A 9 gram "micro tug" robot climbs vertical glass carrying 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) payload enabled by gecko adhesives with 200:1 anisotropic adhesion. The ability to carry 100 body weights is comparable to a human climbing up a glass building while carrying an adult elephant. A 20 milligram climber is also demonstrated.
The secret to the bots’ strength comes from techniques borrowed from the animal kingdom. Inspired by the gecko, the engineers covered the robots’ feet with tiny rubber spikes that bend when pressure is applied. This increases their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the foot is lifted, the spikes straighten out, making them easy to detach from surfaces. And from the inchworm, the engineers borrowed the wall-climbing bot’s method of locomotion: while one half of its body moves forward, the other stays locked in place. This allows the bot to climb walls without losing its grip.
« Last Edit: Apr 27th, 2015, 6:53pm by Sys_Config »
Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur: Vegetarian relative of T. rex
Date: April 27, 2015
Artist's interpretation of Chilesaurus diegosuareziis. Credit: Gabriel Lío
Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants.
Palaeontologists are referring to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi as a 'platypus' dinosaur because of its bizarre combination of characters that resemble different dinosaur groups. For example, Chilesaurus boasted a proportionally small skull, hands with two fingers like Tyrannosaurus rex and feet more akin to primitive long-neck dinosaurs.
Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is nested within the theropod group of dinosaurs, the dinosaurian group that gathers the famous meat eaters Velociraptor, Carnotaurus and Tyrannosaurus, and from which birds today evolved. The presence of herbivorous theropods was up until now only known in close relatives of birds, but Chilesaurus shows that a meat-free diet was acquired much earlier than thought.
Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is named after the country where it was collected, as well as honouring Diego Suárez, the seven year old boy who discovered the bones. He discovered the fossil remains of this creature at the Toqui Formation in Aysén, south of Chilean Patagonia, in rocks deposited at the end of the Jurassic Period, approximately 145 million years ago.
Diego was in the region with his parents, Chilean geologists Manuel Suarez and Rita de la Cruz, who were studying rocks in the Chilean Patagonia, with the aim to better understand the formation of the Andes mountain range. Diego stumbled across the fossils while him and his sister, Macarena, were looking for decorative stones.
Due to Chilesaurus' unusual combination of characters, it was initially thought that Diego had uncovered several species. However, since Diego's find, more than a dozen Chilesaurus specimens have been excavated, including four complete skeletons -- a first for the Jurassic Period in Chile -- and they demonstrate that this dinosaur certainly combined a variety of unique anatomical traits.
Most of the specimens are the size of a turkey, but some isolated bones reveal that the maximum size of Chilesaurus was around three metres long. Chilean and Argentinian palaeontologists from institutions including the University of Birmingham, along with Diego's parents, have been studying these skeletons, with the findings published in full in Nature on April 27th.
Other features present in very different groups of dinosaurs Chilesaurus adopted were robust forelimbs similar to Jurassic theropods such as Allosaurus, although its hands were provided with two blunt fingers, unlike the sharp claws of fellow theropod Velociraptor. Chilesaurus' pelvic girdle resembles that of the ornithischian dinosaurs, whereas it is actually classified in the other basic dinosaur division -- Saurischia.
The different parts of the body of Chilesaurus were adapted to a particular diet and way of life, which was similar to other groups of dinosaurs. As a result of these similar habits, different regions of the body of Chilesaurus evolved resembling those present in other, unrelated groups of dinosaurs, which is a phenomenon called evolutionary convergence.
Chilesaurus represents one of the most extreme cases of mosaic convergent evolution recorded in the history of life. For example, the teeth of Chilesaurus are very similar to those of primitive long-neck dinosaurs because they were selected over millions of years as a result of a similar diet between these two lineages of dinosaurs.
Martín Ezcurra, Researcher, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham said: 'Chilesaurus can be considered a 'platypus' dinosaur because different parts of its body resemble those of other dinosaur groups due to mosaic convergent evolution. In this process, a region or regions of an organism resemble others of unrelated species because of a similar mode of life and evolutionary pressures. Chilesaurus provides a good example of how evolution works in deep time and it is one of the most interesting cases of convergent evolution documented in the history of life.
