Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9840 on: Jan 14th, 2014, 10:06am »
Our Brains Have a Map for Numbers
It is as if there is a number line in our heads
By Emilie Reas 14 January 2014
“Come on. Get out of the express checkout lane! That’s way more than twelve items, lady.”
Without having to count, you can make a good guess at how many purchases the shopper in front of you is making. She may think she’s pulling a fast one, but thanks to the brain’s refined sense for quantity, she’s not fooling anyone. This ability to perceive numerosity – or number of items – does more than help prevent express lane fraud; it also builds the foundation for our arithmetic skills, the economic system and our concept of value.
Until recently, it’s remained a puzzle how the brain allows us to so quickly and accurately judge quantity. Neuroscientists believe that neural representations of most high-level cognitive concepts – for example, those involved in memory, language or decision-making – are distributed, in a relatively disorganized manner, throughout the brain. In contrast, highly organized, specialized brain regions have been identified that represent most lower-level sensory information, such as sights, sounds, or physical touch. Such areas resemble maps, in that sensory information is arranged in a logical, systematic spatial layout. Notably, this type of neural topography has only previously been observed for the basic senses, but never for a high-level cognitive function.
Researchers from the Netherlands may have discovered an exception to this rule, as reported in their recently published Science paper: a small brain area which represents numerosity along a continuous “map.” Just as we organize numbers along a mental “number line,” with one at the left, increasing in magnitude to the right, so is quantity mapped onto space in the brain. One side of this brain region responds to small numbers, the adjacent region to larger numbers, and so on, with numeric representations increasing to the far end.
To examine how the brain responds when perceiving quantities, the researchers conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain while participants viewed different numbers of dots on a screen. They included multiple versions of the task, keeping key features — like dot size, circumference and density — constant, to be certain that any effects were indeed attributable to dot quantity, rather than dot shape or size. The participants weren’t asked to judge the number of dots, to ensure that brain activity related to perceiving quantity, rather than counting. The researchers then looked for brain activity that systematically varied with the number of dots the participants viewed.
The scientists identified a region, a few centimeters wide, in the right superior parietal lobe (in the upper back part of the brain) that mapped numerosity. One edge of this patch (closer to the middle of the brain) responded maximally to small quantities, and the opposite edge (closer to the outside of the brain) responded to the largest quantities. The location and layout of this map was remarkably consistent across all eight individuals’ brains. Earlier studies reported that this same brain area in humans, and single neurons in an analogous part of the monkey brain, responded to numerosity. However, these studies had not detected this systematically organized map.
The researchers more closely examined how activity in this neural map related to the numbers and types of dots the participants viewed. They found that the parietal cortex map represented relative, not absolute, quantities. For instance, a given region might respond to two dots in one task condition, but to three in another; but across tasks, it always responded to small numbers of dots. Furthermore, the amount of cortex devoted to a given quantity varied, such that disproportionately more area represented small quantities, and less area represented large quantities. The map was more selective for smaller than larger numerosities. This system makes intuitive sense, as it corresponds with our subjective experience. It’s much easier to distinguish between one or two cookies left in the jar, than between eleven and twelve cookies. In light of these findings, this finer discrimination for smaller quantities might arise from their overrepresentation in the brain.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9843 on: Jan 14th, 2014, 7:02pm »
Thanks for this post on another thread Swamprat. Hope you don't mind if I post it here also.
16-17 May 2014
APICON UFO Conference 2014 Tampa!
It is with great pleasure that we, Aerial Phenomena, invite you to attend another amazing UFO conference for 2014. Aerial Phenomena: Never Stop Believing will take place in Tampa, FL from 16 to 17 May 2014 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center (Busch Gardens). We have an amazing line up of speakers:
Antonio Paris, from Aerial Phenomena and Destination America's Unsealed: Alien Files Bill Murphy, SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked Bill Birnes, History Channel's UFO Hunters Anthony Sanchez, UFO Highway Nick Redfern, The Real Men in Black John Alexander, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities Chris Flemming, UFO Encounters Travis Walton, Fire in the Sky
In addition, there will be a:
Meet the Speakers Pool-side Reception on Friday, 16 May (Food Included) Lunch is provided for Saturday, 17 May Vendor tables for those who want to sell and/or promote their UFO related stuff Speaker Q&A broadcasted live via Google Hangout Photo opportunities with speakers
For more information regarding the conference, opportunities to promote or sponsor, and to volunteer to assist contact Antonio Paris at 202-258-4001.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9846 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 10:24am »
Katherine Times (Australia)
UFO: Gone in a split second
Jan. 15, 2014, 9:03 a.m.
