Tags: archaeology, Culture, funny things, Science, Society
By Venus Upadhayaya
A quaint village in central India has fueled some Facebook discussion on ancient foot prints and an engraved image of a mysterious flying object.
In Piska Nagri village, on the outskirts of Ranchi City in Jharkahnd State, geologist Nitish Priyadarshi has been studying large footprints that, according to local lore, may signify the presence of gods from the sky landing on site.
The footprints are on a rock and look like they were of those wearing wooden sandals commonly worn thousands of years ago in the region. One set of footprints measures 11 inches in length and 5 inches in width, and another set in the same area measures 10 inches by 4.5 inches. God-kings of Indian mythology Lord Rama and Lord Lakshmana are believed to have spent time in the area in search of Rama’s wife, Sita.
Priyadarshi said the imprints are on granite rock, and thus were likely carved there rather than imprinted on the hard substance. “It may have been made by the local people manually at that time in memory of the visitors,” he said.
What Priyadarshi finds interesting is the engraved image of a flying object next to the footprints.
“The footprints and the flying object are on the same piece of rock on each other’s side. Maybe they were engraved to show that the two king gods arrived at the place on a flying object,” Priyadarshi said.
The age of the footprints has still not been ascertained. “Seeing the weathering stage [foot prints found here are weathered] of the foot prints it can be said that the age of the foot prints may be thousands year old,” he said.
There have been many discoveries of ancient footprints around the world. Many of them are thousands of years old and are both natural (left by ancient inhabitants) and carved, denoting some meaning.
The Romans carved footprints before a journey as protective rites. Footprints were carved upon leaving for a journey and as thanksgiving for a safe return. In Ireland and northern Europe, rock footprints were closely associated with kingship or chieftainship.
Priyadarshi said: “We live in a highly advanced, technical world, but there are nevertheless a great many mysteries all around us. Ancient places and mysterious beings, sunken worlds and cultures, landscapes imbued with symbolism, unexplained apparitions, and unbelievable finds from ancient times—all of these remain mysteries for humankind, despite intense investigations.”
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Tags: Culture, funny things, Society
A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.
Tags: Body & Mind, funny things, Science
The first “mind meld”–the term used in “Star Trek”–took place between two humans, allowing a researcher to send brain signals through the Internet to control the motion of another person’s hand, scientists said.
Researcher Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco, who was on the other side of the campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on the keyboard. The two carried out the experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle, according to the school’s website on Tuesday.
“The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,” Stocco said. “We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.”
The two believe it was the first “mind meld” between humans. Similar experiments were previously done on humans interfacing with rats.
“On Aug. 12, Rao sat in his lab wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain. Stocco was in his lab across campus wearing a purple swim cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement,” the university’s website states.
In the experiment, Rao played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a gun in the game, he just thought about moving his right hand to do so, without actually moving it. On the other side of the campus, Stocco, who had noise-canceling earbuds on and wasn’t looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his hand.
“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”
Tags: art, Culture, funny things, picture of the day
People are asking, prompted by a new special on Mermaids, whether mermaids exist or not.
A look over the years shows that many people around the world have sighted or even directly experienced mermaids. Here’s a timeline of some of the major sightings and experiences, including Christopher Columbus, John Smith, and William Shakespeare.
First Century AD: Pliny the Elder writes about Nereids, or women with rough, scaly bodies like fish. They are “sitting upon dolphins, or ketoi, or hippocamps,” in some cases, he writes in Natural History.
Pliny describes how the legatus of Gaul wrote to the late Emperor Augustus about “a considerable number of nereids” being “found dead upon the seashore.” Further, “I have, too, some distinguished informants of equestrian rank, who state that they themselves once saw in the ocean of Gades a sea-man,” Pliny writes, according to a translation by the University of Chicago.
Fifth Century AD: In the book Physiologus, which is said to have been written or compiled in Greek by an unknown author, there is a portion dedicated to “The Nature of the Mermaid” that is translated by graduate student Mary Allyson Armistead as follows:
“In the sea there are many marvels.
The mermaid is like a maiden:
In breast and body she is thus joined:
From the navel downward she is not like a maid
But a fish very certainly with sprouted fins.
This marvel dwells in an unstable place where the water subsides.
She sinks ships and causes suffering,
She sings sweetly —this siren—and has many voices,
Many and resonant, but they are very dangerous.
Sailors forget their steering because of her singing;
They slumber and sleep and wake too late,
And the ships sink in a whirlpool and cannot surface anymore.
But wise and wary men and are able to return;
Often they escape with all the strength they have.
They have said of this siren, that she is so grotesque,
Half maid and half fish: something is meant by this.”
Sometime between 1040 and 1105: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, or Rashi, describes mermaids in the Talmud.
“There are fish in the sea with which half is in the form of man and half in the form of a fish, called sereine in Old French,” he wrote.
