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martes, 31 de marzo de 2009

Three lost treasures

Patrick Bernauw: Here are some amazing True Treasure Stories, that need further exploration! So Mr. or Mrs. Indiana Jones... Are you ready to start a True Treasure Hunt ?

The Holy Blood, aka The Holy Grail... lost in Bruges!

King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table searched for it... The cup from which Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper and that was later filled with his blood, at Golgotha. Legend says this "Holy Blood", also known as "the Holy Grail" (Sang Real = San Greal = Saint Grail) was brought to Britain. Treasure hunters are searching the Holy Grail in places like Glastonbury, in southern France, or even in Spain... and that is very strange, because the one and only Holy Blood was found by the Knights Templar and the Count of Flanders on Christmas Day 1148, in the Holy Grave in Jerusalem! They brought it to Bruges, the Venice of the Nord, where you still can see it in the Chapel of the Holy Blood. But some say that it is a false relic, and that the one and only real Holy Grail was hidden somewhere in a house in Bruges. Eat your heart out, Dan Brown!... And start with his article: The Holy Blood of Bruges, a New Jerusalem - or do it when Visiting Bruges-la-Morte, a medieval ghost city!

The Stolen Panel of the Mystic Lamb

The polyptych known as "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" was painted in the 15th century by the "Flemish Primitives" Jan and Hubert Van Eyck. It is regarded as one of the artistic highlights of Western civilisation and you can still visit it in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. But one of the many oak panels is missing: "The Just Judges" was stolen in April 1934. A certain "D.U.A." wrote a letter to the bishop of Ghent, stating he would return the panel if he could receive a "fee" of 1 million Belgian francs. Instead of 1 million francs, the bishop only would pay 25.000 francs... Some months later, Arsène Goedertier collapsed after a speech at a political rally. Before succumbing, he could tell a friend that he was the only man who knew where the stolen painting was situated. He had a file on that crime at home. The police investigated the file and did find something that looked like a code, but could not break the code. If you visit the city of Ghent, make sure you go to the Cathedral of Saint Bavo and see its most treasured piece of art, The Mystic Lamb... with the replica of the Just Judges. The whole story is here, and the theft of the Just Judges also could have something to do with the Holy Blood of Bruges…

The Treasure of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

In the spring of 1791, the King of France was a prisoner in his own country. Marie Antoinette, his wife, begged her brother, the Austrian Emperor, to save them from the revolutionary forces. She wrote her letters in a code that was borrowed from the Prophecies of Nostradamus. In fact they wrote a lot of "new prophecies" that were attributed to Nostradamus, but were meant to communicate with other royalists in order to save the royal family and their "war chest". The royalist general de Bouillé had an army at his disposition in the fortress town of Montmédy, in northern France. Just across the border with the Austrian Netherlands was the Abbey of Orval, a perfectly safe place for Louis XVI and his family. De Bouillé thoroughly prepared the flight of the royal family from the revolutionary Paris, but he couldn't possibly imagine at the moment that Louis, his wife and his children would be arrested in Varennes. The French Revolution would lead Louis and Marie Antoinette to the bloody axe of the guillotine, but the fortune of the Bourbons and the jewels of Marie Antoinette reached the Abbey of Orval... where they disappeared without leaving a trace.

You'll find the highlights of this true treasure story here: Nostradamus and the Lost Treasure of the Bourbons.

Cracking The Crusts Of Neutron Stars

NSCL professor Bill Lynch inspects the mini-ball, a detector at the MSU laboratory used to analyze fragments produced when nuclei collide at high velocities. (Credit: Harley Seeley, MSU)

Research by Michigan State University scientists is helping shed light on neutron stars, city-sized globs of ultra-dense matter that occasionally collapse into black holes.
A team led by Betty Tsang, a professor at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, has had some success in measuring a key nuclear quality that may make it easier to describe the outer crusts of such stars.

A neutron star is produced when a massive star explodes as a supernova and then collapses onto itself. The result is one of the oddballs of the universe, a star that is roughly 15 miles in diameter but more massive than the sun. On Earth, a teaspoon of a neutron star – think of a dense pudding of nuclear matter, most of it neutrons and all of it packed tightly together – would weigh about 1 billion metric tons if it were taken from the inner crust of the neutron star. If the teaspoon were taken from the denser interior where neutrons are more tightly packed, the matter could weigh up to 10 billion metric tons.

Atomic nuclei are composed of positively charged protons and neutral neutrons. Proton-neutron forces help to bind a nucleus together while proton-proton and neutron-neutron interactions exert a pressure that tend to push a nucleus apart or support a neutron star against collapse into a black hole. This pressure can be obtained by determining how the symmetry energy, which is difference between the energy of a system of only neutrons and another with equal numbers of neutrons and protons, depends on the density.

Tsang, along with Bill Lynch and Pawel Danielewicz, also professors in the NSCL, were interested in refining the understanding of symmetry energy, estimates of which have ranged widely in most theoretical models describing neutron stars.

To do this work, the researchers studied third-of-the-speed-of-light collisions of tin nuclei wherein nuclear densities were varied during a series of experiments at the NSCL's Coupled Cyclotron Facility.

Tsang's result, to be published in Physical Review Letters, helps to describe the crust of neutron stars where the density of nuclear matter is about half of normal nuclear density. New and planned more powerful accelerator facilities in Japan, Germany and the United States will help to further characterize symmetry energy in the ultra-dense cores of such stars.

Among those facilities is the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $550 million project scheduled to be built at MSU.

Tsang's research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation, which provides funding both for NSCL and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.

Largest Exploding Star Yet Seen

Scientists have managed to observe a super-sized supernova explosion from start to finish, including the black hole ending. (Credit: Image courtesy of Weizmann Institute of Science)

In the first observation if its kind, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science and San Diego State University were able to watch what happens when a star the size of 50 suns explodes. As they continued to track the spectacular event, they found that most of the star’s mass collapsed in on itself, resulting in a large black hole.

While exploding stars – supernovae – have been viewed with everything from the naked eye to high-tech research satellites, no one had directly observed what happens when a really huge star blows up. Dr. Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute’s Faculty of Physics and Prof. Douglas Leonard of San Diego State University recently located and calculated the mass of a gigantic star on the verge of exploding, following through with observations of the blast and its aftermath. Their findings, reported in the journal Nature, have lent support to the reigning theory that stars ranging from tens to hundreds of times the mass of our sun all end up as black holes.

A star’s end is predetermined from birth by its size and by the ‘power plant’ that keeps it shining during its lifetime. Stars, among them our sun, are fueled by hydrogen nuclei fusing together into helium in the intense heat and pressure of their inner cores. A helium nucleus is a bit lighter than the sum of the masses of the four hydrogen nuclei that went into making it and, from Einstein’s theory of relativity (E=mc2), we know that the missing mass is released as energy.

When stars like our sun finish off their hydrogen fuel, they burn out relatively quietly in a puff of expansion. But a star that’s eight or more times larger than the sun makes a much more dramatic exit. Nuclear fusion continues after the hydrogen is exhausted, producing heavier elements in the star’s different layers. When this process progresses to the point that the core of the star has turned to iron, another phenomenon takes over: In the enormous heat and pressure in the star’s center, the iron nuclei break apart into their component protons and neutrons. At some point, this causes the core and the layer above it to collapse inward, firing the rest of the star’s material rapidly out into space in a supernova flash.

A supernova releases more energy in a few days than our sun will release over its entire lifetime, and the explosion is so bright that one occurring hundreds of light years away can be seen from Earth even in the daytime. While a supernova’s outer layers are lighting up the universe with dazzling fireworks, the star’s core collapses further and further inward. The gravity created in this collapse becomes so strong that the protons and electrons are squeezed together to form neutrons, and the star’s core is reduced from a sphere 10,000 kilometers around to one with a circumference of a mere 10 kilometers. Just a crate-full of this star’s material weighs as much as our entire Earth. But when the exploding star is 20 times the mass of our sun or more, say the scientists, its gravitational pull becomes so powerful that even light waves are held in place. Such a star – a black hole – is invisible for all intents and purposes.

Until now, none of the supernovae stars that scientists had managed to measure had exceeded a mass of 20 suns. Gal-Yam and Leonard were looking at a specific region in space using the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope: supernova SN 2005gl, which was originally seen in the barred-spiral galaxy NGC 266 on October 5, 2005. (Pre-explosion pictures from the Hubble archive, taken in 1997, reveal the progenitor as a very luminous point source.) Identifying the about-to-explode star, they calculated its mass to be equal to 50-100 suns. Continued observation revealed that only a small part of the star’s mass was flung off in the explosion. Most of the material, says Gal-Yam, was drawn into the collapsing core as its gravitational pull mounted. Indeed, in subsequent telescope images of that section of the sky, the star seems to have disappeared. In other words, the star has now become a black hole – so dense that light can’t escape.

