Wil je een videoclip bekijken en stoort het X-files-deuntje jou daarbij. Schakel het deuntje gewoon uit door in deze kolon, helemaal beneden op de 2 witte balkjes in het blauwe cirkeltje te klikken, tot een pijltje verschijnt. Veel kijk- en luisterplezier en bedankt voor jouw bezoek.
The purpose of this blog is the creation of an open, international, independent and free forum, where every UFO-researcher can publish the results of his/her research. The languagues, used for this blog, are Dutch, English and French.You can find the articles of a collegue by selecting his category. Each author stays resposable for the continue of his articles. As blogmaster I have the right to refuse an addition or an article, when it attacks other collegues or UFO-groupes.
Deze blog is opgedragen aan mijn overleden echtgenote Lucienne.
In 2012 verloor ze haar moedige strijd tegen kanker!
In 2011 startte ik deze blog, omdat ik niet mocht stoppen met mijn UFO-onderzoek.
UFO'S - MET HET LAATSTE NIEUWS OVER UFO'S BOVEN BELGIË EN IN ANDERE LANDEN...
UFO's in België en de rest van de wereld In België heb je vooral BUFON of het Belgisch UFO-Netwerk, dat zich met UFO's bezighoudt. BEZOEK DUS ZEKER VOOR ALLE OBJECTIEVE INFORMATIE ww.ufo.be.
Verder heb je ook het Belgisch-Ufo-meldpunt en Caelestia, die prachtig, doch ZEER kritisch werk leveren, ja soms zelfs héél sceptisch...
Voor Nederland kan je de mooie site www.ufowijzer.nl bezoeken van Paul Harmans. Een mooie site met veel informatie en artikels.
MUFON of het Mutual UFO Network Inc is een Amerikaanse UFO-vereniging met afdelingen in alle USA-staten en diverse landen.
MUFON's mission is the analytical and scientific investigation of the UFO- Phenomenon for the benefit of humanity...
Je kan ook hun site bekijken onder www.mufon.com.
Ze geven een maandelijks tijdschrift uit, namelijk The MUFON UFO-Journal.
Since 02/01/2013 is Pieter not only president (=voorzitter) of BUFON, but also National Director MUFON / Flanders and the Netherlands. We work together with the French MUFON Reseau MUFON/EUROP.
Expert Warns Yellowstone Eruption Could Kill Five Billion People
Expert Warns Yellowstone Eruption Could Kill Five Billion People
When does a disaster go from ‘natural’ to ‘the mother of all’ disasters’? When it’s the next eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. That’s according to a leading volcano expert from Poland who wants the United States to start thinking ‘when’ not ‘if’ and developing an evacuation plan for an eruption that he predicts could kill five billion people.
“The only thing you can do is evacuate people to another continent.”
In a recent interview with Poland’s WP Media, Dr. Jerzy Żaba,professor of geological sciences and head of the Department of General Geology at the University of Silesia in Katowice, explains why a Yellowstone “Superwulk” eruption would be far more destructive and deadly to life on Earth than most other experts are willing to consider. He starts by comparing it to a recent supervolcano event — the Toba supereruption about 75,000 years ago in Sumatra, Indonesia, which was one of the largest known eruptions.
“As a result of the Toby eruption in Sumatra, according to various estimates, 70 to 90 percent died. the then human population on our planet. More optimistic researchers believe that the outbreak was survived by tens of thousands of people, moderately optimistic that they survived 15,000, and the least – from three to five thousand. The population of a small village survived all over the world!” (Google translation)
Up to 90 percent of the Earth’s albeit small population at that time may have died. If you’re into odds, Żaba points out that there have been 42 similar supervolcano eruptions — on average once in less than a million years. So, as far as Yellowstone is concerned, we’re good for at least a few hundred-thousand years, right?
“Yellowstone is a powerful superwulkan whose explosions took place, to our knowledge, three times. The first took place over two million years ago, the second million 300,000. years ago, and the third, about which we know the most, took place 640 thousand. years ago.”
Żaba says volcanoes are erupting in different locations than in the past (Poland has one that was active 800,000 years ago) and geologists have learned that nearby volcanoes are often linked and can cascade into multiple eruption events. However, none have the destructive potential – both on the ground and in the air – of Yellowstone.
“It would destroy most of the United States. Discarded materials would cover everything with a meter layer within a radius of 500 km. And due to the emission of a huge amount of dust, gases or sulfur oxide to the atmosphere, there would be a temporary cooling of the climate. Sulfur oxide would create a thin veil of sulfuric acid around the planet reflecting sunlight. He would persist for many years. It is estimated that due to climate change about five billion people would starve to death.”
Żaba doesn’t think programs like NASA’s plan to drill a hole and cool Yellowstone’s magma will work due to the sheer size and volume of the magma tank. Besides, it’s not the lava that will kill us – it’s the dust and debris that will be thrown into the atmosphere. Żaba says the only way to escape falling chunks of rock and debris is to evacuate, but the space for holding the millions of people who need to move in a short period of time will require another continent and a monumental effort. And, once they get to their new home, they’ll have to deal with the death of all flora and fauna that will result in Żaba’s prediction that five billion people would starve to death.
Is there any good news, Dr. Żaba?
“There are forces over which people have no influence and have to observe with incredible humility.”
The Voynich Manuscript – The Most Mysterious Text In The World
The Voynich Manuscript – The Most Mysterious Text In The World
Written by:Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time:10minutes
While some regard it as a hoax from medieval times, others look upon the Voynich Manuscript as one of the great unsolved mysteries of both history and our contemporary times. As we will examine, allegations of a hoax don’t really hold water. However, decades upon decades of research has so far failed to crack the coded language that resides within the 240 remaining pages of vellum (animal skin). Some pages are missing – thought to be 28 in total. What might have resided within these pages, and whether their removal was purposeful or not will likely remain a mystery within a mystery.
Even codebreakers from the two world wars of the twentieth century have failed to reveal the details in these unknown handwritten words and symbols. The book also features several detailed, although “amateurish” drawings and illustrations. Many of which are particularly intriguing as they show plants and vegetation not known to exist on Earth. There are also heavily intricate details of the stars and knowledge of what appears to be astrology. The manuscript could be as mundane as medieval herbal remedies (which would be of interest in itself) or it could be a one-of-a-kind, one-to-one passing on of knowledge from an entity from another realm, perhaps even another world.
A Mysterious Find With A Most Mysterious Past
The book was discovered in 1912 when Wilfrid Voynich purchased it. While he was flicking through the mysterious pages of this otherwise non-descript book a letter fell out. It was dated 19th August 1666 (some scholars state it is 1665) and it was from Joannes Marcus Marci, the rector of Charles University in Prague. It is from this letter that we know much of the manuscript’s secretive past.
He had received the book from a known alchemist of his day, Georg Baresch upon his death. It is not clear how Baresch came into possession of the book, or indeed where it came from, but in 1639, he would send correspondence to Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit scholar, who had extensive knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphs and a mind that couldn’t resist the mysterious and the unknown. He would make attempts to purchase the book, however, Baresch refused.