ANOTHER sighting of an unexplained light in the night sky above Katherine has been reported.
David Schuman, who photographed what he believes was a UFO at the Strongbala Men’s Health Centre last month, said he was washing dishes at the Centre on Thursday night, when he ran out of water and went outside to fill up the water tank.
“It was just on dark and I had just turned on the pump when I spotted a dullish, grey object in the sky over the highway,” he said.
“It was there for only a few moments when all of a sudden, it glowed like the sun in its strength in a bright light.
“I couldn’t turn my eyes away and after no more than a second it suddenly shot across the sky like in a continuous flat bright line.
“When it streaked away I couldn’t determine a shape in it at all, and in fact I don't know of anything that could have survived travelling at such a speed as it was travelling.”
Mr Schuman said the freak sighting only lasted a few short seconds.
“Even if there had of been a camera in my hand at the time, it wouldn't have made any difference at all, the damn thing was there one second and then it was gone, literally in a flash,” he said.
The UFO spotter said it appeared the light shot off in northern direction “above the Stuart Highway or parallel to it”.
The sighting took place around the same time a Territory man had the fright of his life when he was travelling along the Stuart Highway south of Tennant Creek and was chased by what he believes was a UFO.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9847 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 10:28am »
Go Deep Into the Amazon With Scientists Unraveling a Creepy Mystery
By Nadia Drake 01.15.14 6:30 AM
TAMBOPATA, Peru — We stepped off the boat and asked our driver to pick us up from the island at midnight. Then we headed off into the muddy dark, seizing our final chance to solve a mystery that had captivated scientists and the internet since early September. That’s when photos of the enigmatic fenced-in silk towers that had been spotted on this island, deep in the Peruvian Amazon, first went viral.
Over the last week, gathering clues about the weird silk structures had become a top priority for the scientists we were following through the rainforest. But despite multiple trips to Fish Pond Island, which sits near the western bank of the Rio Tambopata, they still had no idea what was building the towers, or why. Were they elaborate spider egg sacs? Packages full of sperm and nutrients? Something they hadn’t yet imagined?
That night, our goal was to catch something in the act of making the webby tower structures. Enough fresh towers had appeared each day to make us think they were being built with regularity. But meeting their makers had proved frustratingly difficult. We thought we had a better chance of spotting the elusive builders at night, because many spiders and insects are at their most active after sundown. We were also looking for any insects or spiders that appeared to be hanging out by the structures.
The rainforest was being a bit more cooperative than the previous night, when thigh-high floodwaters had overtaken the island’s trails. We trudged on through the muddy aftermath, clad in uncomfortable knee-high rubber boots and eyeing the vegetation bordering the trail. Second in importance to studying those towers was keeping an eye out for the only spiders we weren’t particularly happy to see: wandering spiders, genus Phoneutria — which is Greek for “murderess.” Known for being aggressive, these highly venomous spiders deliver a painful, neurotoxic venom that can be deadly.
They also seemed to enjoy positioning themselves at elbow height on leaves in the underbrush, and we’d seen a stupidly high number of them on this island.
Entomologist Phil Torres suddenly stopped. “Whoa. That is a huge wandering spider,” he said, moving to the right side of the trail and aiming his headlamp at the 5-inch-wide spider on the left. Its many eyes gleamed orange under the light.
