Science & TechnologyS


The brain can store nearly 10 times more data than previously thought, study confirms

© koto feja/Getty ImagesThe amount of information the brain can store is greater than once thought, new research suggests.
Scientists harnessed a new method to precisely measure the amount of information the brain can store, and it could help advance our understanding of learning.

The brain may be able to hold nearly 10 times more information than previously thought, a new study confirms.

Similar to computers, the brain's memory storage is measured in "bits," and the number of bits it can hold rests on the connections between its neurons, known as synapses. Historically, scientists thought synapses came in a fairly limited number of sizes and strengths, and this in turn limited the brain's storage capacity. However, this theory has been challenged in recent years — and the new study further backs the idea that the brain can hold about 10-fold more than once thought.

In the new study, researchers developed a highly precise method to assess the strength of connections between neurons in part of a rat's brain. These synapses form the basis of learning and memory, as brain cells communicate at these points and thus store and share information.

By better understanding how synapses strengthen and weaken, and by how much, the scientists more precisely quantified how much information these connections can store. The analysis, published April 23 in the journal Neural Computation, demonstrates how this new method could not only increase our understanding of learning but also of aging and diseases that erode connections in the brain.


A 'new star' could appear in the sky any night now. Here's how to see the Blaze Star ignite

blaze star periodic nova
© NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterAn illustration of a binary star system like T Coronae Borealis, also known as the Blaze Star.
The "Blaze Star" T Coronae Borealis will erupt with a magnificent explosion sometime between now and September, becoming visible to the naked eye. Here's how to find it when it does.

A dim star in the night sky 3,000 light-years from our solar system could soon become visible to the naked eye for the first time since 1946 — and you can easily find it in the night sky.

The "Blaze Star" — officially called T Coronae Borealis (T CrB) — is expected to brighten significantly between now and September 2024 from magnitude +10 (beyond naked-eye visibility) to magnitude +2, according to NASA. That's about the same brightness as Polaris, the North Star, the 48th-brightest star in the night sky. (In astronomy, the brighter an object is, the lower its magnitude; the full moon's magnitude is -12.6, for example).


Stunning 'parade of planets' image shows 6 worlds aligned over Earth

parade of planets, 6 planet alignment
© Josh DuryThe composite image shows the planetary parade, along with the moon, during the early hours of June 1.
A rare and stunning photo recently captured a "parade of planets," in which six planets in our solar system appeared together in the predawn sky.

The image shows Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in alignment. Mars and Saturn are clearly visible near a crescent moon, while the positions of the remaining planets, which were too distant to be seen with the naked eye, were revealed by two composite long exposures.

Astrophotographer Josh Dury captured the planetary parade on June 1 in the early hours of the morning from The Mendip Hills — a range of limestone hills in the county of Somerset in the U.K. on June 1.

The annotated image shows Mars and Saturn clearly visible near a crescent moon, while the positions of the remaining planets (too distant to be seen with the naked eye but faintly visible in the image) were revealed by two composite long exposures.

"I thought no better than to climb Crooks Peak at the unearthly hour of 2am," Dury told Live Science via email. "As time passed, it was a really special experience. Being able to see one planet after another rising and being present in my images was fantastic and really encapsulated a sense of perspective of our place within the solar system, let alone the universe."


Origins of Welsh dragons finally exposed by experts

Ancient Triassic
© Gabriel UguetoArtist’s depiction of a British Archipelago during the Triassic.
Until recently, the land of the dragon didn't have any dinosaurs. However, in the last ten years, several dinosaurs have been reported, but their life conditions were not well known. In a new study by a team from the University of Bristol and published in Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, important details have been revealed for the first time.

They found that early Welsh dinosaurs from over 200 million year ago lived on a tropical lowland beside the sea. Dinosaur trackways are known from Barry and other sites nearby, showing that dinosaurs had walked across the warm lowlands.

The discovery was made at Lavernock Point, close to Cardiff and Penarth, where the cliffs of dark-coloured shales and limestones document ancient shallow seas. At several levels, there are accumulations of bones, including the remains of fish, sharks, marine reptiles and occasionally, dinosaurs.

Former student of the Bristol MSc in Palaeobiology Owain Evans led the study. He explained:
"The bone bed paints the picture of a tropical archipelago, which was subjected to frequent storms, that washed material from around the surrounding area, both in land and out at sea, into a tidal zone. This means that from just one fossil horizon, we can reconstruct a complex ecological system, with a diverse array of marine reptiles like ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and placodonts in the water, and dinosaurs on land.

"I had visited the coast at Penarth all my life, growing up in Cardiff, but never noticed the fossils. Then, the more I read, the more amazing it became. Local geologists had been collecting bones since the 1870s, and most of these are in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff."


