Comet Strike Evidence Found in Tutankamun’s Brooch and the Sahara Desert

10 October, 2013 at 09:08 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times

A comet strike hit the Earth long ago, and evidence has been discovered in Tutankhamun’s brooch by African and international researchers.

The comet entered Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt about 28 million years ago and exploded, “raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path,” according to the researchers.

The explosion heated the sand beneath it to about 3632 Fahrenheit, resulting in the formation of yellow silica glass. The glass is scattered over an approximately 3728 mile area in the Sahara desert.

A specimen of the glass is found in Tutankhamun’s brooch, a yellow scarab at the center.

“Comets always visit our skies – they’re these dirty snowballs of ice mixed with dust – but never before in history has material from a comet ever been found on Earth,” says Professor David Block of Wits University in the announcement.

The research was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and presented in public on Thursday at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Another form of evidence was a mysterious black pebble dubbed “Hypatia” that was found by an Egyptian geologist in the Sahara. After chemical analysis on the pebble, the researchers concluded that it is the first known evidence of a comet nucleus.

“We propose that the Hypatia stone is a remnant of a cometary nucleus fragment that impacted after incorporating gases from the atmosphere,” the researchers write in the introduction to the published findings. “Its co-occurrence with Libyan Desert Glass suggests that this fragment could have been part of a bolide that broke up and exploded in the airburst that formed the Glass. Its extraordinary preservation would be due to its shock-transformation into a weathering-resistant assemblage.”

The discovery was one of profound joy for the researchers.

“It’s a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be,” professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg, lead author of the study, said.

“Comets contain the very secrets to unlocking the formation of our solar system and this discovery gives us an unprecedented opportunity to study comet material first hand,” said Block.

The gigantic impact of the explosion also produced microscopic diamonds.

The discoveries point to a new way of finding comet material.

“NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) spend billions of dollars collecting a few micrograms of comet material and bringing it back to Earth, and now we’ve got a radical new approach of studying this material, without spending billions of dollars collecting it,” said Kramers.

The study has come international. For instance, Dr. Mario di Martino of Turin’s Astrophysical Observatory has led several expeditions to the area where the desert glass is found.

Dr Marco Andreoli of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and Chris Harris of the University of Cape Town were also involved, along with other researchers.

via Comet Strike Evidence Found in Tutankamun\’s Brooch and the Sahara Desert


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Reconsidering History: Ancient Greeks Discovered America Thousands of Years Ago

Reconsidering History: Ancient Greeks Discovered America Thousands of Years Ago

23 September, 2013 at 07:05 | Posted in Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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By Vincenzo Cassano
Epoch Times

CAVALESE, Italy—The year 1492 is one of history’s most famous dates, when America was discovered by Europeans. However that “New World” may have been already known to the ancient Greeks, according to a book by Italian physicist and philologist Lucio Russo.

The translated title for Russo’s book would be “The Forgotten America: The Relationship Among Civilizations and an Error Made by Ptolemy.” But the author told the Epoch Times that the title for the English version, which isn’t ready yet, will probably be “When the World Shrunk.”

Some Clues         

Among the many clues of contact between ancient Europeans and Native Americans are the few pre-Columbian texts to have survived the Spanish devastation.

In a book about the origins of the Maya-Quiché people there are many interesting points. The fathers of that civilization, according to the text, were “black people, white people, people of many faces, people of many languages,” and they came from the East. “And it isn’t clear how they crossed over the sea. They crossed over as if there were no sea,” says the text.

However, researchers later decided to translate the Mayan word usually meant for “sea” as “lake.”

There are also many Mayan depictions and texts about men with beards. But Native Americans do not grow beards.

Furthermore, some artworks of the ancient Romans show pineapples, a fruit that originated in South America.

Ways of Thought

Russo, who currently teaches probability at Tor Vergata University of Rome, says the main reason why researchers think America wasn’t known to ancient Greeks is not due to lack of proof, but to scientific dogma.

