Thursday, February 28, 2013

Indiana Jones and the Lost Scripts

Indy discovers an ancient UFO
Mental Floss has great three-part series on the scripts that were almost made into movies. Some were meant to be more comedic, others began to take on the science fiction flavor that was prevelant in the last installment, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (KotCS).

While some of the "coulda' been" storylines might be heartbreaking for fans, there's some really great inspiration for writers, world-builders, and lovers of pulp action adventure. Check it out!
Abandoned concept for a Lost Expedition ride at Disney

  • Part 1: Indiana Jones and the Monkey King - A 1985 attempt to revive Indy after Last Crusade and would have followed that film's comedic tone. Indy's female sidekick, "Betsy with a Brooklyn" accent might have been a recipe for disaster!
  • Part 2: Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars - A noble "Indy vs. Aliens" effort that would have come to theaters in the mid 90s, but the wild success of Independence Day closed the door on Indy until...
  • Part 3: Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods - Frank Darabont's scifi script that was sadly rewritten (a number of times) and finally became KotCS.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Valley discovered under Antarctica

Using ice-penatrating radar over 1,500 miles long strech of ice, researchers studying ice loss on Antarctica have discovered a "Grand-Canyon-sized" valley beneath the glacial layer. From CNN:
“If you stripped away all of the ice here today, you’d see a feature every bit as dramatic as the huge rift valleys you see in Africa and in size as significant as the Grand Canyon," the lead researcher, Robert Bingham, a glaciologist at the University of Aberdeen, said in a press release.
Apparently the valley makes it possible for the warmer ocean waters to speed the melting of the glacier. The valley is on the western part of the continent.

Via CNN.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lost pyramids discovered via Google Earth

I've been behind on keeping this blog up to date! I've got a backlog of old posts, links, and half-articles. I'd feel better if I could just get a little caught up. So here are some (older) news briefs:

Archeologists may have discovered lost pyramids using satelite imagery from Google Earth.

From Archeology News Network:
The sites have been documented and discovered by satellite archaeology researcher Angela Micol of Maiden, North Carolina. Angela has been conducting satellite archaeology research for over ten years, searching for ancient sites from space using Google Earth. Angela is a UNC Charlotte alumnus and has studied archaeology since childhood. Google Earth has allowed her to document many possible archaeological sites, including a potential underwater city off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula that has sparked the interest of scientists, researchers and archaeologists. Angela is also a board member of the APEX Institute, founded by archaeologist William Donato, who is pioneering underwater archaeological research in the Bahamas. Angela has been assisted by Don J. Long, fellow APEX researcher and colleague.
So far, the sites have been confirmed as not being previously cataloged by egpytologists.

Images via Archeology News Network

Has the lost continent of Lemuria been found off Madagascar?

Image: Jack Abuin/ZUMA Press/Corbis via Nature 
Well this is one way to start out a Monday--researchers publishing in the journal Nature (yeah, a REAL scientific publication!) have confirmed that there is a forgotten continent submerged under the Indian Ocean. Could this be the source of the legend of the lost land of Lemuria?

Ring-tailed lemurs. Source: Wikipedia

In 1864, British zoologist Philip Sclater published a paper on primates from Madagascar--noting that they had similarities to organisms in India--but not Africa (the continent the isle is closest too). He speculated that India and Madagascar were once connected and dubbed the "lost" land continent to be "Lemuria". The name given to the primates he studied? Lemurs!

His theory was that a land bridge connected Madgascar to India. When the continent broke up, it left behind separated groups of the same species that eventually evolved along divergent paths--but that still held similarities. The theory of land bridges became en vogue in the 19th century and eventually fell out of favor once plate tectonics was discovered.

Fast forward to today's news: After analyzing crystalization in beach sand, they concluded an island chain is actually the remains of a long lost continent. From Nature:
Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius (see photo at top), a volcanic island about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. The oldest basalts on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago, says Bjørn Jamtveit, a geologist at the University of Oslo. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand that Jamtveit and his colleagues collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older.
Another interesting bit...
The paper also suggests that not just one but many fragments of continental crust lie beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean. Analyses of Earth’s gravitational field reveal several broad areas where sea-floor crust is much thicker than normal — at least 25 to 30 kilometres thick, rather than the normal 5 to 10 kilometres. Those crustal anomalies may be the remains of a landmass that the team has dubbed Mauritia, which they suggest split from Madagascar when tectonic rifting and sea-floor spreading sent the Indian subcontinent surging northeast millions of years ago. Subsequent stretching and thinning of the region’s crust sank the fragments of Mauritia, which together had comprised an island or archipelago about three times the size of Crete, the researchers estimate.
So maybe Lemuria DID exist as a land bridge that later (for lack of a better term) "disolved" into the plate on which it rode. More research is needed, but the new science does seem to at least corroborate some of the earlier biology work done by Sclater.

The kicker? There may be MORE of these "ghost continents" lying in wait, under the oceans of the world. The researchers included, in the same journal, an additional submission positing the possibility that there are many more of these hidden land masses.

This is adding fuel to the claims that other forgotten continents like Mu and Atlantis also may have actually existed--or at least there is scientific basis behind the legends.

What do you think--are the legends true?