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Archive for September, 2012


Could this be the Russian Loch Ness Monster? Is there a Siberian Nessie?

The Siberian times writes:

Known as ‘Russia’s Loch Ness Monster’, the accounts of the creature in Yakutia predate the Scottish claims yet in many ways are similar.

Intriguingly, too, there are theories that Labynkyr – which has unusual cracks on its 60 to 80 metre deep floor  – is connected by underwater channels to another lake, Vorota, where monster sightings have also been recorded, including by respected Soviet geologist Viktor Tverdokhlebov, an academician not given to hyperbole.

Associate Professor of Biogeography Lyudmila Emeliyanova revealed to The Siberian Times that on her own scientific mission to Labynkyr she recorded ‘several seriously big underwater objects’ with sonar readings.

She is not the only researcher to have done so.

‘It was our fourth or fifth day at the lake when our echo sounding device registered a huge object in the water under our boat,’ she said.

‘The object was very dense, of homogeneous structure, surely not a fish nor a shoal of fish, and it was above the bottom. I was very surprised but not scared and not shocked, after all we did not see this animal, we only registered a strange object in the water. But I can clearly say – at the moment, as a scientist, I cannot offer you any explanation of what this object might be.’

Read more at siberiantimes.com


Mark Anders uploaded a video of pictures taken in Ranchita, CA to YouTube in September of 2011.

An anonymous hiker in California has captured what he believes to be a genuine Sasquatch on film. Not wanting to give out his information he gave permission to another man, Mark Anders to publish the photos.

Ghost Theory writes:

Mark was recently going through some photos when he realized that the figure behind a pile of twisted tree limbs was not part of the pile. At first he was upset because this head had ruined his artistic photo….OK, I made that part up. Hmm, I wonder if something else has been made up here *wink* *wink*.

Actually, I don’t know what’s going on with this photo other than what we see in the video below.

Read more at ghosttheory.com/2012


Ghost ships seem to be the next 'hotspot' for paranormal activity.

 With all the recent ghost ‘investigation’ tv shows and just the overall popularity of the looking into the paranormal right now, it seems all the good spots on land have been taken or debunked. Now, it’s time to go off shore!

The Huffington Post writes:

Trying to make contact with a ghost? The key to getting them to respond may be pie — or at least a question about it.

That’s the surprising claim made by paranormal researcher Matt Schulz, a San Diego-based art director when he’s not exploring old houses, hotels or ships.

“It sounds strange, but a question like ‘What kind of pie do you like? Cherry or Apple?’ actually seems to get a response from spirits,” Schulz told a group of wannabe paranormal researchers during a midnight expedition on the Star Of India, a 149-year-old ship that is harbored down in San Diego.

It’s a technique Schulz learned a few years back from another investigator.

“Asking questions like ”Do you like cherry or apple pie?’ or ‘Do you prefer lemons or oranges?’ seems innocuous,” he told The Huffington Post a few days after the expedition. “But, for some strange reason, the spirits will answer them. Once, we were investigating an adobe house and trying to contact the ghost of a girl and we asked her if she liked chocolate or vanilla better and she said clearly, as if she was in the room, ‘Vanilla.'”

Besides being the second oldest ship still sailing regularly and the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still floating, the Star of India is also allegedly harboring a lot of ghosts, hence the late night expedition, which was part of the Maritime Ghost Conference, a recent event in San Diego that explored the connection between ghosts and ships.

Read more at huffingtonpost.com


A family in New Mexico is plagued by a creature of the night.

A video posted on Youtube by user JC Jhonson shows a small family in New Mexico seemingly plagued by a beast that comes in the night. Some have even compared it to the demon-man of the hollywood movie ‘Jeepers Creepers’.

Ghost Theory writes:

When I do my rounds I usually stop by Youtube and throw in some keywords to see what’s current. Today, I found a new video that seems somewhat interesting, so I thought our readers would enjoy debating about it.


Recently a family in the Four Corners area of New Mexico contacted JC Johnson of Crypto Four Corners with quite a story.

