The discovery was made two weeks into the thermal scanning project
Egypt pyramids scan finds mystery heat spots
From the BBC
An international team of architects and scientists have observed “thermal anomalies” in the pyramids of Giza, Egyptian antiquities officials say.
Thermal cameras detected higher temperatures in three adjacent stones at the bottom of the Great Pyramid.
Officials said possible causes included the existence of empty areas inside the pyramid, internal air currents, or the use of different building materials.
It comes as experts search for hidden chambers within the pyramids.
The tombs of the pharaohs Khufu (Kheops), Khafre (Khephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus) were built in the Fourth Dynasty, about 2613-2494BC.
A team of architects and scientists from Egypt, France, Canada and Japan used infrared thermography to survey the pyramids during sunrise, as the sun heats the limestone structures from the outside, as well as at sunset when they cool down.
Cameras detected higher temperatures in three stones at the bottom of the Great Pyramid
In a statement, the Egyptian antiquities ministry said the experts had “concluded the existence of several thermal anomalies that were observed on all monuments during the heating-up or the cooling-down phases”.
“To explain such anomalies, a lot of hypotheses and possibilities could be drawn up: presence of voids behind the surface, internal air currents,” it added.
An “particularly impressive” anomaly was found at ground level on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, the statement said.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati (left) presented the findings on Monday
“The first row of the pyramid’s stones are all uniform, then we come here and find that there’s a difference in the formation,” Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said as he showed reporters the three stones showing higher temperatures.
Other thermal anomalies were detected in the upper half of the Great Pyramid.
The structure will be the subject of further investigation during the Operation Scan Pyramids project, which began on 25 October and is expected to last until the end of 2016.
Animal X knows that there are some ancient and scary cults in Egypt. There’s the ancient Cat cult and the scary creature known as the Salaawa, a werewolf type creature.
Balancing rocks trace history of ‘jumping’ earthquakes
By Jonathan WebbScience reporter, BBC News
The researchers spent 10 years collecting measurements of balancing rocks
US scientists say they have solved the riddle of why a collection of balancing rocks near the San Andreas fault has never been toppled by earthquakes.
Their decade-long study concludes that quakes can stop or “jump” due to interactions between the San Andreas and the neighbouring San Jacinto fault.
Models show that these interactions sent the biggest vibrations around the rock stacks, leaving them intact.
But the connected nature of the faults has implications for quake planning.
The study of precariously balanced rocks was begun in the 1990s by Jim Brune, now an emeritus professor at the University of Nevada and a co-author of the new paper.
“He realised that [these rocks] could be a check on seismic hazard maps, and give long-term indications of ground shaking,” said the study’s lead author Prof Lisa Grant Ludwig, from the University of California, Irvine.
“They are kind of natural seismoscopes – but you have to read them indirectly.
“They don’t tell you an earthquake happened, they tell you ‘an earthquake strong enough to knock me down did not happen’.”
Generally, balancing rocks are not seen within 15km of major faults. But 10 years ago Prof Brune and his colleagues found two sizeable collections of such stones just 7-10km from the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults, in the San Bernardino mountains of California.
The teetering rocks sit less than 10km from two major faults
In the new study, due to be published in the journal Seismological Research Letters, these rocks were carefully catalogued and measured.
Importantly, the team calculated how much force it would take to tip each of the rocks over.
“There are two methods of doing that, one of which is actually trying to tip the thing,” Prof Ludwig said. This meant some nerve-wracking fieldwork, gently pushing the rocks until there was some movement, but not actually tipping them over.
“If my mother had known I was doing that, she would not have been happy,” Prof Ludwig confessed. “You never want to be on the downhill side when you tip it.”
The second method, for rocks too dangerous or difficult to tip, was “photomodelling”: using views from multiple angles to build a 3D model of the balanced stone and calculate its centre of gravity, mass, and so on.
Both these methods, along with some “shake table” simulation experiments, showed that the rocks should have fallen over during quakes as recent as 1812 and 1857.
The famous San Andreas fault stretches 1,300km across California
But various measures can tell us exactly how long the stones have perched in their places – and it is millennia, not centuries.
“One of my former postdocs did an age study of one of the rocks. And it’d been in that position about 18,000 years,” said Prof Ludwig.
