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The day the Earth fell over

 

 

Earth might have spun on its side to keep its balance in the distant past, and could do so again, scientists reported today. Alaska was suddenly at the equator, the thinking goes. Scientists already know that the North Pole wanders over time. But a theory known as true polar wander suggests that if a very heavy object, like an oversized volcano forms far from the equator, the force of the planet's rotation would pull the object away from the axis the Earth spins around. Should a mass such as the very heavy volcano become unbalanced, Earth would tilt and rotate itself until the extra weight moves somewhere near the equator.Analyzed samples of ancient sediments found in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard show that such an event may have indeed happened in the past.

 

"The sediments we have recovered from Norway offer the first good evidence that a true polar wander event happened about 800 million years ago," said Adam Maloof, an assistant professor of geosciences at Princeton University. "If we can find good corroborating evidence from other parts of the world as well, we will have a very good idea that our planet is capable of this sort of dramatic change."

 

Source: Live Science

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Can you really 'own' land on the Moon ?

 

 

Why not buy some land on the Moon? There seems to be plenty available on the Internet, including plots going at a bargain £14.25 per acre (plus tax and fees) from the Lunar Embassy, the company selling the 'property' of American entrepreneur Dennis Hope, who infamously claimed practically all of the Solar System in 1980 because no one else had. No one has officially recognized that Hope's lunar 'deeds' are anything more than novelty gifts. But more than 2 million have been sold since the 1980s, says the company, generating sales of millions of dollars out of empty space, leaving experts to wonder whether the commercial opportunities on the Moon might someday lead to real sales; and to suggest that perhaps they should.A growing body of financiers, lawyers and space enthusiasts believe that the recognition of personal property rights 'out there' is the only realistic way to finance the new frontier of commercially driven space exploration. Legal ownership of the Moon by countries is prevented by the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty. This has been ratified or signed by more than 125 countries, including all the main space players (the United States, Russia, Japan, China and India).

 

By its mandate, the American flags currently 'flying' on the Moon do not give the United States a greater claim to it over any other nation.But on the matter of private ownership, things are arguably more murky. The United Nations attempted to tackle this with the 1979 Moon Treaty, which states that no pieces of the Moon can become property of any "state, international or national organization or non-governmental entity or of any natural person". But, perhaps because the prospect of any risk in this area seemed so far away, hardly anyone signed: only 12 countries agreed, none of them major players in the space game.Louis Freedman, co-founder of the California-based Planetary Society, whose mission is to inspire planetary exploration and to seek out new life, testified to a Senate hearing on whether the United States should sign up: "I told them that making laws in the absence of knowing what you are trying to make a law about is not a good idea," he says.

 

Source: Nature.com

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Missing footage on 'Dark side of the Moon' ?

 

 

Could a never-completed Pink Floyd video hold the answer to the missing moon tape mystery currently plaguing NASA? NASA workers and their affiliates around theworld have been quietly looking for hi-resolution films from the Apollo moon landings more than 30 years ago. To date, what we'veseen on television were pictures taken by cameras shooting a videomonitor... if you will, pictures of grainy pictures. But the original hi-res videos are still out there... somewhere... lost in the maze of government storage facilities. What's more, time is running out. Those magnetic tapes degrade over time and the playback equipment used to display their images is about to be mothballed. So NASA has launched a formal investigation... and perhaps a key in that probe rests with Australian music video producer Peter Clifton. Here's where the story gets even stranger than it has been so far. Back in 1979, Clifton was working on a Pink Floyd video... to go along with the smash-album "Dark Side of the Moon."

 

He wanted some footage of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon... so he sent away $180 and got back a half-hour reel of 16-millimeter film from the Smithsonian. "I had this idea that I could take segments out of Dark Side of the Moon and make them into a TV special," said Mr Clifton to Australia's The Age. "On a visit to Washington, I went to Smithsonian and asked if they had any shots of rocket ships travelling. He said, 'well, we can give you highlights of the moon shot.' Clifton never finished the Pink Floyd video... and the film satin his vault for years.

