Mar 12, 2017


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Trove of statues of war goddess Sekhmet found in Luxor

A team of German archaeologists have discovered 66 statues of the lion-headed goddess of war, Sekhmet, in an excavation of a temple near the Egyptian city of Luxor.

The discovery was made during the excavation of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, located on the western bank of the Nile where Thebes, the ancient capital of the Pharaohs, was located.

The head of the Egyptian antiquities sector, Mahmud Afifi, said the discovery happened as part of a project to restore the temple of Memnon, which commenced in 1998.

The two large statues, representing Pharaoh Amenhotep III, are the only remaining pieces of the temple, which collapsed in an earthquake in the 8th century BC.

Neanderthal dental tartar reveals plant-based diet – and drugs

A diet of pine nuts, mushrooms and moss might sound like modernist cuisine, but it turns out it was standard fare for Spanish Neanderthals.

Researchers studying the teeth of the heavy-browed hominids have discovered that while Neanderthals in Belgium were chomping on woolly rhinoceros, those further south were surviving on plants and may even have used naturally occurring painkillers to ease toothache.

The findings, the researchers say, are yet another blow to the popular misconception of Neanderthals as brutish simpletons.

“Neanderthals, not surprisingly, are doing different things, exploiting different things, in different places,” said Keith Dobney, a bioarchaeologist and co-author of the research from the University of Liverpool.

Enormous Cavern Containing A Knights Templar Church Has Been Found Hiding Beneath A Farmer's Field

The Knights Templar were a Catholic military order that was active just under 1,000 years ago. With their white mantles and red crosses, they quickly became notorious for their wealth, power, and abilities in combat during the Crusades. Today, they’re a source of fascination for archaeologists, novelists, and scriptwriters in equal measure, and any new discovery is pounced upon by anyone with a mote of curiosity in their storied history.

A few years back, a man-made cavern was discovered hiding beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire, England. Initially, the only way into the concealed chamber was through a tiny rabbit hole, and, after some careful excavation, explorers found that they were standing in a previously unseen temple used by the Knights themselves.

. . .

Stunningly well-preserved 700 years after they were originally carved out of the land, the order likely used this earthen temple as a place to hide, plot, worship, and scheme away from prying eyes.

The shape of the subterranean hideaway is rather specific, with circular naves prominently featured. This is thought to be because the Knights wanted their architecture to match that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the supposed burial place of Jesus Christ.

Scientists Create a Fourth Dimensional Matter: Time Crystals

Less than five years ago, Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek proposed a hypothetical form of matter that added a fourth dimension—movement in time—to a crystal, which he called a “time crystal,” an entirely new form of matter. Wilczek theorized that if crystals have an atomic structure that repeats in space, similar to the carbon lattice of a diamond, why can’t crystals also have a structure that repeats in time—hence, a time crystal? Last year, theoretical physicists at Princeton University and UC Santa Barbara’s Station Q both proved independently of each other that such a crystal could be made. The UC Berkeley group was “the bridge between the theoretical idea and the experimental implementation,” according to Norman Yao, assistant professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, who has done a great deal of work on time crystal theory.

Yao took the theory to the next step and published a paper in Physical Review Letters describing how to make and measure the properties of this type of crystal, even predicting the possible “phases” the time crystal should experience – best compared to the liquid and gas phases of ice. These crystals have a remarkable atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, which means that they “move” or, more technically, enter a state of disequilibrium, without any added energy.

Now this mythical sounding concept has been made a reality by two teams of researchers in collaboration with Yao, at the University of Maryland and Harvard University, who have successfully created this new form of matter based off Yao’s blueprint.

'Quartz' crystals at Earth's core power its magnetic field

In 2013 Kei Hirose, now Director of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), reported that the Earth's core may have cooled by as much as 1000 degrees Celsius since its formation 4.5 billion years ago. This large amount of cooling would be necessary to sustain the geomagnetic field, unless there was another as yet undiscovered source of energy. These results were a major surprise to the deep Earth community, and created what Peter Olson of Johns Hopkins University referred to as, "the New Core Heat Paradox," in an article published in Science.

. . .

