Ads 468x60px

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.