May 3, 2021


Lost golden city of Luxor' discovered by archaeologists in Egypt

The 3,400-year-old royal city was built by Amenhotep III, abandoned by his heretic son, Akhenaten, and contains stunningly preserved remains.

Three thousand four hundred years ago, a contentious ancient Egyptian king abandoned his name, his religion, and his capital in Thebes (modern Luxor). Archaeologists know what happened next: The pharaoh Akhenaten built the short-lived city of Akhetaten, where he ruled alongside his wife, Nefertiti and worshipped the sun. After his death, his young son Tutankhamun became ruler of Egypt—and turned his back on his father’s controversial legacy.

But why did Akhenaten abandon Thebes, which had been the capital of ancient Egypt for more than 150 years? Answers may lie in the discovery of an industrial royal metropolis within Thebes that Akhenaten inherited from his father, Amenhotep III. The find, which has been dubbed the “lost golden city of Luxor" in an announcement released today, will generate as much enthusiasm, speculation, and controversy as the renegade pharaoh who left it.

Because the city was initially discovered just in September of last year, archaeologists have only scratched the surface of the sprawling site, and understanding where this discovery ranks in Egyptological importance is hard to say at this time. The level of preservation found so far, however, has impressed researchers.

First pregnant Egyptian mummy surprises researchers

An Egyptian mummy previously believed to be a priest has turned out to be a pregnant woman.

The surprise discovery, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, was made by Polish scientists at the Warsaw Mummy Project.

The team, who since 2015 have been working to thoroughly examine human and animal mummies from Ancient Egypt at the National Museum in Warsaw, uncovered the body's true identity after spotting a tiny foot in the abdomen on a scan.

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One of the biggest questions the scientists have is why the fetus -- whose gender has not been determined -- remained in place as internal organs were routinely removed prior to mummification.

"This whole discovery brought our attention to the question of why it was not removed," said Ejsmond. "We don't know why it was left there. Maybe there was a religious reason. Maybe they thought the unborn child didn't have a soul or that it would be safer in the next world. Or maybe it was because it was very difficult to remove a child at that stage from the womb without causing serious damage."

Royal Mummies Paraded Through Downtown Cairo In Museum Move

Twenty-two mummified members of ancient Egyptian royalty passed through downtown Cairo in an awe-inspiring parade on Saturday. The event, which drew fanfare to the country's robust collections of antiquities in an elaborate procession, saw the mummies being relocated from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, about 3 miles away in nearby Fustat.

The spectacle was named The Pharaohs' Golden Parade and comprised 18 kings and four queens, including some of Egypt's most prominent rulers of the past. Among them was King Ramses II, one of Egypt's most famous Pharaohs, who reigned in 12th Century BC. He ruled the New Kingdom for 67 years and was renowned for signing the first known peace treaty, the BBC reported.

The royal figures were transported in vehicles specially rigged to carry the remains and a security motorcade surrounded the convoy. Due to the fragility of the preserved pharaohs, they were placed in nitrogen filled boxes for protection. The roads along the route were even repaved to ensure a smooth relocation.

Antarctica asteroid impact from 430,000 years ago discovered by scientists

The researchers examined the debris from the mountain, which is part of the Sør Rondane Mountain range, by analysing extremely small amounts of different chemical elements. They found that the high nickel content and unique oxygen signatures of the debris, which allowed them to pin down the rough date of impact, demonstrated the extra-terrestrial nature of the recovered particles.

The study also highlights the importance of reassessing the threat of medium-sized asteroids like this one, as an impact of this size would be entirely destructive over a large area.

Dr Genge added: “The smoking gun is in the dust. The presence of oxygen from Antarctic ice in these particles tells us about the intense heat generated by this explosion - enough to turn frigid ice into super-heated steam. It is astonishing that such a tremendous event could leave almost no trace - they literally can only be seen through a microscope in the tiny dust particles they produce.

"Each small asteroid and comet crossing the Earth's orbit is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s only chance that we've never witnessed an event of this magnitude, but chance has a habit of eventually turning into history."

Robot artist sells art for $688,888, now eyeing music career

Sophia is a robot of many talents — she speaks, jokes, sings and even makes art. In March, she caused a stir in the art world when a digital work she created as part of a collaboration was sold at an auction for $688,888 in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

The sale highlighted a growing frenzy in the NFT market, where people can buy ownership rights to digital content. NFTs each have a unique digital code saved on blockchain ledgers that allow anyone to verify the authenticity and ownership of items.

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Sophia collaborated with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto, who drew portraits of Sophia. Sophia then processed his work via neural networks and proceeded to create a digital artwork of her own.

