Thursday, January 30, 2014

Science mystery:Living Stones Of Costesti

Living Stones -1
Costesti, a small Romanian village, has some interesting and incredible stones known as trovants, which are believed to have life in them and trovants is a geological term in Romania which means cemented sand. Trovante, is not a part of any science fiction but geological phenomenon, consisting of spherical shapes of cemented sand which probably existed due to some powerful seismic activity. It is believed that the earthquake which took place around 6 million years back could have led to the creation of the first trovants.

Living Stones-2
The most amazing discovery of these mysterious stones is that they grow as if they are alive after coming into contact with water from a heavy rainfall and these stones tend to grow from 6-8 millimeters to 6 -10 millimeters in size. They are compared to the famous rocks in Death Valley, California, where most of these stones even move on their own without any assistance of any kind and when they are cut, they reveal ellipsoidal and spherical rings which are similar to tree trunks.

Living Stones-3
Another unique aspect of these stones is that though they vary in size, from a few millimeters to around 10 millimeters they are very much similar. Many presume that these trovants consist of stone core with an outer shell of sand and after a heavy rain, smaller stones form over the larger ones giving its name of `growing stones’, while others call them living stones which reproduce.

Some believe that the trovants increase in size due to its high content of numerous mineral salts that are present under the shell and when the surface tends to gets wet, the presence of the chemicals begin to start spreading, thereby putting pressure on the sand that makes the stone to grow.

Living Stones-4
However, despite great efforts being done, scientists have failed to come up with a valid logical explanation or a well documented research or experiment conducted on why these stones are having extensions similar to those of roots. These trovants behave like some unknown inorganic form of life which is amazing and mysterious though local residents did have an idea and were aware of these stones unusual properties for over 100 years but did not pay much attention to them and used these stones as building material as well as for tombstones. Presently this unique discovery remains to be a popular tourist attraction in Romania and Trovants Museum National Reserve which was inaugurated in the year 2004 is now protected by UNESCO.

Monday, January 27, 2014

History mystery: Secrets Of The Valley Of Queens

Goddess Hathor

The Valley of the Queens, an isolated cemetery at the southern part of the ancient necropolis of Ancient Thebes lies on the west bank of Luxor containing around 90 tombs most of them belonging to Nobles, Queens, Princesses and Princes of the XIX and XX dynasties. These tombs were formed by cutting into the rock in a similar fashion to those of their husbands though on a smaller scale. Secluded in a Y shaped ravine towards the western cliff, this valley served as a tomb for royal family members. This location was probably considered due to the large storm in the area which brought about a dramatic pouring of water from the rock cleft towards the western end and may have also contributed to its association and magical atmosphere with the great mother goddess Hathor. The tombs of the Queens contain art of amazing beauty with fascinating glimpses on the styles of royal women in the court of Pharaoh.

The plan of these tombs was a small ante chamber with a long narrow corridor having several side chambers and the burial chamber at the end of it all. The ancient Egyptian were lovers of beauty and the jewelry and dresses worn by the queen portrayed the same. The soft Egyptian cotton was preferred which flowed loosely with a variety of pleat in the fabric along with colored borders. Vulture head gear was seen as the goddess protecting the mother of the future king with these winged coverings having great beauty. Vulture in ancient Egypt was regarded for its remarkable care of its young ones and hence it was considered as a symbol of maternity where Mut the vulture was the mother goddess of Thebes. Most of the tombs in the Valley of the Queens were victim to robbery in antiquity. One of the important tombs in the valley was the tomb belonging to the famous Queen Nefertari, who was the main consort of Kind Ramses II and this beautiful tomb was in bad shape due to the salt crystals which seeped through its inferior quality of limestone. Besides Nefertari, four other ladies are also attested to be his queens but Nefertari excelled over them all. She has been considered as the `Most Beautiful of them’, and appears to be a high ranking origin in the society. Moreover her participation in the administration of the state is unparallel outside the Amarna Period which is reflected in the designation assigned to her as `Great King’s Wife’. Her tomb was the most beautiful in the valley and rightly worthy of her position in history.

