Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Ossuary Shows Biblical Connection - Scientists think
they have found an artifact with connections to Jesus. An
ossuary (a box with contains the bones of a person) has
been found with the inscription "Miriam daughter of Yeshua
son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri." Caiaphus
was the high-priest involved with the crucifixion of Jesus.
Unlike an ossuary that surfaced in 2002 that bore an inscription
claiming it contained the bones of Joseph, the brother of
Jesus, this one appears not to be fake. "Beyond any reasonable
doubt, the inscription is authentic," said Prof. Yuval Goren
of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology. Analysis
shows that the box with its inscription spent many years
underground. "When a rock is deposited in the ground for
millennia, it is affected by the surrounding environment
and affects the surrounding environment," he said.
Yellowstone Supervolcano Not Guilty - About 17
million years ago a large volcanic eruption covered the
Northwest United States with a sea of hot lava. Known as
the Steens-Columbia River flood basalts, scientists had
long thought that they were the result of the activity from
the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park. Now it appears
that Yellowstone isn't the culprit, but instead it was the
tearing of a titanic chunk of rock known as the Farallon
slab. The Farallon slab was being pushed underneath the
western United States began when it began ripping apart.
The hole that appeared allowed massive amounts magma to
pour out. "When the slab is first opened, there's a little
tear, but because of the high pressure underneath, the material
is able to force its way through the hole," said researcher
Dave Stegman, a geophysicist at the University of California,
San Diego. "It's like in the movies when a window breaks
in an airplane that is at high altitude - since the cabin
is at higher pressure, everything gets sucked out the window."
$200,000 Offered for Proof of Cold Fusion -
Australian entrepreneur and skeptic Dick Smith has offered
$200,000 for proof that the cold fusion of the Rossi "energy
catalyzer" really works. Last year two Italian researchers,
Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna,
claimed they had found a process that fused atomic nuclei
at room temperature. If it were true it could lead to a
cheap, clean, and limitless source of energy. The scientists
demonstrated their device by showing produced 12,400 Watts
of heat power with an input of just 400 W. Smith doesn't
believe it, though, "It would be great if it's true, but
it's more likely just a misconnection of the power lead.
If one of the wires in the three-core power lead was accidentally
misconnected, the actual measurements of current witnessed
by two Swedish scientists would not be the total power going
into the reactor, and there would be an apparent power gain."
Smith suggests that the tests should be conducted again
with all the power leads independently monitored to answer
the question of where the 'extra' power is coming from.
Sharks Can be Friends Too - According to a recent
study published in Animal Behaviour, sharks, which have
often been thought of as lone predators, can form communities
and have long term social bonds with other sharks. Researchers
studied the habits of a population of blacktip reef sharks
near Moorea Island in French Polynesia and found that the
sharks had organized themselves into four communities with
two sub-communities. They also saw indications that some
of the sharks had long-term relationships with other sharks.
The researchers speculate that this may help with self-
protection and avoiding aggression with each other. On at
least one occasion the scientists observed the sharks hunting
together when a group of about four or five of the sharks
herded a school of fishes around a coral structure. They
also noted that the sharks that seem to associate with each
other are the same sex and size. Since size also is an indication
of the sharks' age, they could be associating by age too.
The researchers took samples from the shark's fins and hope
to use DNA to find out if the associations are also based
on family relationships.
February Fireballs Puzzle Scientists - On February
1st the sky over Texas was lit up by a meteor that put on
a dazzling show. It was just one of the strange fireballs
NASA tracked last month. Most fireballs, which are meteorites,
enter the atmosphere and burn up in a second or two from
the high-speed friction. These strange ones, however, seem
to be moving slower and getting deeper into the atmosphere
than usual. "These fireballs are particularly slow and penetrating,"
meteor expert Peter Brown, a physics professor at the University
of Western Ontario, said. "They hit the top of the atmosphere
moving slower than 15 kilometers per second (33,500 mph),
decelerate rapidly and make it to within 50 kilometers (31
miles) of Earth's surface." The source of these fireballs
have been tracked back to the asteroid belt between Mars
and Jupiter, but since they don't seem to come from the
same point in the belt, scientists don't know how they got
ejected. Scientists noticed in the 1960's that these strange
fireballs seem to cross the Earth's path in February and
have been studying the pattern each winter to find out the
Science Quote of the Month - "This
world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle;
wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will
think of it." - Thomas Dekker.
New at the Museum:
Great Barrier Reef - Just
before 11 pm on June 11th, 1770, the HMS Endeavour, captained
by Lieutenant James Cook, ran aground. Though
Cook didn't real it at the time, the coral reef he had run
onto was part of a vast system of 3,800 coral banks and
islands that ran along the coast of Australia. Known as
the Great Barrier Reef, it is the largest structure in the
world created by living organisms. >Full
Mysterious Picture of the Month - What
is this thing?
Monster Movie Myth - Tell me something about
the Kraken beast of the time of Zeus - Ajiboye
The Kraken actually
comes not from Greek legends, but from Scandinavian lore.
It is a large, many armed creature like a giant octopus
or squid. Early stories describe the beast to be as large
as an island.
The Kraken has
gotten mixed up with Greek mythology through the 1981 film
Clash of the Titans (It also appears in the 2010
remake of the film). Clash of the Titans is loosely based
on the Greek mythical story of Perseus. At one point in
the story the Gods punish the King of Argos by sending the
Kraken, which they refer to as the "Last of the Titans,"
to create a Tsunami that swamps the city. (This scene inspired
the infamous quote favored by movie geeks "Release the Kraken!")
