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vineri, 31 august 2012

Cea mai înaltă dună de nisip din Europa se găseşte în Franţa

Duna se numeşte în franceză “dune du Pyla” – duna lui Pyla, şi poartă numele celui mai apropiat oraş, Pyla-sur-Mer. Situată în sud-vestul Franţei, în golful Arcachon, la 60 de kilometri pe autostradă de metropola Bordeaux, e vizitată anual de mai bine de 1 milion de turişti.

Duna este spectaculoasă pentru că e înconjurată dintr-o parte de apele Atlanticului, iar din alte 3 părţi de păduri de conifere.

Paleontology Laboratory

Agamemnon in Herodotus and Thucydides: Exploring the historical uses of amythological paradigm

This paper explores the use of the myth of Agamemnon in Herodotus and Thucydides.I argue that the deployment of Agamemnon in their works is shaped by, and sheds additionallight on, the historians’ attitude toward myth (and its use in rhetoric), their narrative aims andhistorical outlook. 

Herodotus’ readiness to embrace myth in both narrative and speeches, hisrepresentation of complex motivation, his description of the conflict between the Greeks andthe Persians, and his panhellenic outlook, influence the function of Agamemnon: as king of Sparta and the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, he reflects the idealistic and pragmaticmotivation of the Spartans in the context of the Persian Wars.

The USA, "Thucydides 'Trap" and China

In a recent article in the Financial Times Professor Allison of Harvard University, argued that a parallel could be drawn between the actors in the Peloponnesian War and the contemporary friction between the USA and China.  He called this the THucydides Trap, a process of competition that leads to aggression and inevitable war.  But Professor Allison's comments on the Peloponnesian War and Thucydides' relation of its origins is a curious pastiche.  In describing these events one must keep in mind that the history of the War was, like all works on Sparta, written by Sparta's enemies.

NASA launches twin satellites to study Van Allen radiation belts

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--An Atlas 5 rocket boosted a pair of satellites into the maelstrom of the Van Allen radiation belts early Thursday, kicking off a $686 million mission to probe their structure, how they're buffeted by the sun and to improve forecasting to reduce the threat they pose to astronauts, power grids and increasingly critical satellite systems.

From Flood Myth to Martian Megafloods

“No one with an eye for land forms can cross eastern Washington in daylight without encountering and being impressed by the “scabland.” Like great scars marring the otherwise fair face to the plateau are these elongated tracts of bare, black rock carved into mazes of buttes and canyons. Everybody on the plateau knows scabland…[]…The popular name is a metaphor. The scablands are wounds only partially healed – great wounds in the epidermis of soil with which Nature protects the underlying rock…[]…The region is unique: let the observer take wings of the morning to the uttermost parts of the earth: he will nowhere find its likeness.”

Ce a distrus Atlantida?

Dovezi geologice vorbesc despre faptul ca între anii 11.000 si 4.000 î.Ch., pe Pamânt s-a produs o catastrofa greu de imaginat sau chiar un lant de catastrofe. Aceste relatari stiintifice sunt deseori asociate cu legendele despre Atlantida si Mu (Lemuria), doua insule imense, una situata în zona Oceanului Atlantic, iar cealalta în locul actual al Oceanului Pacific. 

De asemenea, multe ipoteze vorbesc despre existenta pe aceste insule a unor civilizatii foarte avansate. În urma acelei catastrofe, se crede ca Atlantida s-a scufundat în ocean, lasând în urma ei doar câteva insulite, precum Insulele Azore, ramasite ale gloriei lor de altadata. Dar înainte de a fi distrusa, oare Atlantida a existat cu adevarat? Sau e doar o închipuire?

Herodot Despre TRACI

Herodot este primul dintre istoricii greci care ne transmit informaţii preţioase despre populaţia şi teritoriul Daciei.

