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Science and UFOs: Part 1 - The Condon Committee Con Job

© Unknown
The late Dr. James E. McDonald - who held the title "Senior Physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics" at the University of Arizona - is one of the very few scientists to actually study the UFO phenomenon. In a prepared statement before the U.S. Congress' House Committee on Science and Astronautics, delivered on July 29, 1968, McDonald said this:
"From time to time in the history of science, situations have arisen in which a problem of ultimately enormous importance went begging for adequate attention simply because that problem appeared to involve phenomena so far outside the current bounds of scientific knowledge that it was not even regarded as a legitimate subject of serious scientific concern. That is precisely the situation in which the UFO problem now lies. One of the principal results of my own recent intensive study of the UFO enigma is this: I have become convinced that the scientific community, not only in this country but throughout the world, has been casually ignoring as nonsense a matter of extraordinary scientific importance." 1
And how did McDonald arrive at that opinion? After several authorized, extended visits to the U.S. Air Force's UFO Project Blue Book, to review its files, he wrote, "There are hundreds of good cases in the Air Force files that should have led to top-level scientific scrutiny of [UFOs] years ago, yet these cases have been swept under the rug in a most disturbing way by Project Blue Book investigators and their consultants."2

McDonald's full statement before Congress may be found in the U.S. Congressional Record, as well as on the Internet. While acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of UFO sightings undoubtedly had prosaic explanations, and that a great many questions about the phenomenon remained unanswered, McDonald succinctly summarized his conclusions regarding the most credible of the unexplained cases: "My own present opinion, based on two years of careful study, is that UFOs are probably extraterrestrial devices engaged in something that might very tentatively be termed 'surveillance.'"3
Info

Mysterious Chinese Fossils May Be New Human Species

Ancient Skull
© Darren Curnoe
A view of a skull from the Red Deer Cave People. Researchers found the species had unique features seen neither in modern nor known archaic lineages of humans.

Mysterious fossils of what may be a previously unknown type of human have been uncovered in caves in China, ones that possess a highly unusual mix of bygone and modern human features, scientists reveal.

Surprisingly, the fossils are only between 11,500 and 14,500 years old. That means they would have shared the landscape with modern humans when China's earliest farmers were first appearing.

"These new fossils might be of a previously unknown species, one that survived until the very end of the ice age around 11,000 years ago," said researcher Darren Curnoe, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

"Alternatively, they might represent a very early and previously unknown migration of modern humans out of Africa, a population who may not have contributed genetically to living people," Curnoe added.
Chart Pie

Income inequality in the Roman Empire

Roman inequality
© Biker Jun

Over the last 30 years, wealth in the United States has been steadily concentrating in the upper economic echelons. Whereas the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent. It's a trend that was for decades brushed under the rug but is now on the tops of minds and at the tips of tongues.

Since too much inequality can foment revolt and instability, the CIA regularly updates statistics on income distribution for countries around the world, including the U.S. Between 1997 and 2007, inequality in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent, making it more unequal than Russia, infamous for its powerful oligarchs. The U.S. is not faring well historically, either. Even the Roman Empire, a society built on conquest and slave labor, had a more equitable income distribution.

To determine the size of the Roman economy and the distribution of income, historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen pored over papyri ledgers, previous scholarly estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages. Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America's top 1 percent control.
Info

Lost Da Vinci Found? Mona Lisa Paint Lends Clue

Battle of Anghiari
© Wikimedia Commons
Peter Paul Rubens' copy of Leonardo's "The Battle of Anghiari."

Researchers struggling to solve a longstanding Leonardo da Vinci mystery -- the fate of a lost masterpiece known as the "Battle of Anghiari -- have found intriguing traces of paint hidden behind a 5-inch-thick frescoed wall in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's 14th-century city hall.

The color is consistent with that used by the Renaissance creator of the Mona Lisa, suggesting that Leonardo's artwork has remained hidden behind that frescoed wall for more than 500 years.

Known as the "Battle of Marciano," the mural was painted by the renowned 15th-century painter, architect and writer Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in the imposing Hall of the Five Hundred. The hall was a room built at the end of the 15th century to accommodate the meetings of the Florentine Council.

Right behind that wall could lie one of the biggest discoveries in the history of art, according to art diagnostic expert Maurizio Seracini, director of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the University of California, San Diego, who has been searching for the lost masterpiece since the 1970s.

Three months ago Seracini's team drilled six tiny holes into Vasari's fresco, inserted a 0.15-inch-wide probe and micro-cameras and collected samples of red, white, orange and black material.

Analysis with a scanning electron microscope revealed the black material had an unusual chemical makeup of manganese and iron.
Magnify

Bizarre Mummy With Giant Head Discovered In Peru

Giant head mummy peru

Bizzare mummy discovered in Peru

A very strange abnormal-looking mummy with giant head has been unearthed in Peru.

The discovery was made in the Cuzco region, the heart of Incan civilization.

Researchers find the mummy extremely odd. The mummy simply does not fit in with the version of history that we have all been taught.

The mummy's head is triangular and its eye cavities are very big.