For years, the theory that civilization evolves according to fixed stages has been dominant. For example, a civilization discovers fire, then invents the wheel, writing, and so on, all the way to modern technology and democracy. All civilizations are supposed to pass through these stages and they can be ranked according to their level of evolution.

But Russo presents a different scenario: inventions, like writing or breeding, didn’t develop independently in every different civilization, but filtered from one to another.

It is also untrue that science becomes better and better with time. There were, in fact, many instances of scientific and cultural decay, like the destruction of Carthage and the fall of Greek civilization, from which the Romans inherited only a small portion of their scientific knowledge.

Importantly, one of the skills they didn’t inherit was how to navigate the oceans.

You can get an idea of this by considering that “the size of the ships in the Hellenistic era was exceeded only in the era of Napoleon” and that Columbus based his trip on a partial recovery of Hellenistic math, according to the book. The Greeks were, among other things, at that time the only civilization that was able to understand that the Earth was round—an understanding that was later lost.

Even today we are in an epoch of “scientific crisis,” Russo told the Epoch Times. But it’s a crisis different from that of Roman times. The modern decay hides itself using technological advancements as a mask and consists in shrinking the availability of knowledge, now the property of a few people.

The Error of Ptolemy

So, how did people come to forget America, if it is true that it was already known to the ancients? The error, according to the author, is mainly due to Ptolemy, who developed a world map finding a midpoint between the claims made by various ancient sources.

The key problem is the identification of the Fortunate Islands, which the ancient Greeks sometimes referred to, as the Canary Islands (near the West coast of Africa). But the Greeks were actually referring to the Antilles, according to Russo. The misunderstanding was due to the Romans and other post-Greek people’s disbelief and incapability of navigating the oceans.

With philological and mathematical reasoning, Russo leads the reader to understand the meaning of all of Ptolemy’s errors—which are generally considered pretty huge—showing how the knowledge of the planet by ancient Greeks was instead very precise. Ptolemy missed the latitude of Canary Islands by 50 degrees, making them to appear on the point of the map were the Antilles would expected to be. Of course America was not on his map.


According to Russo, the book prompted two kinds of extreme reactions. Scientists and philologists showed enthusiasm, while negative reactions came from historians and geographers, whom he said were often unable to understand some logical aspects of his works.

Russo thinks we have “a lot to learn” from the ancient Greeks. For example we should “try to limit excessive specialization,” because the most interesting things can be understood only by those who have a grasp of more than one aspect of human knowledge.

via Reconsidering History: Ancient Greeks Discovered America Thousands of Years Ago » The Epoch Times

Full moon can cause restless nights

20 September, 2013 at 09:22 | Posted in Body & Mind, Nature, Science | Leave a comment
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The full moon can cause people to have a restless night’s sleep, according to research

By Richard Gray
Science Correspondent

With a reputation for triggering the appearance of creatures of the night, a full moon has often been associated with restless sleep.

However, new research has shown that the lunar cycle influences the way we sleep far more than simply causing us to cower beneath the covers.

Scientists have found that people’s sleep patterns are tuned to the waxing and waning of the moon, even when they were unaware of whether it was a full moon or not.

Read more: Full moon can cause restless nights – Telegraph

Why Is the Sky Blue? Why Are Sunsets Colorful?—Find Answers Here

16 September, 2013 at 11:03 | Posted in Nature, Science | Leave a comment
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By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The science behind sunsets has a lot to do with how thick the atmosphere is between the sun and one’s vantage point.

Google+ hosted an online conference Monday with meteorologists to discuss age-old questions like “Why is the sky blue?” The conference was part of a ramp-up to Sunset Day on September 19. Netizens are asked to submit sunset photos on September 19 to the Google+ Sunset Day webpage.

The photos should ideally be taken on September 19, but may be taken on the days leading up to Sunset Day. They must be uploaded, however, on Sunset Day.

So why is the sky blue? Why does the sunset come in different colors? Why is the sky on Mars red?

The color we perceive in the sky has to do with how far the light must travel to reach our eyes, and which colors in the white light get filtered out along the way.

