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Fri, 26 May 2017
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Treasure Chest

Gordon Cooper found sunken treasure from space and kept it secret until his deathbed

Original Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper was supposed to be looking for nuclear launch sites on his record-breaking Faith 7 flight in 1963. He did his duty over the course of those 22 revolutions around the earth, clicking away on a camera that kept getting loose in zero gravity, barely able to move for 34 hours.

But he also kept getting anomalous readings from his equipment, pinging him for objects that were definitely not nuclear sites. The keen-eyed astronaut couldn't help but put two and two together: metallic hulks beneath the sea, along the same routes used by Spanish traders? It had to be sunken treasure.

Cooper splashed down into the Pacific after that record-breaking flight, but he never told anyone — not NASA, not the Department of Defense — about what he'd seen. But he did take notes, scribbled down in the cramped capsule only a bit bigger than himself.

USA

The Korean War: Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea

© Interim Archives/Getty Images
A US B-26 bomber drops a bomb on the North Korean city of Wonsan in 1951.
Perhaps no country on Earth is more misunderstood by Americans than North Korea. Though the country's leaders are typically portrayed as buffoonish, even silly, in fact they are deadly serious in their cruelty and skill at retaining power. Though the country is seen as Soviet-style communist, in fact it is better understood as a holdover of Japanese fascism.

And there is another misconception, one that Americans might not want to hear but that is important for understanding the hermit kingdom: Yes, much of its anti-Americanism is cynically manufactured as a propaganda tool, and yes, it is often based on lies. But no, it is not all lies. The US did in fact do something terrible, even evil to North Korea, and while that act does not explain, much less forgive, North Korea's many abuses since, it is not totally irrelevant either.

Heart - Black

Secret documents reveal that Allied powers knew about Holocaust over two years before discovery of concentration camps

© Wikipedia
The Allied Powers prosecuted hundreds of Nazis for war crimes against Jewish people.
Archive shows Adolf Hitler was indicted for war crimes in 1944

The Allied Powers were aware of the scale of the Jewish Holocaust two-and-a-half years earlier than is generally assumed, and had even prepared war crimes indictments against Adolf Hitler and his top Nazi commanders.

Newly accessed material from the United Nations - not seen for around 70 years - shows that as early as December 1942, the US, UK and Soviet governments were aware that at least two million Jews had been murdered and a further five million were at risk of being killed, and were preparing charges. Despite this, the Allied Powers did very little to try and rescue or provide sanctuary to those in mortal danger.

Indeed, in March 1943, Viscount Cranborne, a minister in the war cabinet of Winston Churchill, said the Jews should not be considered a special case and that the British Empire was already too full of refugees to offer a safe haven to any more.

"The major powers commented [on the mass murder of Jews] two-and-a-half years before it is generally assumed," Dan Plesch, author of the newly published Human Rights After Hitler, told The Independent.

Archaeology

Long lost city found: Etzanoa of the great Wichita Nation

Make note of the name Etzanoa, a long-lost city. Donald Blakeslee says he's found it.

The discovery could put south-central Kansas on the map as the second-biggest settlement of Native Americans found in the United States, Blakeslee said. And it's now, finally, the known location of a 1601 battle pitting outnumbered Spaniards firing cannon into waves of attacking Indian warriors.

Etzanoa has remained a mystery for 400 years. Archaeologists could not find it. Historians thought reports of a permanent settlement with 20,000 Native Americans in it were exaggerated.

But here in Arkansas City, at the confluence of the Walnut and Arkansas Rivers, Blakeslee, an anthropologist and archaeologist at Wichita State University, has found evidence of a massive town stretching across thousands of acres of bluffs and rich bottomland along two rivers. What clinched it was the discovery, by a high school kid, of a half-inch iron cannon ball.

Archaeology

Iranian archaeologists unearth 2,000 year old underground city near Samen

© Eligold
Archaeologists excavating in the Hamadan province of Iran have made an astonishing discovery - the remains of an ancient underground city.

The excavation site is located close to the city of Samen, in Iran's Hamadan province. It is located some 400 km from the Iranian capital, Tehran.

The city consists of underground tunnels connecting at least 25 rooms. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of 60 people in nine rooms, and are still working on excavating the rest of the site.

Archaeology

Argentinian find: 70M year-old dinosaur eggs with embryos unearthed

© ThoughtCo
Argentinosaurus, the largest animal ever on Earth
Archaeologists in Argentina have announced the discovery of several dinosaur eggs - believed to be nearly 70 million years old and with the remainders of its embryos. The eggs were found several years ago at a site called Auca Mahuevo in the southern region of Patagonia by a shepherd, but the find was only made public this week by local Cultural Heritage Director, Claudia Della Negra, Argentina's Telam news outlet reported.

"Auca Mahuevo is a site where dinosaur eggs appear in nests along with the remains of the animals that ate them," Della Negra explained. This is not the first time the site yielded such a pleasant surprise, as in 1997, similar eggs were located there.