Best of the Web: Lost knowledge of our Sun's twin, the Great Year, and the implications for cataclysms, and consciousness - Walter Cruttenden

lost star cruttenden
Lost Star of Myth and Time by Walter Cruttenden
It's our pleasure to welcome Walter Cruttenden, author of Lost Star of Myth and Time, as our featured author this month. Walter is the Director of the Binary Research Institute in California and has a background in math and science. His book investigates the scientific reality behind the myths of ancient cultures worldwide that spoke of a vast cycle of time with alternating dark and golden ages. Plato called it the Great Year. With the backing of new scientific evidence, Walter's book examines how this cycle of high and low ages may have some basis in fact. To better understand the physics behind the concept, Walter argues that we must observe the diurnal and annual motions of the Earth. In his article, Walter explores how the Earth's yearly revolution around the Sun significantly and profoundly affects human consciousness. He suggests a better understanding of ancient cultures' wisdom is the recipe for a higher civilization. Interact with Walter on our forum here.
A Three Body Problem

The hit Netflix series, Three Body Problem, based on the very real physics of how a multiple star system might affect life on an alien world, contains an important lesson for the future of our own sun and world.

Once thought to be rare, it is now estimated that half of all stars have partner stars. Examples include nearby Sirius A and B, and the three-star Alpha Centauri system, currently our closest stellar neighbor, on which the Netflix series is based. With the recent discovery of countless red and brown dwarf stars, some astronomers have pushed estimates to 80%, with many unseen. We would be wise to better understand the wild physics of these stellar systems before visiting one!

Comment: SOTT has been exploring the above ideas, from numerous angles, for decades, and the following articles provide fascinating insight into the findings: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Swarm observatory helps discover Steve's 'long-lost twin'

steve aurora twin plasma stream
© Ramfjordmoen Research StationSteve’s twin captured by an all-sky digital camera
Ever since aurora chasers discovered Steve, a mysterious ribbon of purple light in the night sky, scientists have wondered whether it might have a secret twin. Now, thanks to a photographer's keen eye, and data from ESA's Swarm satellites, we may have found it.

Steve was a sensation when scientists stumbled across it a few years ago, thanks to the eagle eyes and excellent photography of the Alberta Aurora Chasers Facebook group.

But its mauve hue and fleeting appearance meant it couldn't be a feature of the aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, which comes in shades of green, blue and red and can last for hours. So, what could it be?

Fortunately, ESA's trio of magnetic-field monitoring Swarm satellites were perfectly placed to help investigate.

It turned out that Steve was a fast-moving stream of extremely hot gas called a sub-auroral ion drift. Or, to give Steve its full name, a strong thermal emission velocity enhancement.

But the mystery wasn't quite over.


Unraveling the physics of knitting

knit stitch analysis physics
© Krishma Singal, Michael S. Dimitriyev, et al.Two similar stitches (K-K or P-P) are joined by a yarn segment with even symmetry, highlighted in pink (a top). Extensional deformations cause curvature deformations of the yarn segment (a bottom). Alternating stitches (K-P) are joined by a yarn segment with odd symmetry, highlighted in cyan (b top). These segments are able to rotate to accommodate extensional deformation (b bottom). Symmetries of stitches are shown in the x-direction (c–f) and the y-direction (g–j). c, g Stockinette fabric has only even connecting yarn segments in both x- (c) and y-directions (g). d, h Garter fabric has even connecting yarn segments in x-direction (d) and odd connecting yarn segments in the y-direction (h). e, i Rib fabric has odd connecting yarn segments in the x-direction (e) and even connecting yarn segments in the y-direction (i). f, j Since seed fabric is based on a checkerboard pattern, it only has odd connecting yarn segments. The renderings in (a-j) are repeated unit cells of sample stitch-level simulation outputs
Knitting, the age-old craft of looping and stitching natural fibers into fabrics, has received renewed attention for its potential applications in advanced manufacturing. Far beyond their use for garments, knitted textiles are ideal for designing and fabricating emerging technologies like wearable electronics or soft robotics — structures that need to move and bend.

Knitting transforms one-dimensional yarn into two-dimensional fabrics that are flexible, durable, and highly customizable in shape and elasticity. But to create smart textile design techniques that engineers can use, understanding the mechanics behind knitted materials is crucial.

Physicists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken the technical know-how of knitting and added mathematical backing to it. In a study led by Elisabetta Matsumoto, associate professor in the School of Physics, and Krishma Singal, a graduate researcher in Matsumoto's lab, the team used experiments and simulations to quantify and predict how knit fabric response can be programmed. By establishing a mathematical theory of knitted materials, the researchers hope that knitting — and textiles in general — can be incorporated into more engineering applications.

Solar Flares

Rethinking the sun's cycles - New physical model reinforces planetary hypothesis

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Latvia have posited the first comprehensive physical explanation for the sun's various activity cycles. It identifies vortex-shaped currents on the sun, known as Rossby waves, as mediators between the tidal influences of Venus, Earth as well as Jupiter and the sun's magnetic activity. The researchers thus present a consistent model for solar cycles of different lengths - and another strong argument to support the previously controversial planetary hypothesis. The results have now been published in the journal Solar Physics (DOI: 10.1007/s11207-024-02295-x).
Our Sun
© ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI TeamThe sun is currently approaching a maximum activity in the 11-year “Schwabe cycle” again, here a Solar Orbiter image from October 2023.
Although the sun, being near to us, is the best researched star, many questions about its physics have not yet been completely answered. These include the rhythmic fluctuations in solar activity. The most famous of these is that, on average, the sun reaches a radiation maximum every eleven years - which experts refer to as the Schwabe cycle. This cycle of activity occurs because the sun's magnetic field changes during this period and eventually reverses polarity. This, in itself, is not unusual for a star - if it weren't for the fact that the Schwabe cycle is remarkably stable.

