Monday, April 27, 2015

Mass Extinction

Mass Extinction
Mass Extinction – Unsolved 

Over 90% of all organisms that lived on the planet Earth are extinct and as new species evolve to take place of the ever changing ecological place, the older ones have faded away though the rate of extinction is not constant. In the last 500 million years around 50 to over 90 percent of the species on the Earth seemed to have disappeared with great speed.

Although these mass extinctions seemed to be deadly events, they have given way to new life forms to emerge in the planet. Dinosaurs showed up after one of the biggest mass extinction events on Earth and the Permian-Triassic extinction around 250 million years back. The mass extinctions which were most studied between the Cretaceous and Paleogene period around 65 million years back, had killed off the dinosaurs making space for mammals to diversify and evolve rapidly.

 The reason of these mass extinctions event seemed unsolved though the prime suspects for the cause of these mass extinctions events are volcanic eruptions and the impacts of large asteroid or comets in several cases.Both are the cause of ejecting tons of debris in the atmosphere, darkening of the skies for at least a month on end and deprived of sunlight, plants and plant eating creatures would definitely die quickly.

Extinction & Global Warming 

Moreover the space rocks together with volcanoes could also be responsible in giving out toxic and heat trapping gases which once the dust got settled would enable runaway global warming. The most closely linked to the Cretaceous extinction event is an extra-terrestrial impact where a huge crater off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula dated about 65 million years back had coincided with the extinction and global warming which could have been fuelled by volcanic eruptions at the Deccan Flats in India could have aggravated the event.

Whatever could be the reason, dinosaurs together with about half of the species on the planet were extinct. Regarding the Triassic-Jurassic extinction, massive floods of lava came from the central Atlantic magmatic province around 200 million years back where around 20% of the marine families were extinct together with most mammal like creature as well as other large amphibians and non-dinosaur archosaurs. The impact of the asteroid could be another possibility of the extinction and the tell-tale crater is yet to be identified.

Heading – Sixth Mass Extinction

About 250 million years ago, the deadliest of the lot was the Permian-Triassic extinction where over 90% of all the species suffered. Several scientists were of the opinion that an asteroid or a comet could have triggered the massive die-off, where again no existence of a crater was found.

Another possibility was the flood volcanism from the Siberian Traps which is a large igneous province in Russia and the impact triggered volcanism. About 440 million years back, the Ordovician-Silurian extinction involved huge glaciations which locked much of the world’s water as ice causing a drop in sea levels which took its hardest toll on marine organisms like shelled brachiopods, eel-like conodonts as well as the trilobites.

Presently scientists are of the opinion that the evidences are heading for a sixth mass extinctions and the blame for it, probably the fastest in Earth’s history, lies on humans. By 2100, human activities like pollution, clearance of land together with overfishing could drive more than half of the world’s marine as well as land species towards extinction.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Can Classical Music Make Us Smarter?

Classical Music Developed in 18th Century

Classical music is usually seen as a choice of the refined, music for clever people having stylish taste and since many tend to listen to classical music regularly to relax, there have been claims that listening and playing classical music could do more than entertaining. Research has recommended that the music of Mozart could boost the power of the brains enabling us to grow more intelligent. Suzy Klein, writer and broadcaster visits the Royal College of Music Museum to explain toher, power of classical music and find out if it has made her smarter.

Classical music developed in the 18th century due to a way of writing music down which was accepted all over Europe. It not only enabled complex musical instruction on what to play, how to play and who played it but also helped to preserve music for the future generations. Classical has its own term like symphony, sonata and concerto which baffles those who are untrained. Music tends to have its own language with strange symbols and musicians need to be able to read these musical notations prior to picking up an instrument to play a piece of music.

Classical Music Associated with Intelligence

Plenty of practice is essential in order to play classical music of good standard. The reason to think that classical music is associated with intelligence is due to a study dubbed the Mozart Effect. Researcher carried out an experiment in 1993 and volunteers were divided into two groups with each group asked to perform complex origami style tasks.

Each group, in the experiment were asked to listen to different music and had their speed and efficiency measured while carrying out the task. It was found that the group which had listened to Mozart’s music excelled in the task and their IQs boosted for the duration of time they had performed the task. The discovery was published by the researchers in the respected science journal – Nature which unexpected started a phenomenon.

