Feb 1, 2019


Previously Unknown Tales Of Merlin And King Arthur Discovered Hidden In Medieval Texts

When academic Michael Richardson headed into the University of Bristol’s Special Collections Library, the task was a fairly simple and familiar one: look for new reading materials for the University's MA in Medieval Studies. What he didn’t expect to find was an entirely new rendering of the legends of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Holy Grail.

Found bound inside 16th-century books were seven hand-written parchment fragments that, upon closer investigation, Richardson recognized to contain several legendary names, including Merlin the wizard. He quickly contacted Leah Tether, President of the International Arthurian Society, to see if his finds were compelling. Together, the two found that fragments from the original manuscripts tell the stories of Arthurian legends with subtle but significant differences from traditional narratives.

. . .

The texts are thought to come from the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle, old French texts dating back to the 13th century. It’s believed that Sir Thomas Malory, writer of King Arthur’s most famous account Le Morte D’Arthur, used these texts as the main source for his work, which has gone on to inspire most modern retellings of the legend.

Fresh clues to the life and times of the Denisovans, a little-known ancient group of humans

We know that some modern human genomes contain fragments of DNA from an ancient population of humans called Denisovans, the remains of which have been found at only one site, a cave in what is now Siberia.

Two papers published in Nature today give us a firmer understanding of when these little-known archaic humans (hominins) lived.

Denisovans were unknown until 2010, when their genome was first announced. The DNA was obtained from a girl’s fingerbone found buried in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia.

The new studies provide the first robust timeline for the Denisovan fossils and DNA recovered from the cave sediments, as well as the environments that the Denisovans experienced.

Earth's Magnetic Field Nearly Disappeared 565 Million Years Ago

Five hundred and sixty-five million years ago, Earth's magnetic field almost disappeared.

But a geological phenomenon might have saved it, a new study suggests. Earth's then-liquid core likely began to solidify around that time, which strengthened the field, the group reported yesterday (Jan. 28) in the journal Nature Geoscience. This is important because the magnetic field protects our planet and its inhabitants from harmful radiation and solar winds — streams of plasma particles thrown our way by the sun.

. . .

The researchers "present intriguing paleomagnetic measurements" that suggest a weak geodynamo existed 565 million years ago, which meant that the core was fully liquid, wrote Peter Driscoll, an earth and planetary scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., who was not a part of the research, in a commentary that accompanied the study. If their theory holds true, "the inner core may have occurred right in the nick of time to recharge the geodynamo and save Earth's magnetic shield."

Shortly after this time, the Cambrian explosion occurred and complex animals emerged across the planet. "One can speculate — and there have been some speculations — that a weaker magnetic field may have some relationship to these evolutionary events," Tarduno said. That is because a weaker field might allow more radiation to get through, which could cause DNA damage and higher mutation rates, which in turn, might have lead to more species evolving.

Scientists Have Detected an Enormous Cavity Growing Beneath Antarctica

Antarctica is not in a good place. In the space of only decades, the continent has lost trillions of tonnes of ice at alarming rates we can't keep up with, even in places we once thought were safe.

Now, a stunning new void has been revealed amidst this massive vanishing act, and it's a big one: a gigantic cavity growing under West Antarctica that scientists say covers two-thirds the footprint of Manhattan and stands almost 300 metres (984 ft) tall.

This huge opening at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier – a mass infamously dubbed the "most dangerous glacier in the world" – is so big it represents an overt chunk of the estimated 252 billion tonnes of ice Antarctica loses every year.

Researchers say the cavity would once have been large enough to hold some 14 billion tonnes of ice. Even more disturbing, the researchers say it lost most of this ice volume over the last three years alone.

Greenland Ice Melt Is Faster Than Scientists Thought: Study

Greenland’s massive ice stockpile is melting faster than previously thought, and it may be too late to do anything about it except “adapt,” scientists have warned in a new study.

The rate of ice loss there is up to four times faster than it was in 2003 and is contributing to rising sea levels, according to the new data.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), used NASA climate data and GPS stations to study Greenland’s ice sheets, the Guardian reports.