Also, not too long after, the Moshav Zekeinim, a commentary on the “Torah” by the medieval Tosafists, explains mermaids while calling them sirens, according to the book Sacred Monsters.
“This refers to the creature in the sea which is similar in part to a person, from the navel upwards, and it is similar to a woman in all aspects, in that it has breasts and long hair like that of a woman, and from the navel downwards it is a fish,” it is written in the commentary. “And it sings beautifully, with a pleasant voice.”
13th Century: Bartholomew Angelicus, in De Propietatibus Rerum, describes a mermaid, and tells of her stealing sailors from their ships.
Middle of 13th Century: Speculum Regale, or The King’s Mirror, is written in Old Norse, a translated version appearing several centuries later.
In the book there is a description of a creature found off the shores of Greenland.
“Like a woman as far down as her waist, long hands, and soft hair, the neck and head in all respects like those of a human being. The hands seem to be long, and the fingers not to be pointed, but united into a web like that on the feet of water birds. From the waist downwards this monster resembles a fish, with scales, tail, and fins. This shows itself, especially before heavy storms. The habit of this creature is to dive frequently and rise again to the surface with fishes in its hands. When sailors see it playing with the fish, or throwing them towards the ship, they fear that they are doomed to lose several of the crew ; but when it casts the fish from the vessel, then the sailors take it as a good omen that they will not suffer loss in the im-pending storm. This monster has a very horrible face, with broad brow and piercing eyes, a wide mouth and double chin.”
1389: The book Eastern Travels of John of Hesse is published, in which many perils during a voyage are relived. At one point the author writes: “We came to a stony mountain, where we heard syrens singing, mermaids who draw ships into danger by their songs. We saw there many horrible monsters and were in great fear.”
1403: A mermaid drifts inland through a broken dyke on the Dutch coast during the heavy storm. She was spied by some local women and their servants, “who at the first were afraid of her, but seeing her often, they resolved to take her, which they did, and bringing her home, she suffered herself to be clothed and fed with bread and milk and other meats, and would often strive to steal again into the sea, but being carefully watched, she could not.”
The mermaid later learned how to sew but never spoke. She died 15 years after she was discovered. John Swan, an English minister, describes the story in the 1635 book Speculum Mundi.
The book also includes the following describing mermaids:
“Transform’d to fish, for their bold surquedry :
But th’ upper half their hew retayned still,
And their sweet skill in wonted melody
Which ever after they abused to ill,*
T’ allure weake travellers whom gotten they did kill.”
1493: Christopher Columbus spots three mermaids rise high from the sea. Columbus wrote in his ship’s journal: “They were not as beautiful as they are painted, although to some extent they have a human appearance in the face.” He also noted that he had seen similar creatures off the coast of West Africa.
1560: According to Curious Myths of the Middle Ages by Sabine Baring-Gould: “Near the island of Mandar, on the west of Ceylon, some fishermen entrapped in their net seven mermen and mermaids, of which several Jesuits, and Father Henriques, and Bosquez, physician to the Viceroy of Goa, were witnesses. The physician examined them with a great deal of care, and dissected them. He asserts that the internal and external structure resembled that of human beings.”
1590: William Shakespeare is believed to have written Midsummer Night’s Dream between 1590 and 1594. In it, he writes:
“I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.”
Soon after, he continues. “Come over here, Puck. You remember that time I was sitting on a rocky coast when I head a mermaid? She was riding on a dolphin’s back. Her singing was so sweet and pure that the rough sea grew calm and stars sot madly about the sky on hearing the sea-girls song.”
1608: Explorer Henry Hudson recounts an experience in the ship’s journal that happened on June 15, while sailing through the Bering Sea off the top of Norway.
“This morning one of our company, looking overboard, saw a mermaid, and calling up some of the company to see her, one more came up, and by that time she was come close to the ship’s side, looking earnestly on the men. A little while after a sea came and over- turned her. From the navel upward her back and breast were like a woman’s, as they say that saw her ; her body as big as one of ours ; her skin very white, and long hair hanging down behind, of colour black. In her going down they saw her tail, which was like the tail of a porpoise, and speckled like a mackerel. Their names that saw her were Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayney.”
Later, in the mid 1800′s, in an analysis of the incident in The Romance of Natural History, naturalist Philip Henry Gosse says that the usual claim of sailors mistaking manatees for mermaids won’t work here.
“Whatever explanation may be attempted of this apparition, the ordi-nary resource of seal and walrus will not avail here. Seals and walruses must have been as familiar to these polar mariners as cows to a milkmaid. Unless the whole story was a con-cocted lie between the two men, reasonless and objectless, and the worthy old navigator doubtless knew the character of his men, they must have seen some form of being as yet unrecognized.”
