Saturday, 31 October 2015

Blessed Samhain!

If you are a Wiccan that is.  Have a good night and remember Gerald!

Stone Throwing British Bigfoot....well.....

This sums up the whole fakery and silliness of the "British Bigfoot" -promulgated by alleged "serious cryptozoologists" in this country.

Years ago, someone goes walking in dark woodland.  During the course of that walk three small stones are thrown at them from out of the dark.  THIS is "evidence" of a British Bigfoot.

I DO hope that this was a joke.

Friday, 30 October 2015

22 Ancient Ship Wrecks NEVER Scientifically Studied

And every time we say "We can learn no more about ancient history" along come another 22 ships!

Shipwrecks were the stuff of lore around the craggy coasts of Fourni, a Greek archipelago close to Turkey in the eastern Aegean Sea. Generations of local fishermen and sponge divers had seen piles of ancient pottery collecting algae on the seafloor. Last month, a group of marine archaeologists finally investigated the waters, and their wealth of findings far exceeded expectations.

During the very first dive of the expedition, the team found the remains of a late Roman-period wreck strewn with sea grass in shallow water. By day 5, the researchers had discovered evidence of nine more sunken ships. The next day, they found another six. By the time the 13-day survey was finished, the divers had located 22 shipwrecks— some more than 2,500 years old — that had never been scientifically documented before.

"I think we were all shocked," said Peter Campbell, co-director of the project from the U.S.-based RPM Nautical Foundation. "We were expecting three or four wrecks, and we would have been very happy." 

Ancient shipwreck graveyard from Roman and Medieval eras discovered near Greece 

Ancient shipwreck graveyard from Roman and Medieval eras discovered near Greece

Just how many more wrecks are hidden around Fourni — which lies between the islands of Samos and Icaria — is anyone's guess, Campbell said. The expedition turned up doomed vessels from the Archaic period (700-480 B.C.) to the late medieval period (16th century A.D.), from depths of 180 feet (55 meters) to as shallow as 10 feet (3 m). And yet, this initial survey covered merely 17 square miles(44 square kilometers), just 5 percent of the archipelago's coast. Previously, about 180 ancient shipwrecks had been well-documented in all of Greece's territorial waters. These new discoveries add 12 percent to the total number of known wrecks, the leaders of the project said.

"In a survey, you don't really choose what you're going to find — you just dive," George Koutsouflakis, the Greek director of the survey, from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, told Live Science. "We knew already that Fourni was a hub in navigation in the Aegean, so we had some expectations, but the results surprised us. The importance of this place was underestimated."

Though Fourni didn't have major cities, it was notable in the ancient world for its location along Aegean crossing routes, both east-west and north-south. Early Imperial Roman sources say that Fourni was very prosperous, had a robust population and had marble mines in full operation, Koutsouflakis said. But mentions of the archipelago in late Roman texts are scant, which is why the divers were surprised that about half of the wrecks found in the survey date to this period.

"By the late Roman period, we don't really know anything about the island," Koutsouflakis said. "Fourni is hardly mentioned in the sources of that time. You see that the shipwrecks tell us a more nuanced story. The island must have maintained importance as a harbor site."

The main component of these shipwrecks, wood, isn't likely to survive centuries at the bottom of the sea, unless it is buried in mud without oxygen to fuel decomposition. So far, the wrecks that have been found around Fourni bear few traces of the vessels themselves (though future underwater excavations may change that). Instead, the divers documented messy piles of lost cargo, mostly transport vessels like amphoras, which sank with their ships close to the cliffs on Fourni's coast.
22 ancient shipwrecks found off Greece (LiveScience) 
22 ancient shipwrecks found off Greece (LiveScience)
"A lot of times, you can see near the point of impact where the ships must have crashed, and then you have this scatter pile raining down the underwater slope of the cliff," Campbell said. "These aren't the nice ship-shaped piles of amphoras that you sometimes get in ships that wreck far out at sea. We probably do have some of those, but they're probably farther away from shore."

Campbell said that of the 22 newly discovered wrecks, three have unique cargos that have never been found before in Mediterranean shipwrecks: a trove of Archaic pots from nearby Samos that was probably destined for Cyprus, but didn't make it very far; a group of huge second-century A.D. amphoras from the Black Sea region; and a cache of "Sinopian carrots," or amphoras that come from Sinop on the Black Sea coast of Turkey and, as the name implies, are shaped vaguely like carrots.

