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.
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.
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.
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 | guardian.co.uk.
Image via Wikipedia
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.
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”. 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.
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.) This suggestion has been refuted by Dennis Rawlins who adds 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. It is also claimed that Byrd confessed his failure to reach the North Pole during a long walk with Dr. Isaiah Bowman in 1930.
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 Amundsen, Umberto Nobile, Oscar 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.