So how did these precarious rocks withstand the tens or hundreds of earthquakes that shook the region during that time?
Network of fractures
“The inescapable conclusion was that the ground motions had to be lower than you would expect from typical earthquakes on the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults,” Prof Ludwig explained.
The team’s best explanation for that surprisingly small ground movement – and one supported by computer modelling of big earthquakes – is an interaction between the two faults.
Precarious rocks, like this one in Nevada, can act as natural measures of earthquake strength over time
Precarious rocks, like this one in Nevada, can act as natural measures of earthquake strength over time
“The San Andreas and San Jacinto faults come very close together; they’re only about 2km apart. And it’s been well established, through other earthquakes and modelling studies, that a rupture can jump across [a gap like that]. It’s what’s called a stepover.
“What if the rupture jumped across, or alternatively, stopped at this junction, or started at this junction? All three of those cases would produce lower ground shaking in the area where we found the rocks.”
It is crucial to consider the faults together, Prof Ludwig said – not just to explain the baffling, balancing rocks, but also in order to plan safely for future earthquakes.
“These are really networks of fractures in the earth. Just because we give them different names doesn’t mean that they behave independently.”
Dr Lucy Jones is a long-serving seismologist and a science adviser for risk reduction at the US Geological Survey. She said the paper would have “pretty significant implications” for earthquake planning in California.
In particular, Dr Jones said the findings might impact the “ShakeOut scenario” – in which she and others modelled a major San Andreas quake, to support safety drills and procedures.
“I think that this study actually makes the particular ShakeOut scenario less likely, but I’m not sure it means that we’re definitely going to get less ground motion,” Dr Jones told the BBC.
“It isn’t a clear-cut answer as to whether we’ll be better off or worse off. We’re going to need time to look at the permutations.”
Looking beyond individual quakes, Dr Jones said the new study fits into a “pretty well accepted picture” that in the long-term, seismic activity is gradually shifting from the southern stretch of the San Andreas fault across to the younger San Jacinto fault.
“This study is a really cool piece of evidence that maybe the jump is a little further along than we assumed,” she said.
Did you know that pets can often detect ear quakes before they happen? Here’s a story from Animal X about some such pets.
Is the Universe Bubbly? Searching in Space for Quantum Foam
by Calla Cofield, Space.com Staff Writer
An incredibly small and fantastically strange theoretical feature of the universe is too microscopic to see directly, so a team of scientists has instead looked for it by studying some of the brightest galaxies in the universe.
As light travels to Earth from distant galaxies, its road through the cosmos may not be smooth. A theoretical characteristic of the universe called “quantum foam” could make space and time rough and chaotic at very small scales. Some models suggest that scientists could see the effect of this foam in a large group of photons that have traveled a very long distance.
A group of researchers decided to try to observe signs of quantum foam in the light collected by powerful telescopes on and around Earth. While no direct evidence of the foam was found, the researchers have eliminated two possible theories of how it behaves, and put a new limit on its size.
A bubbly universe
The universe we perceive is made of three dimensions of space and another dimension of time, which together make up a single fabric that Albert Einstein dubbed “space-time.” For things like people, planets, stars and anything larger than an atom, space-time is smooth. Large objects move through it like a car driving over a freshly paved road.
By contrast, on very, very (very, very) small-size scales, the universe may be bubbly, foamy and constantly changing. This is a theoretical feature of the universe known as quantum foam.
“One way to think of space-time foam is if you are flying over the ocean in [an] airplane, it looks completely smooth,” said Eric Perlman, professor of physics and space sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology and lead author on the new research, in a statement from the Chandra X-ray Center. “However, if you get low enough you see the waves, and closer still, foam, with tiny bubbles that are constantly fluctuating.”
A boat traveling over the surface of the ocean would not experience any measurable affect from the foam, but very small objects might. Perlman and his colleagues’ new research was an attempt to observe the effects of quantum foam on particles of light.
The bumps and bubbles created by quantum foam are not obstacles in a photon’s path; they’re changes to the fabric of reality that the photons move through. If quantum foam doesn’t exist, then two photons leaving point A can essentially travel the same, smooth path to point B. But if quantum foam does exist, and is causing constant changes in the fabric of reality, then the two photons would each effectively travel a slightly different path between those two points, Perlman said in an interview with Space.com.
Some models of quantum foam suggest that this effect would cause the photons to become out of phase with each other, and this could potentially distort what objects in space look like to observers on Earth.
“Just like if you’re trying to listen to sound that was made by loud speakers that are out of phase with one another, you get noise,” Perlman said in an interview with Space.com.
Perlman and his colleagues went looking for evidence of these distortions in observations of very distant galaxies called quasars (some of the quantum foam models also predict that the effects will become more pronounced over longer distances). These quasars are also some of the brightest objects in the universe. At the center of a quasar is a supermassive black hole, surrounded by a tremendous amount of gas, dust and other matter. As the matter is pulled into the black hole, it radiates enough light to outshine all the stars that live in the galaxy.
The team built computer simulations that showed how quantum foam would affect observations of quasars by telescopes on Earth. They then compared those projections with real images from three powerful telescopes: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS).
The images observed by the telescopes did not show the kind of distortion or blurring anticipated by two quantum foam models that the researchers tested. They say this indicates that the models are incorrect.
“The Chandra data specifically rules out one model which we already thought was in trouble – [called the] random walk model,” Perlman said. “Fermi and VERITAS data rule out another model which we didn’t think was in trouble and that is a model that has been called the holographic model.” [Is the Universe a 2D Hologram? Experiment Aims to Find Out]
So space-time appears to be smooth, at least on scales larger than one-thousandth the diameter of a proton, the new results show (although most models predict that quantum foam operates on much smaller scales).
There is one model of quantum foam still standing. This model predicts that the distortion effects are not be amplified over long distances, which means looking at distant quasars will not help scientists find evidence of quantum foam. At the moment, this seems to be the only model that holds up, Perlman wrote in a blog post for the Chandra X-ray Observatory website.
Observations of distant quasars in X-rays from Chandra (top six images) and gamma-ray telescopes are helping scientists test the nature of space-time at extremely small scales. This artistʼs illustration (bottom) depicts how the foamy structure of space-time may appear, showing tiny bubbles quadrillions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom that are constantly fluctuating and last for only infinitesimal fractions of a second. Credit: Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image.
Combining big and small
Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, a theoretical physicist at the Sapienza University of Rome, said in an email that work to put limits on quantum foam is “extremely important,” and that Perlman and his colleagues are “a very strong group, for whose work I have high consideration.”
However, he also cautions that because of various limitations, the models used in studies dealing with quantum foam are “crude,” and therefore the results should be “interpreted with great care.” (This includes his own work on quantum foam, he said.)
Quantum foam arose out of attempts to solve one of the biggest mysteries in modern physics: how to unite general relativity (the theory of gravity) and quantum mechanics.
“Both quantum mechanics and general relativity have been enormously successful. They are two of the greatest successes that modern physics has had in the last century plus,” Perlman said. “And yet for some reason that we don’t understand, when you try to write gravity in the language of quantum mechanics, it’s very difficult. Up until now it hasn’t been done.”
Quantum foam could be one of the missing puzzle pieces — the thing that brings together big (gravity) and small (quantum). But it is currently unclear how scientists might prove the existence of such an incredibly tiny feature of the universe. The universe through a telescope. Here’s a series of videos that looks at the universe through a telescope.
Royal Astronomer Predicts When Aliens Are Discovered, They Will Be Robots, Who Will Eventually Lead To Human Extinction
Royal astronomer Lord Rees has made several startling predictions for the fate of the human race and the discovery of aliens, stating that when we do actually come across extraterrestrials, they will probably be robots.
Rees, who is the Astronomer Royal of the Royal Observatory, made his comments while speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Rees, via the Mirror, added that if a signal was to be detected from a distant planet it would come from a machine and not a creature.
“If you were to detect a SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) signal, it would be far more likely that it would be from a machine and not an organic creature.”
According to the Daily Star, Rees believes that the human race will actually have mapped out the entire galaxy by the end of the century, and people will then start to live on other planets. However, this will be the beginning of the end for the human race.
“There has been just a thin sliver of time when organic beings have existed and billions of years after machines will take over, so they will be the future. I would predict that in the next 50 years or so all of the bodies in the solar system will have been mapped and probed by machine and some people will follow.
By the end of the century there will be some people living away from the Earth. We will wish them good luck in adapting their progeny who will need genetic adaptations. That will be the start of the post-human era because they will evolve to be a new species.”
Rees’ bleak outlook continued when he added that he is worried that if global militaries continue to use sub-autonomous robots as weapons, they will evolve and ultimately decimate the human race to the point of extinction.
“I am concerned about sub-autonomous military robots which can just put bullets in people. I think it is quite likely that within a few centuries the overriding intelligence will be machines because they will have an easier time spreading beyond the Earth because they are not organic and most exploration will be by machines and not humans.”
Many a dystopian science fiction story has been written depicting such an apocalypse, and during a TED Talk Rees previously remarked, “Other science fiction nightmares may transition to reality — dumb robots going rogue or a network that develops a mind of its own.”
The likes of Stephen Hawking and other leading scientists have previously made it clear that they are worried by the rise in artificial intelligence, which they believe will ultimately lead to the end of the human race because humans can’t compete.
[Image via Denis Tabler / Shutterstock]
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2154862/royal-astronomer-predicts-when-aliens-are-discovered-they-will-be-robots-who-will-eventually-lead-to-human-extinction/#w5ci6oYYty1DWzlA.99
Man has wondered “Are we alone?” for many years. Astronomers and Hollywood have long portrayed aliens in many different forms — little green men from Mars and monsters from Outer Space being the favourites.
But it is life on Mars that has always captured the imagination — from HG Wells’ Victorian masterpiece “The War of the Worlds” to the 1996 film “Mars Attacks”, the idea of life on Mars has always intrigued man. Let’s take a look at the ideas helping scientists decide if can aliens exist and the part chromatography could play in deciding if there is life on Mars.
Alien Worlds With the launch of the Kepler space telescope in 2009 the search for habitable worlds and aliens has made massive strides forward. Kepler has now found over 1000 exoplanets and identified thousands of potential exoplanets.
Kepler has given scientists an accurate means of measuring the light curve from a distant star. By monitoring the light curve we can detect transiting exoplanets, a planet orbiting a star.
Even more exciting is that the amazing techniques used by astronomers has allowed us to identify Earth sized exoplanets occupying a star’s habitable zone — possible homes for alien life.
Habitable Zones and Life The habitable zone is the ring shaped area around a star where scientists think the conditions for life are just right — for example: water can exist, the temperature is just right and the planet is in a stable orbit. Luckily for us, Earth lies in the middle of the Sun’s habitable zone — which stretches from just outside Venus’ orbit to Mars, which lies at the edge of the zone. So could there be life on Mars?
Life on Mars If there were little green men running around Mars it is probable that we would have seen them by now — we have excellent hi-res images of the Martian surface. Some scientists think that the best chance of finding evidence of life on Mars will be in fossilized chemicals that could once have belonged to some form of life.
To help in this search a team from the University of Kansas has recently published research about a new technique designed to help identify just such a piece of evidence. In a University of Kansas press release, Craig Marshall, one of the article’s authors stated “If we’re going to identify life on Mars, it will likely be the fossil remnants of the chemicals once synthesized by life, and we hope our research helps strengthen the ability to evaluate the evidence collected on Mars”.
In an article titled ‘Raman spectroscopy as a screening tool for ancient life detection on Mars’ the team report on a technique which combines Raman spectroscopy with GC-MS. The authors say this gives the best chance of detecting biomarkers and conclusive evidence for life on Mars.
Chromatography has helped in the search for aliens in space before, as discussed in Analysing Space Dust for the Ingredients of Life Using Chromatography.
Here are some scientists who believe firmly there are aliens.
Scientists probe mysterious wave of antelope deaths
By Rory Galloway
BBC Science writer
Around 120,000 Saiga antelope have died so far
Around half of the world’s critically endangered Saiga antelope have died suddenly in Kazakhstan since 10 May.
An unknown environmental trigger is thought to have caused two types of normally benign bacteria found in the antelopes’ gut to turn deadly.
The animals die within hours of showing symptoms, which include depression, diarrhoea and frothing at the mouth.
Because it is calving season, entire herds of female antelope and their new-born calves have been wiped out.
“They get into respiratory problems, they can’t breathe easily. They stop eating and are extremely depressed; the mothers die and then the calves are very distressed and then they die maybe one or two days later,” said Richard Kock from the Royal Veterinary College in London.
Prof Kock spoke to the BBC’s Science in Action programme after joining an international team in Kazakhstan studying the causes of the die-off.
The Saiga antelope is a species adapted to cope with the extremes of temperature found on the central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan. They are about the size of a large sheep and once roamed in their millions from Great Britain to northern China.
Populations have fallen repeatedly due to hunting, reaching a low of around 50,000 individuals after the fall of the Soviet Union. This rendered the species critically endangered.
Hunting brought Saiga numbers to a low of 50,000 in the 1990s
Conservationists have made great progress with Saiga in recent years, due to international efforts to reduce poaching and monitor their populations.
This die-off is a severe setback to the conservation effort because it has wiped out four of the six calving herds in the largest remaining – and best protected – “Betpak-dala” population, in central Kazakhstan.
Steffen Zuther, head of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK), was monitoring calving in one of the herds containing thousands of affected animals.
“Over two days [in the herd I was studying] 80% of the calving population died,” he told the BBC.
The whole herd then died within two weeks.
Steffen Zuther has been monitoring herds of antelope in Kazakhstan
About 120,000 individual antelope have died, from a global population of approximately 250,000. Fortunately, mortality rates are now dropping, although the deaths continue in some populations.
“What we’re seeing is sort of a perfect storm of different factors,” Prof Kock explained.
Two different bacteria, pasteurelosis and clostridia, have been found in every dead animal studied. These bacteria are naturally found in the animals’ respiratory and gut systems, so something must have reduced the immunity of the animals.
One possible trigger is climatic. This year a very cold winter was followed by a wet spring, and this may have affected the immune competence of the animals, making them more vulnerable to the bacteria.
This, or some other trigger, pushed the animals past a threshold at which the bacteria overcame Saiga immune defences and became deadly enough to transmit to their calves.
dead antelope and calf
Because of its timing, the wave of deaths has claimed mothers and calves
“There’s no infectious disease that can work like this,” said Prof Kock. He added that the wave of Saiga deaths was not unprecedented. “[This] die-off syndrome has occurred on a number of occasions.”
In 1984, 2010 and 2012 there were massive die-offs, but none of these claimed such a massive proportion of the population. ‘Doesn’t make sense’
Despite these huge losses, Saiga antelope are surprisingly well adapted to recover quickly from population crashes.
“Its strategy for survival is based on a high reproductive rate, so [the Saiga] produce triplets and have the highest foetal biomass of any mammal. It’s built, in a sense, to recover from collapse,” Prof Kock said.
The Saiga’s natural habitat has dramatic temperature fluctuations. “In a very severe winter… you could lose 90% of the population.”
But losing 100% percent of some populations within two weeks “doesn’t make any sense” from a biological or evolutionary perspective, Prof Kock said.
There are five main populations of Saiga remaining in central Asia
Saiga antelope have been a conservation success story after recovering from their critical low in the 1990s. The animals now exist in five locations across central Asia, but all individuals affected by the sudden die-off are from the largest remaining Betpak-dala population in Kazakhstan.
This population consists of six major herds, of which four have been completely wiped out.
Steffen Zuther is going back into the field to investigate more remote populations. He hopes to identify what triggered this population collapse, so he can work to stop it happening again.
What Do Tree Rings Sound Like When Played Like A Record?
Playing tree rings
In the Dr Seusse books it’s the Lorax speaks for the trees, but what do they sound like when they speak for themselves?
Rings on a tree can give information about the age of the tree, as well as indicate environmental conditions such as rain levels, disease, and even forest fire. Light colored rings indicate quick growth, while darker rings indicate times when the tree did not grow as quickly. Slices of trees are not uniform, and they all tell a story about the tree’s history.
Bartholomäus Traubeck created equipment that would translate tree rings into music by playing them on a turntable. Rather than use a needle like a record, sensors gather information about the wood’s color and texture and use an algorithm that translates variations into piano notes. The breadth of variation between individual trees results in a individualized tune. The album, appropriately titled “Years,” features spruce, ash, oak, maple, alder, walnut, and beech trees. It is available to download now, though it will be available to purchase on vinyl in August. The end product of these arbor “records” is haunting and beautiful and you need to check it out.