Koutsouflakis and Campbell said they intend to go back to Fourni, equipped with underwater robots and other technologies, to search for more wrecks before they plan any underwater excavations. For now, they have taken artifact samples ashore for analysis at a laboratory in Athens, Greece, partly to try to find out what was on board — wine, oil, fish sauce — the ill-fated ships that met their demise at Fourni.

John Keel Would Have Loved This

Pinterest, despite twenty -20- attempts so far will NOT accept the Real Frankenstein posting link because of Keel's photo.  I bet it's those Ultra-terrestrials!

The Black Beast Of Darmstadt -The True Frankenstein Story!

  That's Keel (above) in younger days.

In my book, Some Things Strange And Sinister I could not resist referring to this little story.  The location -and story, of course- is one I would like to visit one day, perhaps as part of a TV programme.  We can all live in hope!

But here, slightly expanded on, is the chapter from STS&S.

  Don’t get me wrong, I find the books of John Keel [1-4] to be very good reads; they snatch you up and string you along and are very difficult to put down.  Just look at the chapter headings in one of my favourites, Strange Creatures From Time & Space – “A World Filled with Ambling Nightmares”, “The Uglies and the Nasties”, “Demon Dogs and Phantom Cats,” “Creatures from the Black Lagoon,” “Winged Weirdos,” “The Great Sea Serpent of Silver Lake, New York” –and they go on.

  I love them!

    Whereas dear old Charles Fort either muddled his reference notes and dates by accident or deliberately [I think the former], Keel goes one better –he quotes incidents from magazine sources he has read but seems never to have followed-up to check on.  In some cases he gives no original source.

    I suppose that’s fine if all you want to read is a good tale that leaves you wondering “was that really true –surely he’d never put it in a book if it wasn’t?”  Oh, the innocent days!  However, if you are one of those people who has to find the truth whether good or bad and you are willing to work hard to get to the real source, then this is fun but very frustrating.  This latter type of person is known to Ufologists, Forteans and their kind as a “kill-joy pain-in-the-ass” or “kijopitas”.  My name is kijopitas!

    One paragraph in Strange Creatures From Time & Space that intrigued me for years related to an incident from the (possibly, Keel wasn’t even definite on this!) 8th Century:-

                  “In Germany during this same period,some huge black
                  animal was prowling the dark forests near Darmstadt,killing
                  people off like flies.  Finally,a local baron fought the beast.
                  He managed to kill it but during the fight he suffered a wound
                  which led to his death.  A statue was erected to him in the
                  tomb of his castle,both of which are still standing.”

 Above Tower and ruins of Castle Frankenstein -Pascal Rehfeldt 
CC BY-SA 3.0

    There are two things of interest here.  Firstly, if  if—Keel was referring to the incidents I think he was, and the previous paragraph had the details almost right, then we are talking about the 8th century.  Keel was, like many after him, basing his account on one of the biggest offenders in the “I don’t need to quote sources” brigade –Harold T. Wilkins [5] but it is worth mentioning the Mesopotamian incident.

    A 9th century document from Mesopotamia reports that, some time “before” AD 774, the Abdin Rock region was the scene of between “twenty to 100” people being killed by mysterious beasts.  The animals were “similar to wolves but with ears like a horse and a ridge of bristly hair along their spines” and they apparently entered houses in villages from which they carried off children, probably adults also, though children would have been the easier prey.  These creatures demonstrated no fear of men and would even turn and attack anyone who was chasing them.

      I have yet to see one writer on mysteries positively identify these “mystery beasts” –of course, doing so would negate the “mystery” aspect.  So, let me tell you now that, as a naturalist, the description is clear enough –hyaena.  It sounds like the beasts had obviously been kept by humans, as demonstrated by their lack of fear of Man [a very bad sign] and entering native huts in Africa to run off with children or adults is not unknown.  The behaviour, which is unusual,seems to indicate these animals must have been starving and humans were easy prey [6 & 7].

 Standbild des hl. Georg in der Michaelskapelle auf der Burg Hohenzollern 
CC BY-SA 3.0

    Now, if the Black Beast was seen around this period we must be talking early-to-mid 8th century.  This brings me to the second interesting point, for me.

    Along with Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, of the Exotic Cat Project, University of Wales Swansea, I have been looking at the history of menageries from ancient times up until the 1970s.  We are both aware of reports of “black beasts” attacking and killing livestock and people. 