The classical music soon unlocked the doors of untapped reserves of the mind and gave way to the Mozart Effect. There were several issues that came up when other researchers struggled to duplicate the Mozart Effectwith some who produced a similar effect but not with Mozart’s music.

The Mozart Effect 

The Mozart Effect could have been generally de-bunkedbut with science’s attraction with music together with its effect on the brain led to a sincerely fascinating encounter where playing music was at the forefront. Boosting our brains with music may not depend on listening to it but in learning to play it and learning a musical instrument had indication of sharpening the learning skills, improve our motor coordination as well as our memories.
Besides teaching new useful skills, playing a musical instrument could also permanently activate our brains. Scan done on professional musician’s brains have indicated that there has been great development in areas which involve sound processing, coordination and movement when compared to non-musicians.

Though there is no confirmation that musicians could be more intelligent due to playing an instrument or singing, it is clear that musicians’ brains have improved for the better by their dedication and love for music. Often people tend to enjoy listening and playing music which enables them to relax and discover more about themselves. Music does help to change the overall mind set.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Mimuzuka – Memorial Constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi 

Mimuzuka is the memorial;ToyotomiHideyoshi had constructed to hold the ears and noses of some of the 38,000 Koreans who had been slain during the 7th year war fought between the Korean and the Japanese.

It literally means Hill of Ears or Ear Mound. The reason for the memorial which was dedicated in 1597 is not known and some say Hideyoshi wanted to honour the Korean soldiers who were slain while others say that he meant it as a warning for Japan’s enemies not to resist conquest.

According to tradition, Japanese warriors had to return with the heads of their slain enemies though the distances involved between the two made this unreasonable and hence they cut off their ears and noses as a confirmation of their deeds to receive rewards.

Their facial parts were placed in barrels of brine and returned to the Imperial capital and due to several barrels which were discarded; it will never be clear how many Koreans perished in Hideyoshi’s invasions. Some historians have made an estimate between 40,000 and a million on the Korean alone.

Ultimately Hideyoshi’s war seemed meaningless and Korea was abandoned after his death. Towards 1970, the Korean government called for the levelling off the mound which according to them meant nothing more than Japanese cruelty and brutality.

Mound Topped with Sanskrit Inscribed Stone Stupa

The mound was topped with a Sanskrit inscribed stone stupa and is next to a nondescript playground on a street leading to the tori gate of the shrine where the mound and the shrine form ironic neighbours for the man who was the cause of the death of thousands of Koreans and the Buddhist burial site which was dedicated to them and the Toyotomi Hideyoshi is enshrined at this place.

Mimizuka’s original name was Hanazuka or Nose Mound since this was the limit which denoted a dead Korean whether he was a soldier or a hapless non-combatant. According to Tadashi Takahashi of the Nippon Christian Academy Kansai Seminar House states `the reason that the grave was called `ear grave’, though there were more noses than ears is the good proof of Japanese government’s cunning strategy since the image of cutting off one’s nose was much more cruel or inhuman than the image of cutting off ears’.

He further claimed that the Japanese Government tried to portray Mimi-zuka, in the early 20th century, as a symbol of Hideyoshi’s mercy for mourning the souls for the Koreans though he dismissed this as government propaganda to create Hideyoshi as a merciful hero.

Mound to Stay in Japan 

As per the New York Times article, some Japanese debated that Koreans and Chinese greatly exaggerated the scale of the suffering and in any case atrocities were simply an unfortunate part of any war. At one point of time, there was a plaque in front of the ear mound which read `One cannot say that cutting off ears or noses were so atrocious by the standard of the time’.The article further explains that the Koreans had different views on what had to be done with the mound.

While some of the officials of Park Chung Hee, the dictator of South Korea in the 1970s, urged that the Ear Mound be levelled since it was shameful for Korean, there were others who suggested that the mound be relocated to Korea to soothe the spirits of the dead. Most of them were of the opinion that the mound should stay in Japan as a reminder of past savagery and Japan has been treating the Ear Mound as a national landmark and were unwilling to return it.

Monday, April 20, 2015



Hoboglyphs– A System of Symbols or Codes

To manage with the difficulty of hobo life, a system of symbols or code was developed by hobos who would write these codes with coal or chalk in order to provide directions, information and warning to the other hobos.

