Sep 2, 2011


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Has King Arthur's round table been found in Scotland?

The King's Knot, a geometrical earthwork in the former royal gardens below Stirling Castle, has been shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years.

Though the Knot as it appears today dates from the 1620s, its flat-topped central mound is thought to be much older.

Writers going back more than six centuries have linked the landmark to the legend of King Arthur.

. . .

"The finds show that the present mound was created on an older site and throws new light on a tradition that King Arthur's Round Table was located in this vicinity."

We may have been a seafarin' people since before we were even human.

A team of researchers that included an N.C. State University geologist found evidence that our ancestors were crossing open water at least 130,000 years ago. That's more than 100,000 years earlier than scientists had previously thought.

Their evidence is based on stone tools from the island of Crete. Because Crete has been an island for eons, any prehistoric people who left tools behind would have had to cross open water to get there.

The tools the team found are so old that they predate the human species, said Thomas Strasser, an archaeologist from Providence College who led the team. Instead of being made by our species, Homo sapiens, the tools were made by our ancestors, Homo erectus.

Will we find the God Particle in time for Christmas?

The hunt for the Higgs particle is well ahead of schedule, say researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Earlier this year they said they would either discover the Higgs or confirm it does not exist by the end of 2012.

Now, because the machine is working so well, an LHC spokesman, Professor Guido Tonelli, has told BBC News that the search could be completed much sooner.

The Higgs Boson is the particle that in the physics "Standard Model" allows other particles to have mass.

Discovery or elimination of the particle is one of the LHC's major objectives; and it could come as early as Christmas 2011.

Edgar Cayce, look out! The sleeping artist is here. A nocturnal painter believes he may be receiving artistic guidance from the spirit world.

Being an artist is so easy, Lee Hadwin can do it in his sleep, but when he is awake, the 37-year-old, who got a D in art at school, cannot paint or draw to save his life.

He discovered his nocturnal talent aged four, when he began to sleepwalk and draw on his mother’s furniture.

. . .

Since then, he has produced almost 200 sleep-pictures, selling them to collectors such as illusionist Derren Brown, with one piece fetching a six-figure sum. He does not know why he can draw only in his sleep but believes it may be spirits communicating from the other side.

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Gardens in spaaaaaaaaace!

Astronauts on the first manned missions to Mars could tend “kitchen gardens” of salad and vegetables onboard spaceships, scientists claim.

Experts say the crops would not only give crews healthy food to eat during the long journey to the red planet, but would also improve the atmosphere onboard by producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

In addition, the plants suggested as suitable by a NASA scientist would require minimal tending and not take up much room on spacecraft.

Bad pizza in spaaaaaaaaace!

Domino's pizza has announced plans to conquer the final frontier by opening the first pizza restaurant on the Moon.

Domino's Japanese arm has proposed a branch on Earth's nearest galactic neighbour is the latest escalation in a pizza publicity war.

Rival chain Pizza Hut set the bar high in 2001 by delivering a pizza to astronauts orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, but Domino's fought back last year in a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary of its arrival in Japan.

Diamonds are forever.

A newly discovered alien planet that formed from a dead star is a real diamond in the rough.

The super-high pressure of the planet, which orbits a rapidly pulsing neutron star, has likely caused the carbon within it to crystallize into an actual diamond, a new study suggests.

The composition of the planet, which is about five times the size of Earth, is not its only outstanding feature. [Illustration of the diamond alien planet]

The planet's parent star is a special kind of flashing star known as a millisecond pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star formed from a supernova. The entire system, which is only the second of its kind ever discovered, is located about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Serpens (The Snake).

Chimera alert! Spider goats developed for the military.

Researchers genetically engineered goats to produce milk which is packed with the same protein as silk spiders.

Once this is milked out it can be spun out and weaved into a material that is ten times stronger than steel.

The fabric can then be blended with human skin to make what the scientists hope will be tough enough to stop even a bullet.

Dutch researcher Jalila Essaidi said the ‘spidersilk’ project was called ’2.6g 329m/s’ after the weight and the velocity of a .22 calibre long rifle bullet.

An elephant never forgets. And elephants are smarter than we know.

Kandula, a seven year old Asian elephant living in Washington D.C.’s National Zoo, has proven that elephants are as smart as those that spend a lot of time around them have believed. In an experiment carried out by researchers at the zoo, the little elephant figured out all on his own, without resorting to trial and error, how to go get a cube to use as a footstool to help him reach some food that was just out of reach. The research team, led by Preston Foerder of the City University of New York, has published the results of their study on PLoS ONE.

Other animals (besides humans) such as chimpanzees and dolphins have demonstrated in various ways that they are capable of dreaming up solutions to problems in their head and then carrying them out. Called “aha” moments by researchers, such thinking, a form of insight, is one of the hallmarks of higher intelligence. Most people who have ever worked with elephants will attest to the fact that they are indeed intelligent creatures; though no one (at least in the research community) had ever witnessed an elephant using insight to solve a problem. This has perplexed scientists for several years, and has caused them to study the seeming paradox. It appears now that the team working with Kandula has seen it in action, that previous research had been attacking the problem from the wrong angle.

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