The official added that Argentinian authorities are planning to create a paleontological park in the area which would be visited by tourists. "The priority, however, is to preserve this site for future generations."

"The site was a swamp that at the time was covered with water and... sediment covered and drowned the embryos inside the eggs. The other sediment came from the Auca Mahuida volcano eruption ten million years later," she added. "The research received contributions from National Geographic, CONICET and Zaragoza (Spain) to do the analysis of the materials."

Comment: Facts About Argentinosaurus:
Some reconstructions put this dinosaur at 75 to 85 feet from head to tail and up to 75 tons, while others are less restrained, positing (somewhat less credibly) a total length of 100 feet and a weight of a whopping 100 tons.

It is classified as a titanosaur, the family of lightly armored sauropods that spread to every continent on earth during the later Cretaceous period, living 50M years past those of the Jurassic Period.

Top speed of five miles per hour.

It is likely that Argentinosaurus eggs measured about a foot in diameter, and that females laid up to 10 or 15 eggs at a time.

A newborn hatchling took three or four decades to reach its full adult size, a 25,000 percent increase in bulk.



Info

Indigenous peoples around the world tell myths which contain warning signs for natural disasters - Scientists are now listening

© Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket/Getty
Native knowledge - A Moken woman stares out to sea.
Shortly before 8am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay. The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the 'wave that eats people', had stirred from his ocean lair. The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure. To heed the Laboon's warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground.

The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Final totals put the islands' death toll at 1,879, with another 5,600 people missing. When relief workers finally came ashore, however, they realised that the death toll was skewed. The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands. Part of the reason was the area's geography, which generated a higher wave. But also at the root was the lack of a legacy; many residents in the city of Port Blair were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.

Humanity has always courted disaster. We have lived, died and even thrived alongside vengeful volcanoes and merciless waves. Some disasters arrive without warning, leaving survival to luck. Often, however, there is a small window of time giving people a chance to escape. Learning how to crack open this window can be difficult when a given catastrophe strikes once every few generations. So humans passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. These stories were fodder for anthropologists and social scientists, but in the past decade, geologists have begun to pay more attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could ultimately help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.

Anyone who has spent time around small children gets used to the question 'why?' Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why does thunder make such a loud noise? A friend's mother told us that thunder was God going bowling in the sky. Nature need not be scary and unpredictable, even if it was controlled by forces we could neither see nor understand.

The human penchant for stories and meaning is nothing new. Myths and legends provide entertainment, but they also transmit knowledge of how to behave and how the world works. Breaking the code of these stories, however, takes skill. Tales of gods gone bowling during summer downpours seems nonsensical on the surface, but know a little about the sudden thunderclaps and the clatter of bowling pins as they're struck by a ball, and the story makes sense.

Binoculars

Karajia: The unique and isolated Chachapoya sarcophaguses in Peru

In the north of Peru, just before the "gates" of Amazonia, there is the wonderful city of Chachapoyas. It is an isolated city and the capital of the Amazonas Region.

In a radius of 62 miles (100 km) of Chachapoyas, there are astonishing historical sites and monuments constructed before and after the Inca's conquest of the Chachapoya. Following the Inca's trail is a journey through the history of South America and one of the most beautiful sights on it is the Karajia archeological site.

The site is located 60 km northeast of Chachapoyas on 6798 miles (2072 meters) altitude. Unreachable, high above the path in the limestone cliff, are the funeral tombs of the "ancient wise men."

Info

Ten possible explanations for the 'ten plagues of Passover'

© Shutterstock

The Plagues


Every spring, Jewish people the world over celebrate Passover, a holiday that recounts the Exodus, when, according to the Torah (the Old Testament of the Bible), the Jews left Egypt for Israel.

However, before Moses could lead the 40-year journey through the desert, he needed the Pharaoh's permission to free the Jews, who were slaves in the land of Egypt, according to the Torah. But the Pharaoh had a hard heart, prompting the Lord to send down 10 plagues until the Pharaoh changed his mind, the Torah reports.

Could any of these plagues have occurred through natural phenomena? Live Science looks at possible scientific explanations behind each of the 10 plagues.

Star of David

Closest allies? Newly declassified CIA materials reveal Americans hardly knew any Israeli secrets

Some 1 million papers show what the U.S. knew, or didn't know, about Israeli leaders' health, IDF maneuvers and Moshe Dayan's celebrity status

According to a legend believed by the public and even in the government's security branches, the Americans know - or can know - everything about Israel. They eavesdrop, they photograph, they spy. They have agents at the top - in the government and the army. They have ears and listen; they have eyes and see. This is bad because it's hard to hide things from them. And this is good if we want to inform them of something indirectly, as a fact or a bluff.

How incorrect that feeling is, or at least, how untrue it was in the pre-computer era - because today the situation may be different - can be discovered from thousands of classified documents of the Central Intelligence Agency that are related to Israel and which, in recent weeks, have become accessible to anyone who is curious and bored.

Almost 1 million such papers, which include everything in the universe, were discovered in the seam between the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama and new President Donald Trump.