“Oooh, there’s another one!” entomologist Lary Reeves said, pointing to a slightly smaller – but still absurdly big – arachnid perched next to the first. He readied his camera and poked the huge one, hoping to capture the spider’s response. Torres took a step back, and I had visions of the spider leaping onto Reeves’ face and eating him alive amidst flying mud and futile camera flashes.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9848 on: Jan 16th, 2014, 09:47am »
First Black Hole Orbiting a 'Spinning' Star
Jan. 16, 2014 — Spanish scientists have discovered the first binary system ever known to consist of a black hole and a 'spinning' star -- or more accurately, a Be-type star. Although predicted by theory, none had previously been found. The observations that led to the discovery were performed with the Liverpool and Mercator telescopes at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Canary Islands, Spain). The discovery is published today in Nature.
Be-type stars are quite common across the Universe. In our Galaxy alone more than 80 of them are known in binary systems together with neutron stars. 'Their distinctive property is their strong centrifugal force: they rotate very fast, close to their break-up speed. It's like they were cosmic spinning tops,'says Jorge Casares of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and La Laguna University (ULL). Casares is the lead author and an expert in stellar-mass black holes (he presented the first solid proof of their existence back in 1992).
The newly discovered black hole orbits the Be star known as MWC 656, located in the constellation Lacerta (the Lizard) -- 8,500 light years from Earth. The Be star rotates so fast that its surface speed exceeds 1 million kilometres per hour. 'We started studying this star back in 2010, when space telescopes detected transient gamma-ray emission coming from its direction,' explains Marc Ribó, of the Institut de Ciències del Cosmos of Barcelona University (ICC/IEEC-UB). 'No more gamma-ray emission has subsequently been detected, but we found that the star was part of a binary system,' he adds.
A detailed analysis of its spectrum allowed scientists to infer the characteristics of its companion. 'It turned out to be an object with a mass between 3.8 and 6.9 solar masses. An object like that, invisible to telescopes and with such large mass, can only be a black hole, because no neutron star with more than three solar masses can exist,' states Ignasi Ribas, of CSIC in the Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio (IEEC-CSIC).
The black hole orbits the (more massive) Be star and is fed by matter ejected from the latter. 'The high rotation speed of the Be star causes matter to be ejected into an equatorial disc. This matter is attracted by the black hole and falls on to it, forming another disc -- called an "accretion disc"'. By studying the emission from the accretion disc we could analyse the motion of the black hole and measure its mass,' comments Ignacio Negueruela, a lecturer at the University of Alicante (UA).
Scientists believe this object to be a nearby member of a hidden population of Be stars paired with black holes. 'We think these systems are much more common than previously thought, but they're difficult to detect because their black holes are fed from gas ejected by the Be stars without producing much radiation, in a "silent" way, so to speak. However, we hope to detect other similar binary systems in the Milky Way and other nearby galaxies by using bigger telescopes, such as the Gran Telescopio Canarias,' concludes Casares.
Also participating in the study with Jorge Casares, Ignacio Negueruela, Marc Ribó and Ignasi Ribas are Josep M. Paredes , of Institut de Ciències del Cosmos of Barcelona University (ICC/IECC-UB) and Artemio Herrero and Sergio Simón, both from the IAC and ULL.
Black holes, an ongoing challenge
The detection of black holes has been a challenge since their existence was first surmised by John Michell and Pierre Laplace in the 18th century. Given that they are invisible -- their enormous gravitational force prevents light from escaping -- telescopes cannot detect them. However, black holes can occasionally trigger high energy radiation from the environment surrounding them and can thus be traced by X-ray satellites. This is the case with active black holes, fed by matter transferred from a nearby star. If violent X-ray emission is detected from a place where nothing but a normal star is seen, a black hole might be hiding there.
Using this method, researchers have discovered 55 potential black holes over the last 50 years. Seventeen of them have what astronomers call a 'dynamic confirmation': the feeding star has been localised, allowing for the mass of its invisible companion to be measured. If it is above three solar masses, then it is considered to be a black hole.
The biggest problem is put forth by 'dormant' black holes, such as the one found by the Spanish researchers: 'Their X-ray emission is almost absent, and so it is very unlikely that our attention would be drawn to them,' Casares explains. Researchers believe there are thousands of black hole binary systems across the Milky Way, some of them also with Be-type stellar companions.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9849 on: Jan 16th, 2014, 09:53am »
The Mafia's Deadly Garbage: Italy's Growing Toxic Waste Scandal
By Walter Mayr January 16, 2014 – 12:09 PM
Carmine Schiavone has been baptized twice. The first time was as a newborn, by the priest. The second was by the godfather himself, Luciano Liggio, a leading figure in the Sicilian Mafia.
"The second baptism went like this," says Schiavone. "An icon was placed in my hand and a drop of blood was dribbled onto it. Then, the icon was burned and the following was recited: 'You shall burn like this saint if you betray the brothers or the allies of the Cosa Nostra.'"
Schiavone gave his vow, committed himself to the cause -- and nevertheless went on to betray it in the end. After years as a leader in the notorious Casalesi clan, part of the Mafia network around Naples, he changed sides in 1993 and became a key witness in legal proceedings against his associates. He testified against Casalesi heavies with nicknames such as Sandokan, Midnight Fatty, Baby and others.
When the so-called "Spartacus Trial" finally ended in 2010, members of the Campania clan received up to 16 consecutive life sentences, thanks not least to the testimony provided by Schiavone. His reward has been a new life under police protection in which he had to constantly remain on the move. On this morning, too, he has a fake ID in his pocket just in case, complete with an alias and a birthplace in Libya.
Sitting in front of an open fireplace in a countryside villa, a cat dozing on his lap, he looks like someone who has made his peace with the world. But the bucolic scene is misleading; the guilt from his previous life weighs heavily on Schiavone. "I participated in about 50 murders, some of them I ordered myself. I knew about an additional 400 to 500."
The ex-Mafioso has spent roughly half of his 70 years in jail or under house arrest. From a legal point of view, he has paid for his crimes. Yet these days, Schiavone is once again the center of attention, due to testimony that he delivered on Oct. 7, 1997 before a parliamentary investigative committee in Rome. His statement was so expansive that it was kept secret -- until the Italian parliament relented to public pressure at the end of October last year and lifted its classification.
'Millions of Tons'
The 1997 hearing was not focused on the kind of killing that Schiavone played a role in during the gang warfare in the Neapolitan hinterlands. Rather, it centered on negligent homicide -- the product of contaminated soil and groundwater from highly toxic waste that, as is now known, was for years illegally and profitably dumped, primarily by the Casalesi clan.
"We are talking about millions of tons," Schiavone, formerly head of administration for the Mafia organization, told the parliamentarians. "I also know that trucks came from Germany carrying nuclear waste." The operations took place under the protection of darkness and were guarded by Mafiosi in military police uniforms, he said. He showed Italian justice officials the location of many of the dumpsites because, as he put it in 1997, the people in those areas are at risk of "dying of cancer within 20 years."
More than 16 years have passed since Schiavone uttered this prophecy before the investigative committee -- and nothing has been done. The outrage is all the greater now. Not only because cancer researchers have found mounting indicators that Schiavone might have been telling the truth. But also because numerous officials at all levels must have known about Schiavone's warnings since the mid-1990s -- and ignored them.
The pressure is particularly great on the following players:
◾Giorgio Napolitano was Italy's interior minister at the time and thus ultimately in charge of the investigation. Today, he is the country's president. ◾Gennaro Capoluongo was, according to Schiavone, in a helicopter that went on a tour of some of the toxic waste dumps. Today, he is Italy's Interpol head. ◾Alessandro Pansa was head of mobile units for the Italian police force at the time. Now he is head of the Italian State Police. ◾Nicola Cavaliere was with the criminal police at the time and was involved in the case, according to Schiavone. Today is the deputy head of Italy's domestic intelligence service.
But even as evening news programs in Italy are now warning of an "atomic inferno," the country's officials are proceeding as they always have, particularly President Napolitano. He speaks of the Camorra as being the "main actor" in the environmental disaster near his hometown of Naples while preferring not to talk about his own role. Secret service deputy Cavaliere has said that he "never directly" dealt with the issue. And others implicated by Schiavone have either remained silent or attempted to play down concerns.
Names, Dates and Places
Didn't the journalist Roberto Saviano already describe in his book "Gomorrah" how the Mafia had transformed Italy's south into a garbage dump for the rich north? Why the sudden alarm? Might it be that a crazed ex-Mafioso is suddenly sowing panic so that the state spends millions to clean up the toxic sites -- from which the Mafia could once again profit?
It's certainly possible.
But even that would do little to lessen the severity of Schiavone's accusations. Nobody before him spoke of nuclear waste transports. Nobody before him described in such detail how industrial waste from illegal plants in the north found its way to the south. He recounted how the waste -- irrespective of whether it contained dioxin, asbestos or tetrachloroethylene -- was dumped into pits that had been dug in the process of road construction.
It is estimated that 11.6 million tons of waste are illegally disposed of each year in Italy. The environmental organization Legambiente puts the business in black garbage at over €16 billion in 2012. It would seem to be a crisis-proof line of work, particularly given that Mafia clans offer their services at a fraction of the price of official disposal firms.
The Mafia is a part of the state, Schiavone says, adding that the Casalesi were a "state clan" and that the state profited from the garbage business as well -- serious accusations which he says he can prove. The former Mafioso opens the door into a room where he keeps boxes of documents, digs into the papers and starts naming names, dates and places.
All of the information in his possession, Schiavone says, was provided to national anti-Mafia officials in the 1990s. The name of a Milan-based intermediary firm, which played a key role in the north-south waste transfer, was also included in the documents. "But that part of my testimony was classified by King Giorgio," he says.
King Giorgio? "Napolitano, who was interior minister at the time." And who was behind the company in Milan? "One of the partners," Schiavone says, "was PB -- Paolo Berlusconi." Paolo Berlusconi is the vice president of the football club AC Milan and brother of four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Was he really a participant in the Mafia's trade in toxic and nuclear waste? Schiavone has publicly said as much, but Paolo Berlusconi calls his claims a "fairy tale."
'Land of Poison'
If you head south on the Autostrada del Sole and exit at Casserta, just short of Naples, you will end up where thousands of trucks in past decades dumped their loads of industrial waste -- in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. It is right in the heart of the region where Goethe spent some time during his southerly travels, describing it delightedly as the "most fertile plain in the world."
Times have changed. As early as 2004, the British medical journal The Lancet Oncology described the area around Acerra as a "triangle of death" where sheep with two heads were born. Later, the entire region north of Naples was dubbed "Terra dei fuochi" or "Land of Fires." Images circulated of ragged children in front of black pillars of smoke rising above unauthorized garbage dumps. Now that it has become clear that the greatest danger is posed by what remains beneath the earth, it is referred to as "Land of Poison."
The area that Goethe once traveled through is now a series of non-descript settlements separated by cauliflower fields and shopping centers; one sees Nigerian prostitutes, figurines of saints in roadside altars and mountains of garbage where you can find everything from beer bottles to barrels of dioxin. And yet, even on this piece of maltreated Italian territory, there is a tiny drop of color: a vanilla-toned fortress, stranded like a UFO on a far-away planet.
The lovingly landscaped US Navy base in Gricignano lies halfway between two poisoned swathes of land. Which means that everyone on the base, including Admiral Bruce Clingan, who commands US and Allied forces in Europe and Asia -- and resides in the "Villa Capri" with its view of Mt. Vesuvius -- must obey strict rules. Tap water may no longer be used on base, not even for brushing teeth. Even the Naval Support Activity commander's cat drinks bottled water.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9850 on: Jan 17th, 2014, 08:46am »
Egypt: Sarcophagus Leads to the Tomb of a Previously Unknown Pharaoh, from 3,600 Years Ago
Jan. 16, 2014 — Archaeologists working at the southern Egyptian site of Abydos have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh: Woseribre Senebkay -- and the first material proof of a forgotten Abydos Dynasty, ca. 1650-1600 BC. Working in cooperation with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, a team from the Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania, discovered king Senebkay's tomb close to a larger royal tomb, recently identified as belonging to a king Sobekhotep (probably Sobekhotep I, ca. 1780 BC) of the 13th Dynasty.
The discovery of pharaoh Senebkay's tomb is the culmination of work that began during the summer of 2013 when the Penn Museum team, led by Dr. Josef Wegner, Egyptian Section Associate Curator of the Penn Museum, discovered a huge 60-ton royal sarcophagus chamber at South Abydos. The sarcophagus chamber, of red quartzite quarried and transported to Abydos from Gebel Ahmar (near modern Cairo), could be dated to the late Middle Kingdom, but its owner remained unidentified. Mysteriously, the sarcophagus had been extracted from its original tomb and reused in a later tomb -- but the original royal owner remained unknown when the summer season ended.
In the last few weeks of excavations, fascinating details of a series of kings' tombs and a lost dynasty at Abydos have emerged. Archaeologists now know that the giant quartzite sarcophagus chamber derives from a royal tomb built originally for a pharaoh Sobekhotep -- probably Sobekhotep I, the first king of Egypt's 13th Dynasty. Fragments of that king's funerary stela were found just recently in front of his huge, badly robbed tomb. A group of later pharaohs (reigning about a century and a half later during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period) were reusing elements from Sobekhotep's tomb for building and equipping their own tombs. One of these kings (whose name is still unknown) had extracted and reused the quartzite sarcophagus chamber. Another king's tomb found just last week is that of the previously unknown pharaoh: Woseribre-Senebkay.
A Lost Pharaoh and a Forgotten Dynasty
The newly discovered tomb of pharaoh Senebkay dates to ca. 1650 BC during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. The identification was made by Dr. Wegner and Kevin Cahail, Ph.D. student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania. The tomb of Senebkay consists of four chambers with a decorated limestone burial chamber. The burial chamber is painted with images of the goddesses Nut, Nephthys, Selket, and Isis flanking the king's canopic shrine. Other texts name the sons of Horus and record the king's titulary and identify him as the "king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Woseribre, the son of Re, Senebkay."
Senebkay's tomb was badly plundered by ancient tomb robbers who had ripped apart the king's mummy as well as stripped the pharaoh's tomb equipment of its gilded surfaces. Nevertheless, the Penn Museum archaeologists recovered the remains of king Senebkay amidst debris of his fragmentary coffin, funerary mask, and canopic chest. Preliminary work on the king's skeleton of Senebkay by Penn graduate students Paul Verhelst and Matthew Olson (of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) indicates he was a man of moderate height, ca. 1.75 m (5'10), and died in his mid to late 40s.
The discovery provides significant new evidence on the political and social history of Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. The existence of an independent "Abydos Dynasty," contemporary with the 15th (Hyksos) and 16th (Theban) Dynasties, was first hypothesized by Egyptologist K. Ryholt in 1997. The discovery of pharaoh Senebkay now proves the existence of this Abydos dynasty and identifies the location of their royal necropolis at South Abydos in an area anciently called Anubis-Mountain. The kings of the Abydos Dynasty placed their burial ground adjacent to the tombs of earlier Middle Kingdom pharaohs including Senwosret III (Dynasty 12, ca. 1880-1840 BC), and Sobekhotep I (ca. 1780 BC). There is evidence for about 16 royal tombs spanning the period ca. 1650-1600 BC. Senebkay appears to be one of the earliest kings of the "Abydos Dynasty." His name may have appeared in a broken section of the famous Turin King List (a papyrus document dating to the reign of Ramses II, ca. 1200 BC) where two kings with the throne name "Woser...re" are recorded at the head of a group of more than a dozen kings, most of whose names are entirely lost.
The tomb of pharaoh Senebkay is modest in scale. An important discovery was the badly decayed remains of Senebkay's canopic chest. This chest was made of cedar wood that had been reused from the nearby tomb of Sobekhotep I and still bore the name of that earlier king, covered over by gilding. Such reuse of objects from the nearby Sobekhotep tomb by Senebkay, like the reused sarcophagus chamber found during the summer, provides evidence that suggests the limited resources and isolated economic situation of the Abydos Kingdom which lay in the southern part of Middle Egypt between the larger kingdoms of Thebes (Dynasties 16-17) and the Hyksos (Dynasty 15) in northern Egypt. Unlike these numbered dynasties, the pharaohs of the Abydos Dynasty were forgotten to history and their royal necropolis unknown until this discovery of Senebkay's tomb.
"It's exciting to find not just the tomb of one previously unknown pharaoh, but the necropolis of an entire forgotten dynasty," noted Dr. Wegner. "Continued work in the royal tombs of the Abydos Dynasty promises to shed new light on the political history and society of an important but poorly understood era of Ancient Egypt."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9851 on: Jan 17th, 2014, 08:54am »
Scientists discover why birds fly in a V
January 17, 2014
Birds of a feather may flock together, but why they fly together in V formations has never been known for certain. Now, with the help of 14 northern bald ibises fitted with lightweight sensors on a 1000-kilometre migration from Austria to Tuscany, researchers are suggesting that the explanation is one that was long suspected but never proved: the formation helps the birds conserve energy.
Reporting in the journal Nature, the scientists write that the ibises positioned themselves in spots which were aerodynamically optimal, allowing them to take advantage of swirls of upward-moving air generated by the wings of the bird ahead. The lead bird gets no lift advantage; the ibises regularly switched leaders.
''We've been wondering for years whether flapping birds can save energy by following each other in the right way,'' said Geoffrey Spedding, chairman of the aerospace and mechanical engineering department at the University of Southern California, who was not involved in the study. ''This work answers that question, and the answer is yes.''
The study looked at ibises, but experts say it could apply to other birds that fly in V formations as well, such as ducks and pelicans.
The scientists, led by Jim Usherwood of the Royal Veterinary College in Britain, said a major challenge was obtaining the data. The ibises were hatched at Zoo Vienna in March 2011 and raised as part of a project aimed at reintroducing the endangered species to its natural range in Europe.
Some of the study's authors served as human foster parents, taking the young birds on training flights. The humans rode in a paraplane, a lightweight aircraft attached to a parachute, and the birds followed.
An analysis of 24,000 flaps showed that the ibises on average adjusted their position to optimise the lift from the vortices, and readjusted their phasing when they changed positions within the V. The study does not say how much energy was saved, but small gains could be useful over long migrations, experts say.
Another question is how the birds know to fly in these optimal spots. Dr Usherwood said that they might have evolved ''rules of thumb'', or that ''they have good sensors'' and adjust to find spots that feel good. ''Splitting apart those possibilities would be possible with cunning experiments we have planned,'' he said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9852 on: Jan 17th, 2014, 10:00am »
Mystery rock suddenly appears near Mars rover, puzzling scientists
By Ellis Hamburger on January 17, 2014 10:15 am
A "jelly doughnut-sized" rock has appeared in front of the Opportunity rover on Mars, and scientists can't figure out where it came from, Discovery News reports. The discovery was revealed by Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres in a "10 years of roving Mars" keynote at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory last night. "Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us!" he exclaimed, discussing past rover findings, but this time, he meant it literally.
The rock, which scientists have dubbed "Pinnacle Island," appeared in front of Opportunity for one of two reasons, NASA says: the rover flipped the rock as it maneuvered, or the rock landed there after a nearby meteorite impact. Either way, the intrepid Opportunity now has something new to look at. "[The rock] obligingly turned upside down, so we're seeing a side that hasn't seen the Martian atmosphere in billions of years and there it is for us to investigate," Squyres said. "It's just a stroke of luck."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9853 on: Jan 18th, 2014, 01:17am »
Morning Crystal..that was great article..Nasa scientists sound so much like us when something out of the ordinary happens.That was close to the .We were freaked out.or I dont know what it is or came from..someone just tell me what it is and what its doing here!.I've never seen anything like it in my life! anyway..good one!.
Using a 3d Printer to print a House
« Last Edit: Jan 18th, 2014, 01:20am by Equalizer »