Once it came into Marci’s possession, he would forward it to Kircher, with a view to him decoding it and revealing its secrets. In the letter discovered by Voynich, written in Latin, Marci states how he is “convinced that it could be read by no one except yourself”. He would continue that Baresch had “devoted unflagging toil” in his attempts to decipher the contents of the manuscript. And that “he relinquished hope only with his life”.
Furthermore, Marci states in his letter that the manuscript was once the property of Emperor Rudolph II. He had paid 600 gold ducats for it, thought to be some time in the late 1590s. He was known to have a fascination with alchemy. Marci also mentions that Rudolph II believed the author to be Roger Bacon, a renowned English thinker of his day, particularly on matters of nature. On this, however, Marci states he “suspends judgment”.
From Secret Manuscript To File MS 408 At Yale University
From here, though, the trail goes cold and what we “know” of the book’s whereabouts for the next two centuries is guesswork and likeliness. There is no doubt that Kircher would have made attempts to decode the book. If he was successful, the secrets remain with him. It would seem that when he died, the mystery manuscript still unlocked and, in his possession, would go into the University library holdings (now the Pontifical Gregorian University).
Following the annexing of the Papal States by the Italian government in 1870 after the successful military campaign of Victor Emmanuel II, many such holdings would come under the control of the authorities. Only manuscripts and writings in the personal libraries of the universities would escape this purge. It is believed the Voynich Manuscript went into the private library of Petrus Beckx, who was head of the Jesuit order. His personal library was eventually purchased by the Society of Jesus, an off-shoot of the Catholic Church on the outskirts of Rome, dating back to the early-1500s in Spain. It is from this organization, that Wilfrid Voynich eventually bought the manuscript, along with around thirty other documents in 1912 and so bringing the book to the wider world’s attention for the first time.
The manuscript would remain in Voynich’s possession until his death in 1930. It would then pass to his widow, and following her death thirty years later, through her friend Anne Nill, Hans P. Kraus, an antique book dealer would purchase it. Kraus would eventually donate it to Yale University where it resides today. Its official catalog number is “MS 408”.
It would appear, based on observations from the manuscript’s many illustrations, that the book is in six parts. Each section deals with specific information on that subject. These sections are, herbs, medicines, recipes, biological, and perhaps most interesting, cosmological and astronomical. While the first four sections have led some to believe the manuscript to be some kind of “good housekeeping guide” of the Middle Ages, with some even suggesting it was a book on “women’s health”, others dismiss such claims. Particularly as they appear to ignore the clear illustrations of astronomy and the cosmos.
While some maintain the manuscript is some kind of code, others suggest it to be an entirely unknown language. This is an interesting theory, not least because many of the words – at least in part – have similarities with many of the different languages not just in the European region, but further afield to the east. While it is pure speculation of the author, might it be, if we accept claims of a long-ago universal antediluvian language, that the Voynich Manuscript is the only remaining example of this? And, whether a code, or an unknown language, might there be a second part to the manuscript? One that would enable the reader to unlock the secrets on its pages?
Too Complex To Be A Hoax?
Of course, to many, the manuscript is nothing but a hoax. Although the reason behind that thinking appears to revolve around the notion that as the code hasn’t been broken, then there must be nothing to break in the first place. This seems a little simplistic, at best. The notion of attempting to obtain money from people such as Emperor Rudolph II with “ancient manuscripts” containing “secret knowledge” is certainly plausible enough. After all, such interests were still considered heretical at the time. And so the search for such knowledge would have to be done in secret and on the “black market”. However, to quote author Daniel Smith “in an age where relatively unsophisticated forgeries could pass muster in the courts of Europe” the apparent forger in this instance “went above and beyond the call of duty” in their alleged deception.
The two names most commonly associated with the hoax theory are John Dee and Edward Kelley. Two Englishman and known alchemists. And, according to some, would have no qualms of taking advantage of someone such as Rudolph II and his obsession of all things of the Occult.
In short, while it is certainly not a solid rebuttal, the manuscript simply appears too detailed, too sophisticated, and too authentic to simply be dismissed as a hoax. Furthermore, carbon dating of the manuscript would put the date at somewhere around 1404 to 1438. This would rule out Dee and Kelley as suspects of perpetrating a hoax.
Further still, aside from the detail and complex nature of the manuscript being too much for a hoax – even one with substantial monetary gain on the line – perhaps we should look at some of the detailed illustrations. In particular, the “fold-out” plans of apparent galaxies unknown to humanity at the time of its writing.
The Esoteric Art Of Astrology
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Voynich Manuscript is the section on astronomy and astrology. It is important that we include both together here. Today most astronomers would simply dismiss astrology with an in-built arrogance. One from decades and decades of ridicule poured on the ancient and esoteric art. A situation not helped by the “talking heads” types who write “horoscope” columns for the masses in the modern age. Originally there was no distinction between the two. Interestingly, many researchers suggest that the ridiculing of such ancient arts as astrology is very purposeful. Particularly when you realize that many of the world “elites” use its power to their own ends. At least privately.
Perhaps, then, the astrological diagrams and, in particular, a drawing that appears very much like the nearest known galaxy to our own, Andromeda, suggests a deep understanding of such things at the time of writing. So deep, in fact, that, if we assume the illustration and details are of Andromeda, suggests the writers of the manuscript had knowledge of the universe. Before the apparent “discoveries” of our modern age.
Might this be the reason for the hiding of the book? And locking it away with the Jesuit order for over two centuries? We know many religions’ stance on the notion of life on other worlds. Such a discovery would surely undermine their influence and position. Perhaps Kircher knew this. And fearing it would be destroyed, preserved the information in its anonymity for another age?
Automatic Writing – A Conduit For An Entity From Another World?
These last points revolving around secrets of the universe and knowledge of the galaxy has led some researchers to suggest some kind of extraterrestrial involvement. That is not to say that an alien entity literally sat down and wrote the Voynich Manuscript. But rather some type of communication. A visitation with the author is certainly not out of the question. Perhaps a particularly interesting view, in this case, however, would be that of “automatic writing”.
While the notion is a controversial one, to say the least, automatic writing is likely more widespread than we suspect. Perhaps one of the most famous users of this was Alistair Crowley. He would essentially go into a trance, possibly even allowing temporary possession. Then, would write simply what came to mind. As if the writer is but a conduit to an entity from another realm. Some believe these entities are demonic. However, as we have examined previously, one of the apparent demons summoned by Crowley, Lam, bore an uncanny resemblance to a typical depiction of a Grey alien.
Might it be possible, then, that instead of a spirit from another realm or dimension, an entity from another planet in another part of the universe “channeled” into the mystery author’s mind? Allowing them to produce what would become the Voynich Manuscript? Might their home be somewhere in the Andromeda region? Is this the reason for the illustration that appears to show our galactic neighbor? Perhaps if we one day manage to decipher what the words state, further information of their homeworld will show. And even why such communication occurred in the first place will come to light. Perhaps this is the reason for the multiple strange and bizarre plants within the pages?
