Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Drying Salt Lakes May have Caused Extinction - Many
theories have been put forth for the end-Permian mass extinction
250 million years ago when nearly 90 percent of life on
Earth died. Ludwig Weissflog of the UFZ-Helmholtz Center
for Environmental Research in Germany and a team of researchers
have come up with a new one: evaporating great Salt Lakes.
The scientists measured gases coming from the Kara-Bogaz-Gol
salt flats and found huge amounts of halogenated hydrocarbons
like chloroform and trichloroethylene that are known to
be poisonous and can damage the Earth's ozone layer. The
theory is that very dry conditions 230 million years ago
caused many salt lakes to dry out and release these chemicals
into the air. This, it turn, killed most of the plants on
the earth. Without plants, most of the animals died too.
Co-author Kastern Kotte of the Max Planck Institute for
Chemistry admits that the theory is still circumstantial,
but the group plans to continue testing and have built a
more substantial case "within a year or two."
"Drowned" Spiders Comes Back to Life - Scientists
have discovered that certain types salt marsh-dwelling spiders
can survive being "drowned" for up to 40 hours and still
revive. Julien Petillon, a scientist at the University of
Rennes in France, wanted to see how long the salt marsh-dwelling
wolf spider could survive underwater, so he submerged some
in his laboratory. All stopped moving after 24 hours. After
he dried them out, however, he was amazed to see some come
back to life. While many spiders survive flooding by climbing
up nearby vegetation, the wolf spider is the first known
to go into a coma to survive high-water.
Researchers Search for Cleopatra and Antony Tombs
- Scientists in Egypt started work this month looking
for the tombs of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The location
of the lovers' remains have been unknown since they committed
suicide after their army was defeated in the battle of Actium
in 31 B.C.. The famous queen of Egypt and the Roman general
might be buried in a deep shaft in a temple near the Mediterranean
Sea, according to Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Teams from Egypt and the Dominican Republic have been excavating
the temple for the last three years and have found a number
of deep shafts inside the temple, three of which might have
been used for burials. Archaeologists have already found
the alabaster head of a Cleopatra statue, 22 coins bearing
Cleopatra's image, and a mask believed to belong to Mark
Antony at the site.
Long-necked Stegosaur Found - Scientists were
surprised to discover the remains of a Stegosaur with one
of the longest necks ever recorded for a dinosaur. Stegosaurs
have always been thought of as squat animals with short
legs, a short neck and a row of plates and spines running
down the back, but Miragaia longicollum, meaning
"long-necked wonderful goddess of the Earth," had more neck
vertebrae than almost any other dinosaur. The creature was
found in Portugal and lived between 144 and 159 million
years ago. "Contrary to other stegosaur dinosaurs, Miragaia
longicollum had a long neck with 17 vertebrae, which
is as much as long-necked sauropod dinosaurs," said Mateus,
a paleontologist at the Universidade Nova da Lisboa in Portugal.
Knights Templars Guarded Shroud - Scholars think
that they have pieced together where the Shroud of Turin
was during a period between 1204 A.D. and 1351 when it mysteriously
disappeared from the history books. The shroud, which believers
think covered the body of Christ, was apparently in the
possession of the Knights Templar during those years. The
Templars were a powerful, wealthy and secretive medieval
order formed to protect Christian pilgrims on their way
to Jerusalem, though later the group was accused of heresy
and disbanded. The evidence for the connection of the Knights
Templars with the shroud comes from Barbara Frale, a scholar
at the Vatican Secret Archives. According to Frale, newly
found archival documents reveal "missing clues" to the fate
of the Shroud during those years. "The new evidence comes
from the account of a Templar initiation rite in 1287 of
a young Frenchman, Arnaut Sabbatier. He testified that he
was taken to a secret place to which only the brothers of
the Temple had access. There, he was shown a long linen
cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man, and was
told to kiss the feet of the image three times," Frale said.
The description of the linen cloth seems to match that of
Science Quote of the Month - "Those
who are not shocked when they first come across quantum
mechanics cannot possibly have understood it." -
Niels Henrik David Bohr
New at the Museum:
Blue Book: The U.S. Air Force Verses the Flying Saucers
- After investigating over 12,600 incidents the
military's 22 year-long effort to crack the mystery of UFOs
ended with anger, suspicion and claims of a cover up.
> Full Story
Cardboard Submarine - When Mike, Melissa
and Hector ordered a submarine from an ad on the back for
a comic book, they got less, and more than the expected.
Robots, flying saucers, space aliens, sunken treasure and
pirate looters were in the package too! Fiction Ages 8 -
13. At Amazon.com or on sale at our own Museum
of UnNatural Mystery Press page.
Geostationary Satellites - Is it true that for
a satellite to hold the same position over the earth it
can only be over the equator? - John
The type of satellite
you are talking about is called a geostationary satellite
and the idea for it was first proposed by Herman Potonik,
a Slovenen rocket engineer, in 1928. Most people connect
the idea, however, with famed science fiction writer Arthur
C. Clarke. Clarke wrote an article about the idea for
Wireless World in 1945.