Brad Panovich, Chief Meteorologist at NBC Charlotte, explained that when the distance between the sun and our eyes is the shortest, violet is the color that makes it through the atmosphere best without being scattered.

Technically, the sky is violet, not blue—our eyes compensate and we see it as blue.

Thus, midday, the sky is blue because the sun is overhead and the light has a shorter distance to travel through the atmosphere.

This diagram, shared by Tim Brice of the National Weather Service El Paso, shows what happens when the sun sets. The light coming in from an angle in the evening must travel through more atmosphere to reach our eyes. When this happens, blue and violet are scattered, leaving more red and orange light.

Some factors in the atmosphere can also affect the color of light reaching our eyes. Smoke particles, for example, filter out yellow light, leaving more vibrant red.

Why is a sunset by a lake or another body of water especially beautiful? Panovich said it isn’t necessarily that the light is affected; it could simply be that a large body of water often means better visibility of the horizon without trees and other obstacles.

Meteorologist Morgan Palmer said people have asked him “Why is the sky on Mars red?”

The answer is that the wind and red soil combined creates a red dust in the atmosphere. He thinks without the dust, the sky would be a deep blue.

via Why Is the Sky Blue? Why Are Sunsets Colorful?—Find Answers Here » The Epoch Times

Bermuda Triangle 1817 Tsunami Triggered by Earthquake: Report

15 September, 2013 at 17:26 | Posted in Nature, Science, Society | Leave a comment
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By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

A Bermuda Triangle 1817 tsunami that tossed ships as far away as the Delaware River near Philadelphia was triggered by an earthquake.

At the time, reports said that a “tidal wave” tossed the ships, but according to a report on Tuesday, it was actually a tsunami triggered by an earthquake. reported that the tsunami was caused by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit at around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, 1817. It was discovered that the quake, which was originally between a magnitude-4.8 and a magnitude-6, was actually much stronger.

U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist Susan Hough found the source of the quake via newly found archival records.

“That was the eureka moment,” Hough told LiveScience. “Darned if that wave doesn’t hit the Delaware River and slow way down.”

Ships in the Delaware River also shook in 1858, 1877 and 1879.

“It was interesting enough to mention,” Hough told the website. “People were feeling earthquakes on ships, and earthquakes can damage early ships. Maybe this is part of the thinking that there were strange things going on in that part of the ocean.”

via Bermuda Triangle 1817 Tsunami Triggered by Earthquake: Report

Living Fossils: Prehistoric Species Still Among Us

13 September, 2013 at 18:18 | Posted in Nature, Science | Leave a comment
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By Epoch Times

Creatures we thought were long gone, creatures from millions of years ago, have been discovered alive and well, living among us. These living fossils take us back on a journey through millions of years of Earth’s history.

Read more: Living Fossils: Prehistoric Species Still Among Us » The Epoch Times

India: Footprints in Rock Evidence of Ancient People From Sky?

9 September, 2013 at 07:46 | Posted in Culture, Funny things :-), Science, Society | Leave a comment
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By Venus Upadhayaya
Epoch Times

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.”

via India: Footprints in Rock Evidence of Ancient People From Sky

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First Mind Meld? Two Researchers Claim It’s Been Done

5 September, 2013 at 07:14 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | Leave a comment
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By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

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.”

via First Mind Meld? Two Researchers Claim It’s Been Done

The Power of Thinking: Can the Mind Affect Our Reality

9 June, 2013 at 09:57 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

The Power of Thinking: Can the Mind Affect Our Reality“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” —Attributed to Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha

According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, every time we learn or experience something new, hundreds of millions of neurons reorganize themselves.

Dr. Dispenza is known throughout the world for his innovative theory concerning the relationship between mind and matter. Perhaps best known as one of the scientists featured in the acclaimed 2004 docudrama What the Bleep Do We Know, his work has helped reveal the extraordinary properties of the mind and its ability to create synaptic connections by carefully focusing our attention.

Just imagine: In every new experience, a synaptic connection is established in our brain. With every sensation, vision, or emotion never explored before, the formation of a new relationship between two of more than 100 thousand million brain cells is inevitable.