. . .

These grim conclusions came in the wake of a separate study last week that made similar warnings about Antarctica. Scientists from the University of California, Irving and Utretcht University in the Netherlands found that Antarctic ice loss has also rapidly accelerated over the past four decades, from about 40 billion tons per year in the 1980s, to over 250 billion tons per year from 2009–2017.

Traveling to Another Dimension? Choose Your Black Hole Wisely.

One of the most cherished science fiction scenarios is using a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or universe. That fantasy may be closer to reality than previously imagined.

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe. They are the consequence of gravity crushing a dying star without limit, leading to the formation of a true singularity – which happens when an entire star gets compressed down to a single point yielding an object with infinite density. This dense and hot singularity punches a hole in the fabric of spacetime itself, possibly opening up an opportunity for hyperspace travel. That is, a short cut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.

Researchers previously thought that any spacecraft attempting to use a black hole as a portal of this type would have to reckon with nature at its worst. The hot and dense singularity would cause the spacecraft to endure a sequence of increasingly uncomfortable tidal stretching and squeezing before being completely vaporized.

Supermassive black holes reveal universe is expanding faster than previously thought, study finds

In a new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, scientists used black holes sitting at the core of distant galaxies as reference points by which to measure the speed of growth.

. . .

These results suggest the early expansion of the universe is different from that predicted by the standard model of cosmology, which describes the age, history and contents of the universe.

According to Dr [Elisabeta] Lusso, one explanation for this could be the mysterious force known as dark energy – a theoretical form thought to occupy most of the universe and account for much of its energy.

“We may need to explore new physics, for example rethinking the potential properties of dark energy,” she said.

Texas pastor urges followers to stone a ‘rebellious’ student to death as example to other troublemakers

In a YouTube clip unearthed by the Friendly Atheist, a Texas pastor is seen exhorting his flock that the best way to control “rebellious ” teens is to take one and stone him or her as a warning to other obstreperous youths.

In the video, Pastor Jonathan Shelley of Pure Words Baptist Church in Houston, rails against teens who refuse to listen before turning to the Bible for advice on how to bring about order.

. . .

“You know how you could squash rebellion in a public school today?” he asked rhetorically. “Take the rebellious one out and stone him. I bet they’d shape up pretty quick. I bet they’d figure out, ‘Maybe I should hearken under the authorities in my life.’ And we see, unfortunately, our society is continually destroying itself, because [all of these] rebellious, arrogant, prideful teenage jerks that just don’t want to hearken to their parents, you know, and God said they should be put to death.”

In recording, televangelist who calls homosexuality a ‘sin’ admits relations with another man

In 1996, internationally known televangelist Ernest Angley admitted to his assistant minister that he had had sexual relations with a man who was employed by their church, Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

The telephone conversation was tape-recorded and made available to the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com last month.

The person who provided the tape did so for a promise of anonymity. That person felt called to action after reading about an exchange of lawsuits between Angley and another former Grace Cathedral pastor, the Rev. Brock Miller. Miller sued Angley in August, claiming that sexual abuse Angley inflicted upon him has caused permanent damage. Angley has countersued for defamation.

The source believed releasing the tape would show that Angley, who has preached vehemently against the “sin” of homosexuality, has a history of sexual abuse involving his employees.

A Scientifically Proven Trick For Remembering Pretty Much Anything

The next time you need to remember something important ― say, your spouse’s birthdate or the dinner reservations you have to make ― grab a pen and paper and draw something to remind you.

In a study to be published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, researchers found that drawing was the best method to retain new information. It was more effective than writing and rewriting notes, visualization exercises and passively looking at images.

And fortunately, this was true even if the person was a subpar drawer ― no need to be a modern-day Rembrandt to really remember.

The findings are especially valuable for aging adults and those who suffer from dementia, said Melissa Meade, a doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where the study was conducted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Opinions and ideas expressed in the comments on this page
belong the people who stated them. Management takes no
editorial responsibility for the content of public comments.