Space Suit Designers Wanted below.
Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Dino Stalked Prehistoric Europe - With a length of about
33 feet, weighing 4 to 5 tons and carrying large blade-shaped
teeth Torvosaurus gurneyi was probably the largest
predator dinosaur ever to stalk Europe. Christophe Hendrickx,
a doctoral candidate at the New University of Lisbon in
Portugal, and paleontologist Octavio Mateus described this
150 million year old monster last month in a study published
in the journal PLOS One. "I suppose it wouldn't be
a good idea to cross the way of this dinosaur," observed
Hendrickx given that they estimate its teeth were nearly
4 inches long and its skull about 45 inches long. The remains
of the carnivorous dinosaur were discovered in the Lourinha
Formation, located north of Lisbon. This new set of bones
has helped scientists establish that the Torvosaurus gurneyi
was a species unto itself, not just another example of Torvosaurus
tanneri, a similar North American dinosaur. One clear
difference is that Torvosaurus tanneri had at least 11 teeth,
while Torvosaurus gurneyi had some number less.
Lines Flash at Animals - For a long time scientist have
known that animals avoid power lines. Finally they think
they know why. Human eyes are not sensitive to ultraviolet
(UV) light. If we were, we would see that power lines glow
and flash brightly from coronal discharges. Many animals
including most insects, birds and non-primate mammals have
UV vision. They may find the glowing and flashes off putting.
Dr Nicolas Tyler, an ecologist at UIT The Arctic University
of Norway who was an author on the study of the subject
said, "There are hundred of examples of animals avoiding
power lines. Now we know that, not only do these clear-cut
corridors mean exposure to predators, at the same time there
is this damn thing flashing at you." He went on to say,
"The flashes occur at random in time and space, so the power
lines are not grey and passive, but seen as lines of light
flashing." Unfortunately there is no cheap solution to this
problem and it seems that power lines may be a major contributor
to the fragmentation of animal habitats.
Cloning Back in News - The frozen mammoth that was discovered
in New Siberian Islands last year is even in better shape
than originally thought. According to Viktoria Egorova,
chief of the Research and Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory
of the Medical Clinic of North-Eastern Federal University,
"The tissue cut clearly shows blood vessels with strong
walls. Inside the vessels there is haemolysed blood, where
for the first time we have found erythrocytes. Muscle and
adipose tissues are well preserved. We have also obtained
very well visualized migrating cells of the lymphoid tissue,
which is another great discovery." Radik Khayrullin, the
vice-president of the Russian Association of Medical Anthropologists,
added, "The data we are about to receive will give us a
high chance to clone the mammoth."
May Actively Try to Forget - Do you curse your memory
because you can't remember where you put your keys and you're
late for work? Well being able to forget sometimes isn't
necessarily a bad thing and can even keep you from going
crazy. According to researchers at University of Basel in
Switzerland the human brain must forget unimportant information
in order to remain efficient and if it doesn't serious mental
illness can arise. One person, Jill Price, who has a "photographic"
or eidetic memory found it was hardly a blessing. According
to Ms. Price, "Most have called it a gift but I call it
a burden. I run my entire life through my head every day
and it drives me crazy!!!" Scientists think that in most
people the brain is actively, rather than passively, working
to rid itself of unnecessary information. The scientists
identified a molecule they think is responsible for this
process called the Musashi protein. They engineered
some nematode worms without the protein and compared them
normal worms. The one without Musashi had much better recall.
The next step might be to test humans with extraordinary
memories to see if their levels of the protein are different
from that of the general population.
