Archive for August, 2015

Falling in Love With the Dark – Issue 27: Dark Matter

August 28, 2015

If you see a car along that road,” Tyler Nordgren warned me, “don’t look at the headlights. It’ll ruin your night vision for 2 hours.” Nordgren and I had pitched our tents under the brow of Mount Whitney in the Alabama Hills, a field of boulders near Death Valley. We watched it get dark, and in the nighttime horizon, the sky was perforated by stars and streaked by the Milky Way. Or, to put it in approximate scientific terms, it was probably a 3 on the Bortle Scale, the 9-level numeric metric of night sky brightness.

Even so, we could still see domes of hazy light from 200-odd miles south in Los Angeles and 250 miles east in Las Vegas. That encroaching urban glow was like highlighter calling attention to the issue that Nordgren, a prophet whose cause is light pollution, wanted to illustrate for me.

“We’re losing the stars,” the 45-year-old astronomer told me. “Think about it this way: For 4.5 billion years, Earth has been a planet with a day and a night. Since the electric light bulb was invented, we’ve progressively lit up the night, and have gotten rid of it. Now 99 percent of the…

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This Legendary Deep-Sea Fish Sighting Continues to be Debated After 60 Years – Facts So Romantic

August 27, 2015

Once, while fishing for salmon, I hooked a clam. It fought bravely, and when I finally pulled it from the water I could see that I hadn’t just snagged it, as you might expect, but that it had taken the bait willingly. These are minor points; what matters here is that the clam, so different from a salmon, forced me to reconsider what might lie below the murky water. It did not seem like a place for clams, but there it was, spinning at the end of my line.  

Fishing is this way. Even knowing what kind of fish you want to catch, where and when to find said fish, and what kind of bait it likes to eat, you’re always working by feel. Line and hook or nets serve as surrogate fingers, groping their way through an unseen world, and until they break the surface and the fist is opened, there is no way of knowing exactly what was grabbed. At risk of mixing metaphors, what I’m trying to say is that there’s always the chance of catching a clam. It’s what makes fishing fun, and it’s also a good way to think about the story of…

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Is There Awareness Behind Vegetative States? – Facts So Romantic

August 26, 2015

Imagine that a loved one, let’s say your brother, has suffered a serious brain injury. After languishing in a coma, he finally “emerges”—that is, he cycles between sleep and wakefulness, yanks his hand away when it’s pricked, is startled by loud noises, and so on. But it’s not clear that he’s ever truly awake; his eyes are open, but they rove around aimlessly. He can’t communicate or follow instructions, even simple ones like “Squeeze my hand” or “Blink if you can hear me.” Does your brother still inhabit his body?

Our notion of what it means to retain a self may boil down to Descartes’ pithy “I think, therefore I am.” Selfhood can withstand many assaults: paralysis, memory impairment, blindness, even loss of language. But the loss of awareness—the ability to be conscious of our experiences and to reflect on them—seems to cut away at something truly fundamental.

agsandrew

A substantial number of people who come out of a coma remain, sometimes for decades, in a persistent vegetative state. These patients show no overt evidence of being conscious of their surroundings, of who they are, or what they perceive or feel. They appear to be reduced to a bundle…

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The Search for Eclipses as Perfect as Earth’s – Facts So Romantic

August 23, 2015

This classic Facts So Romantic post was originally published in September, 2013.

Roughly twice a year, the apparent positions of sun and moon coincide, and a fortunate few observers are treated to a solar eclipse. Watching such an event provides the opportunity to contemplate a strange coincidence: From the surface of Earth, the apparent sizes of the sun and moon in the sky are nearly equal. The sun is almost exactly 400 times larger than the moon, and it’s also almost exactly 400 times farther away.