 

Source: Aero News Network

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Is a shadow government at Mount Weather ?

 

 

Mount Weather is a top-security underground installation an hour's drive from Washington DC. It has its own leaders, police, fire department - and laws. A cold war relic, it has been given a new lease of life since 9/11. And no one who's been inside has ever talked.Mount Weather is officially the Emergency Operations Centre of the Federal Emergency Management Authority (Fema); and, less officially, a massive underground complex originally built to house governmental officials in the event of a full-scale nuclear exchange. Today, as the Bush administration wages its war on terror, Mount Weather is believed to house a "shadow government" made up of senior Washington officials on temporary assignment. Following the collapse of the USSR, Mount Weather seemed like an expensive cold-war relic.

 

Then came September 11. News reports noted that "top leaders of Congress were taken to the safety of a secure government facility 75 miles west of Washington"; another reported "a traffic jam of limos carrying Washington and government license plates." As the phrase "undisclosed location" entered the vernacular, Mount Weather, and a handful of similar installations, flickered back to life. Just two months ago, a disaster-simulation exercise called Forward Challenge '06 sent thousands of federal workers to Mount Weather and other sites.

 

 

Source: Guardian Unlimited

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Discovering Noah's Ark.. again and again

 

 

In this world there are things that seem on the verge of being discovered every so often, yet never quite materialize. The "Lost City" of Atlantis, for example, has been "found" at least a half dozen times. One researcher is pretty sure it is in Bolivia; another says it is Antarctica; a third claims that Bimini beachrock may be from the lost civilization. So it is with Noah's Ark. The difference is, of course, that the implications of Noah's Ark actually being found extend far beyond archaeology. The weight of all the paired animals in the world is nothing compared to the religious freight that the Ark carries. The Ark story is scientifically implausible; there simply wouldn't be enough space on the boat to accommodate two of every living animal (including dinosaurs), along with the food and water necessary to keep them alive. Furthermore, constructing a vessel of that scale would take hundreds of workers months to complete. Still, Biblical literalists—those who believe that proof of the Bible's events remains to be found—have spent lives and fortunes trying to validate their beliefs. Before discussing the recent claims regarding the whereabouts of Noah's vessel, a history of Ark "finds" is instructive.

 

Violet M. Cummings is the author of several books on Noah's Ark, among them "Noah's Ark: Fable or Fact?" (1975), in which she claimed that Noah's Ark was found on Turkey's Mount Ararat. According to the 1976 book and film "In Search of Noah's Ark," "there is now actual photographic evidence that Noah's Ark really does exist.... Scientists have used satellites, computers, and powerful cameras to pinpoint the Ark's exact location on Mt. Ararat." This is a rather remarkable claim, for despite repeated trips to Mt. Ararat over the past thirty years, the Ark remains elusive. Undeterred by a lack of evidence, in 1982 Cummings issued a book titled, "Has Anybody Really Seen Noah's Ark?," published by Creation-Life Publishers. The subtitle, "An Affirmative Definitive Report," hints at Cummings's conclusion.

 

Source: Live Science

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New mass extinction crater found

 

 

What appears to be a 480km-wide (300 miles) crater has been detected under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The scientists behind the discovery say it could have been made by a massive meteorite strike 250 million years ago. The feature at Wilkes Land was found by Nasa satellites that are mapping subtle differences in the Earth's gravity. "This Wilkes Land impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs," said Prof Ralph von Frese, from Ohio State University, in the US. If the crater really was formed at the time von Frese and colleagues believe, it will raise interest as a possible cause of the "great dying" - the biggest of all the Earth's mass extinctions when 95% of all marine life and 70% of all land species disappeared. Some scientists have long suspected that the extinction at the boundary of the Permian and Triassic (PT) Periods could have occurred quite abruptly - the result of environmental changes brought on by the impact of a giant space rock. It is a similar argument to the one put forward to explain the demise of the dinosaurs at the much later date of 65 million years ago.

