Science and Tech
Did drought bring the end of the Hittites?
A new study examining the reason for the collapse of the Hittites, one of the most powerful empires of antiquity in the Middle East, sheds light on the impact of an unusual drought on the end of the 500-year reign.
The Hittite Empire, which reigned between 1650-1200 BC, had established a powerful civilization in Anatolia during its golden age.
At that time, it controlled central, southern and southeastern Anatolia, as well as the Levant and northern Syria.
Hattusa, the capital city of today’s Çorum province, was central to Hittite political and religious policies for centuries.
But the five-century-old empire collapsed quite suddenly and dramatically around 1200 BC.
Hittite king II. Suppiluliuma came to power around 1207 BC and won numerous victories.
However, there was no other Hittite king recorded after him in history.
An inscription from the reign of Egyptian ruler Ramses III (1188-1177 BC) states that the Hittites were driven out by ‘seamen’ before attacking Egypt.
It was thought that Hattusha, the capital of the Hittites, was also destroyed by the attacks of the sea peoples or raiders in Anatolia.
However, new research has revealed that the city had been evacuated by the royal administration prior to these invasions.
It has remained an important question for historians why they left Hattusha, the center of their faith and bureaucracy, which was based on difficulties such as raids, internal and external conflicts or epidemics, one of the best-known enemies of the Hittites.
Answering BBC’s questions, Sturt Manning, Professor of Classical Archeology and Science at Cornell University and lead author of the study, states that climate has previously been thought to be a factor, but that long-term, infrequent changes in climate are unlikely to lead empires to collapse:
“Instead, it is the successive or ever-expanding years of unexpected crisis that adversely affect many communities of people who depend on agriculture and animal husbandry from the past to the present.
“A semi-arid environment can exacerbate such challenges. So we tried to study the climate in the region in high resolution: This meant addressing the climate on an annual scale.”
THEY EXAMINED THE AGE RINGS OF ANCIENT JUNIPER TREE
prof. Sturt Manning and his research team studied the age rings of trees to get a broader perspective on the impact of climate during the Hittite collapse.
Researchers investigated how the age rings obtained from preserved juniper trees at Midas Mound in Gordion, about 100 km from Ankara, changed over the years.
Juniper trees were known to grow around 1200 BC.
prof. The narrowing of the ring spacing of these trees means their access to water is reduced and drought conditions are exacerbating, Manning says.
“We checked this prediction by also performing stable carbon isotope analysis of tree rings: In drier conditions, the pores (stomas) in trees’ leaves tend to conserve water, and at such times the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 in tree age rings changes.”
As a result of these studies, the researchers found that the Hittites were accustomed to one-year dry periods and they adapted to it.
However, successive severe dry seasons and associated droughts were only a once-in-a-lifetime event.
And according to the researchers, the only example of this happened around 1198-1996 BC.
prof. “The extraordinary and unexpected drought that lasted 3 years in a row is likely to have plunged Hattusha and her empire into an existential crisis during this already very difficult period,” says Manning.
HOW DID THE HITTITES RESPONSE TO THE DROUGHT?
According to researchers, the Hittites were accustomed to dry seasons. And they were taking different measures to deal with these periods.
They stored their grain in the warehouses they built and consumed them in a longer time.
Similarly, he built dams to conserve water for later use.
They consciously used both grains and livestock to feed.
Answering the questions of BBC, the lead author of the research, Prof. “They had a sophisticated infrastructure. These combinations provided reasonable resilience to anticipated challenges. It can be said that they had reasonable expectations of low crop/drought times,” says Manning.
But, according to the study, consecutive years of drought may have broken their resilience, bringing them to the point of no return.
prof. Manning states that the storage technology of the Hittites and the practices that protect the crops in the warehouses against insects and other pests can be effective for a maximum of 1-2 years.
According to him, the inability of land transportation to be carried out on a large scale like today’s caused the Hittites to face an “acute catastrophe threat in the third year”.