"Istrul, cel mai mare dintre toate fluviile pe care le cunoaştem, curge şi varaşi iarna mereu deopotrivă de mare, fiind dintre fluviile Sciţiei cel dintâi dinspre apus.Pricina că Istrul a ajuns cel mai mare fluviu este faptul că şi alte râuri se varsă în el. Iatărâurile care îi sporesc apele: prin ţinutul Sciţiei [1] curg cinci mari cursuri de apă. Pe unulsciţii îl numesc Porata [2], elenii Pyretus, iar celelalte sunt: Tiarantos [3], Araros [4], Naparis [5] şi Ordessos [6]. Râul pomenit mai întâi [7], bogat în apă, avându-şi cursulspre răsărit [8], îşi împreună apele cu Istrul. Al doilea pomenit, Tiarantos, curge ceva maispre apus şi este mai mic. Araros, Naparis şi Ordessos, curgînd între acestea două, sevarsă şi ele în Istru. Aceste râuri, izvorâte din pământ scit, măresc apele Istrului. Venindde la agatârşi [9], fluviul Maris [10] îşi uneşte de asemenea undele cu ale Istrului [11]"

miercuri, 29 august 2012

Luxosul Agadir

În alte părţi ale lumii, copacii plini cu capre nu sunt o privelişte obişnuită. Dar "Marocul este un loc unde totul este posibil şi nimic nu este sigur", cum îi place să spună prietenului meu marocan Faical, împrumutând o frază de la sora lui Richard Branson, Vanessa. Ea cunoaşte ţara foarte bine.

Şoferul de microbuz care ne duce prin Câmpia Sousse către coasta Atlanticului, dă din cap dezaprobator după ce i s-a cerut să oprească lângă un semn rutier pe care scria "40 de kilometri până în Agadir". "De ce?", întreabă el. "Doresc să fotografieze capre? Nu oameni?"

Ancient Builders Created Monumental Structures that Altered Sound and Mind, Say Researchers

The results of recent research suggests that ancient, or prehistoric, builders of the monumental structures found in such diverse places as Ireland, Malta, southern Turkey and Peru all have a peculiarly common characteristic — they may have been specially designed to conduct and manipulate sound to produce certain sensory effects.

Beginning in 2008, a recent and ongoing study of the massive 6,000-year-old stone structure complex known as the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum on the island of Malta, for example, is producing some revelatory results. 

New research eclipses existing theories on the Moon formation

The Moon is believed to have formed from a collision, 4.5 billion years ago, between Earth and an impactor the size of Mars, known as "Theia."

Over the past decades scientists have simulated this process and reproduced many of the properties of the Earth-Moon system; however, these simulations have also given rise to a problem known as the Lunar Paradox: the Moon appears to be made up of material that would not be expected if the current collision theory is correct. A recent study published in Icarus proposes a new perspective on the theory in answer to the paradox.

Apophis Asteroid Strike Practically Nil – Scientist

Scientists with the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences have recalculated the path of a large asteroid, Apophis; the refined data indicates a significantly low likelihood of a hazardous encounter with Earth, the institute’s leading research fellow Viktor Shor said on Wednesday.

The Apophis asteroid is approximately the size of two-and-a-half football fields; its orbit is slightly offset to that of Earth's. Discovered in 2004, astronomers have determined that the asteroid will make a very close flyby in 2029 and might even hit Earth.

Climate Change Killed Egypt's Pyramid Builders

The drought parching the United States is one of the worst in the nation's history, but it hasn't been as destructive as the drought that may have withered ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom. Pollen and charcoal buried in the Nile Delta 4,200 years ago tell the tale of a drought of literally Biblical proportions associated with the fall of the pyramid builders.

"Even the mighty builders of the ancient pyramids more than 4,000 years ago fell victim when they were unable to respond to a changing climate," said U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt in a press release. "This study illustrates that water availability was the climate-change Achilles Heel then for Egypt, as it may well be now, for a planet topping seven billion thirsty people."

Top Transhumanism CEO Says AI Singularity Will Go ‘Very Badly For Humans’

Promises of ‘immortality’ and a disease-free life have led many individuals to long for the hope of artificial intelligence and what is known as Singularity. It is essentially a merging of man and machine, the development of a ‘new species’ — a ‘borg’ of sorts. The subject recently made headlines when a major Russian scientist promised Singularity to the wealthy elite and ruling class by 2045 through the 2045 program, with artificial bodies available as early as 2015.

The Eleusinian Mysteries

The word ‘cult’ in ancient times did not carry the pejorative overtones of today. It simply referred to the particular rites and worship customs dedicated to specific gods by the worshippers of that time and place.

The cult of the Two Goddesses, centered on the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis, was one of the longest lasting cults in history. Its origins stretch back into Mycenaean pre-history, and it endured until the late 4th century BCE. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of initiates took part in the ritual and witnessed the Mysteries, yet there is no record of any breaching the oath of silence surrounding what they experienced.