    For example; around AD 940, in the area around Flixton, Yorkshire, a large black animal with a long tail, “glowing eyes” [reflecting light] and nasty smell was killing livestock, dogs and people.  The details that exist  seem to very strongly point to a black leopard –odd  though this sounds, such animals were regularly given as gifts between royalty or powerful chiefs.  Having been kept by humans there would be no real fear of these.  Sheep make easy meals with hardly any effort required to chase or kill.  Dogs are, unfortunately, something the leopard has a keen taste for [8].

Georg von Frankenstein 1531, Nieder-Beerbach
 Georg von Frankenstein 1531, Nieder-Beerbach

    So, when someone mentions a “black beast” on a killing spree around the mid-8th century I need to chase down the source and see whether a big cat was involved or not.  Well, for about 15 years I was searching any records or source possible for references to a “black beast” and came up with none.  Then it occurred to me that, perhaps, the expression “black beast” was not referring to the animals colour but to a creature being evil –as in “he was a black-hearted swine”?

    Obviously a search for statues built inside tombs was difficult and I gave up on trying to find any such thing.  So, in desperation I did what I should have done at the very outset: looked at castles in Darmstadt.  This came up with a surprise or two.

    The village of Frankenstein sits on the northern edge of the Magnetberg mountain range near Darmstadt and would have been a forested, wild region at one time with deer, boar, bears, lynx and much more.  A friend sent me the following information that is handed out to those interested in attending the yearly “Halloween Bash”:-

             “Originally the residence of Lord Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein
             during the 1500s,Frankenstein Castle’s myths and legends overshadow
             its actual history.  Legend has it that von Frankenstein exchanged his
             soul for the secrets to eternal life.  He was allegedly found dead in his
             laboratory,foaming at the mouth and surrounded by various body parts
             he had stolen from area cemeteries….many people believe that writer
             Mary Shelley heard this tale during a trip to Germany in 1814 and used
             it [and the castle] as the inspiration for her famous novel.”

    Tourist information.  Wonderful stuff.  Actually, the castle is mentioned in documents dating back to 1252, though recent document discoveries in Leipzig mention “burg Frankenstein” in the year AD 948. 

    The name “Frankenstein” probably refers to the Franks while “stein” means stone –probably indicating and ancient site had probably existed there long before the 10th century.  When someone has the word “von” in their names it simply indicates their origins  Ludwig von Dresden simply means Ludwig from Dresden.  Just as English names indicate ancestral employment –“Cutter” probably being from the cloth trade, ”Stockman” someone who had been involved in livestock trade and, of course, ”Hooper” being someone who put the hoops around wooden beer barrels.

    Every source indicates that Johann Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein [1673-1734], an educated physician was a mad scientist, using the isolated castle to carry out experiments in alchemy and sought the answer to the ultimate challenge to science  of the day –immortality.  It is said that Johann gathered parts of butchered animals and human corpses but not to sew together and charge with electricity but to boil down in large vats; muscle, skin,bone, hair, blood, organs –more strange and sinister  than anything you’ll encounter in the dark.  And human to boot.  The villagers  (there had to be angry villagers,right?) got wind of things, probably quite literally, and exiled him from the town.

    It seems to be documented that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, according to some but I’ve found nothing.  We know that she and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley visited France and Switzerland in 1816 and that while staying near Geneva, their friend Lord Byron issued a challenge to write a ghost story. While at Eton college Mary had been fascinated by the electrical experiments of Luigi Calvani –creating  electric shocks to make a dead frogs legs jerk.  That, we know from her own words, is where she got the inspiration for Frankenstein, though the name may have been one she had heard while on her European tour.

    So, all of that is pure bunkum.  However, a well known traveller and collector of stories, John Keel may have visited the castle and gotten the details mixed up.  A von Frankenstein did fight a beast and die from his wounds.

    George von Frankenstein was the son of Phillip von Frankenstein and Margarethe Boeckle.  George died in 1531 –the 16th not  8th century.  The legend has it that, in a river called Katzenborn, near to Nieder-Beerbach, lived a dragon that spent each day terrorizing the locality.  As in all such stories, the only way the villagers could pacify the dragon and make it return to the river was to sacrifice the most beautiful young woman in the valley.  On this particular occasion the sacrifice was to be the “rose of the valley,” Anne Marie.