‘DROUGHT COULD BE ONLY A FACTOR IN THE COLLAPSE OF THE HITIES’
The research, published in the journal Nature, offers a different perspective on the collapse of the Hittites’ glorious empire, but there are historians who are skeptical of its results.
Speaking to BBC, German Archeology Institute Boğazköy Archaeological Excavation Head Prof. Dr. Andreas Schachner says that the drought problem alone cannot be a sufficient reason to bring the end of an empire:
“The fact that the research comes to this conclusion with limited data from only one political and cultural center of the Hittites oversimplifies the complexity of the event. Many different reasons may have come together in the same period and drought could be just one of these reasons. For example, migrations or earthquakes are some of them. According to one hypothesis. Around 1200 BC there was a chain of earthquakes that destroyed the current Syrian coastlines.”
prof. Dr. Schachner states that research should use more comprehensive data to reach a more reliable conclusion:
“There is too much regionalism in Central Anatolia; you cannot adapt the data in Gordion to Ankara and the data from Boğazköy to Gordion.”
However, there are those who think that it is important that the research reveals for the first time the role of environmental factors in the complex chain of events that affected the collapse of the Hittites.
Answering BBC questions, an academic at the Department of Ancient Near East Languages and Studies at Bilkent University Department of Archeology, Mr. Yavaş Gerçek, said that Manning and his team’s research “rather than suggesting that the Hittite state collapsed due to drought, drought is a spark that triggers other economic, political, social or environmental factors.” He argues that he is” and continues his words as follows:
“It shows that environmental factors and the accompanying political, economic and social transformations need to be studied at smaller scales, not just at the state or empire scale.
“Further studies should investigate whether small or medium-sized human communities are more resilient to such environmental challenges than the state, and how they cope with such processes.”
prof. Manning notes that the risk of unexpected droughts that occur every few centuries is a “historical challenge” with the power to “shake any status quo.”
The research suggests that this crisis brings with it other problems and threats.
prof. “While this actually happens rarely, he emphasizes that we also need to take into account the things that harm our world,” says Manning.
“Three years in a row of severe drought affecting a wide area across many continents can present a real challenge today as it was then.”
“We have to ask ourselves the question: ‘How resilient is our society, country and world really to such risks?’”
Science and Tech
Astronomers: There may be extraterrestrial life on exoplanets
“This new and exotic habitability situation our team has uncovered is no longer just the subject of science fiction.”
Astronomers working at the University of California Irvine campus in the USA shared a new study on where extraterrestrial life could be.
The research, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal, revealed the potential for life to exist in regions of exoplanets known as the enlightenment circle.
MOST EXPLANATIONS ARE CLOSER THAN THE EARTH IS TO THE SUN
As reported in Independent Turkish, researchers have been working for years to find another planet where humans can live besides Earth. In this context, 5 thousand 312 planets have been found outside the Solar System so far. But most of these exoplanets are much closer to their star than the Earth is to the Sun.
Due to proximity, planets face a condition known as tidal locking. This means that one side of the planets always sees its star and is always hot, and the other side is always dark and cold. The circle of enlightenment is the line that separates the day and night sides.
Experts from the University of California Irvine campus used climate modeling software to determine whether the area where this line is located is habitable.
Although research on habitable planets so far has generally focused on places covered with water, the research team led by Ana Lobo studied planets with a line of enlightenment.
The findings showed that more water lowers the likelihood of extraterrestrial life on tidal-locked planets. That’s because heat can evaporate water on a planet’s day side. This could cause the planet’s surroundings to fill with steam, creating a greenhouse effect.
However, it was determined that the circle of enlightenment became more habitable if there was more land on the exoplanet. Experts stated that the ice formed due to the night side may melt with the heat, making the enlightenment circle a more livable region.
“For liquid water, a planet with a suitable temperature is required,” said geophysicist Lobo, arguing that exoplanets with luminous circles have this potential.
Physicist Aomawa Shields, who was part of the research team, used the following statements, referring to lead researcher Ana Lobo:
Ana showed that if there is too much land on the planet, the scenario we call ‘enlightenment habitability’ can exist much more easily. This new and exotic habitability situation our team has uncovered is no longer just a matter of science fiction.
