[VIDEO] NASA Releases Video with Never-Before Seen Images of Pluto 

2015-09-10-b8-plutothumb-d3f30

Detailed images taken by New Horizons spacecraft revealed in new NASA video, showing surface and potential landing on the dwarf planet Pluto.

 

 


New Studies Flip Climate-Change Notions Upside Down

climate-freakout

Cold Sun Rising

Sam Khoury writes: The sun will go into “hibernation” mode around 2030, and it has already started to get sleepy. At the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in July, Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University in the UK confirmed it – the sun will begin its Maunder Minimum (Grand Solar Minimum) in 15 years. Other scientists had suggested years ago that this change was imminent, but Zharkova’s model is said to have near-perfect accuracy.

So what is a “solar minimum”?

Our sun doesn’t maintain a constant intensity. Instead, it cycles in spans of approximately 11 years. When it’s at its maximum, it has the highest number of sunspots on its surface in that particular cycle. When it’s at its minimum, it has almost none. When there are more sunspots, the sun is brighter. When there are fewer, the sun radiates less heat toward Earth.

But that’s not the only cooling effect of a solar minimum. A dim sun doesn’t deflect cosmic rays away from Earth as efficiently as a bright sun. So, when these rays enter our atmosphere, they seed clouds, which in turn cool our planet even more and increase precipitation in the form of rain, snow and hail.

solarflare-0714-de

Solar cycles

Since the early 1800s we have enjoyed healthy solar cycles and the rich agriculture and mild northern temperatures that they guarantee. During the Middle Ages, however, Earth felt the impact of four solar minimums over the course of 400 years.

The last Maunder Minimum and its accompanying mini-Ice Age saw the most consistent cold, continuing into the early 1800s.

The last time we became concerned about cooler temperatures – possibly dangerously cooler – was in the 1970s. Global temperatures have declined since the 1940s, as measured by Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The PDO Index is a recurring pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate variability centred over the Pacific Ocean. Determined by deep currents, it is said to shift between warm and cool modes. Some scientists worried that it might stay cool and drag down the Atlantic Decadal Oscillation with it, spurring a new Ice Age. The fear was exacerbated by the fact that Earth has been in the current inter-glacial period for 10,000 years (depending on how the starting point is gauged).

If Earth were to enter the next Ice Age too quickly, glaciers could advance much further south, rainforests could turn into savannah, and sea levels could drop dramatically, causing havoc.

The BBC, all three major American TV networks, Time magazine and the New York Times all ran feature stories highlighting the scare. Fortunately, by 1978 the PDO Index shifted back to warm and the fear abated.

By the 1990s the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had formed the “97 per cent consensus”. The consensus was that Earth was warming more than it should, not just due to natural causes but also human activity. This was termed Anthropogenic Global Warming. The culprit was identified as carbon dioxide generated from the burning of fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry »


Pundit Planet Bureau of Really Old Shoes

Oldest-shoe-leather

A woman’s size four, it was made from a single piece of cured cowhide a thousand years before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built – and four hundred years earlier than the erection of Stonehenge.

June 2010, : The oldest known footwear in the world are 8,000 year old makeshift sandals made of plant material that were found in a cave in Missouri about fifty years ago.

Not much is known about the people who wore the shoe but it is thought they would have been some of the earliest farmers or nomadic tribes that used the oldest-shoecave as a base.

“It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford and California that we realised that the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Otzi, the Iceman.”

The caves is 4,500 ft above sea level, very rocky and temperatures vary form -10 C in winter to 40 C in summer.

A woman’s size four, it was made from a single piece of cured cowhide a thousand years before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built – and four hundred years earlier than the erection of Stonehenge.

Amazingly, it is still in perfect condition – even including the laces – thanks to the stable, cool and dry conditions of the Armenian cave in which it was found.

“It is an amazing find. We thought we were looking at something just a few hundred years old but it turns out to be oldest shoe ever found.”

— Archaeologist Dr Ron Pinhasi

It would have fitted the foot of a woman today – although it may have been worn by a man at the time, claim the researchers.

Dr Ron Pinhasi, an archaeologist at the University College Cork, said: “It is an amazing find. We thought we were looking at something just a few hundred years old but it turns out to be oldest shoe ever found.”

The shoe was packed with grass, but it is unclear whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe, much like the modern shoe-tree.

Other items discovered in the cave in the Vayotz Dzor province on the Iranian border included large containers, many of which held well-preserved wheat and barley, apricots and other edible plants. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 翼恐龙: Strange Chinese Dinosaur With Bat-Like Wings Discovered

Eva Dou reports: The scientific world is aflutter over the discovery in China of a bizarre dinosaur with bat-like wings.

“The scientists dubbed the little dino Yi Qi, which means “strange wing” in Chinese. It had a long rod-like bone connected to each wrist that is similar to the structures of flying squirrels and bats. “

Although other dinosaurs have been discovered with bird-like feathered flappers, this is the first known example of one with membranous wings. It suggests that the ancient creatures tried to fly in different ways before birds arrived on the scene, said the scientists who made the discovery in a paper published in the leading scientific journal Nature on Wednesday.

The scientists dubbed the little dino Yi Qi, which means “strange wing” in Chinese. It had a long rod-like bone connected to each wrist that is similar to the structures of flying squirrels and bats. Yi Qi likely weighed around 380 grams, or slightly less than a pigeon, the paper said.

This handout image released by the review Nature on April 29, 2015, shows the only known specimen of a newly discovered dinosaur, the Yi qi, found in Jurassic rocks in northeast China. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

This handout image released by the review Nature shows the only known specimen of a newly discovered dinosaur, the Yi qi, found in Jurassic rocks in northeast China. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

“Yi may have been capable of flapping flight or only gliding, or may have combined the two locomotor styles as in many extant birds and some bats,” said the paper, which was written by a team of Chinese scientists led by paleontologist Xu Xing, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »