Archive for the ‘science’ Category

BBC News – Yale agrees to return Machu Picchu artefacts to Peru   Leave a comment



Yale University has signed an agreement to return to Peru some 5,000 Inca artefacts removed from the famed Machu Picchu citadel nearly a century ago.

The relics – stone tools, ceramics and human and animal bones – will be housed in a new centre in the city of Cuzco.

The deal ends a long dispute over the artefacts, which were taken from Machu Picchu by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1912.

Machu Picchu, high in the Andes, is Peru’s main tourist attraction.

via BBC News – Yale agrees to return Machu Picchu artefacts to Peru.

Posted February 16, 2011 by dmacc502 in government, history, science

Tagged with

Slaves’ possessions unearthed from an 18th-century plantation greenhouse: Scientific American Gallery   Leave a comment

Frederick Douglass

Image via Wikipedia


In 1785, as an unknown African slave built the furnace for a plantation‘s greenhouse, he packed in this prehistoric pestle among the bricks. The object is a West African spirit practice symbol, University of Maryland archeologist Mark Leone said in a prepared statement. University of Maryland archeologists are excavating the grounds of the Wye House outside of Annapolis, Maryland. The house is known for its beauty—and for being a plantation where abolitionist Frederick Douglass was enslaved as a boy in the 1820s. The house and garden, where the greenhouse stands, appear in Douglass’ autobiography: “Colonel Lloyd kept a large and finely cultivated garden, which afforded almost constant employment for four men,” he wrote. “To describe the wealth of Colonel Lloyd would be almost equal to describing the riches of Job.”

via Slaves’ possessions unearthed from an 18th-century plantation greenhouse: Scientific American Gallery.

Posted February 15, 2011 by dmacc502 in culture, History, science, social

Tagged with , ,

Smaller glaciers, not giant ice caps, tipped to push sea levels up | Earth Times News   Leave a comment

An aerial view of Antarctica. Weddell Sea is t...

Image via Wikipedia


That climate scientists looking into rising sea levels are currently directing their research at the massive ice caps of the Arctic and the Antarctic is hardly surprising. After all, it is estimated the West Antarctica region alone – a mass of land the size of Greenland and home to natural behemoths such as the Pink Island Glacier – is responsible for ten per cent of the global sea level rises seen over the past few years.

However, the findings of a new study suggest that it will be the ‘melt off’ from smaller mountain glaciers and inland ice caps, rather than from the world’s biggest ice shelves, that will drive sea level increases over the coming decades. This new research, which was carried out the University of British Columbia, saw a team of climatologists develop a simulation capable of modelling anticipated volume loss and melt off from some 120,000 sites around the world between now and 120,000. Unlike previously-developed models, this time around the scientists made an effort to achieve detailed projections per region instead of merely focusing on wider trends.

“There is a lot of focus on the large ice sheets but very few global scale studies quantifying how much melt to expect from these smaller glaciers that make up about 40 percent of the entire sea-level rise that we observe right now,” lead researcher Valentin Radic, from the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at UBC, explained, writing up the findings in the academic journal Nature Geoscience.

via Smaller glaciers, not giant ice caps, tipped to push sea levels up | Earth Times News.

Why the New Zodiac Changes Nothing – Tech Talk – CBS News   Leave a comment

This is a horoscope originally authored by Chr...

Image via Wikipedia


Why all the fuss about a 13th astrological sign?

Most people, whether they believe in astrology or not, are in the habit of looking up their sign in the newspaper or receiving a daily update via social media. As a student of astrology, I can say that at best this is a great way to pass a few minutes of time each day. But it is not in any way an accurate example of what astrology offers people interested in insights about their personality or challenges in life.

On paper, an astrological chart is a series of symbols arranged in a wheel that creates a statement or series of statements — much like a sentence written in any language. Imagine trying to construct a clear sentence interpreting the meaning of only one word from that sentence. To me, this is what looking up sun sign astrology in the newspaper is like. The only way to use astrology in the way it was created is to look at an entire chart.

Let’s think for a moment that astrology is synonymous with the language of words. Language has grammar, punctuation and words which function as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Astrology has all of these things too, but they are called houses, signs, planets,and aspects. From a person’s birth information an astrologer will create a natal chart — an essay about a person if you will — out of which the 10 planets in the solar system (The Sun and Moon are called planets in astrological charts because Earth is at the center of the chart.) are oriented in relationship to the constellations in the sky along the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the path in the sky of the Sun therefore only a certain number of constellations or signs “cross” the ecliptic. A few thousand years ago there were only 12. Now there are 13.

via Why the New Zodiac Changes Nothing – Tech Talk – CBS News.