Science and Tech
Computer brand Acer unveils its electric bike
Known for its computers and tablets, Acer introduced its electric bicycle called ebii.
Acer, which entered the electric bicycle industry a little late, emphasizes sustainability in its promotional film. Welcoming us with a simple design, ebii offers a practical use. Equipped with artificial intelligence systems and controlled by a smartphone, the bike weighs 16 kilograms.
GOES UP TO 32 KM FAST, 110 KM ON A SINGLE CHARGE
In addition to its lightweight construction, the bike can reach a maximum of 32 kilometers per hour. On a single charge, it provides 110 km of travel. If the battery runs out, it can reach 0 to 100 in two and a half hours.
Reportedly, the ebii also has collision detection sensors, lots of lights, and details like airless tires.
Details about when the electric bike will be released have not been shared yet.
Science and Tech
UN warns of risk of global water scarcity
A United Nations report on water resources noted that the world was “blindly on a dangerous path” with “vampiric overconsumption and overdevelopment”
A United Nations report has warned that the global water crisis is imminent and there is an “imminent risk of famine” due to overconsumption and climate change.
The report, quoted by the BBC, noted that the world was “blindly advancing on a dangerous path” with “vampiric overconsumption and overdevelopment”. The report’s publication preceded the first major UN Water Summit since 1977.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that water, which is “the lifeblood of humanity”, is running out due to “unsustainable water use, pollution and uncontrolled global warming”.
The report, published by UN Water and Unesco, warns that “scarcity has become endemic” due to overconsumption and pollution, while stating that global warming will increase seasonal water scarcity in both water-abundant and already scarce areas.
The report’s lead author, Richard Connor, said that about 10% of the global population “currently lives in areas with high or critical water stress”.
“3.5 BILLION PEOPLE EXPERIENCE WATER SHUTTER FOR AT LEAST ONE MONTH A YEAR”
“We say in our report that as many as 3.5 billion people live under water stress for at least one month a year,” Connor told the BBC.
According to the latest UN climate report, “about half of the world’s population is currently experiencing severe water shortages for at least part of the year”.
Connor, noting that “uncertainties have increased” about the global water supply, said, “If we do not address this issue, there will definitely be a global crisis.”
Noting that resources will need to be managed more carefully in the future, UN Deputy Secretary-General Usha Rao Monari said, “There is enough water on the planet if we manage it more effectively than we have managed in the last few decades. I think there is more than ever for new governance models, new finance models, water use and water reuse. “We will have to find newer models. I think technology and innovation will play a huge role in how the water sector and water use is managed.”
Science and Tech
Instagram founder thinks ‘soul is lost’
Instagram continues to be criticized, with more ads being added and a different design every day.
A criticism of the platform, which became focused on increasing revenue with advertising after switching to Meta, came from Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom.
Speaking on a podcast show, Systrom thinks we’ve lost the spirit that made Instagram Instagram.
The founder, who thinks that the commercialization of Instagram makes it even more difficult to follow people, states that the application goes beyond its purpose.
Instagram had previously come to the fore with the new subscription system established by Meta. In this system, it was announced that both Instagram and Facebook users could get blue ticks by giving money on two social media platforms.
Science and Tech
Scientists say it will be too late to take action against the climate crisis
According to scientists, there are effective solutions to the climate crisis, but it is getting late every day.
The 6th Assessment of the Synthesis Report, prepared by the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) within the body of the United Nations (UN), was approved after about a week of work. While scientists contributed voluntarily to the IPCC, which has 195 member countries, the final evaluation report was written by 93 scientists.
While the report focuses on the losses and damages caused by the climate crisis and the risks that these damages will increase, it points out that the necessary steps should be taken rapidly, especially until 2030, to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
According to the report, for over a century, the global temperature increase has reached 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to the 1850-1900 level for various reasons, especially the use of fossil fuels. While the average temperature increase in land areas was 1.59 degrees, it was calculated as 0.88 degrees in the oceans.
Earth’s temperature has increased since 1970 faster than any other 50-year period in the last 2,000 years.