    Now, it turned out that George secretly loved Anne Marie and when he returned from a military expedition, heard what was to take place.  George, still clad in his armour, arrived in time and fought the dragon in a mighty and long battle.  As the opportunity presented itself, George dealt the dragon a death-blow, sending the dragon twisting in agony.  Knight George had saved Anne Marie but, as it writhed in its death-throes, the dragon curled its tail around George’s leg and jabbed his knee with a venom from a spur on its tail-tip.

    George was returned to the castle where he died.  What happened to Anne Marie –who knows.  Here is the interesting part; George was buried in Nieder-Beerbach and his tomb is located in the town churchyard –the tomb is carved and features a knight stepping on the head of a dragon, with the creature’s tail wrapped around the hero’s leg!  Superstitious people confused Knight George with Saint George.

    Whether the “dragon” symbolized a real beast or a pagan enemy we cannot say.  It may even be that George died after being bitten  by some animal [ with rabies] – a bear or any one of half a dozen I could come up with. Even an exotic is not out of the question since crocodiles are recorded living in the wild in Britain.

    But at least I now know that there was a knight who died and that the beast said to be involved was a dragon –dragons looking like serpents which represented the Biblical evil in Adam and Eve and thusly “black-hearted”.  Short story, long explanation!


[1]        Keel, John A., UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, Putnam,NY,1970

[2]                              The Cosmic Question,Panther,London,1978

[3]                              Our Haunted Planet,Futura,London,1975

[4]                              Strange Creatures From Time & Space,Sphere,London,1979:
                                   p.26 for the “Black Beast” story.  Republished in 1994 as The
                                   Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings.

[5]        Wilkins, Harold T., Mysteries Solved and Unsolved, Odhams,London,

[6]         Ibid 4:p.26

[7]         Bord,Janet & Colin, Alien Animals, Book Club associates,London,1980
                                     pp.68 & 69

[8]          Harris, John, The Ghost Hunters Roadbook” [no longer available refers to this
                                     particularly nasty beasty.

Some Things Strange & Sinister 

Some Times The Fakery Goes Too Far -Bear on Mars....oh boy

It has often been said that if a genuine extra terrestrial spacecraft and aliens were filmed and posted to the internet (especially You Tube) no one would believe it.  The same applies to genuine Sasquatch or even unknown sea creature footage/photos.

With findings in space no one is that interested because the internet prefers to promote "floating spoon on Mars" or "Buddha statue on Mars" or even "Imps"/"Creature" or now a bear....a feckin bear.  WHAT does it eat -rock? Dust? In a subterranean jungle world and just pops out now and again for fresh air.

Seriously, I have no idea if the person involved has a mental disorder, a sense of humour or GENUINELY believes this crap but it's far more important than water or oxygen found off-Earth, right?

Cranky morning.

SHOCK PICTURE: Call for UN probe after 'Bear pictured walking on Mars'

AN alien investigator has called for a United Nations probe into "discoveries of life on Mars" amid claims Nasa is ignoring "evidence" of animals on the Red Planet, including the latest so-called discovery - a bear.

Is this a bear or just an optical illusion?NASA
Is this a bear or just an optical illusion?
An image taken from Nasa's online database of Mars photographs has been posted online by UFO hunters amid claims it "clearly" shows a bear or other four-legged mammal walking on the surface of the Red Planet.

One of them, Scott C Waring, who edits website UFO Sightings Daily, is convinced it is a bear and the real deal.

He posts, on an almost daily basis an array of the Nasa images - which are taken by its 4WD Curiosity Rover currently exploring the Martian surface and beamed back to Earth - and points out what he says are "aliens, crabs, statues, buildings, other objects, and even crashed UFOs" hidden among the rocks.
Of the latest find, he said: "This creature has real hair as seen from the shadows around its body. That means its not a statue, but a living creature.

"This bear-like animal was discovered by Paranormal Crucible of Youtube. 
Zoomed in: Mammal on Mars or odd rock formation?NASA
Zoomed in: Mammal on Mars or odd rock formation?
The real thing back home on planet EarthGETTY
The real thing back home on planet Earth
"He has been making some great discoveries lately and this one takes that cake.

"I took the screenshots above directly from the NASA URL he gave, and I confirm, it is there."
Paranormal Crucible itself made no claim of it being a bear, but suggested it was a possible "hybrid rodent" or prarie dog-type creature.

The channel is also convinced it is proof of well-evolved animals roaming the Red Planet.
The narrator said: "It would appear, judging by this official Nasa image, that Mars does indeed have a species of rodent.

