27 May 2011

Greenland Flourishes Due to Global Warming and Climate Change

May 16, 2011

by Hans Bader


in Agriculture,Energy,Environment,Global Warming,International,Natural Resources,Regulation

Alarmists have been decrying the effects of global warming on Greenland for years, even though Greenland was greenest during the Medieval Warm Period, and Greenland’s Vikings, who flourished during that warm period, died out when cold temperatures returned, reducing them to starvation. (It was warmer in the year 1003 than 2003.) Now, the residents of Greenland, the world’s largest island, are once again profiting from global warming, reports the Washington Post:

“Rather than questioning global warming, many of this island’s 60,000 inhabitants seem to be racing to cash in. The tiny capital of Nuuk is bracing for record numbers of visitors this year; the retreating sea ice means a longer tourist season and more cruise ships . . . Hunters are boasting of more and bigger caribou, and the annual cod migration is starting earlier and lasting longer. In the far south, farmers are trying their hand at an exotic form of agriculture: growing vegetables. ‘Before, the growing season was too short for vegetables,’ . . .‘Now it is getting longer each year.’”

Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency has sought to regulate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (which we breathe out and plants consume) because they supposedly threaten public health in the United States by causing global warming. President Obama has backed a corporate welfare-filled global-warming bill that would increase electricity bills. Obama admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that under his “cap and trade” plan to address global warming, ”electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

But even if greenhouse gas emissions are the principal cause of global warming (as opposed to natural causes), it’s not clear why such warming would harm public health in a non-tropical country like America. After all, people in America’s warmer cities have lower mortality rates, and higher life expectancies, than people in its colder cities.

Warmer climates may be particularly helpful for racial minorities in Canada. Most non-white Canadians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, putting them at risk of cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. Lack of exposure to the sun is a big part of the problem. More than 50,000 people die every year in the United States every year as a result of inadequate sun exposure. While milk is Vitamin D enriched, many non-whites are lactose intolerant. Sunlight is the most potent source of Vitamin D. But in northern regions like Canada, sunlight alone does not provide enough Vitamin D for many people who work indoors. There, the sunlight is too feeble in winter and fall for people’s bodies to turn sunlight into Vitamin D. To get enough Vitamin D from the sun, people have to go outside a lot during spring and summer to offset the weak sunlight in fall and winter. But increasingly sedentary lifestyles and office jobs have reduced outdoor activity. And cold temperatures in spring discourage warmth-loving people from going outside, even when the light is strong enough to produce Vitamin D. Thus, cold climates can be bad for their health.

20 May 2011

More on the The Demise of the Greenland Vikings

From sociological/archaeological points of view this research paper, Ideological Rigidity and the Limits of Ingenuityby Gary Bowden, University of New Brunswick-Fredericton, is a good read for those with an interest in what may have happened to the Greenland Vikings during the 500-year history of the two known Norse settlements on the southwestern Greenland coast. Bowden has done a good job consolidating the dogma of the current science regarding the disappearance from history of the 4000-6000 Norse Greenlanders.

Bowden's supposition is that the Norse Greenlanders adhered to the pastoral practices of their kin in the homelands, eventually starving as the weather worsened with the advent of the Mini-Ice Age rather than adopt the survival techniques of the Arctic natives. He identifies these natives as Inuit and according to all accepted research on the subject the Inuit did not begin to arrive in the area from the west until the 12th century, so they were not there in sufficient numbers to influence anyone. The Dorset Culture, or Tornit, peopled the Arctic and Greenland when the Norse first arrived in 986: it is they who would have influenced the Norse if anyone did.

I believe that an assimilation process with North American natives began shortly after the Norse arrival  on Greenland simply because the environment dictated adaptation rather than adherence to centuries of pastoral subsistence farming. The Norse Greenlanders did not starve out, they assimilated with the natives of North America.

16 May 2011

Viking Ship Not Just Ceremonial

Views and News from Norway

May 10, 2011

For years, it was widely believed that the ancient Tune ship on display at the Viking Ships Museum in Oslo was used mainly as a so called "grave ship," perhaps even built for the purpose of being buried in the grave of an important Viking.

Now a new doctoral dissertation claims that it was not only an ocean-going sailing vessel, but even grounded in its time and underwent repairs.

The Tune ship is the lesser-known and in the poorest condition of the three vessels on display at the museum. It was discovered on a farm on Rolvsøy, north of Fredrikstad, and excavated from a burial mound in 1867.

The grave was unusually large, measuring 80 meters in diameter and around four meters high, according to the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. The vessel, built around 900AD, was best preserved in the areas where it had been buried under thick clay.

