
In any event, the recognition of Dr. Garwin is surprising because he is not usually seen as having a major role in designing the hydrogen bomb. In fact, he eventually became an outspoken advocate of arms control, battling often with Dr. Teller. The tribute also poses the riddle of how Dr. Garwin's work, done in the early 1950's, could have gone unacknowledged for so long.
"It's fascinating," said Dr. Ray E. Kidder, an H-bomb pioneer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which Dr. Teller helped found and once directed. "There's always been this controversy over who had the idea of the H-bomb and who did what. This spells it out. It's extremely credible, and I dare say accurate."
Dr. Priscilla McMillan, a historian at Harvard who is working on a book about the early H-bomb disputes, agreed, saying the tribute sounded right. She added that Dr. Teller might have done it to "square things with God" after his 1979 heart attack.
One of the most controversial figures of the nuclear era, Dr. Teller played central roles in inventing the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and in destroying the career of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, who in World War II had run the laboratory in the mountains of New Mexico that gave birth to the atomic bomb. Afterward, though, he questioned the morality of devising an even more powerful weapon, and amid the anti-Communist paranoia of the McCarthy era, the government stripped him of his security clearance. The schism among scientists over his fate lasts to this day.
In the process, Dr. Teller became a hero to conservatives but was disparaged by liberals as the role model for Dr. Strangelove, the fictional mad scientist of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film who was fixated on mass destruction.
Dr. Garwin, during the design effort a half-century ago, was a 23- year-old faculty member at the University of Chicago who was working during the summer break of 1951 at the New Mexican weapons laboratory, known as Los Alamos. Over the decades, he rose to prominence, often advising the government on secret matters of intelligence and weapons.
In an interview, Dr. Garwin said Dr. Teller was correct to include him among the bomb's designers, likening himself to its midwife. "It was the kind of thing I do well," he said of joining theory, experiment and engineering to make complex new devices.
But he added, "If I could wave a wand" to make the hydrogen bomb and the nuclear age go away, "I would do that."
Now 73, Dr. Garwin is an experimental physicist who for decades has worked at the International Business Machines Corporation and is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. He backs such arms control measures as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to outlaw all nuclear explosions.
A theoretical physicist, Dr. Teller is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and director emeritus of the Livermore weapons laboratory. He was an ardent advocate of the Reagan administration's Star Wars antimissile plan and, more recently, has promoted the idea of manipulating the earth's atmosphere to counteract global warming.
If Dr. Teller's version of events is right, he and Dr. Garwin were the main forces behind one of the most ominous inventions of all time, a bomb that harnessed the fusion power of the sun.
Dr. Teller had championed the goal since the early 1940's, long before the atomic bomb flashed to life. His basic idea was to use the high heat of an exploding atomic bomb to ignite hydrogen fuel, fusing its atoms together and releasing even larger bursts of nuclear energy. But no one working at Los Alamos could figure out how to do that.
The credit dispute has its roots in a conversation Dr. Teller had in early 1951 with Dr. Ulam, then a mathematician at Los Alamos. Afterward, a new plan emerged.
The idea, known as radiation implosion, was to build a large cylindrical casing that would hold the atomic bomb and hydrogen fuel at opposite ends. The flash of the exploding bomb would hit the case, causing it to glow and flood the interior of the casing with radiation of pressure sufficient to compress and ignite the hydrogen fuel.
No one knew whether the idea would work. And studies of it were slowed by ill will between Dr. Teller and Dr. Ulam, as well as debates at the weapons laboratory over whether building a hydrogen bomb was ethical and smart, given its potentially unlimited power.
Dr. Garwin arrived at Los Alamos in May 1951 from the University of Chicago, where he had been a star in the laboratory of Enrico Fermi, the Nobel laureate and arguably the day's top physicist. Dr. Garwin had been at Los Alamos the previous summer and, intrigued by the work, had come back for another atomic sabbatical.
In the interview, Dr. Garwin recalled that Dr. Teller had told him of the new idea and asked him to design an experiment to prove that it would work — something the Los Alamos regulars failed to do. "They were burnt out" from too many rush efforts to build and test prototype nuclear arms, Dr. Garwin recalled. "So I did it."