Gueen Nifiriti
The motifs decorating the walls and ceilings are mythological connected with life in the next world, meeting with gods, deities and entry into eternity. The scenes also represent the queen wearing long, transparent white garment with two long features vulture headdress of gold accompanied with rich jewels of bracelets and wide golden collar. Her tomb was reopened to visitors on restoration of the same though it is closed to the visitors presently due to the high carbon dioxide levels and water in breath particles which damaged the artwork. Nefertari’s tomb consist of stairway which lead down to a hall with representations of the Queen with various Gods and Goddesses on the walls leading to an inner side chamber decorated with religious scenes of Queen Nefertari burning incense and offerings to Gods Osiris and Atum. A corridor led to the burial chamber with the walls having decorated scenes. Besides this, there are three other tombs of the sons of King Ramses III. The Egyptians were always interested in symbolic meaning where the paintings and carvings on tomb walls had some sort of magical effect with regards to comfort and spiritual development of the death in the next world. Tomb 55 which was considered as one of the most important tombs was dedicated to Prince Amon-khopshef, the son of King Ramses III who died while he was still young. One of the amazing scenes in the tomb is a scene on the walls of the first chamber representing the Prince along with his father, the King, with his offerings to various deities while the large hall has the decoration of some scenes from the `Book of the Gates’. Tomb 44 which belonged to Prince Khaem-waset was another son of Ramses III. His tomb consisted of two long corridors having two side chambers with a square burial chamber, the walls of which were decorated with various painted scenes some of which representing the Prince along with different deities and his father before the deities of the next world. Towards the 18th dynasty, high ranked officials preferred to be buried in the valley and the first member of the royal family buried in this valley was Sitre, wife of Ramses I belonging to the 19th dynasty.

Gueen Neferiti -2
Towards the end of Ramses III reign, the Valley of the Queens underwent remarkable changes and during the Third Intermediate Period, several tombs were modified and reused as family concessions for the members of Theban subordinate clergy as well as personnel in charge of the agricultural estates of Amun. During the Roman Period, these tombs were once again reused as burials for animal mummies. The late New Kingdom Abbot Papyrus, presently in the British Museum, relates an inspection of the valley, mentioning that the tomb of Queem Isis had been disturbed while thieves had vandalized and attacked the tomb resulting in few artifacts available at the site. The first scientific excavation of the site was done in early 1900 by Ernesto Schiaparelli, an Egyptologist working for the Italian mission from the Turin Museum. He was the one who discovered the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II in 1905 which is now regarded as one of the most beautiful tombs in Egypt. With the help and support of the Ministry of Culture, the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and the Getty Organization, this tomb has undergone remarkable restoration with the work executed in the best manner possible utilizing the most modern technique of internationally adopted methods but this tomb presently is not open to the public due to its fragile condition.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

History mystery: History of Measures

Measures 1
Units of measures were the ancients means invented by humans and the primitive societies needed these measures for various tasks namely in constructions of dwellings with correct size and shape, in fashioning and designing clothes, or even in case of bartering raw materials and food. Weights and measures have undergone a variety of changes over the ages from simple informal expectations in barter transaction to various elaborate systems integrating measures of different kinds. Research done on the evidence received from available sources and relating facts, some idea of its origin and development is obtained which has changed somewhat through the passage of time. The system of measures probably originated first when agriculture developed in the areas from Syria to Iran in 6000 BC when agriculture became the foremost source of food supply.

Measures 2
It then became essential on how to calculate the available stock in distributing between one crop to the next and in times of famines, it was important to know how to stretch the available supply. The earliest known systems of weights and measures seems to have been created somewhere in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC among the ancient people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley and probably Elam in Iran. Other system of measuring instruments was the use of the parts of the body and the natural surroundings. The only unit of volume having natural basis was the half pint of 270 c.c; described as the contents of the two hands when cupped together and this handful was the origin of the standard volume for a cup or glass. This indicates that the very first measuring system was that of grains done by handfuls.

Measures 3
The people of the Indus Valley civilization achieved remarkable accuracy in measuring length, time and mass where their measurements were precise since their smallest division marked on an ivory scale found in Lothal was approximately 1.704 mm or 1/16 inch which is the smallest division ever recorded on a Bronze Age scale and the decimal system was presumed to be used though the feet and inches were a more accurate indication of the measure used at that time. Earlier documents of Egypt and Mesopotamia indicate that the system was based on a foot of 300 mm where this unit is known as the Egyptian foot since it was their standard from pre dynastic times to the first millennium BC. Its value was determined by Newton from the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Gizah which was verified with certainty at the beginning of the 19th century. The foot was divided into 17 fingers, with the division of the feet into 12 inches dating from the Roman period. The foot corresponds a cubit of 450 mm which is divided into 24 fingers. The people of the Indus Valley Civilization during the period 2600 – 1900 BC, developed sophisticated procedure of standardization in weights and measure from the evidence found from the excavations made at the Indus Valley site.