Allegedly the family has been visited by some sort of large creature that torments them at night. The beast is described as resembling the Creeper from the film series Jeepers Creepers and apparently claws at the exterior walls of family home. Other activity includes damage to the family automobile and claw marks on the daughters back while she sleeps.

Read more at ghosttheory.com


Is this new footage posted by Find Bigfoot the real thing?

New alleged footage of Bigfoot has been posted on the Find Bigfoot page on the Facebook social network. Could this be the real deal?

Check the facebook group out at facebook.com/FindBigfoot and for more insight, updates and breakdowns of Bigfoot and other Cryptid related stories, go to  cryptomundo.com



The first stage of the European Beard and Mustache Olympics were held in Wittersdorf, eastern France.

Quite a weird competition to be sure, the Mustache and Beard Olympics draw  a huge crowd to marvel at the facial hair wizardry by competitors that  have traveled from all across the continent to show-off and compete.

The Herald Sun writes:

Boasting beards that would make most men blush with envy, more than 100 competitors from around the world have converged on Wittersdorf in France to compare facial hair.

While no rival to the Olympics or European football championships, the event proved a popular opportunity for men to flex their follicle muscles and impress judges and crowds of spectators.

To enhance the effect of their remarkable growths, many participants, who came from across the continent, wore extraordinary costumes and outlandish hats.

While many entrants opted for the self-supporting curly look, other competitors boasted moustaches that were so magnificently proportioned they required sticky tape or grips to keep them in place.

Read more at heraldsun.com.au


Japanese researchers Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada have invented a way to stop people talking in their tack.s

Everyone seems to have a co-worker or friend that just doesn’t seem to stop talking, ever. Well, two young researchers in Japan have created a literal gun (you point it at someone’s face and pull the trigger) that make even the loudest, most obtrusive talkers, silent.

Science on MSNBC News writes:

BOSTON — For anyone who’s ever been tired of listening to someone drone on and on and on, two Japanese researchers have the answer.

The SpeechJammer, a device that disrupts a person’s speech by repeating his or her own voice at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds, was named Thursday as a 2012 winner of the Ig Nobel prize — an award sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine for weird and humorous scientific discoveries.

The echo effect of the device is just annoying enough to get someone to sputter and stop.

Actually, the device created by Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada is meant to help public speakers by alerting them if they are speaking too quickly or have taken up more than their allotted time.

“This technology … could also be useful to ensure speakers in a meeting take turns appropriately, when a particular participant continues to speak, depriving others of the opportunity to make their fair contribution,” said Kurihara, of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

Still, winning an Ig Nobel in acoustics for the device’s other more dubious purpose is cool too.

“Winning an Ig Nobel has been my dream as a mad scientist,” he said.

Read more at msnbc.msn.com


The strangest thing about this rock is how alone it is. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity Rover missions are going extremely well, finding and discovering all sorts of new stuff but, here’s something a little unexpected. A strange, pyramid shaped rock out in the middle of nowhere.

NASA writes:

‘Jake Matijevic’ Contact Target for Curiosity

The drive by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity during the mission’s 43rd Martian day, or sol, (Sept. 19, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. The rock is about 10 inches (25 centimeters) tall and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide. The rover team has assessed it as a suitable target for the first use of Curiosity’s contact instruments on a rock. The image was taken by the left Navigation camera (Navcam) at the end of the drive.

The rock has been named “Jake Matijevic.” This commemorates Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012), who was the surface operations systems chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the project’s Curiosity rover. He was also a leading engineer for all of the previous NASA Mars rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity.

Curiosity’s contact instruments are on a turret at the end of the rover’s arm. They are the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer for reading a target’s elemental composition and the Mars Hand Lens Imager for close-up imaging.

See more pictures from the Mars Curiosity missions at nasa.gov/mission_pages


Clear soil will help researchers track how plants and other things survive in soil.

There’s a whole world of things to learn  and discover about this world,  some of the unanswered questions lie right below our feet so, scientists have decided to look into and see what they can find, with clear soil!

