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August 1, 2014 3 comments

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Scientists Discover Dozens of Monuments Hidden Below Stonehenge

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Scientists have new evidence that there is more to Stonehenge — the ancient rock formations that stand alone in a field in Wiltshire, England — than meets the eye.

Based on cutting edge digital mapping technology, researchers at the University of Birmingham working as part of The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project have discovered a treasure trove of new findings buried beneath the stones themselves.

According to the University, the new discoveries include 17 temples, burial mounds, shrines, and massive prehistoric pits that experts say appear to form astrological alignments. Many of the findings,  such as a large timber temple that was likely used to treat and bury the dead, are even older than the prehistoric monument above them, which is dated to 3,100 BCE.

Scientists noted that the number of structures fundamentally alters the modern perception of Stonehenge from a single monolith to a sprawling complex that was occupied by a large number of people. One of the project leaders, Professor Vincent Gaffney, who is Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics at the University of Birmingham also indicated that the most recent discovery is likely only the tip of a massive archeological iceberg.

Despite Stonehenge being the most iconic of all prehistoric monuments and occupying one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the world, much of this landscape in effect remains terra incognita.”

Using radar technology developed at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna, teams of researchers have spent years gathering images from around Stonehenge. According to the institute’s Director Professor Wolfgang Neubauer, the techniques used in the discovery will likely be employed in future archeological research.

The developments of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) offer Europe the opportunity to carry out fundamental archaeological research at a scale and precision never previously attempted.”

Meanwhile for something was erected over 4,000 years ago, Stonehenge has certainly seen its fair share of news of late. On his trip back from the NATO Summit in Wales last week, President Obama made his own impromptu trip to the site.

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Harnessing solar power through the looking glass

Researchers from Michigan State University have developed a new solar energy concentrator that, unlike previously constructed luminescent solar panels, does not tint the color of the sunlight shining through it.

An advantage of transparent solar technology is that, while less efficient at its current stage of development, users will reduce the load of lighting in their current household or workplace, according to Richard Lunt, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University.

“If you’re sitting in front of a window, one of the things you might notice is that the level of transparency is very high,” Lunt said.

Lunt explained that while there is a lot of energy in the visible part of the light spectrum, the infrared component not visible to the human eye actually makes up more than two-thirds of sunlight. By constructing a transparent concentrator specifically designed to pick up only non-visible wavelengths of light, the potential amount of electricity generated is only reduced by one-third. This is because visible light is allowed to pass through the glass without being captured and converted into electricity.

“If you consider covering a window with [opaque] photovoltaic solar paneling, you’d be converting light to energy at a loss,” Lunt said. “You’d be using some of that power to then power the lighting inside of the home or office, whereas if you made it transparent and let all of the light shine through, you’d get 100 percent lighting efficiency.”

The trade-off between designing buildings that use solar cell panels instead of windows is that while the opaque solar cell panels generate more energy, no natural light passes through them, according to Amanda Smeigh, program manager at the Solar Fuels Institute and a Ph. D. in chemistry from Michigan State University.

“Putting panels on windows works, but then your window becomes a wall,” Smeigh said. “In one regard you’re getting the best of both worlds—still generating electricity, just not as much.”

Smeigh said this technology provides a good opportunity for offsetting electricity usage in practical settings. For example, architects might cover the roof of a skyscraper in solar cells, which are more efficient but are also limited to operating within a more confined space, and use the transparent panels for the windows.

“You have a larger area of windows [on a skyscraper], so I could see it making a bigger difference in generating electricity than if you were to use only roof-mounted solar panels,” Smeigh said.

According to Lunt, solar concentrators have been around for many years, the idea was first developed in the 1970s. Lunt said the motivation driving the technology was the high cost of solar cells, and finding a method to direct light onto fewer cells would be cost-effective. He explained that researchers embedded a luminescent dye into inexpensive sheeting in order to absorb the different colors of the solar spectrum.

The efficiency of his team’s transparent technology is close to one percent, but Lunt said they believe they can get it to at least five percent, and optimally to seven percent with some additional design work, making its efficiency competitive with that of the more unsightly colored luminescent concentrators. Currently, non-transparent solar panels can reach a maximum efficiency of 25.6 percent, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“You wouldn’t want to operate in a house with that kind of hideous orange or green light coming through,” Smeigh said. “So the fact that it’s colorless to the human eye is a significant improvement.”

The U.S. has seen an exponential increase in solar technology over the last six years, according to Carly Rixham, executive director of the American Solar Energy Society.

“The categories of solar technology include thermal, passive, concentrators and electric, which solar cells fall into,” Rixham said.

She explained that while one percent efficiency is not an impressive number when compared to the 25.6 percent efficiency the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports can be obtained with photovoltaic panels, the potential practical application makes the transparent ones very valuable.

“In terms of efficiency, we can’t keep moving the carrot,” Smeigh said. “We can’t keep striving to hit goals without implementing them.”

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Lake appears mysteriously in Gafsa, Tunisia

Gafsa lake

A lake that mysteriously appeared in a drought-stricken region of Tunisia last month is being hailed as a miracle by locals but may in fact be radioactive.

Local shepherds discovered the large body of water along the Om Larayes Rd, about 25km from the southern Tunisian city of Gafsa, about three weeks ago, France24 reports.

Since then, hundreds of people have flocked to the oasis-like formation dubbed “Lac de Gafsa” or Gafsa Beach. Families swim there, youths leap from surrounding rocks into its clear waters and the curious – and the cautious – come equipped with scuba gear.

“Some say that it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse,” France24’s Tunisian correspondent Lakhdar Souid said.

Authorities have offered no official explanation for the lake’s origins but local geologists believe seismic activity may have upset the water table and caused groundwater to rise to the surface.

Gafsa lake1

Are these fun-loving locals being poisoned at this pop-up oasis?

Two weeks after the lake was discovered, Gafsa’s Office of Public Safety warned Tunisians that it was dangerous and not suitable for swimming in.

The region is rich in phosphate – and heavily mined for it – and there are fears the water is contaminated or even radioactive.

“But since there was no official ban on swimming in the lake, Tunisians continue to do so,” Mr Souid said.

“News of the lake’s appearance has spread like wildfire and now hundreds of people, eager to escape a heatwave, go there to swim. While the origins of this lake remains a mystery, our biggest concern right now is the quality of the water.

“This region is overflowing with large deposits of phosphate, which can leave behind radioactive residue so there is a real risk that this water is contaminated and carcinogenic (but) there is no security of any kind.”

Gafsa lake2

Worryingly, the colour of lake, which is estimated to be between 18 and 20 metres deep has changed from a clear, turquoise blue in the first few days to a slightly murky green.”The site is certainly stunning and there are many large rocks perfect for diving but it has become infested with green algae, meaning that the water is stagnant and conducive to diseases,” Mr Souid said.

Despite the government warnings, more than 600 people have already taken a dip at Gasfa Beach, which now has its own Facebook page.

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Now two NEW large holes appear in Siberia

28 July 2014

Reindeer herders find more craters in the far north in a deepening puzzle for scientists.

