Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A giant hole has opened up in Antarctica as scientists look to find out what is to blame

Torsten Blackwood - Pool/Getty Images
Via by Samuel Osborne

A hole larger than the Netherlands has opened up in Antarctica, and scientists are working to deepen their understanding of how it formed.

The hole in the ice is "quite remarkable," University of Toronto Mississauga professor Kent Moore told Motherboard.

"It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice," he said.

Areas of open water surrounded by ice are known by the Russian word "polynya". They occur regularly in the Antarctic and Arctic, but typically in coastal regions.

This polynya was first observed by satellites in the 1970's in the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The hole reopened again this year, marking "the second year in a row it's opened up after 40 years of not being there," Mr Moore said.

Giant Robot Duel: USA (Megabots) VS Japan (Suidobashi)

Astronomers find half of the missing matter in the universe

Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images
Via by Hannah Devlin

It is one of cosmology’s more perplexing problems: that up to 90% of the ordinary matter in the universe appears to have gone missing.

Now astronomers have detected about half of this missing content for the first time, in a discovery that could resolve a long-standing paradox.

The conundrum first arose from measurements of radiation left over from the Big Bang, which allowed scientists to calculate how much matter there is in the universe and what form it takes. This showed that about 5% of the mass in the universe comes in the form of ordinary matter, with the rest being accounted for by dark matter and dark energy.

Dark matter has never been directly observed and the nature of dark energy is almost completely mysterious, but even tracking down the 5% of ordinary stuff has proved more complicated than expected. When scientists have counted up all the observable objects in the sky – stars, planets, galaxies and so on – this only seems to account for between a 10th and a fifth of what ought to be out there.

The deficit is known as the “missing baryon problem”, baryons being ordinary subatomic particles like protons and neutrons.

Halloween In New Orleans: Spooky Hotels With Ghost Guests & Haunted Histories

Via by Lea Lane

The Big Easy turns into The Big Scary around this time of year. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Halloween in New Orleans is second only to Mardi Gras - and it's 300 year history boasts some really spooky times.

Ghost sightings and hauntings are nothing new in the French Quarter, known for historic sites and centuries-old buildings, some dating back to 1718 when the city was founded. Below you will find three haunted hotels, plus one of the scariest experiences in New Orleans. Read them in the dark for shivery impact if you're not up to staying at the properties.

Paranormal Phenomena in an Infamous Prison

Via by Nick Redfern

Tales of blazing-eyed, huge black dogs of an ominous and sometimes deadly kind – and which can take on multiple forms – are significant parts of British folklore and mythology. They even inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his classic Sherlock Holmes novel of 1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles. They are among the most feared of all shapeshifters, primarily because they are linked to the realm of the dead and the afterlife. The story which follows is one of the strangest and most sinister of all, when it comes to the issue of what are generally referred to as Phantom Black Dogs – or PBDs.

If you think it’s tough to serve a life-long jail sentence today, you may want to take a look at life in England’s Newgate Prison, circa the latter part of the 1500s.To say that existence was grim for those who were destined to die within the infamous prison would be an understatement of epic proportions. And particularly so when you’re also faced with fighting off a marauding entity that is part-human and part-monstrous hound. But, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. A bit of background on Newgate Prison is first required.

The origins of this particularly notorious jail date back to 1188, which was the year in which its huge, creaking doors were first opened. Such was the level of violence that existed in lawless England at the time, the facility was constantly being added to, specifically to cope with the ever-growing band of criminals that came its way. In other words, business was not just good: it was positively blooming. Things remained that way until the doors of the prison were finally shut, in 1902.

It was, however, in the 1500s that Newgate Prison earned its reputation as a definitive hellhole. During this period food for the people of London was at its lowest. Malnutrition, starvation, and death were very much the order of the day. Behind the walls of Newgate, however, things were even worse. If such a thing was possible. Yes, unfortunately, it was. Old texts and manuscripts tell of nightmarish scenarios in which the starving, desperate prisoners turned upon one another, literally eating each other alive in cramped, filthy cells and amid a sickening and ever-growing stench of rotting, human flesh.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“Medium” exhibition at Zuckerman Museum is devoted to the paranormal

Atlanta artist Stephanie Dowda’s “I Can See You When I Close My Eyes,” 2015.
Via by Felicia Feaster

Belief in something beyond what you can see is the idea at the core of the Zuckerman Museum of Art group show “Medium.”

