Saturday, July 22, 2017

Psychic historian tries to solve ancient mysteries

Via by Ollie Cowan

A Southport man who says he is fed up with science, thinks he could use psychic powers to solve some of the most puzzling ancient mysteries of our time.

Christopher O’Hanlon, from Banks, refers to himself as an international historian with a difference – for he uses a specific set of skills to solve countless ancient mysteries that have puzzled fellow historians and scientists for generations.

Discarding the normally reliable tools used by historians, physicists and scientists, Christopher instead channels his intense psychic powers to ‘go back in time’ and work out what he believes actually happened.

Among his discoveries, he claims that the earth is in fact a comet that used to move in and out of the solar system, Vikings were a super-technologically advanced race and water can no longer erode rock.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Text by 'Father of Medicine' Found in Remote Egyptian Monastery

Via by Sarah Gibbens

There's perhaps no doctor in history more famous than Hippocrates. Many medical students today still swear the ancient doctor's oath to adhere to ethical medical principles. While the details of his life are murky (it's even debated whether he wrote the oath or some of the other manuscripts that bear his name), Hippocrates is widely regarded as the "father of Western medicine."

Archaeologists now believe they may have found one of the ancient doctor's medical recipes preserved by centuries-past scholars during the renovation of the world's oldest continuously running library.

While conducting restorations on the St. Catherine Monastery in South Sinai, a remote region on a peninsula in northeast Egypt, monks claim to have found a 6th century recipe formulated by the doctor. The discovery was announced by officials from both the Egyptian and Greek governments, who worked with researchers from Greece.

The manuscript contains a medical recipe that the researchers attribute to Hippocrates's work during the 5th and 4th century BC. The manuscript also contains three recipes with pictures of herbs that were created by an anonymous scribe.

Shroud of Turin Has Blood of Torture Victim, Possibly Jesus Christ, New Research Discovers

Via by Stoyan Zaimov

Researchers in Italy analyzing the world-famous Shroud of Turn, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, have discovered that the relic carries the blood of a torture victim.

Elvio Carlino, a researcher at the Institute of Crystallography, said last week in an article for Catholic News Agency that the small particles analyzed "have recorded a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth."

The nanoparticles in question have a peculiar structure, size and distribution, which are not typical of the blood of a healthy person.

The particles showed high levels of substances called creatinine and ferritin, which are found in patients who have suffered multiple traumas like torture.

"Hence, the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin Shroud," University of Padua professor Giulio Fanti said.

T Rex could not have outrun a speedy human, scientists conclude

Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Marcel Kunkel
Via by Sarah Knapton

Its name may translate as ‘king of the tyrant lizards’ but Tyrannosaurus Rex could not have outrun a speedy human, scientists have concluded, making a mockery of Jurassic Park.

Although it was previously thought the dinosaur could sprint at around 45mph, German scientists have discovered that the lumbering beast was so massive it would have struggled to accelerate beyond a medium trot.

In fact, researchers calculated that T Rex could only have clocked a running speed of 16.5mph, just one mph faster than the average human, and a 11 mph slower than Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth.

And the dinosaur certainly would not have been capable of keeping up with a moving Jeep, as shown in Spielberg's Jurassic Park.

However even Bolt could not have out-run a velociraptor, who would have been one of the fastest dinosaurs with the ability to run at 34 mph.

Why We Need a New Type of SETI Instrument


Imagine this scenario: On a world orbiting a neighboring star, a society more advanced than our own has used large telescopes to survey all the planets within a few hundred light-years. In this sample of a million worlds, it finds that one percent show the tell-tale atmospheric gases that indicate life. One of these is Earth.

This society is sufficiently distant that clues to the existence of Homo sapiens, in the form of high-powered radio signals, have yet to arrive. But their scientists know that Earth is laminated with biology of some kind.

And so, simply as a wake-up call to any intelligence that might be here, they occasionally “ping” Earth with a short flash of laser light – the kind of signal that any technically competent species could recognize as artificial and deliberate.