Measures 4
The Indus Valley units of length, the Egyptian cubit and the Mesopotamian cubit were used in the 3rd millennium BC and were the earliest known units used by these ancient people to measure length. The units for measuring length in ancient India were dhanus or the bow, the krosa also known as cow-call and the yojana, stage. The most common cubit considered was the length of the forearm right from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. This was divided into the span of the hand, around one ½ cubit, the palm or the width of the hand, one 1/6th and the digit or width of the middle finger, one 24th with the span or the length between the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb.

Measures 5
The royal cubit an example of septenary unit were the most common in ancient and medieval period and were usually represented by rods of 7 feet or 7 cubits and the 7 cubits rod is mentioned in late cuneiform text as well as in the Bible. The standard cubit, the Sacred Cubit, was enhanced by an extra span namely, the 7 spans or 28 widths length was used for construction of buildings and monuments in ancient Egypt. From here the inch, yard and foot evolved amidst a series of complicated information which is yet to be understood. Some are of the opinion that they evolved from cubic measures while other presumed that they were simple proportions or multiples of the cubit though the fact is that the Romans and the Greeks inherited the foot from the Egyptians. The introduction of the yard equivalent to 0.9144 m, as a unit of length came much later though its origin is unknown. According to some, its origin was the double cubit, while others believed that it originated from cubic measure but the fact is that early yard was divided by the binary method into 2, 4, 8 and 16 parts known as half yard, span, finger and nail.

Measures 6
 Weights are also based on the units of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 and each unit weighing around 28 grams which is similar to the English ounce or the Roman uncia while smaller objects were weighed in ratios with the units of 0.871. English units of weights was considered to be the best defined and stable of Europe and when a younger contemporary of Galileo, Tito Livio Burattini used the adoption of decimal metric system based on a metto cattolico or metro universale, he presumed that it could be based on English standards. Bernard who was influenced with his studies of Arab measures indicates that there are units which are reduced as 62:62.5 in relation to the English one.

From the beginning of the sixteenth century, it has been indicated that the Roman foot be used as a universal measure but with various studies on the problem gave rise to several studies of Roman foot and eventually the plan to adopt the Roman foot was altogether abandoned though some authors arrived at substantial agreement on the value of each variety.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

History mystery: Aztec Religion

Aztec Religion-1
Aztec belief was based on nature, its cycles and its time space where the people were more concerned with the destruction of nature and hence their rituals were conducted to avoid the chaotic and destructive forces of nature and be in harmony with it. The Aztec religion was a set of complex beliefs, rituals and gods which helped them to make sense on reality, their world and death. Importance was given to the sun, moon and the planet Venus which had different religious and symbolic meanings, connection to geographical places and deities. They were highly focused in keeping nature in balance through a series of binary oppositions like wet and dry, hot and cold, day and night, light and dark and the role of humans was to balance this with the help of appropriate sacrifices and ceremonies which they performed.

Aztec Religion-2
The need to control nature was prominent in their calendar system; two of these calendars when combined formed a third one. While the first calendar, Xihuiti, a natural year calendar was used as a means of measuring the agricultural year providing the basis on which they performed rituals to various gods, the second calendar, Tonalpohualli was a specific calendar, the structure of which was based on a combination of sign and number determining the fate of persons based on the date of their birth. The first and the second calendar combined together formed the third calendar, Xiuhmolpilli which had a cycle of fifty two solar years, the time needed for the two calendars to have a coincident beginning. The Aztec pantheon, which was a Greek word meaning, `all of the gods’, related their specific needs which were rooted in Mesoamerican tradition where a large part of the Aztec pantheon were inherited from this civilizations and others, namely Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca who were venerated by various names in most cultures in the history of Mesoamerica. Important deities for the Aztec were Tlaloc, which was the god of rain, Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of Mexica tribe, the culture hero and god of civilization and order was Quetzalcoati and Tezcatlipoca being the god of destiny and fortune, connected with sorcery and war.

Aztec Religion-3
Huitzilopochtli, being the war and sun god was the main deity in the Aztec religion and was also the national god of Mexicas of Tenochtitlan. Tezcatlipoca, one of the four sons of Ometeoti is connected with various concepts which include the night winds, hurricanes, the night sky, the earth, the north enmity, temptation, sorcery, beauty, ruler ship, discord, divinity, war and strife. He is portrayed with his right foot replaced with a snake or an obsidian mirror an allusion to creation myth where he lost his foot while in battle with the Earth monster. At times the mirror is shown on his chest and sometimes smoke would come from the mirror. Tezcatlipoca is described as a rival of another god of the Aztec, Quetzalcoatl, and the culture hero while Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican deity whose name is derived from the Nahuati language, meaning feathered serpent, is the first worship which was documented in Teotihuacan during the first century BC or first century CE.

