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Thu, 23 Nov 2017
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China reveals model of a 7,680mph hypersonic strike aircraft on state TV

Chinese state media has revealed the country's first ever images of a model (pictured) of its hypersonic glide vehicle, a nuclear weapons expert has claimed. The secretive missile delivery craft, known as the DF-ZF, could travel at up to ten times the speed of sound.
Chinese state media has revealed the country's first ever images of a model of its hypersonic glide vehicle, a nuclear weapons expert has claimed.

The secretive missile delivery craft, known as the DF-ZF, could travel at up to ten times the speed of sound (7,680 mph/12,360 kph) according to some estimates.

Its speed will ensure the country's nuclear threat can reliably breach the United States' ballistic missile defence shield, which fires incoming strikes out of the air.

The model was briefly shown during a State-run TV special covering the country's JF-12 hypersonic wind tunnel.

The innovative setup is the largest of its kind in the world and is capable of testing missiles and aircraft up to 6,900mph (11,100kph).

The news follows a US Navy announcement yesterday that it had successfully test fired a hypersonic missile that could hit 'anywhere in the world' within an hour.

Black Cat

Scientists hope to clone 500,000 year old lion cub

The lion was found frozen in ice in Siberia, Russia.

It survived almost intact for tens of thousands of years, and its fur and facial features are clearly visible.

It was found with its face resting on its paw.

The cub is believed to have been between one and two months old when it died, but experts haven't yet found out how it died.

The body was spotted on the bank of a river by villager Boris Berezhnov in the Abyisky district of Yakutia.

Fireball 3

Extinction of dinosaurs may not have occurred had the asteroid struck in different place

© Getty Images
Artwork depicting extinction of dinosaurs.
The catastrophic asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago may not have been so devastating had it hit almost anywhere else on earth. It means dinosaurs could still rule the earth and humans may never have evolved at all.

That's according to new research by Japanese scientists Kunio Kaiho and Naga Oshima, who published their findings Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. They posit the asteroid, known as the Chicxulub Impactor, which smashed into what was then a shallow sea in modern day Mexico, would not have been so devastating if it hit about 87 percent of anywhere else on the planet.

The roughly six mile (10km) wide asteroid created a crater more 110 miles (176km) across when it smashed into our planet. The collision released more than 1 billion times as much energy as the atomic bomb detonations which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the close of WW2.


Astronomers discover star that exploded multiple times

© Courtesy of the European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser.
This is an artist’s impression of a supernova explosion.
It's the celestial equivalent of a horror movie villain-a star that wouldn't stay dead.

An international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Nick Konidaris and Benjamin Shappee discovered a star that exploded multiple times over a period of 50 years. The finding, published by Nature, completely confounds existing knowledge of a star's end of life, and Konidaris' instrument-construction played a crucial role in analyzing the phenomenon.

In September 2014, the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory team of astronomers detected a new explosion in the sky, iPTF14hls.

The light given off by the event was analyzed in order to understand the speed and chemical composition of the material ejected in the explosion.

This analysis indicated that the explosion was what's called a type II-P supernova, and everything about the discovery seemed normal. Until, that is, a few months later when the supernova started getting brighter again.

Type II-P supernovae usually remain bright for about 100 days. But iPTF14hls remained bright for more than 600! What's more, archival data revealed a 1954 explosion in the exact same location.

© Adapted from Arcavi et al. 2017, Nature. Credit: LCO/S. Wilkinson.
An image taken by the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey reveals a possible explosion in the year 1954 at the location of iPTF14hls (left), not seen in a later image taken in 1993 (right). Supernovae are known to explode only once, shine for a few months and then fade, but iPTF14hls experienced at least two explosions, 60 years apart.

Comment: See also:

Rare type Ia supernova discovery ushers in new era for cosmology
Star explodes 4 times in this rare phenomenon
Astronomers Study "Zombie" Stars

Solar Flares

NASA spots rare 7,000mph 'whirlpool' on sun's surface

A stunning new Nasa image shows an extremely rare pattern (circled in red) at the sun's surface. A dark snake-like filament can be seen erupting from the star, but while the formations are normally stretched out like a strand, this one is circular.
A stunning new Nasa image shows an extremely rare pattern streaming from the sun at close to 7,000 miles per hour (11,200 km/h).

A dark snake-like filament can be seen erupting from the star, but while the formations are normally stretched out like a strand, this one is circular like a whirlpool.

This is because it is being yanked back by the star's staggering gravitational pull - which is about 27.9 times that of Earth.

The rare sight, captured by Nasa's orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), has only been seen a 'handful of times', the agency said.

Comment: Also see:

Cow Skull

Study claims cooling in high and mid-latitudes led to aridification in Northern Africa

© Patrick Gruban, Munich, Germany / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Neolithic rock art in Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, Sahara, Algeria.
It is one of the driest regions of the Earth, yet, in a cave in the Egyptian Sahara, researchers have found paintings depicting people swimming. This stone-age art is thought to be up to ten thousand years old and falls into the so-called African Humid Period between 11,500 and 5,500 years before now. Climate scientists still puzzle about the rapidity of aridification and the climate processes that led to this. Now, a group of researchers from several European institutions found that northern high-latitude cooling played a role in triggering the rapid termination of the African Humid Period.

