Sarah Palin's enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List.

calendar   Thursday - April 05, 2012

Ultimate Recycling

Soylent Brown

Poop. It’s what’s for dinner in the near future?


Japanese scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda from the Okayama Laboratory certainly doesn’t believe in human waste.

He thinks that’s perfectly good protein you’re sending out to sea, and he’s found a way to extract it, mix it with steak sauce and create a fecal feast fit for a king.

And despite the downside of having to add soya to bind it all together, Prof Ikeda thinks there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all tuck into his turd burgers.

Why would he even think of it, you might ask.

Because Tokyo Sewage asked him to. Tokyo is swimming in sewage mud, it seems, and there’s only one way it can save itself and that’s eat it.

Prof Ikeda found the mud was loaded with protein due to the high bacteria content. Combine it with reaction enhancer and put it in a magical machine called an “exploder” and artificial steak comes out the other end.

Ah so desu ka! He’s got it backwards: steak goes IN at one end. What comes out ... isn’t steak.

According to Digital Trends, it’s 63 percent protein, 25 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent lipids and 9 percent minerals.

It’s colored red so you don’t know it’s poo.

“Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef,” Digital Trends reports.

Processed poop taste testers? I want to give out the golden award for best advertising copy ever written to the person who wrote that Help Wanted advert. And you thought you had to swallow a lot of shit on your job and smile??

Couldn’t they just find some kind of algae to eat this stuff, and have bio-diesel come out in the end? 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/05/2012 at 10:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesFine-Dining •  
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calendar   Friday - March 09, 2012

the titanic …. that says it all

Only possible with modern technology.  This is worth looking if you haven’t seen it yet.

Researchers have pieced together what is believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field.

Deep sea grave of the Titanic: Extraordinary sonar images show full map of shipwreck on ocean floor for first time

Researchers hope the map will provide new clues about what happened when the famous vessel sank 100 years ago
Expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the detailed map
It shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed



There’s no point in my copying everything over here from the source, especially as the photos at the Mail are HUGE! 



Posted by peiper   United States  on 03/09/2012 at 04:47 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArt-Photography •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 08, 2012

Rapidly Up The Borehole

дрель, детка, бури!

(drill, baby, drill!)

Russians Open Hole To Lake Vostok


graphic from US National Science Foundation

Two and a half miles beneath Antarctica‘s ice lies Lake Vostok, a mysterious body of water, 160 miles long and 30 miles wide, that is believed to have been sealed off from the rest of the world for 20 million years.

Now, the Russians, who run the Vostok research station at the surface, say they may have reached the lake with a drill bit, though they are still checking their data. The plan was for the drill to break through the ice into the hidden lake, and automatically withdraw so as not to contaminate the water below.

How did you spend your summer holidays? It’s the middle of summer there, in the Cold Zone, the coldest spot on earth. Summer temperatures are a mere -40. In winter it can get down to -129°F!!!

Lake Vostok, seen so far only on radar, is believed to be warmed by geothermal energy. But why drill to it, beyond feeling the tug of mystery?

“According to our research, the quantity of oxygen there exceeds that on other parts of our planet by 10 to 20 times. Any life forms that we find are likely to be unique on Earth,” said Sergey Bulat, the chief scientist of Russia’s Antarctic Expedition, as quoted by Russian Reporter magazine.

There are other scientists who are doubtful. Too much oxygen, they argue, could actually be toxic to life. So Lake Vostok could turn out to be unique — the first place found on Earth where there is water in liquid form but nothing living.

These are the same bunch of guys who were out of radio contact for the past 5 days. Guess they were just too busy to chat.


Heroic People’s Drill Team Performs Biggest Snow Job Ever

Earlier, worry mounted as days passed without word from the scientists on whether or not they had managed to drill deep enough to reach the surface of the lake. The drilling expedition, which has been ongoing for 14 years, took place under brutal, life-threatening weather conditions, including temperatures well below zero.

“Yesterday, our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the sub-glacial lake,” the [official Russian science news] source said.

A further statement in Russian, translated by Google:

Today, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute has received the following official statement from the chief station of the East 57th RAE AM Yelagin and Chief glaciological-drilling detachment of the 57th NI RAE Vasiliev.