 

A geological structure, known as the Bedout High, in the seabed off what is now Australia, has also been suggested as the possible crater remains from the PT impactor. But the impact explanation for the great dying is an argument that has struggled to find favour. The prevailing theory is that several factors - including supervolcanism and extensive climate warming - combined over thousands of years to strangle the planet's biodiversity.

 

Source: BBC News

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Decoded: the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

They are the thinking of a genius, the 500-year-old notes and drawings that reveal the extraordinary creative imagination of Leonardo da Vinci. But these are not preparatory works for his famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper.They are the notebooks that demonstrate the great Renaissance master's other life as an inventor, engineer and scientist centuries ahead of his time.A new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, is to show more than 60 precious leaves of da Vinci drawings, including works from the British Library, the Royal Collection and the V&A itself. Visitors to the show will be able to puzzle over sheets so fragile they rarely see the light of day.Martin Kemp, a professor of the history of art at Oxford University who has curated the exhibition, admitted many were "difficult" in comparison with da Vinci's better known works. But if the artist's explorations in geometry, anatomy and engineering prove daunting, highlights have been brought to life with animations commissioned from Cosgrove Hall, the company better known for creating Dangermouse.

 

Professor Kemp hopes the combination will explain elements of his work that are often overlooked. "Most people have some sense that he was a universal man, but I think these should give reality to the idea," he said. "I'm confident that people will go away and think, 'Wow, there's even more to this person than I thought.'"

 

 

Source: The Independent

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Alien "ID chart" to aid search for life

 

 

The search for planets with extraterrestrial life has gotten a new tool: an "ID chart" that scientists will use to compare alien worlds with Earth as it has appeared over the eons. Many astronomers say they expect to find Earthlike planets soon, when better technology enables them to spot small, distant worlds. "We believe that within 10 or 15 years we'll find the first planet that's Earthlike," said Lisa Kaltenegger, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "Then the question will be, Is this a habitable planet?" To answer that question Kaltenegger and colleagues have created a historical model of the only planet known to have intelligent life—Earth. "We created a fingerprint for the Earth throughout its evolution so that we can compare it to any planet that we find and, we think, say if there is life on it," Kaltenegger explained.

 

The gases in a planet's atmosphere provide the unique fingerprint for such a comparison. Scientists examine atmospheric conditions on worlds too distant to visit by using visible and infrared light. The mix of gases in a planet's atmosphere creates a unique spectrum—a colorful fingerprint—that reveals conditions on the planet's surface.

 

Source: National Geographic

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New type of planet discovered

 

 

Astronomers using small automated telescopes have discovered a new type of planet that is far bigger than Jupiter but weighs half as much and has the density of cork. "It's baffling. We're never seen anything like it," said Robert Noyes, the Harvard University researcher that led the research team. "We know of rocky planets like Earth and gas giants like Jupiter. But this is different. It's four times lighter than water."The newly-identified planet, which does not yet have a name, is located about 400 light years from Earth, in constellation Lacerta, where it orbits the binary star ADS16402. Researchers discovered the planet with wide-field telescopes that scan the skies, looking for stars that dim briefly when a planet passes in front of them, as seen from Earth. The aperture of the telescopes is only five inches -- the kind of instrument used by amateur astronomers."If you could hold Jupiter in your hand, it would have the weight of an apple," said David Aguilar, a spokesman for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass.

