Tag Archives | discovery

What Lies Beneath Stonehenge?

via The Smithsonian:

We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass. It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance.

Faint as the Avenue was, Vince Gaffney hustled along as if it were illuminated by runway lights. A short, sprightly archaeologist of 56, from Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England, he knows this landscape as well as anyone alive: has walked it, breathed it, studied it for uncounted hours. He has not lost his sense of wonder.

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Ancient Mayan Cities Rediscovered

"The monster mouth doorway at Lagunita. Note the stylized eye of the earth monster and fangs along the doorway jamb." IVAN SPRAJC

“The monster mouth doorway at Lagunita. Note the stylized eye of the earth monster and fangs along the doorway jamb.”
IVAN SPRAJC

I lament the day we’ve finally discovered everything left behind from our ancient ancestors.

via Discovery:

A monster mouth doorway, ruined pyramid temples and palace remains emerged from the Mexican jungle as archaeologists unearthed two ancient Mayan cities.

Found in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, the cities were hidden in thick vegetation and hardly accessible.

“Aerial photographs helped us in locating the sites,” expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), said.

Sprajc and his team found the massive remains as they further explored the area around Chactun, a large Maya city discovered by the Slovenian archaeologist in 2013.

No other site has so far been located in this area, which extends over some 1800 square miles, between the so-called Rio Bec and Chenes regions, both known for their characteristic architectural styles fashioned during the Late and Terminal Classic periods, around 600 – 1000 A.D.

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A type of dandruff fungus is found in deep sea vents, lobster guts, and Antarctic soil

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons.

via Popular Science:

What do human scalps, deep sea vents, and Antarctic soil have in common? As it turns out, all of these places are home to one weird group of fungi. A study published today in the journal PLOS Pathogens found that fungi of the genus Malassezia are just about everywhere. And we do mean everywhere.

Scientists have known for quite a while that some species of Malassezia were associated with dandruff and other skin conditions like eczema, and they had long assumed that these fungi were specialized to live on skin. The fungus, which relies on a host to provide fatty acids, is incredibly difficult for scientists to cultivate, or grow in a lab, and it flew under the radar for years. Now the fungus has turned up in the guts of lobster larvae, hydrothermal vents, the roots of orchids and many other incredibly different places.

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FOUND: 300-year-old Pyx

Another interesting discovery this week.

800px-Bronze_pyx

An example of a pyx. © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons.

 

via Reuters:

A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.

Eric Schmitt, a professional salvager, was scavenging with his parents when he found the crumpled, square-shaped ornament on a leisure trip to hunt for artifacts in the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that sank in 1715 during a hurricane off central Florida’s east coast.

After the discovery last month, a team of Spanish historians realized the piece fit together with another artifact recovered 25 years ago. It formed an accessory called a pyx, worn on a chain around a high priest’s neck to carry the communion host. The dollar value is uncertain.

“It’s priceless, unique, one of a kind,” said Brent Brisben, operations manager for 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, which owns rights to the wreckage, located in 15-foot (4.5-meter) deep Atlantic Ocean waters.

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Strange Ball Lightning Caught on High-Speed Video

English: Some scientific groups, including the...

Some scientific groups, including the Max Planck Institute, have reportedly produced a ball lightning-type effect by discharging a high-voltage capacitor in a tank of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chinese scientists gain new information on ball lightning from a chance recording.

via Live Science

A video recorded by accident of ball lightning in China is now shedding light on the phenomenon’s mysterious origins, researchers say.

Ball lightning occurs as glowing spheres ranging in size from a golf ball to a very large beach ball (1 to 100 centimeters, or 0.4 inches to 39 inches, in diameter). These fiery orbs can be white, yellow, red, orange, purple or green, and can persist for seconds or even minutes. Ball lightning typically appears during thunderstorms and usually hovers near the ground, drifting over the Earth at a few miles per hour, but it has also been seen on ships and even within airplanes.

Over the centuries, people have reported thousands of sightings of ball lightning.