February 5 at 20.25 Moscow time on the Russian Antarctic station Vostok inland event occurred, which is kept waiting in suspense the last few months, the international scientific community and many local and foreign mass media: experts glaciological-drilling detachment of the 57th Russian Antarctic Expedition was committed penetration in a relict subglacial Lake Vostok water through deep ice borehole 5G. On the eve of February 4, at around 3766 m depth of the well there was a contact drill with a water lens. Evidence of this was the lower portion of the ice core recovered from this depth - the surface of the lower 70 cm of core was otglazirovana as if in front of the lift, he was immersed in water. However, no channels or capillaries in the body core is not visually observed. It is this contact with the lens in the well water was mistakenly perceived by some media for real insight into the aqueous layer of the lake.

Concerns about polluting the lake with the freon/kerosene drilling fluid were unfounded, the Russians say:

Less dense than lake water, drilling fluid, consisting of a mixture of kerosene and Freon, was rapidly up the borehole. As a result, about one and a half cubic meters of liquid poured through the top surface of the wells in special trays installed in the drilling complex, and then it rolled back into the barrel. Thus, the theoretically predicted 11 years ago, the results have been fully proven in practice.

So it seems a job well done! The hole was capped off for now, and the scientists will be back next year to get some water samples and see what is to be seen.

This achievement of Russian polar researchers and engineers has been a wonderful gift for the Day of Russian science, which our country celebrates on 8 February.

Head of the Russian Antarctic Expedition

Vladimir Lukin

Is banner day for Russian Sciences!! Da darlink, but what about moose and squirrel??

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/08/2012 at 03:55 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and Discoveries •  
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calendar   Tuesday - January 17, 2012

help wanted: really bad housekeeper

Darwin’s Lost Fossils Found

Missing specimens were in a cabinet in a room that hadn’t been cleaned in 165 years

Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang, a paleontologist at Royal Holloway, University of London, said Tuesday that he stumbled upon the glass slides containing the fossils in an old wooden cabinet that had been shoved in a “gloomy corner” of the massive, drafty British Geological Survey.
The first slide pulled out of the dusty corner at the British Geological Survey turned out to be one of the specimens collected by Darwin during his famous expedition on the HMS Beagle, which changed the young Cambridge graduate’s career and laid the foundation for his subsequent work on evolution.

Falcon-Lang said the unearthed fossils — lost for 165 years — show there is more to learn from a period of history scientists thought they knew well.

“To find a treasure trove of lost Darwin specimens from the Beagle voyage is just extraordinary,” Falcon-Lang added. “We can see there’s more to learn. There are a lot of very, very significant fossils in there that we didn’t know existed.”
The discovery was made in April, but it has taken “a long time” to figure out the provenance of the slides and photograph all of them, Falcon-Lang said. The slides have now been photographed and will be made available to the public through a new online museum exhibit opening Tuesday.

Falcon-Lang expects great scientific papers to emerge from the discovery.

“There are some real gems in this collection that are going to contribute to ongoing science.”

Dr. John Ludden, executive director of the Geological Survey, called the find a “remarkable” discovery.

“It really makes one wonder what else might be hiding in our collections,” he said.

Truly. It makes me wonder just what miracles would turn up if just one person was set to work with a feather duster. I bet their windows are just about crusted black too.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/17/2012 at 09:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArcheology / Anthropology •  
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calendar   Saturday - December 17, 2011

Space Scientists: We’ll Use The Chewbacca Defense On This One, Thanks

“If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit”

Giant Ice Comet Flies 1.37 Million Miles Through The Sun’s Coronna

Exposed to 2,000,000°F Heat

Comet Comes Out The Other Side, Flies Away

Say What???