Discovery Science writes:

The clear soil was developed by theoretical biologist Lionel Dupuy at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland. It’s is made of a synthetic material known as Nafion. The compound can be modified to mimic the chemistry of natural soils. It’s not transparent at first, but when watered in a customized liquid solution, the particles bend light, making the solution clear.

Dupuy and his colleagues used the soil to analyze how E. coli bacteria, certain strains of which can be harmful to humans, interacts with lettuce roots. By using a genetically modified version of E. coli that carried a green fluorescent protein from jellyfish, the scientists could see through the clear soil how the bacterium formed micro-colonies in the root zone.

“If we understand better the contamination route, then we can develop strategies to limit the transfer of E. coli to the food chain,” Dupuy told Inside Science. “We don’t really understand how E. coli enters the food chain, particularly for fresh produce.”

Read more at news.discovery.com/tech


Gliese 163c is now the prime local for alien life!

More and more earth-like planets are found daily using high-powered telescopes all over the world but, this one, this one is the closest and most suitable for alien life as we expect to find it!

Live Science writes:

A newly discovered alien planet may be one of the top contenders to support life beyond Earth, researchers say.

The newfound world, a “super Earth” called Gliese 163c, lies at the edge of its star’shabitable zone — that just-right range of distances where liquid water could exist.

“There are a wide range of structures and compositions that allow Gliese 163c to be ahabitable planet,” Xavier Bonfils, of France’s Joseph Fourier University-Grenoble, told SPACE.com by email.

He went on to caution that several possible uninhabitable combinations exist as well. [The Top 5 Potentially Habitable Alien Planets]

A newfound super Earth

Bonfils and an international team of astronomers studied nearly 400 red dwarf stars with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a spectograph on the 3.6-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Gliese 163c was one of two alien planets found orbiting the star Gliese 163, which lies about 50 light-years from Earth in the Dorado constellation The team found indications of a third planet as well but cannot confirm it at this time.

Weighing in at about seven times the mass of Earth, Gliese 163c could be a rocky planet, or it could be a dwarfed gas giant, researchers said.

“We do not know for sure that it is a terrestrial planet,” Bonfils said. “Planets of that mass regime can be terrestrial, ocean, or Neptune-like planets.”

Orbiting at the inner edge of the habitable zone, Gliese 163c takes 26 days to zip around its parent star, which is considerably dimmer than our sun. The second planet, Gliese 163b, has an orbital period of only nine days, while the third unconfirmed planet circles from a distance.

Read more at livescience.com


Baxter is a manufacturing robot that's designed to work with human coworkers.

I keep saying the future is here folks, and some more proof has just arrived in the way of a robot that works closely with humans, literally. Read on to see what I mean.

Laughing Squid writes:

Baxter is a new manufacturing robot that is designed to work closely with human coworkers (video). Sonar and cameras allow the robot to detect humans and avoid colliding with them. The robot uses behavior-based intelligence to adapt to changing surroundings and tasks. It does not need to be programmed. Instead, humans can train the robot by moving the robot’s arms directly to demonstrate a new task.

The robot is designed to perform repetitive tasks normally done by unskilled labor. Due to its relatively low cost ($22,000), it is hoped the robot will be an alternative to offshore manufacturing. Baxter is being developed by Rethink Robots, a Boston-based firm founded by roboticist Rodney Brooks (you may remember him from the Errol Morris documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control). The robot is being built in New Hampshire and will be released in October.

Read more at laughingsquid.com


Is tooth decay a thing of the past with this new invention?

A new invention from Japan could save the world from bad teeth. Scientist’s have come up with a thin sheet of film that, when applied to teeth, can prevent decay from outside forces and even cure sensitive teeth!

Yahoo News writes:

Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter, the chief researcher said.

The “tooth patch” is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel, that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth.

“This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel,” said Shigeki Hontsu, professor at Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in western Japan.

“Dentists used to think an all-apatite sheet was just a dream, but we are aiming to create artificial enamel,” the outermost layer of a tooth, he said earlier this month.

Researchers can create film just 0.004 millimetres (0.00016 inches) thick by firing lasers at compressed blocks of hydroxyapatite in a vacuum to make individual particles pop out.