Laser Woodworking - Craftsmanship in the 21st Century

The ancient craft of woodworking has been used to ornament the greatest cathedrals on earth, one hand, and to create something as simple as a child’s toy, on the other.  From crude flint tools to files to drill bits, each generation of woodworkers seeks to master its craft through the creation of tools that enable them to work more precisely and rapidly, without sacrificing the innate creativity of creating art with one’s hands.
CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines commonly used in factories, may just be the next big thing for woodworkers.   Much as a printer impresses ink upon a page based on a digital file’s image or content, CNC lasers can impress any digitized image onto a wood surface, by using heat and evaporation to score the image onto the wood’s surface.

This does not mean to suggest that the laser does all the work and the woodworker simply uploads a file and hits “print”.  The depth of each cut determines the dimensionality of the final product.  Shallow, medium, and deep cuts create corresponding degrees of depths, such as engraving, relief carving and pattern cutting.

Coherent’s CO2 lasers allow users to create three-dimensional effects, similar to low-relief carving, in wood.  Because of the elevated precision of these lasers, intricate patterns (as you might see on awards, medallions, or interior details such as moldings) can be achieved.  Settings are adjusted in a printer driver on your computer, adjusting the rate (or intensity of the laser), allows users to go from superficial scoring or “burning” of a surface, to peeling away at layers of wood, to cutting completely through it.

Typically used to make the extremely intricate inner details of wooden clock parts, small-scale objects (such as dollhouse furniture or interlocking puzzle pieces), life-like models, or 3-D sculptures for woodshops,  small scale wood working enthusiasts are also using Coherent’s CO2 lasers to create personalized objects such as nametags and key chains and one-off objects d’art.

Mark Williams is the author of this article about laser woodworking. He has worked in the laser manufacturing industry for a number of years and has collected a variety of sources including to write this article.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

History mystery: Hollow Earth Theory – Reality of Mythology?

Hollow Earth-1
The Earth’s core is the most inaccessible area of our planet with various prominent individuals supporting the Hollow Earth Theory and a number of physicists, astronomers, high ranking military personnel and mathematicians who also shared this belief. The Hollow Earth theory indicates that the planet Earth is either, completely hollow or it contains a substantial area of interior space and its existence has been proposed all throughout human history. It has given rise to speculation that the Earth could be completely hollow or have hollow regions inside and this theory became common in some ancient cultures which was evident in ideas like the hell in Christian literature or Sheol in Kabalistic works.

Hollow Earth-2
According to some Buddhists, they believed that the inner Earth was made up of a race of super men and women presuming that they came to the surface through tunnels leading to the inner Earth to see the happenings on the surface and apparently, the entrances to inner Earth in Tibet had lamas guarding them. In the Indian Hindu and Tibetan traditions and text, Shambhala, an ancient kingdom is mentioned with a mythical place located at some place around Inner Asia with many debating whether this is a reality or a mythology. Some others also believed in this theory which included the American John Symmes who thought that the Earth was hollow and that it could be reached through entrances at both the south and north poles. He was of the belief that these holes were thousands of miles wide and was inclined to make an expedition to the North Pole to prove this theory.

Besides him the famous astronomer Edmond Halley also supported this theory and related that there were three shells inside the Earth having an approximate diameter of Venus, mars and mercury with the shells rotating independently of each other and their own magnetic pole, atmosphere, light and the possibility of life. According to him, the surface of the earth was a separate shell around 800 km thick, presuming that the gas which escaped from the inner world was the cause of the aurora borealis. Plenty of debate is on regarding the Hollow Earth theory with one major issue on the presence of gravity where the theory of gravity indicates that the objects come together in a spherical object.

Hollow Earth-3
Moreover the earth’s mass is too large for the planet to be hollow and if the earth was hollow, the gravity on the earth would be quite less. Besides this, the inner Earth would either have very little gravity or no gravity at all. Two flights expeditions conducted by Admiral Byrd over both poles, proved that there seemed some strangeness in the shape of the Earth near the polar areas. He flew to the North Pole and travelled 1,700 miles beyond it only retracing his course to his Arctic base due to shortage of his gasoline supply. As he progressed beyond the Pole point, he encountered iceless land and lakes, mountains covered with tress with monstrous animal which resembled mammoth of antiquity through the under bush, details of which were reported through the radio by the occupants of the plane.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

History mystery: Baffling Ancient Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings-1
Paintings on the walls and ceilings of caves have been discovered which are referred to the prehistoric origin, some of which are found in Spain and France and the earliest art in Europe which was found in Cantabria, northern Spain in El Castillo cave are the oldest known art found in this region. Around 340 caves have been discovered in Spain and France. The exact purpose of these paintings are unknown and evidence indicate that they were not just decorations for living area since there seemed to be no signs of ongoing habitation in these caves.

Cave Paintings-2
Moreover these were located in areas which were not easily accessible and some are of the opinion that these cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with the other folks, while still others presume that these were used for religious or other ceremonial purposes. The next oldest known cave is the Chauvet Cave in France where the painting dates earlier than 30,000 BCE as per the radiocarbon dating. The age of the painting was a controversial issue since the system of radiocarbon dating could produce misleading results if they were tampered with samples of new or old material and these cave paintings were littered with debris for a long period of time. With the help of technology, there was a possibility to date the painting by sampling the pigment and the torch marks on the walls to get some insight and indicate chronology as in the case of the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas where the reindeer depicted, places the art in the last Ice Age. The Cueva de El Castillo also known as the Cave of the Castle is an archaeological site located in Puente Viesgo within the complex of the Caves of Monte Castillo in the province of Cantabria Spain, containing the oldest cave art and are presumed to be around 40,000 years old.

Cave Paintings-3
The discovery of this cave was made in 1903 by Hermilio Alcalde del Rio, a Spanish archaeologist and pioneer in the study of early cave paintings of Cantabria, indicating that the entrance of the cave was much smaller in the past which had been enlarged due to archeological excavations that were carried out. Through these entrances one could access the various rooms in which were extensive sequences of images together with other markings and paintings presumed to be from the Lower Paleolithic to the Bronze Age including the Middle Ages. It is believed that there are more than 150 figures including the engravings of deer which have been painted in charcoal and read ochre on the ceilings and walls in various chambers of the caves. Most of these paintings are of simple hand stencils, with red disks and club shapes though there are instances of outlines of animals. Paintings of many other animals were also found in these caves including the dog and the remains of cave art are found along its depth of 18 meters from the Acheulean period to the Bronze Age where most of the oldest paintings are of 45 hand prints.

Along with these, discoveries of around 50 symbols together with 180 depictions of animals especially goats are also found. Besides these, there are fine drawings of deer, bison horses, mammoths as well as dogs and while the black paintings belong to the middle period, red mammoth colored paintings seems to be the recent ones. Cave paintings found on the Arnhem Land plateau, in Australia, have megafauna, believed to have been extinct 40,000 years ago, thus making this art another among the oldest list of paintings. Nawarla Gabarnmang, another Australian site which has been radiocarbon dated 28,000 years, has charcoal drawings, making it the oldest site in Australia and in the world and evidence of reliable date has been obtained for it. In most of the cave art, no painting of complete human figure are found, though there seems to be one partial Venus figure attached to an incomplete pair of legs and above it, is a bison head in contact with it.

Few panel of red ochre hand prints together with hand stencils made from spitting pigment on hands pressed against the surface of the cave are found. Other abstract markings like dots and lines are also found all over the caves. It is believed that the artist who designed this unique art used techniques which were rarely found in any other cave art. Two unidentifiable images have also been found which have a vague avian or a butterfly shape where its combination has led some prehistoric art and culture students to presume that there seemed to be some ritual, or magical aspect to these paintings. Most of these paintings seemed to be done after the walls had been scraped and cleared of concretions and debris providing a smooth and lighter surface for the artist to work on.

11 mind blowing facts you never knew about wind turbines and why they should stay

Wind turbine
12 mind blowing facts you never knew about wind turbines

Architectural beauty and a blot on the landscape, wind turbines split opinion but are here to stay. The scramble to find a sustainable and renewable energy source has seen many of these huge structures pop up alongside motorways and in fields.

Using the power of the wind, turbines rotate to generate energy that is then either plumbed directly into storage, into the grid or connect straight through to machinery.

Here are some awesome facts that we’ve put together about wind turbines, a great read whilst you’re having a morning coffee!

Let’s get this show on the road. In no particular order…

  1. By the time we celebrate 2030, U.S wind power will save nearly 30 TRILLION bottles of water. TRILLION. I’ll just let that soak in.

  1. Staying with the U.S theme; at times, wind energy produces as much as 25% of the electricity on the Texas power grid. And Texas is frickin’ huge!