Dr. Avishai Gal-Yam’s research is supported by the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics; the Peter and Patricia Gruber Award; the Legacy Heritage Fund; and the William Z. and Eda Bess Novick Young Scientist Fund.

Black Holes Are 'Green'

X-ray, Radio, Infrared Image of NGC 4696. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/KIPAC/S.Allen et al; Radio: NRAO/VLA/G.Taylor; Infrared: NASA/ESA/McMaster Univ./W.Harris)

Black holes are the most fuel efficient engines in the Universe, according to a new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. By making the first direct estimate of how efficient or "green" black holes are, this work gives insight into how black holes generate energy and affect their environment.

The new Chandra finding shows that most of the energy released by matter falling toward a supermassive black hole is in the form of high-energy jets traveling at near the speed of light away from the black hole. This is an important step in understanding how such jets can be launched from magnetized disks of gas near the event horizon of a black hole.

"Just as with cars, it's critical to know the fuel efficiency of black holes," said lead author Steve Allen of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. "Without this information, we cannot figure out what is going on under the hood, so to speak, or what the engine can do."

Allen and his team used Chandra to study nine supermassive black holes at the centers of elliptical galaxies. These black holes are relatively old and generate much less radiation than quasars, rapidly growing supermassive black holes seen in the early Universe. The surprise came when the Chandra results showed that these "quiet" black holes are all producing much more energy in jets of high-energy particles than in visible light or X-rays. These jets create huge bubbles, or cavities, in the hot gas in the galaxies.

The efficiency of the black hole energy-production was calculated in two steps: first Chandra images of the inner regions of the galaxies were used to estimate how much fuel is available for the black hole; then Chandra images were used to estimate the power required to produce the cavities.

"If a car was as fuel-efficient as these black holes, it could theoretically travel over a billion miles on a gallon of gas," said coauthor Christopher Reynolds of the University of Maryland, College Park.

New details are given about how black hole engines achieve this extreme efficiency. Some of the gas first attracted to the black holes may be blown away by the energetic activity before it gets too near the black hole, but a significant fraction must eventually approach the event horizon where it is used with high efficiency to power the jets. The study also implies that matter flows towards the black holes at a steady rate for several million years.

"These black holes are very efficient, but it also takes a very long time to refuel them," said Steve Allen who receives funding from the Office of Science of the Department of Energy.

This new study shows that black holes are green in another important way. The energy transferred to the hot gas by the jets should keep hot gas from cooling, thereby preventing billions of new stars from forming. This will place limits on the growth of the largest galaxies, and prevent galactic sprawl from taking over the neighborhood.

These results will appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass.

Erratic Black Hole Regulates Itself

This optical and infrared image from the Digitized Sky Survey shows the crowded field around the micro-quasar GRS 1915+105 (GRS 1915 for short) located near the plane of our Galaxy. The inset shows a close-up of the Chandra image of GRS 1915, one of the brightest X-ray sources in the Milky Way galaxy. (Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen); Optical & IR (Palomar DSS2))
New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have made a major advance in explaining how a special class of black holes may shut off the high-speed jets they produce. These results suggest that these black holes have a mechanism for regulating the rate at which they grow.
Black holes come in many sizes: the supermassive ones, including those in quasars, which weigh in at millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun, and the much smaller stellar-mass black holes which have measured masses in the range of about 7 to 25 times the Sun's mass. Some stellar-mass black holes launch powerful jets of particles and radiation, like seen in quasars, and are called "micro-quasars".

The new study looks at a famous micro-quasar in our own Galaxy, and regions close to its event horizon, or point of no return. This system, GRS 1915+105 (GRS 1915 for short), contains a black hole about 14 times the mass of the Sun that is feeding off material from a nearby companion star. As the material swirls toward the black hole, an accretion disk forms.

This system shows remarkably unpredictable and complicated variability ranging from timescales of seconds to months, including 14 different patterns of variation. These variations are caused by a poorly understood connection between the disk and the radio jet seen in GRS 1915.

Chandra, with its spectrograph, has observed GRS 1915 eleven times since its launch in 1999. These studies reveal that the jet in GRS 1915 may be periodically choked off when a hot wind, seen in X-rays, is driven off the accretion disk around the black hole. The wind is believed to shut down the jet by depriving it of matter that would have otherwise fueled it. Conversely, once the wind dies down, the jet can re-emerge.

"We think the jet and wind around this black hole are in a sort of tug of war," said Joseph Neilsen, Harvard graduate student and lead author of the paper appearing in the journal Nature. "Sometimes one is winning and then, for reasons we don't entirely understand, the other one gets the upper hand."

The latest Chandra results also show that the wind and the jet carry about the same amount of matter away from the black hole. This is evidence that the black hole is somehow regulating its accretion rate, which may be related to the toggling between mass expulsion via either a jet or a wind from the accretion disk. Self-regulation is a common topic when discussing supermassive black holes, but this is the first clear evidence for it in stellar-mass black holes.

"It is exciting that we may be on the track of explaining two mysteries at the same time: how black hole jets can be shut down and also how black holes regulate their growth," said co-author Julia Lee, assistant professor in the Astronomy department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "Maybe black holes can regulate themselves better than the financial markets!"

Although micro-quasars and quasars differ in mass by factors of millions, they should show a similarity in behavior when their very different physical scales are taken into account.

"If quasars and micro-quasars behave very differently, then we have a big problem to figure out why, because gravity treats them the same," said Neilsen. "So, our result is actually very reassuring, because it's one more link between these different types of black holes."

The timescale for changes in behavior of a black hole should vary in proportion to the mass. For example, an hour-long timescale for changes in GRS 1915 would correspond to about 10,000 years for a supermassive black hole that weighs a billion times the mass of the Sun.

"We cannot hope to explore at this level of detail in any single supermassive black hole system," said Lee. "So, we can learn a tremendous amount about black holes by just studying stellar-mass black holes like this one."

It is not known what causes the jet to turn on again once the wind dies down, and this remains one of the major unsolved mysteries in astronomy.

"Every major observatory, ground and space, has been used to study this black hole for the past two decades," said Neilsen. "Although we still don't have all the answers, we think our work is a step in the right direction."

This was work made using Chandra's High Energy Transmission Gratings Spectrometer. These results appear in the March 26th issue of Nature. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

Blackbeard Pirate Relics, Gold Found

A brass navigational instrument known as a chart divider is among artifacts recently recovered from a shipwreck thought to be the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, archaeologists said in March 2009.

Some of the newfound relics add to evidence that the ship belonged to the pirate. ""We feel pretty comfortable that that's what this is," said Marke Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge project for the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology.

Underwater archaeologists from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources have been excavating the wreck—which lies 22 feet (7 meters) underwater a few miles off Beaufort, North Carolina—since 1997.

Navigational instruments were favorite targets of looting pirates, because the tools could easily be sold or traded, said archaeologist David Moore of the North Carolina Maritime Museum, who is working on the wreck site.

On March 26, 2009, two fleurs-de-lis (iris flowers)—the royal symbol of France—were revealed on an apothecary weight from a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, archaeologists said in March 2009.

Originally stuck to other nested weights but separated via an electrolysis process, the weight and a fleur-de-lis-shaped keg spigot found in the shipwreck are among the strongest evidence that the ship was originally French—a key to tying the ship to Blackbeard.

The pirate captured the French ship Le Concorde and renamed it Queen Anne's Revenge in 1717.

Le Concorde's surgeon, who was forced to serve briefly in Blackbeard's crew, may have owned the weights, designed for pharmaceuticals. Pirates could have also used the weights to measure gold dust, experts say.

This mortar and pestle, found in an underwater wreck thought to be Blackbeard's ship Queen Anne's Revenge, probably was used to crush medicine or spices, archaeologists said in March 2009.

What appear to be ornate designs on the mortar are actually minerals that hardened on the objects, which were discovered off the coast of North Carolina.

North Carolina state archaeologists have already used an electrolysis method to remove the mineral buildup from the pestle, hence its more uniform finish.

This small disc—found on a shipwreck thought to be the pirate Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge—is actually a silver coin covered with nearly three centuries of mineral buildup, archaeologists said in March 2009.

Build up of this type, known to form only on silver, will be removed by electrolysis.

An x-ray of the coin may have also revealed a picture (right), according to North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources archaeologists.

A copper-alloy sword guard was recently found in a shipwreck thought to be Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, archaeologists said in March 2009.