These particles fall onto a block of salt which is heated to crystallise them, before the salt stand is dissolved in water.

The film is scooped up onto filter paper and dried, after which it is robust enough to be picked up by a pair of tweezers.

“The moment you put it on a tooth surface, it becomes invisible. You can barely see it if you examine it under a light,” Hontsu told AFP by telephone.

The sheet has a number of minute holes that allow liquid and air to escape from underneath to prevent their forming bubbles when it is applied onto a tooth.

Read more at news.yahoo.com


Warp Drive was made famous by the television show Star Trek.

The more time we spend in space, the more we realize we have got to get around a little faster than our current means allow. Well, we just might be moving faster, a LOT faster.

Gizmodo writes:

With our current propulsion technologies, interstellar flight is impossible. Even with experimental technology, like ion thrusters or a spaceship’s aft pooping freaking nuclear explosions, it would require staggering amounts of fuel and mass to get to any nearby star. And worse: it will require decades—centuries, even—to get there. The trip will be meaningless for those left behind. Only the ones going forward in search for a new star system would enjoy the result of the colossal effort. It’s just not practical.

So we need an alternative. One that would allow us to travel extremely fast without breaking the laws of physics. Or as Dr. White puts it: “we want to go, really fast, while observing the 11th commandment: Thou shall not exceed the speed of light.

The answer lies precisely in those laws of physics. Dr. White and other physicists have found loopholes in some mathematical equations—loopholes that indicate that warping the space-time fabric is indeed possible.

Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA’s Johnson Space Center—Dr. White’s team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have “initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble” using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.

It may sound like a small thing now, but the implications of the research huge. In his own words:

‘Although this is just a tiny instance of the phenomena, it will be existence proof for the idea of perturbing space time-a “Chicago pile” moment, as it were. Recall that December of 1942 saw the first demonstration of a controlled nuclear reaction that generated a whopping half watt. This existence proof was followed by the activation of a ~ four megawatt reactor in November of 1943. Existence proof for the practical application of a scientific idea can be a tipping point for technology development.’

By creating one of these warp bubbles, the spaceship’s engine will compress the space ahead and expand the space behind, moving it to another place without actually moving, and carrying none of the adverse effects of other travel methods. According to Dr. White, “by harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects.”

He says that, if everything is confirmed in these practical experiments, we would be able to create an engine that will get us to Alpha Centauri “in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth.” The time will be the same in the spaceship and on Earth, he claims, and there will not be “tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip.”

Read more at gizmodo.com


Are these little spheres true signs of alien life?

Have we finally found signs of alien life? And on Mars of all places, the place we actually suspected we’d find something? How weird!

Gizmodo writes:

NASA claims that new mysterious spheres discovered by the Mars Opportunity rover are puzzling researchers to no end. According to Opportunity’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, “this is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission.”

Soon after Opportunity landed, it discovered similar spheres. The scientists nicknamed them blueberries and soon they discovered that they were rich on hematite. Those were evidence of a Mars’ past full of water. But these spheres—which are 3 millimeters in diameter—are nothing like that.

Found in the Kirkwood outcrop, in the western rim of Endeavour Crater, these spherules’ composition is completely different from the old Martian blueberries. Scientists still don’t know how they got there and what they are supposed to be, says Squyres:

“They are different in concentration. They are different in structure. They are different in composition. They are different in distribution. So, we have a wonderful geological puzzle in front of us. We have multiple working hypotheses, and we have no favorite hypothesis at this time. It’s going to take a while to work this out, so the thing to do now is keep an open mind and let the rocks do the talking.”

In the image you can also see spheres that have been eroded, showing a concentric internal structure. Researchers are now conducting more tests, trying to come up with an explanation on what these may be and how they got there.

Read more at gizmodo.com


Did a 6ft shark save a man, or try to eat him?

A man lost at sea for over 15 weeks claims that a shark, ignoring its years and years and years of evolutionary instincts, decided to nudge the little wooden raft he was on to safety instead of bumping him off for a tasty treat.