"But whatever this strange creature truly is, it confirms yet again that exotic Martian life does really exist on the Red Planet."
Bear or monkey? Scott Waring has coloured it brown and added a tail, which bears don't haveNASA•UFOSIGHTINGSDAILY
Bear or monkey? Scott Waring has coloured it brown and added a tail, which bears don't have

No. No "Unknown" Posters and Ghost Adventures

 Above: "Trust me"  Like Hell!

It is a strict policy that if you make a comment, an argument, against something I have posted you USE your name. Silly pseudonyms are not allowed because (a) it allows spammers and flamers in and (b) WHY be anonymous?

You decide.

BUT to answer a point....I was a BIG supporter of Ghost Adventures and I always made that point in my postings.  So, "Unknown" -YOU do YOUR research.

Nick Groff going back to Bobby Mackey's after SWEARING to his wife never to go back because of the evil there that followed him home....and now he's going back for another show. Fakery.

Now, on EVERY "paranormal" programme we do not hear about ghosts just "towering black shadowmen", "demons", "Satan" popping up every couple minutes (busy guy for a being that NEVER existed in the Bible (no "fallen angel" or Devil mentioned) until much later versions were re-written.  666 -the mark of the Beast (Satan) That is NOT the alleged "number of the beast" -do research.

Insects and dust particles, spider webs DO NOT count as "manifestations of spirit energy".

You REALLY believe that gawd awful acting of Zak and Billy (that seasoned ghost hunter who now screams if he hears a noise) being possessed??  Really???

Their Halloween in Ireland special -a cat call...."a banshee".....Nick records a fox scream when he's in the tower.....its a tortured woman screaming.

EVERY single location has "evil", "Demons" or some feckin' "portal" or "doorway to hell" -if the Devil never existed then Hell (both created to keep Christian followers inline) certainly did not.

It's Trash TV to have on in the background.  From what it promised it has given us so many negatives -the Paranormal/haunting programmes already mentioned, but also "challenging" and hurling abuse at "spirits"....oh, and "demons".  And if I hear of one more recording of a "little girl" ghost or EVPs of said little girl saying "Mommy mommy" I will scream.  She's busier than Satan.

I can no longer trust the original Ghost Adventures documentary even -I cannot locate the physics professor who commented on the poltergeist video!

Three men alone...but with second film crew and staff....YOU want to stand up for them?  You go ahead but I am NOT going to champion fakery or those other TV shows ""This program is for entertainment purposes only" -do you ever read that big sign at the beginning?  Ghost Adventures ranks alongside Most Haunted in my opinion -a bit of time wasting TV.

I could go on and on but Ghost Adventures has finished as a subject for this blog.  You want to worship Bagans go ahead.  Believe what you want but do not ask me to drop my IQ level that low.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Black Hole Has Major Flare -HOW?!

This diagram shows how a shifting feature, called a corona, can create a flare of X-rays around a black hole.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes have become somewhat less mysterious recently, with new observations from NASA's Explorer missions Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. The two space telescopes caught a supermassive black hole in the midst of a giant eruption of X-ray light, helping astronomers address an ongoing puzzle: How do supermassive black holes flare?

The results suggest that supermassive black holes send out beams of X-rays when their surrounding coronas -- sources of extremely energetic particles -- shoot, or launch, away from the black holes.
"This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare," said Dan Wilkins of Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Canada, lead author of a new paper on the results appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "This will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe."

Supermassive black holes don't give off any light themselves, but they are often encircled by disks of hot, glowing material. The gravity of a black hole pulls swirling gas into it, heating this material and causing it to shine with different types of light. Another source of radiation near a black hole is the corona. Coronas are made up of highly energetic particles that generate X-ray light, but details about their appearance, and how they form, are unclear.

Astronomers think coronas have one of two likely configurations. The "lamppost" model says they are compact sources of light, similar to light bulbs, that sit above and below the black hole, along its rotation axis. The other model proposes that the coronas are spread out more diffusely, either as a larger cloud around the black hole, or as a "sandwich" that envelops the surrounding disk of material like slices of bread. In fact, it's possible that coronas switch between both the lamppost and sandwich configurations.
The new data support the "lamppost" model -- and demonstrate, in the finest detail yet, how the light-bulb-like coronas move. The observations began when Swift, which monitors the sky for cosmic outbursts of X-rays and gamma rays, caught a large flare coming from the supermassive black hole called Markarian 335, or Mrk 335, located 324 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Pegasus. This supermassive black hole, which sits at the center of a galaxy, was once one of the brightest X-ray sources in the sky.

