Scan Pyramids hopes to build a computer model of the
Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Pyramid Anomaly Found - Operation Scan Pyramids is using
various non-invasive methods to try and look inside the
pyramids of ancient Egypt and determine if there are unknown
rooms or passageways inside them. The project started last
month and is expected to continue into 2016. The team will
be using such tools as infrared thermography, cosmic particle
detectors and drones to try and peer inside the structures.
According to the Ministry of Antiquities the scientists
using infrared detection have already found an impressive
anomaly on the eastern side of the Khufu pyramid. It isn't
clear at this point what is causing the anomaly. The next
step, after gathering all the data will be to take all the
anomalies detected and data collected and subject them to
further treatment and data analysis with the goal of eventually
building a 3D virtual simulation of the Giza plateau.
Archive Found in Russia - Renovators stumbled on a trove
of old documents in the rafters of the Cathedral of the
Assumption in Zvenigorod, an old town 40 miles west of Moscow.
How did they get there? They were stolen by birds over the
last couple centuries to build their nests. Some of the
documents date back to 1830's when the roof was last replaced.
"For several centuries swifts and jackdaws built their nests
under the roof of the cathedral," said Dmitriy Sedov, a
director at Zvenigorod's Historical and Architectural Museum.
"We found a thick layer made of dirt, branches, and fragments
of papers stolen by birds to keep their chicks warm." Though
most of the papers had been torn and damaged, many were
still readable and included a huge cross section of history
such as birth certificates, letters, newspapers, bus tickets,
delivery contracts, ration cards,students' diplomas and
church documents. One find was the remainder of a 1,000
ruble note, which would have been a small fortune at the
time it was lost. Many of the documents have been sent to
historians for further analysis.
Witch Found by Italian Researchers - Archeologists have
discovered the body of a teenage girl who appears to have
been burned and then hastily buried in a pit near San Calocero
in Italy. Scientists speculate that she may have been thought
to be a witch so her grave was covered with heavy stones
to prevent her from rising from the grave. Scientists cannot
tell if she was burned alive, or if the fire occurred shortly
after death. The girl was 4' 9" tall and between the ages
of 15 and 17. Her death occurred somewhere between the 9th
and the 15th centuries. Preliminary analysis suggests that
she suffered from Enamel hypoplasia a condition that in
which enamel becomes weak. The girl might have had an exceptionally
pale color and suffered from bleeding and fainting which
may have branded her as a witch in the sight of her neighbors.
Right now scientists are awaiting the results of radiocarbon
dating to firmly establish her death date.
Wide, T-Rex! - A recent study shows that the ferocious
Tyrannosaurus rex could open it jaws an amazing 90 degrees
while herbivores dinosaurs, in general, were limited to
just 45 degrees. "Theropod (carnivorous) dinosaurs, such
as Tyrannosaurus rex or Allosaurus, are often depicted with
widely-opened jaws, presumably to emphasize their carnivorous
nature," observes author Stephan Lautenschlager from the
University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences. "Yet,
up to now," he continued, "no studies have actually focused
on the relation between jaw musculature, feeding style and
the maximal possible jaw gape." The study, published in
the journal Royal Society Open Science, used digital models
and computer analysis to simulate the muscle strain that
happened when dinosaurs opened their mouths. "We know from
living animals that carnivores are usually capable of larger
jaw gapes than herbivores, and it is interesting to see
that this also appears to be the case in theropod dinosaurs,"
Treated with Engineered Cells is Cured - In Britain
a one-year old girl has become the first person successfully
treated with immune cells genetically manipulated to attack
her cancer. Doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital
in central London reversed her leukemia by using a new gene-editing
technique to engineer cells to battle the illness. "As this
was the first time that the treatment had been used, we
didn't know if or when it would work and so we were over
the moon when it did," said Professor Paul Veys, director
of bone marrow transplant at the hospital. "Her leukemia
was so aggressive that such a response is almost a miracle."
Standard treatments did not seem to be helping the girl
and her parents were offered the experimental technique.
She was given a small infusion of the genetically engineered
cells and few weeks later her parents were told that the
procedure had worked.
Quote of the Month - "The
most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle
of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
New at the Museum:
Christmas Visions of Thomas Nast - At the beginning
of the 19th century Santa Claus found himself in a quandry.
What should he wear? Perhaps he should emphasize his title
of St. Nicholas and appear as a stern bishop wearing robes?