By July 1951, after talking at the weapons laboratory with physicists and engineers, he had sketched a preliminary design. Of its features, Dr. Garwin said, "There is still very little I'm allowed to say."
He continued working on the design until he went back to Chicago that fall. Then, as momentum built at Los Alamos for the H-bomb, many experts joined the design effort, which was finished in early 1952.
The prototype bomb stood two stories high. In November 1952, it vaporized the Pacific island of Elugelab, a mile in diameter. Its power was equal to 10.4 million tons of high explosive, or about 700 times the power of atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Unlike its atomic predecessors, the hydrogen bomb theoretically had no destructive limits. Its fuel was cheap, and its force could be made as large as desired. Scientists talked of doomsday weapons big enough to blow the earth's atmosphere into space, or to raise ocean waves that crushed whole nations.
Many books and articles were written about the dark feat. Most mentioned Dr. Teller and Dr. Ulam and their rivalry. Few if any mentioned Dr. Garwin's role. All details of the invention were shrouded in secrecy to try to keep Washington's foes in the dark.
The backdrop to Dr. Teller's testament is the reactor accident in Pennsylvania at Three Mile Island in March 1979. As the nation panicked, Dr. Teller, an ardent backer of nuclear power, went on a public relations blitz to insist that the crisis was one of politics, not technology. In May 1979, he stressed the point to Congress.
The next day, Dr. Teller, then 71, suffered a heart attack.
"He called me from the intensive care unit," recalled Dr. George A. Keyworth II, a friend of Dr. Teller's at Los Alamos who later served as President Ronald Reagan's science adviser. He said the elder physicist began the call with two assertions: "Heart attacks are painful, and I have discovered that I am not immortal."
Dr. Keyworth recalled: "He was frightened, like a child."
Upon release from the California hospital, Dr. Teller came to Los Alamos to recuperate. He sat down with Dr. Keyworth in September 1979 to detail his H-bomb views. A copy of the transcript, which Dr. Keyworth recently gave The New York Times, ran to 20 pages.
It was a long rebuttal of the idea that Dr. Ulam played any role in developing the hydrogen bomb. Instead, Dr. Teller asserted, he alone made the key theoretical breakthrough after a decade of work. Then, he said, he told Dr. Fermi's star pupil about it, "and I asked him to put down a concrete design" and make it "so hard that there should be the least possible doubt about it."
"So that first design was made by Dick Garwin," Dr. Teller said. "It was then criticized forward and backward. In the end, it stood up to all criticism."
Dr. Teller said the scientists who worked out the details of the design were Dr. Marshall Rosenbluth and Dr. Conrad Longmire. After Dr. Garwin went back to the University of Chicago in the fall of 1951 and Dr. Teller returned to Los Alamos in December 1951 to check on progress, "I found that the calculations came out just as I had expected" and that "the design remained unchanged."
"And therefore, as far as I'm concerned, the preparation for the hydrogen bomb was completed by Dick Garwin's design."
In an interview, Dr. Keyworth judged that Dr. Teller's memory at that time "was as good as it gets," and he said Dr. Teller put no restrictions on how to treat the testament. "He simply had a near-death experience," Dr. Keyworth said, "and was thinking of his place in history."
Two years later, at a meeting in Italy of a dozen scientists including Dr. Garwin, Dr. Teller alluded to the younger man's role in public. "The shot," he said, "was fired almost precisely according to Garwin's design."
After that, Dr. Teller and Dr. Garwin clashed for years over Star Wars, which Dr. Teller helped create and Dr. Garwin criticized as a dangerous fantasy.
Silence ruled afterward. Dr. Teller, in his 1987 book, "Better a Shield Than a Sword," did not mention Dr. Garwin's design in a long account of the H-bomb's development. Nor did Dr. Teller's biographers, Stanley A. Blumberg and Louis G. Panos, authors of "Edward Teller: Giant of the Golden Age of Physics" in 1990, though they had a transcript of the testament.
In an interview yesterday, Dr. Teller stood by his 1979 portrayal. "He filled in the details very effectively," he said of Dr. Garwin. "He made the design and that was it." And Dr. Teller denied slighting Dr. Garwin in earlier accounts of the breakthrough. "He was a good man who did it in record time."