But this phenomenon needs focused reinforcement in order to bring about real change. If the experience repeats itself in a relatively short period of time, the connection becomes stronger. If the experience doesn’t happen again for a long period of time, the connection can become weakened or lost.

Science used to believe that our brains were static and hardwired, with little chance for change. However, recent research in neuroscience has discovered that the influence of every corporal experience within our thinking organ (cold, fear, fatigue, happiness) is working to shape our brains.

If a cool breeze is capable of raising all the hairs on one’s forearm, is the human mind capable of creating the same sensation with identical results? Perhaps it is capable of much more.

“What if just by thinking, we cause our internal chemistry to be bumped out of normal range so often that the body’s self-regulation system eventually redefines these abnormal states as regular states?” asks Dispenza in his 2007 book, Evolve Your Brain, The Science of Changing Your Mind. “It’s a subtle process, but maybe we just never gave it that much attention until now.”

Dispenza holds that the brain is actually incapable of differentiating a real physical sensation from an internal experience. In this way, our gray matter could easily be tricked into reverting itself into a state of poor health when our minds are chronically focused on negative thoughts.

Dispenza illustrates his point by referring to an experiment in which subjects were asked to practice moving their ring finger against a spring-loaded device for an hour a day for four weeks. After repeatedly pulling against the spring, the fingers of these subjects became 30 percent stronger. Meanwhile, another group of subjects was asked to imagine themselves pulling against the spring but never physically touched the device. After four weeks of this exclusively mental exercise, this group experienced a 22 percent increase in finger strength.

For years, scientists have been examining the ways in which mind dominates matter. From the placebo effect (in which a person feels better after taking fake medicine) to the practitioners of Tummo (a practice from Tibetan Buddhism where individuals actually sweat while meditating at below zero temperatures), the influence of a “spiritual” portion of a human being over the undeniable physical self challenges traditional conceptions of thought, where matter is ruled by physical laws and the mind is simply a byproduct of the chemical interactions between neutrons.

Beyond Belief

Dr. Dispenza’s investigations stemmed from a critical time in his life. After being hit by a car while riding his bike, doctors insisted that Dispenza needed to have some of his vertebrae fused in order to walk again—a procedure that would likely cause him chronic pain for the rest of his life.

However, Dispenza, a chiropractor, decided to challenge science and actually change the state of his disability through the power of his mind—and it worked. After nine months of a focused therapeutic program, Dispenza was walking again. Encouraged by this success, he decided to dedicate his life to studying the connection between mind and body.

Intent on exploring the power of the mind to heal the body, the “brain doctor” has interviewed dozens of people who had experienced what doctors call “spontaneous remission.” These were individuals with serious illnesses who had decided to ignore conventional treatment, but had nevertheless fully recovered. Dispenza found that these subjects all shared an understanding that their thoughts dictated the state of their health. After they focused their attention on changing their thinking, their diseases miraculously resolved.

Addicted to Emotions

Similarly, Dispenza finds that humans actually possess an unconscious addiction to certain emotions, negative and positive. According to his research, emotions condemn a person to repetitive behavior, developing an “addiction” to the combination of specific chemical substances for each emotion that flood the brain with a certain frequency.

Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.

The body responds to these emotions with certain chemicals that in turn influence the mind to have the same emotion. In other words, it could be said that a fearful person is “addicted” to the feeling of fear. Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.

Nevertheless, many are skeptical of Dispenza’s findings, despite his ability to demonstrate that thoughts can modify a being’s physical conditions. Generally associated as a genre of pseudo-science, the theory of “believe your own reality” doesn’t sound scientific.

Science may not be ready to acknowledge that the physical can be changed through the power of the mind, but Dr. Dispenza assures that the process occurs, nevertheless.