The exhibit focuses on connections between our world and the afterlife. But the effort to reveal a reality beyond lived perception extends beyond the supernatural in “Medium.” It could be said to be every artist’s mission. Because like a psychic or medium facilitating communication with another reality, artists strive to show viewers an experience or a vantage beyond the familiar.

It’s an idea at work in Dan R. Talley’s “Seeing Through Psychics” series on view in “Medium.” Photographs of household objects — a sink or a beautifully carved piece of scrolled woodwork — become portals to other experiences. Next to images of those items, Talley places a text panel in which a psychic or medium describes the layers of grief and longing and secret human histories contained in those objects.

Look closely, much of the work in “Medium” suggests, and history speaks to us. One of the most powerful and resonant themes in “Medium” is the idea that history is a tangible reality outside of our immediate discerning. It can speak to us, yes. But we have to agree to listen.

Ghosts Photographed at the Hotel That Inspired ‘The Shining’

(John Mausling)
Via by Paul Seaburn

There are few adaptations of Stephen King’s horror novels better than The Shining. It’s a well-known fact that King was inspired to write it while staying at the stately Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. As a result, the hotel has become a center for paranormal investigations and ghost sightings. The latest occurred last month when a family that had taken a spirit tour while visiting the Stanley noticed what appears to be two apparitions in one photograph.

John Mausling, his wife Jessica Martinez-Mausling and their children visited the Stanley Hotel, a popular tourist spot near the Rocky Mountain National Park, in September. None remember seeing anything unusual on their spirit tour, a popular guided trip through the hotel highlighting its haunted history, but it wasn’t hard to spot something strange in one of the photographs of their guide on a staircase. Taken from above, the shot shows what appears to be a ghostly apparition of a girl near the guide and a second glowing apparition next to her.

Being of sound mind and body, the Mauslings immediately contacted not the Stanley Hotel, not the police, not the Ghostbusters (neither the females nor the males) but the Huffington Post, which reported their account and published the photograph. They commented that no one in their family nor the tour group remembers seeing a young girl, which is what most people who see the photo think the larger shape is.

The Surprising Medical Origins of Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, and More Spooky Characters

Via by Sarah Klein

Spooky, paranormal stories are inspired by strangeness in the world around us. Light in the night sky? Must be a UFO. Curious shape beneath the surface of the lake? Gotta be the Loch Ness Monster.

As these scary tales are passed between storytellers–preferably around a campfire–they snowball into haunting sagas that can completely derail what would have otherwise been a perfectly good night's sleep. But they all start somewhere, and in some cases, the origin stories are even more interesting than the legends themselves.

Case in point: The surprising medical history of vampires, witches, zombies, and other spooky characters that you're likely to encounter (at least in stories) this season.

10 Unusual Male Witch Trials From Europe

Via by Tristan Shaw

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, tens of thousands of people were executed for witchcraft in Europe. Then as now, witches were typically thought of as female, and most of the victims in the witch trials were women.

However, men were occasionally accused and executed for witchcraft as well. Sometimes, they were linked with a female witch. Other times, they were accused independently. In a few areas of Europe, such as Estonia and Normandy, men actually made up the majority of the accused.
10.  John Fian

In late 1589, the Scottish king James VI traveled to Scandinavia to marry Princess Anne of Denmark. While sailing home, James and his new queen were stalled by terrible storms. Instead of bad luck, the Danish authorities blamed the weather on witchcraft, duly arresting and executing six supposed witches. Back in Scotland, some of James’s subjects were accused of a conspiracy to magically sink the king’s ship.

John Fian, a schoolteacher, was allegedly one of the plot’s ringmasters. According to the many wild legends surrounding him, Fian could fly and unlock doors by blowing on their locks. In one bizarre story, Fian asked a local boy to steal pubic hair from his sister. The hair was an ingredient for a love charm. But Fian was tricked and given cow hair, making a cow fall in love with him instead.[1]

After being taken into custody for treason and witchcraft, Fian was tortured and interrogated. He confessed that the charges were true, escaped from jail, and then ended up being tortured again. This time, Fian recanted his confession and refused to budge, even after having his nails pulled out and his legs crushed. Despite Fian’s resilience, his interrogators and King James VI weren’t convinced. Fian was strangled and burned at the stake in Edinburgh in January 1591.
9. Thomas Weir

Thomas Weir was probably the last person anybody would suspect of being a witch. He was an elderly veteran of the English Civil War, a stern, religious man who was greatly respected in Edinburgh. In 1670, however, Weir suddenly suffered a kind of breakdown. He’d been harboring a lifetime of guilt and wasn’t nearly as saintly as everybody believed.