There is no particular reason why they should appear the same size, and it wasn’t always that way. The moon has been retreating from Earth since the mega-collision that created it, 4.5 billion years ago. We’ve measured its rate of retreat with the help of equipment left on the surface of the moon by Apollo astronauts: It’s presently receding at about 4 centimeters per year. A billion years ago, it would’ve thoroughly covered the sun with every eclipse; now, depending on where the moon is in its elliptical orbit, some eclipses are total, but more are annular, with the moon appearing slightly smaller than the sun, leaving a “ring of fire” surrounding the…

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Parenthood, the Great Moral Gamble – Issue 27: Dark Matter

August 21, 2015

I
didn’t choose to have a child. Not if “choosing” means
something rational—weighing pros and cons, coming to a conclusion.
I tried that process but ran away from it because, even though I
wanted a child, it seemed to me that creating a whole new person was
such an enormity that no one could rationally decide to do such a
thing. There is so much at stake, and so little certainty about the
outcome. A child that I conceived might be happy, but he might be
miserable beyond endurance. The child might bring happiness to
others, or he might ruin people’s lives. It seemed to me that
creating life was an act of astonishing hubris because it made me
responsible, maybe morally
responsible, for huge consequences. For most of our species’
history, we were spared that decision because procreation was not
(for the most part) a choice, but merely something that happened to
us. It was a biological destiny. We escaped that destiny when science
gave us control over our fertility. But I wasn’t equal to the
freedom that science gave me. Fearful of such an immense decision
amid such uncertainty, I
allowed myself to drift into parenthood instead of…

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Why You’re Biased About Being Biased – Facts So Romantic

August 20, 2015

In a classic experiment in 1953, students spent an hour doing repetitive, monotonous tasks, such as rotating square pegs a quarter turn, again and again. Then the experimenters asked the students to persuade someone else that this mind-numbing experience was in fact interesting. Some students got $1 ($9 today) to tell this fib while others got $20 ($176 today). In a survey at the end of the experiment, those paid only a trivial fee were more likely to describe the boring activity as engaging. They seemed to have persuaded themselves of their own lie.

According to the researchers, psychologists Merrill Carlsmith and Leon Festinger, this attitude shift was caused by “cognitive dissonance,” the discomfort we feel when we try to hold two contradictory ideas or beliefs at the same time. When faced with two opposing realities (“This is boring” and “I told someone it was interesting”), the well-paid students could externally justify their behavior (“I was paid to say that”). The poorly paid students, on the other hand, had to create an internal justification (“I must have said it was interesting for some good reason. Maybe I actually liked it”).

Kninwong

Scientists have uncovered more than 50 biases that, like…

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The Lost Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been found

August 20, 2015

I considered this discovery fascinating —

The Missing Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been discovered, hidden behind the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, According to an English archaeologist , who suggests that the tomb of Tutankhamun, the most famous of Egypt's pharaohs, is concealing a mystery that has eluded researchers ever since it was found more than 90 years ago.

Dr. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona told the Times of London that he believes he has found a secret doorway leading from the tomb of King Tut to that of Nefertiti, believed to be the boy-king's mother and one of the most powerful women of the ancient world.

Reeves told the Times that he uncovered the bricked-up "ghosts" of the doorways after studying digital scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile River from Luxor in southern Egypt. He believes that one of the doorways leads to a little-used storeroom, but the other, on the north side of the tomb, leads to "the undamaged burial of the tomb's rightful owner."

If Reeves is correct, the room containing Tut's tomb — found by English archaeologist Howard Carter to global praise in 1922 — was built to be an antechamber to that of the more illustrious and glamorous Nefertiti. It would also make clear some facts about Tutankhamun's resting place that have perplexed researchers.

For one thing, the size of Tutankhamun's tomb is smaller than those of other Egyptian kings. Second, as Reeves states, many of the artifacts that have captivated millions of museum visitors around the world are largely second-hand, having been reused from earlier burials.

http://golf103.tumblr.com/post/127131809537/the-unknown-resting-place-of-egyptian-queen

The Lost Resting Place of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been observed

August 20, 2015

I considered this discovery amazing —

The Missing Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been discovered, hidden behind the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, According to an English archaeologist , who suggests that the tomb of Tutankhamun, the most famous of Egypt's pharaohs, is concealing a solution that has puzzled researchers ever since it was discovered more than 90 years ago.

