Archaeologists Use Remnants of the Destruction of Jerusalem to Understand the History of the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Aug. 11 2020

According to Albert Einstein, the changes in the planet’s magnetic field constitute one of the major unresolved problem of modern physics. Archaeological research into the Babylonians’ sacking of Jerusalem in 586 BCE could help bring scientists closer to the solving it, writes Rossella Tercatin:

Just a few steps from the Temple Mount, one prominent two-story building, probably used for administrative purposes, was . . . set on fire [during the Babylonian invasion] and collapsed. Over 2,600 years later, its carbonized beams and stones uncovered in the Givati parking lot . . . represent an incredibly vivid testimony of those grievous day.

Among the most notable remains of the building, the archaeologists noticed several fragments of a sophisticated plaster floor. Those pieces, left in the same position for millennia, proved to be essential for measuring the intensity and direction of the earth’s magnetic field in those precise moments.

While throughout modern history the direction has been associated to the geographic north, making it a pillar of navigation systems for centuries, in the past the magnetic field is known to have been completely neutral or even pointing south.

When objects containing magnetic minerals burn at a very high temperature, those minerals are re-magnetized and therefore record the direction and the magnitude of the field in that precise moment. Artifacts like pottery, bricks, and tiles, which are fired in furnaces, ovens, and kilns, can all provide these records. However, as precise as their dating can be, it usually spans of at least a few decades. On the contrary, if documented by historical records, [objects] can be pinned down to a very specific moment—in the case of Jerusalem in BCE 586—providing a unique opportunity.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, First Temple, Jerusalem, Science


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy