Jul 24, 2010

Meteor Crater Discovered With Google Earth

Researchers poring over Google Earth images have discovered one of Earth’s freshest impact craters — a 45-meter-wide pock in southwestern Egypt that probably was excavated by a fast-moving iron meteorite no more than a few thousand years ago.

sciencenewsAlthough the crater was first noticed in autumn 2008, researchers have since spotted the blemish on satellite images taken as far back as 1972, says Luigi Folco, a cosmochemist at the University of Siena in Italy. He and his colleagues report their find online July 22 in Science.

The rim of the Egyptian crater stands about 3 meters above the surrounding plain, which is partially covered with distinct swaths of light-colored material blasted from the crater by the impact. These rays, which emanate from the impact site like spokes from the hub of a wheel, are what drew researchers’ attention to the crater, says Folco. While such “rayed craters” are common on the moon and other airless bodies of the solar system, they are exceedingly rare on Earth because erosion and other geological processes quickly erase such evidence.

Read mor at Wired

Jul 23, 2010

Evidence of human sacrifices found on Peru's northern coast

The discovery appears to reinforce prevailing theories about a ceremony known as "the presentation" that was carried out by the Moche people, an agricultural civilisation that flourished between 100 BC and 800 AD.

Carlos Wester La Torre, director of the Bruning Museum in Peru and a leader of the dig, said the ceremonial site likely hosted ritual killings of prisoners of war.

Photographs taken at the site show more than half a dozen skeletons on the floor of the hall.

"There was a great ceremonial hall or passage integrated into the rest of the architecture that establishes the presence of certain figures of the Moche elite and also the practice of complex rituals such as human sacrifice," Mr Wester told Reuters.

His team uncovered a 200-foot-long corridor opening up to face three equidistant porticos and five thrones on the archaeological site's main pyramid.

Read more at The Telegraph

Stonehenge Twin Found Near Ancient Monument

Archaeologists said Thursday they have discovered a monument similar to Stonehenge near the ancient stone circle, dubbing it the most exciting find at the site for 50 years.

The structure is said to be like a wooden version of the world-famous collection of giant stones piled up on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

"This is probably the first major ceremonial monument that has been found in the past 50 years or so," said Vince Gaffney, a professor from the University of Birmingham, who is leading the archaeological dig. "It will completely change the way we think about the landscape around Stonehenge."

The new "henge-like" monument, found just 900 meters (2,950 feet) away from Stonehenge, is thought to have been a circular, timber structure with two entrances. It was probably constructed around the same time as the stone circle some 4,500 years ago.

It was unearthed by a team of archaeologists from the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna, as part of a major project to map the landscape around Stonehenge.

Read more at Discovery News

Jul 22, 2010

Quantum time machine 'allows paradox-free time travel'

Scientists have for some years been able to 'teleport' quantum states from one place to another. Now Seth Lloyd and his MIT team say that, using the same principles and a further strange quantum effect known as 'postselection', it should be possible to do the same backwards in time. Lloyd told the Technology Review: "It is possible for particles (and, in principle, people) to tunnel from the future to the past."

Postselection is a vital part of the nascent science of quantum computing. In traditional computing, if a user needs to determine which set of variables in an equation leads to the answer being true, the computer must try every combination until it hits upon one that works. In quantum computing, due to the weird parallel behaviour of subatomic particles, it seems to be possible to simplify the procedure by running all possible variations simultaneously, and selecting only the combinations that make the answer true.

Professor Lloyd and his team say that, by combining teleportation and postselection, it would be possible to carry out the quantum teleportation effect in reverse; that is, to decide after the teleportation what the quantum state must have been before it. This works as postselection allows you to dictate which quantum states can be teleported, limiting what state it can have been in before the teleportation. The state of the particle post-teleportation has therefore, in effect, travelled back in time.

Read more at The Telegraph

Jul 21, 2010

Most Massive Star Detected

Get big, die young. Such is the fate of behemoth stars, the largest of which are about 150 times the mass of the sun. A new study, however, finds evidence for stars more than twice that size, including an uber-giant so luminous that it makes the light of our sun look no brighter than the glow of the full moon in comparison.

Isolating the light of the biggest stars is a difficult and tedious process. Massive stars are rare, distant, short-lived and crammed inside dense clusters that are shrouded in dust. In the past, reports of stars up to 2,000 times the size of the sun all turned out to be clusters of stars, not single, massive objects.

"People have been trying to find the most massive star and to determine the upper mass limit of stars, but it's like prospecting for gold. You have to sift through a whole lot of junk and there's also a lot of fool's gold," said Rochester Institute of Technology astronomer Donald Figer.

Armed with new high-resolution imagery, an international team of astronomers is throwing down the gauntlet again with studies on NGC 3603, a very young star cluster located about 22,000 light-years away in the Milky Way's Carina spiral arm, and RMC 136a, which resides in the Tarantula Nebula, located 165,000 light-years away in our neighbor galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Read more at Discovery News

Jul 20, 2010

Woman with multiple wombs 'pregnant with two babies who are not twins'

The 34 year-old has a rare condition known as uterus didelphys, which means she has two uteruses.

Mrs Cromar, from Murray, near Salt Lake City, Utah, has been told she is a boy and a girl. They are not twins and are due at different times.

Medical experts say the chance of conceiving in both uteruses is about one in five million.

Less than 100 people in the world are known to have given birth to babies that are not twins.

At her first ultrasound doctors told the delivery and labour nurse that one baby was five weeks and a day old and the other six weeks and a day.

Mrs Cromar, who with husband Joel, 33, already have three children aged under eight, said she knew she had the rare uterine condition but it had not affected her other pregnancies.

But she admitted she was nervous, but very excited, at the prospect of the double birth next year.

Read more at The Telegraph

Grave of Hitler's would-be assassin discovered

Stauffenberg and other co-conspirators were summarily executed after a bomb the army officer planted at Hitler's east Prussian HQ failed to kill him on July 20th 1944.

The plot to kill him and owerthrow the Nazi state called operation Valkyrie, which was made into a film starring Tom Cruise as the doomed nobleman, was hatched by disillusioned army officers who knew Germany had no chance of winning the war and who were disgusted by atrocities they witnessed on the eastern front.

Stauffenberg and several others were shot dead in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, the army HQ in the centre of Berlin, in the hours following the coup attempt. Their last resting place was never found until now.

A former cemetery inspector at the Gueterfelde graveyard in the Wilmersdorf district of Berlin left behind a will stating that he had been told of a "mysterious action" in the night of July 20 and 21, 1944 by his predecessor who died in the 50s.

Read more at The Telegraph

Jul 19, 2010

Power of the hidden message revealed?

"Advertising men once used it to try to increase sales of popcorn, and formula one teams have been accused of indulging in it to sell cigaretts. But it turns out that subliminal messaging - flashing an image or words on a screen for a fraction of a second - works best if it leaves the viewer in a state of fear.

An experiment by British researchers has found that even though subliminal messages are shown so breafly that the human eye cannot consciously read them, the brain is particuarly good at picking up on the emotional meaning of a word if it is negative.

Scientists at University college London believe the results of the study, in wich partisipants correctly identified when a subliminal transmitter word had negative connotations more than seven times out of 10, shows that humans are programmed at a sub-concious level to respond to any stimulus that contains a potential threat."

Read more at The Independent

Jul 18, 2010

Scientists say the chicken came first - but they're just eggheads

Last week, it was claimed that one of the oldest conundrums know to man had been laid to rest, when scientists at the universities of Sheffield and Warwick announced they'd found evidence that the chicken really did come before the egg. A study into how chicken eggs are formed discovered that a protein found in the chickens ovaries, ovocledidin-17, is vital for shell production. According to the reserchers, this means that the chickens must have come first.

Is there anything more to this than an entertaining news story? Perhaps not becuase, as one of the schientists involved in the study conceded, there were other types of egg-laying species that pre-dated chickens, and these didn't necassarily produce their eggs the same way. Just becuase the hen is needed to produce a chicken egg, this doesn't mean a dinosour egg couldn't once have existed without a tyrannosaurus. Besides, the theory of evolution has long since rendered the chicken-egg dilemma something of a non-mystery anyway: once you allow species adaption to enter the equation, it is fairly straight forward to see how a new egg-laying species might come about.

Read more at The Guardian

Prehistoric marsupials, giant clawed sheep and ‘very strange’ fossils discovered

Scientists have discovered a cave filled with 15-million-year-old fossils of prehistoric marsupials in the outback, a rare find that has revealed some suprising similarities between the creatures and modern-day kangaroos and koalas.

Reserchers have unearthed a treasure trove of beautifully preserved fossils from the cave, including 26 skulls from an extinct, wombat-like marsupial called Nimbadon lavarackorum, an odd sheep-sized creature with giant claws. The findings were discribed this week in the journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

"It's extraordinarily for us" said University of New South Wales paleontologist Mike Archer, co-author of the article. "It's given us a window into the past of Australia that we simply didn't have a pigeonhole into before. It's an extra insight into some of the strangest animals you could possibly imagine."

Read more at mail.com