Or maybe go the other way and be seen as a clowning elf
with a frock coat and pantaloons? It was at this point that
Thomas Nast, premire American political cartoonist of the
1800's, stepped in and gave Santa the well-needed makeover
that he still carries with him even today...> Full
Picture of the Month - What
is this this?
in the Iron Mask - A man named Eustache Dauger was
arrested in 1669-1670 and was under Bénigne Dauvergne de
Saint-Mars care. The iron mask he wore was actually a black
velvet hood. Has his body been found? Could you get a mitochondrial
DNA signature from the hood or body? - Conrad.
far as I have been able to determine the body of the man
called Eustache Dauger has not been found. If it was, however,
it seems likely that DNA could be obtained from it and,
if you had a clue to who he was, you might be able to match
it up with other living relatives to find his true identity
(or at least eliminate some possibilities).
people not aware of this incident, however, I should explain
the mystery. As Conrad notes, records show that around 1669
or 1670 a man was arrested in France during the reign of
Louse XIV. He spent the next 34 or so years in jail until
his death in November of 1703. While he was only one of
a number of long-term prisoners held in France at the time,
he was the only one that was required to wear a mask at
any time he in the presence of other people.
a mask? Writers have speculated that Dauger was not his
real name, but he was a person so well known that someone
seeing his face would know who he was. French writer Voltaire
(1694-1778) claimed that the true identity of the man was
the king's illegitimate older brother (The king would have
an interest in keeping such a person under wraps as he would
be a contender for the throne), but there isn't any evidence
In the 17th century writer Alexandre Dumas used the story
as a part of the last section of his Three Musketeers saga.
In Dumas's fictional world the man wearing the iron mask
(not a black velvet one, which what Dauger actually wore)
is Louis XIV's identical twin, Philippe, and within the
plotline of the story he seeks to replace his brother as
course, Dumas's book was just piece of entertainment. What
was the true identity of Dauger, if he wasn't really Dauger?
abound on this and historians have debated the subject for
Historian Hugh Ross Williamson makes the case that the prisoner
was actually the biological father of Louis XIV (Louis XIII
had been estranged from his wife for 14 years at the time
of t Louis XIV's birth. If Louis the XIII was not actually
the King's father, the king would certainly have an interest
in keeping his biological dad under wraps.)
people make the case that General Vivien de Bulonde, who
angered the Louis the XIV by withdrawing a battle and leaving
men and munitions behind, is the mysterious prisoner. However,
other documents indicate the General was released after
just a few months confinement and his death is recorded
as occurring six years after Dauger's demise.
possibility was an Italian diplomat named Count Ercole Antonio
Mattioli. The Count had angered the King by leaking the
details of the sale of Casale, a strategic fortified town
near the border of France and Italy. Records indeed show
Mattioli was arrested, but also show he was never jailed
in the same location as the mysterious Dauger.
we do know for sure about the prisoner, however, is found
in the letters between the French prison governor, Bénigne
d'Auvergne de Saint-Mars, and his various bosses during
the years Dauger was under his administration. In July 1669
Saint-Mars was sent instructions to prepare a cell with
multiple doors (an inner and an outer one to help isolate
the prisoner for the outside world). The prisoner was to
be killed if he spoke to anyone about anything other than
his immediate needs. The letter also states that Dauger
is "only a valet" and his needs should be minimal.
Dauger actually temporary served as a valet to one other
prisoners, Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis of Belle-Île, and a
former superintendent of finances who was imprisoned for
embezzlement. The fact that Dauger could be treated as a
servant this way is a clue to his identity. The class protocol
at the time made it unthinkable that somebody of noble class
could serve someone else even if he was a prisoner. This
makes it very unlikely that Dauger was any relative of the
king or of noble blood.
that leaves the nagging question, if Dauger was a nobody,
then why did he have to wear the mask?
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send it to us.
Balloon Takes Off - On December 1st, 1783, the first
manned voyage of a balloon using hydrogen was launched from
Paris. The two passenger on board were Professor Jacques
Alexander Cesar Charles and Marie-Noel Robert. The pair
ascended to about 2000 feet (600m) and traveled about 27miles
(43km) in about 2 hours. It landed and Robert got out. The
Professor then continued the flight for a short period climbing
to 8858 feet (2700m).
Meteor Shower - The Geminid meteor shower will be in
the sky the night of the 13th to the 14th. For this year
it is considered the best shooting star show in the sky.
With the moon just a narrow crescent on that night and setting
early in the evening skies, it will be extremely dark and
viewing should be at its best. Estimates place the number
of meteors that can be seen as high as 120 an hour.
British "Hell Hound" Might Be Found - Behind Every Legend,
they say, there is a grain of truth. Folklore has it that
a giant dog terrorized the British Isles in the 16th century
and recently archaeologists have uncovered the remains of
a giant dog that weighed around 200 pounds and stood 7 feet
tall on its hind legs. Could this creature be the "Black
Shuck" (a name thought to come from an old English word
for black "demon") of legend? According to the radiocarbon
dating tests the remains come from just about the right
era. Though we will never know for sure, it could be that
his "hound from hell" actually existed.
and Meep are on a well deserved vacation. In their place
we feature highlights from their past adventures.
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