“We need not wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon or go beyond what we have been told is possible. If we do, we make science another form of religion. We should be mavericks; we should practice doing the extraordinary. When we become consistent in our abilities, we are literally creating a new science,” writes Dispenza.

via The Power of Thinking: Can the Mind Affect Our Reality

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Chinese Axes Polished Better in 4,500 B.C. Than Today

8 June, 2013 at 17:22 | Posted in Culture, Science, Society, Technology | Leave a comment
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By Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

Chinese Axes Polished Better in 4,500 B.C. Than Today » The Epoch TimesMany people think modern technology is very advanced, but according to Dr. Peter J. Lu, post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University, Chinese people in 4,500 B.C. did a better job making flat and smooth surfaces than we can nowadays with our best polishing technologies.

Dr. Lu, who worked with his team in the study of four ancient Chinese axes discovered in the 1990s, knows well what he’s talking about when he mentions polishing. The researcher submitted the Neolithic artifacts to a number of scientific tests, determined to come to the conclusion that the axes only could have been made using advanced techniques involving diamond.

Belonging to the Sanxingcun and Liangzhu cultures, the four ceremonial axes were dated between 2,500 and 4,500 B.C. Although in the beginning it was believed that the material used for the polishing was quartz, Lu’s team demonstrated that this is an erroneous idea.

The axes were submitted to electronic ultrasound examination, radio-graphical diffraction, and examination by electron microscope. It was determined that 40 percent of the axes was composed of corundum, a rock also known as ruby when it is red. Corundum is well known for being the second hardest material on the planet. The fine polishing work exhibited on these artifacts could have only been achieved by employing the one material harder than corundum—diamond—which had previously been believed to be first used in 500 B.C. in India.

To confirm the hypothesis, Lu took samples of the oldest axe and used a modern machine with diamond, albumin, and silica to polish them.

To the amazement of the scientists, the electron microscope confirmed that the polishing that resembled the ancient axes most closely was the one done with diamond. In fact, the craft that was carried out on the axes centuries before our era was more exquisite than the work done with modern precision instruments.

Through the study of these ceremonial Chinese axes, scientists now possess a more solid knowledge about the polishing techniques of antiquity, enabling them to explain the abundance of finely carved objects like jade. Nevertheless, many questions still exist in regard to how Chinese “cavemen” could have made the finest and smoothest axes history has ever known.

via Chinese Axes Polished Better in 4,500 B.C. Than Today » The Epoch Times

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Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 2

7 June, 2013 at 07:37 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | Leave a comment
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Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 2 » The Epoch Times

By Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

This is the second part in a II part series. Click here to read Reality: A Mere Illusion (Part 1)

“To them, I say, the truth would be nothing more than shadows of the imagination.”—Plato, from “The Republic”

Shadows and colors of light are crude projections of a “more real” reality. The universe that we live in presents itself as something even more illusory, where bodies, minds, and planets are parts of a great magic trick without a magician or an audience.

Scientists in Hanover, Germany, working on the GEO 600, which is an instrument that detects gravitational waves, believe they have discovered a “granulation” in space-time that indicates that our universe is nothing more than a giant hologram.

Those responsible for the GEO 600 believe that, in the same way a digital image loses resolution with significant increase in its size, the captured interference in the detector could be interpreted as the universe’s limited resolution of what it’s capable of providing to human eyes. There’s an exact point where the hologram of reality begins to “pixelize” itself.

The scientists suspect that the precision of the GEO 600, capable of detecting variations in longitudinal waves at the subatomic scale, served to discover the tiniest grains that compose the three-dimensional holographic universe, projected from the bidimensional confines of its interior.

You and I, Only Holograms

The idea of a holographic universe isn’t new. In the 1990s, scientists Leonard Susskind and Gerard Hooft suggested that the same principal that makes a two-dimensional image on a flat surface look three-dimensional could be applied to the entire universe.

Then, why do our senses perceive reality in such a distinct and “voluminous” way if we appear to be no more than shadows on a flat screen? The problem could be that our human eyes and our powerful telescope lenses conform to the reality of such a hologram of the rest of the universe.

The second point to consider is that our organic brain can also be found in the illusion, never being able to interpret a universe with a greater or fewer number of dimensions than can be perceived.

Neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, founder of the Center of Cerebral Research at the University of Radford in Virginia, thinks that our brains are holograms interpreting the hologram universe, mathematically constructing a reality interpreting frequencies that come from another dimension—a domain of significant reality that transcends time and space.

Nevertheless, the theory of a holographic universe of only two special dimensions conflicts with multidimensional theories arising from the roots of the superchord theory. Before this mark of a disparate hypothesis, many scientists already suspected that the universe is a hologram or illusion created by particles in the emptiness. However, all of the scientific efforts to comprehend the truth amid the mirage have become trapped in a frustrating array of unprovable theories.

Many vanguard theorists think that the disturbing breach in the field of quantum physics and relativity could explain historically argued phenomena in the scientific field, like those in which the mind doesn’t seem to be associated to the brain—such as near-death experiences, remote vision, and precognition.

In whatever case, Plato’s allegory of the cave would seem to be the most rational option now for explaining these vivid daily experiences that our brains interpret as being real appearances of the world.

via Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 2 » The Epoch Times

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Antikythera Mechanism: 2,000 Year Old Computer Used by Ancient Greeks

5 June, 2013 at 06:46 | Posted in Culture, Funny things :-), Science, Technology | Leave a comment
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Antikythera Mechanism: 2,000 Year Old Computer Used by Ancient GreeksBy Benjamin Chasteen
Epoch Times

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.

via Antikythera Mechanism: 2,000 Year Old Computer Used by Ancient Greeks

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A picture of "A Mermaid" by John William Waterhouse, painted in 1901. Many sightings of and experiences with mermaids and mermen include Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare, and Pliny the Elder. (Public domain)
Mermaids Are Real: Columbus, Shakespeare, and Pliny the Elder

Ancient Cave Art Unearthed in N. Mexican Mountains

31 May, 2013 at 18:56 | Posted in Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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Ancient Cave Art Unearthed in N. Mexican Mountains

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

Researchers said last week they have unearthed art in an ancient cave in the mountains of Mexico’s Tamaulipas state.

The art, which was painted on rocks, is said to predate Spanish rule, reported

Around 5,000 pieces of the rock art was found across 11 different sites in the area, said the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History, which carried out the research. The art was created via white, black, red, and yellow pigments.

Archaeologist Gustavo Ramirez said that the findings show that in the area, “it was inhabited by one or more cultures” before Spanish rule, according to the website.

Researchers said they have not been able to precisely put a date on when the paintings were created.

“We have not found any ancient objects linked to the context, and because the paintings are on ravine walls and in the rainy season the sediments are washed away, all we have is gravel,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez said the paintings are anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, astronomical, and “abstract,” according to the institute’s website.

He said there is the possibility researchers might take samples of the pigments, “which would allow us to approximate datings through chemical analysis or radiocarbon.”

via Ancient Cave Art Unearthed in N. Mexican Mountains

Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 1

31 May, 2013 at 07:14 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | Leave a comment
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Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 1 » The Epoch TimesBy Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

Every action and all matter that has developed in the universe conforms to what we know as reality. The idea that our universe passes like a giant’s dream, or like a product of a very complex virtual reality program, more closely resembles an ingenious science fiction script than the crude and imperfect world in which we move every day.

However, the reality that we perceive seems to be contrary to scientific logic, if we bear in mind that matter hardly exists. The construction blocks of visible matter are atoms, which are merely small nuclei lost in the middle of a great spacial emptiness, surrounded by nearly invisible particles (electrons) that orbit them at magnificent speeds. If our bodies were to be put under a powerful microscope, what would be seen would probably be a sea of sand grains in perpetual motion.

According to recent research in the field of quantum physics, all of what we know as matter—the solid cement of what appears to be what our reality is composed of—could be nothing more than quantum fluctuations in the middle of the empty universe.

A group of physicists led by Dr. Stephen Durr from the John Von Neumann Institute in Germany confirmed that the sum of the three subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons (called quarks) barely represent 1 percent of their total mass.