Sky News writes:

A lost fisherman who drifted at sea for 15 weeks, sleeping next to his dead brother-in-law, was eventually helped to safety – by a shark.

Toakai Teitoi was stuck on a 15ft wooden boat for more than 100 days after he ran out of fuel and the vessel drifted deep into the Pacific.

The 41-year-old Kiribati policeman relived his harrowing voyage after a fishing boat eventually picked him up and took him to Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

The father-of-six told of sleeping with the body of his brother-in-law who died during the ordeal, suffering severe dehydration.

And he said it was only after the intervention of a circling shark that he was eventually rescued.

Mr Teitoi’s ordeal began on May 27 after he had flown from his home island of Maiana to the Kiribati capital of Tarawa to be sworn in as a policeman.

Instead of flying home he decided to join his brother-in-law Lelu Falaile, 52, on what was supposed to be a two-hour sea journey back to Maiana.

But after stopping to fish along the way and sleeping overnight, they woke the following day to find they had drifted out of sight of Maiana and ran out of fuel.

“We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink,” he said.

As dehydration took hold, Mr Teitoi, a Catholic, said he turned to prayer as it gave him strength. But Mr Falaile’s health began failing and he died on July 4.

“I left him there overnight and slept next to him like at a funeral,” Mr Teitoi said. He buried his brother-in-law at sea the next morning.

Only a day after Mr Falaile passed away a storm blew into the area and rained for several days allowing Mr Teitoi to fill two five-gallon containers with water.

“There were two choices in my mind at the time. Either someone would find me or I would follow my brother-in-law. It was out of my control.”

He continued to pray regularly and on the morning of September 11 caught sight of a fishing boat in the distance but the crew were unable to see him.

Dejected, he did what he had done most days, curling up under a small covered area in the bow to stay out of the tropical sun.

Mr Teitoi said he woke in the afternoon to the sound of scratching and looked overboard to see a six-foot shark circling the boat and bumping the hull.

When the shark had his attention it swam off.

“He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me.”

Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com


The world's first film footage in color dates back to 1901!

We certainly take for granted all the luxuries we have in a world today but, things were very, very different not too long ago. Something as simple as color on our tv screen seems like something that better be working right these days, although when color was first introduced to film, the world changed forever.

Check it out:

Sky News writes:

The footage, made by cinematic pioneer Edward Turner in around 1901, was found in the archives of the National Media Museum in Bradford and with the help of experts at the BFI National Archive was transformed into watchable digital files.

It includes footage of a macaw, soldiers marching through London and a group of children believed to be Turner’s young family.

Film historians had long thought Turner’s technique, which involved filming through red, green and blue filters and superimposing the frames on top of each other, was a failure.

The inventor patented his idea in 1899 with his financial backer Frederick Lee but died four years later aged 29 before he could take full advantage of it.

The museum’s curator of cinematography Michael Harvey said: “We sat in the editing suite entranced as full-colour shots made 110 years ago came to life on the screen.

“The image of the goldfish was stunning: its colours were so lifelike and subtle.

“Then there was a macaw with brilliantly coloured plumage, a brief glimpse of soldiers marching and, most interestingly, young children dressed in Edwardian finery.

“I realised we had a significant find on our hands.

“We had proved that the Lee and Turner process worked.”

The footage will go on show at the National Media Museum in Bradford from Thursday.

Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com


Zeus, a 3-year old Great Dane from Michigan is now the world's tallest dog!

On the heels of yesterday ‘World’s Tallest Mohawk’ Post, I proudly present to you another ‘World’s Tallest’, Zeus is officially the world’s tallest dog!

Yahoo News writes:

A Great Dane called Zeus who towers 2.2 metres (7 feet 4 inches) on his hind legs is named the tallest dog ever recorded in the latest Guinness Book of World Records launched on Thursday.

The giant canine from Michigan in the United States eats an entire 14-kilogram (30-pound) bag of food every day and weighs in at 70.3 kilograms, the 57th edition of the global records book says.