Such pinprick light flashes could be routinely dotting the heavens today, but we wouldn’t know. Most telescopes are insensitive to short light pulses, and in any case are focused on tiny patches of the sky. We would no more be aware of such signals than Columbus was of Jupiter’s moons, despite the fact that they were in plain sight.

Plain, that is, with the right equipment.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

‘Robot drowned’: Twitter baffled by cyborg’s apparent ‘suicide’

Photo credit to Bilal Farooqui

In another example of internet madness, the ‘death’ of a security robot in a Washington DC office fountain is making waves online.

On Monday, news that a Knightscope security robot had fallen into a fountain was relayed on Twitter by Bilal Farooqui.

“Our DC office building got a security robot. It drowned itself. We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots,” Farooqui said.

From there internet denizens chimed in with their own theories, with some mocking and mourning the robot’s fate.

Resembling R2-D2 from the Star Wars franchise, the K5 security robot was rolled out by California-based Knightscope in 2014.

Make $9.75 Per Hour Babysitting Ghosts and Ghost Hunters

HMP Shepton Mallet
Via by Paul Seaburn

If you missed out on the job in Scotland that paid $64,000 a year plus room and board to nanny two kids in a haunted house, there’s more opportunities available if you’re good with ghosts and handy in haunted hovels. A haunted prison in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, is interviewing candidates for the position of “overnight supervisor.” The pay is only £7.50 ($9.75) per hour but it could be great training in the event that the current Scary Poppins follows the path of the previous six haunted house nannies and quits after a month. How hard can the job be?

A better question is, “How haunted can this prison be?” HMP Shepton Mallet was established as a House of Correction in 1625 and operated continuously, except for about 10 years prior to World War II, until 2013, when it was permanently closed after becoming the UK’s oldest operating prison. While very few records were kept, HMP Shepton Mallet was believed to have held men, women and children together who served long sentences for such petty crimes as being debtors, thieves, vagrants or just misfits or persons who acted strangely due to mental health disorders. It was said to have been filthy and disease-ridden and prisoners who didn’t die horrible deaths from sickness died horrible deaths from being tortured on devices such as the treadwheel, a circular contraption driven by up to 40 men pushing to power a grain mill … or just keep them in hard labor until they died horrible deaths and were buried in unmarked graves.

Self-driving cars may soon be able to make moral and ethical decisions as humans do


Can a self-driving vehicle be moral, act like humans do, or act like humans expect humans to? Contrary to previous thinking, a ground-breaking new study has found for the first time that human morality can be modelled meaning that machine based moral decisions are, in principle, possible.

The research, Virtual Reality experiments investigating human behavior and moral assessments, from The Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück, and published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, used immersive virtual reality to allow the authors to study human behavior in simulated road traffic scenarios.

The participants were asked to drive a car in a typical suburban neighborhood on a foggy day when they experienced unexpected unavoidable dilemma situations with inanimate objects, animals, and humans and had to decide which was to be spared. The results were conceptualized by statistical models leading to rules, with an associated degree of explanatory power to explain the observed behavior. The research showed that moral decisions in the con?ned scope of unavoidable traffic collisions can be explained well, and modeled, by a single value-of-life for every human, animal, or inanimate object.

Leon Sütfeld, first author of the study, says that until now it has been assumed that moral decisions are strongly context dependent and therefore cannot be modeled or described algorithmically, "But we found quite the opposite. Human behavior in dilemma situations can be modeled by a rather simple value-of-life-based model that is attributed by the participant to every human, animal, or inanimate object." This implies that human moral behavior can be well described by algorithms that could be used by machines as well.

Researchers think they know where Amelia Earhart died — days after a photo suggested she lived

Via by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Despite recent claims to the contrary, there’s no doubt in Ric Gillespie’s mind that Amelia Earhart died as a castaway after her plane crashed on a desolate island in the Pacific Ocean.

But he realizes the rest of the world needs a smoking gun.

Or, perhaps, four barking border collies.

Gillespie’s group, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), believes that Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, died as castaways on an empty island in the Pacific Ocean and hoped that the collies’ noses would help corroborate this theory.

