Thursday, August 11, 2016
Aug. 11th, 2016, Stranger News
[futurism.com] [kurzweilai.net] [eurekalert.org]
* "Russian scientists speed up human tissue regeneration with supermolecule" (2016-08-06, rt.com) [archive.is/4cr8W]
* "Bad news for vegetarians! Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten - and become defensive when attacked; Researchers from the University of Missouri found plants respond to attack They discovered the sound of caterpillars eating made them more defensive; Plants that heard caterpillar sounds released more mustard oils, which are unappealing to caterpillars and thus ward them off; But plants that heard the wind, despite having a similar acoustic sound, knew not to waste their defensive capabilities; This suggests plants are able to identify sounds in their environment" (2014-07-02, dailymail.co.uk) [archive.is/2aH5D]
* "Smile! Volcanic eruption forms emoji-like face on Hawaii’s Big Island" (2016-08-01, rt.com) [archive.is/t7cWP]
* "NASA to land on asteroid that could have once seeded life, but may now destroy Earth" (2016-07-31, rt.com) [archive.is/LikLl]
* "New Distant Dwarf Planet Beyond Neptune" (2016-07-11, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, cfht.hawaii.edu) [archive.is/rqcYP], introduction: An international team of astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. The new object is roughly 700 kilometers in size and has one of the largest orbits for a dwarf planet. Designated 2015 RR245 by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, it was found using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii, as part of the ongoing Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS).
* "700yrs to orbit Sun: New dwarf planet spotted beyond Neptune & Pluto" (2016-07-12, rt.com) [archive.is/hsORn], illustration caption: Rendering of the orbit of RR245 (orange line). Objects as bright or brighter than RR245 are labeled. The Minor Planet Center describes the object as the 18th largest in the Kuiper Belt.
Illustration showing the comparative sizes of recently discovered dwarf planet described in the above article, compared to the more famous dwarf planets Pluto, and Ceres.
* "Scientists select 20 ‘Earth-like’ planets that could be habitable" (2016-08-04, rt.com) [archive.is/4hdvB]
Infographic by Martin Vargic, of 500 exoplanets discovered before October 2015. Current number stands at about 3,472
* "Mystery of ‘alien megastructure’ star deepens after further study" (2016-08-06, rt.com) [archive.is/CtNIc]:
In 2011 and 2013 the light shining from a distant star dropped by an unprecedented 20 percent, leading some astronomers to wonder if something very, VERY, big is blocking it from Earth’s view.
Star KIC 8462852, also known as ‘Tabby’s Star’, has been emitting an erratic flickering light, prompting great debate among the astronomy community as to what is obstructing our view of the star.
KIC 8463852 is located in the Cygnus constellation, about 1,480 light years from Earth.
Some say the star’s brightness has been gradually dimming over the last century, while others suggest that large comets or a huge dust cloud could be blocking the light. A number of people think a massive ‘alien megastructure’ is to blame.
Results from a new study that observed Tabby’s Star over four years confirmed that the star has dimmed continuously [archive.is/4OLOi], however new questions have arisen over the peculiar pattern of light emitted from KIC 8462852.
The study, which was published to the arxiv [archive.is/pOtPN] but has yet to be peer reviewed, used the Kepler Space Telescope’s database during its mission from 2009 to 2013 [nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler], to measure light (or lack thereof) from the star and found it dimmed constantly over the observation period.
Astronomers Ben Montet and Joshua Simon recorded a slight decrease in light from the star at first before a dramatic plummet of 2.5 percent in just 200 days - after which the drop in light returned to a steady fade.
“The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear it was,” said Montet to Gizmodo [archive.is/YHhxL]. “We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real. We just weren’t able to.”
For context, the astronomers compared Tabby to 500 stars in the same region and 500 other stars that are of a similar size and makeup, and found none of those examined came close to resembling the star’s plummet in brightness.
"Tabby's star continues to defy easy explanation," said Keivan Stassun, who has studied the star's long-term light patterns, to Popular Science [archive.is/bxIdx].
"These intriguing new findings suggest that none of the considered phenomena can alone explain the observations. Of course, the star doesn't have to abide by our hope for a single explanation. In the end, figuring out this puzzle may require accounting for a combination of effects."