 

"This new planet would have the weight of a ball of cork. If you put it in a tub, it would float.The discovery was announced early today at a news conference in which scientists said they also have determined that, over time, Earth has had distinct types of atmosphere. And if they can identify any of those types on another celestial body, they could tell whether the planet does or did host forms of life ranging from bacteria to sizable animals

 

Source: OC Register

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Arctic ice melting rapidly, study says

 

Arctic sea ice in winter is melting far faster than before, two new Top of Form 1Bottom of Form 1NASA studies reported Wednesday, a new and alarming trend that researchers say threatens the ocean's delicate ecosystem. Scientists point to the sudden and rapid melting as a sure sign of man-made global warming."It has never occurred before in the past," said NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso in a phone interview. "It is alarming... This winter ice provides the kind of evidence that it is indeed associated with the greenhouse effect."Scientists have long worried about melting Arctic sea ice in the summer, but they had not seen a big winter drop in sea ice, even though they expected it.For more than 25 years Arctic sea ice has slowly diminished in winter by about 1.5 percent per decade. But in the past two years the melting has occurred at rates 10 to 15 times faster. From 2004 to 2005, the amount of ice dropped 2.3 percent; and over the past year, it's declined by another 1.9 percent, according to Comiso.A second NASA study by other researchers found the winter sea ice melt in one region of the eastern Arctic has shrunk about 40 percent in just the past two years.

 

This is partly because of local weather but also partly because of global warming, Comiso said.The loss of winter ice is bad news for the ocean because this type of ice, when it melts in summer, provides a crucial breeding ground for plankton, Comiso said. Plankton are the bottom rung of the ocean's food chain."If the winter ice melt continues, the effect would be very profound especially for marine mammals," Comiso said in a NASA telephone press conference.The ice is melting even in subfreezing winter temperatures because the water is warmer and summer ice covers less area and is shorter-lived, Comiso said. Thus, the winter ice season shortens every year and warmer water melts at the edges of the winter ice more every year.

 

Source: Yahoo! News

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Roswell incident debate continues

 

 

Still the debate goes on about Roswell – the most famous incident in UFO history. Is there anything more to be said about the alleged recovery in 1947 of a crashed space craft and occupants in New Mexico? Well, yes, there is – and a Leeds audience will be the ones to hear it.An Italian researcher called Maurizio Baiata will reveal secrets to the Great British UFO Show in Headingley next month.He is one of nine speakers brought together by UFO DATA magazine, published from an office in Kippax, east Leeds.Editor Russell Callaghan, a deputy Post Office manager in his other life, said: "Something happened at Roswell and it has been very well cleansed over the years."The US military has changed its story three times as people have come forward with new information."I think people are going to be surprised by Maurizio's lecture and his new information about Col Philip J Corso who wrote a book in 1996 called The Day After Roswell. "In this he claimed that inventions like integrated circuits and fibre optics were developed from what was found after the crash at Roswell."Maurizio was the first man to interview him before the publication of his book and he wrote notes in his diaries.

 

He is bringing them with him and will share them with the people of Leeds."The big stuff about Roswell is out in the open but some of the smaller stuff is interesting as well."A well-known UFO sceptic, Andy Roberts, hjas been lined up to talk about his investigations into so-called "foo fighters" – mysterious craft which buzzed both Allied and Axis aircraft during the Second World War."His conclusion is that the origin of the foo fighters is unknown," said Russell. "There is no evidence that they were secret German weapons. In fact, there is more evidence to suggest they were UFOs than that they were Nazi craft."

 

 

Source: Leeds Today

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'Shadow person' feeling conjured in brain

 

 

Schizophrenics sometimes feel the presence of an unknown person behind them who mimics their movements. Now scientists have produced the same disturbing effect in a nonschizophrenic person by applying electric stimulation to a specific area of her brain. The discovery could help scientists unravel the brain processes behind delusions of paranoia, persecution, and alien control. Doctors unintentionally produced the delusion while evaluating a 22-year-old epileptic woman for possible surgery. Though the woman had no history of psychological problems, she repeatedly perceived a "shadow person" hovering behind her when doctors electrically stimulated an area of her brain called the left temporoparietal junction.

