Friday, February 19, 2010

Evidence of stone age sailors discovered

Image: Nicholas Thompson and Chad DiGregorio via New York Times
Stone tools dating back to circa 100,000 years (or more) ago have been discovered on the island of Crete, indicating prehistoric sailors visited the island long before the Greeks became Ancient History, according to two new findings. From the New York Times:
Previous artifact discoveries had shown people reaching Cyprus, a few other Greek islands and possibly Sardinia no earlier than 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.The oldest established early marine travel anywhere was the sea-crossing migration of anatomically modern Homo sapiens to Australia, beginning about 60,000 years ago. There is also a suggestive trickle of evidence, notably the skeletons and artifacts on the Indonesian island of Flores, of more ancient hominids making their way by water to new habitats.Even more intriguing, the archaeologists who found the tools on Crete noted that the style of the hand axes suggested that they could be up to 700,000 years old. That may be a stretch, they conceded, but the tools resemble artifacts from the stone technology known as Acheulean, which originated with prehuman populations in Africa.
More than 2,000 artifacts were recovered from the site, so this appears to be a mega find re-writing the history books. And in what qualifies as best sci-fi inspiring quote from the article:
“We were flummoxed,” Dr. Runnels said in an interview. “These things were just not supposed to be there.”
Indeed! But still amazingly cool that these things not only existed, but in huge numbers. Now wouldn't it be cool if they discovered Atlantis and Lemuria! ;)

Read the full story...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reptoids of the Los Angeles Undergound!

So here's a plug-n-play RPG adventure if there ever was one. Man claims there's an entire underground city of lizard people living under LA and maps it. Cool, huh? The map above is an artifact from the 1930s and a product geophysicist mining engineer, G. Warren Shufelt. There's your adventure module right there--map and all!, a reptilian alien tracking site (I'm not joking) has reprinted the original 1934 LA Times article that gives an overview of this strange legend:

So firmly does Shufelt and a little staff of assistants believe that a maze of catacombs and priceless golden tablets are to be found beneath downtown Los Angeles that the engineer and his aids have already driven a shaft 250 feet into the ground, the mouth of the shaft being on the old Banning property on North Hill street, overlooking Sunset Boulevard, Spring street and North Broadway.
And so convinced is the engineer of the infallibility of a radio x-ray perfected by him for detecting the presence of minerals and tunnels below the surface of the ground, an apparatus with which he says he has traced a pattern of catacombs and vaults forming the lost city, that he plans to continue sending his shaft downward until he has reached a depth of 1000 feet before discontinuing operations.
It gets better, apparently the lizard people dug the catacombs with chemicals after a great fire that scorched the Earth....5,000 years ago.
Large rooms in the domes of the hills above the city of labyrinths housed 1000 families "in the manner of tall buildings" and imperishable food supplies of the herb variety were stored in the catacombs to provide sustenance for the Lizard folk for great length of time as the next fire swept over the earth.
Cool! Get the round up of links from Boing Boing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crystal meteorite has crunchy nougat center harder than diamond

Scientists recently discovered that crystals inside a meteorite that fell to Earth (Finland, actually) in 1971 are actually harder than diamonds. Harder than diamond substances have been created in laboratory settings by combining other substances (boron or nitrogen seem to be en vogue these days). But researchers haven't seen naturally occurring harder-than-diamond material until now. From MSNBC:
A closer look with an array of instruments revealed two totally new kinds of naturally occurring carbon, which are harder than the diamonds formed inside the Earth.
"The discovery was accidental but we were sure that looking in these meteorites would lead to new findings on the carbon system," said Tristan Ferroir of the Universite de Lyon in France.
"The only evidence we have for a higher hardness than diamond is the fact that we polished the rock section with a diamond paste and that our polymorph and polytypes were not polished by this material," said Ferroir. "This why we do think that its hardness is harder than diamond."
And no, there was not a male infant inside the meteorite upon it's descent the Earth. ;)

Full story.
Wow, and I already had crystals on the brain this week! I sense a convergence coming....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First evidence of asteroid collision spotted by Hubble

I wouldn't call Harry Stamper just yet, but NASA is reporting that the first photos of an apparent collision between two asteroids have been taken by the Hubble space telescope. Wired has the story:
If it’s confirmed by further observations, it would be the first time that scientists have detected the interplanetary collision between objects in the asteroid belt, though they believe that such occurrences are common.
The complex structure of the debris is what makes astronomers think they may be seeing something new around the sun. The main nucleus of the object, P/2010 A2, is actually located outside its dust halo, something that’s never been seen in a comet-like object before.
“If this interpretation is correct, two small and previously unknown asteroids recently collided, creating a shower of debris that is being swept back into a tail from the collision site by the pressure of sunlight,” Jewitt said.