Popol Vuh, an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Guatemala

Guatemala, Aug 29 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Sports and Culture of Guatemala declared the Popol Vuh or Popol Wuj (Book of Counsel or Book of the Community, in Quiche language) an intangible cultural heritage, due to its historic, philosophic and spiritual values.

  The 286-2012 ministerial resolution is in force as of this week, after being published in the Diario de CentroAmerica official gazette, while the General Leadership of the Cultural and Natural Heritage will dictate the measures to protect, defend, and research that literary piece.

marți, 28 august 2012

Drought Lessons From Chichén Itzá

SANTA FE — With drought draped across all of New Mexico and much of the United States to our east and west, it’s an interesting time to think about the prehistoric Mayan city of Chichén Itzá.

Its fate is a reminder that drought isn’t simply something climate does to us. Drought’s effects are defined in large part by how resilient we are in response.

Insulele Marchize

Insulele Marchize sunt un arhipelag în Polinezia Franceză aflate la 1600 km de Tahiti. Insulele în limba franceză se numesc Îles Marquises iar în limba locală (marchezană): Te Henua ’enana în dialectul nordic și Te Fenua ’enata în cel sudic. Insule Marchize și-au primit numele de la navigatorul spaniol Álvaro de Mendaña care le-a descoperit în 1595 și le-a numit Insulele Marchizului de Mendoza în onoarea viceregelui de Peru, García Hurtado de Mendoza, marchiz de Cañete.

Istorie

Primii locuitori ai insulelor au fost polinezienii, în jurul anului 300 e.n. După dovezile etnologice și lingvistice, cel mai probabil, aceștia au ajuns din insulele Samoa.

'Baywatch' beauty Donna D’Errico on searching for Noah's Ark, and leaving her wild past far behind

"Baywatch" beauty Donna D’Errico made news recently when photos of her battered face, injured climbing Mount Ararat in her search for Noah’s Ark, went viral. The 44-year-old blonde was on a quest taking her even further from her past as the ex-wife of Motley Crue wild man Nikki Sixx and the September 1995 Playboy playmate. Today D'Errico is deeply committed to her Catholic faith, a mother of two... and searching for Noah's Ark?

FOX411: OK. How did a former 'Baywatch' gal get interested in Noah’s Ark?

Donna D’Errico: I got interested in the third grade. I went to a private Catholic school and we took a field trip to the local theater because there was a movie being played called ‘In Search of Noah’s Ark.’ When I saw it I was completely fascinated by it. That was the first time it crossed my mind that I want to someday climb Mount Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark.

JEANNE HERSCH: MIRAREA FILOZOFICĂ - Istoria filozofiei europene

Lucrarea de faţă nu e o istorie propriu-zisă a filozofiei. în ea încerc doar să arăt, pe un număr de exemple alese din cei peste două mii de ani de gîndire occidentală, cum şi cu privirela ce au fost anumiţi oameni cuprinşi de mirare, de acea mirare din care s-a născut filozofia. 

Care a fost natura acestei mirări, ce anume a prilejuit-o? Cum s-a exprimat ea? Nu am aici posibilitatea să urmăresc această temă într-un mod continuu, să fac o expunere relativ completă. Voi face înmod deliberat o alegere spre a mă fixa asupra cîtorva puncte dereper, a unor puncte de cotitură ale gîndirii, asupra unor momente privilegiate unde o privire mai nouă sau mai naivă a făcut să se ivească acele cîteva întrebări esenţiale care deatunci aveau să se pună neîncetat ori de cîte ori se renunţa la disimularea lor prin vorbărie sau banalitate.

The power of myths

Few things are as effective as a good myth when it comes to uniting a people or building a nation.

The word “myth” often makes you think of dusty, ancient stories about gods and heroes. These were the stories people shared around the fire in the olden days, when they had neither decent TV entertainment nor scientific explanations for the mysteries of life.

Yet new myths emerge all the time, especially when it comes to our search for an identity as a people or a nation.

“Nation-building myths often develop in a time of crisis, for example if there is a war, or a period of great political or ideological upheaval,” says Roald E. Kristiansen, associate professor at the Department of History and Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø.

luni, 27 august 2012

NASA to Unveil New Black Hole Discoveries on Wednesday

NASA will reveal new discoveries about black holes and other extreme objects in deep space this week during a briefing that will be streamed live on the Internet.

The NASA update is set for Wednesday (Aug. 29) at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) and will discuss the latest science findings from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission. The prolific WISE space telescope mission actually ended in 2011, but astronomers continue to mine the observatory's data for new discoveries.