Mysteries On Top Of Mysteries
Unless there is a discovery of some kind of key to unlocking the secrets of the Voynich Manuscript, or barring an unbelievable breakthrough by an eagle-eyed researcher, it is highly likely its contents will forever remain a mystery. Even if the writings are a hoax it would be an interesting development in itself. Not least because of the pure complexity of the writings when put against the time of their creation in the early-1400s. Indeed, we know roughly the time of their writing. Which in itself likely took considerable effort, perhaps too much for a mere hoax. Its whereabouts for almost the first 200 years of its life, however, is yet another mystery.
Is the Voynich Manuscript the result of telepathic communication with an entity from another world? A manuscript that came from something we would recognize today as automatic writing? Or might it be the last remaining copy of a language and a world before our own? And if so, who preserved this information and for how long before recording it on the 200-plus vellum pages? And how did it find its way discreetly around the minds of those intent of looking beyond the dogmatic Church?
Is the Voynich Manuscript of importance to humanity? It is a collection of illustrations and unknown writings that will continue to fascinate the minds of many. And for some time to come. Perhaps one of them will unlock its mysteries and share them with the rest of the world. And so answering that question.
Recent Claims Of Deciphering!
In May 2019 came the news that an academic from the University of Bristol had managed to break the code of the Voynich Manuscript. Although the news should perhaps come with the caveat for calm as the manuscript itself has yet to be fully deciphered.
The paper of Dr. Gerard Cheshire, however, titled The Language and Writing System of MS408 (Voynich) Explained has been peer-reviewed and published in the respected journal, Romance Studies. Indeed, according to most scholars, and if indeed Cheshire is correct, the manuscript would be the “only known example of the proto-Romance language”.
Cheshire would go on to describe the manuscript, and the breaking of the code to deciphering it, as “one of the most important” in the study of the proto-Romance language, which is a precursor in medieval times to the Romance language of Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain to name several in the region.
However, despite its relatively widespread use in the region at the time, very little was written in this ancient language. This was mainly down to the official language of the elite of this time (religion, politics, and royalty) being Latin. Consequently, almost all official (and written) documents followed suit.A ‘palina’ is a rod to measure water
Indeed, it would appear that the Voynich Manuscript might be all that is left of the apparent “lost language” from the chasm of history. Although the entire manuscript is yet to be deciphered, it would appear it is only a matter of time before we know the entire contents of this, until now, most mysterious script.
The Rebirth Of An Extinct Language?
While it may prove to tell of, by comparison to the theories, quite mundane things, it will very likely offer a glimpse into a part of history and a people completely new to the modern world.
For example, the six-way folded “map” pictured earlier in the article would appear to be telling of an “erupting volcano”. This would result in the drawing of the map in order to launch a rescue mission. What’s more this volcano would “create a new island” when it rose up from beneath the sea. What is also interesting is an apparent date of 1550 for a later eruption on the same island. If this is accurate, then the dating of the manuscript can be made with much more confidence.
In fact, according to research, Dominican nuns are responsible for the creation of the manuscript. This would perhaps make sense given the claims it was some type of woman’s health guide.
According to Cheshire’s research, they would compile the document for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon – the great aunt of Catherine of Aragon. It was intended to be an encyclopedic or reference type book. And does indeed appear to tell of important events as well as recipes and medicines.
According to Cheshire, the language combines previously unseen and unknown symbols with ones more familiar to makes up its alphabet. Of further interest, is an almost total lack of punctuation. Aside from “variants” to the aforementioned symbols. These might make something plural or change the phonetic sound. This last part is indeed interesting. In some ancient languages, the sound was of more concern of a word as much as anything else.
Check out the video below. It looks a little further at this most mysterious book.
“I experienced a series of ‘eureka’ moments whilst deciphering the code, followed by a sense of disbelief and excitement when I realised the magnitude of the achievement, both in terms of its linguistic importance and the revelations about the origin and content of the manuscript.”
That was Dr. Gerard Cheshire announcing this week that it took him just two weeks to crack the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript – a Medieval illustrated codex written in an indecipherable language that has baffled cryptographers (the legendary Alan Turing tried unsuccessfully to decode it) since its discovery, including Wilfrid Voynich, who obtained the codex in 1912 and popularized it enough to have it tagged with his name. in “The Language and Writing System of MS408 (Voynich) Explained,” Cheshire claims it is written in proto-Romance, an extinct ancestor of the Romance languages (Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, etc.) and he was able to translate enough of the document to determine that it was “compiled by Dominican nuns as a source of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon.”
“Sorry, folks, “proto-Romance language” is not a thing. This is just more aspirational, circular, self-fulfilling nonsense.”
“Ooooh, tough crowd” as comedians like to say when the audience boos rather than laughs. In Cheshire’s case, that crowd includes Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America (an organization promoting excellence in the field of medieval studies), who immediatelytweeted her analysis of the announcement. Davis comes by her expertship legitimately – she received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University where the Voynich manuscript is held, and has handily debunked previous announcements of Voynich code-breaking.
“As with most would-be Voynich interpreters, the logic of this proposal is circular and aspirational: he starts with a theory about what a particular series of glyphs might mean, usually because of the word’s proximity to an image that he believes he can interpret. He then investigates any number of medieval Romance-language dictionaries until he finds a word that seems to suit his theory. Then he argues that because he has found a Romance-language word that fits his hypothesis, his hypothesis must be right. His “translations” from what is essentially gibberish, an amalgam of multiple languages, are themselves aspirational rather than being actual translations.”
Davis explains her doubts to Ars Technica and pointed out that the idea of a proto-Romance language “is completely unsubstantiated,” as are Cheshire links between certain glyphs and certain Latin letters.
“One of the reasons the Voynich manuscript is so appealing is because of languages like hieroglyphics and linear B, which were deciphered. But they didn’t come out of nowhere, they were decades in the making and drew on lots of different scholarly expertise. You can’t just have one person saying: ‘I’ve cracked it.’ You have got to have the field, on the whole, agreeing.”
Dr. Kate Wiles, a medievalist and linguist and senior editor at History Today, told The Guardian that such a discovery, if it were true, would need verification by a number of experts before being accepted.
“Regarding the decipherment of the individual symbols, a number of people have come up with a mapping to Latin letters, but those mappings rarely agree with each other, or with this proposal.”
Greg Kondrak, a computer science professor at the University of Alberta who as also tried to crack the Voynich code, also points out that the Romance origins of some of the words in the manuscript has been well known for some time.
Finally, J.K. Petersen, keeper of The Voynich Portal, summarizes his problems with the alleged code-cracking:
But I have trouble accepting the translation in its current form because:
there are a lot of nonsensical word combinations,there’s almost no grammar, the letter distribution is quite different from Romance languages (it would take a whole blog to discuss this aspect of the text, but take 4 as an example, which almost exclusively is at the beginnings of tokens—Cheshire relates it to “d”, and “9” which is usually at the end and sometimes at the beginning, but almost never in the middle, which he designates as “a”), the words still match the drawings if the drawings are interpreted differently (which means the relationship isn’t proven yet), some of the transliterated “words” don’t show any relationship to Romance word-structures (and the author neglected to explain how specific non-Romance words were derived), and the same words (e.g., “na”) are sometimes interpreted differently.