From the time his sister, Jane, was 16 until she was 50, Weir had repeatedly slept with her. He’d also had sex with his stepdaughter, his maid, and some mares and cows.[2] After the secret was leaked, Weir and his sister were arrested for incest. Jane not only confirmed her brother’s claims but told the authorities that she and her brother were witches.

Weir freely admitted to being a witch. He claimed that he’d slept with the Devil and that his walking stick was actually a wand. In the end, Jane was repentant about what she’d done. On the other hand, Weir refused to apologize. Both brother and sister were sentenced to death, although curiously, only Jane was convicted of witchcraft.

Some UFOs and Mysterious Booms May Be Secret SR-72

Via by Paul Seaburn

Have you seen a UFO streaking across the sky far faster than any normal jet is capable of? Heard mysterious booms that no one can explain and government officials refuse to acknowledge? Congratulations! You may be one of the first civilians to have witnessed or experienced the long-rumored SR-72 ‘Son of Blackbird’ spy plane which has been expected for years as the replacement for the legendary SR-71 Blackbird which spied on the Soviet Union, North Korea and North Vietnam and was feared and respected by MiG-25 pilots who could never outpace, out-climb or out-maneuver them.

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report has confirmed sightings of an SR-72 demonstrator or prototype accompanied by two T-38 jets in late July landing at the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, home of the infamous Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs division. At the SAE International Aerotech Congress and Exhibition in Ft. Worth, Texas, this week, Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, would not discuss the SR-72 specifically, but had this to say about what its capabilities might be:

“Hypersonics is like stealth. It is a disruptive technology and will enable various platforms to operate at two to three times the speed of the Blackbird. Operational survivability and lethality is the ultimate deterrent. Security classification guidance will only allow us to say the speed is greater than Mach 5.”

That means at least Mach 6 or at least 3,800 mph (6,126 km/h) and probably faster for a very big reason … it’s designed to fly both piloted and unmanned. The manned X-15 reached Mach 6.72, setting the acknowledged speed record in 1959, but the Cold War and heightened security has likely kept the U.S. military from revealing the true speed of subsequent jets.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Are you living in the Matrix? It's impossible, say quantum physicists

Via by Bryan Nelson

It's a question that philosophers have been asking since the dawn of philosophy itself: What's real? Is the world as we perceive it really the world? And how can we know one way or another?

The latest version of this age-old conundrum, popularized in the 1999 sci-fi film "The Matrix," puts things in modern technological terms: Could reality be nothing more than a computer simulation?

This is, technically, merely a theoretical question. No computer around today has the computing power to simulate the entire universe, not even close. But could such a super-super-supercomputer even be possible? Might you be unknowingly lying in a gel-filled pod somewhere with circuits in your head, while an ultra-powerful artificial intelligence feeds off the electrical pulses surging between neurons in your brain?

Thankfully, the plot of "The Matrix" is not only implausible, it's actually impossible. At least, that's according to a pair of quantum physicists, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhin, from the University of Oxford and the Hebrew University in Israel. They crunched the numbers and found that the computing power needed to simulate the universe all the way down to the quantum level would require a memory built from more atoms than there are in the universe itself.

In other words, thanks to the immense complexity of quantum phenomenon, simulating the universe as we currently understand it is fundamentally an intractable problem.

Unexplained Spike in European Radiation Worries Health Officials

Via by Brett Tingley

If you thought the Cold War ended with the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, you’re wrong. Recent events show that shadowy espionage, international intrigue, and the looming threat of global annihilation are back with a vengeance. Ghosts of the rivalry with the former Soviet Union keep turning up not only in Russia, but in America’s own front yard as the American embassy in Havana appears to have been the target of some sort of sonic spy weapon and Soviet military technology was recently pulled up from the bottom of the sea by Hurricane Irma in what is surely a poetic symbol of current geopolitical developments. To make things even more frightening, health organizations throughout Europe are reporting mysterious spikes in radiation levels, possibly indicating secret nuclear testing on Europe’s doorstep.