Just so you know, a comet generally goes along at about 18 miles a second. Ignoring for a moment the parts of it’s trajectory close to the corona on both the entry tangent and the exit tangent, it still took about 22 hours for comet Lovejoy to zip halfway around the sun just 87,000 miles about the surface (about a third of the distance between Earth and the Moon). A ball of ice. Flying through 2 million degrees of Hell for a whole day. And there was something left, AND it managed to break away from the Sun’s gravitational field. Now, getting back to those tangents: Mercury, the nearest planet to the Sun, has a wobbly orbit that averages a radius of about 36 million miles. 36 million miles out (23 days travel for a comet) the surface temperature of Mercury is 800&deg F, hot enough to melt lead and tin. And every mile closer to the Sun it gets hotter. Do your own math to figure out how far out from the Sun you have to go to find the point of state transition, when the temps get hot enough to melt ice and boil it away in the relative vacuum of space. Probably at least a week’s additional journey, both coming and going.

Oh, and all you Star Trek fans will know that to come out the other side, the comet had to pick up enough velocity to achieve solar escape velocity. Which is 384 miles per second. Which just also happens to be the escape velocity of the solar system, so this baby ain’t coming back.

Homework problem: assume what was left weighs in at 10 million tons on Earth. Traveling in an semi-circular arc of RSun + 87K miles at 384mps and in a gravitational field of GSun (the sun’s surface gravity is 28 times ours), compute the centrifugal forces applied to the comet on it’s trip. Try to rationalize how the comet held together when those forces were greater than the bond strength holding the atoms together.

Comet Lovejoy Survives Fiery Plunge Through Sun, NASA Says

A newfound comet defied long odds on Thursday, (Dec. 15), surviving a suicidal dive through the sun’s hellishly hot atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.

Comet Lovejoy plunged through the sun’s corona at about 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT on Dec. 16), coming within 87,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) of our star’s surface. Temperatures in the corona can reach 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 million degrees Celsius), so most researchers expected the icy wanderer to be completely destroyed.

But Lovejoy proved to be made of tough stuff. A video taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft showed the icy object emerging from behind the sun and zipping back off into space.

Naturally, stargazers and their gangs were expecting a fast melt and a puff of steam. What the hey, right, it’s only the sun. Um, nope, not this time.

SDO is one of many instruments that scientists — eager to record and study the comet’s presumed demise — trained on Lovejoy as it streaked toward the sun.

“We have here an exceptionally rare opportunity to observe the complete vaporization of a relatively large comet, and we have approximately 18 instruments on five different satellites that are trying to do just that,” Karl Battams, a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., wrote on the Sungrazing Comets website, before Lovejoy’s closest solar approach.
Battams greeted news of Lovejoy’s improbable escape with surprise and delight.

“I expected a diffuse dust tail to survive (for several hours) before fading away but NOT any kind of nucleus!” he tweeted. “I’ve worked with sungrazers for 8yrs; today was the most amazing day I’ve ever had with them!”

Lovejoy has a core about 660 feet (200 meters) wide. It belongs to a class of comets known as Kreutz sungrazers, whose orbits bring them very close to the sun.
Lovejoy is quite large for a sungrazing comet, and experts expected it to die an impressive death. The website, for example, predicted Lovejoy would blaze as brightly as Jupiter or Venus in the sky as it neared the sun.

Battams also expected a good show, saying the comet might even be visible from the ground around sunset today in the Northern Hemisphere.

“I do think that it will put on a spectacular show for us and will be the brightest Kreutz-group comet that SOHO has ever observed,” Battams wrote last week.

Though the early returns are still coming in, those forecasts appear to be on the money. Observations from various spacecraft do indeed show Lovejoy flaring up significantly as it neared our star.

Seems the comet left it’s tail behind. What’s just so darned amazing is that anything, anything AT ALL, came out the other side. Nearly a full month of ice melting temps coming in, and nearly a full month of temps hot enough to vaporize anything while going around. And there’s still a significant chunk of something left. If we still had a functioning space program, I’d want to send up a catcher satellite and grab a piece of whatever is left. That’s the stuff you want to build spaceships with, fer shure.

Lovejoy didn’t exactly come out of its hellish adventure unscathed. Only 10 percent of the comet — which was probably millions of tons — survived the encounter, said W. Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which tracked Lovejoy’s death-defying plunge.

And the comet lost something pretty important: its tail.

“It looks like the tail broke off and is stuck” in the sun’s magnetic field, Pesnell said.