The Aug. 29 briefing will be a teleconference for media that the public can listen in online, NASA officials said.

Calea Lactee. Câtă materie întunecată?

Care este compoziția Universului? Universul este alcătuit în mare parte dintr-o formă de materie și energie pe care încă nu le cunoaștem, numite întunecate. Studii recente arată că există cantități importante de materia întunecată chiar în galaxia noastră.

Reţeta Universului

Câtă materie există în Univers? Întrebare extrem de dificilă, la care însă la ora actuală există un răspuns uimitor: cea mai mare parte a materiei în Univers este "întunecată", constituie aşa-zisa faţa invizibilă a Universului. Materia "ordinară", vizibilă (deci cea care emite sau interacţionează cu radiaţia electromagnetică, din cadrul căreia face parte şi lumina), reprezentată de exemplu de stele, de planete şi de gazul interstelar, este doar circa a cincea parte din totalul de materie din Univers.

9 Mituri despre Sirene - Cine sunt misterioasele fiinte ale adancurilor?

Sirenele sunt personaje fascinante ale culturii populare universale, iar imaginea lor e impregnata in memoria noastra oadata cu povestile copilariei.

Micuta Sirena, Ariel, este poate cea mai cunoscuta sirena, datorita lui Hans Christian Andersen si mai apoi datorita studiourilor Disney.  Mica Sirena este acum unul dintre cele mai cunoscute simboluri ale orasului danez Copenhaga.

Imaginile sirenelor sunt peste tot in arte; ele sunt reprezentate ca fiind zeite ale adancurilor, extrem de atragatoare. Sirenele sunt un simbol al fanteziei, ele sunt figuri erotice si in acelasi timp o intruchipare a fricii de necunoscut.

Dar oare de ce ne fascineaza sirenele intr-atat de tare?

Hesiod – poetul ţăran

Câţiva biografi ai lui Homer au povestit că, în afară de a scrie poezii, el îşi petrecea timpul şi dându-şi cu părerea despre ale altora, ca preşedinte al comisiilor pentru decernarea premiilor literare care, şi în acele vremuri – după cum se vede – îi terorizau pe oameni sau cel puţin pe greci; la unul din aceste concursuri, el l-ar fi premiat şi pe Hesiod, care de fapt venea pe locul doi în dragostea şi stima cetăţenilor. Dar nu e nimic adevărat, pentru că între Homer şi Hesiod se scurseseră cel puţin două veacuri. Însă nouă ne place s-o credem.

Şi apoi atenienii, care au avut limba cea mai otrăvită din toată lumea clasică, socoteau Beoţia, unde trăise Hesiod, drept patria ţăranilor şi a mocofanilor, şi au făcut din cuvântul „beoţian” sinonimul lui ,,nătărău”, deşi beoţieni au fost şi unele personalităţi de seamă, ca Epaminonda, Pindar şi Plutarh.

duminică, 26 august 2012

Archaeoastronomy: Göbekli Tepe

At first glance Göbekli Tepe (located about nine miles from Şanlıurfa) is vaguely reminiscent of Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, dozens of stone pillars arranged into rings. However, the difference is that Göbekli Tepe is much older than Stonehenge; 9000 years older than the Stonehenge we know and 2000 years older than it’s oldest incarnation.

Built some 11,600 years ago Göbekli Tepe contains the world’s oldest known temple and is the first human structure found that was more complex than a simple hut. When it was built it was almost certainly one of the earliest displays of teamwork, as in 10,000BC humans lived in small nomadic groups.

1% de Sahara va asigura lumea cu energie solară

Revista germană "Der Spiegel", a publicat o imagine a zonei din deșertul Sahara, necesară pentru a satisface nevoile omenirii de energie electrică, furnizată de heliocentralele termoelectrice.

Pătratele roșii de pe a doua imagine, demonstrează în mod concret zona în care vor fi instalate centralele electrice solare, care vor produce energie suficientă pentru toate nevoile lumii de astăzi (de la stînga la dreapta): pentru întreaga planetă, pentru Europa și pentru Germania.

Singularity U Launches 2012 Class: Bring On The Future!

Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Closing Ceremony of the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University (SU). This event is the pinnacle of a marathon-like 10-week program, in which 80 of the most promising and talented individuals from 36 countries have been challenged to change the world. And the students did not disappoint. Innovations in global health, emerging technologies, infrastructure, education, employment, and poverty were presented to the distinguished crowd, and no doubt many of these ideas will translate into real companies and movements in the coming years.