 

"Our data most importantly show that paranoia might be related to disturbed processing of one's own body, [which] in some instances may become misrecognized as the body of somebody else," said Olaf Blanke, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. The hallucinatory condition was temporary and ended when stimulations were stopped.

 

Source: National Geographic

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ESA photographs 'Face on Mars'

 

 

ESA's Mars Express has obtained images of the Cydonia region, site of the famous 'Face on Mars.' The High Resolution Stereo Camera photos include some of the most spectacular views of the Red Planet ever.After multiple attempts to image the Cydonia region from April 2004 until July 2006 were frustrated by altitude and atmospheric dust and haze, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board Mars Express finally obtained, on 22 July, a series of images that show the famous 'face' on Mars in unprecedented detail. The data were gathered during orbit 3253 over the Cydonia region, with a ground resolution of approximately 13.7 metres per pixel. Cydonia lies at approximately 40.75° North and 350.54° East. "These images of the Cydonia region on Mars are truly spectacular," said Dr Agustin Chicarro, ESA Mars Express Project Scientist. "They not only provide a completely fresh and detailed view of an area famous to fans of space myths worldwide, but also provide an impressive close-up over an area of great interest for planetary geologists, and show once more the high capability of the Mars Express camera." Cydonia is located in the Arabia Terra region on Mars and belongs to the transition zone between the southern highlands and the northern plains of Mars.

 

This transition is characterized by wide, debris-filled valleys and isolated remnant mounds of various shapes and sizes.One of these visible remnant massifs became famous as the 'Face on Mars' in an image taken on 25 July 1976 by the American Viking 1 Orbiter. A few days later, on 31 July 1976, a NASA press release said the formation "resembles a human head." However, NASA scientists had already correctly interpreted the image as an optical illusion caused by the illumination angle of the Sun, the formation's surface morphology and the resulting shadows, giving the impression of eyes, nose and mouth.

 

 

Source: ESA

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Black hole generator not a threat

 

 

Scientists may be able to generate a black hole as often as every second when the world's most powerful particle accelerator comes online in 2007. This potential "black hole factory" has raised fears that a stray black hole could devour our planet whole.The Lifeboat Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to safeguarding humanity from what it considers threats to our existence, has stated that artificial black holes could "threaten all life on Earth" and so it proposes to set up "self-sustaining colonies elsewhere."But the chance of planetary annihilation by this means "is totally miniscule," experimental physicist Greg Landsberg at Brown University in Providence, R.I., told LiveScience.The accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is under construction in an underground circular tunnel nearly 17 miles long at CERN, the world's largest physics laboratory, near Geneva, Switzerland.At its maximum, each particle beam the collider fires will pack as much energy as a 400-ton train traveling at 120 mph.

 

By smashing particles together and investigating the debris, scientists hope to help solve mysteries such as the origin of mass and why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.If theories about the universe containing extra dimensions other than those of space and time are correct, the accelerator might also generate black holes, Landsberg and his colleague Savas Dimopoulos at Stanford University in California calculated in 2001.

 

Source: Fox News

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Searching for the ghost of Blackbeard

 

 

It's a fact that Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach, was killed in a gruesome battle in 1718 off Springer's Point, a wooded Eden that lines an area by Ocracoke Inlet called, aptly, Teach's Hole. It's not a fact, as legend would have it, that his headless body swam around his ship Adventure five times before giving up the ghost, so to speak. Nor is there a shred of evidence that the buccaneer buried his treasure beneath the dunes on Ocracoke. As part of a documentary he is filming about Blackbeard, Raleigh filmmaker and historian Kevin Duffus thought it would be interesting to dispel, or - who knows? - confirm, the legends at the place of his undoing, where it's said that his beheaded body still roams at night. "One reason I wanted to conduct the paranormal investigation is if we were able to contact Blackbeard, I could have saved a lot of time in my research by speaking to him myself," Duffus said with a grin.