Measuring 1.12 metres (44 inches) from paw to withers — the point between the shoulder blades at which the official height of a four-legged mammal is judged — he is officially the tallest dog ever recorded, the volume claims.

‘Guinness World Records 2013’ says the humongous hound breaks the record of Giant George, another Great Dane who is one inch shorter.

“The most common thing people ask is: ‘Is that a dog or a horse?'” says the three-year-old’s owner Denise.

“We had to get a van to be able to transport him, oh, and if he steps on your foot he leaves bruises!”

The book — the latest edition of the world’s best-selling copyrighted series — also names Oklahoma Sam, a four-year-old American Mammoth Jackstock, as the tallest living donkey on the planet.

Measuring 1.55 metres (5 feet 1 inch) from hoof to withers, she dwarfs the average common donkey (80 centimetres, 2 feet 8 inches) and the average for her own larger breed (1.22 metres, 4 feet).

The four-year-old record-breaker lives in Watsonville, California, where she shares her one acre of land with a macaw, duck, goose and four cats.

Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com


Kazuhiro Watanabe at Washington Square Park in New York

Some people will go to great lengths to have their own little piece of human history. This fashion designer from Japan felt that 3 feet and 8.6 inches was the length he needed to go to get his, and it worked!

The Huffington Post writes:

It took three cans of hairspray, one large bottle of gel — and, of course, 15 years to grow it out — but Kazuhiro Watanabe has made history.

The Japanese designer has shattered the Guinness World Record by more than a foot with his 3-foot, 8.6-inch mohawk.

You can ask why he did it, but the answer is just too obvious: “I really wanted to be in the Guinness World Record book,” he told The Huffington Post through a translator.

Watanabe and a hairdresser were in New York’s Washington Square Park today to launch the Guinness World Records 2013edition.

“I considered trying to set the record for drinking most tabasco sauce,” said the 5-foot-7 Watanabe, who usually wears clips to keep his hair down.

Without gel, his hair reaches to his knees.

Read more at huffingtonpost.com/2012


This is the world’s first gyroscopically stabilized cycle and can't fall over.

Here’s a weird little guy that might be changing the face of transportation forever.

Tech Crunch writes:

The recent influx of both high- and low-end EVs and electric motorcycles have shown promise, but current battery technology is still limiting, and the cost of entry is far too high with the benefits of switching from petrol-powered vehicles not being quite as obvious or apparent in the near term.

Now imagine a vehicle that’s smaller than a Smart Car, nearly a third of the price of a Nissan Leaf ($32,500), safer than a motorcycle with a range capacity that just lets you drive and won’t ever tip over? What you get is Lit Motors‘ C-1, the world’s first gyroscopically stabilized, two-wheeled all-electric vehicle, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco today. Oh, and it will talk to your smartphone and the cloud. Did I mention that you can’t tip this thing over? (I’ve tried.)

Founder, President, and CTO Danny Kim and his team at Lit Motors have built and approached the C-1 much differently than others have with their respective EVs. Instead of Frankensteining existing technologies, the C-1 has been designed, machined, and built by hand from the ground up in San Francisco. They’ve not only created something unique based on proprietary technology, but have also put together a package that appeals to the “cool kids” and the price-conscious in both America and abroad.

“We aim to be the future of personal transportation,” Kim told me. “By taking our vehicles to the mass market quickly and internationally, we will ease traffic congestion, decrease fuel use, reduce CO2 emissions, create 2,000 to 10,000 green jobs, and allow people to get around quickly and efficiently.”

Read more at techcrunch.com


Are you prepared for the zombie-apocalypse?

Seems like everyone is on the Zombie bandwagon these days, even FEMA is getting together an emergency plan for the fabled z-day. You know, just in case.

The Bellingham Herald writes:

No one in emergency preparedness circles really believes the dead will rise and come looking for living people to devour — that weird face-eating incident in Florida aside.

But they do see zombies — the moaning, flesh-eating stars of a plethora of horror novels, comics and movies — as a brain-grabbing way to get people to think about preparing for large-scale disasters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency became the latest federal government agency to shamble onto the zombie bandwagon, following in the footsteps of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that captured the hearts of internet geeks everywhere when it unveiled its “Zombie Apocalypse” preparedness page and social media campaign last year.