EXCEEDING THE 1.5 DEGREES LIMIT IS VERY HIGH
While the main reason for the global temperature increase is the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, a rapid and sharp decrease in emissions is required in order to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, which is defined as the “last habitable limit” until the end of the century.
In this context, in order not to exceed the 1.5 degree limit, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 43% and carbon emissions by 48%, compared to their 2019 levels, by 2030.
It is calculated that by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2035, by 69 percent by 2040 and by 84 percent by 2050, it will be possible to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees with a probability of 50 percent or more.
Carbon emissions need to be reduced to net zero by 2050.
Despite the climate emergency, governments’ national policies are insufficient to deliver the needed reduction in emissions, and the resulting “emissions gap” increases the risk of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius in the 21st century.
TEMPERATURE RISES INCREASES THE EFFECTS OF THE CRISIS
According to the IPCC, the continued increase in greenhouse gas and carbon emissions means that the effects of global warming will continue to increase. With the increase in temperature, the intensity of heat waves, heavy rain and other extreme weather events become more frequent, and these events put food and water security at risk in all parts of the world.
The deepest effects of global warming are seen in societies and regions that have the least impact on climate change, such as Africa, South America, island countries and local peoples.
Around 3.6 billion people in the world live in regions extremely vulnerable to the climate crisis.
IPCC scientists warn that the devastating effects of global warming can be reduced with climate adaptation measures, but the window of opportunity for this is quickly closing.
Accordingly, many steps need to be taken to ensure climate-resilient development, from increasing the use of clean energy to accelerating technological developments, from transferring capital to climate solutions, to governments playing a key role in this area.
Making technology, know-how, appropriate policy and adequate financing available to all and fair climate action are needed.
IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee, in his evaluation of the report, stated that effective and fair climate action will not only prevent loss and damage, but will also bring many benefits, and said:
“If we act now, we can still secure a livable future for all. Only when there is trust, when everyone prioritizes risk reduction together, and when benefits and responsibilities are shared, only great change can succeed. We live in a world where everyone has different responsibilities and opportunities to bring about change.”
Pointing out that climate justice is critical, Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of the report, said, “Those who have the least impact on the climate crisis are those most affected by the climate crisis. Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are vulnerable to climate change. deaths were 15 times higher than in other parts of the world.” used the phrases.
Science and Tech
Scary research on the climate crisis
Both droughts and floods have increased in the last 20 years as global temperatures have soared to record levels, according to a new study.
According to CNN’s report, a new study by NASA scientists has revealed that more and more frequent, widespread and intense droughts and floods are linked to the climate crisis.
In the study, it was stated that such disasters will increase as the climate crisis accelerates.
20 YEARS OLD SATELLITE IMAGES LOOKED
Matthew Rodell, lead author of the study, analyzed the size, duration and severity of water-related extreme events on Earth by looking at 20 years of NASA satellite data from 2002 to 2021.
In this context, 505 extreme precipitation events and 551 extreme drought events were examined, about 70 percent of which lasted six months or less and about 10 percent of which lasted more than a year.
Scientists have revealed that the intensity and frequency of these extreme events has increased since 2015, when the record temperature trend began.
“WAS AN IMPORTANT CORRELATION”
“We thought it might be related to global warming because we know that the highest temperatures have been recorded in the last 7 years,” Rodell said. There was a significant correlation between the worldwide frequency of these events and higher temperatures.” said.
Stating that they made analyzes to ensure the accuracy of this inference in the study, Rodell said that as a result of the analyzes, they found that the effects of the climate crisis were stronger than other natural indicators.
Rodell said he hopes the study will help people understand that every small increase in global temperature matters and that the rise in pollution warming the world must be contained.
Details of the research were published in the journal Nature Water.
Science and Tech
Dutch students built a solar-powered all-terrain car
Solar Team Eindhoven will produce a solar-powered all-terrain vehicle this year.