 

"On the more serious side, I wanted to attempt to put an end to the legends, or myths, of his headless corpse walking the lonely beaches along Teach's Hole channel." When Rodriguez, who runs East Coast Hauntings Organization in Washington, N.C., reached the shore by Teach's Hole, she and para psychologist Sonya Holley, holding detecting equipment, scanned the spartina grass between the windswept cedar trees for any spirit energy.

 

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

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How the MoD hid the hunt for UFOs

 

 

The Ministry of Defence went to extraordinary lengths to cover up its true involvement in investigating UFOs, according to secret documents revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. The files show that officials attempted to expunge information from documents released to the Public Records Office under the "30-year rule" that would have revealed the extent of the MoD's interest in UFO sightings. In particular, the ministry wanted to cover up the operation of a secret unit dedicated to UFO investigations within the Defence Intelligence Staff. UFO conspiracy theorists have likened the unit, called DI55, to a sort of "Men in Black" agency for defending the Earth against invasion but the released documents show this is far from the truth. One 1995 memo from DI55 to the MoD's public "UFO desk" said: "I have several books at home that describe our supposed role of 'defender of the Earth against the alien menace' - it is light years from the truth!"

 

The files were made public following FOI requests by David Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University and his colleague Andy Roberts. "These documents don't tell us anything about UFOs but they do show how desperate the MoD have been to conceal the interest which the intelligence services had in the subject," said Dr Clarke. The trail begins with a request, in 1976, from a UFO enthusiast called Julian Hennessy for access to the MoD's records on UFO sightings. A note from the UFO desk to the MoD's head of security on March 23 shows that officials intended to refuse him access on the grounds that the files contain confidential information and "very little of value to a serious scientific investigator".

 

Source: Guardian Unlimited

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Thx Mr K :) .

 

Human hands emit light

 

 

Human hands glow, but fingernails release the most light, according to a recent study that found all parts of the hand emit detectable levels of light. The findings support prior research that suggested most living things, including plants, release light. Since disease and illness appear to affect the strength and pattern of the glow, the discovery might lead to less-invasive ways of diagnosing patients. Mitsuo Hiramatsu, a scientist at the Central Research Laboratory at Hamamatsu Photonics in Japan, who led the research, told Discovery News that the hands are not the only parts of the body that shine light by releasing photons, or tiny, energized increments of light. "Not only the hands, but also the forehead and bottoms of our feet emit photons," Hiramatsu said, and added that in terms of hands "the presence of photons means that our hands are producing light all of the time." The light is invisible to the naked eye, so Hiramatsu and his team used a powerful photon counter to "see"it. The detector found that fingernails release 60 photons, fingers release 40 and the palms are the dimmest of all, with 20 photons measured.

 

The findings are published in the current Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. Hiramatsu is not certain why fingernails light up more than the other parts of the hand, but he said, "It may be because of the optical window property of fingernails," meaning that the fingernail works somewhat like a prism to scatter light. To find out what might be creating the light in the first place, he and colleague Kimitsugu Nakamura had test subjects hold plastic bottles full of hot or cold water before their hand photons were measured. The researchers also pumped nitrogen or oxygen gas into the dark box where the individuals placed their hands as they were being analyzed.

 

Source: Discovery Channel

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Voyager sends back surprises

 

 

NASA's two Voyager spacecraft are sending back reports of magnetic potholes, sluggish solar wind, and unusual cosmic rays from the edge of the solar system, according to a leader of the Voyager mission. Voyager 1 was the first of the twin probes launched for Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond in 1977. It is now 10 billion miles (16 billion kilometers) from Earth, at the outer edge of the solar wind's influence, in a region called the heliosheath. There the solar wind streaming out from our sun begins to interact with particles of what can be thought of as the interstellar wind. Nothing like the wind we know on Earth, the solar wind is made up of charged particles—a type of plasma. Voyager 1 has been in the heliosheath since at least December 2004.The spacecraft is sending back a few surprises. The first is that the solar wind doesn't simply slow down when it crosses into the heliosheath—it practically stops. Closer to the sun, the solar wind moves at about 200 to 250 miles a second (300 to 400 kilometers a second).