Its remnants, however, paled when the stately Gokstad ship was discovered in 1880 and the Oseberg ship in 1903-04 on the other side of the Oslo Fjord. Now, archaeologist Knut Paasche of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) maintains in his newly finished doctoral dissertation that the Tune ship was also used on the high seas.

"Six planks forward on the starboard side are extended at the same place," Paasche told newspaper Aftenposten this week. "No boat builder would do that, not even in Viking times. Repairs to the hull show in all clarity that the ship was damaged under the water line, that is, it had grounded."

Paasche doesn't believe the Tune ship was a ceremonial ship that only was rowed inland until it was brought ashore and used in the burial mound. His studies revealed both ruts and signs of wear and tear under the keel, which he contends show that the ship was in use for a long time.

"The discoveries show that the Tune ship was in use for several years before it wound up in the grave," he told Aftenposten.

The Cultural History Museum now reports as well that the vessel "has probably been a fast, ocean-going vessel." Right behind the mast, a burial chamber was built and in it laid a man. Even though the grave had been plundered before its excavation, research has revealed remains of burial gifts, parts of a ski, the skeleton of a horse and remnants of his weapons including a sword handle.

Paasche, using data scanning, has reconstructed the ship in full. That adds to the knowledge of the third ship in the Oslo museum.

"While the Gokstad ship was a large ocean-going trading vessel, and the Oseberg ship close to a pleasure yacht, the Tune ship was a fast-sailing courier ship along the coast," Paasche told Aftenposten. He said it was equipped with unusually strong rigging for such a small vessel that also was built for 12 oarsmen.

Paasche believes the craftsmanship also suggests that early residents of today's Norway were sailing long before Viking times, given the knowledgeable boat-building behind the Tune ship. He said such building techniques could only have been rooted in maritime experience and handed down through generations.

13 May 2011

Aerial Surveys of Viking Shipyard on Skye


May 05, 2011

Aerial surveys are being carried out over Skye to help archaeologists investigate a 12th Century Viking shipbuilding site.

Boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have already been uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye's Rubh an Dunain peninsula.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) has launched the air surveys.

Staff hope to pinpoint new sites for investigation.

Working with marine archaeologists, RCAHMS also hope to find potential dive sites for searches for the remains of ships and other artefacts.

Archaeologists now believe the loch was the focus for maritime activity for many centuries, from the Vikings to the MacAskill and Macleod clans of Skye.

RCAHMS said the loch and canal would likely have been used for protecting boats during winters and also for their construction and maintenance.

Colin Martin, a marine archaeologist specialising in ship wrecks, has been investigating Loch na h-Airde.

He said: "This site has enormous potential to tell us about how boats were built, serviced and sailed on Scotland's western seaboard in the medieval period - and perhaps during the early historic and prehistoric eras as well.

"There is no other site quite like this in Scotland."

RCAHMS aerial survey manager Dave Cowley said the sea had been vital for connecting communities in the past.

He added: "The aerial perspective gives us an excellent sense of this, showing the inter-relations of land and sea, and helping us to understand how people may have travelled, traded - and fought - on the waters around Scotland's western isles."

In 2009, a crofter uncovered an ancient anchor while digging a drain on the Isle of Skye.

Graeme Mackenzie, 47, made the find after hiring an excavator to open the drain on rough pastureland 50yds (48m) from his home near Sleat.

Rain had partly washed away the bottom of the drain and exposed a corroded 4in (10cm) iron spike.

National Museums Scotland said the type of anchor was in use from the Viking period until the Middle Ages.

Experts were unable to date it any more precisely.

06 May 2011

Archaeologists find new Viking site in Temple Bar

The Journal

May 04, 2011

A VIKING SETTLEMENT has been uncovered in Temple Bar during building work to build a retractable canopy over Meeting House Square.

The settlement is believed to have been originally situated on what would have been an island in the middle of the River Poddle but would have been destroyed by flood waters in the 10th or 11th century.

Dermot McLaughlin, CEO of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, posted a video blog in March that a "medieval, timber structure" had been uncovered. Further archaeological investigations found the two Viking homes at Meeting House Square, in the centre of Temple Bar. Bits of pottery from a slightly later era were also found at the site, when it was uncovered two weeks ago.

The discoveries were made during building for the erection of four large retractable umbrella-style canopies that will provide shelter over the square in inclement weather. Currently the square plays host to a food market on Saturdays and a host of events, festivals and outdoor film screenings during the summer months. The new improvements are intended to help make the space useable year-round.
NOTE: Temple Bar is located near city center in old Dublin, Ireland