1614: Captain John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, sees a mermaid off the coast of Massachusetts.
He writes that “the upper part of her body perfectly resembled that of a woman, and she was swimming about with all possible grace near the shore.” It had “large eyes, rather too round, a finely shaped nose (a little too short), well-formed ears, rather too long, and her long green hair imparted to her an original character by no means unattractive.”
1619: Two senators in Norway capture a merman, according to Adventures in Unhistory. The senators, Ulf Rosensparre and Christian Hollh, decided to release the merman back into the sea.
1739: The Gentleman’s Magazine describes in an issue an experience with a creature.
“Some fisherman near the City of Exeter drawing their nets ashore, a Creature leap’d out, and run away very swiftly, not being able to overtake it, they knock’d it down by throwing sticks after it,” the description reads, according to Adventures in Unhistory.
“At their coming up to it, it was dying, having groan’d like a human creature: Its feet were webb’d like a duck’s, it had eyes, nose, and mouth resembling those of a man, only the nose somewhat depress’d; a tail not unlike a salmon’s, turning up towards its back, and is four feet high.” It was publicly shown in the city.
1797: William Munro, a schoolteacher in Scotland, writes a letter to a Dr. Torrance in Glasgow, which is published in The Times of London on Sept. 8, 1809.
“About twelve years ago when I was Parochial Schoolmaster at Reay, in the course of my walking on the shore of Sandside Bay, being a fine warm day in summer, I was induced to extend my walk towards Sandside Head, when my attention was arrested by the appearance of a figure resembling an unclothed human female, sitting upon a rock extending into the sea, and apparently in the action of combing its hair, which flowed around its shoulders, and of a light brown colour. The resemblance which the figure bore to its prototype in all its visible parts was so striking, that had not the rock on which it was sitting been dangerous for bathing, I would have been constrained to have regarded it as really an human form, and to an eye unaccustomed to the situation, it must have undoubtedly appeared as such. The head was covered with hair of the colour above mentioned and shaded on the crown, the forehead round, the face plump. The cheeks ruddy, the eyes blue, the mouth and lips of a natural form, resembling those of a man; the teeth I could not discover, as the mouth was shut; the breasts and abdomen, the arms and fingers of the size in which the hands were employed, did not appear to be webbed, but as to this I am not positive. It remained on the rock three or four minutes after I observed it, and was exercised during that period in combing its hair, which was long and thick, and of which it appeared proud, and then dropped into the sea, which was level with the abdomen, from whence it did not reappear to me, I had a distinct view of its features, being at no great distance on an eminence above the rock on which it was sitting, and the sun brightly shining.”
“Immediately before its getting into its natural element it seemed to have observed me, as the eyes were directed towards the eminence on which I stood. It may be necessary to remark, that previous to the period I beheld the object, I had heard it frequently reported by several persons, and some of them person whose veracity I never heard disputed, that they had seen such a phenomenon as I have described, though then, like many others, I was not disposed to credit their testimony on this subject. I can say of a truth, that it was only by seeing the phenomenon, I was perfectly convinced of its existence.
If the above narrative can in any degree be subservient towards establishing the existence of a phenomenon hitherto almost incredible to naturalists, or to remove the scepticism of others, who are ready to dispute everything which they cannot fully comprehend, you are welcome to it from,
Your most obliged, and most humble servant,
1801: Dr. Chisolm recounts a visit four years prior to the island of Berbice in the Carribbean. The residents call mermaids mene mamma, or mother of waters. Governor Van Battenburgh gives the following description to Chisolm:
“The upper portion resembles the human figure, the head smaller in proportion, sometimes bare, but oftener covered with a copious quantity of long black hair. The shoulders are broad, and the breasts large and well formed. The lower portion resembles the tail-portion of a fish, is of immense dimension, the tail forked, and not unlike that of the dolphin, as it is usually represented. The colour of the skin is either black or tawny. The animal is held in veneration and dread by the Indians, who imagine that the killing it would be attended with the most calamitous consequences. It is from this circumstance that none of these animals have been shot, and, consequently, not examined but at, a distance. They have been generally observed in a sitting posture in the water, none of the lower extremity being discovered until they are disturbed; when, by plunging, the tail appears, and agitates the water to a considerable distance round. They have been always seen employed in smoothing their hair, or stroking their faces and breasts with their hands, or something resembling hands. In this posture, and thus employed, they have been frequently taken for Indian women bathing.”
1822: A young man, John McIsaac of Scotland, testifies under oath that he saw an animal that had a white upper half with the shape of the human body, while the other half was covered with scales and had a tail, according to a story in the London Mirror. The sighting took place in 1811. McIsaac describes the creature as having long, light brown hair, being between four and five feet long, and having fingers close together.
“It continued above water for a few minutes, and then disappeared,” according to the article. “The Minister of Campbeltown, and the Chamberlain of Mull, attest his examination, and declare that they know no reason why his veracity should be questioned.”
