A German WWI submarine similar to the missing U-31.


Science Over the Edge

A Roundup of Strange Science for the Month


February 2016

In the News:

WWI Sub Found After a Century - After more than a century after a German WWI submarine disappeared at sea, it has been found on the bottom of the ocean by a company developing an off-shore windfarm. The wreck was located in September of 2012 56 miles off the British coastline. "It was a really special day. We were looking for wrecks, but what we found was a huge wreck that didn't appear in any of the charts," said Teri Nicklin of Scottish Powers Renewables. While the survey crew could see it was a submarine, which submarine it was continued to be a mystery until a team of Dutch divers, looking for a Dutch submarine that had gone missing in 1940, dove on the wreck and took a look. The depth and murkiness had made it hard to previously identify. They found that was the German submarine U-31 which was last seen on January 13, 1915 as it set off on its patrol. It never returned and it is believed it was sunk by a mine. All 35 hands on board perished. Authorities will try and contact living relatives of the crew to let them know of their fate.

Titanosaur Makes Debut - The American Museum of Natural History has just placed the skeleton of perhaps the largest dinosaur that ever lived on display: the Titanosaur. In life the creature, whose bones were unearthed in Argentina in 2014, stood 20 feet high at the shoulder and weighed about 70 tons (about 10 African elephants). It has a thigh bone about 8 feet long. The reconstruction of the creature can't even completely fit into the dinosaur exhibit area, but part of its 39 foot long neck extends though the doorway out into the hall. The skeleton on display contains none of the ultra-valuable fossils themselves, but are laser scanned, 3D printed replicas. The Titanosaur displaces the Blue Whale as the largest of animals on display at the museum by a length of 30 feet

Huge Supernova has Unknown Cause - According to a recent study a supernova seen back in June of 2015 may have been the most energetic ever detected. "This may be the most powerful supernova ever seen by anybody ... it's really pushing the envelope on what is possible," said study co-author Krzysztof Stanek an astronomer at Ohio State. The detonation was perhaps 570 billion times brighter than the sun and 20 times brighter than all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy according to a press release from Ohio State. The event was discovered by the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae, (ASASSN). The explosion, 3.8 billion light years from Earth, has created a huge gas cloud being studied by astronomers around the world. Scientists are at a loss to explain the mechanism for such a large supernova. "The honest answer is at this point that we do not know what could be the power source for ASASSN-15lh," said Subo Dong, lead author of the study published in the journal Science. Scientists plan to use the Hubble Space Telescope this summer to look for answers as to the mechanism of the explosion.

Search for Airliner Turns Up Ship - While the underwater search for Malaysia Flight 370 has not turned up the missing airliner, two previously unknown ship wrecks have been found in the depths of the Indian Ocean. The latest found in December appears to be the remains of a 19th century ship. "An anomalous sonar contact was identified in the course of the underwater search, with analysis suggesting the object was likely to be man-made, probably a shipwreck," said the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, the Australian agency directing the search for MH370. After the initial detection a boat was sent out to take sonar pictures of the wreck. Experts at the Shipwreck Galleries of the Western Australian Museum took a look at the photos and believe them to be the remains of a ship from the early 1800's made of steel or iron. The expedition made a similar find back in May of 2015.


Science Quote of the Month - "I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here." - Arthur C. Clarke


What's New at the Museum:

The Saltzburg Cube -The cube is an archeological oddity. The story starts in 1855 when a workman broke open a large block of coal which was destined for the factory's furnace. He was surprised to find embedded in the coal an artificial-looking object. > Full Story

Mysterious Picture of the Month - What is this this?

Ask the Curator:

Ancient Giants in the Bible - In Genesis it says," And the sons of God saw the daughters of man, that they were fair and they took wives from among those they chose." Isn't this some sort of alien abduction? Who were the sons of God and who were the daughters of man? Aliens and us? Aliens and apes? Us and apes? Confusing isn't it?


You would not be alone in suggesting that Genesis 6:2 might be interpreted as some kind of interbreeding of humans with visitors from outer space. It often cited as evidence of the "Ancient Astronaut" theory that Earth was visited by aliens in early history.

However, a more traditional view of this would be the "sons of God" are angels (or fallen angels) that produced a hybrid race of giants (call Nephilim in the Bible) which were killed in Noah's flood.

One objection to this idea is that Jesus says in a later portion of the bible that angels do not marry (and therefore do not reproduce). However, other people argue that this only applies to angels in heaven, not fallen angels (what we might call demons) on Earth.

The most interesting interpretation I've heard of this scripture comes from Gerald Schroeder author of The Science of God. In this excellent book he tries to reconcile a literal interpretation of the Bible with modern science and suggests this may be a case of non-human humanoids living on the earth (for example, Neanderthal Man) interbreeding with modern man.

Have a question? Click here to send it to us.


In History:

Bell Rock Illuminated - On February 1st, 1811, the Bell Rock Lighthouse was lit for the first time. The lighthouse, which is considered a wonder of 19th century engineering was constructed on the dangerous Inchcape Rocks just off the coast of Scotland. The rock, submerged under the sea most of the day, was the site of many shipwrecks until engineer Robert Stephenson took on the challenging project with an innovating design. For more information see our page on the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

In the Sky:

View Mercury - February 7, if you can find clear skies, will be the best night to view the planet Mercury. Because it is the closest to the sun, Mercury is very hard to see. On February 7th, however, it will be at its greatest western elongation of 25.6 degrees. This means you will have the best chance to view it low in the eastern sky just before the glare from the sunrise obscures it



Killer Robots are Coming - A panel of experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is warning the world of the danger of killer robots. It might sound like something out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but these specialists believe that the advancement of drone and self-driving cars could be harnessed for autonomous robots designed to assassinate people. "It's much easier to manufacture [autonomous, lethal robots instead of nuclear weapons.] That, to me, is the greatest concern," said Angela Kane, a senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. "We must make sure it doesn't get into the hands of the wrong people." The panel is urging governments and industry to create tough regulations to control the proliferation of these robotic terminators.



Zeep and Meep are on a well deserved vacation. In their place we feature highlights from their past adventures.

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