Science & Technology


Earth's pull is 'massaging' our moon

The Moon in front of Earth
Many scientists deny that factors external to the Earth can have a significant impact upon the Earth's climate yet there is considerable evidence that this indeed the case. Their instincts tell them that they must always look for internal factors, and internal factors alone, to explain the Earth's climate systems. Most will admit that Moon might have some influence upon the Earth's climate through the dissipation of its tidal forces in the Earth's oceans but beyond that they have little time for thinking outside the box.

It is now emerging that those who reject the idea that factors external to the Earth can have a significant influence upon the Earth's climate are increasingly at odds with the evidence.

One quirky way to show that this is the case is to reverse the argument around. This can be done by asking the question: Is there any evidence to show that the Earth can have a significant influence upon the Moon and nearby planets? If this is indeed the case then would it be so hard to imagine that it might possible for the reverse to happen (in specific cases). One piece of evidence that shows that the Earth can have a significant impact upon external astronomical bodies is the gravitational interaction between the Earth and Venus.

Every time the planet Venus passes between the Earth and Sun it presents the same face towards Earth. This happens because the slow retrograde rotation rate of the planet Venus (approximately 243 days) has allowed the Earth's gravity to nudge Venus's rotation period into a resonance lock with the Earth's orbital period.


FBI investigating the cutting of fiber optic cables in California, AT&T offers reward

© Danny Moloshok / Reuters
FBI agents in California are investigating the cutting of two AT&T fiber optic cables earlier this week - at least the 11th such attack in a year. The telecommunications company is offering a $250,000 reward for information.

The most recent attack - which took place in the town of Livermore, a San Francisco Bay Area suburb - involved the cutting of cables in two different manholes at about 10:30 p.m. local time on Monday, AT&T said in a statement.

Comment: The PTB may have a plan in place to control or instigate a collapse of the system and economy at the time of their choosing. A part of this plan could be pulling the plug via electrical and internal infrastructure disruptions, but first they would need to know their vulnerabilities and test out these weaknesses in preparation for a bigger event. These disruptions could even be blamed to any number of entities, such as China, Russia or ISIS. Preparing for collapse? FBI reveals 11 attacks against internet lines in California


'Living fossil' fish uses gills to breath but retains vestigial lung

The coelacanth, an elusive deep-sea dweller long thought extinct, had another item added Tuesday to an already-long list of unusual physical traits: an obsolete lung lurking in its abdomen.
© Agence France-Presse/Robert Michael
Coelacanths today use gills to extract oxygen from the water they live in, but millions of years ago, their ancestors probably breathed using a lung
Similar to the human appendix, the organ was likely rendered defunct by evolution, researchers noted in the journal Nature Communications.

Like all fish, today's coelacanths -- referred to as "living fossils" -- use gills to extract oxygen from the water they live in. But millions of years ago, coelacanth ancestors probably breathed using the lung, the team concluded.

"By the Mesozoic Era, adaptation of some coelacanths to deep marine water, an environment with very low variations of oxygen pressure, may have triggered the total loss of pulmonary respiration," co-author Paulo Brito of the Rio de Janeiro State University told AFP.

This could explain how it survived the extinction event 66 million years ago that wiped all non-avian dinosaurs and most other life from Earth -- and probably those coelacanths inhabiting shallow waters, he said. It would also account for "the marked reduction" of the lung into its shrivelled, present-day form, Brito said by email.


Solar system replica built by space enthusiasts in Nevada Desert - 11km (7 mi) wide

A pair of space buffs has descended on Nevada's Black Rock Desert in a bid to correctly demonstrate the size of our solar system. Pushing the boundaries of imagination, they managed to create a mesmerizing scale model using only marbles and light bulbs.
© Wylie Overstreet / Vimeo
Solar System modeled to scale in Nevada desert
Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh and have made a short movie about their adventure. They said they were disturbed by images that portray the distances in the solar system inaccurately.

"There is literally not an image that adequately shows you what it actually looks like from out there [space]," Overstreet noted.

The only way to create an authentic model to scale was to build one themselves, the two friends decided.

When they arrived at the dry lake bed in Black Rock desert, they gave themselves only 36 hours to create a model, spiced up with the planets' orbits animated at night through lights. The idea was to create a time-lapse to show how big the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Mars really are.
© Wylie Overstreet / Vimeo
"To create a scale model with an Earth only as big as this marble, you need seven miles [11kms] of empty space," Overstreet said in the film.

The real challenge was to capture Earth from the view of an astronaut. And they actually did it!

"That's what I really wanted to try and capture. We are on a marble floating in the middle of nothing. When you sort of come face to face with that, it's staggering," Overstreet wrapped up.


Newfound meteor showers expand astronomical calendar

© Babak Tafreshi/National Geographic Creative
A meteor (upper left) streaks through the Orion constellation during the Perseid shower.
The list of meteor showers that occur every year has just grown longer. Eighty-six previously unknown have now joined the regular spectaculars, which include the Perseids, Leonids and Geminids. Astronomers spotted the shooting-star shows using a network of video cameras designed to watch for burglars, but repurposed to spy cosmic debris burning up in Earth's atmosphere.

