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A DIGITAL LIBRARY FOR CUNEIFORM WRITING
The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) represents the efforts of an international group of Assyriologists, museum curators and historians of science to make available through the internet the form and content of cuneiform tablets dating from the beginning of writing, ca. 3350 BC, until the end of the pre-Christian era. We estimate the number of these documents currently kept in public and private collections to exceed 500,000 exemplars, of which now nearly 270,000 have been catalogued in electronic form by the CDLI. learn more at:
Dalai Lama Inspires Research on Happiness
The science of healthy minds brings Dalai Lama to UW-Madison
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center will welcome His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to its public grand-opening celebration Saturday-Sunday, May 15-16.
UW-Madison neuroscientist Richard Davidson established the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) to scientifically determine how healthy qualities of mind develop and to investigate interventions to cultivate those qualities in children and adults.
Davidson has worked with expert meditation practitioners to determine how meditation changed their brains to encourage happiness, compassion and kindness. CIHM will extend this research to a broader audience and will be the first translational research facility to include a brain imaging lab and meditation space under one roof.
"When I met the Dalai Lama in 1992, he challenged me to adapt the tools of Western science, used to study fear and depression, to the study of positive qualities, like kindness and compassion. The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is a response to that challenge and will become what we hope will be the world's premier center for research of this kind," says Davidson, a UW-Madison professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior.
The Dalai Lama previously visited Davidson's lab at the Waisman Center in 2001 and continues his involvement with Davidson and other scientists to further explore the convergence of neuroscience and contemplative traditions.
The Dalai Lama will join Davidson in a public dialogue at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, at Madison's Overture Center for the Arts. Daniel Goleman, best-selling author of "Emotional Intelligence" and "Ecological Intelligence" will moderate the conversation, "Investigating Healthy Minds." Gov. Jim Doyle will deliver opening remarks, followed by a special musical performance by Madison Youth Choirs.
Tickets for this event are free and will be available to the public in mid-April. The conversation also will be available via live Web cast at http://www.investigatinghealthyminds.org.
The grand-opening weekend also includes a presentation by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His talk, "Mindfulness, Meditation and Health: Transformation and Healing at the Confluence of Science and Dharma," will be available on the CIHM's Web site shortly following the event.
The Dalai Lama also will participate in a private scientific meeting, co-sponsored by the CIHM and the Mind & Life Institute.
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds includes a diverse mix of scientists from several different disciplines as well as scholars in the humanities. Their mutual focus on the study of healthy qualities of mind is aided by the major instrumentation housed in the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior.
"The center uses the plural 'healthy minds' to convey that there are many ways in which to have a healthy mind, and it is dedicated to studying this diversity," Davidson explains. "The word 'investigating' is used since we do not yet know exactly what constitutes healthy qualities of mind. Part of the center's mission is to conduct research explicitly examining this question."
The center plans to use its research to bring practices that encourage healthy qualities of mind to schools, prisons, medical settings and the world at large. It is currently working with three community populations: children and educators in the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and returning Wisconsin veterans.
"This center combines the basic behavioral and neuroscientific research that is necessary to move our field forward with the translational component, which is critical to extend our work beyond the walls of our laboratory," Davidson says. "By developing and offering interventions for schools, hospitals, prisons and communities, we hope to create real change for society."
India studies yogi living without food
AHMEDABAD, India (AFP) - – A team of military doctors backed by India's national defence research centre is studying an 83-year-old holy man who claims to have spent seven decades surviving without food or water. The long-haired and bearded yogi, Prahlad Jani, has been sealed in a hospital in the western city of Ahmedabad where he is under 24-hour observation by 30 doctors and will be subjected to a series of medical tests.
"The observation from this study may throw light on human survival without food and water," doctor G. Ilavazahagan, director of India's Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), told AFP. The DIPAS is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, India's state defence and military research institute also behind a grenade packed with chilli powder that recently hit headlines. This may help in working out strategies for survival during natural calamities, extreme stressful conditions and extra-terrestrial explorations like future missions to the Moon and Mars by the human race," Ilavazahagan said.
The tests on Jani include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, measuring brain and heart activity with electrodes and other neuro-physiological studies, in addition to blood tests. The experiment started on April 22 and will take 15-20 days.
Since the beginning, Jani has neither eaten nor drunk and has not been to the toilet, Ilavazahagan said. The exercise of taking this yogi under the medical scanner is to understand what energy supports his existence," he added, explaining that soldiers could benefit from his apparent ability to survive. "Jani says he meditates to get energy. Our soldiers will not be able to meditate, but we would still like to find out more about the man and his body," he said.
Neurologist Sudhir Shah, who studied Jani in 2003 and is part of the new experiment, said that the extremely skinny but apparently active man faced round-the-clock observation. "Two stationary 24-hour video cameras have been set up in his room, while a mobile video camera follows him whenever he needs to step outside," he said. Jani, who dresses in red and wears a nose ring, grew up in Charod village in the Mehsana district in Gujarat and claims to have been blessed by a goddess aged eight, which has enabled him to survive without sustenance. Shah said that Jani told him the key to his survival was a mystical and unexplained process by which he receives drops of water through a hole in his palate.
Analysis of data, to determine his secret or expose his fraudulence, will take at least two months, the doctors said. Fasting is a part of Indian culture, made famous by independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who brought himself to the brink of death on several occasions by refusing food and water to protest against colonial rule. A monk from India's minority Jain religion -- devout followers of which undertake frequent fasts, sometimes to death -- claims to have deprived himself of food for one year, which is believed to be a record "If you're busy with something you don't feel hunger, thirst, or the heat and cold," said Sri Sahaj Muni Maharaj, who took daily glasses of warm water during his fast which ended on May 1998. "I'm busy contemplating the infinite," he told India's Outlook magazine one month before the end of his experiment.
Herschel Finds Possible Life-Enabling Molecules in Space
Data, called a spectrum, showing water and organics in the Orion nebula. The data were taken by the heterodyne instrument for the far infrared, or HIFI, onboard the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency-led mission with important participation from NASA. Image credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech
March 4th, 2010 - The Herschel Space Observatory has revealed the chemical fingerprints of potentially life-enabling organic molecules in the Orion nebula, a nearby stellar nursery in our Milky Way galaxy.
The new data, obtained with the telescope's heterodyne instrument for the far infrared -- one of Herschel's three innovative instruments -- demonstrates the gold mine of information that Herschel will provide on how organic molecules form in space.
The Orion nebula is known to be one of the most prolific chemical factories in space, although the full extent of its chemistry and the pathways for molecule formation are not well understood. By sifting through the pattern of spikes in the new data, called a spectrum, astronomers have identified a few common molecules that are precursors to life-enabling molecules, including water, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, methanol, dimethyl ether, hydrogen cyanide, sulfur oxide and sulfur dioxide.
Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by a consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA.
Provided by JPL/NASA
Saturn's Mysterious Hexagon Emerges from Winter Darkness with video
After waiting years for the sun to illuminate Saturn's north pole again, cameras aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft have captured the most detailed images yet of the intriguing hexagon shape crowning the planet. Read article and view video at:
Fermi sees brightest-ever blazar flare
December 9th, 2009
Unprecedented flares from the blazar 3C 454.3 in the constellation Pegasus now make it the brightest persistent gamma-ray source in the sky. That title usually goes to the Vela pulsar in our galaxy, which is millions of times closer. These all-sky images, which show the numbers of high-energy gamma-rays captured by Fermi's Large Area Telescope on Dec. 3 and Nov. 18, clearly show the change. Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT
A galaxy located billions of light-years away is commanding the attention of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and astronomers around the globe. Thanks to a series of flares that began September 15, the galaxy is now the brightest source in the gamma-ray sky -- more than ten times brighter than it was in the summer.
Astronomers identify the object as 3C 454.3, an active galaxy located 7.2 billion light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. But even among active galaxies, it's exceptional.
"We're looking right down the barrel of a particle jet powered by the galaxy's supermassive black hole," said Gino Tosti at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Perugia, Italy. "Some change within that jet -- we don't know what -- is likely responsible for these flares."
Blazars, like many active galaxies, emit oppositely directed jets of particles traveling near the speed of light when matter falls toward their central supermassive black holes. What makes a blazar so bright in gamma rays is its orientation: One of the jets happens to be aimed straight at us.
Most of the time, the brightest persistent source in the gamma-ray sky is the Vela pulsar, which at a distance of about 1,000 light-years lies practically next door.
"3C 454.3 is millions of times farther away, yet the current flare makes it twice as bright as Vela," said Lise Escande at the Center for Nuclear Studies in Gradignan, near Bordeaux, France. "That represents an incredible energy release, and one the source can't sustain for very long."
According to Massimo Villata at Italy's Torino Observatory, 3C 454.3 also is flaring at radio and visible wavelengths, if less dramatically. "In red light, the blazar brightened by more than two and a half times to magnitude 13.7, and it is also very bright at high radio frequencies."
The Fermi team is alerting astronomers to monitor the event over as broad a range of wavelengths as possible. "That's our best bet for understanding what's going on inside that jet," Tosti said.
Source: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (news : web
STRANGE LIGHTS OVER NORWAY
Wednesday morning, Dec. 9th, people in arctic Norway were stunned when a gigantic luminous spiral formed in the northern sky. "We are used to seeing lots of auroras here in Norway, but this was different," says Nick Banbury of Harstad who witnessed the phenomenon on his way to work "between 7:50 and 8:00 a.m. local time." Jan Petter Jorgensen took this photo:
Banbury continues: "It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end. This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to Earth. According to press reports, this could be seen all over northern Norway and must therefore have been very high up in the atmosphere to be seen hundreds of km apart."
Ancient Culture from Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldavia from 5500 BC
Before the glory that was Greece and Rome, even before the first cities of Mesopotamia or temples along the Nile, there lived in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills people who were ahead of their time in art, technology and long-distance trade.
Read entire article at:
View slide show of artifacts at:
Bays on US Gulf Coast vulnerable to flooding
Three decades of data point to troubling century ahead for Gulf bays
HOUSTON -- Oct. 2, 2008 -- The most comprehensive geological review ever undertaken of the upper U.S. Gulf Coast suggests that a combination of rising seas and dammed rivers could flood large swaths of wetlands this century in one or more bays from Alabama to Texas.
"In terms of sea-level increases and river sediments flowing into the bays, we're rapidly approaching a time when bays will face conditions they last saw in the Holocene, from about 9,600 until 7,000 years ago," said lead researcher John Anderson, the W. Maurice Ewing Professor in Oceanography and professor of Earth science at Rice University. "That period was marked by dramatic and rapid flooding events in each of these bays -- events that saw some bays increase their size by as much as one-third over a period of 100 or 200 years."
Anderson is presenting the findings at next week's annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center. Anderson said the magnitude of flooding seen in bays during the Holocene -- the geological epoch that began 10,000 years ago -- would be noticeable and apparent, even on a year-to-year timescale.