'Chilesaurus shows how much data is still completely unknown about the early diversification of major dinosaur groups. This study will force palaeontologists to take more care in the future in the identification of fragmentary or isolated dinosaur bones. It comes as false relationship evidence may arise because of cases of convergent evolution, such as that present in Chilesaurus.'
Dr. Fernando Novas, Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina, led the research on Chilesaurus and said: 'Chilesaurus is the first complete dinosaur from the Jurassic Period found in Chile and represents one of the most complete and anatomically correct documented theropod dinosaurs from the southern hemisphere. Although plant-eating theropods have been recorded in North America and Asia, this is the first time a theropod with this characteristic has been found in a southern landmass.
Chilesaurus was an odd plant-eating dinosaur only to be found in Chile. However, the recurrent discovery in beds of the Toqui Formation of its bones and skeletons clearly demonstrates that Chilesaurus was, by far, the most abundant dinosaur in southwest Patagonia 145 million years ago.'
Entrepreneurs hatch hen-rental idea for fans of fresh eggs
By KATHY MATHESON Apr. 28, 2015 7:41 AM EDT
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — The name of Jenn Tompkins' company sends customers into fits of laughter.
"When I answer the phone and I say, 'Rent The Chicken, this is Jenn,' they giggle and say, 'I would like to rent the chicken.' And then they giggle some more," Tompkins said.
But poultry leasing has turned out to be a serious investment as more people want fresh eggs from humanely raised hens, without the responsibilities of ownership. In two years, Pennsylvania-based Rent The Chicken has expanded to three other states, plus Toronto.
The growth is not an aberration. Coop rentals are booming nationwide as residents in cities, suburbs and the countryside flock to the anti-factory, locally sourced food movement. Some families also rent fowl as an educational experience for their children.
"As a society, we don't really like commitment," Tompkins said while visiting an affiliate in Mount Holly, New Jersey. "We don't want a contract on our cellphones; we don't want long-term commitment with our cable company. With chickens, they can live to seven or 10 years, and people are a bit scared of that."
Rentals remove that risk. Prices depend on the company, location and lease duration but start around $150 month. Most basic packages include two hens, a coop, feed and phone availability to answer questions. Birds can be returned early if things don't work out — and are available for adoption if things go well.
Rent a Coop, based in the Washington suburb of Potomac, Maryland, started out renting five or six coops per month in 2012, according to co-owner Tyler Phillips. Now they're renting 25 to 30 monthly and are opening a second location in New Jersey.
"I think it will be sustained," Phillips said of the business model. "People want to know where their food comes from."
Further evidence comes from the growth of BackyardChickens.com, an online forum that started eight years ago with 50 members and now has more than 325,000, according to administrator Rob Ludlow. The site gets about 7,000 daily posts from chicken enthusiasts, Ludlow said.
Jenn and Phillip Tompkins incubated their company in 2013 at their homestead on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Jenn Tompkins' home-based job as a university research assistant was ending, and she began looking for another way to work from her house.
They had recently moved to western Pennsylvania from a rowhouse near Baltimore in search of a simpler lifestyle, with a garden and small flock of chickens.
"It's a slippery slope," Tompkins said with a laugh. "We had the garden, we got some chickens; we had a bigger garden, got some more chickens. And now we have a chicken rental business."
The rental coops have wire bottoms and wheels so customers can move them to different spots in their yards, giving the hens fresh grass and bugs to eat in addition to their feed. Two chickens collectively produce about a dozen eggs each week.
Companies suggest would-be renters speak to neighbors first and do some research to ensure they don't run afoul of local ordinances or homeowners associations. But regulations can be nebulous, especially when the birds are temporary, and are usually enforced only after complaints.
Unlike crowing roosters, hens are generally quiet, clucking softly and briefly after laying an egg, Phillips said. He has picked up coops from urban sections of Washington where residents didn't realize their neighbors had chickens until they saw the birds leaving.
Leslie Thyberg has rented from the Tompkinses for about a year in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where the concept's popularity has led city officials to try to streamline permits for backyard livestock.
The healthful, tasty eggs and quiet good nature of the birds has won over skeptics like her husband, Thyberg said. She enjoys relaxing with a cup of tea or glass of wine while watching the hens hunt and peck in the backyard.
"They have personalities," Thyberg said. "I didn't really think about chickens having personalities."
