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Tue, 21 Aug 2018
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Science & Technology


Clay Pots Found at Ancient Greece Shrine

©AP Photo/Greek Culture Ministry
Miniature pottery vases and statuettes are seen buried in a ritual pit at an ancient shrine discovered in Orchomenos..

ATHENS, Greece - Archaeologists in central Greece have discovered thousands of miniature clay pots and statuettes in the ruins of an ancient sanctuary possibly dedicated to the Three Graces, officials said on Wednesday. In volume, it is one of the richest finds in recent years.


Florida Bans Touch-Screen Voting Machines

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Monday signed into law a bill requiring that all voting districts in the state replace most touch-screen electronic voting machines with optical scan machines.


The Truth About Lie Detectors

Washington is a city of lies, so perhaps it is no surprise that those in the nation's capital wishing to expose the truth have been fooled by lies about a polygraph's usefulness.

According to White House spokesman Tony Snow, earlier this month, the White House will consider administering a polygraph to Clinton-era National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who pleaded guilty to lifting documents from the National Archives in 2002 and 2003. Some say the documents, now nowhere to be found, might point to failures of the Clinton administration to uncover the 9/11 terrorist plot.

Politics aside (it was 18 Republican congressmen who wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January requesting that Berger take a polygraph, but that was before allegations of certain falsehoods on Gonzales' part made the request a little awkward), the polygraph is no way to get to the truth.


Physicists Predict the Death of Cosmology while Spending Time and Resources on Pointless Speculations

Physicists are now foretelling the death of cosmology, or the study of our universe, as we know it. Thankfully, cosmologists won't be jobless for a couple trillion years.

The universe is rapidly expanding--perhaps not rapidly enough to rip to shreds, but enough that distant galaxies will eventually be moving away faster than the speed of light. This much has been known for decades.

Once all these galaxies blink out of existence, scientists ask in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Relativity and Gravitation, how will future intelligent beings study space if the human race's knowledge is long gone? Will they be able to figure out if the Big Bang happened? Or rediscover relativity?

Magic Wand

Somewhere over the rainbow: Astronomers seek life at end of rainbow

Rainbows may be the key to identifying habitable planets around nearby stars, according to a researcher who says light scattering could indicate the presence of liquid water.

Associate Professor Jeremy Bailey of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University says looking at the way light bounces off droplets in a planet's atmosphere would be a sensitive indicator of liquid water in its clouds.

Bailey presents his case for using polarisation, the same property of light that produces rainbows, to look for liquid water in the latest issue of the journal Astrobiology.

"A rainbow is caused by light that is reflected in a water droplet that is scattered at a particular angle," he says.


New York City is the testing ground for Hydra's "Secure Super Grids". Don't worry, Homeland Security taking care of everything!

"This is about Wall Street, this is about making the electric grid for the financial capital of the world ... more defensible against potential problems," including a terrorist attack, Jay M. Cohen, the agency's undersecretary for science and technology, told The Associated Press.

The agency last week signed a $1.7 million contract with American Superconductor Corp. to make high temperature cables, which will be used by New York utility Consolidated Edison Inc. under the terms of a separate contract.

Financial terms of the deal between the two companies were not disclosed, but Con Ed and American Superconductor are together providing one third of the funding for the project, according to the government.

The "secure super grids" use high-temperature superconductor wires and power cables to increase power while maintaining the ability to suppress surges, American Superconductor said.


Virgin Shark Gives Birth!

Female sharks may not need males around anymore, because they can reproduce without having sex, surprised scientists have found.

The startling discovery, announced today, has a long history. It was initially made after the unexpected birth of a baby hammerhead shark in the aquarium of Nebraska's Henry Doorly Zoo in December 2001. The birth surprised zookeepers because the tank only contained female hammerheads, none of which had ever even been exposed to a male during their time in captivity, much less mated with one.


Snake Cults Dominated Early Arabia

Pre-Islamic Middle Eastern regions were home to mysterious snake cults, according to two papers published in this month's Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy journal.

From at least 1250 B.C. until around 550 A.D., residents of what is now the Persian Gulf worshipped snakes in elaborate temple complexes that appear to have been built for this purpose, the studies reveal.


Egypt Finds 4,000-Year-Old Tomb

A tomb of an Egyptian courtier who lived about 4,000 years ago was discovered by Belgian archaeologists, Egypt's culture ministry has said.


Hidden Tombs of Ancient Syria

Although nearly seven years have passed, I still vividly remember the events of June 10, 2000. Our archaeological team of students and specialists, about fifteen strong, had begun the third week of a two-month excavation season on the Jabbul Plain of northern Syria. We were bracing ourselves for the hot and dry summer days we could expect at our site, Tell Umm el-Marra. A tell (the word means "mound" in Arabic) is not a natural feature. Rather, it is an archaeological time capsule, with layers of mud bricks, stones, artifacts, and other materials that have accumulated for thousands of years as buildings were lived in, abandoned, fell into ruin, and finally served as the foundations for a new generation of buildings. At Tell Umm el-Marra the remains have accumulated to a height of twenty-seven feet across an area of fifty acres. The mound is one of scores that dot the otherwise featureless plain.

©Glenn M. Schwartz
Aerial view of Tell Umm el-Marra and its surroundings