The funnel is a perfectly formed cone, say locals who are mystified at how it was formed. Its depth is estimated at between 60 and 100 metres and its diameter – more than four metres. Picture: Local residents

Millions of people around the world glimpsed the first giant hole after it was revealed by The Siberian Times hereand on The Siberian Times TV here.

Now news has emerged of two new similar formations in the permafrost, prompting more intrigue about their creation.

Theories range from meteorites, stray missiles, a man-made prank, and aliens, to an explosive cocktail of methane or shale gas suddenly exploding. The version about melting permafrost due to climate change, causing a release of methane gas, which then forces an eruption is the current favorite, though scientists are reluctant to offer a firm conclusion without more study.

Crater near Bovanenkovo gas field


Yamal crater near Bovanenkovo from above


Sides of Yamal crater near Bovanenkovo

First pictures from the big crater near Bovanenkovo gas field. Theories range from meteorites, stray missiles, a man-made prank, and aliens, to an explosive cocktail of methane or shale gas suddenly exploding. Pictures: Andrey Naumenko, ‘Yamal-Region’

The second is in the Yamal Peninsula – known to locals as ‘the end of the world’ – like the first. It is some hundreds kilometres from the first, which is close to a huge gas extraction plant at Bovanenkovo. This new crater in the Taz district, near the village of Antipayuta, has a diameter of about 15 metres.

A deputy of the regional parliament – or duma – Mikhail Lapsui has examined this latest phenomenon.

‘I flew by helicopter to inspect this funnel on Saturday 19 July,’ he said. ‘Its diameter is about 15 meters. ‘There is also ground outside, as if it was thrown as a result of an underground explosion.

‘According to local residents, the hole formed on 27 September 2013. Observers give several versions. According to the first, initially at the place was smoking, and then there was a bright flash. In the second version, a celestial body fell there.’

The Chief Scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute, Marina Leibman, told URA.RU website: ‘I have heard about the second funnel on Yamal, in Taz district, and saw the pictures.

‘Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.’

Yamal holes on the map


Crater near Antipayuta on the map


View of the crater in Antipayuta

This new crater in the Taz district, near the village of Antipayuta, has a diameter of about 15 metres. Pictures: Google maps, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The third crater and hole is in the Taymyr Peninsula, to the east of Yamal, in Kransoyark region. It was accidentally discovered by local herders, inhabitants of the northern village of Nosok.

The funnel is a perfectly formed cone, say locals who are mystified at how it was formed. Its depth is estimated at between 60 and 100 metres and its diameter – more than four metres.

The herders almost fell into the hole which lies on a pasturing route. They took pictures of the hole which were sent to scientists at the Norilsk Taimyr Explorers’ Club.

Experts – geologists, ecologists, and historians – have not come to a consensus about the origin of the funnel, say reports in the region.

‘It is not like this is the work of men, but also doesn’t look like natural formation,’ said one account.

Hole on Taymyr on the map


Big hole on Taymyr near Nosok

The herders almost fell into the hole which lies on a pasturing route. They took pictures of the hole which were sent to scientists at the Norilsk Taimyr Explorers’ Club. Pictures: Google maps,  Local residents

Further study is planned of this hole.

The first hole is around 70 metres deep with an icy lake at its bottom.

Please see our reports on the first hole here and here.

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Oetzi the 5300-year-old Mummy – an Unknown Branch of Human Family Tree

A 5300-year-old mummified body of a man whom scientists have fondly named as Oetzi, has really altered our understanding of the human family tree and its gene pool with a DNA pattern that shows that he did not belong to any known branch of human family tree.

oetzi the mummified iceman 2 Oetzi the 5300 year old Mummy   an Unknown Branch of Human Family Tree

Oetzi was found preserved in the ice of the Eastern Alps in 1991 and since 1998 he has been on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. The examination of DNA of Oetzi has revealed that he has no match to any of the known existing races in Europe and most likely has no descendants today.

The scientists examined Oetzi’s mitochondrial DNA and found that it was unique in its structure. The mitochondrial DNA is always passed down to future generations by mothers and since no human being today carries the similar structure, it is safe to conclude that Oetzi has no descendants today.

oetzi the mummified iceman 1 Oetzi the 5300 year old Mummy   an Unknown Branch of Human Family Tree

He was about 46 years old when he met his violent death. Examinations revealed that he had been wounded by an arrow and possibly finished off with a mace blow to the face.

Although he fell into a subgroup called K1, his lineage did not match any of the three known K1 ‘clusters’. This really adds another chapter to the human family tree and our understanding of evolution.

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Death toll passes 690 as Israel accused of targeting medical facilities

#GazaUnderAttack

Health officials say Israeli strikes are preventing medics from tending the wounded and collecting the dead in Gaza

Ambulances have been struck by Israeli military attacks as they attempt to retrieve the injured (AFP)

Israel has struck more than 25 health facilities in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of its military offensive against the besieged coastal enclave earlier this month, according to Palestinian health officials.

The death toll in Gaza has soared since Israel launched a ground invasion on 18 July, with more than 690 killed and over 4,500 people injured in attacks on the strip. On the Israeli side three military officers were killed during Wednesday, bringing the death toll in Israel to 35, which consists of 32 soldiers and three civilian casualties.

Palestinian officials say the Israeli army has deliberately attacked medical facilities.

“Targeting the health facilities is an internationally condemned thing and a red line that should not be crossed,” Health Ministry Undersecretary Medhat Mehesen told a press conference at al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, late on Monday.

“The Israeli troops have been targeting the health facilities and ambulance crews since the beginning of the military operation,” he added.

Four Palestinians were killed on Monday when Israeli troops shelled the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central town of Der al-Balah.

Officials also accuse Israel of stopping ambulances from reaching areas targeted by military strikes, which prevents medical professionals from tending to the wounded and collecting the dead.

A medic was killed on Sunday when Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinian ambulances as they attempted to enter the Shejaiya neighbourhood near Gaza City, a scene of deadly attacks at the weekend that killed scores of civilians and injured hundreds of others.

“We are afraid to see a repeat of what happened to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital,” Mehesen said.

The health official warned of a humanitarian and environmental crisis in Gaza if Israeli troops continue to prevent Palestinian ambulances from reaching the affected areas to move victims’ bodies. He also called for international intervention to provide protection for hospitals and medical professionals against Israeli attacks.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced by Israel’s military offensive, according to UNRWA, which began on 7 July. Many of these people have taken shelter at more than 60 UN-run schools, which officials say have also come under attack.

On Tuesday, a school was shelled when a team of UN workers visited to inspect damage caused the previous day, according to officials who spoke anonymously to AFP.

“Yesterday we got reports that it [the school] was shelled and so today [Tuesday] we sent out guys down to investigate and see which side the fire came from,” said the official. “They went down there with Israeli clearance, and while they were there, they came under Israeli shelling,” he added.

The official said holes were blown through the walls of the school compound and that the gates had been blown off but that no one was injured in the attack. The school has now been evacuated and UNRWA has submitted a formal letter about the shelling to Israel, he added.

The UN Human Rights Council is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Israeli operation in Gaza with strong criticisms expected. The Palestinians, supported by Arab nations, have submitted a request to the council for an inquiry to look into alleged war crimes and violations of international law carried out by Israel in Gaza.