Yeah, but something made it, when nothing should have. Scientists don’t have that answer yet, although they’re trying the “Gee, it must have been much much bigger than we thought” Giant Mass Excuse. Which is pretty much the Wookie Defense. Which means they just don’t know. “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.” Besides, the bigger the comet was, the larger the acceleration forces there would be as it went around.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/17/2011 at 01:43 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesSpace •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 14, 2011

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Another one for the Obviously Obvious files ...

New Study: Drinking Leads To Unsafe Sex

rolleyes :eyeroll: rolleyes

How much alcohol a person drinks directly affects how likely they are to have unsafe sex, a new review shows.

On average, every 0.1 milligram per milliliter increase in study participants’ blood alcohol levels raised their likelihood of having unprotected sex by 5 percent, the researchers found.

Canadian researchers looked at 12 studies that examined the link between people’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and how likely they were to say they would use a condom during intercourse. In all of the experiments, researchers had split the study participants into two groups, and asked one group consume alcohol, while the other group did not drink. Participants were then reported whether they would engage in unsafe sex.

The findings help explain why people who’ve been drinking engage in unsafe sex despite knowing better, study researcher Jürgen Rehm, the director of the Social and Epidemiological Research at Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said in a statement. “Alcohol is influencing their decision processes.”

The galling thing is that a whole group of “scientists” got paid, probably for the better part of a year, to do this study.

I’d put in a bid with the EU for funding to study how a lack of drinking water causes dehydration, but I don’t think it would go through given their recent legal decisions. Come on already people, wake the hell up. DUH.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/14/2011 at 01:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHealth-MedicineNo Shit, SherlockStoopid-People •  
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calendar   Monday - December 12, 2011

Sir Isaac Newton’s handwritten notes about momentous discovery.

Look at this. Wow!  All those numbers. No computer. Not even a typewriter. Candles for light if he wanted to continue after dark.
And he also ran the royal mint and ran down a major counterfitting ring. More then one actually. He set the mint to rights.  A man of genius and many talents.
See the link below.  I just couldn’t post it all here.


Sir Isaac Newton’s handwritten notes about momentous discovery of laws of motion and gravity now available online

More than 4,000 pages of scientist’s works uploaded
Includes seminal Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica


An original manuscript containing Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion is being made publicly available online, along with other historic works by the great scientist.

Cambridge University today published more than 4,000 pages of Newton’s most important works on a new digital library website.

They include the scientist’s own annotated copy of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica - and handwritten notes where some of his most famous theories first came to life.

First published in July 1687, ‘Principia’ not only contains the laws of motion, but also Newton’s law of universal gravitation. It is widely regarded as one of the most significant works in the history of science.

Over the next few months the university library will upload thousands more pages, making almost the whole of its Newton collection available for anyone to view and download.

Work on the Cambridge Digital Library ( began in 2010 with the Newton collection being photographed during last summer.

Up to 200 pages were captured each day, although major conservation work had to be carried out on several manuscripts and notebooks before they could be digitised.

The programme also aims to upload works by other famous scientists from Darwin to Ernest Rutherford.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/12/2011 at 09:09 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesOUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTUK •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 11, 2011

Miracle Material?

Heatproof plastic? How do you make the stuff then, or does it just cure this way?

The ultimate wonder product, or another one of those “200mpg carburetors hushed up by the government and Big Oil” rumors?

No time to post, busy Saturday honey dew list.

Here’s the links:


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/11/2011 at 05:30 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and Discoveries •  
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calendar   Wednesday - May 25, 2011

new science of space archaeology … and what a find. WOW!

Take a look at this ...
Really high WOW factor. Am I right Drew?

Wouldn’t you think they’d have found em all after all this time.  What will technology find next?
For me, just the idea that they found anything, it could only have been a simple toy unearthed, and I’d find it exciting.

Seventeen lost pyramids among thousands of buried Egyptian settlements pinpointed by infrared satellite images

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:39 PM on 25th May 2011

* More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements found
* Findings are a major boost to relatively new science of space archaeology

A satellite survey of Egypt has uncovered lost treasures including 17 pyramids and more than 1,000 tombs.

Three thousand ancient settlements have also been located by scientists who studied infrared images which allowed them to see underground buildings.

