Month: December, 2017

Cold War Spy Boat Uncovers Shipwreck From Start Of Alexander The Great Conquest

Archeologists used the spy boat as well as drones to find three shipwrecks on the Mediterranean seabed.

One of the shipwrecks dated back over 2,000 years and suggests there was a vast network of trade during the rise Ancient Greek cities such as Athens.

Ben Ballard, the team leader of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), said: “If our dates are correct, this is just as Alexander the Great is beginning his conquest.

Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty.

The discovery follows Mr Ballard and his colleagues exploring the Eratosthenes seamount in expeditions backed by the OET in 2010 and 2012.




The technology used to scan the seamount included underwater drones and the OET’s Nautilus vessel which was originally a spy boat built by East Germany in the 1970s.

The team ended up finding two shipwrecks and 70 artifacts in 2010.

Mr Ballard is following in the footsteps of his father, Robert, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic.

News of the discovery has come after archaeologists earlier this year stumbled upon a lost city thought to have been founded by Alexander the Great.

Qalatga Darband in northern Iraq, believed to have been founded in 331 BBC, was discovered by a team of Iraqi and British archaeologists led by experts from the British Museum.

The city was found with the help of drones and declassified satellite photographs taken for military purposes.

John MacGinnis, the archaeologist leading the team in Iraq, told The Times: “It’s early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran.

You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through.”

The site was first brought to the attention of archaeologists at the British Museum when the declassified CIA satellite photos from the 1960s were released.

The team then used drones equipped with a camera to discover the outlines of buildings hidden beneath fields of wheat and barley.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Tesla Just Built The World’s Biggest Battery In Record Time

Elon Musk has won. The Tesla CEO made a bet that he could install the world’s biggest battery in South Australia within 100 days, and the whole installation would be free if the company failed.

Last November 23, Thurday, it was revealed that the project has been completed with 46 days to spare.

Congratulations to the Tesla crew and South Australian authorities who worked so hard to get this manufactured and installed in record time!” Musk said on his Twitter page Thursday.

The batteries are designed to provide reliable power to a part of Australia that desperately needs it. South Australia has dealt with 18 months of blackouts.

A 50-year storm event in September 2016 knocked out pretty much the entire state’s elect.




The Powerpack system provides 100 megawatts of storage to renewable energy firm Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown in South Australia, holding enough power for 30,000 homes.

The two companies will join engineering company Consolidated Power Projects and state premier Jay Weatherill next week to officially unveil the battery.

The project forms part of a AU$530 million ($404 million) state plan to improve renewable energy production.

Last September, South Australia suffered from severe blackouts after a storm cut off production.

The state receives around a third of its energy from renewables, but the plan will boost this by building a solar thermal power plant and emergency generators along with the battery.

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix and it sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader in renewable energy with battery storage,” Weatherill told the Associated Press.

Tesla first set itself the 100 days goal after a discussion between Musk and Australian software-billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

In March, Cannon-Brookes asked if Lyndon Rive, Tesla’s vice-president for energy products, was telling the truth when he said the company could install between 100 to 300 megawatt-hours of storage in 100 days.

This led to a bidding process where the state government agreed to fund $113 million of battery storage. Tesla beat out a number of competitors to score the contract.

Musk was a bit sly with the deadline, though. Tesla started counting down 54 days ago from September 30, the point at which the Australian energy regulator gave clearance to the project.

The company was building the battery for a while prior to this. The project came well under the January 8, 2018 deadline, but Tesla did not build a battery in less than two months.

Between now and next week’s unveiling, the battery will undergo a series of checks to ensure it meets state and energy regulations.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Adolescent Brain – What All Teens Need To Know

Adolescents have dynamic, open, hungry minds. They are creative, brave and curious. It has to be this way.

The only way to learn many of the skills they will need to be strong, healthy adults will be to stretch beyond what they’ve always known and to experiment with the world and their place in it.

The adolescent brain is wired to drive them through this transition, but there will be a few hairpin curves along the way. Skillful drivers are not born from straight roads.

There will be good days, great days and dreadful days.

Adolescence is something they have to do on their own. We can guide them, but we can’t do it for them.




This is their time for growth and learning, but there is something powerful we can do to help them along the way. We can give them the information they need to light their way forward.