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—“Large quantities” of liquid mercury have been discovered in a chamber at the end of a tunnel located beneath the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan. “It’s something that completely surprised us,” archaeologist Sergio Gómez of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History told Reuters. Last year he annouced that three chambers had been found at the end of the tunnel, which had been sealed for 1,800 years. Jade statues, jaguar remains, a box filled with carved shells and rubber balls, metallic spheres dubbed “disco balls,” and pyrite mirrors have also been uncovered. The mercury could indicate that Gómez and his team are closing in on the first royal tomb to be found in Teotihuacan. He thinks that the mercury could have symbolized an underworld river or lake. If there is a tomb, it could help scholars determine how the city was ruled.
Not one of your retirement location candidates.....
Bigger Earthquake Coming on Nepal's Terrifying Faults
by Becky Oskin, Senior Writer April 27, 2015
Nepal faces larger and more deadly earthquakes, even after the magnitude-7.8 temblor that killed more than 4,000 people on Saturday (April 25).
Earthquake experts say Saturday's Nepal earthquake did not release all of the pent-up seismic pressure in the region near Kathmandu. According to GPS monitoring and geologic studies, some 33 to 50 feet (10 to 15 meters) of motion may need to be released, said Eric Kirby, a geologist at Oregon State University. The earth jumped by about 10 feet (3 m) during the devastating April 25 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
"The earthquakes in this region can be much, much larger," said Walter Szeliga, a geophysicist at Central Washington University.
Nepal is one of the world's most earthquake-prone regions because it lies at the head-on collision between two tectonic plates. India is slamming into Asia, and neither wants to give. Both India and Asia are continental crust, of the same average density. So instead of one plate sinking beneath the other, such as is happening at the ocean-continent plate collision offshore South America, the Earth's crust crumples. Slices of India peel off and slowly squeeze under Asia, while Asia is mashed upward, forming the Himalayas.
India and Asia collide at about eight-tenths of an inch (2 centimeters) per year. Most of that energy is loaded onto earthquake faults as elastic strain because the faults are stuck together. Loading a fault is like squeezing a spring; an earthquake releases the built-up energy similar to an uncoiling spring.
Scientists think earthquakes that are magnitude 7.8 in size can't release all of the strain between India and Asia. Instead, history suggests most of the stored energy gets uncorked as earthquakes that are magnitude 8 or greater, according to geologic studies. It would take scores of magnitude-7 quakes to accommodate all of the plate motion, but only a handful of midsize, magnitude-8 quakes, or one magnitude 9. (The energy released by a quake increases by a factor of 30 with each additional point in magnitude.
The April 25 earthquake struck on one of the many thrust faults that mark the boundary between the two plates. Thrust faults are the most terrifying of all faults because they lie at an angle. This shallow angle means a massive part of the Earth's crust can lurch during an earthquake. Steeper faults quickly grow too warm and soft to break; as rocks get deeper, they flow like putty, Szeliga said. During the Nepal temblor, a piece of crust roughly 75 miles (120 kilometers) long and 37 miles (60 km) wide jogged 10 feet (3 m) to the south. The fault angled only 10 degrees from the surface, and the quake was only 9 miles (14 km) deep.
"This one was relatively shallow, which intensifies the surface shaking," Clark said.
A chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, told of an incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11.
A daycare facility inside the Pentagon had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do.
There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers.
Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, "Well, here we are, on our own."
About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers.
The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac ..
Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing - they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West.
Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.
The chaplain then said, "I don't think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there.There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.
It's the Military, not the politicians that ensure our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.
If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please pray for our men and women, who have served and are currently serving our country, and pray for the families of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Dark Knight of the Jurassic? Tiny Dinosaur Had Batlike Wings
by Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer April 29, 2015
Move over, Batman — there's a new Dark Knight in town. A tiny dinosaur with batlike wings may have glided through the Jurassic forests of what is now northeastern China, say paleontologists who analyzed the animal's bones.
Unlike any dinosaur ever found, the feathered pipsqueak may have been a failed experiment in early bird flight, the researchers say.
The researchers estimate the creature weighed less than a pound (380 grams).
The specimen also had feathers, but not the kind used for flight, the researchers said.
Yi qi probably wasn't a great flyer, and most likely moved through the air by a combination of flapping and gliding, Xu said.
Pre History is is so enthralling. We are learning so much so fast that things werent always as portrayed . Now we have even dinosaurs with feathers. I would hate to encounter any bugs, they would probably make short shrift of us too.