“We need something that gets their attention, so I applaud that,” said Richland Fire Chief Grant Baynes, who is involved in local disaster planning.

Baynes likened getting the public engaged in emergency planning to “trying to sell an umbrella on a sunny day.”

In a place that’s relatively disaster-free — the Tri-Cities doesn’t get catastrophic hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods as other parts of the United States — residents can become complacent and forget that a flu pandemic or some other disaster might be around the corner.

Baynes said it’s good that people feel safe, but he’d also like them to be mindful that life is unpredictable.

“Preparedness isn’t just a technical thing,” he said. “It’s mental. It’s an attitude. It’s that same attitude that says, ‘I know there is that potential, so I’ll buy this umbrella now while I have the opportunity.’ “

Read more at bellinghamherald.com


King Tutankhamun's golden mask

The mysteries surrounding one of the most famous pharaoh’s death are a constant facet of investigation by archeologists and historians from around the world and this time, they turned up with some new information!

New Scientist writes:

TUTANKHAMUN’S mysterious death as a teenager may finally have been explained. And the condition that cut short his life may also have triggered the earliest monotheistic religion, suggests a new review of his family history.

Since his lavishly furnished, nearly intact tomb was discovered in 1922, the cause of Tutankhamun’s death has been at the centre of intense debate. There have been theories of murder, leprosy, tuberculosis, malariasickle-cell anaemia, a snake bite – even the suggestion that the young king died after a fall from his chariot.

But all of these theories have missed one vital point, says Hutan Ashrafian, a surgeon with an interest in medical history at Imperial College London. Tutankhamun died young with a feminised physique, and so did his immediate predecessors.

Paintings and sculptures show that Smenkhkare, an enigmatic pharaoh who may have been Tutankhamun’s uncle or older brother, and Akhenaten, thought to have been the boy king’s father, both had feminised figures, with unusually large breasts and wide hips. Two pharaohs that came before Akhenaten – Amenhotep III and Tuthmosis IV – seem to have had similar physiques. All of these kings died young and mysteriously, says Ashrafian. “There are so many theories, but they’ve focused on each pharaoh individually.”

Ashrafian found that each pharaoh died at a slightly younger age than his predecessor, which suggests an inherited disorder, he says. Historical accounts associated with the individuals hint at what that disorder may have been.

“It’s significant that two [of the five related pharaohs] had stories of religious visions associated with them,” says Ashrafian. People with a form of epilepsy in which seizures begin in the brain’s temporal lobe are known to experience hallucinations and religious visions, particularly after exposure to sunlight. It’s likely that the family of pharaohs had a heritable form of temporal lobe epilepsy, he says.

This diagnosis would also account for the feminine features. The temporal lobe is connected to parts of the brain involved in the release of hormones, and epileptic seizures are known to alter the levels of hormones involved in sexual development. This might explain the development of the pharaohs’ large breasts. A seizure might also be to blame for Tutankhamun’s fractured leg, says Ashrafian (Epilepsy & Behavior, doi.org/h8s).

Read more at newscientist.com


Ancient warriors have been found frozen in a bog for 2,000 years.

What seems like a cool set-up for an action-horror movie “An ancient army of warriors has been uncovered, frozen in time in a bog of Denmark with weapons and shields intact” except unlike what would happen in the movies, the skeletons lie in their graves silently, only offering a wealth of knowledge and a rare glimpse into our past.Ah… oh well, maybe the next army found buried underground will be a bit more scary.

Discovery News writes:

The remains of hundreds of warriors have resurfaced from a Danish bog, suggesting that a violent event took place at the site about 2,000 years ago.

Discovered in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark, the skeletal remains tell the story of an entire army’s apparent sacrifice.

Following work done in 2009, archaeologists have so far unearthed the hacked bones of more than 200 individuals.

Skeletal remains include a fractured skull and a sliced thighbone. An abundance of well preserved axes, spears, clubs and shields have been also unearthed.