1830: Villagers at Benbecula, in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland saw a small woman on shore. They tried capturing it, but failed, so they pelted it with rocks. A few days later,its corpse washed ashore, according to Hidden Animals. They then examined it. “The upper part of the body was about the size of a well-developed child of three or four years of age, with an abnormally developed breast. The hair was long, dark, and glossy, while the skin was white, soft, and tender. The lower part of the body was like a salmon, but without scales.” The creature was buried in a coffin later on.
1842: Phineas Barnum, of Barnum and Brothers fame, got connected with what was said to be a mermaid who had been caught near the Feejee Islands in the South Pacific. There is much debate whether the mermaid was a mermaid or something else.
On the supporting side, the New York Sun had a review which in part said: “We’ve seen it! What? Why that Mermaid! The mischief you have! Where? What is it? It’s twin sister to the deucedest looking thing imaginable—half fish, half flesh; and ‘taken by and large,’ the most odd of all oddities earth or sea has ever produced.”
In a portion of an autobiography written by Barnum, published by the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, Barnum says that he obtained the specimen from the estate of a dead sailor, who had purchased it from Japanese sailors.
Barnum recounts going to his naturalist to ascertain the “genuineness of the animal.” His naturalist tells him that he cannot conceive of how it was manufactured, “for he never knew a monkey with such peculiar teeth, arms, hands, etc., nor had he knowledge of a fish with such peculiar fins.”
Writes Barnum: “Then why do you suppose it is manufactured?” I inquired. “Because I don’t believe in mermaids,” replied the naturalist. “That is no reason at all,” said I, “and therefore I’ll believe in the mermaid, and hire it.” Barnum showed the animal in his museum in New York and got out of it quite a bit of money.
Others say that the whole thing was a hoax, and that it was created by Japanese artisans.
1857: The Shipping Gazette reported that Scottish seaman had spotted a creature off the coast of Britain.
“We distinctly saw an object about six yards distant from us in the shape of a woman, with full breast, dark complexion, comely face, and fine hair hanging in ringlets over the neck and shoulders. It was about the surface of the water to about the middle, gazing at us and shaking its head. The weather being fine, we had a full view of it and that for three or four minutes,” said John Williamson and John Cameron.
1947: A old fisherman in Scotland reported that he had seen a mermaid in the sea about twenty yards from the shore, sitting combing her hair on a floating herringbox used to preserve live lobsters, according to Sir Arthur Waugh in The Folklore of the Merfolk. “Unfortunately, as soon as she looked round, she realized that she had been seen, and plunged into the sea,” he writes. “But no questioning, says Mr Maclean, could shake the old fisher- man’s conviction: he was adamant that he had seen a mermaid. So one never knows!”
2008: A sighting of a mermaid happened in Suurbraak, a village in the Western Cape of South Africa, reported Aldo Pekeur, a correspondent for the New Zealand Herald. A resident of the village, Daniel Cupido, said he and his friends were next to the river around 11:30 p.m. when they heard something like someone “bashing on a wall.” Cupido went toward the sound, and found a figure “like that of a white woman with long black hair thrashing about in the water”.
Cupido said he tried to help the woman but the woman made “the strangest sound,” which Dina, Cupido’s mother, said was so sorrowful “my heart could take it no more.” The creatures are described as Kaaiman, or half human and half fish creatures living in deep pools. Suurbraak tourism officer Maggy Jantjies said she knew the people who saw the Kaaiman well, and that they did not misuse alcohol.
2009: The reports from dozens of people of seeing mermaids spurred the town council in Kiryat Yam, near Haifa, to offer $1 million to anyone who can prove by photo or capture that mermaids do exist.
“Many people are telling us they are sure they’ve seen a mermaid and they are all independent of each other,” council spokesman Natti Zilberman told Sky News. “People say it is half girl, half fish, jumping like a dolphin. It does all kinds of tricks then disappears.”
2012: An official in Zimbabwe said that mermaids were hounding government workers off dam sites in several different areas. Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo told a senate committee in March that traditional chiefs were going to perform rituals to get rid off the mermaids believed to live in reservoirs in Gokwe and Mutare, where workers are afraid to go, according to Voice of America. Some workers reportedly went missing while others have refused to go back to install water pumps.
Traditional leader chief Edison Chihota of Mashonaland East told the media outlet that mermaids exist. “As a custodian of the traditional I have no doubt,” chief Chihota said. “For anyone to dispute this is also disputing him or herself.”
Daniel He contributed research to this article
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Tags: archaeology, Chinese culture, funny things, Science, technology
In the early 1900s, divers looking for sponges in the Antikythera area between Crete and Greece came upon one of the most mysterious discoveries the world has ever seen—the Antikythera Mechanism.