Such evidence suggests that the rest of the nuclear mass would be consist of gluons, ephemeral particles that bubble in the middle of the emptiness, which function to maintain the unity among the trio of quarks inside protons and neutrons. This fact suggests the hypothesis that our tangible reality might be mere fluctuations of emptiness or purely nothing.

The Other Truth

What we see with our physical eyes is greatly reduced to a convenient scope. Possessing a pair of eyes that could see only microscopic particles would make it impossible for us to move in a world with objects so large as the objects with which we generally interact are composed of billions and billions of microscopic particles.

According to biologist Richard Dawkins, rocks only feel hard and impenetrable to our hands because they can’t penetrate each other. For us, it is useful to have notions of hardness and solidity as it helps us navigate our world.

Navigating in an illusory reality, we have to accept that somewhere in the universe another reality can be found. There could be a gigantic slumber, a crazy bubble, or God, if you will.

Since the reality of particles cannot be more than smoke and shadows, it could be that the real existence of all objects in the cosmos resides in one or more parallel spaces. Many scientists speculate that, just like a three-dimensional object can project a two-dimensional shadow over the ground, a multidimensional universe (like the case of the String Theory) could cast a shadow in three-dimensional space.

If this theory is correct, every object and organism in this world would not be more than a gross representation of objects and organisms in a more “real” universe. Coinciding with this theory, the existence of an extracorporeal mind in another dimension might be the ideal explanation for why we have memory, as the atoms in our brains are replaced hundreds of time throughout the course of our lives. According to Steve Grand, author of “Creation: Life and How to Make It,” none of the atoms that make up our bodies today would have been in our bodies during an event in our childhood that we remember.

Grand suggests that matter moves from one place to another and reunites momentarily so that you can be you. Therefore, you aren’t the matter of which you are made. This would imply that our real bodies are in the space that we cannot comprehend—while a virtual body, a mere container, would be what is in what we call reality.

via Reality: A Mere Illusion Part 1 » The Epoch Times

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Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood: Did it Really Happen?

30 May, 2013 at 16:04 | Posted in Culture, Science, Society, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By Leonardo Vintini
Epoch Times

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” —Genesis 7:11-12

Approximately 9,000 to 5,000 years ago in the northern Turkish province of Sinop, an event of spectacular historic magnitude took place. So spectacular, in fact, that some believe it represents proof that the “Great Flood” recounted in the Bible may have been an actual (though somewhat exaggerated) representation of real events.

In September of 2004, an expedition in the Black Sea by a team of scientists from various institutions (including the National Geographic Society) determined that the sea in question was not always as we know it today.

They concluded that it had originated from an immense lake of black water that at one point in history began to widen in an unusually rapid way. The change was so great, in fact, that inhabitants of the surrounding area were immediately obliged to search for more secure land, hastily leaving behind housing, tools, and other traces of their former lives.

This led the underwater expedition headed by oceanographer Robert Ballad to declare that there once existed human settlements that now reside more than 300 feet underwater. This startling Black Sea discovery not only contributed to a thoroughly enriched historical understanding of the serious alterations in water level suffered in the ancient Middle East, but also raised questions about what caused the alteration in the first place.

Since then, scientists and reporters continue to probe the unresolved issue; it is a key to understanding the historical development of human civilization and the different climatic stages that Earth has experienced. Furthermore, it is an important theme intertwined not only with the Judeo-Christian tradition but with many legends from different cultures around the world—the Great Flood.

The Black Sea: Proof of the Flood?

Contemporary hypotheses suggesting that the rapid growth of the Black Sea was a consequence of an incredible rainfall of planetary proportions has never received great sale. Based on a large framework of scientific laws, predominantly geological, which have been established on the basis of empirical observation over the years, makes this a rather improbable scenario.

In the first place, skeptical geologists propose that for such a flood to have occurred, we would find a similar stratum throughout the world covered with pebbles, sludge, boulders, and other elements. It is curious that this layer cannot be found, even more so when the flood narrated by the Bible had taken place in a time as recent as 3000 B.C.