“It’s clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time,” project manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archaeology at Aarhus University, said.

Showing distinct weapon marks, the Iron Age bones can be found all over a large area.

“We’ve done small test digs at different places in a 40-hectare (100-acre) wetlands area, and new finds keep emerging,” Ejvind Hertz of Skanderborg Museum, who is directing the dig, said.

In fact, the find is so massive that the archaeologists aren’t counting on being able to excavate all of it.

Read more at news.discovery.com


A simple setup and this roach can be accurately remote-controlled.

I feel like whenever a big giant roach crosses my path, it comes right at me as if it’s being remotely controlled by someone who has learned my deepest, darkest fears and is using them to torment and ‘bug’ me. Well, it seems I may be right!

Scientists from North Carolina have developed remotely-controlled roaches, not to torment me, more like to help find and save survivors of natural disasters.

National Geographic writes:

The sight of a cockroach scuttling across the floor makes most of us shudder, but in a disaster, roaches might prove to be our new best friends.

Cockroaches that are surgically transformed into remote-controlled “biobots” could help locate earthquake survivors in hard-to-access areas. This new video from North Carolina State University’s iBionics Laboratory shows how the lab’s enhanced roaches can be steered with surprising precision.

To learn more, Amanda Fiegl spoke to assistant professor of engineering Alper Bozkurt, who led the roach biobot project.

What exactly is a biobot? Is it like a cyborg, a combination of a living organism and a robot?

“Biobot” is short for “biological robot.” It is the first stage of creating what we would call an insect cyborg.

Currently, we can steer these roaches remotely and make them stop, go, and turn. If we can have them interact independently with the technologies we’ve surgically implanted in them, then they will become true cyborgs.

Is it hard to perform surgery on a cockroach?

No, it’s quite simple. Insects can be anesthetized by putting them in the fridge for a few hours—the cold basically makes them hibernate, so they don’t move. Then you just need tweezers and a microscope.

We do a simple surgery to insert the electrodes in the roaches’ antennae and cerci [rear sensors]. We also use medical-grade epoxy to glue tiny magnets to their backs, so that we can just snap on the backpack containing the wireless control system.

Your paper mentions that these biobots could help rescue earthquake survivors. How, exactly?

Their backpacks can carry a locator beacon and a tiny microphone to pick up cries for help. Of course, a human operator or computer still has to be listening and steering them. Our biobots are basically just beasts of burden. They could also carry a camera or any other kind of miniaturized sensor one can imagine.

These experiments were done in a very controlled laboratory environment, on a flat surface, so we are now in the process of building test-beds that mimic some real-life scenarios. I don’t think it will be very long before we can deploy them to actually help rescue people.

Read more of the Q & A at news.nationalgeographic.com


Natasha, shown above, has a wide range of abilities her average chimp-mates do not.

The gap between man and monkey seems to be growing smaller all the time, whether the humans are getting dumber or the apes are getting smarter has still yet to be decided.

Discovery News writes:

Certain apes appear to be much smarter than others, with at least one chimpanzee now called “exceptional” when compared to other chimps.

The standout chimp, an adult female in her 20s named Natasha, scored off the charts in a battery of tests. The findings, published in the latest Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggest that geniuses exist among non-humans, but that no one attribute constitutes intelligence.

Instead, a perfect storm of abilities seems to come together to create the Einsteins of the animal kingdom. Natasha’s keepers at the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda knew she was special even before the latest study.

“The caretakers named Natasha as the smartest chimpanzee, precisely the same chimpanzee that our tests had revealed to be exceptional,” study authors Esther Herrmann and Josep Call of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology wrote.

“All three of the most experienced caretakers included Natasha in their lists (of the most intelligent chimps),” they added.

Natasha has made headlines over the months for her attention-grabbing antics. For instance, she repeatedly escaped her former enclosure, surrounded by an electric fence. She did this by tossing branches at the fence until she didn’t see a spark, letting her know that the power was off.

She also learned how to tease humans, beckoning them to throw food her way, only to spray the unsuspecting person with water.

Read more at news.discovery.com/animals