The search of alloys began to yield useful results when Hirose and his collaborators began mixing more than one alloy. "In the past, most research on iron alloys in the core has focused only on the iron and a single alloy," says Hirose. "But in these experiments we decided to combine two different alloys containing silicon and oxygen, which we strongly believe exist in the core."

The researchers were surprised to find that when they examined the samples in an electron microscope, the small amounts of silicon and oxygen in the starting sample had combined together to form silicon dioxide crystals  -- the same composition as the mineral quartz found at the surface of the Earth.

"This result proved important for understanding the energetics and evolution of the core," says John Hernlund of ELSI, a co-author of the study. "We were excited because our calculations showed that crystallization of silicon dioxide crystals from the core could provide an immense new energy source for powering the Earth's magnetic field." The additional boost it provides is plenty enough to solve Olson's paradox.

Oldest fossil ever found on Earth shows organisms thrived 4.2bn years ago – and provides strongest evidence yet for similar life on Mars

It’s life, but not as we know it. The oldest fossil ever discovered on Earth shows that organisms were thriving 4.2 billion years ago, hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

The microscopic bacteria, which were smaller than the width of a human hair, were found in rock formations in Quebec, Canada, but would have lived in hot vents in the 140F (60C) oceans which covered the early planet.

The discovery is the strongest evidence yet that similar organisms could also have evolved on Mars, which at the time still had oceans and an atmosphere, and was being bombarded by comets which probably brought the building blocks of life to Earth.

Seven planets begin building protective shields to keep out Earth migrants

Seven planets have begun the arduous task of building planetary protective shields in an effort to keep out migrants from Earth, after NASA announced their discovery yesterday.

While the discovery was cause for excitement here on Earth, on those planets it has been greeted with dread and terror.

‘Earthlings are a bunch of drug-crazed rapists, we can’t have them soiling our beautiful planets. We need biodomes around every single planet and they must be protected by adamantium (which is real here). No-one from Earth gets in,’ said Zavoxx-5, one of the more liberal aliens.

The strange link between the human mind and quantum physics

Some scientists think we already understand what consciousness is, or that it is a mere illusion. But many others feel we have not grasped where consciousness comes from at all.

The perennial puzzle of consciousness has even led some researchers to invoke quantum physics to explain it. That notion has always been met with skepticism, which is not surprising: it does not sound wise to explain one mystery with another. But such ideas are not obviously absurd, and neither are they arbitrary.

Might it be that, just as quantum objects can apparently be in two places at once, so a quantum brain can hold onto two mutually-exclusive ideas at the same time?

These ideas are speculative, and it may turn out that quantum physics has no fundamental role either for or in the workings of the mind. But if nothing else, these possibilities show just how strangely quantum theory forces us to think.

Colorado church didn’t report pastor’s child sex abuse because ‘biblical counseling’ would suffice

Local news station KDVR reports that Pastor Robert Wyatt repeatedly had sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl who was parishioner at the Agape Bible Church in Thornton. What’s even more disturbing about this case, however, is the fact that court documents show church officials knew about Wyatt’s sexual abuse and did nothing.

According to an arrest affidavit for Wyatt, both head pastor Darrell Ferguson and the 12-year-old girl’s adoptive parents agreed that it would be best to not go to the police because they were concerned about what would happen to Wyatt.

Instead, the affidavit claims, the church and the parents agreed that “biblical counseling they would receive through the church was sufficient” to fixing the problem.

The officer who interviewed the girl’s adoptive father said that the man “made it clear his interest was in protecting the church and its reputation more than protecting his daughter.”

Remains of Infants and Fetuses Found at Former Home for Unwed Mothers in Ireland

On Friday, officials announced they had uncovered “significant quantities of human remains” at what was once a home for unmarried mothers managed by nuns in Ireland. According to CNN, the home was operated between 1921 and 1961 by the Sisters of Bon Secours, a Roman Catholic order.

Radiocarbon dating of a portion of the remains indicates that fetuses were buried on the grounds as well as children as old as three, and that most were interred in the 1950s.

The investigation that yielded this chilling discovery began in 2014 after a local historian, Catherine Corless said she believed, following extensive research, that the remains of nearly 800 children could be buried in a mass grave on the site. Corless emphasized to the New York Times that, while she is glad for the current investigation, the deaths of these children should have been looked into “decades earlier,” and that her findings had largely been scoffed at and ignored for years.


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