"It's 20 inches tall, which doesn't coincide with the stereotypes of humans. It's head is triangular and the eye cavities are too big.

The lower front part of the jaw has a kind of fin that doesn't exist in any ethnicity in the world.

The opening at the top of the head also calls for attention, and it has wisdom teeth and molars that also don't coincide with any human being," explains anthropologist Renata Davila.

According to Anthropologist Pablo Bayabar, "children's heads are proportionally bigger than their bodies.

Here we have two points.

First, the fontanelle is open, which usually closes at 31 months. And it has molars that usually appears between approximately 13 and 19 months.

So we are looking at a child under two years old with an enormous head."
Bizarro Earth

Severe Weather Responsible for Cahokia's Demise?

Long ago, tens of thousands of residents populated an area east of modern day St. Louis we call today as Cahokia. Starting in about 700 A.D. and lasting about 600 years, this metropolis rivaled in size other large cities such as London. Around 1000 A.D., the area exploded in growth from about 1000 to 15,000 (some say even 40,000) people in just 100 years. With certainty it was the largest and most advanced city north of Mexico before Columbus arrived.
© Cahokia Mounds Museum Society
Artist's rendition of Cahokia Mounds
One hundred and twenty earthen mounds were built solely with human hands by moving dirt with stone hoes and woven baskets. Five large and extremely accurate cedar pole solar calendars similar to Stonehenge were constructed in a central plaza. Sophisticated wooden buildings were built for ritual and residential purposes. Trade was conducted with other societies thousands of miles away. A defensive wall with watch towers circled the city. They had a prominent, central system of government made up of chiefs, religious leaders and an elite class. Lesser class citizens grew crops for the upper class and other urban residents who were mainly tradesmen and artisans.

And then they were gone.
Frog

Fossils Found in Scotland Overturn Theory About Evolution


The fossil find has provided enough information to interpret what one creature may have looked like
A collection of fossils described as a breakthrough in the study of evolution is set to be unveiled.

The fossils, discovered in the Borders, are going on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The find is said to unearth a "missing chapter" of the evolution story and overturn a long-held theory about evolution on Earth.

Scientist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough described the discovery as "wonderful and exciting".

Romer's Gap, named after the American palaeontologist Alfred Sherwood Romer, is a gap in the fossil record, showing little evidence of life on land between around 345 and 360 million years ago.
Hourglass

New research shows ancient Maya women were powerful leaders

Maya deity statue
© Shankari Patel
Some ancient Maya deities were female and the women themselves served as heads of state and warlords until the Spanish colonization of Mexico in the 1500s.
To cell phone-toting, internet-obsessed citizens of the modern world, ancient cultures may seem difficult to relate to. But a new look at Maya art and artifacts shows one of the most advanced ancient societies allowed women much more contemporary power than previously believed.

"I think the popular belief is that they were restricted to the private household," said Shankari Patel, an anthropology graduate student at the University of California-Riverside. "The popular belief would be that women stay at home, they didn't really participate in the rituals that were very important in Maya society. The previous research I looked at left out women completely."
Sherlock

Bristol archaeologists unearth slave burial ground on St Helena

© University of Bristol
A book detailing the excavations is published by the Council for British Archaeology
Archaeologists from the University of Bristol have unearthed a unique slave burial ground on the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena. The excavation, which took place in advance of construction of a new airport on the island, has revealed dramatic insights into the victims of the Atlantic slave trade during the notorious Middle Passage.

The tiny island of St Helena, 1,000 miles off the coast of south-west Africa, acted as the landing place for many of the slaves, captured by the Royal Navy during the suppression of the slave trade between 1840 and 1872. During this period a total of around 26,000 freed slaves were brought to the island, most of whom were landed at a depot in Rupert's Bay. The appalling conditions aboard the slave ships meant that many did not survive their journey, whilst Rupert's Valley - arid, shadeless, and always windy - was poorly suited to act as a hospital and refugee camp for such large numbers. At least 5,000 people are likely to have been buried there.

Part of the cemetery was investigated between 2006 and 2008 in advance of a new road that had to pass through Rupert's Valley to provide access to the proposed airport project. Some 325 bodies in a combination of individual, multiple and mass graves were discovered. Only five individuals were buried in coffins: one adolescent and four still- or newborn babies. The remainder had been placed (or thrown) directly into shallow graves, before being hastily covered. In some cases mothers were buried with their presumed children, or sometimes the bodies were so close that there might have been a familial relationship.
Sherlock

Roman slabstone, early-Ottoman column discovered after Bisser disaster

© Georgi Kozhouharov
Village of Bisser February 8, 2012
Several archaeological finds have been unearthed as work continues on clearing the debris following the flooding of the village of Bisser in southern Bulgaria, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said.

At least eight people died and dozens had to be evacuated as the village was flooded because of a burst wall in the nearby Ivanovo dam. The flood destroyed several houses.

It was unclear whether the finds had been unearthed by the water flow or carried by the water, archaeologists from the Harmanli historical museum said.

The stone slab appeared to be part of a Roman-era public building, while the hexagonal column was specific for the early Ottoman era. A similar column had been found near the village in the 1960s, BNT said.
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