Aristotle's Metaphysics

The first major work in the history of philosophy to bear the title ―Metaphysics‖ was the treatise by Aristotle that we have come to know by that name. But Aristotle himself did not use that title or even describe his field of study as metaphysics‘; the name was evidently coined by the firstcentury C.E. editor who assembled the treatise we know as Aristotle's Metaphysics out of various smaller selections of Aristotle's works. 

The title metaphysics‘—literally, after the Physics‘— very likely indicated the place the topics discussed therein were intended to occupy in thephilosophical curriculum. They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature (ta phusika). In this entry, we discuss the ideas that are developed in Aristotle's treatise.

sâmbătă, 25 august 2012

The Ring of Gyges or Why Study the Classics at UVA or Why anti-Regulators are full of $#*!

About 2500 years ago, the philosopher Plato told a story that even the most dedicated Fox News viewer can understand.  Here it is in text form:

According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended.

Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), leader of elite French science.

Georges Cuvier was one of the most influential figures in science during the early nineteenth century. A self-appointed referee of proper science from his stronghold in the elite Académie des Sciences, Cuvier was as successful in creating his own image as a great man of science as he was in the many areas of science he studied.

Cuvier was born on 23 August 1769, at Montbéliard, a French-speaking community in the Jura Mountains then rule by the Duke of Württemberg. Cuvier went to school at the Carolinian Academy in Stuttgart from 1784 to 1788. He was then a tutor for a noble family in Normandy. 

SCURT INVENTAR AL CERULUI ROMÂNESC

Aflați în plin proces de realizare a script-urilor pentru expoziția digitală, ne-am gândit să facem un inventar al cerului românesc în sistemul de criterii deja consacrat: personaje, obiecte, animale și figuri.

Avem pe cerul românesc 4 personaje feminine:

-Fecioara (Fecioara) o ilustrează în componenta religioasă a cerului românesc pe Fecioara Maria, steaua Spica reprezentând prin albeața ei inima curată a Fecioarei;

-Fata mare din constelația Hora (steaua Alphekka din Coroana Boreală);

Realitate sau Photoshop? Calea Lactee surprinsă într-o fotografie de nuntă

Un cuplu proaspăt căsătorit se poate considera foarte norocos după ce fotograful Lakshal Pererea a reuşit să surprindă Calea Lactee în spatele lor.

Imaginea este făcută cu o expunere de 71 de secunde setată în aşa fel să surprindă lumina stelelor de la o distanţă foarte mare, iar mirii Shirley şi Warren Andrews au stat nemişcaţi. Fotografia a fost făcută cu o expunere de 71 de secunde, pe un trepied Mantrotto, f/5.6, ISO400, cu un aparat Canon 16-35mm f2.8L.

Imaginea a fost realizată la o fermă din Deniliquin, din New South Wales, Australia.

Leaellynasaura, dinozaurul erbivor din Australia

In perioada Cretacicului inferior a erei mezozoice dinozaurii erau raspanditi pe tot Globul, existau sute de specii unele adaptate perfect la mediul inconjurator, altele incercand pe cat posibil sa supravietuiasca in acele vremuri. Un loc plin de pericole pentru multe specii de animale preistorice era reprezentat de padurile salbatice si regiunile polare. In acest peisaj ce reprezenta o adevarata provocare pentru orice vietuitoare traiau dinozaurii Leaellynasaura – mici erbivore zvelte care nu depaseau lungimea de 2 m si greutatea de 70 kg.

Uriașii

Uriasii au existat. Acest lucru este confirmat atat de Sfanta Scriptura, cat si de arheologi, care au descoperit unele oase umane uriase. Uriasii nu erau nici extraterestri, nici o combinatie intre ingerii cazuti si oameni, precum se afirma uneori. De asemenea, gresesc si aceia care spun ca uriasii nu ar fi existat deloc, ci ca ei sunt doar mituri si legende antice.

Uriasii nu erau acei oameni mai inalti decat ceilalti, ci un neam aparte, a carui origine ramane inca tainica. Astfel, in tratarea acestui subiect se cade sa venim cu multa smerenie, iar nu cu o iscodire vicleana a tainelor lui Dumnezeu, lipsita de folos si primejdioasa.