Astounded researchers on the ground have already confirmed that two of the pyramids exist - and they believe there are thousands more unknown sites in the region.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Parcak, from the University of Alabama, told the BBC: ‘I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “a-ha” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found.

‘I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.’

Buildings in ancient Egypt were constructed out of mud brick - the material is dense, allowing satellites orbiting 435miles above Earth to photograph the outlines of structures invisible to the human eye.

The cameras on the satellites are so powerful that they can precisely image objects on Earth that are less than one metre in diameter.

The researchers’ findings are a major boost to the relatively new science of space archaeology.

Their most promising excavations are taking place in Tanis, where they are uncovering a 3,000-year-old house.

Excitingly, the outline of the house exactly matches the shape seen on the satellite images.

Such a high level of accuracy has impressed the Egyptian government, which now plans to use the technology to identify and protect its colossal heritage in the future.

Dr Parcak believes that there are many more buildings buried deeper than those already spotted, the most likely location being under the banks of the River Nile.

She said: ‘These are just the sites close to the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt.

‘This is just the beginning of this kind of work.’

She added: ‘Indiana Jones is old school, we’ve moved on from Indy, sorry Harrison Ford.’

Dr Parcak and her team’s findings form the basis of the documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities, which airs on BBC1 on May 30.

I sure hope I’ll be able to see that on our pc the day after. Awesome find. For those knocked out by this sort of thing, check out BBC1 (TV). You might be able to see the program. 




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/25/2011 at 01:04 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArcheology / Anthropology •  
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calendar   Tuesday - May 24, 2011

especially for those interested in antiquity and history and mystery

W O W !!!!

Take a look at this!

And even if it turned out to be a 13th century forgery, so what?  Look at the art and the writing. And here’s an extra link, no text. Just the gallery with lots more photos.  WOW.

The Voynich Manuscript: will we ever be able to read this book?

A 15th-century manuscript is written in a language that has baffled every expert. Is it just a brilliant hoax, or will someone eventually decipher its meaning, asks Michael Day


Somewhere deep inside the bowels of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – the Ivy League institution’s own cemetery of lost books – lies a tome that experts have studied for centuries, but which has yet to be understood by a single soul.

The book has no known author or official title; Yale librarians simply refer to it as manuscript MS 408. But thanks to its peculiar language, symbols and diagrams – often strangely familiar, but insistently elusive in meaning – it has intrigued and frustrated anthropologists, linguists and mathematicians for centuries: even the elite cryptologists at the US National Security Agency drew a blank, after they spent years trying to decode it in the 1950s. And the time that some researchers have dedicated to the problem seems all the more remarkable given the possibility that, for all the complexity and consistency of the script it contains, it could simply be an elaborate hoax.

Written in an as yet undecipherable language, with unknown letters or “glyphs” arranged into a form of seemingly consistent but unintelligible syntax, the book is commonly referred to as the Voynich manuscript, after the Polish-American bookseller Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. Its history, however, begins long before.

Although the earliest suggested owner is Rudolf II, the 16th-century emperor of Bohemia, the first that we know of for sure is Georg Baresch, a 17th-century alchemist from Prague, who was so perplexed by the book that he sent it to Jesuit scholars in the hope that they might translate it.
They failed, but they did pass it on to the Roman Jesuit University, from where it was whisked away to Frascati, near Rome, in 1870 to keep it safe from Vittorio Emanuele’s marauding soldiers. It was bought by Voynich, and then donated to Yale in 1969.

Recently, however, experts have arrived at what – in Voynich terms, at least – must count as a significant breakthrough: while we still don’t understand a word, at least we know how old it is. Carbon-dating by scientists at the University of Arizona has allowed them to declare that the manuscript was prepared from animal skin in the early 1400s – making it roughly 100 years older than previously thought.

The tests were done after Yale finally allowed the scientists to snip off tiny pieces from four different pages, selected at random. “The results seem to show quite clearly that the parchment for the book is from the early 1400s, between 1404 and 1438,” says Dr Greg Hodgins, who works in the physics and anthropology departments at the University of Arizona. “And the fact that all four sections were dated to the same time appears to discount suggestions that the manuscript was added to over a period of many years or centuries.”