"Something very strange happened in 2007, when Mrk 335 faded by a factor of 30. What we have found is that it continues to erupt in flares but has not reached the brightness levels and stability seen before," said Luigi Gallo, the principal investigator for the project at Saint Mary's University. Another co-author, Dirk Grupe of Morehead State University in Kentucky, has been using Swift to regularly monitor the black hole since 2007.

In September 2014, Swift caught Mrk 335 in a huge flare. Once Gallo found out, he sent a request to the NuSTAR team to quickly follow up on the object as part of a "target of opportunity" program, where the observatory's previously planned observing schedule is interrupted for important events. Eight days later, NuSTAR set its X-ray eyes on the target, witnessing the final half of the flare event.

After careful scrutiny of the data, the astronomers realized they were seeing the ejection, and eventual collapse, of the black hole's corona.

"The corona gathered inward at first and then launched upwards like a jet," said Wilkins. "We still don't know how jets in black holes form, but it's an exciting possibility that this black hole's corona was beginning to form the base of a jet before it collapsed."

How could the researchers tell the corona moved? The corona gives off X-ray light that has a slightly different spectrum -- X-ray "colors" -- than the light coming from the disk around the black hole. By analyzing a spectrum of X-ray light from Mrk 335 across a range of wavelengths observed by both Swift and NuSTAR, the researchers could tell that the corona X-ray light had brightened -- and that this brightening was due to the motion of the corona.

Coronas can move very fast. The corona associated with Mrk 335, according to the scientists, was traveling at about 20 percent the speed of light. When this happens, and the corona launches in our direction, its light is brightened in an effect called relativistic Doppler boosting.

Putting this all together, the results show that the X-ray flare from this black hole was caused by the ejected corona.

"The nature of the energetic source of X-rays we call the corona is mysterious, but now with the ability to see dramatic changes like this we are getting clues about its size and structure," said Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who was not affiliated with the study.

Many other black hole brainteasers remain. For example, astronomers want to understand what causes the ejection of the corona in the first place.

NuSTAR is a Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NuSTAR was developed in partnership with the Danish Technical University and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Virginia. NuSTAR's mission operations center is at UC Berkeley, and the official data archive is at NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center. ASI provides the mission's ground station and a mirror archive. JPL is managed by Caltech for NASA.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Mitochondrial DNA Recovered From Alaska’s Ancient Infants

Alaska infant DNA

(Courtesy Ben Potter, UAF)

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA—Archaeologist Ben Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and geneticists Dennis O’Rourke and Justin Tackney of the University of Utah have analyzed mitochondrial DNA recovered from the remains of two infants found at the Upward Sun River site in Interior Alaska.

The cremated remains of a three-year-old child were also recovered at the site, but they did not yield any genetic material. “These infants are the earliest human remains in northern North America and they carry distinctly Native American lineages.

These genetic variations had not previously been known to have existed this far north and speak to the early genetic diversity of the time,” O’Rourke said in a press release. O’Rourke adds that “there had to be a period of isolation for these distinctive Native American lineages to have evolved away from their Asian ancestors. We believe that was in Beringia.”

Human remains older than 8,000 years have been found at only eight sites in North America, and all five major Native American lineages have been found in them. “That indicates they were present in the early population in Beringia that gave rise to all modern Native Americans,” Tackney explained.

To read more, go to "America, in the Beginning."


Very interesting posting over at Archaerology
so next time some loud-mouth shouts out that Native Americans are a "minority" it might be worth pointing out that their native lineages can be traced back 11,500 years. Loud-mouths can probably only be traced back a few hundred!

That aside, these are very interesting results.

Rosetta Detects Molecular Oxygen

The amount of information coming back from Rosetta and other probes has been almost mind-blowing at times.  I suspect we may be in for a few more surprises yet.
Rosetta’s detection of molecular oxygen
28 October 2015
  ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has made the first in situ detection of oxygen molecules outgassing from a comet, a surprising observation that suggests they were incorporated into the comet during its formation.
Rosetta has been studying Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for over a year and has detected an abundance of different gases pouring from its nucleus. Water vapour, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are the most prolific, with a rich array of other nitrogen-, sulphur- and carbon-bearing species, and even ‘noble gases’ also recorded.