Our teens are amazing. Their brains are on fire – powerful, creative, insightful. Here’s what they need to know.

  • Your brain is changing. But you have enormous capacity to influence those changes. You’re transitioning into adulthood. There’s no hurry to do this – you’ll have plenty of time. Your adult brain won’t be fully developed until you’re about 24. In the meantime, it’s your time to learn, experience and experiment with the world and your place in it.
  • Your brain is like a high-performance sports car but your brakes aren’t ready yet. Your brain will wire and strengthen from the back to the front. One of the first parts of the brain to develop is the amygdala, which is involved in instinctive, impulsive, emotional, aggressive reactions. It’s great for keeping you alive if there’s trouble, but not always great when it comes to making balanced decisions.
  • Hello hormones! (But your brain will take time to adjust.) You’ve probably heard a lot of people blaming hormones for the things adolescents do that aren’t so lovable. It’s not so much your hormones that cause trouble but the way your brain reacts to them.
  • Your brain is like an open window. Expose it to good and it will thrive. Expose it to bad and that window will slam shut.

All new skills take time to master. It’s no different for our teens. In the meantime, they might wobble. A lot.

We are learning to see them in a different light – as soon-to-be adults who will be independent of us. We are learning to trust their capacity to cope, and to stand back and let them steady themselves.

They have it in them to be extraordinary. The more information they have, the more potential they have to find the most direct way there.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

According To A Russian Cosmonaut, Bacteria Found On International Space Station May Be Alien In Origin

Bacteria found on the outside of the International Space station could be alien life, according to a cosmonaut who has visited the satellite.

Spacewalkers regularly take samples and materials from the outside of the station when they head outside for what are officially called “extravehicular activity“.

Those samples are then taken down to scientists on Earth, who study them to understand the workings of the International Space Station and possibly life in space.

Now Anton Shkaplerov, a Russian cosmonaut who has served on board the space lab, told the Russian state news agency that one of those experiments had found something interesting.

Bacteria that had not been there during the launch of the ISS module were found on the swabs,” Mr Shkaplerov said. “So they have flown from somewhere in space and settled on the outside hull.




He made clear that “it seems, there is no danger “, and that scientists are doing more work to find out what they are.

He said also that similar missions had found bacteria that could survive temperatures between -150 degrees celsius and 150.

That bacteria appears to have made its way from Earth – but suggests that it can survive in the harsh environments of space.

It isn’t entirely clear where the rumoured organisms are currently being stored, and what scientists know about them.

Finding bacteria that came from somewhere other than Earth would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of science – but much more must be done before such a claim is made.

Earlier this year, Russian scientists announced that the “Test” experiments had found a range of different organisms that had been brought up from Earth and seemed to be surviving by clinging onto the ISS’s hull.

They included plankton and bacteria that had been pulled up by a phenomenon that lifts micro-organisms up into the heights of the atmosphere.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Over 200 Pterosaur Eggs And Embryos Has Been Found At A Site In China

An ancient site containing more than 200 fossilised eggs belonging to ancient flying reptiles known as pterosaurs has been found.

The eggs belong to a species called Hamipterus tianshanensis, which soared over what is now north west China about 120 million years ago.

The palaeontologists who made the discovery note both the “extraordinary quantity of eggs”, and the fact some of them contain “the first pterosaur three-dimensional embryos”.

This level of preservation allows researchers to learn more about the behaviour of these prehistoric creatures.

Previous evidence of pterosaur reproduction has been rather lacking, limited to a handful of eggs from Argentina and China identified in 2004.

Prior to this, there was no evidence at all these reptiles laid eggs.

But the new discovery, which consists not only of eggs but the bones of adults as well, paints a vivid picture of a nesting colony.




The findings were published in a paper led by Dr Xiaolin Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the journal Science.

Dr Wang and his collaborators outline how they used CT scans to look inside the eggs, 16 of which contained embryos that were somewhat intact.

From these embryos, the scientists could see that the structures supporting the pectoral muscles – crucial for flight – were noticeably underdeveloped.

This allowed the scientists to infer that when these animals hatched, they were unable to fly. The newly hatched pterosaurs would therefore have required care and attention from their parents if they were to survive.