A few things are certain at this point: there are a LOT of people interested in breaking the Voynich code, a large number working to verify the code-breakers and the attempts and debunkings are destined to continue.
Researchers studying a volcano in Bermuda report that it is unlike anything else we’ve seen on Earth — it formed through a mechanism we knew nothing about until now.
About 30 million years ago, a disturbance in the mantle’s transition zone supplied the magma to form the now-dormant volcanic foundation on which Bermuda sits.
Image credits: Wendy Kenigsberg/Clive Howard.
With its turquoise seas and pink beaches, Bermuda draws almost 1 million tourists every year. But far beneath the crystalline water, something draws a completely different crowd: scientists.
Cornell researchers had a hunch that there was something off about Bermuda’svolcanoes, so they analyzed a 2,600-foot (800-meter) core sample taken back in 1972. They were looking for isotopes, trace elements, evidence of water content, volatile materials — anything that would give some indication as to how the volcanoes were formed.
“I first suspected that Bermuda’s volcanic past was special as I sampled the core and noticed the diverse textures and mineralogy preserved in the different lava flows,” Mazza said. “We quickly confirmed extreme enrichments in trace element compositions. It was exciting going over our first results … the mysteries of Bermuda started to unfold.”
When the team analyzed the materials from the core, they found a clear signature of the “transition zone” — a layer rich in water, crystals and melted rock that lies beneath the outer and inner mantle. Before now, researchers didn’t know that volcanoes can form from the transition zone.
“We found a new way to make volcanoes. This is the first time we found a clear indication from the transition zone deep in the Earth’s mantle that volcanoes can form this way,” said senior author Esteban Gazel, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University.
Cross-polarized microscopic slice of a core sample. Blue-yellow mineral is augite.
Credits: Gazel lab.
Volcanoes were thought to form through one of two mechanisms: either when two tectonic plates subduct (one moves beneath the other), or when there is a deep mantle upwelling, as is the case in Hawaii. Surprisingly this wasn’t the case in Bermuda.
“We were expecting our data to show the volcano was a mantle plume formation — an upwelling from the deeper mantle — just like it is in Hawaii,” Gazel said. However, 30 million years ago, a disturbance in the transition zone caused the magma to flow towards the surface of what is now Bermuda.
Although geochemical studies of this type have been carried out in most volcanic parts of the world, Bermuda had escaped trialing until now. Now that they know what to look for, researchers say that there’s a good chance they might find these chemical signatures in other volcanic areas as well.
This suggests that the transition zone, which is located at a depth of 410-660 km (250 to 400 mi), is an important chemical reservoir for the Earth, bringing material from that depth and onto the surface.
Greenland’s largestglacier has not only slowed its retreat, but has also thickened in recent years, surprising scientists studying the impacts of global warming on ice in the northern hemisphere.
The island is home to the second-largest ice sheet in the world afterAntarcticaand rapid warming in the northern hemisphere has major implications for continuing global sea-level rise.
The Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier on Greenland’s west coast used to lose more ice from this than anywhere else in the country.
It is known for the huge blocks of ice it calves into Disko Bay, which then drift south into the Atlantic Ocean. It is believed to have calved the iceberg which sank the Titanic.
Between 2000 and 2010, Jakobshavn Isbrae contributed the largest solid ice discharge in all of Greenland’s ice sheet and is estimated to have contributed to nearly 1mm of global sea rise.
Glacier collapse shows climate impact
But despite the trend of rising temperatures, it is no longer the place where the territory loses most of its ice.
Since 2013, when the glacier’s ice loss was at its fastest, the ice at the terminus of the glacier has stopped decreasing in height and started to thicken.
The overall effect is that it is now flowing more slowly, thickening and advancing towards the ocean instead of retreating further inland.
Measurements of the glacier’s elevation changes on its narrow trunk show that instead of losing 20 metres in height a year as it had previously, the glacier is now thickening by 20 metres a year.
New data processing techniques applied to the information gathered by satellites have given a clearer picture of the extent to which the ice is returning to the glacier, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
“The dynamic speedup of Jakobshavn Isbrae observed from the late 2000’s to 2013 was triggered by warm ocean waters in Disko Bay, entering Jakobshavn Fjord and melting ice at the glacier terminus," said Anna Hogg, a researcher in the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds.
“In recent years, however, temperature measurements show that ocean water in Disko Bay has experienced a series of cooler years – more than one degree lower than mean temperature previously observed. This has reduced the rate of ice melt on Jakobshavn Isbrae.”
However, the glacier does not indicate greater stability in the ice sheet overall. It drains just 7 per cent of all ice on Greenland.
Scientists at the Living Planet Symposium in Milan heard the glacier’s drainage basin as a whole is still losing more ice to the ocean than it gains as snowfall.
It is therefore still contributing to global sea-level rise, albeit at a slower rate.
We are all used to hearing about the world’s ice being the first casualty of #climatechange. Recent findings show that one glacier is not conforming to the norm – it’s actually been flowing more slowly and getting thicker.
Dr Hogg said: “The key question we need to answer now is whether the slowdown of Jakobshavn Isbrae just a pause, or is it more permanent? We will use ESA satellite observations combined with models to monitor change and predict this colossal glacier’s future evolution.”
The ESA’s Mark Drinkwater said further research was required and noted that “large seasonal and year-to-year variability in the dynamics of the Jakobshavn Isbrae Glacier … can easily hide the longer-term climate trend in ice loss.”
The research appears to fit with a study published earlier this year, indicating Greenland’s ice sheet was melting four times faster now than it was in 2003. However, it found the largest amount of ice loss was sustained away from the country's glaciers.
“Whatever this was, it couldn’t be explained by glaciers, because there aren’t many there,” Michael Bevis, the study’s lead author said in January.
He added: “It had to be the surface mass – the ice was melting inland from the coastline. It’s because the atmosphere is, at its baseline, warmer."
Another study of Jakobshavn Isbrae’s unexpected thickening indicated the cooling period will pass as ocean temperatures rise, which will then see the glacier retreat even faster than it was before.
Secret Space Force: The Treaty to Prevent War in Outer Space: P.A.R.O.S.
Secret Space Force: The Treaty to Prevent War in Outer Space: P.A.R.O.S.
Ted Cruz announced today that the Space Force is needed to fight space pirates. Are our governments finally going to have to come clean via Disclosure? Their actions speak volumes.
The United States of America will soon have a separate Space Command, that will better organise and advance the military’s vast operations in space. The Space Command is expected to improve the US military’s technological advances in space. Today in IN DEPTH we go into the details of what is the US Space Command … what was the need to create it.
President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is directing the Pentagon to create the “Space Force” as an independent service branch.
Description Definition of MILITARISM:
A: predominance of the military class or its ideals
B: exaltation of military virtues and ideals Definition of IMPERIALISM:
a: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas
b: This word has its origin in the Latin imperilcrn (empire). In its general meaning it is the expression employed for the aspiration to form a single, powerful empire encompassing the entire world
Get ready to rumble, conspiracy theorists … this story has something for everyone to worry about, no matter which side of Reddit you reside on. Scientists at Cambridge University are studying various forms of geoengineering and weather control for ways to stop climate change, and one involves placing highly-reflective clouds over the North and South poles in an effort to force them to freeze over again. What could possibly go wrong?
“What we do over the next 10 years will determine the future of humanity for the next 10,000 years. There is no major centre in the world that would be focused on this one big issue.”
Sir David King, then UK’s long-serving and now retired chief science adviser to prime ministers Blair, Brown, Cameron and May, told the BBC this week that he wants the new Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge to be that center. It’s part of the Carbon Neutral Futures Initiative, whose mission, according to Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, is to “solve the climate problem.” Nothing like starting at the top, right?
Actually, for Sir King, it means starting at the bottom too. His most radical plan involves sending specially-modified unmanned ships with tall, hollow masts to the poles to suck in seawater and blast it into the atmosphere through extremely fine nozzles. Those nozzles will isolate the salt from the tiny water droplets, creating clouds of salt crystals that will supposedly reflect sunlight back into space, leaving the area underneath them to chill and eventually reform the ice that’s been melting for years — calving monstrous icebergs, sending cracks through the Antarctic surface ice, melting glaciers and keeping the Arctic Ocean from freezing in the winter. Sounds like a good idea … as long as those clouds stay over the poles.
Sir King wants to sprinkle salt in other places as well. Another proposal involves fertilizing the ocean with more salt – iron or ferrous salts like ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous succinate, and ferrous sulfate – to promote the growth of plankton, which will then absorb more CO2 – the main cause of climate change (unless you don’t believe it exists). Sounds like a good idea … as long as the plankton doesn’t get out of control and take over the oceans, or create monster whales and other sea creature that feed on it.
King is not ruling out more conventional solutions. He supports carbon capture systems to collect and store greenhouse gases, developing viable nuclear fusion technology and improving renewable energy sources. But he obviously wants to think outside the box and ignore the consequences. Dr. Shuckburgh is open to considering everything Sir King proposes – no matter how wild or unconventional the ideas might be.
“In assessing such ideas we need to explore all aspects, including the technological advances required, the potential unintended consequences and side effects, the costs, the rules and regulations that would be needed, as well as the public acceptability.”
“Unintended consequences.” Isn’t that what got us climate change in the first place?
A resourceful type of spider uses its own web like a slingshot to catapult forward and trap prey. Before the discovery of these creatures, only humans were known to use tools in order to amplify the energy of their movements.
Most spiders build a familiar-looking spiral web, waiting for unsuspecting prey to become entangled. But while these webs are static, the triangle-weaver spider (Hyptiotes cavatus) crafts a stretchy triangle-shaped web that acts as a slingshot or bow and arrow.
This is how it works: the spider makes a single thread connecting a wall to the triangle web. The arachnid moves backwards along this thread to tighten the web, storing energy across its entire length. When the time is right, such as when prey is close to the triangle web, the spider lets go of its grip. The spider can remain in tension for hours at a time if needed. The released tension recoils the spider and its triangle web at high velocity, in the same way a rubber band would fly off once you pull it back.
Using sophisticated motion tracking software, the researchers recorded position data that allowed them to decode the spider’s precise and ultra-fast movements. In fact, the spider slingshots so fast, it travels with the equivalent velocity of 400 body lengths per second, according to the researchers. The maximum recorded acceleration was 773 meters per second squared, which is equivalent to a dizzying 79 g’s. Fighter pilots can’t pull more than 9 g’s without passing out.
Many animals use elastic-energy storage and recoil to produce extremely rapid motions. Examples include the jumping motion of fleas and frogs or the deadly punch of the mantis shrimp. However, the triangle-weaver’s impressive web shooting is the only known case of a nonhuman utilizing an external device for power amplification. In the future, researchers want to investigate how the spider manages to accelerate to fast without squashing itself.
“This finding reveals an underappreciated function of spider silk and expands our understanding of how power amplification is used in natural systems, showing remarkable convergence with human-made power-amplifying tools,” the authors wrote in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Crustaceans that live in the deepest part of the ocean carry radioactive carbon in their bodies, a legacy of nuclear tests performed during the Cold War.
Researchers recently found elevated levels of radiocarbon in amphipods — shell-less, shrimp-like creatures — from deep trenches in the western Pacific Ocean, up to 7 miles (11 kilometers) below the surface.
In those dark and high-pressure depths, deep-sea amphipods scavenge decaying organic matter that drifts down from above. By eating the remains of animals that were exposed to radioactive fallout from Cold War nuclear tests, the amphipods' bodies have also become infused with radiocarbon — the isotope carbon-14, or "bomb carbon" — the first evidence of elevated radiocarbon at the sea bottom, scientists wrote in a new study. [In Photos: The Wonders of the Deep Sea]
When global superpowers detonated nuclear bombs in the 1950s and 1960s, the explosions spewed neutrons into the atmosphere. There, the neutral particles reacted with nitrogen and carbon to form carbon-14, which re-entered the ocean to be absorbed by marine life, according to the study.
Some carbon-14 occurs naturally in the atmosphere and in living organisms. But by the mid-1960s, atmospheric radiocarbon levels were roughly twice what they were before nuclear testing began, and those levels didn't start to drop until testing ceased, the researchers reported.
Soon after the first nuclear explosions, elevated quantities of carbon-14 were already appearing in ocean animals near the sea surface. For the new study, researchers went deeper, examining amphipods collected from three locations on the sea bottom in the tropical western Pacific: the Mariana, Mussau and New Britain Trenches.
Organic matter in the amphipods' guts held carbon-14, but the carbon-14 levels in the amphipods' bodies were much higher. Over time, a diet rich in carbon-14 likely flooded the amphipods' tissues with bomb carbon, the scientists concluded.
They also found that deep-sea amphipods were bigger and longer-lived than their cousins closer to the surface. Amphipods in the ocean trenches lived to be more than 10 years old, and measured nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. By comparison, surface amphipods live to be less than 2 years old and grow to be only 0.8 inches (2 cm) in length.
The deep-sea amphipods' low metabolic rate and longevity provide fertile ground for carbon-14 to accumulate in their bodies over time, according to the study.
Ocean circulation alone would take centuries to carry bomb carbon to the deep sea. But thanks to the ocean food chain, bomb carbon arrived at the seafloor far sooner than expected, lead study author Ning Wang, a geochemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, said in a statement.
The study underscores how humans' impact on ocean ecosystems near the surface can circulate through miles of water, affecting creatures in its deepest depths.
"There's a very strong interaction between the surface and the bottom, in terms of biologic systems," study co-author Weidong Sun, a geochemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Qingdao, said in the statement.
"Human activities can affect the biosystems even down to 11,000 meters [36,000 feet], so we need to be careful about our future behaviors," Sun said.