Wednesday’s meeting in Geneva mirrors the council’s response to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. On that occasion the Goldstone Commission was established and its final report was damning of Israeli military attacks, leading to increased international calls for a boycott of Israel.

If the resolution calling for an inquiry is passed this time, a process will begin to set the parameters for a commission, as well as its composition and schedule. It is likely that Israel and the US would seek to delay this and work to narrow its mandate as much as possible.

– See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/health-facilities-hit-israels-gaza-attacks-death-toll-rises-over-640-129158985#sthash.KFvD4OzW.dpuf

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‘Witch Hunt’: Fired MSNBC Contributor Speaks Out on Suppression of Israel-Palestine Debate

As Gaza body toll mounts, NBC executives crack down on criticism of Israel.
MSNBC contributor Rula Jebreal’s on-air protest of the network’s slanted coverage of Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip has brought media suppression of the Israel-Palestine debate into sharp focus. Punished for her act of dissent with the cancellation of all future appearances and the termination of her contract, Jebreal spoke to me about what prompted her to speak out and why MSNBC was presenting such a distorted view of the crisis.

“I couldn’t stay silent after seeing the amount of airtime given to Israeli politicians versus Palestinians,” Jebreal told me. “They say we are balanced but their idea of balance is 90 percent Israeli guests and 10 percent Palestinians. This kind of media is what leads to the failing policies that we see in Gaza.”

She continued, “We as journalists are there to afflict the comfortable and who is comfortable in this case? Who is really endangering both sides and harming American interests in the region? It’s those enforcing the status quo of the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.”

Jebreal said that in her two years as an MSNBC contributor, she had protested the network’s slanted coverage repeatedly in private conversations with producers. “I told them we have a serious issue here,” she explained. “But everybody’s intimidated by this pressure and if it’s not direct then it becomes self-censorship.”

With her criticism of her employer’s editorial line, she has become the latest casualty of the pro-Israel pressure. “I have been told to my face that I wasn’t invited on to shows because I was Palestinian,” Jebreal remarked. “I didn’t believe it at the time. Now I believe it.”

An NBC producer speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Jebreal’s account, describing to me a top-down intimidation campaign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric view of the attack on the Gaza Strip. The NBC producer told me that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC executives are micromanaging coverage of the crisis, closely monitoring contributors’ social media accounts and engaging in a “witch hunt” against anyone who strays from the official line.

“Loyalties are now being openly questioned,” the producer commented.

The suppression campaign culminated after Jebreal’s on-air protest during a July 21 segment on Ronan Farrow Daily.

“We are disgustingly biased on this issue. Look at how much airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis, Andrea Mitchell and others,” Jebreal complained to Farrow. “I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues.”

When Farrow claimed that the network had featured other voices, Jebreal shot back, “Maybe for thirty seconds, and then you have twenty-five minutes for Bibi Netanyahu.”

Within hours, all of Jebreal’s future bookings were cancelled and the renewal of her contract was off the table. The following day, Jebreal tweeted: “My forthcoming TV appearances have been cancelled. Is there a connection to my expose and the cancellation?”

Jebreal is the author of Miral, a memoir about her coming of age in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Her former partner, Jewish-American filmmaker and artist Julian Schnabel, adapted the book into full length film. A widely published journalist and former news presenter in Italy, Jebreal was a vocal supporter of the now-extinct peace process and a harsh critic of Islamist groups including Hamas. Her termination leaves NBC without any Palestinian contributors.

According to the NBC producer, MSNBC show teams were livid that they had been forced by management to cancel Jebreal as punishment for her act of dissent.

At the same time, social media erupted in protest of Jebreal’s cancellation, forcing the network into damage control mode. The role of clean-up man fell to Chris Hayes, the only MSNBC host with a reputation for attempting a balanced discussion of Israel-Palestine. On the July 22 episode of his show, All In, he brought Jebreal on to discuss her on-air protest.

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Malaysia Airlines plane crashes on Ukraine-Russia border – live

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane has reportedly crashed in Ukraine, on the border with Russia. All the latest details here

This page will automatically update every 90 secondsOn Off

• Interfax reports that a Malaysian plane has crashed in Ukraine
• The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
• 295 people were onboard
• Reports that the plane could have been shot down

16.50 Reports suggest that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile called a BUK.

Colin Freeman explains:

 The BUK is a self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems in the Soviet era and designed to engage cruise missiles, smart bombs, aircraf and and unmanned aerial vehicles. Modern versions can reach up to 80,000 feet.

16.47 Reaction to the plane crash is beginning to come in now.

This is from Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister

16.45 Malaysian Airlines have confirmed that they have lost contact with the plane.

16.44 Here’s a more detailed route map, showing precisely where the plane dropped off the radar.

16.43 Nick Collins, The Telegraph’s transport editor, points out the following:

16.42 The Ukrainian interior ministry adviser, quoted by Interfax, says there are no survivors.

16.38 More footage is emerging of the scene, minute by minute.

This is the latest from YouTube

16.36 Our Washington correspondent, Raf Sanchez, has the following observation:

 It’s still not clear what happened to today’s Malaysia Airlines flight but last night, as the US announced new sanctions on Russia, American officials suggested Russian weapons were behind the downing of a Ukrainian transport aircraft on Monday. Here’s what they had to say:

“On July 14th, Ukrainians lost an An-26 transport jet, which was shot down from an altitude of 21,000 feet, with eight crew on board. And only very sophisticated weapons systems would be able to reach this height.”

16.35

16.34 Interfax are saying that the plane was shot down.

16.28 Initial reports suggested that the flight could have been Malaysia Airlines MH17, which left Amsterdam at 12.14.

It was due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 06.09.

16.27 Unconfirmed reports on Twitter showed YouTube footage of a large pall of smoke in fields near Shaktersk.

The footage could not be verified.

16.20 The plane is thought to have crashed near Shaktersk.

16.15 Interfax news agency are claiming that a Malaysian passenger plane has crashed in Ukraine, near the Russian border.

“A Boeing Malaysian Airlines that was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur began to descend about 50km before entering Russian airspace, and was subsequently found burning on the ground in Ukraine,” an aviation source told Interfax.

Interfax said that 295 people were on board at the time.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10974050/Malaysia-Airlines-plane-crashes-on-Ukraine-Russia-border-live.htmlc

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Ukraine says jet shot down by missile from Russian plane

U.S. imposes tougher sanctions against Russia targeting two major Russian energy firms

The Associated Press Posted: Jul 17, 2014 7:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 17, 2014 10:45 AM ETUkraine says its jet downed by missile from Russian plane

Ukraine says its jet downed by missile from Russian plane 2:21

An Air Force fighter jet has been shot down by an air-to-air missile fired from a Russian plane, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council said Thursday.

Andrei Lysenko also said Ukrainian troops had been fired upon by missiles from a village just inside Russia.

Officials in Kyiv have recently accused Russia’s armed forces of being directly implicated in attacks on Ukrainian troops battling an insurgency near the border.

Lysenko said in a televised briefing that the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet that was hit on Wednesday evening was forced to bail out after his jet was shot down. He provided no further details.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets.

The Defence Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely.