The dogs — Marcy, Piper, Kayle and Berkeley — have been specially trained to sniff out chemicals left by decaying human remains.

Just last week, the History Channel suggested that Earhart may have been captured by the Japanese after a newly unearthed photograph from the National Archives showed what researchers claim are the pilot and her navigator in Jaluit Harbor in the Marshall Islands after their disappearance.

TIGHAR researchers, on the other hand, continue to believe that Earhart’s plane was blown off course by strong Pacific winds. Running out of fuel, Earhart and Noonan landed injured but intact on an empty island 400 miles short of their refueling stop. British officials discovered a partial human skeleton on the island in 1940 but ultimately (and Gillespie believes erroneously) concluded that it didn’t belong to the famed aviator.

On June 30, the dogs, their handlers and a group of researchers were dropped on that island — once called Gardner Island, since renamed Nikumaroro — as part of an expedition paid for by National Geographic.

The researchers hoped the dogs would lead them to the site where that skeleton was found. With a lot of luck and a little DNA analysis, researchers believed they could unearth a bone and solve an 80-year-old missing-person case.

The collies got part of the way there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scientists Re-created an Extinct Virus

Via by Helen Branswell

For years there have been warnings that advances in science could make it possible to cook up killer diseases in laboratories and unleash them on the world.

This week came news that scientists at the University of Alberta have put together from scratch a relative of the smallpox virus — and a reminder that the threat of deadly viruses created by humans is more than theoretical.

The smallpox virus, which triggered brutal disease for centuries, was declared eradicated in 1980 after a successful global effort to end its reign of terror. But some scientists fear that it could be revived through what’s known as synthetic biology — the ability to make a virus by putting together by the recipe outlined in its genetic code.

The horsepox virus the Canadian team created is not a threat to human health — or even the health of horses — should it ever escape from a lab. And it’s not the first virus created by putting pieces of DNA together in the right sequence.

Still, the news that a team headed by David Evans, a professor of medical microbiology and immunology, had accomplished this feat — at a relatively low cost of about $100,000 plus labor — was a bit of a wakeup call. The news was first reported Thursday in Science Magazine.

Sea Spiders Pump Blood With Their Guts, Not Their Hearts

Via by Ed Yong

If sea spiders had a creation myth, it would go something like this. An inebriated deity stumbles home after a hard day’s creating, finds a bunch of leftover legs, glues them together, and zaps them to life before passing out and forgetting to add anything else. The resulting creature—all leg and little else—scuttles away to conquer the oceans.

This is fiction, of course, but it’s only slightly more fanciful than the actual biology of sea spiders. These bizarre marine creatures have four to six pairs of spindly, jointed legs that convene at a torso that barely exists. “They have to do most of their business in their legs,” says Amy Moran from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, who studies these animals. They have, for example, no lungs, gills, or respiratory organs of any kind. Instead, they rely on oxygen diffusing passively across the large surface area provided by their legs.

Their genitals are found on their legs, too. A female will grow eggs in her thighs—“it’s as if my arms were full of ping-pong balls,” says Moran—and release them through pores. A male, clambering over her, releases sperm from similar pores to fertilize the eggs, which he scoops up and carries around. Among these animals, the dads care for the young.

The legs are also where most of sea spiders’ digestion takes place. There’s so little distance between their mouths and anuses that their guts send long branches down each leg. Put your wrists together, spread your hands out, and splay your fingers—that’s the shape of a sea spider’s gut.

China makes quantum leap forward by 'teleporting' data from Tibet to satellite

Via by Liam Mannix

A Chinese team has successfully "teleported" data from one elementary particle to another, something scientists say is yet more proof of Beijing 's burgeoning quantum capability.

The breakthrough gives China a significant edge in developing unbreakable codes in the cutting edge field of quantum cryptography.

The team that made the breakthrough works out of a base station in the snow-covered mountains of Tibet, 4500 metres above sea level.

The altitude allows the station to get as close as possible to a tiny Chinese satellite, Micius, orbiting high overhead.

Last month the scientists revealed that they could entangle particles 1200 kilometres apart. Now they've used the entanglement to send information between the two particles.