Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 19 Apr 2019
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology

Bizarro Earth

Meteorite Impacts In Egypt?

CAIRO: Police investigators in Luxor are at a loss to explain how three houses suddenly caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Forensic scientists have intensified efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding a number of night fires that started last week in a cluster of small houses in the village of Al Zeinya Qibli local press have been reporting recently.

And the stories are sowing the imaginations and usual conspiracy theories of Egyptians.

The fact that most of these houses are generally not equipped with electrical power due to their remoteness from any metropolitan center helps investigators rule out the possibility of an electric short circuit or overload as the cause of the fires.

When investigators showed up at one domicile that had been damaged by the flames, villagers said another house down the road mysteriously caught fire. [...]

And this is not the first time it happens.

A few years ago the residents of a village in Suhag, a major Upper Egypt province, were shocked to see fires raging on the roofs of their houses, which are usually used to store woods for country ovens or serve as a place for their pigeons' nesting towers.

In this case too, the cause of the fire had remained a riddle that was never resolved, but the only clue to the fires was an eyewitness who had spotted with the naked eye the tail of what he believed to be a meteor which he said darted its way through the sky and landed on one of the roofs.

Arrow Down

The Napoleon Graves

©Baltics Worldwide
Anthropologist Arunas Barkus

Anthropologist Arunas Barkus pokes at a leg bone in a pile of brittle skeletal remains tagged No. 151 and spread across an autopsy table at Vilnius University. At the touch of his fingers, dried marrow crumbles to the floor like snow.

What's now clear, he explains, is that the remains of 2,000 men unearthed in a pool-sized grave in Vilnius last year were soldiers in Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Army that attacked Russia 190 years ago.

Better Earth

Volcano gets choke chains to slow mud

Indonesian geophysicists hope to stem the flow of a destructive mud volcano on East Java by dropping chains of concrete balls into its mouth.

The mud eruption began on 29 May last year in the middle of a rice paddy in the village of Porong, 30 kilometres south of Surabaya, the provincial capital. Since then, the volcano has spewed out up to 126,000 cubic metres of mud a day, flooding an area of more than 4 square kilometres.

Some 10,000 people have been left homeless and 20 factories have closed. Another 200,000 homes could be at risk if the mudflow combines with the rainy season - which has just begun - and weakening dams to flood more land. Attempts to alleviate the problem by drilling relief wells or channelling the mud into a nearby river have so far failed.


How Does Your Brain Tell Time? Study Challenges Theory Of Inner Clock

For decades, scientists have believed that the brain possesses an internal clock that allows it to keep track of time. Now a UCLA study in the Feb. 1 edition of Neuron proposes a new model in which a series of physical changes to the brain's cells helps the organ to monitor the passage of time.

"The value of this research lies in understanding how the brain works," said Dean Buonomano, associate professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the university's Brain Research Institute. "Many complex human behaviors -- from understanding speech to playing catch to performing music -- rely on the brain's ability to accurately tell time. Yet no one knows how the brain does it."

Comment: "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so"


Stinky News: Latest way to boost newspaper ad income: scratch and sniff

Two leading American papers, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today are planning scented ads.

They hope the innovation will boost their ad income. The two papers are working with a company called Scentisphere, which markets a product called Rub'n'Smell.

Of course scratch and sniff ads have been around for many years - notably for perfume ads. But that system is complicated. The biggest difference is that Rub'n'Smell is applied directly to printed ads as an ink. No separate press run to create the scented inserts is necessary.

Monkey Wrench

Tiny engine boosts nanotech hopes

Prototypes of microscopic engines that could power molecular machines have been brewed up in a Scottish laboratory.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have created a tiny engine powered by light that can be made to sort molecules.


Return of Bulb Huggers: Light bulb moment in California

How many legislators does it take to change a light bulb

In California, the answer is a majority - plus Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Decrying the inefficiency of the common light bulb, a Democratic Assemblyman from Los Angeles wants California to become the first state to ban it - by 2012.

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says compact fluorescent light bulbs, which often have a spiral shape and are being promoted by Wal-Mart, are so efficient that consumers should be forced to use them. The compact bulbs use a quarter the energy of a conventional light.


Human metabolism recreated in lab

US researchers say they have created a "virtual" model of all the biochemical reactions that occur in human cells.
They hope the computer model will allow scientists to tinker with metabolic processes to find new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol.

It could also be used to individually tailor diet for weight control, the University of California team claimed.

Their development is reported in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Neolithic site found near England's Stonehenge

Evidence of a large settlement full of houses dating back to 2,600 BC has been discovered near the ancient stone monument of Stonehenge in southwest England, scientists said on Tuesday.

They suspect inhabitants of the houses, forming the largest Neolithic village ever found in Britain, built the stone circle at Stonehenge -- generally thought to have been a temple, burial ground or an astronomy site -- between 3,000 and 1,600 BC.

"We found the remains of eight houses," Mike Parker Pearson, a professor of archaeology at Sheffield University, said in a teleconference to announce the discovery.

"We think they are part of a much larger settlement. I suspect we can identify 25 likely house sites. My guess is that there are many more than that," he added.

Better Earth

Sacred Cave of Rome's Founders Discovered, Archaeologists Say

Lupercale ceiling rome grotto
© Associated Press/Italian Culture Ministry, HO
Lupercale ceiling picture
Archaeologists say they have unearthed Lupercale - the sacred cave where, according to legend, a she-wolf nursed the twin founders of Rome and where the city itself was born.

The long-lost underground chamber was found beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine, a 230-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) hill in the center of the city.

Archaeologists from the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Rome Municipality came across the 50-foot-deep (15-meter-deep) cavity while working to restore the decaying palace.