According to the study, published in Nature Communications, the temperature drop in the Arctic and in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere weakened strong winds at high altitudes over Africa, the so-called Tropical Easterly Jet. "This cooling reduced precipitation over Africa, and in combination with a range of other complex climate feedback mechanisms tipped the humid system towards aridification," explains the first author of the study, James Collins from Helmholtz Centre Potsdam.

The findings are based on analyses of ancient plant leaf wax found in the sediments of the Gulf of Guinea in combination with computer models of the climate system. The wax lipids comprise n-alkanes, i.e. long-chain hydrocarbons, that are produced by plants to protect their leaves. Their hydrogen isotopic composition can be used as an indicator of past precipitation intensity. The wax isotopes told the researchers about rainfall in Cameroon and the central Sahel-Sahara over the past several millennia and showed a rapid aridification around 5500 years before now.

Comment: Once-Green Sahara Hosted Early African Dairy Farms

Bizarro Earth

'Geomagnetic spike' in 1000 BC challenges our understanding of Earth's magnetic field

The Earth has a powerful magnetic field.
The Earth's magnetic field, generated some 3,000km below our feet in the liquid iron core, threads through the whole planet and far into space - protecting life and satellites from harmful radiation from the sun. But this shielding effect is far from constant, as the field strength varies significantly in both space and time.

Over the last century, the field strength has changed relatively slowly: the biggest change is a 10% fall in the southern Atlantic, which is still a large enough effect to cause electronic problems for satellites that have passed through the region. However, new observations and modelling suggest that a much greater change strangely occurred around 1000BC in a much smaller region.

This "geomagnetic spike" offers a potentially profound new insight into the dynamics and evolution of Earth's hidden interior that is now starting to be uncovered.

So what are geomagnetic spikes and what are the prospects and implications of another one coming along? The geomagnetic spike of 1000BC was first identified from copper slag heaps located in Jordan and Israel. These were dated from organic material within the slag heaps using radiocarbon dating.

Scientists then investigated the copper using sophisticated laboratory techniques to work out what the Earth's magnetic field was at the time - relying on the fact that when melted iron cools rapidly, it freezes with a signature of the field at that instant. By taking samples from different layers of the slag heap - with slightly different ages and magnetisation - they could also see how the field strength changed with time. They found that the copper slag had recorded Earth's magnetic field strength rising and then falling by over 100% in only 30 years.


Putin: Project to shield Earth from meteorites should be carried out with worldwide cooperation

© Wikipedia
A meteor fireball is seen over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. The resulting blast injured more than 1,600 people.
Work on large-scale projects to protect the Earth from meteorites should be carried out in cooperation with other countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with workers of the Chelyabinsk compressor plant.

Commenting on the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteorite incident, the head of state noted that this event had not been foreseen. "Although today experts try to take into account the trajectory of the most dangerous objects [from outer space], there are numerous protection mechanisms. Many concepts are futuristic and still in the works nevertheless they exist. These include splitting these objects using various explosive devices, including nuclear ones, sending corresponding probes to land on these objects and transport them aside," the president said, adding that there are numerous different projects, which, according to experts, are feasible.

"So far, thank God, there seems to be nothing serious, but we will be working on that. However, these are such large-scale projects that need to be implemented together with our partners," Putin concluded.


Scientists inject human brain bits into rats; ethicists worry about their burgeoning consciousness

© Getty
Scientists have implanted human-like brain tissue in lab rats.
Tiny human brains injected into rats have sparked a major ethical debate among scientists worried it may give the rodents some type of human consciousness.

Esteemed science ethicists claim the experiments might reach a point where the test lab rats will be "entitled to some kind of respect".

Advances in science have allowed experts to connect tiny human brains with that of a rat.

To do this, they created clumps of cells that behave similarly to human brains called organoids.

Several labs have inserted those organoids into rat brains, connected them to blood vessels and successfully grown physical links.


Super humans or mind-controlled bots? Scientists engineering implantable microchips to bio-hack the brain

People will be able to buy new memories and delete unwanted ones in the near future as experts believe they are close to biohacking the body's most powerful tool, according to a leading technology entrepreneur.

Speaking at Lisbon's Web Summit, Bryan Johnson, the founder of Kernel - a start-up researching the possibilities of microchips being inserted on the brain - says unlocking the true potential of the mind is the "single greatest thing" humanity can achieve.

Kernel's first step is to design chips that can help fight disease, but then it hopes to evolve the brain to offer superhuman abilities.

The firm's website reads: "To further explore our own human boundaries, a wave of new technologies needs to emerge that can access, read, and write from the most powerful tool we have - the human brain.

Comment: Sound too good to be true? As usual, the MSM is laying the groundwork, promoting new technology as a huge benefit to mankind while ignoring any potential negative consequences. In fact, this kind of technology has the potential to be one of the greatest threats to liberty and freedom in the history of mankind. Most people are unaware of the dangers which is why the technology is not being more widely opposed.
They Really Do Want To Implant Microchips Into Your Brain

Implantable microchips that can "talk" directly to the brain would give a tyrannical government the ultimate form of control.

If you could download thoughts and feelings directly into the brains of your citizens, you could achieve total control and never have to worry that they would turn on you.

In fact, you could potentially program these chips to make your citizens feel good all the time. You could have these chips produce a "natural high" that never ends. That would make your citizens incredibly dependent on the chips and they would never want to give them up.
See also: Our governments and corporations are steering us into a world where everyone will be microchipped