Neither can be found the strata of fossils, with different animal and vegetable species occupying specific soil layers. According to flood logic, the animal remains of all species before the big flood (including the extinct dinosaurs) should be found today in only one stratum, without any distinction. But paleontology completely contradicts these suppositions.

Yet these examples appear to be only the tip of the iceberg comprising the arguments that refute a global flood. Even so, much of such reasoning is refuted with equal grace by the “pro-flood” scientists. In fact, descriptions like “all the sources of the great abyss were broken” or “the waterfalls of the heavens were opened” recounted in Genesis are backed up by hypotheses that, although incredible, are impossible to rule out as being incompatible with reality.

One of the more dramatic hypotheses proposed that the planet could have been covered with water up to its highest points, contrary to the calculations indicating that all the water suspended in the atmosphere would only be enough to reach a modest 1.2 inches over the total surface of Earth.

These “flood supporters” calculate that if the geography of Earth went through a leveling out in its surface—the mountains being lowered, the sea troughs being elevated—then the entire Earth would be covered by thousands of feet of water.

According to the water-covers-the-earth theory, in the times of Noah the upper layers of the atmosphere contained a substantial amount of water that today makes up the oceans. This atmospheric water was what covered the whole planet, and which later returned to the ocean troughs by violent vertical tectonic movements. Researchers in support of this idea believe it makes suitable reference to the “waterfalls of the heavens” that could condense themselves thanks to dust generated by several simultaneous volcanic eruptions.

With respect to non-Biblical myths about a purifying flood, these can be found in the Hindu, Sumerian, Greek, Acadia, Chinese, Mapuche, Mayan, Aztec, and Pascuanese (Easter Island) cultures, among others. Several of these stories appear to possess surprisingly similar common factors. Among the most repeated themes are those of celestial announcements ignored by the people, the great flood itself, the construction of an ark to preserve life from the flood, and the later restoration of life on the planet.

A clear example of this similarity is provided by pre-Biblical Mesopotamian history of the flood in which the god “Ea” warned Uta-na-pistim, king of Shuruppak, about the punishment that awaits humanity for its serious moral degeneration. Uta-na-pistim received instructions from the god to construct a craft in the form of a cube with eight floors, and said that it should include in it a pair of each species of animal, plant seeds, as well as his own family. Thus, Uta-na-pistim survived the several-day-long deluge, released a bird to verify the proximity of dry land, and made an animal sacrifice to the gods.

In Search of the Lost Ark

One separate point that adds weight to the Bible controversy is the body of photographic and physical evidence of a large object encrusted in Mount Ararat, where, according to the Christian text narrations, finally rested the ark of Noah.

In the beginning of 2006, University of Richmond professor Porcher Taylor declared that according to an extensive study made over years of satellite photography there is a foreign object encrusted in the area northeast of the mountain, the length of which coincides perfectly with that of the ark recounted in the Bible.

Such satellite images from above Ararat have inspired the curiosity of a great number of scientists since this declaration was made in 1974. Several expeditions of investigators also managed to rescue remains of petrified wood, as well as 13 strong anchors of rock in the area surrounding the supposed location of the possible archeological treasure. Ultrasonic tests have also been made, revealing a very odd structure embedded in the rock.

In spite of the multiplicity of texts from diverse cultures which tell the story of a great ancient flood, the magnitude and duration of such an event seems to be a point of argument, even among those who believe that such an event actually occurred. Thus, while a small number of researchers suggests that this flood covered the entire Earth in vast amounts of water, most geologists agree that such a scenario is an impossibility.

While not everyone believes ancient accounts that describe the re-creation of humanity from the salvation of a handful of people, it would seem that a climatic catastrophe actually did take place across the entire planet several millennia ago. We can also safely assume that an indefinite number of human beings in elevated locations had the capacity to continue civilization, and to transmit the story of the occurrence to later generations.

Up until the time when evidence is revealed to definitively tip the scales toward one of these particular theories, the story of a time when a great flood purged the sins of man will be taken as a myth for some and a statement of historical fact for others. Either way, this great ancient flood remains forever a part of the story of humankind.

via Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood: Did it Really Happen?

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