Indeed, recent studies have also shown evidence of plastic in the guts of marine animals inhabiting deep-sea trenches.
I took a boat through 96 million black plastic balls on the Los Angeles reservoir to find out why they’re there. The first time I heard about shade balls the claim was they reduce evaporation. But it turns out this isn’t the reason they were introduced. Huge thanks to LADWP for arranging this special tour for me. Next time let’s put the GoPro on the submersible!
The balls are made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) which is less dense than water so they float on the surface of the reservoir even if they break apart. They are 10cm (4 inches) in diameter and contain about 210ml of water. So the main reason they are on the reservoir is to block sunlight from entering the water and triggering a chemical reaction that turns harmless bromide into carcinogenic bromate.
This effect occurs with prolonged exposure to bromate so regulators insist that levels be kept below 10 microgram per liter on average over a 12 month period.
Robots and artificial intelligence may be just what we need to meet the denizens of the ocean floor, a new study reports.
Image via Pixabay.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has an important role to play in helping us understand the large variety of species living on the ocean floor, new research from the University of Plymouth reports. Such systems could finally allow marine researchers to push past the efficiency bottleneck created by human users analyzing recordings from the depths of the sea.
Davy Jones’ locker
“Autonomous vehicles are a vital tool for surveying large areas of the seabed deeper than 60m [the depth most divers can reach],” says PhD student Nils Piechaud, lead author on the study. “But we are currently not able to manually analyse more than a fraction of that data.”
“This research shows AI is a promising tool but our AI classifier would still be wrong one out of five times, if it was used to identify animals in our images.”
The new study analyzed the effectiveness of a computer vision (CV) system in taking over the role of humans in analyzing deep-sea images. All in all, the team found, such as system is around 80% accurate in identifying various animals in images of the seabed but can be up to 93% accurate for specific species if enough data is used to train the algorithm. The authors say that such results suggest CV could soon be routinely employed to study marine animals and plants. In such a case, it would lead to a major increase in data availability for conservation research and biodiversity management, they add.
“But we are not at the point of considering it a suitable complete replacement for humans at this stage,” Piechaud notes.
The team used Google’s Tensorflow, an open access library, to teach a (pre-trained) neural network to identify individuals of deep-sea species found in images taken by autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). One of these AUVs, known as Autosub6000, was deployed back in May 2016 on the north-east side of Rockall Bank, UK, and collected over 150,000 images in a single dive. Around 1,200 of these images were manually analyzed, containing 40,000 individuals of 110 different kinds of animals (morphospecies), most of them only seen a handful of times.
Manual annotation ranged from 50 to 95% on this dataset; however, it was very slow. And, as you guessed from that ‘ranged’ part, it was quite inconsistent across different teams and work intervals. The automated method reached around 80% accuracy, approaching the performance of humans with a clear speed and consistency advantage. The software worked particularly well for certain morphospecies. For example, it correctly identified a type of xenophyophore 93% of the time.
So should we just use it instead of marine biologists? Well, the authors of this present study don’t think that would be a good idea. The study makes a case for automated systems working in tandem with marine biologists, not replacing them. The AIs could greatly enhance the ability of scientists to analyze the data before them.
And combining the ability of high-tech AUVs to survey large areas of the seabed, the fast data-crunching ability of AI, and expertise of marine biologists together could massively speed up the rate of deep-ocean exploration — and with it our wider understanding of marine ecosystems.
“Most of our planet is deep sea, a vast area in which we have equally large knowledge gaps,” says Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology and Principal Investigator for the Deep Links project.”
“With increasing pressures on the marine environment including climate change, it is imperative that we understand our oceans and the habitats and species found within them. In the age of robotic and autonomous vehicles, big data, and global open research, the development of AI tools with the potential to help speed up our acquisition of knowledge is an exciting and much needed advance.”
The paper “Automated identification of benthic epifauna with computer vision” has been published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.
In less than a century, humans have managed the ignoble feat of raising atmospheric CO2 levels by more than 100 parts per million (ppm). Like every year, weather stations are measuring new record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and according to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is now over 415 ppm, which is higher than at any point during the existence of our lineage.
This is the first time in human history our planet's atmosphere has had more than 415ppm CO2.
Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago.
We don't know a planet like this.
415.26 parts per million (ppm) CO2 in air 11-May-2019 http://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/ … First daily baseline over 415ppm
Some believe that global warming, which is responsible for at least 1ºC (1.8ºF) of warming compared to pre-Industrial Age levels, has already triggered an irreversible feedback loop that will see much of the polar ice sheets melt. Whatever the case, the effects of man-made climate change are sorely felt around the world now. The Arctic, which warms twice as fast than the global average, lost nearly one million square kilometers (620,000 square miles) of winter sea ice cover since 1979 — that’s an area twice as large as Texas. Heat waves and droughts are more common and every new year seems like it’s the warmest on record.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been measuring atmospheric carbon since 1958 when the program was started by the late Charles David Keeling. The famous, constantly updated graph that shows the accelerated rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, known as the Keeling Curve (shown above), is named after him.
The latest recorded figure, which stands at 415.26 ppm of CO2, is unprecedented in millions of years. The last time this happened, during the Pliocene Epoch, the Arctic was covered in trees and global sea levels were 25 meters higher than today.
Comment from Ralph Keeling, director of Scripps CO2 Program: “The average growth rate is remaining on the high end. The increase from last year will probably be around three parts per million whereas the recent average has been 2.5 ppm....” 1/2
The year’s increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has been partly fueled by El Niño conditions — changes in the sea-surface temperature of the tropical Pacific Ocean. This warms and dries tropical ecosystems, reducing their uptake of carbon, and exacerbating forest fires. However, the main factor responsible for the upward trend is, by far, the burning of fossil fuels.
According to a 2017 study, if the world continues on this business as usual route, by 2050 CO2 levels could rise beyond anything the Earth’s atmosphere has seen in the last 50 million years (600ppm). That’s not a death sentence in and of itself — life has flourished in those conditions before — but the shift is too fast and brutal for animals to adapt. A lot of today’s species will find it difficult (if not impossible) to adapt to those conditions in such a short time. As for humans, climate change threatens communities through rising sea levels, more frequent extreme weather, heat waves, and food shortages.
All the signs are pointing to an impending disaster if we don’t do something about it. This means moving to zero-emission energy generation as fast as possible. But that’s not enough — we also need to increase carbon capture and sequestration by planting more forests and developing new technologies that can safely lock excess carbon from the atmosphere.
The notion that the climate change we’re experiencing today is mainly driven by a natural climate cycle is silly and not rooted in scientific reality.
Krubera Cave - Journeying to the Depths of Georgia in One of the World’s Deepest Caves
Krubera Cave - Journeying to the Depths of Georgia in One of the World’s Deepest Caves
Krubera Cave was once thought to be the deepest cave on earth, although now it is generally regarded as the second deepest. This natural wonder, found in the Republic of Georgia , is renowned among cavers due to its arduous challenges and the subterranean depth.