Former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass completely loses his mind in the warm up to a debate in Cairo with Graham Hancock. The trigger event appears to be the mention of another disinformation® author, Robert Bauval, a well-respected Egyptologist … in some circles but clearly not in the mind of Hawass.
This is the video description on YouTube:
For more than a year the encounter that took place at the Mena House Hotel, Giza Egypt, on 22 April 2015 between famed Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass and controversial alternative historian Graham Hancock, had been billed as”the first open debate between the representatives of two completely different versions of history.” On the night of the event, however, as Graham Hancock was focussing his slides prior to giving his opening presentation, and before most of the audience had even entered the room, Dr Hawass saw that one slide contained a photograph of Hancock’s colleague Robert Bauval, originator of the Orion correlation theory with whom Dr Hawass has had disagreements for many years. Dr Hawass immediately became furiously angry and began to shout at Hancock and at Hancock’s wife Santha (Santha is wearing the white dress in the video). Hawass demanded that Hancock censor his talk to remove all references to Robert Bauval and the Orion correlation theory. When Hancock explained that the alternative view of history that he was on stage to represent could not exclude the Orion correlation and therefore could not exclude Robert Bauval, Dr Hawass, again shouting, marched out of the debating room. One member of the audience who was present managed to record part of Dr Hawass’s meltdown which is the subject of this video.
Meanwhile, as the audience began to arrive, frantic negotiations took place off stage between the conference organisers and Dr Hawass. Finally Dr Hawass agreed to return and give his talk and answer questions from the audience, but he refused absolutely to hear or see Hancock’s talk, or to engage in any debate with Hancock. Hancock therefore gave his talk to the audience without Dr Hawass present (Dr Hawass sat in a room outside the conference hall while Hancock spoke). When Hancock had finished he answered questions from the audience. Then Dr Hawass entered, gave his talk, answered questions from the audience and left. During Dr Hawass’s Q&A he was asked a question about the 11,600-year-old megalithic site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and whether it had any impact on his assessment of the disputed age of the megalithic Great Sphinx of Giza
- See more at: http://disinfo.com/2015/04/zahi-hawass-goes-berserk-in-debate-with-graham-hancock/#sthash.ZIH0GmJA.dpuf (which Hancock and others have theorised may be of similar antiquity). Unfortunately it appeared that Dr Hawass was completely ignorant of the existence or implications of Gobekli Tepe so he was unable to answer the question, which he passed on to the moderator who also happened to be an Egyptologist and whose knowledge of Gobekli Tepe was also clearly incomplete (for example the moderator stated that Gobekli Tepe dates from the “late eleventh millennium BC through the tenth millennium BC” whereas in fact the dates presently established for Gobekli Tepe are from 9600 BC through 8200 BC, i.e. from 11,600 years ago to 10,200 years ago). Hancock did at that point have a brief opportunity to stand up and give his own point of view on Gobekli Tepe and on its implications for the age of the Sphinx, and we will post that exchange shortly. - See more at: http://disinfo.com/2015/04/zahi-hawass-goes-berserk-in-debate-with-graham-hancock/#sthash.ZIH0GmJA.dpuf
(which Hancock and others have theorised may be of similar antiquity). Unfortunately it appeared that Dr Hawass was completely ignorant of the existence or implications of Gobekli Tepe so he was unable to answer the question, which he passed on to the moderator who also happened to be an Egyptologist and whose knowledge of Gobekli Tepe was also clearly incomplete (for example the moderator stated that Gobekli Tepe dates from the “late eleventh millennium BC through the tenth millennium BC” whereas in fact the dates presently established for Gobekli Tepe are from 9600 BC through 8200 BC, i.e. from 11,600 years ago to 10,200 years ago). Hancock did at that point have a brief opportunity to stand up and give his own point of view on Gobekli Tepe and on its implications for the age of the Sphinx, and we will post that exchange shortly. - See more at: http://disinfo.com/2015/04/zahi-hawass-goes-berserk-in-debate-with-graham-hancock/#sthash.ZIH0GmJA.dpuf.
edit To be fair here Hancock, considering his knowledge of Egypt should never ever had said shame on you which for that culture carries substantial insult factor.
« Last Edit: Apr 29th, 2015, 10:44pm by Sys_Config »