Spaţiu, timp şi textura realităţii

Spaţiul, timpul şi realitatea cotidiană sunt subiecte care au aprins multe minţi de-a lungul timpului. Teoriile despre spaţiu şi timp nu sunt doar de natură fizică, ci aparţin şi unor riguroase reflecţii filozofice, conceptele fiind îndelung dezbătute de mari nume precum Pitagora, Platon, Aristotel sau Kant. 

Fizicienii şi astronomii au făcut importante descoperiri despre spaţiul cosmic şi despre timp, însă cu siguranţă există o serie de aspecte care vor rămâne un mister până şi pentru savanţii cei mai mari din această lume.

Cele mai INTERESANTE 32 de lucruri pe care NU le stiai despre Turcia!

Descopera cele mai fascinante lucruri despre o tara care a contribuit din plin la istoria si civilizatia omenirii - Turcia.

1. Faimosul Razboi Troian s-a desfasurat in vestul Turciei, unde astazi se mai pot admira ramasitele "Calului Troian".

2. Prima biserica construita vreodata de om se afla in Turcia, Antakya, si se numeste Sf. Petru.

Has Machu Picchu, The 'Lost City Of The Incas,' Become A Victim Of Its Own Success?

The president of Peru announced plans Wednesday to build an airport near the city of Cusco, base camp for the pre-Columbian ruins of Machu Picchu, in order to boost tourism to the surrounding region.

President Ollanta Humala said the $460 million facility would replace Velazco Astete Airport, which is only capable of handling limited daytime flights and has cost Peru key international airline links, including many with the United States.

NASA prepares to explore Van Allen Radiation Belts

Spacecraft engineers at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida are slated to configure RBSP for launch at approximately 10 p.m. The terminal countdown operation begins at 12:57 a.m., at which time the launch pad will be cleared of personnel in preparation for fueling the Atlas V rocket - with the loading of cryogenic propellants scheduled for 1:42 a.m and liftoff on track for 4:07 a.m.



Abraham Ibn Ezra on Elections, Interrogations, and Medical Astrology

Abraham Ibn Ezra (c.1089-c.1161), born in Tudela, spent the first fifty or so years of his life in Muslim Iberia, as far as we know writing Hebrew poetry, both secular and liturgical. Beginning in 1140 and for the next twenty years, Ibn Ezra travelled through Italy, southern France, the Angevin territories, and England, composing biblical commentaries, grammatical and theological works, and scientific treatises. Strikingly, as has long been known but is now becoming clearer, Ibn Ezra in his journeys found himself writing two or more versions of most of his works, in response to requests from students and according to the interests of various patrons.

Shlomo Sela is the world’s expert on Ibn Ezra’s astrology, having published an analysis of scientific and astrological concepts of space and time in Ibn Ezra’s biblical commentaries (1999), a survey of Ibn Ezra’s astrological works and particular views on astrology (2003), and numerous articles on his discoveries of previously unknown fragments and versions of Ibn Ezra’s astrological treatises.

Children of older men have more DNA mutations

The father’s age is decisive in determining how many mutations a child has in its genome – the older the father is, the higher the number of mutations is, and the greater the risk is that the child will develop e.g. autism and schizophrenia.

If your father was an older man when you were born, it can have had a negative influence on your DNA: you will have acquired more mutations in your genetic material than you would have if your father had been younger.

Red Giants and White Dwarfs Make Explosive Stellar Pairings

Mysterious stars that incite their stellar companions to explode in spectacular supernovas have just been revealed — these culprits can be bloated red giants, researchers say.

Supernovas are exploding stars that are bright enough to briefly outshine all the stars in their galaxies. They can occur when one star sheds gas onto a dying star known as a white dwarf, the dim fading core of a star that was once about the size of our sun.

Identification chips are vulnerable for attacks

Mohammad Reza Sohizadeh Abyaneh
 has found that RFID chips
aren’t totally safe. (Photo: Dag Hellestad)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips can identify people, animals and objects from a distance of several metres but the technology is susceptible to misuse and hacking.

They are used in key or access cards, electronic travel cards and ID cards to make life easier. Unfortunately some of them can be used to make our lives a little riskier.

RFID is a technology for automatic and wireless identification of an object, animal or person – without any physical or even visual contact with the RFID reader.