The Geology and Layout of Krubera Cave
The cave is located in the Arabika Massif of the Gagra Range of the Western Caucasus and overlooks the Black Sea . It is not the only cave in the area, there are many others in the north-west of Georgia, and in fact Krubera is not far from the world’s deepest cave, the Voronya Cave system. It is a mere 80 feet (24 meters) or so deeper than the third deepest cave which is in the Austrian Alps .
The depth of the cave as measured from the entrance to the distance of the deepest explored point is approximately 7,200 feet (2,200 meters). The entrance is surprisingly narrow for such a large cavern and the bottom was only located in 2001.
The geology of the cave is of limestone that dates from the Cretaceous and Jurassic ages. There are several underground springs and pools within it, and according to those who explored the system, it consists of a number of deep pits connected by passageways. The best known of these is the Cascade pit which is over 500 feet (152 meters) deep and the bottom has a pool of water. Many freezing sumps (water-filled pits) and water cascades have also been discovered.
The cave was not explored until the 1960s. The local population was aware of the cave but did not have the means to explore it. The first experts to really study the Krubera Cave entrance were a group of Soviet speleologists who reported that they believed they had found an underground system that was unusually deep.
Soviet speleologists reported that they believed they had found an underground system that was unusually deep.
This team named the underground system after a great Russian geographer, Alexander Kruber, who is regarded as one of the founders of speleology. He was one of the first to survey of the area and published several papers on the caves and their geology. An alternate name for the site is Crow's Cave ( Vronja), in recognition of all the crows who nest in its vicinity.
There were no further expeditions until the 1980s, when a group of Ukrainian speleologists conducted the first large-scale expedition into the caverns. They were able to push down into the narrow connecting chambers and through tight choke points to a depth of 900 feet (274 meters).
Due to the instability brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union , the cave was not explored for the next two decades. In 2001 an American expedition revived interest in the cave and on a series of Krubera cave expeditions they gradually managed to discover more pits, meanders, tunnels, and passages. Underground divers explored the many bodies of water of the cave system.
Underground divers explored the many bodies of water of the cave system. ( Excitement N Net )
In 2012, a Ukrainian diver reached the deepest point of Krubera at a depth of over 2,000 feet (600 meters), which at the time was a world record. In 2017 a team proved that the Veryovkina Cave, also in Abkhazia, was the world’s deepest.
To explore this site is an ambition of many cavers and it is known as the Everest of Caves. Descending into the caves requires great planning and resources, including tents and breathing equipment. One recent expedition to Krubera took two weeks exploring the underground labyrinth. It is only now, after 20 years of near constant exploration, that we have a reliable map of Krubera Cave and some believe that more pits and passageways remain undiscovered.
Exploring Krubera Cave is Not for Everyone
Garga, Abkhazia, is a breakaway region and is currently under the control of the Russian Federation and its local allies. Because of this, the cave is difficult to access. It is not possible to enter the region via Georgia and permission is needed to enter Abkhazia from Russia. Only highly trained experts should enter Krubera Cave as it is incredibly dangerous. Amateurs and visitors with a yearning for adventure can explore the area around the entrance.
Only highly trained experts should enter Krubera Cave as it is incredibly dangerous.
Arsenic is a deadly poison for most living things, but new research shows that microorganisms are breathing arsenic in a large area of the Pacific Ocean.
Researchers fix the line on an instrument that pumps large volumes of seawater in order to extract DNA. The instrument on the left measures properties such as temperature, salinity and depth and collects smaller samples of seawater.
We’ve known for a long time that there are very low levels of arsenic in the ocean. But the idea that organisms could be using arsenic to make a living – it’s a whole new metabolism for the open ocean.
The team analyzed samples collected during a 2012 research cruise to the tropical Pacific, off the coast of Mexico. The seawater samples came from a region below the surface, where oxygen is almost absent. Rocap said:
In some parts of the ocean there’s a sandwich of water where there’s no measurable oxygen. The microbes in these regions have to use other elements that act as an electron acceptor to extract energy from food.
A purple arsenic atom surrounded by four oxygen atoms is arsenate (left). An arsenic atom surrounded by three oxygen atoms is arsenite (right). The study found evidence of marine organisms that can convert one to the other to get energy in oxygen-deficient environments.
Image via Wikimedia.
Genetic analyses on DNA extracted from the seawater found two genetic pathways that are known to convert arsenic-based molecules as a way to gain energy.
According to the researchers, the microbes discovered in the water are probably distantly related to the arsenic-breathing microbes found in hot springs or contaminated sites on land.
California’s Mono Lake is naturally high in arsenic and is known to host microbes that survive by breathing arsenic. The organisms that live in the marine environment are likely related to the ones on land.
Biologists believe the strategy of using arsenic for respiration is a holdover from Earth’s early history. During the period when life arose on Earth, oxygen was scarce in both the air and in the ocean. Oxygen became abundant in Earth’s atmosphere only after photosynthesis became widespread and converted carbon dioxide gas into oxygen. Early lifeforms had to gain energy using other elements, such as arsenic, which was likely more common in the oceans at that time.
Jaclyn Saunders, a postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is the study first author. She said:
We found the genetic signatures of pathways that are still there, remnants of the past ocean that have been maintained until today.
Arsenic-breathing populations may grow again under climate change. Low-oxygen regions are projected to expand, and dissolved oxygen is predicted to drop throughout the marine environment. Rocap said:
For me, it just shows how much is still out there in the ocean that we don’t know.
Bottom line: Researchers have discovered microorganisms that breathe arsenic.
5 Extraordinary Stories That Could Suggest We Live in a Multiple Dimensional Reality
5 Extraordinary Stories That Could Suggest We Live in a Multiple Dimensional Reality
Deja vu is to me a strong indication of parallel dimensions. I have one experience which was very strong. It was the first time I played basketball, in school.
At one precise moment I recognized everything I saw. The way the ball was flying, a guy jumping after the ball, another kid courtside shouting out, and finally me stumbling in an exact manner. And this was literally the first time I played basketball ever.
I remembered everything from before, all of it was “familiar”. But I remembered it the moment it happened. I froze up for several seconds in the middle of the game because I had no idea what was going on.
It’s something I didn’t think about much as a kid. It just didn’t make sense, right? But as an adult and having heard all these theories, well now there is at least a possible explanation to what happened. via the channel
The new nature of warfare in many parts of the world has made it increasingly difficult to identify who is a target and who is an innocent civilian. Terrorist groups, in particular, often have no reservations about placing their leadership among civilian populations or even schoolchildren in order to shield them from attacks. To combat this, the U.S. and its allies have been testing new methods of “reducing collateral damage,” or “blowing up innocent people” to use a non-sterilized term.
An MQ-1 Predator drone outfitted with a Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire Missile
While this has most often meant reducing the explosive payloads of traditional munitions, it turns out that the CIA has been using a terrifying and highly advanced new weapon which could radically change the nature of warfare as we know it. According to a Wall Street Journalreport published today, it turns out the CIA has been using a high-precision kinetic warhead known as the RX9 packed with “a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact, shredding anything in its tracks.” Yikes. Military news site Task and Purposewrites that “this is basically like dropping a rocket-assisted meteor full of swords on someone.”