The device was being carried on a Roman ship that was wrecked between 80 and 60 B.C. The ship was believed to have been sailing to the Anatolian Peninsula (also called Asia Minor) to what is now Turkey and was carrying some of the finest works of art of its day. The divers found over 200 amphorae, or ceramic jars, which were still intact on the sea floor.
After the device was found, it wasn’t until 50 years later that an Australian archaeologist using X-rays began to discover that there was a lot more to the mystery piece than was originally thought. However, due to limited technology at the time, the actual function of the Antikythera Mechanism wasn’t known until decades later.
In 2005, using sophisticated software and technology, it was finally discovered that the Antikythera Mechanism was an astronomical device, and by using it, one could navigate one’s position at sea by charting the stars in the skies.
It was also an astrological device. By setting it to a particular day, such as a person’s birth date, one could see how the stars and planets would line up for that person. Using it as a timeline, one could then tell that person’s future by looking at the planets’ alignment for decades to come.
The device could also predict lunar phases, lunar eclipses, and the positions of the sun and moon for years to follow. Later it was also found that the device could predict the motion of the planets, and cast horoscopes for planning future festivals and events in the ancient world.
Mathias Buttet, director of Research and Development at the Swiss watchmaking company Hublot, said, “It includes ingenious features which are not found in modern watchmaking.” Buttet has managed to recreate a smaller version of the device the size of an average wrist watch.
Altogether, the Antikythera Mechanism used about 30 gear wheels, with very sophisticated and intricate parts that all interconnect. Researchers are still not sure who created the device or what its true purpose ultimately was.
The Antikythera Mechanism, along with other artifacts found at the shipwreck, can be viewed at the exhibition “The Antikythera Shipwreck: the Ship, the Treasures, the Mechanism,” which will continue to run at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, from now through Aug. 31, 2013.
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Tags: archaeology, Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, environmental issues, film, funny things, health, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development
And some more…
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Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.
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Tags: Body & Mind, China, funny things, Nature, Science
By Li Wenhui
Ms. Xiao Hongyun, a teacher at Changde Normal School in Hunan Province, usually suffers dizziness, tinnitus, and palpitations the day before an earthquake occurs. She has suffered these symptoms in conjunction with earthquakes in China as well as in Taiwan and Chile.
She recently experienced dizziness and insomnia a few days before the 7-magnitude earthquake in Ya’an in Sichuan Province, China on April 20.
Voice of China interviewed Ms. Xiao about her physical prediction of the Ya’an earthquake.
According to Ms. Xiao, she suddenly fainted while giving a lesson. She was sent to the hospital and examined, but no abnormalities were found.
Xiao said, “I began to feel dizzy on the 18th and I could not fall asleep during the night, especially on the 20th, I was still awake at 4 a.m., feeling very tired as if I were in a boat swaying on the water.”
She said to her husband, “I’m afraid a quake is about to happen somewhere.” The Ya’an earthquake did then happen on the morning of April 20th. “I was sitting on the sofa and my legs could not stop shivering when the quake took place,” said Xiao.
Ms. Xiao, age 53, says her physical episodes date from an electric shock she suffered at the age of 13. “At that moment, my whole body went numb and I collapsed on the ground. Luckily I was not hurt badly,” she said. Since then, she has experienced the dizziness and other symptoms from time to time, yet medical examinations have always been normal.
Ms. Xiao recalls that when she was 16 years old, one day she heard a roar in the field while harvesting rice crops, but people next to her didn’t hear anything. Many days later, she learned that the Tangshan earthquake had happened on that same day. (On July 26, 1976 the Tangshan earthquake struck in northeast China, killing hundreds of thousands of people.)
However, Ms. Xiao did not associate her abnormal physical symptoms with earthquakes until September 1999. “When I saw on TV the strong quake in Taiwan on September 21, 1999, I began to think, maybe my strange illness is related to earthquakes.” Xiao said, because she had suffered strong physical reactions the day before.
Since then, Ms. Xiao watches the news every time she feels unusual. “After my physical reaction, most likely there will be an earthquake. Based on the degree of the ringing in my ears, I can judge how far, how strong, and in what direction approximately a quake will be,” she said
Because nobody believed her and thought something was wrong with her, Xiao started recording every premonition that had been verified by an earthquake. She asked her family and colleagues to sign the pages as confirmation. According to her diary, the closest earthquake occurred in Linli County of Chengdu and the farthest occurred in Chile.
Ms. Xiao contacted Sun Shihong, a retired professor of the Chinese Seismograph Station, the day before the Yushu earthquake of April 14, 2010. She told him she had a strong physical reaction and that this usually happened the day before an earthquake.
Sun Shihong believed Ms. Xiao’s condition really is linked to earthquakes.