Moscow denies Western charges that it is supporting the separatists in Ukraine or sowing unrest in its neighbour.

Russia’s Defence Ministry denied that it had shot down the plane and called the accusations “absurd,” Reuters reported.

“It is absurd, just like all the previous accusations from Kyiv’s leadership against Russia’s Defence Ministry,” Reuters quoted a ministry spokesman as saying.

Russia’s United Nations ambassador said Russia did not shoot down the plane, Reuters reported. “We didn’t do it,” said Vitaly Churkin when asked about the incident by reporters.

On Monday, Ukraine said one of its military transport planes carrying eight people was shot down by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had “unconditional evidence” that Russia was involved in downing the craft.

Rebels claimed to have shot that plane down.

U.S. imposes tougher sanctions

The U.S. slapped tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday for its actions in Ukraine, prompting a strong reaction Thursday from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said they will stalemate bilateral relations and hurt not only Russian, but also American businesses.

Russia’s benchmark MICEX was down 2.6 per cent in early afternoon trading Thursday upon news of the sanctions while Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, was nearly five per cent down.

The U.S. sanctions target two major Russian energy firms including Rosneft, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight weapons firms and four individuals.

The U.S. penalties, however, stopped short of the most stringent actions the West has threatened, which would fully cut off key sectors of Russia’s oil-dependent economy. But officials said those steps were still on the table if Russia fails to abide by the West’s demands to stop its support for the pro-Russia insurgents.

source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukraine-says-jet-shot-down-by-missile-from-russian-plane-1.2709542

Deep Mystery: Theories Fly Over Giant Black Hole in Siberia

An enormous crater spotted near Yamal, northern Siberia, has people scrambling for explanations. Siberia’s Zvezda TV recently aired helicopter footage of the giant black hole, which appears to be hundreds of feet wide and according to reports was formed some two years ago. The grainy footage isn’t much to go on, and while scientists are en route to study the crater, speculation abounds.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has ruled out a meteorite strike, though such things have been common in Russia recently. And there are the usual out-there theories of UFOs and the like. But the real cause of the hole may simply be the area’s unique geology. One Australian scientist said it looked like a collapsed “pingo,” which is a huge chunk of ice that sits under the soil. But Anna Kurchatova, of the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Center, has another explanation. The Yamal area (the name is Siberian for “End of the World”) is rich in natural gas, and a pocket of this combined with water and salt could have produced quite a large explosion if the permafrost were punctured by climate-change-induced thaw. The research expedition should yield further information.

UPDATE:

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

Watch new footage of the mysterious giant hole that opened up in Siberia as a scientific expedition—with the country’s Emergencies Ministry represented—reaches the remote site and looks inside. An explosion below the ground is currently thought to be the most probable explanation—but the date and cause remain unknown.

If a Russian speaking reader could help with a detailed translation of the video it would be appreciated.

The Emergencies Ministry told Russia Today that a meteorite was not the cause of the hole. Evidence such as earth around the edge of the entrance appears to point strongly to an explosion from within the ground. However the mystery of how—and even when—the hole was formed in this distant region remains very much unresolved.

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

The hole sits around 1,800 miles east of Moscow in a huge 400 mile stretch of permafrost with a wide variety of animal species and that is famous for archaeological discoveries including wooly mammoths. The zone is also of key strategic importance for Russian oil and gas production.

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

A 28 inch layer of permafrost reportedly discovered around the edge of the hole—mentioned in the video—is puzzling given the amount of heat that would be expected to have been generated by an explosion of the magnitude necessary to create such a large crater. It is therefore possible that the remote site lay undiscovered for months if not years.

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation teamEXPAND

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences are on the expedition and are said to be collecting samples of soil, air and water from the area. The hole reportedly has an outer diameter of around 200 feet and an inner diameter of around 130 feet. The depth is unconfirmed.

New video of mysterious giant Siberian hole filmed by investigation team

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I decided I’m going to keep bringing this one back from the past till people get the possibilities of the development of this technology and what it is capable of…

Nitinol – Self Healing Meta Materials

The time gap between now and then…think about it

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Pottery 20,000 years old found in a Chinese cave

BEIJING (AP) – Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say.

The findings, which will appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.

The research by a team of Chinese and American scientists also pushes the emergence of pottery back to the last ice age, which might provide new explanations for the creation of pottery, said Gideon Shelach, chair of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel.

“The focus of research has to change,” Shelach, who is not involved in the research project in China, said by telephone.

In an accompanying Science article, Shelach wrote that such research efforts “are fundamental for a better understanding of socio-economic change (25,000 to 19,000 years ago) and the development that led to the emergency of sedentary agricultural societies.”

He said the disconnection between pottery and agriculture as shown in east Asia might shed light on specifics of human development in the region.

Wu Xiaohong, professor of archaeology and museology at Peking University and the lead author of the Science article that details the radiocarbon dating efforts, told The Associated Press that her team was eager to build on the research.

“We are very excited about the findings. The paper is the result of efforts done by generations of scholars,” Wu said. “Now we can explore why there was pottery in that particular time, what were the uses of the vessels, and what role they played in the survival of human beings.”

The ancient fragments were discovered in the Xianrendong cave in south China’s Jiangxi province, which was excavated in the 1960s and again in the 1990s, according to the journal article.

Wu, a chemist by training, said some researchers had estimated that the pieces could be 20,000 years old, but that there were doubts.

“We thought it would be impossible because the conventional theory was that pottery was invented after the transition to agriculture that allowed for human settlement.”

But by 2009, the team — which includes experts from Harvard and Boston universities — was able to calculate the age of the pottery fragments with such precision that the scientists were comfortable with their findings, Wu said.

“The key was to ensure the samples we used to date were indeed from the same period of the pottery fragments,” she said.

That became possible when the team was able to determine the sediments in the cave were accumulated gradually without disruption that might have altered the time sequence, she said.

Scientists took samples, such as bones and charcoal, from above and below the ancient fragments in the dating process, Wu said.

“This way, we can determine with precision the age of the fragments, and our results can be recognized by peers,” Wu said.

Shelach said he found the process done by Wu’s team to be meticulous and that the cave had been well protected throughout the research.

The same team in 2009 published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they determined the pottery fragments found in south China’s Hunan province to be 18,000 years old, Wu said.