The guard would have sat between the sword's steel blade and its wooden handle. An x-ray of the sword guard (bottom) shows a small hole where a decorative chain might have been attached.

Infamous pirate Blackbeard grounded his ship while trying to enter the harbor of Beaufort, North Carolina in 1718.

A thimble's worth of gold bits—the largest a fifth of in inch (half a centimeter) wide—was found recently in a shipwreck that could be Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, archaeologists said in March 2009. The miniature booty may have been overlooked by the pirate, whose crew would have scoured the ship for treasure after hijacking the formerly French vessel in 1717.

The gold was found intermingled with lead shot, causing archaeologists to speculate that a pre-Blackbeard crew member had hidden gold in a long-since-disintegrated amunition keg.

The smidgen of gold treasure is among a series of recent discoveries adding to evidence that the North Carolina shipwreck is Blackbeard's. "I think we can pretty much assume that's what we have," said Queen Anne's Revenge project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

Egypt Vows "Scientific War" If Germany Doesn't Loan Nefertiti

A 3,500-year-old bust of ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti stares out from its perch in Berlin's Egyptian Museum. On April 18 Egypt's antiquities chief threatened to ban exhibitions and tours of Egyptian artifacts from Germany if the European country does not agree to loan the sculpture.

She may not be Helen of Troy, but the face of another ancient beauty has nearly launched a "scientific war" between Germany and Egypt.

In an escalating conflict over a famous 3,400-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti, the head of Egypt's antiquities authority has threatened to ban exhibitions and tours of Egyptian artifacts from Germany.

Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, had requested the sculpture for a temporary exhibition. But German officials say the iconic artwork is too fragile to travel.

Upping the ante, Hawass on Sunday told his country's parliament that he "will never again organize antiquities exhibitions in Germany if it refuses a request, to be issued next week, to allow the bust of Nefertiti to be displayed in Egypt for three months."

The painted limestone likeness of Egypt's most famous queen has been in Germany since 1913, a year after it was discovered by a German archaeological team at an ancient sculpture workshop at Tell el 'Amârna, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of Cairo.

From her perch in Berlin, Nefertiti became one of the most admired, and most copied, images from ancient Egypt. The bust plays a prominent role in the marketing of the German capital's formidable array of museums.

Nefertiti was the wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who was later known as Akhenaten. Akhenaten roiled ancient Egyptian society in the 13th century B.C. by casting aside the pharaonic pantheon of gods in favor of a single sun deity. The old religion was restored after his death.

Raiders of the Lost Art?

While Egypt has periodically sought the return of the bust, "this vehemence is a new stage," said Dietrich Schulenburg, a spokesperson for Bernd Neumann, Germany's Minister of State for Culture.

German antiquities experts have determined the statue is too fragile to make the 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) trip to Cairo, Neumann said in a statement released April 13.

"To lend the Nefertiti bust would be irresponsible," the German culture minister said. Despite the dispute, Schulenburg said today that there is a tradition of strong cooperation between German and Egyptian archaeologists and researchers.

"There are experts working together on many sites," he said. But when it comes to Nefertiti, a truly unique artifact, Egypt's Hawass said fear was likely the driving force behind Germany's refusal.

"They fear we will be like Raiders of the Lost Ark and we will take it and not give it back," said Hawass, who is a frequent and vocal advocate for the permanent return of Egyptian artifacts to their homeland. (See "Egypt's Antiquities Chief Combines Passion, Clout to Protect Artifacts" [October 24, 2006].)

Schulenburg, though, said Germany's sole concern was preserving the artifact.

"The ownership of Nefertiti by Germany is not in question," he said.

The Nefertiti issue last flared in 2003, after the Egyptian Museum in Berlin let two artists place the bust atop a nearly nude female bronze for a video installation to be shown at the Venice Biennale modern art festival.

The decision outraged Egyptian cultural officials, who banned Dieterich Wildung, the director of the Berlin museum, and his wife from further exploration in Egypt.

"I thought it was disgusting," Hawass said.

The museum eventually cancelled the Venice-bound exhibit.

"Scientific War"

Hawass said today that he would send a letter to Germany tomorrow formally requesting a loan of the bust for the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

The museum is scheduled to open in 2012 near the site of the Great Pyramids at Giza, just outside Cairo.

"I will begin a negotiation," Hawass said.

If it fails, Hawass said, he will organize a worldwide boycott of loans to German museums.

"We will make the lives of these museums miserable," he said. "It will be a scientific war."

Worldwide there are scores of international disputes over artifacts each year, said Erik Ledbetter, senior manager for international programs at the American Association of Museums.

"Certainly, source countries of antiquities are becoming more vocal in pressing claims of all kinds, including claims against dealers, auction houses, and private collectors as well as museums," Ledbetter said.

"There is enormous variation in the types of cases and in the legal and ethical theories undergirding them."

Hawass said Egypt didn't consider the Nefertiti bust to be a looted antiquity. Still, it is one of a handful of truly singular Egyptian antiquities still in foreign hands.

"I really want it back," he said.

Nefertiti's Real, Wrinkled Face Found in Famous Bust?

Researchers may have finally come face-to-face with the real—and wrinkled—Nefertiti, thanks to sophisticated CT scanning technology.

A carefully carved limestone face in the inner core of the Egyptian queen's famous bust (above, right) has emerged in new images, a new study says.

The object, currently on display in Berlin's Altes Museum, was discovered in 1912 during an excavation of the studio of Egyptian royal sculptor Thutmose. The artist had sculpted Nefertiti—wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten—more than 3,300 years ago. Scientists first scanned the sculpture in 1992, but advances in the technology have now allowed scans of greater precision, according to Alexander Huppertz, director of the Imaging Science Institute in Berlin.

These new images show that Thutmose placed stucco layers of varying thickness on top of a limestone core.

Nefertiti's "hidden" visage is more realistic, with creases around the corners of her mouth (above, bottom left) and cheeks, less prominent cheekbones, and a bump on her nose.

"CT [scans] impressively demonstrated that the inner core was not just an anonymous mold, but rather a skillfully rendered work of quality art," Huppertz said in an email.

In the final stucco layer (above, top left), Thutmose smoothed over the creases and nose bump, possibly to reflect the "aesthetic ideals of the era," said Huppertz, whose research appears in April in the journal Radiology.

Such glimpses into Thutmose's artistry will help conservators "prevent damage of this extremely precious art object," Huppertz said.

That's because the scans also revealed areas where the stucco is most vulnerable and requires the most careful handling.

Human Ancestors Had Compassion

A newly-reconstructed deformed fossil skull suggests that our human ancestors probably cared for deformed offspring for years.

The skull indicates that the human to which it belonged about 530,000 years ago would have been severely handicapped — and yet survived at least five years and possibly several years longer. That suggests that the child's parents must have provided the child with care, despite his or her obvious deformities.

"Her/his pathological condition was not an impediment to receiv[ing] the same attention as any other Middle Pleistocene Homo child," the the team of Spanish researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The way that humans take care of the sick and infirm within their communities is considered a unique trait. Researchers call it conspecific care, but most laypeople would probably call it compassion. Other primates don't display similar behavior, so we know humans evolved the ability at some point, even if scientists can't quite pinpoint when. The work could mean that humans as far back as half a million years ago had differentiated from our primate ancestors.

By reconstructing the skull from a bunch of pieces, the team was able to determine that the child likely suffered from craniosynostosis, a debilitating genetic disorder in which some pieces of the skull fuse too quickly, causing pressure to build in the brain. While they couldn't tell the exact level of mental retardation likely to result from the malformation, it would have been considerable, requiring large amounts of extra care from the prehistorical human community.

But Stanford University anthropologist David DeGusta points out that several species of primates have been observed to care for abnormal young. That's a different type of behavior, he said, from adults caring for other adults.

"The survival of an infant with significant pathology has been observed in a range of primate species," he wrote in an email to "Extra caregiving behavior towards such infants has been documented in wild monkeys. Caring for infants is, after all, a key adaptation of mammals in general."

Several studies have shown that young, deformed primates were cared for by their mothers anyway, he said. For example, a 1973 paper reported that blind macaque infants were cared for by their mothers for up to a year.

"Defective infants are not killed by the group even in crowded conditions; compensatory care is given during the first year, primarily by the mother and to a certain extent by other animals in the group," wrote the paper's author, Gershon Berkson, who was a physical anthropologist at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Care, in this case, would have extended beyond infancy, but DeGusta argued that five year olds were still largely dependent on their parents.

"This individual probably depended more so on parents, but the other 5 year olds were still at the mercy of adults," DeGusta said.

DeGusta also had a more methodological objection to many studies that attempt to infer behavior from skeletal remains.

"We just know that this individual survived. We don't know the circumstances," he said. "I'm not saying their interpretation is unreasonable, but we're trying to do science, so we have to ask, 'How would we know that we were wrong?'"

DeGusta argues that it's hard to judge caring behavior from a very limited fossil record, particularly when the primate record seems to indicate that great apes can survive a variety of horrific injuries.

"My contribution, such as it was, was to say, what's the baseline here? What kind of illnesses and injuries can non-human primates survive?" he said. "We'd love to know things like when does caretaking begin? ... So far, though, those behaviors don't leave clear, unambiguous records."

lunes, 30 de marzo de 2009

New Jerusalem: motherships holding pattern?

The image of a splendid city descending intact from the sky over Old Jerusalem to rescue our faulty civilization entices the watchful realism of at least two insights: a transcendental mystical vision from the subconscious mind or a massive unidentified flying object over several miles long known by modern habit as a mother ship.

A mother ship is a vessel or craft that carries smaller vessels that operate independently. Auxiliary ships in the fleet depend on the mother ship for reinforcement. The term mother ship dates back to the 19th century when small ships were used to chase whales. The catch was then brought back to the larger ship for processing. The single large storage ship model is still commonly used. A mother ship is similar to a flagship that leads a fleet of vessels. It is the largest, fastest, newest, most heavily armed or, for publicity purposes, the most well known.
Mother ships can also operate as factory ships or power plants. Since the 1940s, there have been various UFO reports of large cigar-shaped mother ships out of which flew smaller sized flying saucers. A mother ship has at times been perceived so massive that it could contain an entire fleet in its body. Some pillar-shaped UFO mother ships appeared to maneuver as if made of plasma filaments or fiery cloud monoliths, like the well-known aerial object in Exodus that led Moses and his group out of Egypt, according to author Barry Downing. Let follow it for the next few minutes.

The Book They Almost Burned

The Revelation (The Apocalypse / Revelation of St John) unequivocally describes what may be looked upon as a UFO mother ship: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. (Revelation 21:2) A titanic superstructure that descends from the sky, we might presume, could be an unidentified flying object of some type. John tells us that this massive aerial entity is in fact a beatific metropolitan habitation called New Jerusalem. For this and other conundrums, the Revelation almost did not make it into the bible. Likewise, the Gospel of John was almost rejected by the early Church because of its so-called Gnostic content:

Protestant founder Martin Luther at first considered Revelation to be neither apostolic nor prophetic and stated that Christ is neither taught nor known in it and placed it in his Antilegomena [unspeakable or disputed books]. However, he later changed his mind, believing the book to be divinely inspired. John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary.
In the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom and other bishops argued against including this book in the New Testament canon, chiefly because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the danger for abuse. Christians in Syria also reject it because of the Monetarists heavy reliance on it. In the 9th century, it was included with the Apocalypse of Peter among disputed books in the Stichometry of St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople. In the end it was included in the accepted canon, although it remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church. (Wikipedia, 2009)

Gnosticism was a religious movement that started in pre-Christian times. The relationship between Gnosticism and Christianity during the first and second centuries is unclear even now because it was only preserved in the writings of early church fathers (prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library) that denounced Gnosticism and describe it in a disapproving manner. The name is derived from the Greek word gnosis which literally means knowledge. There were two main schools of Gnosticism: Pagan Gnosticism and Christian Gnosticism. The pagan expressions derived from the Persian schools of Manichaeism and Mandaeanism. The Christian features allegedly stemmed from St Paul who was commissioned to minister to the Gentiles (or non-Jews).

Pagan Gnosticism is usually associated with Simon Magus (or Simon the Sorcerer), a practitioner of magic who attempted to purchase spiritual powers from the Apostles Peter and John (Acts 8:9-24). Christian Gnosticism is sometimes associated with Valentinus, the founder of Roman and Alexandrian schools who was almost elected pope or bishop of Rome.

The Revelation of St. John is unique to the bible because it is the only canonical text that touches upon the major elements of Gnosticism: 1. A cosmology of seven seals (emanations) creating a new heaven and a new earth. 2. The figure of Sophia (Greek, wisdom) as a woman in anguish who is given the wings of an eagle. 3. A mock creator (named demiurges in the Platonist tradition) as the Beast 666 who demands to be worshipped by humanity. 4. The Bridal Chamber, a sacramental wedding signifying salvation: Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lambs wife... (Rev 21:9).

Pagan Gnosticism was opposed to Judeo-Christianity and (as can be expected) regarded the God of the Jews as the reckless demiurgos. It typically misinterpreted the Bridal Chamber marriage ritual as a justification for the sexual abuse of children. A modern-day representative of this discipline is Aleister Crowley, an activist of sex magic who in the early 20th century claimed to be the reincarnation of Simon Magus. His occult books are very popular among teenagers these days.

Aleister Crowley attended Trinity College at Cambridge University, but was compelled to walk out just before completing his degree because it became notoriously known that he was an acute necrophiliac. He admitted to various lurid debaucheries, including sex acts that involved feeding blood to a decomposed human skeleton that he kept in his house. It would be sensible to notify confused teenagers of this historical fact concerning the so-called Magus Crowley. Necrophilia is not a healthy approach to sex or gnosis, but a psychologically destructive force.

Two Roads Diverged in a Hollow Earth

NASA recently announced the exciting possibility of life thriving below the icy surface area of Mars. Microbial life dwelling underground is perhaps generating huge methane gas plumes that rise up into the red planets atmosphere. If so, what unusual life forms might be found below the Earths surface? Various observers throughout history such as Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus have reported unidentified submersible objects (USOs). Writings attributed to St Bartholomew contain some remarkable details on the subject of USOs. Original Greek manuscripts at Vienna and Jerusalem, which may be as old as the 5th century, exclaim: And there came up out of the bottomless pit a wheel. Its Latin fragments, which date to the 6th century, similarly state: And a wheel came up out of the abyss.

These archaic texts actually describe a wheel or disk-type flying craft soaring out of the depths of the sea, many centuries before flying saucer reports were in style. Repulsive creatures waging a war against the Christ controlled the strange craft. The wheel was large enough to include canals or pipelines containing abducted humans who appear to have been held against their will: For into this pipe are sent they that through their gluttony devise all manner of sin.

In ancient times, subterranean realms were associated with the Greek Hades, the Nordic Svartalfheim, the Christian Hell, and the Jewish Sheol. The inner earth was supposed to be the resting place of all persons before an eventual ruling of justice. Modern reports of wheel-like objects flying into and out of the seas in connection with alien abduction incidents are now generating renewed interest in unexplained phenomena beneath the Earth. Sleep paralysis cannot be an accurate explanation for all alien abduction cases because some reports do not involve sleep.

In 1692, British astronomer Edmund Halley who discovered the famous Halleys Comet suggested the Earth consisted of concentric spheres. The interior of the Earth was possibly inhabited with life and illuminated by a glowing atmosphere. Halley thought the aurora borealis, or northern lights, were produced by gas escaping through the Earths poles. John Cleves Symmes, Jr., a veteran of the war of 1812, campaigned for the idea of interior concentric spheres in 1818. Symmes soon became the most well known promoter of the hollow Earth theory.

New York physician Cyrus Teed proposed a concave hollow-Earth hypothesis in 1869. Instead of assuming that we dwell on the exterior surface of the planet, Teed argued that the Universe revolves within the interior of a concave hollow Earth, which he called Koreshanity (after Cyrus the Great). He founded a pseudo-religious cult called the Koreshan Unity based on his strange cosmological concepts. David Koresh (born Vernon Wayne Howell), the leader of a Branch Davidian religious sect, perhaps believed himself to be the modern-day Cyrus the Great or a prophet of Dr. Teeds hollow-Earth beliefs. 54 adults and 21 children died after a U.S. government siege ended with the burning of the Branch Davidian ranch in 1993.

Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy flew to the North Pole in 1926 and over the South Pole in 1929. But the official U.S. government release of Byrds diary revealed erased records. His erased diary led to widespread allegations of a cover-up. A so-called secret diary of Admiral Byrd was later circulated among the supporters of the hollow Earth theory. In that disputed diary, Byrd allegedly told of entering the interior of the earth and traveling over mountains with green vegetation. After crossing subterranean lakes and rivers, he came across animal life resembling prehistoric mammoths. He eventually discovered cities and a prosperous civilization in the hollow interior of the earth.

When Jules Verne wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1864, he inspired a new genre of impressionist romantics. One of the most peculiar aspects of the hollow-Earth theory is that it produces two roads a subconscious polarity of opposite tendencies and contrary qualities. In other words, the North Pole interior is said to be positive whereas the South Pole interior is considered negative.

The North Pole story often centers on a Norwegian sailor named Olaf Jansen. Jansens sloop supposedly sailed through an entrance to the Earths interior at the North Pole. For years he lived with the inhabitants of the Agharta Kingdom. According to Ellie Crystal (, Agartha is analogous to the Lost Eden or a sunken Atlantis, which still exists as a legendary city that is said to reside in the Earth’s core. Initiates guided by Masters who are the spiritual leaders of humanity populate the underworld realm. They do not interfere in the lives of humans that live above the surface. Nor is there any interaction between them. However, it is believed that the race of supermen and superwomen do occasionally come to the surface to oversee the development of the human race.

But the South Pole is where Adolf Hitler wanted to create a line of soldiers to rule the world. There is a legend that says Hitler and his chiefs escaped the last days of the Third Reich by going through the opening at the South Pole (Antarctica) where they discovered an entrance to the Earths interior. This story is full of twists and turns with Nazi-designed UFOs, and Nazi collaboration with scheming aliens (a race of serpent people) who live in the center of the Earth. The Thule Society, which was closely watched by Hitler, reported Tibetan expeditions to find openings into the Earth. As rumor has it, Hitler was influenced by concave hollow-Earth ideas and sent an expedition to spy on the British navy by aiming cameras up into the sky. Based on a 1944 German submarine fleet speech by Admiral Donitz, there is also speculation that Hitler ordered a research mission to build an invisible fortification in Antarctica.

Putting aside mythology, modern geologists don’t speak of a hollow Earth. But they do concern themselves with the Earths porosity. The Earths interior is porous like a sponge. Underground caves and porosity evolution determine the range of pore sizes. Absolute porosity is the total of all void spaces present in the Earths interior. The void space is expressed as a percentage. The exploitation of natural resources, such as groundwater and petroleum, is partly dependent on the properties of porosity. It is the ratio of the volume of openings (voids) to the total volume of material. Porosity represents the storage capacity of geologic material. So, in a roundabout way, the Earth is indeed hollow after all, as determined by crack and fracture systems, which are the functions of geological strain.

Another well-kept secret of modern geologists is that according to Einsteins general relativity theory, gravitation is the curvature of space-time. Consequently, if an object could experience the reversal of gravitation by passing through the Earths center, would it also experience the reversal of space-time? In other words, would it time travel into the past and to an opposite zone of space? Are there perhaps small singularities at the core of every planet or self-gravitating system? If so, might they be the portals or star gates to hyperspace? In physics, the twin paradox is a thought experiment where a person who makes a journey into space in a rocket will return home to find he or she has aged less than an identical twin that stayed on Earth. The same could also be true with acceleration and deceleration when cruising the Earth’s interior. A clock traveling into the Earths interior would lag behind a clock on the surface.

Today, deep underground military bases (DUMBs) are scattered throughout the world. Some are allegedly financed by so-called black budgets. A few years ago when I worked as a newspaper editor I had the occasion to interview a scientist who helped build the Channel Tunnel. I asked him if its true that there are cities deep under the ground. He smiled and replied: No. There are nations. Bearing in mind that the Chunnel is merely a public subway, one can only imagine the immensity of underground bases reserved for the ruling elite:

Here comes the rich man in his big long limousine
Here comes the poor man all you got to have is green
Here comes the banker and the lawyer and the cop
One thing for certain it aint never going to stop
When it gets too heavy
Ah, they come and they go
With only one thing in common
They got the fire down below.
(Bob Seger, The Fire Down Below, 1976)

The legend of the bottomless abysses as a primeval well on a low-key islet somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean may seem like a childish notion at first. But ever since the Second World War, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea has given shelter to the worlds most covert submerged submarine bases. Middle East conflicts surrounding Israel fall back on those top-secret fortifications. At this time, Turkey has become the second most important force in NATO larger even than Britain. As a result, the Eastern Mediterranean conceals the worlds most advanced positions of militaristic activity and deep underground military bases. Indeed, there are entire nations yawning beneath the borderline of an ancient well sealed with seven seals. And the climax it attests to is known as Armageddon.

Fervent Heat or Global Warming?

One of the great denials of the Religious Right movement today is the idea that global warming is merely a hoax put forward by some liberal scientists. But the same evangelists insist that our world will shortly be destroyed by fervent heat. Which will it be? It makes little sense to reject global warming and claim that we may be entering a new ice age on one hand, while ironically preaching that Earth will soon be burned up on the other. This logical inconsistency is not a paradox. It is plainly unmindful.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)

The biblical meaning is unmistakable (Puroomeni = kindled, ignited. Luthsontai = loosened, destroyed). How hot does our planet have to get for a third of all life on Earth to perish? Just a few degrees are all it takes to kindle vast forest fires like the ones we currently see almost every day in California. When the flames reach highly populated areas, the fires will multiply, fuelled by the countless combustible substances that we surround ourselves with. Of course, things might get hotter, but whos going to be around to witness it?

How hot does our planet have to get for our precious air to become unbreathable? Just a few degrees are all it takes to trigger devastating heat waves, causing a multitude of respiratory deaths like those we now see in Australia. Sure, the air might get hotter, but will anyone be at hand to feel it? Perhaps the religious old school has made the mistake of putting industrialist politics before faith. If you dont support the Corporations of Mammon and their international affiliates, you aren’t a very virtuous person or are you?

Manipulative devils have found perfect camouflage by implanting themselves in the religious community and boldly quoting scriptures. But we can always identify the bad trees by their fruits. Take, for example, the very religious man who gallantly preached and televised the Gospel of Mammon but was later arrested for abusing a ten-year old girl. He claimed she was his wife. Are you a good consumer? Did you go shopping today? Did you save even a few cents? If not, you dont deserve to call yourself a true follower. You are of no use to the sham cathedral of Mammon.

Fervent heat or global warming? It makes no difference what you believe. Simon says things will certainly get much hotter before they chill out. Scientists have additionally confirmed that as we bounce through the densest part of our galactic disc, the gravitational pull of the surrounding gas and dust clouds dislodges comets, causing them to plunge toward the Sun. In 2008, researchers at Cardiff University built a computer model of our solar system movement and found that it bouncesup and down through the plane of the Galaxy. When we pass through the densest part of the plane, gravitational forces from the surrounding giant gas and dust clouds dislodge comets from their paths.

The Cardiff team found that we pass through the galactic plane every 35 to 40 million years, increasing the chances of a comet collision. Evidence from craters on Earth also suggests we suffer more collisions approximately every 36 million years. The periods of comet bombardment also coincide with mass extinctions, such as that of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Our present position in the galaxy suggests we are now very close to another such period. (Solar System Bounce Could Have Caused Extinctions. Red Orbit. May 2, 2008.)

The year 2012 is rumored to represent a great time of historic transformation. The completion of the cycle of the Maya calendar is supposed to signify a major change in world order. The approach towards alignment with the galactic equator has already commenced. Meanwhile, research teams have found evidence that the Sun shines brighter today than in the 8,000 years before. Scientists are trying to determine what connection this might have to the pattern of fervent heat or global warming. (The Sun is More Active Now than Over the Last 8000 Years. Max Planck Society. October 28, 2004.)

The extraordinary Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet crash into the southern hemisphere of Jupiter in 1994 perhaps marked the start of a new solar bounce cycle. The Great Red Spot has been raging in Jupiters cloud for at least 340 years. A second spot, Red Spot Junior, unexpectedly appeared when it turned red in 2006. A third spot appeared in May of 2008, but was torn up after it squeezed between the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr. According to NASA, Jupiters recent eruption of spots is probably related to large-scale climate change as the huge gas planet is getting warmer near the equator. The sudden influx of fervent heat is evidently not confined solely to the Earth. (Jupiter’s Three Red Spots. NASA. May 23, 2008.)

The best-selling novel 2010: Odyssey Two, by Arthur C. Clarke, depicted a pile-up of monoliths that increased Jupiters density until the giant planet achieved nuclear fusion, becoming a second Sun. There is a critical mass, called Jeans mass, that a body must have before it will collapse under its own gravity and begin fusing. The Jeans mass is about 20 to 80 times that of Jupiter. The Suns passage through the galactic plane is expected to increase commentary collisions tenfold. A good number of incoming comets that drift from solar orbits will be captured by Jupiters strong gravity. Most star systems consist of two Suns orbiting around a center of mass. Perhaps our solar system will also transform that way at some point. The circadian rhythm of such a fierce nuclear reaction bearing two Suns might be one long day or as Revelation reports, there shall be no night there. It certainly tallies with the announcement that the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.

There were many signposts of what was about to happen. Irreversible effects on plants, animals, farming, and weather were already apparent. Most scientists agreed that carbon dioxide emissions were causing global warming. Not only would the Earths atmosphere warm up, but also its interior. Yet no one could accurately predict the effects of global warming on our planets porosity, because it was largely unknown.

When the interior magma on which huge tectonic plates float heated only a few degrees, the plates forming the Earths surface began to expand and change positions with increased velocity. All at once, a great earthquake cut through Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean, totally destroying the old town of Jerusalem.

Regional conflicts to officiate Old Jerusalem as a capital city became empty and meaningless. A decades-old Middle East war of attrition, the cost of which was born by taxpayers to the treasuries of questionable arms industries, suddenly grinded to a halt.

There would be no war today. Instead, the world turned to the fruits of advanced space technology and the scientific know-how gained from unlocking the secrets of atoms and galaxies. Millions of climate refugees had been forced to evacuate their weather-ravaged homelands and were desperately on the move. Descending from the sky, the New Jerusalem would come to certify the encounter of intelligent life in space.

Mother ship Awaiting Permission to Land

Many of us mistakenly suppose that when we die, we go to paradise. But that implication is not in the bible. What the scriptures make known is that, on the contrary, paradise will come to Earth when the right time is accomplished. The bride in St John’s Revelation is portrayed as a beautiful maternal habitat (a mother ship as a feminine symbol of the womb) or celestial city, the New Jerusalem adorned for her husband and surrounded by a devoted population:

And the city lied foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (Revelation 21:16)

A furlong is about an eighth of a mile. In view of that, St Johns Revelation describes a UFO mother ship with a boundary length of one thousand five hundred miles. Thats almost three times more than the entire state of Israel (modern Israels total land boundary length is about 632 miles). St John’s UFO most likely has several storeys or floor-like horizontal divisions because its height is equal to its length.

Bring to mind a mother ship that resembles a sprawling super-mall with interconnecting walkways and open-air complexes that in addition include office space, residential space, amusement parks, and streets paved of pure gold, like unto clear glass.

Today the super-mall trend takes precedence in the construction and design of many modern buildings. But perhaps without disbelief, the architect-navigator of New Jerusalem is immeasurably more knowledgeable about what a rescued humanity really needs to pass its time in high spirits:

Along the Ohio River, at the nexus of the borders of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, a huge object said to be about the size of a large shopping mall and parking lot was reportedly sighted in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 24, by a military veteran who worked in the helicopter aviation field while in the military. According to a report by Emmy Award-winning TV producer, investigative reporter and author Linda Moulton Howe on her Web site, truck driver Tim Comstock was on Route 7 north of the town of Empire, Ohio, at 3:45 a.m. The area is in Jefferson County. Comstock described the color of the larger craft above to Howe as being dark gray or black. He said he thought it had a crystalline type of surface that reminded him of a cracked open piece of coal. It was big. About the size of a large shopping mall and parking lot. (Steve Hammons, Massive UFO reported in Ohio, UFODigest.Com, and November 5, 2008)

UFO sightings are being investigated by the Ministry of Defense. Two experienced airline pilots on separate flights saw something up to a mile wide off the coast of Alderney on Monday afternoon. Surprisingly, Jersey radar equipment did not pick up the object, although an air traffic controller said he had received simultaneous reports from the Aurigny and Blue Islands pilots. Aurignys Captain Ray Bowyer, 50, said he saw the strange object during a flight from Southampton. As he continued his approach to Alderney, Capt. Bowyer saw a second identical object further to the west. (Joel de Woolfson, Pilots UFO shock This is Guernsey, April 26, 2007)

Hellcat 6 went aloft. They were briefed that radar had detected a fast moving object it was Twelve noon time and under a very clear cool sky. The UFO the size of three aircraft carriers was very bright [and a] saucer shape some vapor was being emitted around the portholes or vents. The object hovered at 65 thousand feet, too far up for the Hellcats to reach after twenty minutes it went straight up and disappeared. (Keith Chester, Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in WWII, 2007)

Author's Note: About the UFO in the sun photo: The source is "Kristopanos," the user name of a Reviver video member. It is a classic cigar-shaped plasma-like object several miles long.

The stills are actually from an amazing time-lapse video found here:

Two more cows found mutilated


Two more Southern Colorado ranchers say they have discovered cows mutilated under strange circumstances.

A cow on a ranch near Walsenburg was found with its udders cut off and a calf on a ranch near Trinidad was found missing the entire center of its body as well as its ears.

A similar mutilation was discovered March 8 on a pasture near the Purgatoire River, just west of the small town of Weston. That cow was found dead by rancher Mike Duran with its udders and reproductive organs surgically removed from its body.

The most recent case happened on Jim Garren's ranch.

Garren said Tuesday that he last saw his cow alive on Friday afternoon at his spread 12 miles southeast of Walsenburg in Las Animas County. Garren said the next day at around 2:30 p.m. his ranch manager was feeding the herd and noticed his cattle count was off by one. After looking around in areas where cows had grazed previously, Garren said his ranch hand spotted the animal dead under a cedar tree.

"The only thing that we could tell about her was that her udder had been surgically removed. There were no other injuries to that cow," Garren said.

He said the ground around the cow was never disturbed and there was no trauma to the cow's head or body.

"We searched and searched and we could not find blood on the ground or on the cow. I just can't understand how anyone could surgically remove a part from an animal and not spill some blood," he said.

Garren said that while doing a quick walk around looking for evidence on Saturday, his staff spotted the cow's newborn calf.

Garren said the calf had to have been born at least 10 hours before the mother cow was killed.

"You know I just can't explain this. I've had animals killed on my ranch by mountain lions before and coyotes, but nothing like this. It is truly strange.

"I don't see how any human could have possibly done this without leaving footprints or some prints where the cow may have struggled. It looks like she just laid down and died," Garren said.

Rancher Tom Miller, who runs 80 head of cattle about 14 miles east of Trinidad on U.S. 350, found one of his calves dead near a feed tub on March 17. He found it in an area where cows congregate to eat twice daily.

Miller said that the herd appeared normal the day before in the late afternoon when the animals were being fed by the ranchers. The calf was found the next morning roughly 5 feet from a feed tub laying dead with only its spinal column, head and legs left behind.

"It's the strangest thing I've ever seen," Miller said.

Miller said the only thing holding the calve's back legs to the body was the hide.

"I cut the hide and the legs just fell off. All the bones were broken. It was just strange," Miller said. "An animal just doesn't clean out a carcass like that in one night. It would take several days to do something like that."

Miller said about 10 years ago he found another one of his cows mutilated. That cow had its ears, tongue, eyes and reproductive organs removed.

In 1995, Duran said he found a cow that had been mutilated on his property in a similar way.

The mutilations never have been solved.

"I really don't know what it is. I think maybe it was a UFO. According to the circumstances, that is what it seems like," Miller said.

Miller said it would be too difficult for a human to take a calf away from its mother cow.

"The cows are too protective. If you went for a calf, the cow would be on top of you.

"There are just too many strange things here," Miller said.

Chuck Zukowski, an independent UFO investigator from Colorado Springs, has investigated all three cattle mutilations in the area.

"These mutilations have the tendency of happening a few at a time. So it is not uncommon that there are three here this month," Zukowski said.

Zukowski, who has been a UFO and cow mutilation investigator for more than 20 years, said that all three cases fit the criteria to be called an unknown phenomenon.

"These two cows and this calf do not fit the norm of a normal death or a predator death. This is the first thing we look at," Zukowski said.

In all three cases, Zukowski said there was no blood around the cattle where they laid.

"If a predator got to these cattle, there would be blood around somewhere, " he said.

Sightings of UFOs and strange, unmarked, black helicopters sometimes coincide with most cattle mutilation cases across the country.

Zukowski said that the night Miller lost his calf, he received a report of a dark triangular craft flying over Colorado Springs.

"A witness told me that the craft was coming from the southeast. That means it was coming from the Walsenburg/Trinidad area. We are in the process of trying to understand how fast this object was going to see if it could have been in that area," Zukowski said.

"It's a big speculation and we are trying to grasp at straws, but we are trying to find anything we can to relate these occurrences."

Zukowski said that whatever killed the cow and removed the udders on Garren's ranch was not interested in a newborn calf.

"Would a predator attack a 1,200 pound animal for food, when a newborn calf lay helplessly 50 feet away?" Zukowski asked.

Zukowski also is a member of the Mutual UFO Network, an international nonprofit group that investigates UFOs and other strange phenomena for the public.

"I am the biggest skeptic to start with on these cases. I need to be sure before I start saying what I think it is.

"I can tell you that it is very strange and doesn't seem possible by humans," Zukowski said.

The thousands of reported cattle mutilations in the United States and around the world have spawned theories about aliens sent to Earth to slice up cows.

The phenomena in Colorado began in the late 1960s when farmers in the San Luis Valley began reporting mutilated cattle and horses, Zukowski said.

The circumstances surrounding cattle mutilations were different than anything the local authorities had ever investigated. At the time, satanic cults were blamed.

Reports of cattle mutilations spread throughout the Midwest and even into Canada. Paranoia and speculation about the deaths ran rampant.

"All these years later not one person has been prosecuted for this. We don't know what has killed these animals," Zukowski said.

"Hopefully we can find out what happened, but it doesn't look too promising. This is not something we are used to," Garren said.

"I really hope somebody can figure out what is happening to these things. It's scary," Miller said.

'Mud volcanoes' found on Mars ?

Scientists say the possible discovery of mud volcanoes on Mars could boost the search for the planet's past life.

If life ever existed on Mars, the evidence could be buried deep below the surface, where it may be warm enough for water to remain in a liquid state.

Mud volcanoes could transport rocks from depths of several kilometres up to the surface, where robotic explorers could reach them.

Details were presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.

Using images taken by Nasa's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, Carlton Allen and Dorothy Oehler of Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston identified dozens of mounds in the northern plains of Mars which they say bear a striking resemblance to mud volcanoes.

Infrared data also show the domes cool more quickly at night than the surrounding rock, as one might expect if they were made of sediment.

Together with David Baker from Brown University, the researchers used instruments on Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to observe several of these structures in a northern region known as Acidalia Planitia.

Data from the MRO's Crism experiment indicate that the material in the domes is more oxidised than the rock of the surrounding plains. This might suggest the presence of iron oxides, which form in the presence of liquid water.

They also took pictures of the structures with the HiRise camera on MRO; the images show the bright domes standing out against the dark basaltic rock of the surrounding plains.

Dr Allen told BBC News the structures resembled smooth cones with "no breaks", which visibly feathered out towards the margins. The observations, he said, were consistent with material that is "smooth, soft and easily eroded".

Gas vents
Borneo mud volcano (SPL)
Mud volcanoes are relatively common on Earth

On Earth, the largest concentration of mud volcanoes is in Azerbaijan and the adjacent Caspian Sea. But they have been found at more than 40 sites on land and at more than 20 locations beneath the sea.

They are formed when pressurised gas and liquid from as much as several kilometres down, breach the surface. They belch out slurries of fluid, mud and rocks, as well as gases such as methane.

"In Azerbaijan, there is so much methane coming out that they can catch fire," said Dr Allen.

This raises the possibility that mud volcanoes could contribute to the methane observed in the Martian atmosphere.

Methane should last for only a short time in the atmosphere until it is destroyed by sunlight, so its continued presence means it is being replenished by some unknown process.

Dr Allen said the area with the mud volcanoes has not been well surveyed for atmospheric methane.

He said the team had found no evidence that the domes could be active today, as most show clear evidence of erosion. But he suggested they could have formed in the last 10 million years.

Other researchers caution that other processes such as the retreat of glaciers can form similar mound structures.

But they suggest that, if life does exist deep beneath the Martian surface, mud volcanoes could be one of the best ways to get at the evidence.

Scientist Discovers New Horned Dinosaur Genus

Dr. Michael J. Ryan with the holotype skull of the new horned dinosaur, Albertaceratops nesmoi, from southern Alberta, Canada. (Credit: Photo courtesy of Chad Kerychuk, Digital Dream Machine)

A scientist at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has announced the discovery of a new horned dinosaur, named Albertaceratops nesmoi, approximately 20 feet long and weighing nearly one half ton, or the weight of a pickup truck. The newly identified plant-eating dinosaur lived nearly 78 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period in what is now southernmost Alberta, Canada. Its identification marks the discovery of a new genus and species and sheds exciting new light on the evolutionary history of the Ceratopsidae dinosaur family. Only one other horned dinosaur has been discovered in Canada since the 1950s.
Michael J. Ryan, Ph.D., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum reports his findings on the new genus and species in the latest volume of the Journal of Paleontology.

Albertaceratops nesmoi belongs to the Centrosaurinae, one of two subfamilies of the horned dinosaur family Ceratopsidae. Typically members of this subfamily have very short horns over their eyes, a long horn over their nose and either spikes or hooks coming off of the frill that projects from the back of their skulls.

What makes this dinosaur unique is that it is the first centrosaur with long brow horns typically found in the other subfamily, Chasmosaurine, which includes Triceratops and Torosaurus. In addition, Albertaceratops nesmoi lived more than 10 million years earlier than Triceratops.

“My research team was stunned when we uncovered the skull and saw these long brow horns attached to a centrosaurine frill,” said Ryan, a Canadian who was working on his Ph.D. through the University of Calgary when the specimen was found.

“We knew that we had something special that we had never seen before—it meant that while Triceratops had giant horns, some centrosaurs did, too,” he added.

In addition to having long brow horns, Albertaceratops nesmoi has a long, low banana-shaped bump in place of a nasal horn. There also are two large, thick hooks that curl forward from the corners of the creature’s frill. The long horns could have been used for either sexual display or self-defense against the giant predatory tyrannosaur, Daspletosaurus that roamed the region.

“Analysis shows that Albertaceratops nesmoi was the most primitive member of the Centrosaurinae, and that it is placed just above the split that separated them from the group that includes Triceratops,” Ryan added.

“It is very surprising that a Centrosaur would have long brow horns,” said Don Brinkman, Ph.D., Head of Research and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, where the specimen is currently housed.

Albertaceratops nesmoi is named to honor both the province where the new dinosaur was found and Cecil Nesmo, a local rancher living near Manyberries, Alberta, who has long supported the study of palaeontology and other research in the area.

Ryan had spent four hot summers looking for long-horned centrosaurs in southern Alberta after being shown similar fossils owned by Canada Fossils. Ltd., Calgary, which had been collected from just across the border in Montana.

“The most southern part of Alberta has a tremendous potential for discovering new dinosaurs, but it has been almost ignored in the past because of its remoteness,” said David Evans, incumbent Associate Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

For this reason, Ryan and Evans established the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Research Group (SADRG) ( in 2005 along with colleagues from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, The University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.

According to Ryan, the support of local ranchers and families living along Alberta’s southern border is key to conducting scientific research in the area. “In addition to facilitating the exchange of scientific information and educating students, the SADRG helps researchers coordinate their work with each other, government agencies and the local residents so that everyone’s concerns are met,” said Ryan.

Ryan and the SADRG have their next three field seasons mapped out, and are close to announcing at least one more new, strange-horned dinosaur.

Triceratops Was A Social Animal, Group Of Dinosaur Fossils Suggests

Uncovered: This juvenile Triceratops is being excavated in Montana. (Credit: S. Brusatte)

Triceratops was thought to be unusual among its ceratopsid relatives. While many ceratopsids—a common group of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived toward the end of the Cretaceous—have been found in enormous bonebed deposits of multiple individuals, all known Triceratops (over 50 in total) fossils have been solitary individuals.
But a new discovery of a jumble of at least three juveniles the badlands of the north-central United States suggests that the three-horned dinosaurs were not only social animals, but may have exhibited unique gregarious groupings of juveniles.

"This is very thrilling," says Stephen Brusatte, an affiliate of the American Museum of Natural History and a doctoral student at Columbia University. "We can say something about how these dinosaurs lived. Interestingly, what we've found seems to be a larger pattern among many dinosaurs that juveniles lived and traveled together in groups."

In 2005, Brusatte and colleagues found and excavated a site that contained multiple Triceratops juveniles in 66-million-year-old rocks in southeastern Montana. The geological evidence suggests that at least three juveniles were deposited at the same time by a localized flood, and this suggests that they were probably living together when disaster struck. This find indicates that Triceratops juveniles congregated in small herds, a social behavior increasingly identified in other dinosaur groups, such as Psittacosaurus, a small cousin of Triceratops that lived in Asia.

"We don't know why they were grouped together or how much time they spent together," says Joshua Mathews of the Burpee Museum of Natural History and Northern Illinois University, who led the project. "Herding together could have been for protection, and our guess is that this wasn't something they did full time."

The site was discovered in 2005 by Burpee Museum volunteer Helmuth Redschlag. Redschlag, a devoted fan of The Simpsons television program, named the bonebed the "Homer Site."

"It's kind of fitting that these big, bulky, plodding Triceratops are named after Homer Simpson," says Brusatte. "But more than anything, we were able to find something shockingly unexpected, even though there are more Triceratops skeletons than [there are of] nearly any other dinosaur, and southeastern Montana has been combed for fossils for hundreds of years." Excavation at the Homer Site is ongoing, and the Burpee Museum team expects to find additional fossils of Triceratops juveniles.