  1. One single wind turbine can generate enough energy to power 500 homes. If you’re electricity bill is £100 per month that means there could be a collective saving of £50,000 PER MONTH. Just imagine what a small village could do with that.

  1. Modern wind turbines now produce over 15 times as much energy as those built in 1990. Because of advances in technology and research, we now have the ability to make lighter metals as seen a huge increase in efficiency.

  1. Unlike nearly all other forms of energy, wind power uses next to no water at all. We’ll add “Save water” to the list of pros for wind turbines!

  1. Due to the lowered cost of manufacturing, wind power is currently the fastest growing source of electricity production in the WORLD.

  1. Google, the worlds largest search engine and biggest companies, has invested $5billion in a new underwater transmission line to connect offshore wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean with 1.9 million households on the East Cost of America.

  1. Wind turbines and harnessing wind power aren’t new. Wind mills have been around since 2000 B.C and were first developed in China and Persia. Although the tech behind it has changed a little since then!

  1. Seguing back to America, wind power is a $10billion a year industry.

  1. 95% of wind turbines are built on private lands and farms. The huge amount of open space that is privately available means that many companies looking to set up wind turbines might find it much easier to go directly to land owners and offer incentives to have one built. As well as free energy, incentives can also include cash lump sums and monthly income. The returns for energy companies are massive, so a relatively small investment is nothing.

  1. Wind turbines don’t have to be gangly or stuff out in a field somewhere. 10kw wind turbines are suitable for schools and can be ideal to lower the utility cost of large buildings

 Regardless of what you think about them, wind turbines will be around to stay. Although they might blot the skyline or be sight-for-sore-eyes, we have to remember the bigger picture and having a renewable energy source literally on tap means we can lower emissions as well as lowering the cost of those ever-rising energy bills!
Spectrum Energy is one of the UKs leading wind turbine and alternative energy installation companies. They offer a large range of services, providing the full project life cycle.
Jason writes articles and produces content for all their marketing material. When he's not nose-deep in a brochure design or poster he's writing short pieces about the energy industry.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

History mystery: Roman Dodecahedron

Roman Dodecahedron-1
A dodecahedra found in Europe has been given the name, Roman Dodecahedron where a total of over hundred objects were found in various European parts of the Roman Empire. These date back to the second or third century CE and were made of stone or bronze resembling geometric shape having twelve flat faces with each face in a pentagon, a five sided shape. Moreover they were also embellished with a number of knobs at each corner point of the pentagon.

Roman Dodecahedron-2
The pentagon faces in most cases contained circular hole in them and were of different size. Some of the Roman dodecahedron was basic in design while others had patterns and markings on them and the dodecahedron which were found in Germany had circular grooves around the hole on the faces. They were between the size of 4 cm and 11 cm and a majority of these objects were found on the territories of France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Roman once ruled, though some were also found in Hungary and Great Britain. The use or function of the dodecahedra is unknown since there is no mention of them in any text of pictures of that time. Some are of the opinion that they may have been used as candlestick holders since remnants of wax was found inside one such dodecahedron while others speculate that they could be dice, devices for determining the optimal sowing date for winter grains, survey instruments, or used to calibrate water pipes, and army standard bases.

Roman Dodecahedron-3

Still others suggest that they may have been used for religious purpose artifact of some kind. The famous Greek historian, Plutarch identified the dodecahedron as a vital instruments for zodiac signs, taking into account the twelve sides which represent the twelve animals in the zodiac circle with others debating on the knobs as a means of decoration. Many have been baffled over the purpose and use of the different size hole, the reason of its discoveries all over Europe and not in a concentrated area. One such object found in a woman’s burial ground has given rise to more speculation leading some to believe that they were used as religious artifact probably used in rites derived from Celtic sources and this speculation is based on the fact that most of these objects were found in Gallo Roman sites.

Roman Dodecahedron-4

The Roman dodecahedrons are surely one of the ancient artifacts with their unique beauty, appearance, accompanied with the mystery behind it, thus enhancing its appeal giving rise to speculation among many historian, experts’ and artifact fanatics. Many have made attempts to unravel this baffling mystery each coming up with their own conclusion on its exact usage and function of this amazing ancient object. The fact that the Roman dodecahedron has still not been solved makes it one of the most interesting and appealing ancient artifact ever found and it is quite unlikely that we may ever know the purpose of the creation of this amazing artifact known as Roman Dodecahedron.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Science Mystery: Insight on the Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect-1