 

"We expected the wind to slow to 100 kilometers [62 miles] per second or so," said Ed Stone, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

 

 

Source: National Geographic

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UFO enthusiast speaks at University

 

 

Robert Hastings came to UCF on Monday night to inform students of what he called the reality of UFOs in America. Hastings was brought to school by the Campus Activities Board Speakers Committee and its director, Kevin Chen. "It was exciting to have him here, and we had a good turn-out" Chen said. Hastings began his speech by telling students he was directly involved in the sighting of UFOs in March 1967. Hastings, who described himself as an "Air Force brat," spent his teenage years living on the Malmstrum Air Force Base in Montana. He claimed to be present in an air traffic control tower when "five unidentified aerial targets" were spotted by the controllers. This began his interest in UFOs and other space crafts and he has been researching ever since.After introducing himself to the audience and recalling his initial UFO experience, Hastings began a slideshow that he produced and narrated.The timeline ran from 1948 through 1985, and contained many de-classified government documents from agencies such as the CIA and FBI.A common theme throughout his entire presentation was the threat of UFOs near areas where nuclear weapons were being stored.He presented the case of Betty and Barney Hill, which, according to Hastings, took place in 1961."The couple was driving near their home in New Hampshire when they suddenly saw bright lights and heard beeping," Hastings said. "The next thing the couple knew they woke up two hours later and eight miles down the road."

 

While undergoing time-regression hypnosis slowly, and with mounting fear, each of them relived a frightening encounter with alien beings that took them from their car and led them aboard the now landed UFO."They were then separated and given lengthy medical examinations. Afterward, one of the aliens approached Betty and began to communicate with her in broken English."She was told that neither she nor her husband would remember the encounter" said Hastings, who claimed that radar reports from a local Air Force base in fact tracked a UFO at the same time and area where the Hills alleged encounter took place.

 

Source: Central Florida Future

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40 new species found in Amazon 'lost world'

 

 

Up to 40 new species of plants and animals, including a bird and a tree rat, have been discovered in an expedition to one of the world’s last unspoilt wildernesses. Scientists risked their lives to make the discoveries and three of them almost ended up being eaten by the wildlife they were trying to record. Two of the team exploring the Amapá region of Brazil had to hide in a hollow tree all night as a prowling jaguar tried to find a way in, and a third had to flee a hungry cayman. Despite their close shaves, the international research team described the unspoilt wilderness as a scientist’s heaven and were ecstatic about the wildlife they encountered. Many of the animals had no fear of the scientists because the region is so remote that they had never before come across a human. Researchers were particularly excited by the bird and the tree rat because new mammal and avian species are extremely rare.

 

The discoveries have yet to be verified by peer review but Enrico Bernard, of Conservation International, is confident that 27 new species have been identified and that several more are contained among the thousands of specimens brought back for analysis. Besides the rat and the bird, the new species found include seven fish, eight frogs, lizards and snakes, two shrimps and eight plants. One species of lizard, Amapafaurus petrabactulus, was rediscovered having been seen only twice before, both times in 1970. The lizard is unusual in having four fingers on its claws, whereas it closest relative has three.

 

Source: Times Online

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Researchers back 'Hobbit' claims

 

 

Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) are backing claims that the discovery of the so-called hobbit in Indonesia does represent a new species of human.In 2003, Australian scientists unearthed the remains of a hobbit-like species, with adults about the height of a three-year-old child, in a cave on a remote island in Indonesia.In a new paper, ANU researchers reject claims that the skeleton of a hobbit-like species was simply a very short human with a rare brain disease.ANU Professor Colin Groves says after analysing the evidence, he has no doubt the discovery represents a new species of human."What is particularly interesting about it is it survived in isolation through those two-million-years or so in eastern Indonesia and its existence was quite unsuspected until very recently," he said.Professor Groves says the evidence speaks for itself.