Waves Detected - Scientists are excited by results from
BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization
2) telescope in at the South Pole. The scope, which was
looking at polarization of the cosmic microwave background
in deep space, found evidence of gravitational waves. These
waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory
of relativity, but have never been seen before. The existence
of such waves also supports the idea of "inflation" as the
way the universe rapidly expanded after the Big Bang. These
waves are the "first tremors of the Big Bang," according
to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Because
of the importance of the discovery many scientists are anxiously
waiting conformation of the finding from other experiments,
such as LIGO -- Caltech's Laser Interferometer Gravitational
Wave Observatory, that are also looking for evidence of
Quote of the Month - "There
is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale
returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment
of fact." - Mark Twain
New at the Museum:
Half Century Ago: The 1964/65 New York World's Fair-
ago, on April 22, 1964, the World's Fair opened in New York
City. It looked forward to a world where technology solved
all of man's problems, wants and needs. Perhaps its goals
were a bit optimistic, but it was fun, anyway. Full
Picture of the Month - What
is this this?
Monster Mayhem - The 30 foot long Kronosaurus was one
of the most feared marine reptiles in the ancient Cretaceous
Seas. Suppose one of them still survived today? This is
the theme of Max Hawthorne's new novel, Kronos Rising.
Hawthorne is a world record-holding angler whose writing
has appeared in a multitude of outdoor magazines and periodicals.
Now he telling a tale of a sea monster that still lives.
According to the publisher's description:
"Devastated by his wife's tragic drowning, Olympic hopeful
Jake Braddock turns his back on fame and fortune and retreats
to his childhood home of Paradise Cove, Florida. He accepts
the job of town sheriff, hoping to find the peace he so
Jake finds himself drawn into an eons-old mystery - a mystery
that ends with him adrift at sea, battling for survival
against the deadliest predator the world has ever seen .
book, published by Far From The Tree Press, is slated
to come out on April 24, and will be available Amazon.com
on Fire II - Last month Janie L. asked Is St. Elmo's
Fire a symbol related to "The Masonic Order? Though
I searched my resources I could not find a strong connection
and invited readers to help us out. Reader Ruth Austin came
to my rescue. According to Ms Austin:
"Yes, a connection does exist between St. Elmo's fire
and Masonic symbolism. The rare phenomenon is represented
as light from Heaven, coming down to earth and being manifested
as holy fire on the altar found in the Masonic temple."
goes on to say:
"According to the 'Codex Veritas,' this flaming light
has a dual meaning, as most of the symbols in the Masonic
beliefs have. It is associated with the Urim and Thumim,
the two sacred objects that were used for divination purposes
by the Hebrew high priest. When not in use, they were safely
kept in the breastplate of the priest."
I did a little research on these objects and found that
nobody at this point knows precisely what they were, but
some scholars think they may have been small, flat objects
made of wood or bone kept in a pouch on the high priest's
vestments. When a divine judgment was needed the priest
would reach into the pouch and pull one out randomly (this
presumes that they were both identical to the touch so he
couldn't know which one he was holding). The Urim essentially
meant guilty and Thummim meant innocent. This might have
also been interpreted as "Yes" or "No" depending on the
question at hand. It seems likely that these devices might
have been used to choose Saul as King in the Bible at 1
"The original Urim and Thumim would shine with heavenly
light when the high priest needed a decision to be made,
such as the guilt or innocence of an accused person. The
original Umim and Thumim vanished when the Babylonians sacked
Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple."
'Codex Veritas' is an ancient text of Templar lore that
I'm preparing for publication. It was originally a Latin
manuscript acquired by Sir John Lindsay in 1246 AD, as he
was returning from the Holy Land. He was a Knight Templar
and a Mason."
this sheds some more light on the original question. Thank
you, Ms. Austin, and good luck with your coming publication.
a question? Click here to
send it to us.
Substance - Another "that's funny" moment in science.
On April 6th, 1938 two researchers, Roy Plunkett and Jack
Rebok were running an experiment at DuPont's labs that didn't
go exactly right. They were testing a refrigerant gas, tetrafluoroethylene
(TFE) and one of the cylinders of it seemed to be empty
of the gas, but too heavy to be filled with air. On opening
it they found a slippery, white powder with a high melting
point. This powder turned out to be polytetrafluoroethylene
(PTFE) resin. When it was marketed the slick stuff was called
Moon - On the night of April 15th we will be treated
to a Total Lunar Eclipse. This occurs when the Moon passes
into the Earth's dark shadow (also called the umbra). During
the eclipse, the Moon gets darker and darker finally turns
red (like rust or blood) . This eclipse would be visible
throughout most of North America, South America, and Australia.