The Schwabe cycle is overlaid by other, less obvious fluctuations in activity ranging from a few hundred days to several hundred years, each named after their discoverers. Although there have already been various attempts to explain these cycles and mathematical calculations, there is still no comprehensive physical model.


Bringing transhumanism down to Earth, Part 1: Military intelligence operations cloaked in the false promise of transcendence

transhuman human
"All of our exalted technological progress, civilization for that matter, is comparable to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal".

— Albert Einstein, in a letter to Heinrich Zangger (1917)
Abstract: With the coordinated global release of the Covid-19 narrative in late 2019 and the subsequent illogical demands of governments — allied with transnational organisations and pharmaceutical giants — many people around the world began questioning the hasty, unprecedented, and sweeping technological and technocratic changes being made to societies in the name of a highly marketed "medical emergency". Despite new policies emanating from authorities to isolate, to mask, to restrict all social contact, to accept without question unique experimental gene- and nanoparticle-based injections, and to abide by novel and absurd social norms, many people pushed back against the apparent tyranny. The more enthusiastic that governments were in deleting civil rights, suppressing freedom of speech and due process, the more that people sought to expose the story behind the mainstream Covid-19 narrative. This article, the first in a series of four, considers that story as it intersects with the trajectory of transhumanism. Here in Part 1 we examine how the current uninterrupted global push for a total top-down alteration of humanity, of human biology, of human emotions, and social relations, relates to a philosophy and history of well-funded and highly efficient business and military operations framed as necessarily rational and inevitable. We address the obfuscatory meanings of transhumanism so far propagated, and begin uncovering transhumanism's roots in the military-intelligence complex, taking NASA and its purported demand for cyborgs in space as our starting point. With a focus on primary sources and military-intelligence material, we lay the foundations for the subsequent three articles in the series, which offer an alternative possible way of understanding the current unfolding process as one aimed at transforming human beings from natural and sovereign creatures to controlled synthetic forms of life.

Fireball 2

Near Earth asteroids and the Virginid complex

Meteor Shower
© Randall Carlson June 2024 Newsletter
In April 2024 a study was published in the journal Planetary and Space Science looking at one of the lesser-known meteor streams. In this study a team of astronomers and astrophysicists from the Institute of Astrophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan and the Astronomical Observatory Institute, A. M. University in Poland, examined evidence for a meteor stream whose radiant point was in the constellation Virgo, hence bearing the name the Virginid stream. The authors begin their report by establishing a context for their research. (If their wording is somewhat awkward, bear in mind that English is not their first language.) I have made minor editing and grammatical changes for clarity.

"Besides major planets a lot of smaller bodies are moving in the solar system. This population consists of comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. Comets and asteroids are parents of meteoroids. A huge number of meteoroids generated by a parent body form a meteoroid stream. The stream meteoroids are moving in interplanetary space in similar orbits close to the orbit of the parent. It is accepted that the activity of comets or their destruction are responsible for formation of meteoroid streams. Forming of a stable long-lived meteoroid stream can be provided by a periodic normal gas- and dust producing activity of comet which is observed during passage of the perihelion. (perihelion is the closest passage of the object to the Sun.) . . . A concept of the formation of meteoroid streams as a result of the cometary activity, as well the circumstances of their evolution and structure are described in a lot of papers. When the Earth crosses the meteoroid stream orbits, meteor showers occur. As was shown by Babadzhanov and Obrubov, 1992, one stream might produce from four to eight meteor showers observable on the Earth. Note, quadruple crossings are the most common among meteoroid streams. For instance, the Taurid meteoroid stream consists of four meteor showers. At the per-perihelion crossing with the Earth's orbit they are the Northern and Southern Taurids . . . which are observable on the Earth annually in September-November, as well as the Daytime beta-Taurids and Daytime zeta-Perseids observable in June-July which are occurring at the post-perihelion crossing. The well-known parent body of the Taurid stream is comet 2P/Encke; however, it turned out that more than 40 near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) relate to this family. The dynamical association of these objects was found and the family was called the Taurid asteroid-meteoroid complex. It was determined that asteroids of the Taurid complex very likely are extinct cometary nuclei or dead fragments of the larger comet-progenitor."

I would note that there is a widely held opinion that comet Encke is not the original progenitor comet of the Taurid stream, rather it is a fragment of the original nucleus which was much larger. As many enthusiasts of this work and research are aware, the Taurid meteor streams have likely played a profound role in both Earth and human history over the past 25 to 30 thousand years. It has been proposed that impact events at the lower Younger Dryas boundary were associated with the Taurid stream. It is likely that the Tunguska event of 1908 was caused by a fragment of the stream as well. It is probable that many more events involving the Taurids remain to be discovered.