 

"Aspects of the shape of the skull are completely outside modern humans," he said. "The shape of the earhole in the skull, the shape of the forehead and the back of the skull, all these things are way outside. "The limb proportions are quite different from those seen in any modern humans that I've ever heard of."

 

Source: ABC.net.au

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Mystery surrounds red "alien" rain

 

 

As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis’s laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens. In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples—water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis’s home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001—contain microbes from outer space. Specifically, Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. Stranger still, dozens of his experiments suggest that the particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully, even in water superheated to nearly 600°F. (The known upper limit for life in water is about 250°F.) So how to explain them? Louis speculates that the particles could be extraterrestrial bacteria adapted to the harsh conditions of space and that the microbes hitched a ride on a comet or meteorite that later broke apart in the upper atmosphere and mixed with rain clouds above India. If his theory proves correct, the cells would be the first confirmed evidence of alien life and, as such, could yield tantalizing new clues to the origins of life on Earth. Last winter, Louis sent some of his samples to astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe and his colleagues at Cardiff University in Wales, who are now attempting to replicate his experiments; Wickramasinghe expects to publish his initial findings later this year.

 

Meanwhile, more down-to-earth theories abound. One Indian government investigation conducted in 2001 lays blame for what some have called the “blood rains” on algae. Other theories have implicated fungal spores, red dust swept up from the Arabian peninsula, even a fine mist of blood cells produced by a meteor striking a high-flying flock of bats. Louis and his colleagues dismiss all these theories, pointing to the fact that both algae and fungus possess DNA and that blood cells have thin walls and die quickly when exposed to water and air. More important, they argue, blood cells don’t replicate. “We’ve already got some stunning pictures—transmission electron micrographs—of these cells sliced in the middle,” Wickramasinghe says. “We see them budding, with little daughter cells inside the big cells.”

 

 

Source: Popular Science

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'Monster' fossil find in Arctic

 

 

Norwegian scientists have discovered a "treasure trove" of fossils belonging to giant sea reptiles that roamed the seas at the time of the dinosaurs. The 150 million-year-old fossils were uncovered on the Arctic island chain of Svalbard - about halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. The finds belong to two groups of extinct marine reptiles - the plesiosaurs and the ichthyosaurs. One skeleton has been nicknamed The Monster because of its enormous size. These animals were the top predators living in what was then a relatively cool, deep sea. Palaeontologists from the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum discovered the fossils during fieldwork in a remote part of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Jorn Harald Hurum, co-director of the dig, said he was taken aback by the sheer density of fossil remains in one area. "You can't walk for more than 100m without finding a skeleton.

 

That's amazing anywhere in the world," he told BBC News. Dr Dave Martill, a palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth commented: "These sites are very unusual. To find that many individuals is a remarkable thing - that's a bonanza." Ichthyosaurs bore a passing resemblance to modern dolphins, but they used an upright tail fin to propel themselves through the water.

 

Source: BBC News

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Lawyer pursues alien abduction claims

 

 

A German lawyer hopes to drum up more business by pursuing state compensation claims for people who believe they were abducted by aliens. "There's quite obviously demand for legal advice here," Jens Lorek told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. "The trouble is, people are afraid of making fools of themselves in court."Lorek, a lawyer based in the eastern city of Dresden who specializes in social and labor law, said he hoped to expand his client base by taking on the unusual work.He has yet to win any abduction claims, but says there are plenty of potential clients, noting that extra-terrestrial watchdogs report scores of alien assaults every year.

 

"These people could appeal for therapies or cures," he said.Lorek, 41, is pinning his hopes for success on a German law which grants kidnap victims the right to state compensation.Asked if he was worried he might look ridiculous by seeking justice for clients haunted by aliens, Lorek was unfazed."Nobody has laughed about it up until now."

 

Source: Yahoo! News

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