Posted January 14, 2011 by dmacc502 in entertainment, global, science

Tagged with , , ,

Lunar eclipse sees crowds come out with their telescopes | Science |   Leave a comment

ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 21:  In this handout ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife


The shadow of the Earth is seen on the Moon during a total lunar eclipse seen from near Calvine, Perthshire, Scotland

via Lunar eclipse sees crowds come out with their telescopes | Science |

Posted December 21, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment, global, science

Tagged with , , , ,

Richard Evelyn Byrd   Leave a comment

Admiral Richard E. Byrd

Image via Wikipedia

Join Admiral Richard E. Byrd in 1982 as he leads a term of explorers to the coldest continent on Earth to map the region and claim large tracts on Antartica for the United States.

On May 9, 1926, Byrd and pilot Floyd Bennett attempted a flight over the North Pole in a Fokker F-VII Tri-motor called the Josephine Ford. This flight went from Spitsbergen (Svalbard) and back to its take-off airfield. Byrd claimed to have reached the Pole. This trip earned Byrd widespread acclaim, including being received the Medal of Honor and enabled him to secure funding for subsequent attempts to fly over the South Pole.

From 1926 until 1996, there were doubts, defenses, and heated controversy about whether or not Byrd actually reached the North Pole. In 1958 Norwegian-American aviator and explorer Bernt Balchen cast doubt on Byrd’s claim on the basis of his extensive personal knowledge of the airplane’s speed. In 1971 Balchen speculated that Byrd had simply circled aimlessly while out of sight of land.[1]

The 1996 release of Byrd’s diary of the May 9, 1926 flight revealed erased (but still legible) sextant sights that sharply differ with Byrd’s later June 22 typewritten official report to the National Geographic Society. Byrd took a sextant reading of the Sun at 7:07:10 GCT. His erased diary record shows the apparent (observed) solar altitude to have been 19°25’30”, while his later official typescript reports the same 7:07:10 apparent solar altitude to have been 18°18’18”.[2] On the basis of this and other data in the diary, Dennis Rawlins concluded that Byrd steered accurately, and flew about 80% of the distance to the Pole before turning back because of an engine oil leak, but later falsified his official report to support his claim of reaching the pole.[3]


The Fokker FVIIa/3M – “Josephine Ford”, on display at The Henry Ford Museum

Accepting that the conflicting data in the typed report’s flight times indeed require both northward and southward groundspeeds greater than the flight’s 85 mph airspeed, a remaining Byrd defender posits a westerly-moving anti-cyclone that tailwind-boosted Byrd’s groundspeed on both outward and inward legs, allowing the distance claimed to be covered in the time claimed. (The theory is based on rejecting handwritten sextant data in favor of typewritten alleged dead-reckoning data.)[4] This suggestion has been refuted by Dennis Rawlins[5] who adds[6] that the sextant data in the long unavailable original official typewritten report are all expressed to 1″, a precision not possible on Navy sextants of 1926 and not the precision of the sextant data in Byrd’s diary for 1925 or the 1926 flight, which was normal (half or quarter of a minute of arc). Some sources claim that Floyd Bennett and Byrd later revealed, in private conversations, that they did not reach the pole. One source claims that Floyd Bennett later told a fellow pilot that they did not reach the pole.[7] It is also claimed that Byrd confessed his failure to reach the North Pole during a long walk with Dr. Isaiah Bowman in 1930.[8]

Considering that Byrd and Bennett probably didn’t reach the North Pole, it is extremely likely that the first flight over the Pole was the flight of the airship Norge in May 1926 with its crew of Roald AmundsenUmberto NobileOscar Wisting, and others. This flight went from Spitsbergen (Svalbard) to Alaska nonstop, so there is little doubt that they went over the North Pole. Amundsen and Wisting had both been members of the first expedition to the South Pole, December 1911.

Dead Sea Scroll scans to be published online | World news | The Guardian   Leave a comment

Jordan, Amman, Dead Sea Scroll 4Q175

Image via Wikipedia

Dead Sea Scroll scans to be published online | World news | The Guardian.

via Dead Sea Scroll scans to be published online | World news | The Guardian.

High-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls are to be published on the internet, it was announced today.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said it was collaborating with Google’s research and development centre in Israel to upload digitised images of the entire collection.

Advanced imaging technology will be installed in the IAA’s laboratories early next year and high-resolution images of each of the scrolls’ 30,000 fragments will be freely accessible online. The IAA conducted a pilot imaging project of a similar nature in 2008.

“The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations,” the IAA said in a statement.

It said the new technology would help to make clear writing that has faded over the centuries, and would promote further research into one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls, most of them on parchment, are the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible and include secular text dating from the third century BC to the first century AD.

For many years after Bedouin shepherds discovered the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments. But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety nine years ago.

A few large pieces of scroll are on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.