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the Universe, but the simplest molecular version of the gas, O2, has proven surprisingly hard to track down, even in star-forming clouds, because it is highly reactive and readily breaks apart to bind with other atoms and molecules.

For example, oxygen atoms can combine with hydrogen atoms on cold dust grains to form water, or a free oxygen split from O2 by ultraviolet radiation can recombine with an O2 molecule to form ozone (O3).

Despite its detection on the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, O2 had been missing in the inventory of;postID=6708866505507146432volatile species associated with comets until now.
“We weren’t really expecting to detect O2 at the comet – and in such high abundance – because it is so chemically reactive, so it was quite a surprise,” says Kathrin Altwegg of the University of Bern, and principal investigator of the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis instrument, ROSINA.

“It’s also unanticipated because there aren’t very many examples of the detection of interstellar O2. And thus, even though it must have been incorporated into the comet during its formation, this is not so easily explained by current Solar System formation models.”

The team analysed more than 3000 samples collected around the comet between September 2014 and March 2015 to identify the O2. They determined an abundance of 1–10% relative to H2O, with an average value of 3.80 ± 0.85%, an order of magnitude higher than predicted by models describing the chemistry in molecular clouds.

The amount of molecular oxygen detected showed a strong relationship to the amount of water measured at any given time, suggesting that their origin on the nucleus and release mechanism are linked. By contrast, the amount of O2 seen was poorly correlated with carbon monoxide and molecular nitrogen, even though they have a similar volatility to O2. In addition, no ozone was detected.


Comet on 18 October 2015 – NavCam 
Over the six-month study period, Rosetta was inbound towards the Sun along its orbit, and orbiting as close as 10–30 km from the nucleus. Despite the decreasing distance to the Sun, the O2/H2O ratio remained constant over time, and it also did not change with Rosetta’s longitude or latitude over the comet.

In more detail, the O2/H2O ratio was seen to decrease for high H2O abundances, an observation that might be influenced by surface water ice produced in the observed daily sublimation–condensation process.

The team explored the possibilities to explain the presence and consistently high abundance of O2 and its relationship to water, as well as the lack of ozone, by first considering photolysis and radiolysis of water ice over a range of timescales.  

In photolysis, photons break bonds between molecules, whereas radiolysis involves more energetic photons or fast electrons and ions depositing energy into ice and ionising molecules – a process observed on icy moons in the outer Solar System, and in Saturn’s rings. Either process can, in principle, lead to the formation and liberation of molecular oxygen.

Radiolysis will have operated over the billions of years that the comet spent in the Kuiper Belt and led to the build-up of O2 to a few metres depth. But these top layers must all have been removed in the time since the comet moved into its inner Solar System orbit, ruling this out as the source of the O2 seen today.

More recent generation of O2 via radiolysis and photolysis by solar wind particles and UV photons should only have occurred in the top few micrometres of the comet.

“But if this was the primary source of the O2 then we would have expected to see a decrease in the O2/H2O ratio as this layer was removed during the six-month timespan of our observations,” says Andre Bieler of the University of Michigan and lead author of the paper describing the new results in the journal Nature this week.

“The instantaneous generation of O2 also seems unlikely, as that should lead to variable O2 ratios under different illumination conditions. Instead, it seems more likely that primordial O2 was somehow incorporated into the comet’s ices during its formation, and is being released with the water vapour today.”

In one scenario, gaseous O2 would first be incorporated into water ice in the early protosolar nebula stage of our Solar System. Chemical models of protoplanetary discs predict that high abundances of gaseous O2 could be available in the comet forming zone, but rapid cooling from temperatures above –173ºC to less than –243ºC would be required to form water ice with O2 trapped on dust grains. The grains would then have to be incorporated into the comet without being chemically altered.

“Other possibilities include the Solar System being formed in an unusually warm part of a dense molecular cloud, at temperatures of 10–20ºC above the –263ºC or so typically expected for such clouds,” says Ewine van Dishoeck of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, co-author of the paper.
“This is still consistent with estimates for the comet formation conditions in the outer solar nebula, and also with previous findings at Rosetta’s comet regarding the low abundance of N2.”
Alternatively, radiolysis of icy dust grains could have taken place prior to the comet’s accretion into a larger body. In this case, the O2 would remain trapped in the voids of the water ice on the grains while the hydrogen diffused out, preventing the reformation of O2 to water, and resulting in an increased and stable level of O2 in the solid ice.