Subsequently, experts from various seismic stations throughout Hunan Province made a special trip to Ms. Xiao’s home to conduct an investigation and analysis.
The experts concluded that Xiao’s reactions were indeed linked to the earthquakes because her body could sense the infrasonic sound of the earthquake in advance. The higher the magnitude is, the stronger the sensation is.
Translation by Alex Wu. Written in English by Arleen Richards.
Tags: funny things, Nature, Society
By Phoebe Ryles
Earthquakes turn water to gold over hundreds of thousands of years according to a new study by Nature Geoscience.
Earthquakes turn water to gold according to a study released by the Journal of Nature Geoscience March 17. The study puts forward a new theory on the formation of gold deposits that may change the way we mine for gold.
When an earthquake hits, the movement travels outward along cracks in the earth, called fault lines. The shifts can cause the instant vaporization of any groundwater that was flowing through the fault lines. Groundwater often carries tiny amounts of gold and other minerals in suspension.
The Nature Geoscience study suggests that when the water vaporizes the minerals crystallize. Over hundreds of thousands of years, and a million little earthquakes later, the mineral deposits build up to substantial, minable deposits.
This study may mean that mining companies will focus their exploration in areas with frequent seismic activity.
“This new knowledge on gold-deposit formation mechanisms may assist future gold exploration efforts,” said Dion Weatherley, a geophysicist at the University of Queensland in Australia and lead author of the study, according to LiveScience.com.
There are other geological events that also cause gold formation, such as volcanic activity.
Tags: Culture, funny things
Epoch Times Staff
Grand Central Terminal, in the heart of New York City, opened 100 years ago and it holds secrets that millions of travelers and visitors have never known. Here are 10 of the most intriguing secrets of the largest train terminal in the world.
1. The 22,000 Square Foot Mistake
An everyday commuter figured out this monumental error when passing through the terminal. The world famous October Zodiac mural on the ceiling is a mirror image and completely wrong. With 2,500 stars, 60 of which are illuminated, that’s no small error. The muralists that painted the ceiling looked down on the sketch instead of holding it up, accounting for the mirror image. When the commuter sent a letter to the Vanderbilts to tell them of the error, they replied that it was meant to be that way.
Tags: crop circles, funny things, Science
Compton Bassett, ENGLAND—After years of studying sacred geometry—the mathematical geometrical structures inherent in all life forms—I realized that crop circles are predominantly based on the same principles.
Knowing from experience how hard it is to draw the most basic of the geometries by hand, even using a compass and a rule, I realized that the complexity and intricacy, the sheer size of these formations is such that only a higher intelligence could create so detailed an image that can only be truly appreciated from an aircraft.
Two days ago, I met ex-RAF pilot Tony Hughes, who took me at close-range in a microlight aircraft around the Wiltshire farmlands, which have the highest frequency of crop circles of all locations in the world.
We were able to see the newest formation that was laid down on Aug. 26, perhaps the grand finale of this season due to the wet weather and early harvesting.
The experience was breathtaking and expansive, especially as we covered eight different sites in less than 30 minutes, the most recent pattern being estimated at 50 meters across, and again containing the predominant geometries that you see in organic crystalline forms in nature and the human genome.
When asked, Tony explained his most interesting experience during his 6,000 plus air-hours was when he passed over an area with a photographer and only minutes later, on his return via the same route to the airfield, he sighted a completely new and complex crop design that had not been there minutes earlier.
Tony agreed that only a higher intelligence could be capable of creating such complex and mathematically perfect design structures. We discussed how we both know people who are experts in computer graphics and admit that even they find it difficult to replicate the designs, which would require many many hours and calculations.
Consequently I’m convinced of the genuine nature of these phenomena not being created by humans (with rope and planks of wood), unless my own theory is true, which is that I believe it is us, human consciousness, in a future state of evolution speaking to us now, saying “WAKE UP!”
One of the first formations I ever studied in person, back in 2008, had the symbolism of a Celtic cross in motion, like a giant artist’s brush had passed through it. As I stood in it, I could feel this swishing energy passing through me and at the center I just wanted to lie down and absorb the whole sensation.
I felt it acting on my subconscious, like a key turning in a lock, and an understanding which I can’t really put into words came as a playful but profound insight. Like the paintbrush of a gentle giant stroking the wheat stalks down, even though they appeared to be flattened, one could see that they were bent not broken, still alive and yet there was no sense of any violence having been committed.
For people who are still buying the hoaxer story that was broadcast by the BBC years ago to debunk this phenomenon, they are certainly missing an enormously benevolent message that reads like goodwill toward all men and the Earth.
Which reminds me of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophy: “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.” If you never put something sweet in your mouth, how could you describe what sugar tastes like?
Susanna Wilkerson is a teacher, psychologist, and naturopath. She lives in Australia where she farms hemp for nutritional and building projects, and has a school for working with awareness open to all ages and possibilities for growth.
- New Crop Circles in the UK: August 2012
- UK Crop Circle Compilation (Video)
- Historian: Old English Crop Circles Prove No Hoaxing Involved
Tags: funny things, Nature, Science
Imagine gently laying an empty bottle on the ground, only to watch it roll uphill; or parking on a slight incline—on an angle that seems quite unnecessary for a parking break—only to see the car inexplicably drift in a way that defies gravity. There’s no doubt you’re in the presence of a very peculiar phenomenon.
In dozens of locations around the country—such as the Haunted Church of Buck’s County in Pennsylvania, Maryland’s Ghost Hill, and Jacob’s Crossing in Texas—and many more throughout the world, one can find magic hills, enchanted roads, or sites that exhibit anti-gravitational properties. At these places, enigmatically, all objects seem to defy the laws of physics.
How do these anti-gravity hills behave? It’s enough to leave a can, a bottle, or any spherical body at the base of these most mysterious sites. One can sit back and watch it slowly and continuously ascend to the summit.
This apparently inexplicable phenomenon can be discovered even more frequently when someone parks a car in such places and later finds the vehicle mysteriously rolling away. Even the water in the ditches that surround these roads seems to flow the wrong way.
Some have suggested that the origin of certain enchanted roads is to be found in gravitational anomalies in the region, or an incredible magnetic attraction produced by masses of iron material in nearby volcanoes. Yet often times, the attracted objects in question are generally immune to magnetic forces (rubber balls, glass bottles, and so on).
Others, of course, offer a more supernatural explanation. A site in Braga, Portugal, is said to have gained its ability from a spell cast long ago. Laboring villagers, having grown tired of carrying heavy burdens uphill, reversed the incline’s gravitational direction. Their magical intention is said to have made transporting loads up that hill far easier thereafter.
Magic Hill Ghosts
Some magic hill locations offer a spookier tale for this gravity-defying behavior. Locals often take advantage of these strange places, frequently utilized to lure tourists, expecting them to easily fall victim to urban legends.
On repeated occasions, local inhabitants connect the site to some terrible car accident of several years ago, alleging that the strange movement of the vehicles that now traverse these enchanted roads are at the mercy of some restless, angry spirit. One such location in New Jersey is said to be haunted by a farmer’s ghost that aims to keep vehicles off of his land.
In spite of their seemingly bizarre behavior, these magic slopes (or at least the great majority of them) have much more earthy explanations than those of subterranean magnets or mischievous ghosts.
Many times these locations have been found to be merely optical illusions (that is, the visible horizon line and layout of the surrounding area can make the “magic slope” appear to be more of an incline than actually exists). It could lead the passerby to the illusion that the hill ascends, when in reality it drops. These “magic” places often present a slope that deceives the sense of vision but is rationally explained with a leveling tool.
In this illusion, objects that seem to roll “uphill” are simply following the known laws of physics, as the impartial bubble of a leveling tool reveals. Yet as our eyes still continue to deceive us even after this proof has been shown, some still question whether the level’s bubble could itself be at the mercy of an enchanted force.
Tags: archaeology, Chinese culture, funny things, Science, technology
By Xin Guo
Epoch Times Staff
Ancient Chinese science and technology were very advanced. The Ancient Chinese knew more about science and technology than any other culture. For instance, the yin-yang fish bowl that is part of the collection of the Hangzhou Museum in China’s Zhejiang Province cannot be explained by modern science nor replicated by modern technology. It remains a mystery to the world.
Among the collections of the Hangzhou Museum, there is a bronze spouting bowl named the “Yin-Yang Fish Bowl.” The bowl, which is about the size of a washbasin, has two handles and a decoration of four fish at the bottom. There are four clear parabolas drawn between the fish, just as those described in the Yi Jing (The Book of Changes). If you fill the bowl half-full of water and rub the handles with your palms, instantly the water in the bowl will tumble and the vibration will cause water to spout four two-foot-tall fountains from the mouth of each fish on the wall of the bowl. Moreover, the bowl will make the same sound as chanting the ancient divination words in the Yi Jing.
Bowl Cannot be Replicated by Any Modern Technology
Physicists from the U.S. and Japan have used all kinds of modern scientific instruments to examine and investigate the bowl trying to find out its construction principles of heat conductivity, sensoring, self-propelling, and spraying and making sound, but have not succeeded.
In October 1986, a replica bronze spouting bowl was made in the U.S. It looked identical to the yin-yang fish bowl but was a failure, as it could not function properly: It could not spout water, and the sound it made was very dull.
Modern science can only lament its insignificance before the miracles created by ancient Chinese technology and treat it as an unsolved mystery.
What were the principles upon which ancient people made the bronze fish bowl? As developed as it is today, why can’t modern science and technology make a replica of a bronze ware bowl made by people in ancient times?