"If you lived at the head of Galveston Bay, near Anahuac (Texas), you could see the bayhead move northward by as much as the length of a football field each year," Anderson said.
Anderson and colleagues, including Antonio Rodriguez of the University of North Carolina at Chappell Hill, compiled their research in a new 146-page monograph published by the GSA, "Response of Upper Gulf Coast Estuaries to Holocene Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise."
Their findings stemmed from an analysis of 30 years of data from hundreds of bayfloor sediment samples, radiocarbon tests and seismic surveys from Galveston, Matagorda and Corpus Christi bays in Texas, Mobile Bay in Alabama, Calcasieu Bay in Louisiana and Sabine Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border.
"There is no question that sea levels are rising in this region at a rate today that approaches what we saw in the Holocene," Anderson said.
He said the Holocene was also marked by alternating wet and dry periods upstream, particularly in central and western Texas. There was significantly less sediment flowing into the bays during the dry periods, and the researchers found that the most dramatic flooding events occurred when less sediment was flowing into the bays at the same time that sea levels were rising faster than four millimeters per year.
Anderson said that's a particularly troubling finding because several recent studies have confirmed that the rate of sea-level rise along the Gulf Coast has doubled in the past century to a current rate of about three millimeters per year. At the same time, the installation of dams upstream has slashed the amount of sediment flowing into every southern U.S. bay.
"Our research paints a pretty clear picture of what happened in these bays the last time they encountered the circumstances that we expect to see during the coming century," Anderson said. "Our hope is that policymakers will take note of the potential danger and take steps to help alleviate it."
For example, Anderson said it doesn't make environmental sense to keep a navigation channel open between the lower Trinity River and upper Galveston Bay because the channel diverts the sediment that is flowing into the bay, preventing it from replenishing the upper bay wetlands near Anahuac.
"Now that we're aware of the dangers, there are clearly things we can do to try and avoid them," he said.
Source: Rice University
Maya Mask Splendor Enhanced With Sparkling Mica
Reconstruction of the Rosalila in the Copan museum. The Rosalila is still entombed within another pyramid. Ms Goodall said the mica was applied over the red paint of stucco masks on the corners of Copan's well-preserved Rosalila temple, found buried under another pyramid. (Credit: Dr. Jay Hall)
ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2008) — Ancient Mayan temple builders discovered and used lustrous pigments to make their buildings dazzle in the daylight, a Queensland University of Technology researcher has discovered.
Studying tiny shards of paint from the Mayan city of Copan, QUT physical and chemical sciences PhD researcher Rosemary Goodall found evidence of mica that would have made the buildings glitter when hit by the sun.
Ms Goodall said the mica was applied over the red paint of stucco masks on the corners of Copan's well-preserved Rosalila temple, found buried under another pyramid.
"The Rosalila would have been one of the highest buildings of the valley in its time, built by the Maya ruler to exhibit his power and impress his subjects," Ms Goodall said.
Using a novel analysis technique to examine tiny paint samples, Ms Goodall found two new pigments at the famous Maya archaeological and tourist site in Honduras, Central America.
"I discovered a green pigment and a mica pigment that would have had a lustrous effect," she said.
"I'm sure that when the sun hit it, it must have sparkled. It must have had the most amazing appearance."
She said site of Copan was first populated in 1600 BC, but it wasn't until the cultural heyday of AD 400-800 that the Rosalila was built. Mystery surrounds the Maya people, who had largely disappeared by about AD 900.
"I used an infrared analysis technique, called FTIR-ATR spectral imaging, which has not been used for archaeology before," she said.
"Using this technique and Raman spectroscopy I found the 'signature' of each mineral in paint samples only millimetres in size.
"The Rosalila has more than 15 layers of paint and stucco. Knowing the mineral make-up of the pigments tells us what colours were painted on each layer.
"I also found the stucco changed over time. It became more refined and changed in colour from grey to white."
Ms Goodall said the Rosalila is a fine example of the Copan buildings, which were painted in red and white, with beautiful masks and carvings painted in multiple colours.
She said it the temple was coated in stucco then filled with rubble and a larger pyramid was built around it, keeping it brilliantly preserved inside. "The next step of my research will be to take a portable Raman spectrometer to Copan to undertake more paint analysis," she said.
"The research will help determine the best ways to conserve the Copan ruins - by understanding what's there, you can suggest ways to stop damage, and the tests do not destroy the samples."
Ms Goodall and her PhD supervisor Peter Fredericks are working in collaboration with Dr Jay Hall (University of Queensland) and Dr Rene Viel (Copan Formative Project, Honduras), who are directing the long-term UQ-led archaeological field research program at Copan.
Adapted from materials provided by Queensland University of Technology.
APPARENTLY IMMACULATE KOMODOS HATCHED, February 08
(AP) -- Two Komodo dragons have hatched at the Sedgwick County Zoo, apparently without the fertilization of a male. The dragons, both males, are believed to be the first in North America known to have hatched by parthenogenesis, which occurs naturally in some species, including invertebrates and lower plants. It happens more rarely in some vertebrates.
Reclaiming Your Indigo Power
by Doreen Virtue Ph.D. & James Twyman
This is a 16 week on-line course available from DailyOM and Doreen Virtue Ph.D. & James Twyman. We will email you when your new lesson is available and you will be able to login and read each lesson on-line or print as they become available. Your first lesson will be available immediately after you enroll.