As far as TU Eindhoven students know, the Stella Terra will be recorded as the first solar powered off-road vehicle. Solar panels on the roof of the vehicle will generate enough power for driving and living, for example charging devices and even cooking. This will make the user completely independent of the charging infrastructure.
“Building an all-terrain vehicle that doesn’t rely on existing infrastructure presents brand new challenges,” said Wisse Bos, team manager for Solar Team Eindhoven. “The vehicle must be able to handle tough terrain, but at the same time be efficient and light enough to run on solar energy. We bring these contradictions together with the Stella Terra.”
Solar Team Eindhoven wants to challenge the industry to innovate beyond the ordinary. “Our aim is to inspire the current market and society to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future in both mobility and energy,” said Bos.
Students are currently developing the vehicle and hope to hit the road in September.
Science and Tech
Scientists find why people fear clowns
A new study on fear of clowns aims to reveal why people fear artists whose sole purpose is to make their audience laugh.
Fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, is common in both adults and children in various cultures.
In new research, recently published in the academic journal Frontiers in Psychology, scientists from the University of South Wales evaluated data from an international survey of nearly 1,000 adult participants from 64 countries and found that more than half of the participants reported having some degree of coulrophobia.
THEY HAVE UNPROPECTED BEHAVIORS
According to the news in Independent Turkish, about 5 percent of the participants stated that they were “extremely afraid” of clowns, while this rate was reported to be higher than other phobias such as heights, animals or enclosed spaces.
Exaggerated facial features and makeup that hides emotional signals are the main reasons people fear them, according to the study. Another reason is negative portrayals of clowns in popular culture, such as the character Pennywise in Stephen King’s O (It) book.
Another factor that scored the highest among respondents was the claim that clowns have unpredictable behavior.
The researchers noted that the lowest level of engagement among respondents was fear stemming from a frightening personal experience with clowns.
The scientists suspect that the scary thing might not be any one of the individual elements, but a “combination of these traits.”
They said the “uncanny valley effect” caused by clowns being completely non-human in appearance, coupled with skin-covering makeup, could be some of the factors that cause fear in people.
Researchers also suspect that the “sickness and contagious” red in makeup may play a role in inducing fear among adults and children.
“Combined, these factors can give clowns an appearance of disfigurement that elicits a (sad but still inevitably) natural response of disgust and fear in humans,” the researchers wrote, requesting further research in the future to test these hypotheses more vigorously.
They stated that studies that evaluated participants and measured their reactions when they saw them with different makeup and hair colors, as well as clown images, could offer new information about the phobia.
Science and Tech
A new asteroid has been detected near Earth
The Nanshan One Meter Wide Field Telescope has discovered a new near-earth asteroid.
According to the statement made by the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO), affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Nanshan One-Meter Wide Field Telescope has discovered a new asteroid close to Earth.
NEAREST LOCATION TO EARTH ORGANIZATION MORE THAN 30 MILLION KILOMETERS
The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center confirmed the discovery and tentatively assigned the new near-Earth asteroid the number 2023 DB2. XAO’s researcher Ali Esamdin said the closest position of the asteroid to Earth orbit is more than 30 million kilometers, or about 80 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
The discovery was the result of a collaboration between XAO and an amateur astronomy team called Xingming.
Science and Tech
Sea ice level in Antarctica reaches lowest level in 45 years
The European Union’s (EU) Copernicus satellite tracking system reported that this winter was “the second warmest of all winters on the continent” in Europe, based on the 1991-2020 reference period.
According to a written statement from Copernicus, this winter was “the second warmest period on record for Europe”, with temperatures well above average in parts of Eastern Europe and North-Eastern Europe.
SWEDEN AND NORWAY ATTRACTED ATTENTION
In February 2023, average air temperatures in most parts of Europe were higher than the 1991-2020 reference period. The most notable warmer-than-average conditions were found in Norway and Sweden, in the areas surrounding the Black Sea along the northwest of Russia, and in the Svalbard region.
A RECORD DECREASE IN SEA ICE LEVEL
Sea ice level in Antarctica has reached its lowest level in 45 years. This was recorded as 8 years in a row where the ice sheet melted more than the average low of February.