Science & Technology


Researchers suspect Stonehenge was ancient healing site

LONDON - Archaeologists conducting a major excavation at England's Stonehenge said they had made a key breakthrough that may help explain why the site was built, the BBC said Wednesday.

According to the broadcaster, which is funding the dig as part of a special programme to be broadcast in the autumn, the team of archaeologists has reached a series of sockets that once held bluestones, smaller stones, most of which are now missing, that made up Stonehenge's original structure.

The bluestones were transported from hills in Wales, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) away, and the researchers think they were brought to the iconic site on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, west England, because ancient people believed they had healing properties.

Comment: This wouldn't be surprising after reading Geoffrey of Monmouth or Laura Knight-Jadczyk's Secret History of the World, pp. 253-4.

Evil Rays

Mobile T-Rays Ready To Go: Terahertz Device Offers Clear View Of Hidden Objects

Terahertz waves, which until now have barely found their way out of the laboratory, could soon be in use as a versatile tool. Researchers have mobilized the transmitting and receiving devices so that they can be used anywhere with ease.

Everybody knows microwaves - but what are terahertz waves? These higher-frequency waves are a real jack-of-all-trades. They can help to detect explosives or drugs without having to open a suitcase or search through items of clothing. They can reveal which substances are flowing through plastic tubes. Doctors even hope that these waves will enable them to identify skin cancer without having to perform a biopsy. In the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz waves are to be found between infrared radiation and microwaves.

terahertz devices
Ready to go: mobile terahertz devices.


Newly Discovered Fundamental State Of Matter, A Superinsulator, Has Been Created

Superinsulation may sound like a marketing gimmick for a drafty attic or winter coat. But it is actually a newly discovered fundamental state of matter created by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in collaboration with several European institutions. This discovery opens new directions of inquiry in condensed matter physics and breaks ground for a new generation of microelectronics.

Led by Argonne senior scientist Valerii Vinokur and Russian scientist Tatyana Baturina, an international team of scientists from Argonne, Germany, Russia and Belgium fashioned a thin film of titanium nitride which they then chilled to near absolute zero. When they tried to pass a current through the material, the researchers noticed that its resistance suddenly increased by a factor of 100,000 once the temperature dropped below a certain threshold. The same sudden change also occurred when the researchers decreased the external magnetic field.

dilution refrigerator
©DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
To perform the experiment, the researchers used a dilution refrigerator, a device in which the temperature can be lowered to several millikelvin, just above absolute zero. The thin superinsulating films are then placed in the camera of the dilution fridge.


State spreads silver iodide in wilderness

Despite law protecting Wind River Range, state engineer launches cloud seeding in federal reserve.


At 78, scientist hopes for proof soon that he was right about the Universe

The 40-year hunt for the holy grail of physics - the elusive "God particle" that is supposed to give matter its mass - is almost over, according to the leading scientist who first came up with the theory.

Peter Higgs, whose work gave his name to the elusive Higgs boson particle, said that he was more than 90 per cent certain it would be found within the next few years.

Bizarro Earth

Local Nuke War Would Cause World Havoc

A regional nuclear war would not only be devastating to the countries involved, it would cause havoc worldwide for at least a decade, according to a new analysis.

The massive fires resulting from even a limited conflict would blast enough soot into the atmosphere to create an ozone hole over heavily populated areas, researchers warned in a paper in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


New Excavation Begins at Stonehenge

The first excavation at Stonehenge in over 44 years started this week. Professors Geoff Wainwright and Tim Darvill lead the excavation. They aim to shed light on two important questions about Stonehenge. When was it built and why?

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in southeast England, near the city of Salisbury. It is a globally famous, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For both professors this is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. Said Darvill, of the University of Bournemouth: "It is an incredibly exciting moment and a great privilege to be able to excavate inside Stonehenge."

©Frederic Vincent

Bizarro Earth

A Shift in the Debate Over Global Warming

The charged and complex debate over how to slow down global warming has become a lot more complicated.

Most of the focus in the last few years has centered on imposing caps on greenhouse gas emissions to prod energy users to conserve or switch to nonpolluting technologies.

Comment: Let's review: The U.S. and Western powers are screaming that greenhouse gas emissions must be curtailed, and point their fingers at the developing countries as being the worst or potentially-going-to-be worst producers of greenhouse gasses. When China proposes that 0.5 percent of every country's GDP be used to develop new, cleaner technologies, the U.S. balks. And then we have the World Bank subsidizing the creation of HUGE coal-burning plants.

All the while, the models used to predict the effects of greenhouse gasses, specifically CO2, is falling woefully short of reality. See "Lord Lawson claims climate change hysteria heralds a 'new age of unreason'".

Could this be nothing more than a scam to control up-and-coming economic powerhouses?


Laser Equipped Observatory Expect to Find Gravitational Waves

A $205 million upgrade will allow a laser-wielding observatory to monitor tens of thousands of galaxies for mysterious gravitational waves.

Leading investigators are confident that the Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories) Project will be able for the first time to detect gravitational waves from neutron stars and black holes, as predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity.

©LIGO Laboratory
An aerial view of the Hanford, Washington interferometer, part of the LIGO observatory that is receiving an upgrade.


New research institute for shock physics launched at Imperial College

A new £10 million research institute dedicated to studying the fundamental science behind shock waves, high velocity collisions and extremes of pressure and heat is announced today by Imperial College London.

The new Insitute for Shock Physics will shed new light on the conditions under which tsunamis are formed