Science Over the Edge

A Mix of News, Events, History and Gossip

Applet credit: Ed Hobbs

January 2000

In the News:

Einstein Number One! - Time magazine has selected Albert Einstein, a mathametician, as their Person of the Century. Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relitivity laid the groundwork for the startling technological advances of the 20th century. His famous equation E=mc2 explains the relationship between matter and energy and led to the development of atomic power. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921.

Einstein's theories helped explain the strange properties surrounding the speed of light.

First Planet Seen - Astronomer Keith Horne of the University of St. Andrew claims he and his colleuges have been the first to see light coming from a planet outside of our solar system. In an article in the Dec. 16th edition of Nature Horne writes that the group was able to detect light coming from a massive planet circuling the star Tau Boo some 55 light years from Earth. Up to this point scientists have only been able to detect planets based on how their gravity makes. their stars wooble. The scientists were able to detect the planet's weak light despite the star 's bright glare by using a computer to subtract out the star's light. If scientists can detect light from other planets they may be able to use the nature of that light determine if those planet's have an atmosphere that would allow life to florish.

A Really Big Volcano - Scientists have discovered Europe's largest volcano which, if it awakens from its sleep, could wipe out towns and cities along the coast of southern Italy with a giant tsunami wave. The giant volcano, which is 25 miles wide, 44 miles long and 9,900 feet high has its summit some 1,650 feet under the Tyrrhenian Sea. Marsili, as the volcano is named, has been dormant for millions of years. While scientists had known of its existance for years they did not appreciate its size until they were able to scan it from a ship equiped with a high tech multibeam sonar system. Next June researhers will start on a multi-year project to monitor the volcano's possible activity.

Eat Like a Dead King - A spicy stew composed of barbecued lamb or goat-meat was the main course at the funeral feast for King Midas some 2,700 years ago, according to scientists at the University of Pennsylvania's Applied Science Center for Archaeology in Philadephia, PA. In an article in the Dec, 23rd issue of Nature researchers describe how they analyized remains of a meal found in bowls and pots left in the King's tomb when he died in 700 B.C.. The dinner was served with a drink which was a mixture of beer, wine and mead (an alcoholic beverage made from honey). Fortunately for the scientists morners did not clean the dishes before stacking them in the King's tomb which was located is what is now west-central Turkey.. Next September the Museum will hold a banquet inspired by Midas' feast, though the menu will be changed slightly to appeal more to modern tastes. For information call (215) 898-4890.

Comet Fragment Goes Boom? - In 1908 a titantic explosion leveled hundreds of thousands of acres of trees in Siberia. The source of the explosion was first thought to be a metorite, but no crater was ever found. Now Danish researhers from the National Museum in Copenhagen have suggested that the explosion was caused by a multi-million ton block of ice which had split off Encke's comet. The comet, which is mostly ice, passes by Earth every three and one-third years. Scientists base this claim on peat samples collected at the site. The amount of iridium and certain carbons found in the peat suggest the source was a comet not a metorite. Since the object was composed of ice it explains why pieces were never found at the blast site: they simply melted away..

Planet Thieft - Police in Concord New Hampshire are looking for theives who took nine model planets from an exhibit at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium. Each of the planets was encased in a acrylic pyramid bolted to a granite post. The posts were part of a half mile long "Planet Walk" which demonstrated the actual distance between the planets in relationship to their size. The larger planets were the about an inch across. Planetarium officials are asking for the exhibits safe return.

In History:

South American Dinos - In an account published in the January 11, 1911 issue of the New York Herald, aventurer Franz Herrmann Schmidt claimed he had seen a dinosaur-like creature during an expedition into the Peruvian interior. Herrmann reported that the creature was big enough that the beast's head was visable above ten-foot-high foldage. The animal entered the water near where they were watching from canoes and chased them by downriver, but the expedition escaped. Unfortunately Schmidt's compainion on the trip died a few months later before he could coroberate Schmidt's story.

Read about claims dinosaurs still live in Africa.


UFO Lecture - Ralph Steiner, science journalist, radio producer and recipient of The Corperation for Public Broadcasting Award and the Thomas Moore Storke International Journalism Award will be lecturing in Berkeley, CA on UFOs, the paranormal, paradigm shift and the sociology of secrecy on January 16, 2000 at 8PM. Advance tickets are $10. For more inforation call 510-644-1600 or 925-945-5500.

In the Sky:

Lunar Eclipse - If you are in North America and parts of the Western Hemisphere on January 20 you will have a chance to see a Lunar Eclipse. A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through Earth's shadow. The moon will start the eclipse by turning a dark red/orange color as light from the sun is bent by passing though our atmosphere on the way to the moon. Later the moon will turn almost completely dark as it passes near the core of Earth's shadow. On Eastern Standard Time the eclipse starts at 10:01 PM, becomes total at 11:04 PM, leaves totality at 12:23AM and finishes at 1:26AM. On the west coast the times are three hours earlier.


Meteorite Damage - Early in December authorities in Australia blamed damage to a reservoir, located 235 north of Sydney, on a small meteorite the size of a golf ball. Workers at the reservoir noticed a path 50 feet long and several feet wide had ben torn through the reeds at the edge of the lake. Police barricaded the reservoir and shut off water to a nearby town until the reservoir had been checked for radiation. Divers have been unable to retreive the meteorite which is thought to be embedded in the soft rock at the bottom of the lake.

On the Tube:.

Science Frontiers: Impact Earth - Is the Earth about to be struck by a huge meteorite making an impact that would bring about global catastrophe? Find out what's being done to defend our planet against an asteroid collision. Jan. 4th at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET/PT on TCL.

Mummies: Tales from Egyptian Crypts - Venture down the Nile through a lost civilization reaching for immortality. This four-part series takes you into the intricate labyrinths of the pyramids. Unravel the mystery of hieroglyphics. Uncover the secrets and treasures of an ancient civilization. From the Sphinx to King Tut, experience the resurrection of a long-dead civilization through the remnants left behind in burial crypts. Airs on the History Channel: Monday-Thursday, January 24-27 at 9 pm ET/10 pm PT. Repeats: Sunday, January 16 from 3 pm-7 pm ET/12 pm-4 pm PT.

UFO: Then and Now - Look up toward the skies for an examination of our encounters with the unknown. This four-part world premiere mini-series runs from January 31st to February 3rd on the History Channel. It chronicles the history of UFO sightings from ancient cave paintings to modern close encounters and man's attempt to make first contact with alien species out in the distant heavens. Episodes include: The Innocent Years (January 31), Cause for Alarm (February 1), Nightmare (February 2), Aliens and Contact (February 3). Check local listings for hours.

Conspiracy Theory Week - The History Channel will be doing a conspiracy theme starting January 17th and running through the 21st. Have we been told the truth, or fed a bunch of lies? Get to the bottom of some of the most controversial moments in history...unless of course, you're in on in on it... Episodes include: A Question of Conspiracy: The RFK Murder (January 17), The Odessa File (January 18),.Contaminated: The Karenk Silkwood Story (January 19), Roswell: Secrets Unveiled (January 21).Airs: Mondays-Fridays at 8 pm ET/9 pm PT

Discovery Sunday - Giants - The Discovery Channel goes in search around the world for giants: A 16-foot Python, a 23-foot Anaconda and hungry Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world. Airs Sunday, January 23rd from 9 to 11 PM ET/PT.


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Copyright Lee Krystek 2000. All Rights Reserved.