The fossils also reveal more secrets about pterosaur lifestyles.

“The find reinforces the view that pterosaur eggs were soft-shelled and needed to be buried,” said Dr Charles Deeming, a biologist at the University of Lincoln who was not involved in the study.

This draws comparison with modern day lizard eggs, and suggests that while the pterosaurs may have cared for their offspring, they didn’t incubate them like birds. Instead, they relied on the earth to keep their eggs warm.

The rarity of such a fossilisation event makes this discovery, and the knowledge gained from it, all the more precious.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Really Good For You?

People have been writing books on the subject at least since that era, and apparently they haven’t stopped.

A quick search on Amazon revealed more than 20,000 results for publications on apple cider vinegar, many written in the past several years and most subtitled with words such as “natural miracle cure,” “detox,” “weight loss,”healing power” and “anti-aging.”

Clearly, this gold-amber liquid still has some allure, so I decided to investigate whether there is any research to back it up.

It turns out there is substantial evidence that consuming vinegar can help keep blood sugar under control, which in turn may ultimately decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease, among other benefits.

Carol S. Johnston, associate director of the nutrition program at Arizona State University, who has been studying the effects of vinegar for more than 10 years, says, “Vinegar appears to inhibit the enzymes that help you digest starch.”




When starch is not completely digested, you get a smaller blood sugar (glycemic) response — “20-40% less in healthy people and in diabetics” — after eating a high-glycemic food such as a bagel, according to Johnston’s findings.

The vinegar has a more moderate blood-glucose impact when a fiber-rich whole grain is eaten (because there is less of a spike to begin with) and no effect when no starch is eaten.

On top of that, undigested starch may have a prebiotic effect, meaning as it passes through the intestines it becomes food for the good bacteria in your gut.

Well-fed gut bacteria generally translate to a healthier you because these microorganisms help support good digestion and our immune systems, among other benefits.

Those undigested starch calories may also add up over time to some weight loss, plus, according to Johnston, “there is emerging research that vinegar might increase fat oxidation.

She stresses, however, that contrary to many of those popular book titles, “vinegar is not a magic bullet for weight loss.  I have seen very modest weight loss in my studies, of one to two pounds after 12 weeks.”

In the one study published, in Japan in 2009, that specifically examined vinegar’s impact on weight, subjects lost two to four pounds in 12 weeks.

Better blood-sugar control, possible modest weight loss and better gut health seem like valid, if not exactly miraculous, benefits.

Maybe there is something to this apple cider vinegar thing after all? But wait — there is a catch.

There is great marketing behind apple cider vinegar, and it works to lower the glycemic response, but it doesn’t have to be apple cider vinegar,” Johnston says.

She says the active starch-inhibiting ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, which is in all vinegars. She personally prefers the taste of red wine vinegar, which she says works just as well, as does white distilled vinegar, for example.

Apple cider vinegar aficionados boast about the unique attributes of the unfiltered, unpasteurized product — which still has the “mother” in it, the weblike blob of bacteria that is actually the starter (like a sourdough starter) used to ferment wine into vinegar.

Many commercial brands filter this out so the vinegar is crystal clear and more appealing to look at, but health food brands generally retain it.

The “mother” is harmless and may offer some benefits, such as polyphenols and probiotics, but there is no research to back up health claims about it.

And there is not an appreciable amount of vitamins, minerals or pectin in apple cider vinegar, as is often advertised. If those are the qualities you are seeking, you’d be better off eating an apple.

If you want to try to reap the benefits of vinegar — apple cider or any other variety — make sure you do it right, not only to get the most out of it, but because it can be harmful otherwise.

Johnston suggests diluting 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 8 ounces of water and drinking it right before eating, once or twice a day, perhaps before lunch and dinner.

It’s important to take the vinegar just prior to eating so it is in your stomach before any starch reaches it.

Also, never drink vinegar straight. It is a potent acid that can be dangerous if aspirated, may cause burns to the tender tissue of the mouth and esophagus, and can lead to tooth erosion.

And because vinegar could interact with medications, and its anti-glycemic effect may be dangerous to diabetics taking insulin, talk to your doctor before using it therapeutically if these are concerns for you.

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Pass it on: Popular Science