The speed with
which a satellite in orbit circles the Earth is dependent
upon how high above the Earth's surface it is. Objects in
low Earth orbit circle the globe much faster than those
in higher orbits. For example, the space shuttle orbits
the earth at a height of between 115 and 380 miles and will
circle the Earth about 16 times in a 24 hour period. If
an object is placed in orbit at a much higher level, say
22,300 miles, it will circle the globe only once in a 24
hour period. This makes it the object a geosynchronous satellite
orbiting at the same rate the planet turns.
the satellite is also in an orbit over the Earth's equator,
it will appear to move back and forth in the sky along a
north to south line during the course of the day. To be
a geostationary satellite the object needs to be in a circular
orbit directly over the equator at the height of 22,300
miles (This is sometimes refered to as the "Clarke orbit").
Only then will it appear to be fixed in a single location
in the sky.
There are many
uses for geostationary satellites including communications
(for example, the dish television broadcast satillite I
get my TV on) and weather observation. Since they do not
move in the sky, geostationary satellites allow receivers
on the ground to use a simple fixed antennal to point to
them and pickup broadcasts. Because the satellites are over
Earth's equator, however, any northern hemisphere location
wishing to point an antenna at them must have a clear view
of the southern sky. The opposite is true in the southern
to send it to the curator.
Wildman in China - On May 14, 1976, 6 Chinese
bureaucrats driving home spotted a strange "tailless creature
with reddish fur" on a rural highway near Chunshuya. The
creature tried to escape up an embankment alongside the
road, but fell and was nearly hit by the bureaucrats' jeep.
The passengers got out and surrounded the creature, but
after a few moments decided that they should let the creature
move off. It successfully climbed up the embankment and
escaped. The group described the animal as being covered
in thick, wavy brown and purple hair with a flat belly and
pronounced buttocks. Some claim the creature was a "Chinese
Wildman" - the equivalent of America's Bigfoot.
Find Planet Neptune - This is a project only
for readers with a small telescope or good binoculars. From
mid-May, Neptune will be just one degree from Jupiter, making
it a much easier to find. The best night to try may be May
15th when the two will be in less than a degree apart in
the sky. First find Jupiter (it will be the brightest object
up there) in the southern sky. Just to the left is the star
Mu Capricorni and then Neptune will be the bluish dot to
the left and a little above. Each day Jupiter heads a bit
closer to Neptune, passing Mu Capricorni on May 20. By the
27th, Jupiter will be directly below Neptune.
Astronaut Believes in UFO - Former NASA astronaut
Edgar Mitchell addressing the National Press Club following
the conclusion of the fifth annual X-Conference (a meeting
of UFO activists and researchers) said, "…we really have
evidence. No, we're not alone." Mitchell went on to explain
how he had grown up in the Roswell, NM, area and had heard
stories about the UFO crash that had allegedly occurred
there in 1948. People there, after being warned to keep
quiet by the government, he said,"…didn't want to go to
the grave with their story. They wanted to tell somebody
reliable. And being a local boy and having been to the moon,
they considered me reliable enough to whisper in my ear
their particular story." Mitchell also said that an Admiral
at the Pentagon had once confirmed to him that the stories
of a UFO crash at Roswell were real. Now, contends Mitchell,
that same Admiral denies the story.
check local listing for area outside of North America.
NOVA: Cracking the Maya Code - The
story behind the centuries-long decipherment of ancient
Maya hieroglyphs On PBS. Tuesday, May 5 at 8 pm ET/PT.
Yellowstone: Battle for Life - Follow a year in the life of three charismatic wild characters, whose
dramatic lives and fortunes are interwoven in Yellowstone,
one of the world's last and most spectacular wildernesses.
. May 03, 9:00 pm; May 04, 12:00 am; ET/PT
Quest for the Goblin Shark - A team of scientists search Tokyo Submarine Canyon,1,000 meters deep
and 40 kilometers long, for the Goblin Shark. An illusive
ancient creature that has never been caught on camera. This
fearsome species has been in the ocean for a hundred milllion
years! On the Science Channel. May 10, 5:00 pm; ET/PT
The Ends of the Universe: Hubble's Final Chapter - Hubble has revolutionized our science of the cosmos.It has become a
global superstar and a household name. But after years without
maintenance the telescope is desperate for help.Now, a massive
final mission is underway to repair it for the very last
time On the Science Channel. May 11, 8:00 pm; May 11, 11:00
pm; May 12, 4:00 pm; May 13, 3:00 am; ET/PT
The Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic- This groundbreaking, feature-length documentary reveals the amazing
stories of real people with extraordinary super powers..
On The Science Channel. May 09, 8:00 pm; May 09, 11:00 pm;
May 11, 3:00 am; ET/PT.
Ancient Aliens - What if life on Earth began in outer space? Millions of people accept
the theory that intelligent life forms visited Earth thousands
of years ago and were worshiped as gods by primitive man.
Are monuments like Stonehenge and Easter Island the last
remains of an ancient alien visitation? From unexplainable
super structures, to knowledge of the solar system, mathematics,
and even the ability to make electricity, this special explores
evidence of super-human influences on ancient man and embarks
on an around-the-world search for answers. It's an investigation
into a theory some believe cannot be true, but many agree
cannot be ignored. On The History Channel. Saturday, May
09 08:00 PM; Sunday, May 10 12:00 AM AM; ET/PT.
Archive 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,
Copyright Lee Krystek 2008. All Rights Reserved.