Later in film
the heroine, Princess Andromeda, is to be sacrificed to
the Kraken in an attempt to save her own city of Joppa.
In the myth the sea monster involved in the story was actually
referred to as a Cetus. The cetus was probably not an octopus-like
creature, but more whale-like in nature as we get our modern
word cetacean from it. It might also be related to the word
cetea which in Greek art was depicted as serpentine-like
to the Kraken as a "Titan" was an incorrect use of the Greek
term. The Titans were early Gods, not oversized monsters.
The King of the Titans, Cronus, was overthrown by his son,
Zeus, who became the king of the Olympian Gods.
The 1981 version
of Clash of the Titans was the last film made by
famed special effects expert Ray Harryhausen and he co-produced
the film with his long-time associate Charles H. Schneer.
Harryhausen sculpted the Kraken puppet used in the production
and it resembles another of his creations, the Venusian
Ymir, from one of his earlier films, 20 Million Miles
to Earth (1957). The Kraken puppet also has multiple
arms, however, similar to the octopus beast Harryhausen
made for It Came from Beneath the Sea in 1955.
The closest mythical
monster the Greeks had to a Kraken might have been Scylla.
It supposedly had four eyes, six long necks with heads equipped
with sharp teeth, and twelve tentacle-like legs. It lived
on the edge of a strait and would attack ships sailing by.
In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus is forced to pass by the Scylla
and loses 6 sailors to it, one to each head.
Just Swamp Gas - In March of 1966 U.S. Air Force
Project Blue Book investigated two UFO sightings near Dexter
and Hillsdale, Michigan. The scientist attached to the project,
Allen Hynek, in an infamous comment, dismissed what had
been seen as "swamp gas." The explanation led to much ridicule
in the press and triggered a congressional investigation
into Blue Book's activities. For more on the Blue Book Project,
Planet Pairing - On March 12th and 13th you will
have a chance to see Venus and Jupiter as they pass within
three degrees of each other in the night sky. The planets
will appear in the western sky in the constellation Aries.
Besides the moon they will be the two brightest objects
in the evening sky.
Did Hitler Have a Son? - French magazine LePoint
reports new evidence has emerged in the decades old claim
by Frenchman, Jean-Marie Loret, that he was Hitler's son.
Loret, who died in 1985 at age 67, had been told by his
mother in the 1950's, that he was the result of an affair
that occurred when Hitler was stationed in France as a soldier
in World War I. Loret was torn about admitting his ancestry
(he worked against the Germans in the resistance during
the war) but eventually wrote a book about his story called
"Your Father's Name Was Hitler" which was published in 1981.
Loret was never able to prove his ancestry, but LePoint
has found evidence in official German Army documents which
show that officers brought envelopes of cash to his mother
during the German occupation of France. In addition paintings
signed "Adolf Hitler" were discovered in Loret's mother
attic, and one who resembles his grandmother, was found
among those known to be painted by Hitler.
check local listing for area outside of North America.
NOVA: Cracking Your Genetic Code - We
are on the brink of a new era of personalized, gene-based
medicine. Are we ready for it?
On PBS: March 28
at 9:00 pm; ET/PT.
Ultimate Armored Car: The Presidential Beast - Texas Armoring Corporation builds the toughest cars in the world. Using
high-powered guns and explosives, they demonstrate the destruction
that unarmored vehicles might face and how they compare
to the ultimate armored car -- the President's limo. On
March 8, 9:00 & 11:00 PM
Prophets of Science Fiction: Jules Verne - Jules Verne is the ultimate futurist, with a legacy of sci-fi adventure
stories predicting everything from fuel cell technology
to viral advertising. The extraordinary voyages of Jules
Verne span from the center of the Earth to the surface of
the Moon. On The
Mar 07, 9:00 PM; Mar 08, 12:00
Dive to the Bottom of the World - The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has assembled a team
of experienced scientists and engineers to explore the 'Challenger
Deep' which lies in the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific.
At 35,000 feet, it is the deepest place on Earth.
Mar 02, 9:00 PM; Mar 03, 12:00
AM; Mar 04, 4:00 AM
Radioactive Paradise - A team of scientists, historians and divers embark on a scientific journey
to Bikini Atoll to see the effects of 23 atmospheric atomic
test blasts. With the help of a high-tech submersible, the
Pagoo, they explore Bikini's underwater ship graveyard.
February 9 10:00 PM
Cradle of the Gods - Located on a hilltop sanctuary, Gbekli Tepe in Turkey is the worlds
first known temple. Its 7,000 years older than the pyramids,
older than Stonehenge and predates all known civilizations.
Well join a team of archaeologists, anthropologists and
explorers as they sift through the evidence at Gbekli Tepe
to uncover the real purpose of this enigmatic structure,
reveal the identity of the extraordinary people who built
it and understand why they suddenly stopped using it. On
Mar 01 08:00 PM; 11:00
Psychic Gold Hunt
- Gold drew thousands of pioneers to the American West during the California
Gold Rush of the mid-19th century. Now, a team of psychics
is also on the hunt, but they are determined to use only
the powers of their minds to find it. John Vivanco is a
"remote viewer" who believes his paranormal abilities have
allowed him to see gold buried here and the area around
the treasure. On The
March 6th 08:00 PM
Dollar Moon Rock Heist
- In 2000, one Co-op showed an inordinate interest in the cache of moon
rocks kept at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas,
repeatedly visiting the lab to examine them. Then the moon
rocks mysteriously disappeared. Moon Rock Heist follows
the trail of international intrigue surrounding the recovery
of the rocks and reveals how law enforcement finally tracked
down the thieves. On The
March 8th 10:00 PM
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