This is because RFID chips are designed to be read by radio waves.

joi, 23 august 2012

Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories

On Wednesday, May 16, I spent several hours on a hot bus in a neon desert called Las Vegas with a merry band of British conspiracists during their journey around the Southwest in search of UFOs, aliens, Area 51 and government cover-ups, all for a BBC documentary. 

One woman regaled me with a tale about orange balls of energy hovering around her car on Interstate 405 in California, which were subsequently chased away by black ops helicopters. A man challenged me to explain the source of a green laser beam that followed him around the English countryside one evening.

Milky Way Now Has a Twin (or Two): Astronomers Find First Group of Galaxies Just Like Ours

Research presented Aug. 23, 2012 at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Beijing has found the first group of galaxies that is just like ours, a rare sight in the local Universe.

The Milky Way is a fairly typical galaxy on its own, but when paired with its close neighbours -- the Magellanic Clouds -- it is very rare, and could have been one of a kind, until a survey of our local Universe found another two examples just like us.

Astronomer Dr Aaron Robotham, jointly from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the University of St Andrews in Scotland, searched for groups of galaxies similar to ours in the most detailed map of the local Universe yet, the Galaxy and Mass Assembly survey (GAMA).

Milky Way's Black Hole Once Active

Evidence continues to mount that our galaxy's supermassive black hole was not always the quiet neighbor it is now.

There’s a dragon dozing in the Milky Way’s core. Hidden from sight by our galaxy’s dusty disk, a supermassive black hole sleeps fitfully. Sometimes a cloud of gas might whisk around its nostrils or a star fall on its head and make the dragon snort a bit of flame, then go back to sleep. But a few million years ago, something managed to rouse the beast so completely that it spewed plasma jets and a couple of big bubbles into space.

Somnambulant Savagery: When Sleep Turns Violent

More than 25 years later details of the attack are still shocking: Sometime after 2 A.M. one Sunday morning in May 1987, Kenneth James Parks, then 23, left his house in a Toronto suburb and drove 23 kilometers to the apartment of his wife's parents. He got out of the car, pulled a tire iron out of the trunk and let himself into the older couple's home with a key they had given him. 

Once inside, he struggled with and choked his father-in-law, Dennis Woods, until the older man fell unconscious and then struggled with and beat his mother-in-law, Barbara Ann Woods, stabbing her to death with a knife from her kitchen.

miercuri, 22 august 2012

Teotihuacan: Ancient City of Pyramids

Located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, Teotihuacan was one of the largest urban centers in the ancient world. No one knows who built it. The city flourished between 2,100 years ago, when construction began, and about 1,400 years ago, when it went into a period of decline, including a fire that caused great damage. However, even with the decline, the city was never truly “lost” — the Aztecs made regular pilgrimages to the site in later periods.

Singularity review repost

The discussion of my repost on the silliness of generational tropes produced a surprising amount of agreement on the main point, then a lot of disagreement on the question of technological progress.

So, I thought I’d continue reprising my greatest hits with this review of Kurzweil’s singularity post, which I put up in draft from at Crooked Timber and my own blog, producing lots of interesting discussion.  Again, seven years old, but I don’t see the need to change much – YMMV

Big Bang este contestat, fiind probabil mai mult "Big Chill"

Se poate ca Universul să fi început mai degrabă printr-un mare îngheţ (Big Chill) decât printr-o mare explozie (Big Bang), potrivit unui nou studiu australian.

O echipă de fizicieni teoretici crede că fisurile din cristale, cum ar fi cele de gheaţă, ne pot ajuta să înţelegem cum a luat fiinţă universul.

"Filosofii antici greci s-au întrebat din ce era formată materia: era formată dintr-o substanţă continuă, sau din atomi individuali?", a declarat autorul principal al studiului, James Quach, de la Universitatea din Melbourne, într-un comunicat de presă. "Cu un microscop foarte puternic, noi ştim acum că materia este formată din atomi."

2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize Received By Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Charles Bennett

Johns Hopkins University professor Charles L. Bennett and members of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) space mission that he received the Gruber Foundation’s 2012 Cosmology Prize in Beijing, China tomorrow.

Bennett and the 26-member WMAP team will share the $500,000 prize and are being recognized by the foundation for their transformative study of an ancient light dating back to the infant universe. So precise and accurate are the WMAP results that they form the foundation of the Standard Cosmological Model.

Bennett will receive a gold medal at the International Astronomical Union meeting on August 21, and will deliver a lecture on the 22nd. Watch Bennett explain WMAP’s groundbreaking science in a video here.