The term Butterfly effect is a concept invented by the American meteorologist, Edward Lorenz to highlight the possibility of small changes causing momentous effects; in simple term it was used in chaos theory to describe how small changes to unrelated thing or conditions could affect large complex systems. This term is derived from a suggestion in South America, that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly could affect the weather in Texas showing that the tiniest influence on a single part of a system could have an impact on another part. The butterfly effect occur when small event have an exceeding far reaching and a large impact. This term is used because its wings though fragile do not stir much air as they flap but its minute movement does initiate a series of changes which grow eventually causing a large storm thousands of miles away. It implies that large events may be connected to small or even to the minuscule occurrences. The Butterfly effect in other words is a way of describing the concept that unless all factors are accounted for, major systems like the weather tends to become impossible to predict with accuracy due to various unknown variables.

Butterfly Effect-2
This concept of the butterfly was attributed to Edward N. Lorenz, a meteorologist as well as a mathematician who was the first proponents of chaos theory. He studied the concept mathematically and also drew the attention of other meteorologists. He saw meaningful pattern in what seemed to be random events in weather patterns and these ideas contributed to the new science of chaos. One day as he was running global climate model on his computer with the hope to save him some time, ran one model from the middle rather than from the beginning. The process of the two weather predictions, one based on the whole process inclusive of the initial conditions and the other based on a portion of the data with the process which was already half way, diverged drastically. Lorenz was of the belief that the computer models would be identical regardless of where it had started but realized that the two models differed in tiny and unpredictable variations. It was initially used to explain why weather forecast were often inaccurate and initial conditions at times would go unnoticed or were overlooked and these minute conditions were the cause of hurricanes or similar changes in the weather.

This insight regarding the large impact of minor occurrences led to the butterfly effect in many other fields including psychology and explained why predictions at times remained inaccurate. Hence recognizing the importance of initial conditions can bring about improvement in accuracy of scientific predictions. Several biologist, epidemiologist, physicists, ecologist as well as psychologists presently consider the butterfly effect, nonlinear reasoning and chaos while making certain predictions which have proved to be useful in various social and behavioral sciences as well as physical and biological sciences. The butterfly effect is used to explain various unpredictable behaviors and thinking patterns which though may appear to be meaningless can be understood as a result of nonlinear reasoning. This could lead to an understanding of the creative original insights by taking initial perceptive into account and permitting nonlinear cognitive processes leading to valuable insight or solutions to a given problem.

Friday, January 3, 2014

History mystery: The Hidden Truth of Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman Aerial View
Sacsayhuaman is a Quechua word from Saqsay, meaning, `to be full’, while Waman - Hawk and according to researchers meaning `Satiated Hawk’. Sacsayhuaman, one of the greatest stone monuments and the most remarkable architectonic complexes inherited in Inca, Cusco, is considered as the best monument that mankind has ever built. It was the Royal House of the Sun besides many other houses of the sun which existed, namely Coricancha and Poquencancha. These were privileged complexes similar to small cities within the city of Cusco and the most important god worshipped, was the sun besides other deities which were also worshipped. Sacsayhuaman or Sacsahuaman as it is also called is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco located at an altitude of around 12,000 feet. The site is a part of the city of Cusco and in 1983, has been added in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

It contains 200 plus archaeological sites and the archaeological park is at the north of the city of Cusco covering an area of around 3,094 hectares. There are two paved roads leading to Saqsaywaman which begins in the old traditional neighborhood of San Cristobal which is 1.5 km long while the other road which is 4 km long, starts at Avenida Collasuyo. These sites were marked by water forming their own territorial domains which had arrived through underground canals along with many houses. Some researchers are of the opinion that they belonged to one or many clans. Sacsayhuaman was built with the formation of stones smartly placed together in order to protect the city of Cusco. It was presumed to be completed around 1508 and took a crew of around 20,000 to 30,000 men who worked for 60 years.

The rampart or the wall was the most attractive section which was built of huge carved limestone boulders having a broken line facing the main plaza named Chuquipampa, a slope of about 25 angles along with 60 walls. The first wall of the biggest carved boulder weighed 70 tons and was brought from the Sisicancha quarry which is around three km away. Each of these walls is made up of 10 fronts while the most important ones are Achuanpunku, Tiupunku, Rumipunco and Viracocha punku. This monument has an amazing structure where the stones fit perfectly without the presence of any mortar and no steel or blade of grass can slide between the stones. Scientist are of the opinion that the masonry could have worked after carving the desired shape out of the first boulder and then fitting it in its desired place and the masons could have suspended the second boulder on scaffolding next to the previous boulder. They could have also traced out a pattern on the proceeding boulder to plan an appropriate jigsaw shape which would fit the shape in perfect place. Plenty of hard work in shaping and fitting the boulder in place could have been done by using a straight stick with a hanging plum bob, to trace the edges and then marking off the correct point and carving to fit it on the next boulder. On tracing the desired pattern, they could have sculpt the stone into a proper shape with hand sized stones pounding it to get the general shape before using finger sized stones for accuracy.