“The difference of 2,000 years might not be significant in itself, but we always like to trace everything to its earliest possible time,” Wu said. “The age and location of pottery fragments help us set up a framework to understand the dissemination of the artifacts and the development of human civilization.”

source:http://www.utaot.com/2012/12/27/pottery-20000-years-old-found-in-a-chinese-cave/

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BREAKING-Meteor Crash, This Time In CUBA

February 15th, 2013
Note: I am still waiting for some international agency to confirm this but as of now most reports are coming from credible television reporters…

Cuba, 15.02.2013 Residents of a locality ‘in the central region of Cuba said they had seen an object that fell from the sky and exploded with a great noise, which shook the houses of the place: it is learned from testimonies collected by local television. In service published this morning by Rodas, town in the province of Cienfuegos, witnesses described a very bright light that has come to have large size, comparable to that of a bus, before exploding in the sky.

http://www.rainews24.rai.it/it/news.php?newsid=174956

2nd source

Huge explosion in the sky in Cuba Meanwhile, also from Cuba has been reported in an explosion sky. In the central region of the island has seen an object that fell from the sky and exploded with a great noise, which shook the houses in the place, reports on local television. In a report released this morning by Rodas, town in the province of Cienfuegos, witnesses described a very bright light that has come to have large size, comparable to that of a bus, before exploding in the sky. Marcos Rodriguez, a resident in region, as defined by the issuer an expert, reported that “everything seems to indicate that it was a fireball, which is a fragment of stone and metal that enters the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed.” Experts are now examining the area for possible remains Rodas minerals falling from the sky, the TV station added. translated-

Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/breaking-meteor-crash-this-time-in-cuba/#IspL1Djp63ugLXY7.99

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Reports now from California:

Another Meteor leaves Northern California starstruck

Posted:   02/15/2013 08:15:44 PM PST

Updated:   02/15/2013 08:25:26 PM PST

Reports of a huge shooting star overheard sent many readers to social media Friday evening, closing out a week graced by heavenly wonders like an asteroid passing close by earlier in the day and an unrelated meteor that fell to earth in Russia late Thursday.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will sweep close later today

Asteroid 2012 DA14 on February 15, 2012 (NASA)

Asteroid 2012 DA14 on February 15, 2012 (NASA)
It’ll pass within the moon’s distance from Earth – closer than the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. But it won’t strike us in 2013.

A near-Earth asteroid – called 2012 DA14 by astronomers – is passing very close to Earth today (February 15, 2013). Astronomers estimate that, when it’s closest to us, it’ll be within the orbit of the moon (which averages about a quarter million miles away), and closer than some high-orbiting communications satellites. 2012 DA14 will be about 17,200 miles (27,680 kilometers) away. Reuters is reporting than a meteorite has struck in Russia, injuring 500 people. It has not been confirmed whether the meteorite is associated with asteroid 2012 DA14, but astronomers do known that asteroids sometimes are accompanied by moon, or travel in swarms.

NEWS. Meteorite strikes Russia early in the day on Friday, February 15. More than 500 people hurt. INFO AND VIDEO HERE.

Who will see the February 15 asteroid flyby?

Asteroid 2012 DA14 won’t be visible to the eye, but you can watch the February 15 asteroid flyby online, in real-time.

The main asteroid – 2012 DA14 – is not expected to strike us in 2013, NASA says. There was a remote possibility it might strike us in 2020, but that possibility has been ruled out also.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closest on February 15, 2013. As the image above shows, it will pass much closer than the orbit of the moon – closer even that orbiting geosynchronous satellites (22,000 miles). View larger. Image Credit: NASA

What will happen when Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes closely in 2013?

Most of us won’t see the large asteroid 2012 DA14 or be aware of its passage, in any way. 2012 DA14 is not large enough to alter the tides. It won’t cause volcanoes. It’ll just sweep closely past us – as millions of asteroids have done throughout Earth’s four-and-a-half-billion-year history – some in your own lifetime. It appears, however, that asteroid 2012 DA14 was accompanied by another object, which astronomers did not detect until it struck in Russia, injuring hundreds.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be within range for small telescopes and solidly mounted binoculars, used by experienced observers who have access to appropriate stars charts. Indonesia is favored for viewing, because it will be the middle of the night there when the asteroid is closest. Europe and the Middle East will also be in a location to view the asteroid, potentially. But this will be a challenging observation. Even those familiar with using binoculars and telescopes will some experience to track the object as it moves rapidly across the sky. Read more about who will see asteroid 2012 DA14 here.

Closest Earth approach will occur about 19:26 UTC when the asteroid will achieve a magnitude of less than seven, which is somewhat fainter than naked eye visibility. About 4 minutes after its Earth close approach, there is a good chance it will pass into the Earth’s shadow for about 18 minutes or so before reappearing from the eclipse. You can be sure experienced astronomers will be watching for that event, and hopefully some will capture video.

What do we know about asteroid 2012 DA14?

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a little guy, compared to some asteroids. It is thought to be about 45 meters across (nearly 150 feet across), or about the length of half an American football field. Its estimated mass is about 130,000 metric tons.

If a space object 150 feet wide were to strike our planet, it wouldn’t be Earth-destroying. But it has been estimated that it would produce the equivalent of 2.4 megatons of TNT. How does that compare with other known impact events on Earth? In 1908, in a remote part of Russia, an explosion killed reindeer and flattened trees. But no crater was ever found. Scientists now believe a small comet struck Earth. That event has been estimated at 3 to 20 megatons. So 2012 DA14 is in the same approximate realm as the Tunguska comet (which, actually, might have been an asteroid instead). It would not destroy Earth, but it could flatten a city.

Of course, about 70% of our world is covered by oceans. That means the most likely landing spot of any incoming asteroid is in the water – not on a city or other populated area.

Astronomers at the Observatorio Astronómico de La Sagra in Spain discovered 2012 DA14 in early 2012. We know 2012 DA14′s orbit is similar to that of Earth. That is one reason the asteroid eluded astronomers until recently. You can be sure that many astronomers are carefully tracking 2012 DA14 now.

The orbit of 2012 DA14 is an inclined ellipse. In other words, it’s tilted sightly with respect to Earth’s orbit around the sun, and, like Earth’s orbit, it’s not circular but elliptical – like a circle that someone sat down on. According to Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, who appears to have used a computer program to look at its orbit:

The asteroid spends most of its time well away from our planet. However, the path of the rock does bring it somewhat close to the Earth twice per orbit, or about every six months. The last time it passed us was on February 16 [2012], when it was about 2.5 million km (1.5 million miles) away, equal to about 6 times the distance to the moon. That’s usually about the scale of these encounters — it misses us by quite a margin.

Will 2012 DA14 strike Earth in 2020?

No. In March 2012, when a collision between 2012 DA14 and Earth in 2020 was stillremotely possible, I asked astronomer Donald Yeomans to clarify the risk. Yeomans is, among other things, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In March 2012, he told EarthSky that a 2020 collision between Earth and asteroid 2012 DA14 was …

… approximately one chance in 83,000, with additional remote possibilities beyond 2020. However, by far the most likely scenario is that additional observations, especially in 2013, will allow a dramatic reduction in the orbit uncertainties and the complete elimination of the 2020 impact possibility.

It turned out they didn’t have to wait until 2013. By May, 2012, astronomers had ruled out even the remote possibility of a 2020 collision.

Still, 2012 DA14 and asteroids like it are sobering.

Bottom line: The near Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will have a very close pass near Earth on February 15, 2013. It will sweep approximately 21,000 miles from us – much closer than the moon’s orbit and closer than geosynchronous satellites. Its orbit around the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth’s surface on February 15, 2013 than 3.2 Earth radii. Meanwhile, a meteorite has struck in Russia, early in the day on Friday, February 15, 2013. It has not been confirmed whether the meteorite is associated with asteroid 2012 DA14, but asteroids do sometimes have moons, or travel in swarms.

What happened at Tunguska in 1908?