Indigo Children have always populated our planet. You may recognize some of the signs of being an Indigo in your own personality. Being very sensitive, a desire to make a difference in the world, wanting to help others and lack of patience with authority. If you were born prior to 1975 you may be an “Indigo Scout,” meaning you came to the planet to lay the groundwork for the next generation. Those born in the mid 70’s until present are here to lead us all into living in a more conscious way. There's a need for Indigo Children, Indigo Scouts and Lightworkers on the planet to reclaim the power with which they were born. Yet, many suffer from low self-esteem, confusion about their life's purpose, and fear over their spiritual gifts. This course will address those issues AND SO MUCH MORE!
Mayan Grand Elder Wakatel Utiw, “Wandering Wolf,” “Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj”
Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj is a CommonPassion.org advisor and is head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, a 13th generation Quiche Mayan High Priest and a Grand Elder of the Continental Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of the Americas. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan Culture.
Don Alejandro is charged as the primary keeper of the teachings, visions and prophecies of the Mayan people, which are very much alive today. He travels the world sharing the message and prophecies of the Mayans. One prophecy says: “Arise, all arise, not one nor two groups be left behind.” Another says: “Let the morning come, let the dawn come for the people to have peace and be happy. Together we are to see our children. Together we are to see our mountains. Together we are to see our cities. Together we are to see our waters.” His message of hope and empowerment resonates with people of all faiths and beliefs around the globe.
GENETIC 'TELEPATHY'? A BIZARRE NEW PROPERTY OF DNA, January 28
Scientists are reporting evidence that intact, double-stranded DNA has the ?amazing? ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. And then like friends with similar interests, the bits of genetic material hangout or congregate together. The recognition ? of similar sequences in DNA?s chemical subunits ? occurs in a way once regarded as impossible, the researchers suggest in a study scheduled for the Jan. 31 issue of ACS? Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
PARTICLE ACCELERATOR MAY REVEAL SHAPE OF ALTERNATE DIMENSIONS, January 30
When the world's most powerful particle accelerator starts up later this year, exotic new particles may offer a glimpse of the existence and shapes of extra dimensions.
NASA's fleet of THEMIS satellites has made some surprising new discoveries about outbursts of Northern Lights and the source of their power. Findings include giant magnetic ropes that connect Earth to the Sun and explosions in the outskirts of Earth's magnetic field.
FULL STORY at
Scientists find clues to the formation of Fibonacci spirals in nature
Fibronacci Spiral- The Golden Mean
Conical shapes with irregularities produce parastichous spiral ‘X’ patterns, such as on the scientists’ microstructure at left, and a strawberry at right. Credit: Li, et al. ©2007 Applied Physics Letters.
While the aesthetics and symmetry of Fibonacci spiral patterns has often attracted scientists, a mathematical or physical explanation for their common occurrence in nature is yet to be discovered. Recently, scientists have successfully produced Fibonacci spiral patterns in the lab, and found that an elastically mismatched bi-layer structure may cause stress patterns that give rise to Fibonacci spirals. The discovery may explain the widespread existence of the pattern in plants.
Maya on Nova/Science NOW
NASA archeologists use satellites to pinpoint ancient ruins buried deep in the jungle.
A Masterpiece Revealed
Explore a 2,000-year-old mural, one of the greatest discoveries of ancient Maya art ever found.
Ask the Expert
Archeologists Bill Saturno and Tom Sever answer viewer questions about the San Bartolo mural, using satellites to find lost sites, and more.
For many years, space archeology has been a favorite topic of Science@NASA readers: NASA scientists use Earth-orbiting satellites to find ancient ruins invisible from ground level. Prime real estate for this kind of discovery is Central America. In that part of the world, satellites are not only revealing long-held secrets of the Maya, but also improving the everyday lives of modern Central Americans by helping them monitor and manage their environment.
For an update on this important work, we encourage you to tune in to a new PBS broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 9th. It features pioneering space archeologist Tom Sever (Marshall Space Flight Center) and colleague Bill Saturno (University of New Hampshire) discussing their latest discoveries.
Watch the 15 minute segment online
Related Science@NASA stories:
Rise and Fall of the Mayan Empire:
Mayan Ruins online:
PROPHECY OF THE FIFTH WORLD ... NEW RESEARCH. With images of the entire Mural.
THE PROPHECY OF THE FIFTH WORLD
March 2006 ~ Aluna Joy
Watch "Cellular Visions: The Inner Life of a Cell"
, an eight-minute animation created in NewTek LightWave 3D and Adobe After Effects for Harvard biology students at http://lifeboat.com/ex/bio.shield#videos
The animation shows a number of molecular machines -- ribosomes, motors, and more -- working to move molecules and structures around a cell, and even to create the structures. It also shows a lot of membrane events, and molecules working with and through membranes, and a few organelles. It shows the molecules in their real molecular structure -- these are renderings of experimental data, not artists' conceptions.
Judith Light Feather is an Advisory Board Member
Long-Term Global Forecast? Fewer Continents
By WILLIAM J. BROAD
A new branch of geology looks deep into the future and plots the changing face of the planet.
Interactive Media-Watch the continents move back to ONE.
PERUVIAN CITADEL IS SITE OF EARLIEST ANCIENT SOLAR OBSERVATORY IN THE AMERICAS, March 01
Archeologists from Yale and the University of Leicester have identified an ancient solar observatory at Chankillo, Peru as the oldest in the Americas with alignments covering the entire solar year, according to an article in the March 2 issue of Science.
Tape shows how physicist predicted parallel worlds
Ian Sample, science correspondent The Guardian Monday November 26 2007 The only known recordings of a brilliant physicist who predicted the existence of parallel universes have been found in the basement of his rock star son's flat.
The tapes document how Hugh Everett, a quantum physicist, developed his idea at the age of 24, while a graduate student at Princeton University in 1957. Everett's theory gave rise to the concept of a multitude of universes, or a "multiverse", where all life's possibilities play out. It means that somewhere Elvis is still rocking, the Nazis won the second world war and England qualified for Euro 2008.
The recordings are believed to have been made in 1977, after a physics conference at which Everett's parallel worlds theory was resurrected after being shunned for two decades. The tapes were thought lost after his death at the age of 51 in 1982.
They were found during the making of a TV documentary in which Mark Everett, the physicist's son and lead singer of the US band Eels, attempts to understand the work that consumed his father. The programme, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, airs on BBC4 this evening.
The tapes record a conversation between Everett and Charles Misner, a physics professor at the University of Maryland. In the background, Mark can be heard playing the drums.
Everett talks of how his inspiration came after talking about the ridiculous consequences of quantum theory over a few glasses of sherry with Misner and Aage Petersen, an assistant of the Nobel prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr. Everett completed a draft paper describing the idea in 1956. On seeing it, his supervisor, John Wheeler, said: "I am frankly bashful about showing it to Bohr in its present form, valuable and important as I consider it to be, because of parts subject to mystical misinterpretations by too many unskilled readers."
Everett's work tackled one of the most puzzling mysteries to emerge from the field of quantum mechanics. One consequence of the theory is that tiny particles such as electrons can behave in a curious way that allows them to be in two places at once. As Bohr was to comment: "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."
In the 50s, the prevailing view, and one championed by Bohr, was that weird quantum behaviour vanishes as soon as the object is measured.
But Everett thought differently. His calculations showed that whenever quantum mechanics said a particle was in two places at once, the universe divides. In one universe the particle appears in one place, while in a second it appears in the other. The implications were apparently so alarmingly counter-intuitive that Everett's ideas were largely ignored, notably by Bohr.
Speaking to New Scientist magazine, Mark Everett said the rejection had had a devastating effect on his father. But recently, the theory has been accepted by many scientists as profoundly important.
WORMHOLES ON EARTH?, November 14
According to a group of mathematicians, it may be possible to create devices with internal tunnels that are invisible to detection by electromagnetic waves—wormholes, in a sense. The group discusses the idea in a paper published in the October 29 online edition of Physical Review Letters.
ASTRONOMERS FIND GAPING HOLE IN THE UNIVERSE, August 23
University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen ?dark matter.? While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.
QUANTUM LIGHT BEAMS GOOD FOR FAST TECHNOLOGY, August 24
Australian and French scientists have made another breakthrough in the technology that will drive next generation computers and teleportation. The researchers have successfully superposed light beams, which produces a state that appears to be both on and off at once.
HUBBLE TELESCOPE FINDS RING OF DARK MATTER, May 15
US astronomers on Tuesday presented the most solid proof yet of the existence of dark matter, a mysterious substance believed to make up more than a quarter of the universe.
A TWO-TIME UNIVERSE? PHYSICIST EXPLORES HOW SECOND DIMENSION OF TIME
COULD UNIFY PHYSICS LAWS, May 15
For a long time, Itzhak Bars has been studying time. More than a decade ago, the USC College physicist began pondering the role time plays in the basic laws of physics ? the equations describing matter, gravity and the other forces of nature.
NASA Science News for May 7, 2007
Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes have recorded the brightest supernova ever seen. The explosion came from a star about 150 times more massive than the Sun located in a distant galaxy. What researchers have learned from the blast suggests that a similar explosion could happen soon here in our own Milky Way.
FULL STORY at
GEOLOGISTS TO TEST THEORY THAT ASIA IS BEING 'STUFFED' UNDER TIBETAN PLATEAU, May 04
For nearly a decade and a half, Cornell geologist Larry Brown has been
leading an international seismic profiling effort in Tibet, using
explosions to probe the deep earth and discover how continents formed
millions of years ago.
MATHEMATICIAN SUGGESTS EXTRA DIMENSIONS ARE TIME-LIKE, April 17
In a recent study, mathematician George Sparling of the University of Pittsburgh examines a fundamental question pondered since the time of Pythagoras, and still vexing scientists today: what is the nature of space and time? After analyzing different perspectives, Sparling offers an alternative idea: space-time may have six dimensions, with the extra two being time-like.
TEVATRON COLLIDER YIELDS NEW RESULTS ON SUBATOMIC MATTER, FORCES, April 17
Scientists of the CDF and DZero experiments at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory presented on April 15 at the annual April meeting of the American Physical Society the latest results of intriguing measurements made with the Tevatron particle collider.
Physicists Find Light-sensitive Molecule Can Heal Itself in the Dark
Sometimes all an overworked molecule needs is a good night’s rest. According to a study by physicist Mark Kuzyk and colleagues at Washington State University, a molecule that loses its ability to f... View Release
NEW THEORY OF THE UNIVERSE MARRIES TWO OF ITS BIGGEST MYSTERIES, January 22
Physicists have devised a theory that unifies two widely studied mysteries of the universe: why there is an imbalance between regular matter and anti-matter (scientists expect to see equal amounts of each, but observe less anti-matter), and the identity of “dark matter” – the enigmatic particles thought to account for the extra gravitational pull observed in distant galaxies.
New Study Sheds Light On 'Dark States' In DNA
Chemists at Ohio State University have probed an unusual high-energy state produced in single nucleotides -- the building blocks of DNA and RNA -- when they absorb ultraviolet (UV) light.
SELF CLEANING LOTUS LEAF IMITATED IN PLASTIC BY USING A FEMTOSECOND LASER, January 15
A plastic cup that can be reused without washing it, simply because contamination has no chance to stick to the surface? A self-cleaning surface like that of the leaf of a Lotus plant is ideal for many applications and consumer products.
IS DARK MATTER COMPOSED OF STERILE NEUTRINOS?, January 15
“If you ask the question, ‘What is the content of the universe?’ the answer is not so simple,” says Mikhail Shaposhnikov, a scientist associated with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and CERN, both in Switzerland. Shaposhnikov explains to PhysOrg.com that only seven or eight percent of the universe is composed of what we term “regular” matter.
GROUP OF GALAXIES FOUND TO BEND THE LIGHT OF REMOTE GALAXIES, January 03
The discovery of a new class of gravitational lenses, the groups of galaxies, by an international team of astronomers using the Canada-France-Hawaii Legacy Survey (CFHTLS), comes 20 years after the publication in January 1987 of the first image of a gravitational arc, made also at CFHT with one of the first CCD cameras in operation at an observatory.
BLACK HOLE BOLDLY GOES WHERE NO BLACK HOLE HAS GONE BEFORE, January 04
Astronomers have found a black hole where few thought they could ever exist, inside a globular star cluster. The finding has broad implications for the dynamics of stars clusters and also for the existence of a still-speculative new class of black holes called 'intermediate-mass' black holes.
Astronomers detect black hole in tiny 'dwarf' galaxy
Jan 07, 2007 | User rating: not rated yet
Astronomers have found evidence of a supermassive black hole at the heart of a dwarf elliptical galaxy about 54 million light years away from the Milky Way galaxy where Earth resides.
COLLIDING GALAXIES MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR, October 17
A new Hubble image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. The brightest and most compact of these are called super star clusters.
NASA PERFORMS HEADCOUNT OF LOCAL BLACK HOLES, October 06
NASA scientists using the Swift satellite have conducted the first complete census of galaxies with active, central black holes, a project that scanned the entire sky several times over a nine-month period.
SCIENTISTS NUDGE CLOSER TO THE EDGE OF A BLACK HOLE, October 06
NASA scientists and their international partners using the new Japanese Suzaku satellite have collected a startling new set of black hole observations, revealing details of twisted space and warped time never before seen with such precision.
SCIENTISTS DETERMINE THE NATURE OF BLACK HOLE JETS, October 06
NASA and Italian scientists using Swift have for the first time determined what the particle jets streaming from black holes are made of.
CHANDRA REVIEWS BLACK HOLE MUSICAL: EPIC BUT OFF-KEY, October 05
A gigantic sonic boom generated by a supermassive black hole has been found with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, along with evidence for a cacophony of deep sound.
ASTRONOMERS SEE INSIDE A QUASAR FOR THE FIRST TIME, October 05
For the first time, astronomers have looked inside quasars -- the brightest objects in the universe -- and have seen evidence of black holes.
RESEARCHERS FIND NEW INFORMATION ABOUT EARTH'S ORIGINS, October 05
Two Dartmouth researchers have learned more about the origins and makeup of the solar nebula, the large gaseous cloud thought to have spawned the solar system. Mukul Sharma, assistant professor of Earth sciences, and graduate student Rasmus Andreasen, have found evidence that more than one dying star, or supernova, contributed to the makeup of the solar nebula, which in turn, provides insights into the evolution of planets and asteroids soon after their birth some 4,500 million years ago.
September 28, 2006
Stresses determine the shape of life
Patterns are everywhere in nature, from the leopard's spots to the nautilus's spiral shell, but scientists struggle to understand the mechanisms that produce them. Researchers in the US now believe that physics of microtubules is an important piece in the puzzle (Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 103 10654).
Jim Valles and Jay Tang at Brown University, have worked out that physics is behind the patterns formed by microtubules – proteins that play a fundamental role in cell division and organism development. "What's exciting is that this finding may provide insight into how the shapes that make up the human body are created," said Valles.
Microtubules are shaped like long, thin straws and are found in all cells - whether that's the humble amoeba or a human brain cell. They perform many functions, including forming the structure that pulls the chromosomes apart during cell division and serving as the "train tracks" to transport proteins around cells. They also form the scaffolds that give cells their shape.
During the study, which was funded by NASA, the researchers investigated solutions of microtubules grown in the lab. The presence of a magnetic field or convective flow in the solution prompted the microtubules to align side by side and join to form a series of bundles. These bundles eventually buckled coherently with their neighbours to form a wave pattern.
"There is no direct evidence for how this pattern affects the formation of biological structures, but it suggests a mechanism for pattern formation – it could produce ripples in a cell or spatial variations in a protein," Valles told medicalphysicsweb.
The Tang-Valles team - with contributions from two graduate students, Yifeng Liu and Yongxing Guo - has spent two years studying this particular pattern, and finally it has the answer to how it forms. Rather than being solely generated by chemical reactions, as was previously suspected, the waves are produced by a combination of protein polymerization and mechanical buckling. "We suggest that the bundles buckle to relieve compressional stress that builds up because of internal MT [microtubule] polymerization forces," noted the researchers in their Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. paper.
The breakthrough will most likely increase basic understanding of several natural systems. Microtubule patterns similar to those created by the Tang-Valles team in the lab are seen in frog eggs and fruit-fly cells during early development, where they play a critical role in shaping the body of the organism that eventually emerges. Although the team didn't study any other patterns, there are a range of other possible structures that microtubules can form and physical forces are likely to underlie these as well.
Right now, it is impossible to say whether the Brown findings will have any medical implications. The pattern-formation mechanism is not genetically related, so it won't affect fields such as cloning, stem-cell research and reproductive medicine. "It could maybe affect tissue engineering as it is a force-generating mechanism – a distorting system," Valles speculated.
The team would now like to look more closely at the structure of the microtubule bundles. "We're interested in how easily they slide past each other. Our experiments have indicated that they are held together laterally but that they can move longitudinally," said Valles.
The researchers eventually want to be able to control the buckling effect. "Interest from groups in biology and medicine who could come up with applications for this work would also be very welcome," added Valles.
• This article originally appeared on medicalphysicsweb.
About the author
Michelle Jeandron is science and technology reporter on medicalphysicsweb.
September 15, 2006
Writing May Be Oldest in Western Hemisphere
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere.
The Mexican discoverers and their colleagues from the United States reported yesterday that the order and pattern of carved symbols appeared to be that of a true writing system and that it had characteristics strikingly similar to imagery of the Olmec civilization, considered the earliest in the Americas.
Finding a heretofore unknown writing system is rare. One of the last major ones to come to light, scholars say, was the Indus Valley script, recognized from excavations in 1924.
Now, scholars are tantalized by a message in stone in a script unlike any other and a text they cannot read. They are excited by the prospect of finding more of this writing, and eventually deciphering it, to crack open a window on one of the most enigmatic ancient civilizations.
The inscription on the Mexican stone, with 28 distinct signs, some of which are repeated, for a total of 62, has been tentatively dated from at least 900 B.C., possibly earlier. That is 400 or more years before writing was known to have existed in Mesoamerica, the region from central Mexico through much of Central America, and by extension, anywhere in the hemisphere.
Previously, no script had been associated unambiguously with the Olmec culture, which flourished along the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz and Tabasco well before the Zapotec and Maya people rose to prominence elsewhere in the region. Until now, the Olmec were known mainly for the colossal stone heads they sculptured and displayed at monumental buildings in their ruling cities.
The stone was discovered by María del Carmen Rodríguez of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico and Ponciano Ortíz of Veracruz University. The archaeologists, a married couple, are the lead authors of the report of the discovery, which is being published today in the journal Science.
The signs incised on the 26-pound stone, the researchers said in the report, “link the Olmec to literacy, document an unsuspected writing system and reveal a new complexity to this civilization.”
Noting that the text “conforms to all expectations of writing,” the researchers wrote that the sequences of signs reflected “patterns of language, with the probable presence of syntax and language-dependent word orders.”
Several paired sequences of signs, scholars said, have even prompted speculation that the text contained poetic couplets.
Experts who have examined the Olmec symbols said they would need many more examples before they could hope to read what is written on the stone. They said it appeared that the symbols in the inscription were unrelated to later Mesoamerican scripts, suggesting that this Olmec writing might have been practiced for only a few generations and never spread to surrounding cultures.
Stephen D. Houston of Brown University, a co-author of the report and an authority on ancient writings, acknowledged that the apparent singularity of the script was a puzzle and would probably be emphasized by some scholars who question the influence of the Olmec on the course of later Mesoamerican cultures.
But Dr. Houston said the discovery “could be the beginning of a new era of focus on the Olmec civilization.”
Other participants in the research include Michael D. Coe of Yale; Richard A. Diehl of the University of Alabama; Karl A. Taube of the University of California, Riverside; and Alfredo Delgado Calderón, also of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Mesoamerican researchers not involved in the discovery agreed that the signs appeared to represent a true script and that their appearance could be expected to inspire more intensive exploration of the Olmec past. The civilization emerged about 1200 B.C. and virtually disappeared around 400 B.C.
In an accompanying article in Science, Mary Pohl, an anthropologist at Florida State University who has excavated Olmec ruins, was quoted as saying, “This is an exciting discovery of great significance.”
A few other researchers were skeptical of the inscription’s date because the stone was uncovered in a gravel quarry where it and other artifacts were jumbled and possibly out of their original context.
The discovery team said that ceramic shards, clay figurines and other broken artifacts accompanying the stone appeared to be from a phase of Olmec culture ending about 900 B.C. They conceded, though, that the disarray at the site made it impossible to determine if the stone was in a place relating to the governing elite or a religious ceremony.
Dr. Diehl, a specialist in Olmec research, said, “My colleagues and I are absolutely convinced the stone is authentic.”
Road builders digging gravel came across the stone in debris from an ancient mound at Cascajal, a place the discoverers said was in the “Olmec heartland.” The village is on an island in southern Veracruz and about a mile from the ruins of San Lorenzo, the site of the dominant Olmec city from 1200 B.C. to 900 B.C.
That was in 1999, and Dr. Rodríguez and Dr. Ortíz were called in, and they quickly recognized the potential importance of the find.
Only after years of further excavations, in which they hoped to find more writing specimens, and comparative analysis with Olmec iconography did the two invite other Mesoamerican scholars to join the study. After a few reports in recent years of Olmec “writing” that failed to hold up, the team decided earlier this year that the Cascajal stone, as it is being called, was the real thing.
The tiny, delicate signs are incised on a block of soft serpentine stone 14 inches long, 8 inches wide and 5 inches thick. The inscription is on the stone’s concave top surface.
Dr. Houston, who was a leader in the decipherment of Maya writing, examined the stone with an eye to clues that this was true writing and not just iconography unrelated to a language. He said in an interview that he had detected regular patterns and order suggesting “a text segmented into what almost look like sentences, with clear beginnings and clear endings.”
Some pictographic signs were frequently repeated, Dr. Houston said, particularly ones that looked like an insect or a lizard. He suspected that these were signs alerting the reader to the use of words that sound alike but have different meanings — as in the difference in English of “I” and “eye.”
All in all, Dr. Houston concluded, “the linear sequencing, the regularity of signs, the clear patterns of ordering, they tell me this is writing, but we don’t know what it says.”
Mayan ruins said center of mysterious civilization
Fri Sep 8, 11:44 PM ET
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Reuters) - Experts are examining the ruins of a pre-Columbian culture in an area of Honduras where there had been no previous evidence of major indigenous civilization.
The site, discovered earlier this year, consists of 14 mounds that form part of what are believed to be ceremonial grounds, the Honduran Institute of Anthropology said.
"They are part of a very important site, a governing center of a pre-Columbian civilization," Oscar Neils, the institute's head of research, told Reuters. "We had no idea that there was a pre-Columbian culture in this area."
The findings so far include an impressive carved stone monument, called a stela, as well as necklaces and grinding stones.
"The stela is a sculpture of various human and animal forms and is truly amazing in how well conserved it is," Neils said.
Three feet (1 meter) high and more than 4-1/2 feet (1-1/2 meters) wide, the stela is being displayed in the park of the nearby town of Moroceli, about 30 miles east of the capital of Tegucigalpa.
Neils said the site has been damaged by tractors involved in sugar cane growing, prompting Honduras' Culture Ministry to move to protect it.
Honduras is home to some 14,000 archeological sites, including world-famous Copan, which flourished between the fifth and ninth centuries and was one of the first Mayan sites to be excavated.
This site is completely distinct, Neils said.
"Its culture is an enigma," added the Mexican archeologist.
Wisconsin farm has third rare white buffalo born in August 2006
(AP) -- A farm in Wisconsin is quickly becoming hallowed ground again for American Indians with the birth of its third white buffalo, an animal considered sacred by many tribes for its potential to bring good fortune and peace.
Dave Heider said he was inspecting damage on his farm after a late August storm when he saw the newly born buffalo, a male. His last white buffalo, a female named Miracle, died in 2004 at the age of 10. Thousands of people came to see the animal, whose coat became darker as it aged.
"We took one look at it and I can't repeat what I thought but I thought, 'Here we go again,'" Heider said.
This time around Heider plans to recruit volunteers to handle the visitors he expects at his farm, called Davalas, in Janesville, about 70 miles southwest of Milwaukee. About 50 American Indians held a drum ceremony at the farm this past weekend to honor the calf, which has yet to be named, he said. It is no relation to Miracle, he said.
"We never even thought about having another white one until we got this one," he said. "There's got to be a reason that we're getting these white calves."
The second white buffalo born at the nearly 200 acre farm was born in 1996 but it died after three days, he said.
It's no surprise that the farm has had another white buffalo, said Floyd "Looks for Buffalo" Hand, a medicine man in the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D. He said it was fate that the white buffaloes chose one farm, which will become a focal point for visitors, who make offerings like tobacco and dream catchers in the hopes of earning good fortune and peace.
"That's destiny," he said. "The message was only choose one person."
That this latest birth is a male doesn't make it any less significant in American Indian prophecies, which say that such an animal will reunite all the races of man and restore balance to the world. The coat on this animal, like Miracle before it, will change from white to black, red and yellow, the colors of the various races of man, before turning brown again, he said.
Women have long been revered in American Indian culture but men now need to take responsibility for their families and the future of the tribe, he said. The birth of this male signifies that, he said.
"It's the time for man's responsibilities," Hand said. "They're not listening to their children, they're not hugging them. They're not telling them what life is about."
Odds of having a white buffalo are at least 1 in the millions, said Jim Matheson, assistant director of the National Bison Association. For years buffalo in general were rare but their numbers are increasing, with some 250,000 now in the U.S., he said.
Many people, like Heider, choose to raise the animals for their meat, which is considered a healthier, low-fat alternative to beef.
Heider and his wife have about 65 head of buffalo on their farm, which they hope to turn into a full-time business in the coming years. They plan to breed the new calf with Miracle's four daughters and three granddaughters, he said. None of those animals is white.
"I guess this is going to change things," Heider said. "We're going to have to figure out how things are going for this one."
Gary Adamson, 65, of Elkhorn, said the event at Heider's farm this weekend helped welcome the animal into the world. American Indian elders will help interpret what significance the animal has, said Adamson, who is of Choctaw and Cherokee heritage. The calf will help fill the void that was left with Miracle's passing, he said.
"There are still things that need to be done and Miracle's task wasn't quite done yet and we feel there's something there," Adamson said.
The news of the birth of another white buffalo calf at the same farm is surprising and will surely draw visitors to see the animal in the hopes of securing good fortune, said Mike Fox, interim director of the Intertribal Bison Association, based in Rapid City, S.D.
A group from his association visited and made offerings to Miracle not long after the animal was born, said Fox, a member of the Gros Ventre Tribe in Montana.
"Oh, absolutely this is big news. As we hear about it more and more, tribal interest will be drawn to it," he said.
By EMILY FREDRIX, Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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