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Selfish Science And The Human Genome Project

Via the Daily Beast, Michael Thomsen on the new model of scientific progress:

In a time of dramatically worsening social conditions in the richest country in the world, there is something perverse about chasing scientific advancement that only the tiniest percentage of people will have access to, driven by the optimism of impossible promises.

It’s possible to view scientific advancement not as a marker of human progress but as a separatist illusion used to justify the accumulation of wealth by the few, building new speculative societies with iPhones, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine, while everyone else festers in shanty towns and militarized city slums. Does it matter if there is a cure for cancer but no one will share it with you?

In the thrilling early years of the Human Genome Project, scientists flew all over the world to study the genes of as many different races and ethnic groups as possible.

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No Land Ho: Sandy Island and the Age of Un-Discovery

Frank Jacobs writes at Big Think:

A phantom island can be defined as ‘An island once believed to exist, and accordingly depicted on maps, but of which the existence was later disproved, and its cartographic representation removed’. These fallacies started infesting maps by the dozen during the Age of Discovery, when explorers sailing for regions unknown mistook their fevered ambitions, or a random fog bank, for islands that weren’t there.

Some of these phantom islands lingered on maps for centuries, at least partly, it seems, because they had such a great hold on the imagination of generation after generation of sailors. But eventually, they were proven not to exist. Gone from today’s maps are places with such captivating names as the Isle of Demons, Estotiland, the Island of the 11,000 Virgins, and Hy-Brasil. All of these and more were un-discovered, removed from nautical charts, and added to the select club of Phantom Islands.

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Medical Study Of Three Real-Life Haitian Zombies

1218283_f260What causes zombification? Some mixture of schizophrenia, mistaken identity, a poison powder called tetrodotoxin, and amnesia. Mind Hacks writes:

We hear a lot about zombies these days, but many are unaware that in 1997 The Lancet published a medical study of three genuine Haitian zombies. The cases were reported by British anthropologist Roland Littlewood and Haitian doctor Chavannes Douyon and concerned three individuals identified as zombies after they had apparently passed away.

The Haitian explanation for how zombies are created involves the distinction between different elements of the human being – including the body, the gwobon anj (the animating principle) and the ti-bon anj, which represents something akin to agency, awareness, and memory.

In line with these beliefs is the fact that awareness and agency can be split off from the human being – and can be captured and stored in a bottle by a bòkò, a type of magician and spirit worker who can be paid to send curses or help individuals achieve their aims.

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New Shark Species Found In Food Market

Photo: Laurent Bugnion (CC)

Photo: Laurent Bugnion (CC)

Biologists are finding new species constantly, but it took a hungry market and working fishermen to find this new shark species. The National Geographic reports:

It’s unlikely anyone’s ever complained, “Waiter, there’s a new species in my soup.” But the situation isn’t as rare as you might think.

A monkey, a lizard, and an “extinct” bird have all been discovered en route to the dinner plate, and now a new shark species joins their ranks, scientists report.

Fish taxonomists found the previously unknown shark at a market in Taiwan—no big surprise, according to study co-author William White.

“Most fish markets in the region will regularly contain sharks,” White, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Hobart, Australia, said via email.

[Continues at National Geographic]

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Norway Wants Ship Back 80 Years After Sinking In Canadian Arctic

B&AShip

Photo: Ansgar Walk (CC)

Via Discovery News:

Eighty years after it sank in the Canadian Arctic, explorer Roald Amundsen’s three-mast ship Maud may once again sail across the Atlantic to become the centerpiece of a new museum in Norway.

Canada, however, must still agree to the repatriation plan hatched by Norwegian investors, amid strong opposition from locals in the Canadian territory of Nunavut who want the ship to stay for tourists to admire from shore.

The wreck now sits at the bottom of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, but its hulk is partly visible above the frigid waters that preserved it for decades.

“The incredibly strong-built oak ship has been helped by the Arctic cold and clean water to be kept in a reasonably good shape,” said Jan Wanggaard, a Norwegian who recently visited the wreck to sort out technical problems with raising the ship as well as to survey the views from locals and officials.

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