The digital work that sold for $688,888 is titled “Sophia Instantiation”, and is a 12-second video file which shows Bonaceto’s portrait evolving into Sophia’s digital painting. It is accompanied by the physical artwork painted by Sophia.

Muons: 'Strong' evidence found for a new force of nature

From sticking a magnet on a fridge door to throwing a ball into a basketball hoop, the forces of physics are at play in every moment of our lives.

All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.

Now, physicists say they have found possible signs of a fifth fundamental force of nature.

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The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said the result "provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered sub-atomic particle or new force".

But the results from the Muon g-2 experiment don't add up to a conclusive discovery yet.

Spanking May Affect Children’s Brain Development In Similar Ways To Abuse, Study Suggests

Parents spanking children has rapidly fallen in popularity in recent decades, as science continues to show that it may not be the best form of punishment for misbehaving kids. However, a 2019 study suggests that spanking has not left many parents' book of punishments, with half of US parents spanking their children in the previous year and one-third spanking them in the previous week. Despite pediatricians and neurologists calling for a halt to the practice, it appears many US parents may still believe in it.

Now, a new study from Harvard University published in the journal Child Development has found that spanking may be even more damaging to a child's development than previously thought. The researchers discovered that spanking children as a form of discipline could be altering their brain development in a similar way to more severe forms of abuse, sparking areas of their brain involved in threat perception and directly changing their decision-making.

The altered brain development may have serious consequences on the child down the line.

“We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don’t think about spanking as a form of violence,” said Katie McLaughlin, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, in a statement.

Beth Moore apologises for her teachings on women after leaving evangelical church

One of the best-known Bible teachers among evangelicals, Beth Moore, has apologised for supporting teachings that restrict the rights of women.

After first shocking evangelicals by leaving the Southern Baptist church, she asked for forgiveness on Twitter for supporting a theology that is based on male authority, which runs deep among large parts of the evangelical community.

She criticised complementarianism, a theological framework that holds that men and women were created for different roles and is used to essentially argue for male power and female obedience.

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She tweeted on Wednesday: "Let me be blunt. When you functionally treat complementarianism – a doctrine of MAN – as if it belongs among the matters of [first] importance, yea, as a litmus test for where one stands on inerrancy [and] authority of Scripture, you are the ones who have misused Scripture. You went too far."

Alabama yoga bill stalls after conservative groups object

Alabama’s decades-old ban on yoga in public schools could stay in place a little longer following push-back from conservative groups.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday did not advance the bill after a public hearing in which representatives from two conservative groups objected, saying they were worried it could lead to the promotion of Hinduism or guided meditation practices. The Alabama lawmaker sponsoring the bill, a former college athlete, said the bill is about exercise and not religion.

”This whole notion that if you do yoga, you’ll become Hindu — I’ve been doing yoga for 10 years and I go to church and I’m very much a Christian,” Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika.

The legislation failed on a tie vote but the committee chairman said he would bring the bill back for another try when more members are present.

U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time

Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.

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The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference. Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.

As would be expected, Americans without a religious preference are highly unlikely to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, although a small proportion -- 4% in the 2018-2020 data -- say they do. That figure is down from 10% between 1998 and 2000.

Pagan woman sues Pleasant Hills Panera over religious discrimination

“The plaintiff did not discuss her religion or her religious beliefs at work and viewed her (as well as other individuals’) faith as strictly a private matter,” the lawsuit said.

However, on May 29, while [Tammy] McCoy was outside taking a break, according to the complaint, assistant general manager Kerri Ann Show said she was Christian and then asked McCoy, “what religion are you?”

McCoy, who was surprised by the question but answered because Show was her supervisor, responded, “I’m Pagan,” the lawsuit said.

“Show made a face and immediately said, ‘You’re going to hell,’ ” the lawsuit said.

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“The plaintiff then asked for the phone number of [Panera’s] human resource department,” the lawsuit said. [The district manager] said, ‘If you call HR about this, you’ll be fired on the spot.’ ”

Evidence of UFOs to be revealed by national intelligence in 2021 US bill

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe gave a preview of the classified information that will be released to the public regarding unexplained aerial sightings, in an interview with Fox News on Friday.

Ratcliffe explained that such "sightings" are "talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, and traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom."

Sensors and satellites across the globe have picked up signals that cannot be explained and many of these phenomena have been kept from the public. Ratcliffe claimed intelligence agencies have quieted the information, hoping to publicize the sightings when there are proper explanations that are accessible and understandable to the public.

A more detailed report will be released in accordance with the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which was passed by the Senate in 2020. The bill shockingly demanded that the director of national intelligence "Submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as 'anomalous aerial vehicles'), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified."

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