Incorporation of such icy grains into the nucleus could explain the observed strong correlation with H2O observed at the comet today.

“Regardless of how it was made, the O2 was also somehow protected during the accretion stage of the comet: this must have happened gently to avoid the O2 being destroyed by further chemical reactions,” adds Kathrin.

“This is an intriguing result for studies both within and beyond the comet community, with possible implications for our models of Solar System evolution,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.

Notes for Editors
Abundant molecular oxygen in the coma of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko,” by A. Bieler et al is published in the 29 October 2015 issue of the journal Nature.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

AOP Face Book Page

I know you have to ask (me) for approval to join but I had hoped that if people were not willing to comment on the blog they might on a private group.

I've given it a go but I think I'll just leave the FB as it is but add nothing.

Pity as I was hoping to hear from people about their own experiences.

But if people do ever start joining the group I'll start up-datying there.

Ghostly critters from the deep sea: Stygiomedusa gigantea

There is so much we don't know about life in our oceans and the MBARI You Tube channel is an excellent place to find incredible footage like this. 

Still not filmed any very large unknown sea creatures yet!

The "Unidentified" Corfu Sea Creature

Here's one that ought to interest a few of you.  It's from The Mail Online and an item by Naomi Leach:

Mystery of the deep: Tourist baffled by bizarre SEA MONSTER captured on camera in Corfu

  • Harvey Robertson was on a boat trip and took the pictures inside a cave
  • He only noticed the animal in the water when he looked at his snaps later 
  • Experts have been unable to identify the creature which looks mythological

But a Scottish tourist was left in shock after unwittingly capturing the image of a bizarre sea creature in his holiday snaps. 

Harvey Robertson, 52, was on a boat cruise with his family in Corfu when he took a number of photographs inside a sea cave.

He held the camera over the side of the boat to take pictures of the sea.

But when he lifted his camera back up, Robertson later realised a mysterious creature had appeared in one of the frames.

Robertson said: 'I have no idea what it could have been, I have never seen anything like it.

'I caught the picture by accident. I was in a sea cave on a small boat about 20 miles south of Albania on the west coast of Greece.

'I was trying to capture the water colour and was not looking at the water, the flash went off. I only saw the creature when looking back through my pics.'

'The creature, that has so far been unable to be identified by experts, evokes images of Greek mythology.'

Harvey Robertson was taking photographs of the water when he realised the animal had invaded his frame
Harvey Robertson was taking photographs of the water when he realised the animal had invaded his frame

That's it.  Who were the experts unable to identify this?  What size was this thing and what type of camera was being used?

Let's have a look at the clearest photograph.

And let's enlarge that somewhat.

It looks rather shiny and plastic-like and those eyes have no "life" in them at all.  The distortion some think might be due to the water but I do not think so.  If you look we are seeing a rounded body -almost hippo-like.  Look at the head and what seem to be two rounded ears.  If you look to the right of the Hemedia logo, at an angle toward the head are what look like (large)  fingers reflected in the water, but this might just be me.

My opinion is that this is not a living creature but rather a toy and the nose/mouth area have been morphed on a computer.  It just looks like a hippo toy with elengated nose.

There isn't much to the story and if you are looking at the water and want to capture the colour of the water then you ought to see something like this but then we read "the flash went off" -so we have to ask what type of flash was used because there isn't much indication of camera flash here. 

Unless we can get all the necessary information we are left with two conclusions: someone dropped a hippo toy into the water and it turned up in the wrong place at the right time, or, this is a hoax because toys do not use computer programs to morph themselves.

THE Grey Book

As one after another member of the AOP Bureau passed away -some were in their 60s though Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson was 43 years of age when he died following an operation- the burden of running the Grey Book Project fell to me.

Notes on research and investigation as well as cases were made in a series of bulky grey covered books.  Let's not go into too long a story that I should not tell but I only managed to keep the 1990-1996 Grey Book with pages, charts and much more added to it.  By 1990 Grey Book had 'officially' ended though I was called in to offer help or advice in certain cases. These included the attempt by the Uri Geller Magazine to smuggle in "remains of a dead alien found in Isreal" amongst others.

I have been asked though, because no one is getting their hands on the contents of this book which is kept securely locked away unless I need to refer to it, "just what is in the book?"  A mess.  Seriously, notes written while going up huge conveyer belts, on trains, in cars or scribbled down as things occur or when something pertinent to research or an investigation popped up.

So, here are some snap shots without comment.