The walls found are around the areas of Cusco and the Urubamba River Valley in Peruvian Andes though a few are scattered in other areas of Andes. These structures are unique and beyond our understanding, baffling modern man who are neither capable to duplicate or explain on this amazing monument. The remains of the three walls indicate that the walls were made with lime stones which were used to build the foundation or the base while the main walls were made of blackish igneous stones or andesites, the quarries of which are in Waqoto on the northern mountain area of San Jeronimo or 35 km in Rumiqolqa from the city.

The Sacsayhuaman destruction lasted around 400 years since 1536 when a war broke out against the Spaniards and Manko Inka sheltered himself in this structure. At a later stage, the first conquerors began using these stones to build their houses in the city and subsequently in 1559, the city’s Church Council ordered to take them for construction of the Cathedral. Till 1930, the neighbors of Qosqo could take the stones they needed to build their houses in the city by paying a small fee and with four centuries of destruction; this complex was used as a quarry by the colonial city’s stone masons in their building structures. Archaeologists relate that the walls of Sacsayhuaman rose to around ten feet higher than their remnants and additional ten feet of stones supplied the building material for the cathedrals. It is presumed that the upper part of the walls which were small regularly shaped stones were the only part of Sacsayhuaman built by the Incas and completed in 1508 which could explain the reason why no one at the time of the conquest seemed to know about the structure of the mighty walls.

The History of the SA80

The SA80 which stands for Small Arms for the 1980’s, is a British Army small arms weapon that has a great deal of controversy surrounding it. Because of the controversy of the SA80, it is a weapon that many like to acquire. The SA80 came with a host of problems, even though it was designed to solve the problems that the British Army was having with its weapons.

Shortly after the development and adoption of the SA80, problems began showing up. When the original SA80 weapons were brought out, there were balance problems, cocking handle problems, issues with the shoulder-butt strap, hard trigger issues and then to put the icing on the cake, the weapon was demonstrated having tape wrapped around the bipod so the legs would not accidentally spring open and injuring the holder. So many manufacturing defects showed up when the weapon was put in service, and it was not until one production line closed and another one began making the weapon, using computer controlled systems that the problems began to improve. Quality jumped and the weapons begin to gain a better reputation and the issues were fixed.

By the 90’s the SA80 would see serious combat for the first time. Unexpected problems came into play at that time because of weather. Unpredictable climate conditions exacerbated already known issues with the weapon. Even after careful scrutiny, it seemed the weapon was not going to make it through the dirt and grime of the Gulf and problem after problem with the magazine kept popping up. Overall the SA80 was a very accurate weapon but just needed some tender care to maintain its technology. Even with the many defects, the performance was good enough to keep it in service.

The end of the 90’s brought many fixes that were ones that were “quick-fixes” and some of the developers tried and tried to get the rifle to malfunction but were unable to do so. Round after round showed a reliable weapon and boosted confidence in the quality. Fix after fix came and eventually most all the problems were eradicated. The biggest, positive move was to get a new production line that could keep up with the technology.

The history of the SA80 was very involved and convoluted. Under normal conditions the SA80 would have surly been thrown out with the first set of problems. Each time the SA80 came out of productions more and more fixes had been worked on. The British Army and the Royal Marines Regiment were able to be equipped with the assault rifle.

Reliability in the rifle began to grow, even in the most adverse weather and environment conditions. More than twenty years after the first rifle was introduced and issued, the SA80 has grown and developed and is now a SA80A2 which satisfies the needs of the Army. The rifle lived through unbelievable scrutiny and political pressures. The SA80 was thought to be so fragile that it could not withstand combat but has adapted to the needs and modified accordingly.

Today the SA80 has been sought after by gun enthusiasts and it is coming up in the world of BB guns. The SA80 is now created to have the same look as the rifle that is issued to the British Armed Forces and can almost pass as the real weapon. Even the cocking of the gun makes the genuine chunking sound that its real counterpart makes. Every time the BB SA80 Gun is fired you will have to cock it again by hand. The SA80 BB gun is truly a fun gun to play with and very realistic.