Astronomers will continue to monitor KIC 8463852 to determine what exactly is causing its erratic behavior.
The results of ongoing monitoring are not expected to be as precise as data gathered earlier, as the Kepler spacecraft is no longer available, however a successor telescope TESS [tess.gsfc.nasa.gov] is expected to launch in 2017.
* "SCIENTISTS IN THE DARK OVER YEARS-LONG DIMMING OF 'ALIEN MEGASTRUCTURE STAR' ; THIS STAR IS BREAKING ALL THE RULES" (2016-08-05, popsci.com) [archive.is/bxIdx] [begin excerpt]:
Finding An Answer -
To find out what's causing KIC 8462852's mysterious behavior, scientists want to study it while it's in the midst of one of the major dips, like the ones that happened in 2011 and 2013.
Although the Kepler telescope is no longer able to keep an eye on Tabby's Star, Boyajian's team recently won funding to continue monitoring the star [archive.is/ieS9G] using the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT). If any funny business is detected, networks of astronomers--both professional and amateur--will be contacted immediately in order to collect as much data about the dimming event as possible.
Observations from the ground, like those of the LCOGT, aren't as precise as those of a space telescope like Kepler, but an upcoming telescope from the European Space Agency could also lend a hand.
PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) [sci.esa.int/plato] will be like "Kepler on steroids," says Montet. The space-based telescope is expected to spend a few years studying the same region that Kepler monitored. The telescope is expected to launch in 2024.
In the meantime, the mystery surrounding Tabby's Star only deepens. [end excerpt]
Read the report:
* "KIC 8462852 faded thorughout the Kepler Mission" (2016-08-05, by Benjamin T. Montet, and Joshua D. Simon) (.pdf) [is.gd/ebiFyB]
* "Astronomers Discover Dizzying Spin of the Milky Way Galaxy’s 'Halo' " (2016-07-25, nasa.gov) [archive.is/YHoNb], intro: Astronomers at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) discovered for the first time that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy's disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust. This new knowledge sheds light on how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets, and galaxies like our own, and what the future holds for these galaxies.
Illustration caption: Our Milky Way galaxy and its small companions are surrounded by a giant halo of million-degree gas (seen in blue in this artists' rendition) that is only visible to X-ray telescopes in space. University of Michigan astronomers discovered that this massive hot halo spins in the same direction as the Milky Way disk and at a comparable speed.
* "1.2 Million Galaxies in 3D" (2016-07-14, mpa-garching.mpg.de) [archive.is/VzpK6] [begin excerpt]: "We have spent a decade collecting measurements of 1.2 million galaxies over one quarter of the sky to map out the structure of the Universe over a volume of 650 cubic billion light years,” says Jeremy Tinker of New York University, a co-leader of the scientific team that led this effort. Hundreds of scientists are part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) team.
Photo caption: This is one slice through the map of the large-scale structure of the Universe from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Each dot in this picture indicates the position of a galaxy 6 billion years into the past. The image covers about 1/20th of the sky, a slice of the Universe 6 billion light-years wide, 4.5 billion light-years high, and 500 million light-years thick. Colour indicates distance from Earth, ranging from yellow on the near side of the slice to purple on the far side. Galaxies are highly clustered, revealing superclusters and voids whose presence is seeded in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. This image contains 48,741 galaxies, about 3% of the full survey dataset. Grey patches are small regions without survey data.
* " ‘Choir filling entire universe’: NASA deciphers black holes with high energy X-rays" (2016-07-29, rt.com) [archive.is/d0cMb]
* "Skeletal remains of 24,000-year-old boy raise new questions about first Americans" (2016-08-04, mysteriousearth.net) [archive.is/wo9X8]
Cultural layering as the Inca royal engineers adapt to the megalithic ruins of the civilization that preceded them, two photos of an archeological site that shows this [archive.is/eDlWe] [archive.is/qpl8d]
* "Amazon giants may be for real; research team finds several large skeletons in settlements on the Ecuadorian – Peruvian border" (2015-10-05, cuencahighlife.com) [archive.is/OdmXx]
* "Giant 7 – 8 Foot Skeletons Uncovered in Ecuador sent for Scientific Testing" (2015-10-08, ancient-origins.net) [archive.is/fgD5w]:
Strikingly tall skeletons uncovered in the Ecuador and Peru Amazon region are undergoing examination in Germany, according to a research team headed by British anthropologist Russell Dement. Will these remains prove that a race of tall people existed hundreds of years ago deep in the Amazonian rainforest?