These results only show when the parchment for the book was obtained, not when it was written. However, previous ink analysis done by the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago suggests that it was placed on the parchment while it was relatively fresh.

“By coming up with such a narrow time frame, we’ve effectively eliminated most of the theories about who wrote it,” says Dr Hodgins. “The carbon-dating result also allows us to focus on what kind of scientific knowledge and encryption was around in this period.”

Professor Gonzalo Rubio, a specialist in ancient languages at the University of Pennsylvania, agrees that the carbon-dating result is significant. “This shows us that it’s not a forgery,” he says. “It wasn’t written by Voynich himself, as some people suspected. It’s a genuine artifact from the early 15th century.” It also, he points out, eliminates the popular theory that the book was created by the noted 13th-century polymath Roger Bacon.

Most theories about the book’s meaning are inevitably informed by its illustrations, says Prof Rubio. These pictures, drawn in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red ink, are – like the script used in the manuscript’s 240 remaining pages – unique. Yet while the words cannot be read, the illustrations provide a clue about the nature of the book. They suggest that the book was a scientific text, mostly an illustrated herbal manual with some additional sections on astronomy, biology and pharmaceuticals. The script itself is widely believed to be about alchemy, the medieval science with metaphysical and magical overtones, whose practitioners sought ways to turn base metals into gold.

But what of the language it is written in? Some of the glyphs resemble Latin letters, suggesting a Voynich “alphabet” of around 20-30 different characters. These are arranged into word-like blocks up to 10 letters long, with a total word count of around 35,000. However, some scores of pages are thought to be missing.

Many researchers have speculated that the strange alphabet was used to hide information that might have been heretical, suggesting that it was produced by transforming a European language through a cipher. But simple ciphers of the type used in the 15th century would almost certainly have been cracked by now.



See More Below The Fold


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/24/2011 at 02:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and Discoveries •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 20, 2011

How to make your electric company fall in love

It’s easy! Just set one of these up in your backyard, and fire it off every minute or two. Hey, I didn’t say the FAA and the fire department was gonna love you, just the electric company.

h/t to Rich K

A little fun video from our pals at General Atomics. I say “our pals” because anyone who can launch a couple of kilos of metal at 6700fps is someone I want to have on my side.

Railgun launches are nothing new. What makes this one new is that they finally got around to actually using an aerodynamic projectile, wrapped up in a discarding sabot


Rather looks like a “personal size” V2 doesn’t it? And to think that the Germans figured out that shape 68 years ago.

Anyway, these guys fired off the projectile, and it shot through a steel plate a hundred yards away, and then flew another 7km before hitting the ground. And that shot was done with no elevation, so it was a horizontal trajectory. Angle the gun up and I bet you could shoot their little dart 200 miles or more.

The kinetic energy of such a projectile is up in the megajoule range, several million pound/feet worth.  Surprisingly, railguns - which run on electricity - don’t really use all that much total energy. Each shot eats up about the same amount of power it would take to bake a ham in an electric oven. But while it takes a couple hours to do your ham, the railgun uses that much power in a bit less than half a millisecond.

So if it’s all-electric, why is there such a huge plume of fire coming out of the gun? It only looks like fire. It’s actually plasma interacting with the atmosphere. Which I guess does make it actual fire. Duh. But the plasma is there because a) such an awesome wallop of electricity ablates a large chunk of the sabot, and b) the projectile probably catches on fire just from the speed it’s going. It certainly is moving fast enough to c) instantly ionize the air in it’s path, and I’m pretty sure that more plasma is the result of that.


vidcap from a railgun launch from 2008.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/20/2011 at 05:34 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHigh TechMilitary •  
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calendar   Saturday - April 09, 2011

I’d be getting slapped all the time

Two little Dr. Who video shorts put together for Red Nose Day 2011, one of those Comic Relief efforts.

Very cute, and slightly naughty, and a bit of a cheat but just for laughs. What happens if the Tardis materializes inside the Tardis? Rory gets slapped, that’s what. Because he knows how to make lemonade when life hands you lemons. Oh hell yeah!!! LOL

New Dr. Who episode coming April 24 ... no telling when it will be shown in the USA.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/09/2011 at 04:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesEye-CandyHumor •  
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calendar   Friday - March 04, 2011

I’m a victim of advertising

Lost My Appetite

After having watched those cough drop commercials on TV for years ...