Details about the RX9 are still scarce, and The Wall Street Journal has not disclosed its source for the existence of the RX9 but writes that it can confirm the CIA and Department of Defense are indeed using the weapon.
A typical Hellfire missile, believed to be the platform for this kinetic blade warhead.
There is some suspected evidence of its use, too. In 2017, Al-Qaeda second-in-command Abu Khayr al-Masri was killed in a precise drone strike by something which smashed right through the top of his car and yet caused very little other damage. Photos of the smashed car show 4 distinct ‘slice’ marks in the windshield and roof of the car; could they have been made by an RX9’s halo of six long blades as they shredded whatever was in its tracks in the car? Ouch.
Just wait until these things start being dropped from space. By soulless AIs. I don’t know of any deterrent more effective than the fear of a freakin’ sword falling from the heavens directly on one’s head after being dropped by an omniscient non-physical entity. It’s got a mythological ring to it. Still, while these secret missiles might prevent civilian casualties and sound objectively rad, they’re still instruments of death. How impersonal can we make killing from a distance until warfare loses all of its meaning?
A pair of strange discoveries this month shows that there is still plenty of mystery left at the bottom of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans – but not all of it is the good kind. First, scientists announced a grim but fascinating discovery when it was revealed that radioactive fallout was discovered at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest natural trench in the world. If nuclear fallout has managed to make it all the way down there, what does this mean for us surface dwellers?
The discovery of fallout in the Mariana Trench was made when marine biologists collected amphipods from the trench in order to analyze which, if any, radioactive isotopes might be present in the tiny creatures. Amphipods are diminutive crustaceans that feed on microscopic plankton, making them a perfect way to measure levels of ambient isotopes found in the world’s oceans. Prior to this most recent study, it was presumed that amphipods in the deepest parts of the world would be free from radioactive isotopes due to their isolation, yet scientists found high levels of carbon-14 anyway, similar in fact to levels of carbon-14 found on the ocean’s surface.
Most amphipods are only a few millimeters in length or less.
Above-ground nuclear tests conducted between 1955 and 1980 released dramatic levels of carbon-14 into the atmosphere and biosphere, making this isotope perfect for testing for radioactive fallout. This is the first time scientists have reported the presence of radioactive fallout in the Mariana Trench, and shows that radioactive material from nuclear tests can pass through the food chain to reach even the smallest, most remote creatures. It’s still unknown what effects this residual radiation could have on ecosystems in the long term. Can’t stop progress, though, am I right?
In less depressing ocean trench news, scientists with the Five Deeps Expedition may have discovered an entirely new species living in the deepest known part of the Indian Ocean. Five Deeps is the world’s first manned expedition to the deepest point in each of the five oceans and was exploring the Java Trench off the coast of Indonesia when it caught a strange creature on one of its submersible’s cameras. The team called the unidentified creature an “extraordinary gelatinous animal” which “does not resemble anything seen before.” See the footage of the creature for yourself.
A gold-mouth sea squirt
Preliminary analysis suggests the animal may be an unknown type of sea squirt, but it’s difficult to tell from just photographic evidence, not to mention the fact that sea squirts are usually anchored to the sea floor. While it was initially believed the creature was a new jellyfish, Five Deeps chief scientist Alan Jamieson now believes it may be a specially-adapted sea squirt which is able to relocate itself in the event of seismic activity. “Trenches are quite seismic — and normally tunicates would be attached to the sea floor. And, now, if it’s quite a seismic environment, you run the risk of being buried,” Jamieson says, “so an adaptation to destructive environments is to raise yourself off the seafloor and in this case using this big long tentacle.”
We’ve only begun to peer into the world’s deepest oceans, and NOAA estimates only around 20% of the world’s oceans have been explored to date. Who knows what may lie in the darkness of the unfathomable depths below miles and miles of water?
Things much bigger and scarier than sea squirts and radioactive shrimp, I know that much.
The original Star Wars Death Star (for any of you just emerging from 35 years in a cave) was a massive moon-like space station armed with a superlaser capable of vaporizing a planet. Could there possibly be a more useful purpose for such a powerful tool? We may find out soon, as engineers in Romania announced the successful test of a 10-Petawatt laser. That’s 10 million billion watts or 1/10th the energy produced by the sun on Earth. We’re still here, so it’s not capable of destroying a planet … yet. But China (uh-oh) is already working on a 100-Petawatt laser. Is life (or death) about to imitate sci-fi again?
“After demonstration of a beam delivering pulses of 7 PW for more than 4 hours continuously, the Thales system generated its first pulses with a record power level of 10 PW on 7 March 2019. Thales has thus achieved an unprecedented level of performance, which means that the Romanian National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) and ELI-NP now have the most powerful laser in the world.”
In a press release that is mysteriously just now getting attention, Thales – a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets – announced the successful test of the Extreme Light Infrastructure for Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) at a facility in Măgurele near Bucharest. The 10 PW pulse was the most concentrated power ever generated.
“This laser will support research in nuclear physics and help advance human understanding of the physics of matter.”
Not to mention the physics of vaporizing matter. The ELI project was started in the mid-2000s by French scientist and Gérard Mourou, the 2018 Nobel prize winner for his work on high-energy laser pulses, and was initially funded by the European Commission to build the world’s largest lasers in Romania, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
“It may help investigating and controlling aging processes in materials under extreme conditions, such as in nuclear reactors, and help protecting the environment by offering new ways to treat nuclear waste.”
Vaporizing nuclear waste sounds like a good thing, until one thinks about what else a power of that magnitude could vaporize. In fact, how did it not vaporize its own lab – or at least the wall it was pointed in the direction of? The answer is somewhat vague. ExtremeTech quotes Dr. Nicolae Zamfir, project director at ELI-NP, saying that “The beam is focused on mm2 only in the interaction [chamber].” We’re still here and there’s no hole in the wall because the pulse was infinitesimally brief.
That will change soon by an order of magnitude. While the ELI project has plans for a fourth lab with a 100 PW laser, is hasn’t even chosen a location for it. Meanwhile, Chinese physicists are said to already be building a 100 PW laser at the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF). Using a single cylinder of titanium-doped sapphire about 12 inches wide, the researchers believe it will be long enough (possibly a minute) and powerful enough to break a vacuum and create antimatter. Testing is estimated to begin in 2023.
That’s not all. Laser testing is going on around the world in quests to harness its tremendous power. Are the goals noble or just paths to a real Death Star? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, The Titanium-Doped Sapphires would make a great name for a band.
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Ik ben Pieter, en gebruik soms ook wel de schuilnaam Peter2011.
Ik ben een man en woon in Linter (België) en mijn beroep is Ik ben op rust..
Ik ben geboren op 18/10/1950 en ben nu dus 68 jaar jong.
Mijn hobby's zijn: Ufologie en andere esoterische onderwerpen.
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