NEWS. Meteorite strikes Russia early in the day on Friday, February 15. More than 500 people hurt. INFO AND VIDEO HERE.

source:http://earthsky.org/space/asteroid-2012-da14-will-pass-very-close-to-earth-in-2013

Research Reveals Exactly How the Human Brain Adapts to Injury

Posted Yesterday

brainsadapttoinjury_500x395For the first time, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI) have used a new combination of neural imaging methods to discover exactly how the human brain adapts to injury. The research, published in Cerebral Cortex, shows that when one brain area loses functionality, a “back-up” team of secondary brain areas immediately activates, replacing not only the un area but also its confederates.

“The human brain has a remarkable ability to adapt to various types of trauma, such as traumatic brain injury and stroke, making it possible for people to continue functioning after key brain areas have been damaged,” said Marcel Just, the D. O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at CMU and CCBI director. “It is now clear how the brain can naturally rebound from injuries and gives us indications of  how individuals can train their brains to be prepared for easier recovery. The secret is to develop alternative thinking styles, the way a switch-hitter develops alternative batting styles. Then, if a muscle in one arm is injured, they can use the batting style that relies more on the uninjured arm.”

For the study, Just, Robert Mason, senior research psychologist at CMU, and Chantel Prat, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study precisely how the brains of 16 healthy adults adapted to the temporary incapacitation of the Wernicke area, the brain’s key region involved in language comprehension. They applied Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in the middle of the fMRI scan to temporarily disable the Wernicke area in the participants’ brains. The participants, while in the MRI scanner, were performing a sentence comprehension task before, during and after the TMS was applied. Normally, the Wernickearea is a major player in sentence comprehension.

The research team used the fMRI scans to measure how the brain activity changed immediately following stimulation to the Wernicke area. The results showed that as the brain function in the  Wernicke area decreased following the application of TMS, a “back-up” team of secondary brain areas immediately became activated and coordinated, allowing the individual’s thought process to continue with no decrease in comprehension performance.

The brain’s back-up team consisted of three types of brain regions: (1) contralateral areas —areas that are in the mirror-image location of the brain; (2) areas that are right next to the impaired area; and (3) a frontal executive area.

“The first two types of back-up areas have similar brain capabilities as the impaired Wernicke area, although they are less efficient at the capability,” Just said. “The third area plays a strategic role as in responding to the initial impairment and recruiting back-up areas with similar capabilities.”

Additionally, the research showed that impairing the Wernicke area also negatively affected the cortical partners with which the Wernicke area had been working. “Thinking is a network function,” Just explained. “When a key node of a network is impaired, the network that is closely collaborating with the impaired node is also impaired. People do their thinking with groups of brain areas, not with single brain areas.”

Mason, the study’s lead author, noted that following the TMS, the impaired area and its partners gradually returned to their previous levels of coordinated activity, while the back-up team of brain areas was still in place. “This means, that for some period of time, there were two cortical teams operating simultaneously, explaining why performance is sometimes improved by TMS,” he said.

This research builds on Just’s previous research on brain resilience after stroke and brain training to remediate dyslexia.  The studies are motivated by a computational theory, called 4CAPS, that provides an account of how autonomous brain systems dynamically self-organize themselves in response to changing circumstances, which the researchers believe to be the basis of fluid intelligence.

Just, who uses brain imaging to understand how brain processes underpin various types of human thought, has helped to establish Carnegie Mellon as a world leader in brain sciences. The university recently launched a Brain, Mind and Learning initiative to build from its  research excellence in psychology, computer science and computation to continue to solve real-world problems.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

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Memento Mori: Filip Coppens

Sadly, the Archons claim another bright spark…

Filip Coppens passed away in Los Angeles after fighting a rare form of cancer that was only merciful in that it did not prolong his suffering for too long. Some of you may now Filip from his appearances on Ancient Aliens but his work goes much deeper than that extremely reductionist presentation of AAT.

In fact, Filip recently wrote The Ancient Alien Question, that delved into the topic in a balanced, open-ended and dare I say skepticalfashion. His work on the topic- and all things weird and wonderful- is far more rewarding and challenging than the series itself. It was certainly a welcome corrective to the “flesh ‘n’ blood extra-treshtruls” mantra that has reduced the show to a laughingstock for so many.*

If you aren’t familiar with Filip’s work, please take this opportunity to delve into his website, which is a gemstone in the Reality-Based High Weirdness crown. Knee-jerking was anathema to Filip, who always erred on the side of open-minded caution.

Filip always realized that habeas corpus wasn’t just a legal formality, it was vital that alt.researchers end each sentence with a question mark until you can deliver the goods. Even if the Establishment never has to play by those rules (nor do hysterical Creationist shills, for that matter).

Filip, like Mac Tonnies, left us far too soon. But his (and Mac’s) work remains and if his way-too-early passing brings it to your attention for the first time, then take the opportunity to enrich your life with it. The bulk of Filip’s work deals with the secret history of ancient Europe and South America, and he spent a lot of time actually visiting the sites he wrote about.

The alt.research world is most certainly faced with some major challenges and there’s no sign on the horizon that it’s going to weather the coming storm front. There are a lot of dark forces with a lot of dark money who see it as a rich mission field for the gospel of fear, and it seems that their investment is really starting to pay off. In that, Filip’s passing seems like an omen.

I have never been more pessimistic as to where the field is going, particularly with the rise of Conspiricianity, which has the terrible gravity of a black hole and is sucking the feeble-minded into it like so much space-dust. Of course, all the fear-worship repels the same people Filip was trying to reach, turning them off to unconventional POVs, perhaps forever. Which is almost certainly the idea.

But perhaps the question becomes one of delivery. As I wrote recently, I was gobsmacked to see how dominant the high and the weird has become in Geekdom, even if it has to sneak through the back door, unannounced. But maybe the truly revolutionary thought contagions always do.

Either way, Filip Coppens left this Samsara but not before leaving behind a few cheat-codes for those who truly want to hack the reality mainframe. Take advantage of them.

* Even still, Filip didn’t shrink from rebutting the deliberately-misleading, crypto-Creationist disinfo recently released by two longtime apparatchiks for the totalitarian Dominionist-Reconstructionist syndicate (which Sun readers realize was spawned bydoctrinaire fascists like Jerry Falwell and Sun Myung Moon). Their “work” is explicitly produced as part of their ridiculous “ministries”; they won’t tell you but they’ll tell their “brethren” that their agitprop is about proselytizing not scholarship. The dictionary definition of shilling, in other words.

Filip didn’t shrink away (like too many others, out of ignorance or something else) from pointing that inconvenient truth out. I don’t know if the disease took hold before or after that confrontation- and I certainly hope that one has nothing to do with the other- but Filip’s energy and attention to detail is always second to none.

source: http://secretsun.blogspot.no/2012/12/memento-mori-filip-coppens.html

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New kind of magnetism discovered: Experiments demonstrate ‘quantum spin liquid’

Image: Tianheng Han
December 20, 2012 by David Chandler

MIT physicists grew this pure crystal of herbertsmithite in their laboratory. This sample, which took 10 months to grow, is 7 mm long (just over a quarter-inch) and weighs 0.2 grams.

Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, MIT researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism. Ads by Google Permanent Magnets & More – Alnico, Rare Earth, Permanent plus many more! Come & request a quote. – allstarmagnetics.com Ferromagnetism—the simple magnetism of a bar magnet or compass le—has been known for centuries. In a second type of magnetism, antiferromagnetism, the magnetic fields of the ions within a metal or alloy cancel each other out. In both cases, the materials become magnetic only when cooled below a certain critical temperature. The prediction and discovery of antiferromagnetism—the basis for the read heads in today’s computer hard disks—won Nobel Prizes in physics for Louis Neel in 1970 and for MIT professor emeritus Clifford Shull in 1994.

“We’re showing that there is a third fundamental state for magnetism,” says MIT professor of physics Young Lee. The experimental work showing the existence of this new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), is reported this week in the journal Nature, with Lee as the senior author and Tianheng Han, who earned his PhD in physics at MIT earlier this year, as lead author. The QSL is a solid crystal, but its magnetic state is described as liquid: Unlike the other two kinds of magnetism, the magnetic orientations of the individual particles within it fluctuate constantly, resembling the constant motion of molecules within a true liquid. Finding the evidence There is no static order to the magnetic orientations, known as magnetic moments, within the material, Lee explains. “But there is a strong interaction between them, and due to quantum effects, they don’t lock in place,” he says.

Although it is extremely difficult to measure, or prove the existence, of this exotic state, Lee says, “this is one of the strongest experimental data sets out there that [does] this. What used to just be in theorists’ models is a real physical system.” Philip Anderson, a leading theorist, first proposed the concept in 1987, saying that this state could be relevant to high-temperature superconductors, Lee says. “Ever since then, physicists have wanted to make such a state,” he adds. “It’s only in the past few years that we’ve made progress.” The material itself is a crystal of a mineral called herbertsmithite. Lee and his colleagues first succeeded in making a large, pure crystal of this material last year—a process that took 10 months—and have since been studying its properties in detail. Ads by Google Exercise Your Brain – Games You Didn’t Know Existed to Fight Brain Decline and Aging. – http://www.lumosity.com “This was a multidisciplinary collaboration, with physicists and chemists,” Lee explains. “You both … to synthesize the material and study it with advanced physics techniques. Theorists were also crucial to this.” Through its experiments, the team made a significant discovery, Lee says: They found a state with fractionalized excitations, which had been predicted by some theorists but was a highly controversial idea. While most matter has discrete quantum states whose changes are expressed as whole numbers, this QSL material exhibits fractional quantum states. In fact, the researchers found that these excited states, called spinons, form a continuum. This observation, they say in their Nature paper, is “a remarkable first.” Scattering neutrons To measure this state, the team used a technique called neutron scattering, which is Lee’s specialty.

To actually carry out the measurements, they used a neutron spectrometer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md. The results, Lee says, are “really strong evidence of this fractionalization” of the spin states. “That’s a fundamental theoretical prediction for spin liquids that we are seeing in a clear and detailed way for the first time.” It may take a long time to translate this “very fundamental research” into practical applications, Lee says. The work could possibly lead to advances in data storage or communications, he says—perhaps using an exotic quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, in which two widely separated particles can instantaneously influence each other’s states. The findings could also bear on research into high-temperature superconductors, and could ultimately lead to new developments in that field, he says. “We have to get a more comprehensive understanding of the big picture,” Lee says. “There is no theory that describes everything that we’re seeing.” Journal reference: Nature Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-kind-magnetism-quantum-liquid.html#jCp

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U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons
December 9th, 2012
05:55 PM ET

By Elise Labott

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.

The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American.

Recommended: Syrian rebels creating unified command

One of the aims, the sources said, is to try to get real time surveillance of the sites because the international community would not have time to prevent the use of the weapons otherwise. The program could explain how U.S. intelligence was able to learn what U.S. officials said was evidence the Assad government is mixing precursors for chemical weapons and loading those compounds into bombs. The intelligence, one U.S. official told CNN last week, came not just from satellite surveillance, but also from information provided by people. The official would not say whether the human intelligence came from telephone intercepts, defectors or people inside Syria.

The U.S. military is also working with neighboring Jordan’s military to train for the potential to secure chemical weapons sites. But U.S. troops cannot train rebel forces because the United States has only authorized nonlethal aid for the opposition.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to be backing off, at least for now, on the possible use of chemical weapons, after the major international outcry over the military activity, according to several sources. CNN reported Friday that the bombs are not being moved to any delivery devices and that the United States was not aware of any significant additional movement of chemical materials.

The Russians, who have allied with Syria, sent several strong messages to the Assad government over the past week against using chemical weapons, saying doing so would be a red line and Assad would lose Russia’s support if he did. However, the sources said that the lull in activity could be short-lived and they believe that, if desperate enough, Assad would not hesitate to use such weapons.

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Archaeologists discover latest hoard of gold in Europe

  • Beautifully-preserved treasures found in Bulgarian historical site
  • Thracian artefacts are more than 2,000 years old
  • May be linked to Phillip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s father

Archaeologists have unearthed ancient golden artefacts, including a tiara with animal motifs and a horse head piece, during excavation works at a Thracian tomb in northern Bulgaria.

The significant finds are dated back to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC and were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of a Thracian tribe, the Getae, that was in contact with the ancient Greeks.

The findings, at the Omurtag mount near the village of Sveshtari, also included a golden ring, 44 applications of female figures as well as 100 golden buttons.

Touching history: An archaeologist displays a gold tiara engraved with a lion's head and other animals found at the Bulgarian tomb. It is part of an incredible and historically-significant haulTouching history: An archaeologist displays a gold tiara engraved with a lion’s head and other animals found at the Bulgarian tomb. It is part of an incredible and historically-significant haul
History experts say the finds are likely remnants from the ritual burial of Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the GreatIntricate: History experts say the finds are likely to be remnants from the ritual burial of Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. (Right) A golden horse head piece

Intricate: History experts say the finds are likely to be remnants from the ritual burial of Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. (Right) A golden horse head piece

‘These are amazing findings from the apogee of the rule of the Getae,’ said Diana Gergova, head of the archaeologist team at the site of the ancient Getic burial complex situated near the village of Sveshtari, some 400 km northeast from Sofia.

‘From what we see up to now, the tomb may be linked with the first known Getic ruler Cothelas,’ said Gergova, a renowned researcher of Thracian culture with the Sofia-based National Archaeology Institute.

Gergova explains that it seemed the treasure was wrapped in a gold-woven cloth because a number of gold threads were discovered nearby.

“These were, most likely, remnants from a ritual burial”, said the professor, adding the team expects to discover a huge burial ground, probably related to the funeral of the Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon – Alexander the Great’s father.

A pair of golden artifacts that date back to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BCA pair of golden artifacts that date back to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC

Crafted: A pair of golden artefacts that date back to the end of the fourth or beginning of the third century BC

Valuable: The artifacts are Thracian. Modern Bulgaria is viewed as the geographical cradle of Thracian civilizationValuable: The artifacts are Thracian. Modern Bulgaria is viewed as the geographical cradle of Thracian civilization

Valuable: The artefacts are Thracian. Modern Bulgaria is viewed as the geographical cradle of Thracian civilisation

She notes this is a unique find, never before discovered in Bulgaria, according to Novinite.