Delight in the sight of penguins in their native habitat and marvel at icebergs glowing a phosphorescent blue
According to a Cuenca news site, since 2013 the team has found half a dozen human skeletons dating to the early 1400s and the mid-1500s which measure between seven and eight feet (213 to 243 centimeters) in height.
Dement said, “We are very early in our research and I am only able to provide a general overview of what we have found. I don’t want to make claims based on speculation since our work is ongoing. Because of the size of the skeletons, this has both anthropological and medical implications,” reports Cuenca Highlife.
Skeletal Remains in Ecuador and Peru -
In late 2013 Dement received word that a skeleton had been uncovered by a Shuar local, approximately 70 miles (112 kilometers) from Cuenca, in Loja Province, Ecuador. Dement traveled to the site and recovered a rib cage and skull of a female which had been exposed by flooding. The bones were thought to date to 600 years ago. The rest of the skeleton was located and, once assembled, reportedly measured seven feet, four inches (223.5 centimeters) in height.
* "WERE 'DEVIL WORSHIPPER' YAZIDIS THERE FOR THE BIRTH OF HUMAN CULTURE?" (2014-09-02, vice.com) [archive.is/qwU1c] [begin excerpt]: In the eyes of IS, the Yazidis are Devil worshippers—something that’s actually kind of tricky to argue against; the group consider themselves to be the chosen people of Melek Taus, the “Peacock Angel," who they also know as Shaitan, or Satan. In Yazidi tradition, this special relationship began when Shaitan visited their ancestor Adam in the garden of Eden, bearing forbidden fruit.
The Yazidis are an ancient rural people from the plain of Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization. Almost forgotten archaeological layers of belief still poke through the surface here, old echoes that stretch religious absolutes held sacred by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike into weird, unsettling shapes.
The parallels between the Peacock Angel and the Satan we’re more familiar with can be baffling—Melek Taus is God’s most important angel, his commander-in-chief in this world, which was also his original role in the Abrahamic traditions. He’s also a fallen angel who rebelled against God and was subsequently cast into Hell; but in the Yazidi cosmology, after 40,000 years his tears quenched Hell’s flames and God forgave and reinstated him.
This hints at the complex, ambiguous, almost human quality of Melek Taus. In the Mishefa Re, the holy book the Yazidis believe to be his revealed word, he tells us: “I give and take away; I enrich and impoverish; I cause both happiness and misery ... All treasures and hidden things are known to me; and as I desire, I take them from one and bestow them upon another.”
The Yazidis don’t see good and evil as polar opposites personified in particular gods, but as qualities that are integral parts of creation—they exist throughout the world, within the mind and spirit of human beings, and also within the Peacock Angel. The path we choose is up to us. “I allow everyone to follow the dictates of his own nature, but he that opposes me will regret it sorely.”
One of Melek Taus’ symbols is fire, and he can illuminate as well as burn. He’s responsible for granting mankind knowledge and free will, and in an intriguing twist on the familiar Garden of Eden story, he first initiates Adam with forbidden fruit: “[God] commanded Gabriel to escort Adam into Paradise, and to tell him that he could eat from all the trees, but not of wheat. Here Adam remained for a hundred years […] Melek Taus visited Adam and said, ‘Have you eaten of the grain?’ He answered, ‘No, God forbade me.’ Melek Taus replied and said, ‘Eat of the grain and all shall go better with thee.’”
The Yazidis claim to be the world’s oldest nation, tracing the origin of their culture back to this covenant between Shaitan and Adam. Though this obviously has the ring of massive over-simplification and elaboration common to all origin myths, there’s a growing body of archaeological evidence that seems to suggest there’s an element of symbolic truth in it—that the Garden of Eden story shared by all the Middle Eastern religions might in fact be a faded folk memory of how human civilization began in the first place, a memory connected to the Yazidis in a very special way; a memory that Judaism, and subsequently Christianity and Islam, inherited from them, distorting it in the process.