A food product with this name just about turns my stomach:


Even if my way of reading it is a complete mispronunciation. Fay-coo-na. Fay-coo-na day pah tah te.

And to head off your obvious pun infused question “What’s that shit?”, know that it’s a box of potato starch. Which can be used to thicken up batter for cakes and stuff, thus the picture on the label.

Potato starch in water is interesting stuff. A 60-40 mix gives you an unusual kind of glop called a “shear thickening non-Newtonian fluid”. That means you can gently push your finger into the goo, but when you poke it in sharply the stuff instantly turns solid and stops you in mid-poke.  And that’s exactly the concept behind liquid body armor, though scientists aren’t using actual potato starch for their research.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/04/2011 at 05:53 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHumor •  
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calendar   Saturday - February 26, 2011

North By North South?

Oh Noes!! Compasses losing accuracy because Magnetic North Pole Is Drifting!!


Sometimes I swear news stories are published just to scare people. Or to annoy those of us who can actually think. The magnetic north pole has ALWAYS been moving. As nifty as compasses seem when you’re a kid in Scouts, they all have this bit of inaccuracy built in. The truth is that they don’t actually point north. Or to the north pole. Or even to the magnetic north pole. The truth is that the compass needle aligns itself with the local magnetic field, a bit like a homing pigeon flying along a local ley line. And - no shir, Shitlock - those local field lines are not now, nor have they ever been, entirely parallel to the magnetic axis. This is what “magnetic declination” is all about. It’s also what you can avoid by having a GPS, or a device that has one built in. Like an iPad app. In the bad old days, we had to have paper maps available and know how to read them, and how to adjust them. The declination amount was shown at the top of the map. Yeah, an old map would have the wrong value, so you had to get new maps every decade or so. Big deal.


No, this is NOT a newly discovered Jackson Pollock painting. It’s the earth’s magnetic field.

Ordinary Compasses Thrown Off by Changes in Earth’s Magnetic Field

The Earth’s magnetic field is changing at an increasing rate, throwing off airports and altering the aurora borealis—and its effect on ordinary compasses could mean the difference between homeward bound and hopelessly lost.

Earth’s northernmost magnetic point—or magnetic north—is distinct from its geographic North Pole, and scientists have long known that the magnetic poles are on the move.

But the magnetic poles have been moving faster lately, sliding towards Siberia at 34 miles per year at a speed that’s accelerated 36 percent over the last 10 years, according to the United States Geological Survey, or USGS.

Since compasses rely on magnetic north to point you in the right way up the trail, the average $2-dollar model could very well point you in the wrong direction. Depending on location and journey length, unaware hikers or boaters could find themselves hundreds of miles off course if they don’t calibrate for the shift, experts said.

Don’t forget that every once in a geologic while, the magnetic poles actually reverse themselves. It’s always been like that. And unless I missed the fine print statement that says how this is a magical and instantaneous shift, my understanding is that the magnetic pole goes from up to down by moving a little bit all the time.

And just for gits and shiggles, this Scary Science article above forgets to point out one salient fact: the magnetic north pole is moving northward over time:


which means that compasses are actually getting more accurate for most of us, because the distance between the magnetic north pole and the rotational north pole is decreasing. The magnetic pole is not moving directly towards the rotational pole, but it’s many many hundreds of miles closer to it than it was a century ago. See here for more movement history. And don’t let science stories scare you. Half the time they’re pure crap.

For extra fun, know that the movement of the magnetic poles is most probably caused by movement within the molten core of the planet. “Core Flux”. Vast continental sized plumes of molten iron rising and falling and swirling around. That’s the accepted theory it seems. Yet somehow that more energetic core moving about, sometimes closer to the surface, sometimes further away, that vast and incomprehensibly large mass of molten iron sometimes hotter or cooler ... has no impact whatsoever on the temperature of the surface just 50 miles or so above it. No, it’s a microminimal change in the amount of a rare atmospheric gas that causes the surface temperature variations. Uh huh. Right.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/26/2011 at 07:21 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesMedia-Bias •  
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