Dr. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona told the Times of London that he believes he has discovered a secret doorway leading from the tomb of King Tut to that of Nefertiti, believed to be the boy-king's mother and one of the most powerful women of the ancient world.

Reeves told the Times that he uncovered the bricked-up "ghosts" of the doorways after reviewing digital scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile River from Luxor in southern Egypt. He is convinced that one of the doorways leads to a little-used storeroom, but the other, on the north side of the tomb, leads to "the undamaged burial of the tomb's rightful owner."

If Reeves is correct, the room that contains Tut's tomb — found by English archaeologist Howard Carter to global praise in 1922 — was built to be an antechamber to that of the more illustrious and glamorous Nefertiti. It would also explain some facts about Tutankhamun's resting place that have perplexed researchers.

For one thing, the size of Tutankhamun's tomb is smaller than those of other Egyptian kings. Second, as Reeves states, many of the artifacts that have enraptured millions of museum visitors around the world are largely second-hand, having been recycled from earlier burials.

http://midhudsonaikido.com/the-lost-resting-place-of-egyptian-queen-nefertiti-may-have-been-identified/

The Lost Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been identified

August 20, 2015

I thought this discovery remarkable —

The Missing Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been discovered, hidden behind the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, According to an English archaeologist , who suggests that the tomb of Tutankhamun, the most famous of Egypt's pharaohs, is hiding a solution that has eluded researchers ever since it was revealed more than 90 years ago.

Dr. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona told the Times of London that he believes he has found a hidden doorway leading from the tomb of King Tut to that of Nefertiti, believed to be the boy-king's mother and one of the most powerful females of the ancient world.

Reeves told the Times that he found the bricked-up "ghosts" of the doorways after reviewing digital scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile River from Luxor in southern Egypt. He thinks that one of the doorways leads to a little-used storeroom, but the other, on the north side of the tomb, leads to "the undisturbed burial of the tomb's rightful owner."

If Reeves is correct, the room containing Tut's tomb — discovered by English archaeologist Howard Carter to global acclaim in 1922 — was built to be an antechamber to that of the more illustrious and glamorous Nefertiti. It would also explain some facts about Tutankhamun's resting place that have perplexed researchers.

For one thing, the size of Tutankhamun's tomb is smaller than those of other Egyptian kings. Second, as Reeves states, many of the artifacts that have enraptured millions of museum visitors around the world are largely second-hand, having been reused from previous burials.

http://namismilescatcher.tumblr.com/post/127122700965/the-missing-grave-of-egyptian-queen-nefertiti-may

The Lost Resting Place of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been found

August 19, 2015

I considered this discovery amazing —

The Lost Tomb of Egyptian queen Nefertiti may have been discovered, concealed behind the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, According to an English archaeologist , who suggests that the tomb of Tutankhamun, the most famous of Egypt's pharaohs, is hiding a mystery that has evaded researchers ever since it was found more than 90 years ago.

Dr. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona told the Times of London that he believes he has discovered a hidden doorway leading from the tomb of King Tut to that of Nefertiti, believed to be the boy-king's mother and one of the most powerful females of the ancient world.

Reeves told the Times that he discovered the bricked-up "ghosts" of the doorways after examining digital scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile River from Luxor in southern Egypt. He is convinced that one of the doorways leads to a little-used storeroom, but the other, on the north side of the tomb, leads to "the undisturbed burial of the tomb's rightful owner."

If Reeves is correct, the room containing Tut's tomb — identified by English archaeologist Howard Carter to global praise in 1922 — was built to be an antechamber to that of the more illustrious and alluring Nefertiti. It would also explain some facts about Tutankhamun's resting place that have puzzled researchers.

For one thing, the size of Tutankhamun's tomb is smaller than those of other Egyptian kings. Second, as Reeves writes, many of the artifacts that have enraptured millions of museum visitors around the world are largely second-hand, having been recycled from earlier burials.

https://huongencisozg.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/the-missing-resting-place-of-egyptian-queen-nefertiti-may-have-been-discovered/