You can’t convert or intermarry into Yazidism. They’re a people set apart, a distinct ethnic group who’ve always lived in a corner of the Turkey-Iraq borderland that folk memory across the wider region recalls as the location of the Garden of Eden. [end excerpt]
Photo caption: Melek Taus, the "Peacock Angel"
* "10 Secrets Of Ancient Egypt" (from Alltime10s) [youtube.com/watch?v=JQs4QyKnYMQ], "The mysteries of Ancient Egypt has fascinated mankind for thousands of years, but AllTime10s has the answers. From who built the pyramids, to what happened to Tutankhamun, AllTime10s brings you, the 10 secrets of Ancient Egypt."
* Brian Forester and Chris Dunn with shattered precise remnant at Elephantine Island in the Aswan archipelago, photos [archive.is/WbWhc] [archive.is/jJWFa], another photo from a different source showing the ruins:
* Photos from Brian Forester:
- [archive.is/W4l1a] Saw cuts in hard basalt stone on the Giza Plateau
- [archive.is/f8Zh0] Author and guide Stepehen Mehler discussing the "knobs" on the Third Pyramid at Giza
- [archive.is/zdCyQ] The 100 ton boxes in the underground enigma called the Serapeum of Saqqara
- [archive.is/k3zg7] Amazing ancient example of a hollow core drill at work at Karnak
- [archive.is/zXyvb] Another mysterious core drill example at the Temple of Sekhmet at Karnak
- [archive.is/8YP0M] The subterranean oddity called the Osirion at Abydos. Massive blocks of rose granite.
- [archive.is/s58ij] Remains of a once supposedly 1000 ton granite statue sculpture at the Ramesseum
* "Buddhism in Ancient Egypt and Meroe – Beliefs Revealed Through Ancient Script" (2016-08-05, ancient-origins.net) [archive.is/e6oON]
* "Ancient Buddha Carved From Meteorite; A hefty Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that fell 15,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border" (2012-09-26, seeker.com) [archive.is/QTCSE]
* "Nazi Buddha Statue Shows Inconsistencies, Most Likely Fake" (2012-10-25, redorbit.com) [archive.is/e25pk] [begin excerpt]: A fair amount of observation reveals significant intricacies about the Iron Man´s origins, including shoes that are more European than Oriental, trousers, and a full beard--most all deities in Tibetan and Mongolian art are depicted with thin, wispy beards rather than full-on facial hair. In total, Bayer was able to uncover 13 inconsistencies within the statue.
While the intricacies paint a pretty clear picture of its non-Tibetan ancestral relevance, Bayer is stopping short of criticizing the publication of the findings, which appeared in the September issue of Meteorics and Planetary Science, and unleashed the media frenzy.
University of Stuttgart geologist Elmar Buchner, who published the initial findings, focused more on the chemical makeup of the statue, rather than the historical details therein. And while he remained fairly convinced on the composition of the piece being meteoric, he said the “ethnological and art historical details of the "Iron Man" sculpture, as well as the time of the sculpturing, currently remain speculative.”
Buchner ascertained the statue most likely was carved from a piece of Chinga meteorite, which slammed into the Earth some 15,000 years ago along the border of present-day Mongolia and Siberia. “While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before,” noted Buchner in his work.
“Although this paper is addressed to a specialized academic audience,” Bayer wrote, “I would like to briefly address readers from outside our field and clarify that there is not any controversy among experts about the authenticity of the statue, the 'lama wearing trousers,' as I would like to call it. (So far), no acknowledged authority in the field of Tibetan or Mongolian art has publicly deemed the statue authentic and the issue has to be considered uncontroversial.” [end excerpt]
* "Ancient Chinese Megaflood May Be Fact, Not Fiction; Myth of land-changing deluge supported by geology, as are flood legends from Scandinavia to Tibet" (2016-08-05, scientificamerican.com) [archive.is/uPgQD]