According to experts’ analysis, modern science is analytical science. Characterized by high accuracy and strict quantification, it has reached the level of micro quantum technology. The so-called “Nami Technology” may very well represent the achievements of today’s high-tech. Yet modern science has a fatal weakness: linearism. Linear science still dominates today’s modern science and continues to apply a simplified approach to natural phenomena as always.
The real world and Mother Nature do not conform to linear principles, but in most cases non-linear theory instead. Modern science and technology are nothing but man-made simplification against the truth of Mother Nature.
Fountains of water that are similar to those in the bronze spouting fish bowl are called “solitary wave” or soliton phenomena. Different from ordinary waves, solitary waves do not disperse when occurring, and therefore can last a long time. The existence of solitary waves is a non-linear phenomenon.
Thus the construction principles of the yin-yang fish bowl are far beyond the scope of modern science, and it is therefore impossible for modern technology to replicate.
Tags: archaeology, Chinese culture, funny things
$3 bowl for $2.22 million: A Chinese bowl bought for $3 was sold for $2.22 million at an auction. The bowl was described as “rare and important.”
A Chinese bowl that that was bought at a tag sale for $3 turned out to be 1,000 years old.
At a New York City Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday, the bowl sold for $2.22 million. Sotheby’s said that it was sold to a dealer in London, and it far exceeded the pre-sale value of between $200,000 and $300,000.
The rare bowl, around 5 inches in diameter, was made during the Northern Song Dynasty. The person who initially purchased the item bought it at a tag sale in 2007 and had it displayed in their living room for a few years before it was examined, reported The Associated Press.
Sotheby’s described the white “ding” bowl as “rare and important,” according to its website.
The Northern Song Dynasty lasted between 960 and 1127.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on its website, said that the “early Northern Song dynasty witnessed the flowering of one of the supreme artistic expressions of Chinese civilization: monumental landscape painting.”
Tags: crop circles, funny things, Science
Images of U.K. crop circles from 1945 and earlier are evidence that these formations are not made by hoaxers, says an Australian historian.
Greg Jefferys, a PhD student at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, found numerous old crop circles using Google Earth’s new historical imagery from 1945 to examine the English countryside.
“This discovery proves that claims by various artists to be the sole creators of crop circles are themselves a hoax,” Jefferys told The Birmingham Mail. “It just goes to show that the circles remain unexplained.”
“I hope this discovery will stimulate renewed interest in crop circles by serious scientific researchers who have been fooled by the hoax claims.”
Jefferys was inspired to begin this work after reading an article in the journal Nature from 1800 that implied crop circles have been happening since the 18th century.
He believes, like many others, that high-frequency electromagnetic radiation is responsible for the formation of these strange shapes.
“What is not clear is what generates that energy and organises it into circular patterns,” Jefferys told the paper. “This is one of the questions I hope to answer, at least partially.”
According to crop circle expert and author Freddy Silva, the patterns form when energy affects the environment.
“Crop circles are organized harmonic forms that manifest around the world, the result of an energy interacting with the physical world–in this case plants,” Silva explained in a blog post. “This energy is comprised of light, sound and magnetism.”
“To date, crop circles have been reported in 29 countries, and have appeared in mediums such as wheat, barley, canola, trees, ice, rice paddies, even linseed.”
Tags: astronomy, funny things, Nature, Science
Our solar system is expecting a visitor called Comet Pan-STARRS, which might be visible in the evening sky during most of March.
Pan-STARRS came from the Oort Cloud, the enormous cloud of comets that surrounds our solar system. It contains ice and dust that have been frozen for billions of years, never having a chance to melt until now.
The comet has never been near the sun before, so scientists aren’t sure how it will react. Most of them estimate that it will be as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper.
“But prepare to be surprised,” said researcher Karl Battams in a NASA article. “A new comet from the Oort Cloud is always an unknown quantity equally capable of spectacular displays or dismal failures.”
As the comet is quite close to the sun, it should produce plenty of dust and therefore have a good tail.
“My guess is that the primary feature visible to the naked eye will be the gaseous coma around the head of the comet,” Matthew Knight of the Lowell Observatory said in the article.
“The comet’s tail will probably require binoculars or a small telescope.”
Comet Pan-STARRS will be closest to Earth on March 5—about 100 million miles away—and closest to the sun on March 10. However, the best time to see it might be March 12 and 13, when the comet may be seen next to the crescent moon in the twilight sky.
“Because of its small distance from the sun, Pan-STARRS should be very active, producing a lot of dust and therefore a nice dust tail,” Knight said. “However, it could still be difficult to see. From our point of view on Earth, the comet will be very close to the sun.”
“This means that it is only observable in twilight when the sky is not fully dark.”
The comet was named after the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, the Hawaiian telescope used to discover it.
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