The newfound showers are faint but important: each is fuelled by Earth's passage through a trail of particles left behind by a comet or asteroid, so mapping them reveals previously unknown sources of dust.

"The cool thing is, we are not just doing surveillance of meteors in the night sky," says Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. "Now we also have a three-dimensional picture of how dust is distributed in the Solar System."

Most of the particles are the size of a sand grain, but a few are large enough to survive the searing heat of their passage through the atmosphere — and possibly do damage on Earth's surface. Jenniskens and his colleagues describe the discoveries in four papers accepted for publication in Icarus.

Astronomers have been documenting meteors for centuries, first by eye and more recently with radar and video-tracking systems. Meteors sprinkle Earth steadily throughout the year, but during a shower a significant number seem to originate from the same point in the sky. Skywatchers around the world have reported more than 750 possible meteor showers to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) — but only a small fraction of those have been confirmed as bona fide events.

Arrow Up

Facebook plans to introduce the long-demanded dislike button

© Beck Diefenbach / Reuters
Facebook has plans to introduce the long-demanded counterpart to its iconic "like" button, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Tuesday.

"I think people have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years," Zuckerberg said during a live Q&A Session at Facebook headquarters. "Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we're working on it and shipping it."

"Liking" a post, picture or comment has become the bread and butter of the Facebook user experience, but it doesn't always mesh well with certain types of comments

Zuckerberg stressed that it wouldn't work like Reddit's up- and down-vote system, which allows users to vote on posts or content that they think is good or bad. Instead, the new Facebook feature would be a built-in way for users to express sympathy.

Comment: While Zuckerberg's seeming concern about implementing a feature that might facilitate negativity seems admirable, the fact is that people are expressing their negative opinions freely in the comments anyway. Perhaps this is really 'much ado about nothing' and more about a marketing ploy?


NASA releases new shot of Saturn at night taken by Cassini

NASA has shown off Saturn from a rare dark side, as the agency has released a new shot of the ringed planet and one of its mysterious ice moons, Tethys, taken at night.

The wide-angle camera of the Cassini spacecraft captured the night footage of Saturn at a distance of approximately 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) from the planet.

The photo, at a scale of 88 miles (141 kilometers) per pixel, shows part of Saturn and its ring plane while the larger part of is totally dark. This chiaroscuro effect - an interplay of absolute darkness and bright light - is actually a completely natural phenomenon.

"We know that shadows are darker areas than sunlit areas, and in space, with no air to scatter the light, shadows can appear almost totally black," NASA said in a press release.


Do Earth's oceans come from below? Saturn's Enceladus joins list of moons with subsurface ocean covering entire body

An ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn's moon Enceladus, covering the entire celestial body, according to new research data from NASA's Cassini mission.

Although researchers have known about water on Enceladus, they used new images from Cassini to detect that the moon wobbles slightly as it orbited Saturn, and that could only be explained if its outer ice shell was not frozen solid to its interior. If not, that means a global ocean must be present.

"This was a hard problem that required years of observations, and calculations involving a diverse collection of disciplines, but we are confident we finally got it right," said Peter Thomas, a Cassini imaging team member at Cornell University, and lead author of the paper, in a statement.

Comment: See also:

Abiotic Petroleum and Primary Water: Are 'shortages' of oil and water 'manufactured scarcity'?

Stock Up

Bitcoin-like virtual currency planned in Russia by the private company QIWI in 2016: Authorities worried

© Bogdan Cristel / Reuters
The Russian QIWI payment system wants to enter the $3.8 billion virtual currency market by introducing the first national crypto-currency. However, Russian authorities are concerned that the 'bit-ruble' could be used for money laundering and bankrolling of terrorism.

The launch is scheduled for 2016, but to do that QIWI needs several million dollars, CEO Sergey Solonin told Russian business daily Kommersant. The company is likely to face trouble from the Russian authorities. Only the Central Bank has the right to print money in Russia, and it will be impossible to launch the crypto-currency without its approval.

Comment: Solonin recently sold his Golden Beach mansion for $11 million. It seems he really needed the money. His company - QIWI - has its headquarters in Cyprus, a popular tax haven for the rich.


Abiotic Petroleum and Primary Water: Are 'shortages' of oil and water 'manufactured scarcity'?

What if everything you thought you knew about the nature of energy and natural resources was an elaborate lie concocted to manipulate and control the economy and human behavior? When it comes to the availability of oil and water, evidence suggests that both of these invaluable resources might actually be far more plentiful than we've all been led to believe.

In the West, the prevailing belief is that oil is a fairly limited resource that forms biotically, which means it generates through the decay of plant and animal matter over relatively long periods of time. Oil reserves are currently being used up much more quickly than they're being replenished, so if this theory is true, humanity urgently needs to invest in other forms of energy production in order to sustain life as we know it.

Comment: See also:

Petroleum: Shocking Revelations about Oil

Lab finds new method to turn biomass into gasoline

Nasca Lines May be Map of Underground Water Sources: Expert