That judgment was lost to history, however. In 1995, Richard Rhodes, in his book "Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb" found that Dr. Teller actually delayed the bomb's development and made no mention of Dr. Garwin's role.
In an interview, Mr. Rhodes said that in praising the 23-year-old outsider, Dr. Teller was "essentially saying the guys at Los Alamos couldn't cut the mustard." And that assertion, he said, was false.
But Dr. McMillan of Harvard disagreed, saying that while Dr. Teller could be combative and vindictive, he was also generous and fair. The testament, she said, should probably be taken at face value.
Few players in this drama survive, making it difficult to clear things up.
Dr. Jacob Wechsler, who was a young man on the hydrogen bomb team, said the Los Alamos regulars, not Dr. Garwin, were the real stars. "We had to hit this with a sledge hammer," he said.
Dr. Rosenbluth, a main H-bomb designer at Los Alamos, said his own role was underplayed in the testament but that nevertheless he substantially agreed with Dr. Teller. "Dick understood physics," Dr. Rosenbluth said, "and certainly produced the embodiment that was actually constructible."
He added that Dr. Garwin was virtually unique at Los Alamos in his ability to bridge gaps between experts in different fields.
"I was a pure theorist, and there were a lot of experimental engineering types, but there weren't many people able to serve as a link between the two," Dr. Rosenbluth said. Dr. Garwin was probably the project's intellectual glue, tying many ideas into the successful device, he said.
"He's an extremely brilliant person and has this rare combination of talents," Dr. Rosenbluth said. "Fermi had them. But in the generation after Fermi, Dick may be the best exemplar."
Over the decades, Dr. Garwin said, he spoke publicly of his role in the hydrogen bomb on more than one occasion.
But he added that he was advised early in his career, "You can get credit for something or get it done, but not both."
|UN Says Arctic Ozone Has Stabilized |
|By JONATHAN FOWLER |
Associated Press Writer
GENEVA April 24, 2001 (AP) — The protective ozone layer over the North Pole appears to have stabilized after years of thinning, but the gain may be temporary, U.N. weather experts said Tuesday.
Scientists from the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization said the recovery may be attributed to a warmer than usual winter and the current peak in the 11-year cycle of the sun, and not to global cuts in the use of harmful chemicals.
"At the peak of the solar cycle there's an intensity of radiation that produces more ozone,'' said Michael Proffitt, a senior scientific officer at the organization.
"Therefore you're going to find less sign of ozone depletion.''
The sun is now moving back into an 11-year period of declining radiation, meaning the production of ozone will be at its lowest in 2006, said Proffitt. Also, a return to colder winters would likely cause Arctic ozone levels to fall faster, he said.
Ozone depletion has already produced an annual hole in the layer in the stratosphere high above the South Pole.
Depletion of the ozone layer over the Arctic and Antarctica is being monitored because ozone protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Too much UV radiation can cause skin cancer and destroy tiny plants.
The hole in the layer above Antarctica is believed to have caused a rise in skin cancer cases in Australia, Chile and Argentina.
Arctic ozone depletion starts in November, when sunlight triggers chemical reactions in cold air trapped over the North Pole during the winter. It intensifies during January and February before tailing off in April as temperatures rise.
Circular winds, known as a vortex, trap air, giving chemicals the chance to react with the ozone.
Scientists are establishing a link between global warming and ozone depletion, Proffitt told The Associated Press.
"In essence, warmer temperatures in the atmosphere mean cooler temperatures in the stratosphere, where the ozone is,'' he said. "And cold means ozone depletion.''
In 1989, a gradual, global ban was imposed on chlorofluorocarbons, chemicals commonly used in aerosol sprays, refrigerators and air conditioners.
Chloroflourocarbons contain chlorine, one of the major destroyers of ozone.
But bromides, another destroyer often used in weed and pest killers, are not being eliminated as quickly, particularly in developing countries.
"Even with the cut in chemical use, it's going to be at least 50 years before ozone levels recover,'' said Proffitt.
Measurements of ozone depletion vary from year to year, making it difficult for scientists to determine the long-term environmental impact of changes in the ozone layer.
"The atmosphere is a delicate balance of things,'' said Proffitt. "When we start disturbing it, we don't really know what it will do.''
On the Net:
World Meteorological Organization: http://www.wmo.ch