The research is published in the current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. In addition to Matthews and Brusatte, Scott Williams and Michael Henderson, also of the Burpee Museum of Natural History and Northern Illinois University, are authors.

New Theory On Largest Known Mass Extinction In Earth's History

Hypothetically speaking, large areas of the hyper saline Zechstein Sea and its direct environment could have looked like this, which in the Permian Age was situated about where present day Central Europe is. At the end of the Permian Age the Zechstein Sea was irrevocably disconnected from the open sea and the remaining sections of sea soon dried out after that. As a result the microbial-limited halogenated gases from the Zechstein Sea stopped and vegetation was able to regenerate again. The pink colour of the Zechstein Sea was probably brought about by microbes with an extreme preference for salt, as is the case with salt lakes today. In the background sand dunes can be recognised from a landscape with hardly any water. (Credit: Dr. Karsten Kotte/Universität Heidelberg)

The largest mass extinction in the history of the earth could have been triggered off by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition so dramatically that vegetation was irretrievably damaged.
At least that is what an international team of scientists have reported in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Dokladi Earth Sciences). At the Permian/Triassic boundary, 250 million years ago about 90 percent of the animal and plant species ashore became extinct. Previously it was thought that volcanic eruptions, the impacts of asteroids, or methane hydrate were instigating causes.

The new theory is based on a comparison with today's biochemical and atmospheric chemical processes. "Our calculations show that airborne pollutants from giant salt lakes like the Zechstein Sea must have had catastrophic effects at that time", states co-author Dr. Ludwig Weißflog from the Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). Forecasts predict an increase in the surface areas of deserts and salt lakes due to climate change. That is why the researchers expect that the effects of these halogenated gases will equally increase.

The team of researchers from Russia, Austria, South Africa and Germany investigated whether a process that has been taking place since primordial times on earth could have led to global mass extinctions, particularly at the end of the Permian. The starting point for this theory was their discovery in the south of Russia and South Africa that microbial processes in present-day salt lakes naturally produce and emit highly volatile halocarbons such as chloroform, trichloroethene, and tetrachloroethene.

They transcribed these findings to the Zechstein Sea, which about 250 million years ago in the Permian Age, was situated about where present day Central Europe is. The Zechstein Sea with a total surface area of around 600.000 km2 was almost as large as France is today. The hyper saline flat sea at that time was exposed to a predominantly dry continental desert climate and intensive solar radiation – like today’s salt seas. "Consequently, we assume that the climatic, geo-chemical and microbial conditions in the area of the Zechstein Sea were comparable with those of the present day salt seas that we investigated," Weißflog said.

In their current publication the authors explain the similarities between the complex processes of the CO2-cycle in the Permian Age as well as between global warming from that time and at present. Based on comparable calculations from halogenated gas emissions in the atmosphere from present-day salt seas in the south of Russia, the scientists calculated that from the Zechstein Sea alone an annual VHC emissions rate of at least 1.3 million tonnes of trichloroethene, 1.3 million tonnes of tetrachloroethene, 1.1 million tonnes of chloroform as well as 0.050 million tonnes of methyl chloroform can be assumed. By comparison, the annual global industrial emissions of trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene amount to only about 20 percent of that respectively, and only about 5 percent of the chloroform from the emissions calculated for the Zechstein Sea by the scientists. Incidentally, the industrial production of methyl chloroform, which depletes the ozone layer, has been banned since 1987 by regulation of the Montreal Protocol.

"Using steppe plant species we were able to prove that halogenated gases contribute to speeding up desertification: The combination of stress induced by dryness and the simultaneous chemical stressor „halogenated hydrocarbons“ disproportionately damages and destabilize the plants and speeds up the process of erosion," Dr. Karsten Kotte from the University of Heidelberg explained.

Based on both of these findings the researchers were able to form their new hypothesis: At the end of the Permian Age the emissions of halogenated gases from the Zechstein Sea and other salt seas were responsible in a complex chain of events for the world's largest mass extinction in the history of the earth, in which about 90 percent of the animal and plant species of that time became extinct.

According to the forecast from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), increasing temperatures and aridity due to climate change will also speed up desertification, increasing with it the number and surface area of salt seas, salt lagoons and salt marshlands. Moreover, this will then lead to an increase in naturally formed halogenated gases. The phytotoxic effects of these substances become intensified in conjunction with other atmospheric pollutants and at the same time increasing dryness and exponentiate the eco-toxicological consequences of climate change.

The new theory could be like a jigsaw piece that contributes to solving the puzzle of the largest mass extinction in the history of the earth. "The question as to whether the halogenated gases from the giant salt lakes alone were responsible for it or whether it was a combination of various factors with volcanic eruptions, the impact of asteroids, or methane hydrate equally playing their role still remains unanswered," Ludwig Weißflog said. What is fact however is that the effects of salt seas were previously underestimated.

In their publication the researchers working with Dr. Ludwig Weißflog from the UFZ and Dr. Karsten Kotte from the University of Heidelberg want to showed that recent salt lakes and salt deserts of south-east Europe, Middle Asia, Australia, Africa, America can not only influence the regional but also the global climate. The new findings on the effects of these halogenated gases are important for revising climate models, which form the basis for climate forecasts.

New Step Towards Quantum Computers

The diagrams show how the spin "wavers" (oscillation shown at top) in relation to time following an alignment laser pulse. One oscillation period corresponds to one complete "waver" rotation. As anticipated, the strength (amplitude) of all red curves decreases with time. After 1.2 nanoseconds (ns) a laser control pulse is irradiated to suddenly change the alignment of the spin, indicated by the phase of blue and finally green curves: It is precisely the counter-phase to the black curve at the bottom, recorded without control pulse. Moreover this waver builds up in the counter-phase at 2.4 ns, so that the signal is particularly high here, significantly facilitating readout. (Credit: Image courtesy of Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum)

The intrinsic rotation of electrons – the "spin" – is a promising property for future electronics devices. If use as an information carrier were possible, the processing power of electronic components would suddenly increase to a multiple of the present capacity.

In cooperation with colleagues from Dortmund, St. Petersburg and Washington, Ruhr-Universität Bochum physicists have now succeeded in aligning electron spin, bringing it to a controlled "waver" and reading it out. The electron spin can also be realigned as required at any time using optical pulses.

"This is the first, important step toward addressing these "quantum bits", which will form an integral part of data transfer systems and processors in the future," said Prof. Andreas Wieck. The researchers have published their report in Nature Physics.

Complex Calculations in Minimum Space

Modern electronics is based on electrical charges: If a memory cell (bit) has an electrical charge, it represents a logical "1"; if no charge is present, this is a logical "0".

However, electrons have more than just a charge – they spin like a top around their own axis, producing a magnetic field, similar to the earth. This spin can be accelerated or decelerated by applying an external magnetic field. The "top" begins to waver and its axis tips to virtually any desired angle.

If these manifold possibilities were used as information carriers, it would be possible to store a great deal more information than just "0" and "1" with an electron. Moreover adjacent electrons could be moved into various configurations, because they exert forces on one another in the same manner as two magnets on a bulletin board. This phenomenon would provide a significantly more complex base for data storage and processing. Even a small quantity of these so-call quantum bits (qubits), would allow extremely complex calculations, for which millions of bits are required today.

Confinement of Spins in Indium-Arsenic Islands

Naturally, one single electron has only a very small measurable effect. For this reason, individual electron measurements can only be performed with great difficulty using highly sensitive instruments. This is why the international research team has specialized in confining nearly one million electrons each in virtually identical indium-arsenic islands ("quantum dots") and totaling their effect. These "ensemble" measurements provide signals which are stronger by a magnitude of six, making them very sturdy and allowing them to be recorded easily.

"Contrary to the preconceptions of many international competitors, all associated electron spins exhibit precisely the same behavior, and the microscopic effects can therefore be measured very easily," stated Wieck.

Optical Switching of Quantum Dots

In their study, the physicists were not only successful in aligning the electron spin; they also managed to rotate it optically using a laser pulse in any desired direction at any time and read this direction out with a further laser pulse. This is the first important step towards "addressing" and influencing qubits.

"The interesting factor here is that these electrons are enclosed in solid bodies, so we no longer need complex high vacuum equipment and light occlusion on all sides to keep them permanently in a module as in quantum optics," stressed Prof. Wieck. In Bochum, the extremely high vacuum is required only once during production of the quantum dot; after that the semiconductor system is sealed against air ingress, has a long service life and is just as reliable as all transistors and memory cells already in use today.