Designers Wanted - Want to help NASA Design their next
spacesuit? You can. The public can vote for one of three
different spacesuits models: "Biomimicry," "Technology,"
and "Trends in Society" at NASA's website. The Z-2 suits
all work the same, but the exterior designs are different
featuring items like glowing EL-wire and varying textures.
Check them out and vote at http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/z2/
on or before April 15th.
Egg is Found - Another priceless object lost to history
has been found. The Third Imperial Easter Egg, made by Faberge
for the Russian royal family has been found after nearly
a century out of sight. A man, from the U. S. Midwest but
who wishes to remain anonymous, bought the egg at a sale
for $14,000 thinking he could get it melted down for the
scrap worth of its gold and make a $500 profit. Fortunately,
it appears he underestimated its value in gold and could
not get a scrap dealer take it. So instead he checked the
internet and realized that he was dealing with something
that had an art value of around $33 million. This was confirmed
by Wartski jewelers in Mayfair, who have handled the sale
to an anonymous buyer. The egg, which was termed by expert
Kieran McCarthy as "the Holy Grail of art and antiques"
is on display to the public for only the second time, from
April 14 to 17, at Wartski's before it goes into the new
owners private collection. The 3.2-inch high egg is one
of fifty made for the Tsar's family by Carl Faberge's jewelry
workshop in pre-revolutionary Russia.
check local listing for area outside of North America.
Wild Predator Invasion - Can we return apex predators
to their natural environments without endangering humans?
On PBS April 2 at 9 pm on PBS ET/PT
Inside Animal Minds: Smartest - Explore the social lives
of some of the smartest animals on the planet. On PBS April
23 at 9 pm ET/PT
World 101 Objects That Changed The World - Our lives
are so full of stuff these days that the average object
is instantly forgettable. But, when fate and history combine,
even the simplest of objects become infused with destiny--so
much so that they actually change the world. It may look
like a lump of rock, but if it's a Moon Rock then it stands
for mankind's giant leap. And while it's just a twisted
loop of steel, if it's a Slinky it bounces us back to our
youth. Sometimes a guitar is just a guitar, but if the guitar
you're playing is Jimmy Hendrix's, then you're touching
a generation. Some objects are one-of-a-kind (King Tut's
mask,) others are ubiquitous (the wedding ring,) but they
touch us all...personally and universally. They're icons,
and without them, the world wouldn't be the same. On the
History Channel: April 1, 8:00 PM
Lost - Around the world, archaeologists are uncovering
artifacts that suggest the existence of previously unknown
ancient civilizations, much like the mythical city of Atlantis.
There is a growing belief among certain scientists and archeologists
that tens of thousands of years ago, before the rise of
today's man, sophisticated human societies populated large
cities that possibly featured mechanized transportation,
electricity, and advanced weapons systems. Proponents of
this theory believe that these civilizations were wiped
off the planet and that the evidence now lies buried miles
beneath the Earth's surface. This two-hour special will
investigate these beliefs and uncover the truth about people
who lived before the beginning of recorded time. On the
History Channel: April 5, 8:00 PM
WWII Weapons - This countdown special reveals the weapons,
inventions and vehicles that shaped and decided World War
II, from the humble Studebaker to the shock and awe of the
A-Bomb. With a countdown format and an outstanding cast
of experts, we'll provide an explosive and definitive understanding
of the greatest conflict of all time seen through the incredible
hardware that tipped the balance and changed the world.
On the History Channel: March 1, 9:00 PM ET/PT.
Night of Exploration: Easter Island Underworld - Deep
beneath the legendary Easter Island, a team of National
Geographic explorers undertakes a groundbreaking expedition:
to map a vast cave system that became the last refuge of
the people who carved these iconic statues. On the National
Geographic Channel: Sunday April 7th at 7PM .
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