One of the tombs there, known as the Tomb of Sveshtari, is included in the World Heritage List of U.N. education and culture agency, UNESCO, for its unique architectural decor with half-human, half-plant female figures and painted murals.

The find is so significant that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has arranged to see it at the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia where the treasure is currently placed.

The Thracians, ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy rich in gold treasures, inhabited an area extending over modern Romania and Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey from as early as 4,000 BC.

They lived on the fringes of the Greek and Roman civilisations, often intermingling and clashing with the more advanced cultures until they were absorbed into the Roman Empire around 45 AD.

Archaeologists have discovered a large number of artefacts in Bulgaria’s Thracian tombs in recent decades, providing most of what is known of their culture, as they had no written language and left no enduring records.

Insight: The excavations near the village of Sveshtari have been a rich source of information about the mysterious Thracians
Insight: The excavations near the village of Sveshtari have been a rich source of information about the mysterious Thracians

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2231461/A-golden-discovery-Bulgarian-archaelogists-discover-astonishing-artifacts-linked-Alexander-Great-vast-network-tombs.html#ixzz2CKiJJrGd

By SAM WEBB

PUBLISHED: 21:13 GMT, 11 November 2012 | UPDATED: 08:25 GMT, 12 November 2012

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Venice ‘high water’ floods 70% of city

Venetians direct anger at forecasters after ‘exceptional and unpredictable’ rise in sea waters floods homes and businesses.

People sit at a table in flooded St Mark's Square in Venice, Italy

People sit at a table in flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy Photograph: Luigi Costantini/AP

Tourists attached plastic bags to their legs or stripped off to take a dip in St Mark’s Square in Venice on Sunday as rising sea waters surged through the lagoon city. High water measuring 1.49 metres (5ft) above the normal level of the Adriatic sea came with bad weather that swept Italy over the weekend, causing floods in historic cities including Vicenza as well in the region of Tuscany 250 miles further south.

Venice’s high water, or “acqua alta”, said to be the sixth highest since 1872, flooded 70% of the city and was high enough to make raised wooden platforms for pedestrians float away. The record high water in Venice – 1.94 metres in 1966 – prompted many residents to abandon the city for new lives on the mainland.

Venetians bombarded Facebook with moans about the city’s weather forecasters, who had predicted just 1.2 metres of water on Saturday, before correcting their forecast at dawn on Sunday.

“How come the people from the council who put out the wooden platforms were predicting 150cm?” asked Matelda Bottoni, who manages a jewellery design shop off St Mark’s Square, which floods when water reaches 105cm. “Many residents and shopkeepers had gone to the mountains for the day and did not have time to rush back.”

Bottoni is so used to floods she has installed waterproof furniture and an angled floor. “I cannot keep the water out, but at least I can make sure it goes straight back out when it recedes,” she said.

Matteo Secchi, a hotelier and head of a protest group, who grew up in ground floor flat in Venice and recalls splashing into water on getting out of bed, said his hotel was only safe up to 140cm. “This morning the lagoon came right into the hotel entrance, and this is not clean water – you to mop with disinfectant twice after it goes down,” he said. “The British tourists don’t complain but the Americans can’t understand how it’s possible.”

Secchi complained that a running event around the city had not been cancelled on Sunday. “As Venetians were trying to fix their homes and shops, people were running down the flooded streets splashing everyone with water,” he said.

Alessandro Maggioni, the city’s assessor for public works, defended the Venice weather centre, describing the high water as “exceptional and unpredictable”. The Moses flood barrier system being built to protect the lagoon, due for completion in 2015, would have kept the city dry, he said. “Meanwhile, there is no rise in the incidence of high waters,” he said.

Bottoni disagreed. “My shop now has some form of flooding 100 days a year, up from 30-40 days when I moved in just 10 years ago.” But she does not plan to leave. “I was born and raised here and will stay here for the satisfaction of being in Venice.”

source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/11/venice-floods-high-water-italy

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50,000 dead starfish found on Irish beach

Lissadell Beach, Co Sligo, strewn with dead starfish

Lissadell Beach, Co Sligo, strewn with dead starfish

Extreme weather conditions have killed tens of thousands of starfish and left them strewn across a sheltered beach. A carpet of pink and mauve echinoderms, a family of marine animals, appeared yesterday morning on Lissadell Beach in north Co Sligo. The adult starfish, measuring between 7cm and 20cm in diameter and estimated to be up to 50,000 in number, stretched along 150 metres of the strand. Marine biologist and lecturer at Sligo Institute of Technology Bill Crowe speculated that they had been lifted up by a storm while feeding on mussel beds off shore. “The most likely explanation is that they were feeding on mussels but it is a little strange that none of them were attached to mussels when they were washed in,” he said. He added that if they had died as a result of a so-called ‘red tide’ or algal bloom, other sealife would have been washed ashore with them. “These were almost all adult size and the typical starfish variety that is found in the North Atlantic but there was nothing else mixed in with them,” he said. Surveying the unusual scene, he placed some in a bucket of seawater to test whether they were alive, but while this prompted a slight response from one or two of the creatures, the vast majority were dead. Tim Roderick, District Conservation Officer with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, agreed the phenomenon was most likely caused by recent bad weather. “They turned up almost certainly as a result of an exceptional storm event. “A storm hit the seabed where these sub-tidal animals were and lifted them up and washed them ashore,” he said. A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government said that investigations were continuing into how they came to be washed ashore but initial indications pointed to the stormy weather, which has been a feature in the north-west in recent days. In a similar episode earlier this year, thousands of dead starfish washed ashore on Youghal Beach in Co Cork. Scientists speculated that they, too, had been thrown on to the beach by an underflow, which was probably caused by a storm at sea.

Source Irish Independent

(For the record I don’t agree with the mussels, undertow, or storm theory. Marine animals have a very delicate and sensitive ecosystems that is required of their survival. I think their is more evidence of changing variations in these ecosystems that could affect the vitality of the creatures than anything else.)

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/50000-dead-starfish-found-on-irish-beach-14554962.html#ixzz2C1jZ3xrW

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Mystery space ball drops on Namibia

A large metallic space ball fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting authorities to contact Nasa and the European space agency.

Space ball drops on Namibia

With a diameter of 14 inches, the ball has a rough surface and appears to consist of ‘two halves welded together’ Photo: AFP/GETTY
The hollow ball, which has a circumference of 43 inches, was found near a village in the north of Namibia some 480 miles from the capital Windhoek, according to police forensics director Paul Ludik.

Locals had heard several small explosions a few days beforehand, he said.

With a diameter of 14 inches, the ball has a rough surface and appears to consist of “two halves welded together”.

It was made of a “metal alloy known to man” and weighed 13 pounds, said Ludik.

It was found 59ft from its landing spot, a hole one foot deep and 12ft wide.

The sphere was discovered mid-November, but authorities first did tests before announcing the find.

Police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka concluded the sphere did not pose any danger.

“It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first,” he said.

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8972985/Mystery-space-ball-drops-on-Namibia.html#

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Seafloor Rising

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Australian Bureau of Meteorology – Buoy 53046

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