Hobo is used interchangeably with `bum’ or `drifter’, though hobos was a type of homeless traveller. Hobo used to travel around for the purpose of work and in every new place they visited; they were forced to leave home for the purpose of jobs. Bums usually avoided work and preferred drinking heavily while `tramps’ only worked when the need arose.

Due to their willingness to work on jobs which were rejected by others, they followed a strict moral code where they were tolerated by some and life as a hobo was dangerous and difficult. In order to help each other they developed their own secret language to direct the other hobos and help them in finding food, water or work.

The Hobo Code thus added a small element of safety whenever they travelled to a new place. They played an important role in the history of America which was often overlooked. They comprises of a group of nomadic workers who moved in the country from early 20th century, through the Great Depression and took their work wherever they travelled, never staying too long at any particular place.

Hoboglyphs-Leaving Notes Behind for Other Hobos

In their travels, hobos learned to leave behind notes for each other, providing information on some of the best places to camp or locate a meal or even on dangers of what lies ahead. The unique Hobo Code became known to the brotherhood of freight train riders and then used by all to keep the community of travelling workers safe, well fed and in work.

The pictographic Hobo Code is an amazing system of symbols which is understood among the hobo community. Since they were not welcomed, they were often illiterate and the messages left behind for them had to be easy for them to understand though they looked like random markings to others with an element of secrecy.

The features of the code had certain elements which appear in more than one simple symbol like the circles and arrows which made up for the directional symbols while hash marks or crossed line meant danger of some kind.

Cryptic & Difficult

Most of the hoboglyphs seems to be cryptic and difficult for people other than the hobo community to understand even if it was spotted. Diverse symbols in the Hobo code were found scrawled in chalk or coal all over the country near rail yards or in places where hobos were likely to meet and the purpose was to reach out to them and their community.

They helped the hobos against authorities whenever they would crack down on vagrants and save them from any trouble. In due course of time the hobo subculture declined, the reason being that the community were intricately connected with the American railway. It was very difficult to hop on and off on a freight train unnoticed than it was many years ago and hence rail-loving hobos steadily reduced in number.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Linear Motion Systems

Linear Motion Systems in Schools

The linear motion systems (LMS) are designed for various applications that include the handling of materials technology, as well as the performance of various light tasks in schools. The LMS is composed of various drive configurations, as well as the various control systems used in different equipments in schools. In this paper, the use of linear motion systems to enhance the automation of classes and in addressing the issues that hinder learning outcomes.


The linear motion systems (see also are equipped with various drive variants that can be used in running projectors, opening and closing of doors, regulating the lighting and temperatures, among other features. The LMS are also ready to mount, and they are supplied with the controller and motor combinations. They are critical in performing tasks such as adjusting the position of the projector, opening and closing of windows in response to the external environmental conditions.


Linear motion 

The mechanical systems in LMS are combined to form more complex systems that play an essential role in automating schools. For instance, a camera that is used in turning on a camera can be fixed with a micro switch that can be used in turning on and off the lights.

In conclusion, linear motion systems can be used in schools to facilitate the automation of classes and other facilities in schools. This is attained by combining two or mechanical linear systems to form a complex system. This complex system can be used in performing multiple tasks such as switching on the projectors and cameras and regulating the lighting systems from a single control centre.


Extraterrestrial life – Exobiology/Astrobiology

Extraterrestrial life is known as exobiology or astrobiology though astrobiology also considers Earth-based life in its astronomical context. It is life which does not originate from Earth and is also known as alien life.

As hypothetical type of life that ranges from simple bacteria like organism to far more complex being than human and the possibility of the existence of viruses that may exist extraterrestrially has also been anticipated.

Several scientists consider extraterrestrial life reasonable though there is no evidence of its existence and from mid-20th century there has been continuous search for signs of extraterrestraial life from radios that have been used to identify possible extraterrestrial signs, to telescope for potential habitable extra solar planets.

Scientists David Brin, Elon Musk, Frank Drake, Geoffrey Marcy and Seth Shostak, on February 13, 2015, at a convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, discussed Active SETI and if transmitting message to possible intelligent extraterrestrial in to Cosmos, was a good notion.

One result seemed to be a statement signed by several that a `worldwide scientific, political as well as humanitarian discussion could take place before a message was sent.

Alien Life – Microorganisms Exist in Solar System 

It is considered that alien life like microorganisms has been assumed to exist in solar system as well as in the universe and this assumption depends on the vast size as well as consistent physical laws of the observable universe. According to scientists Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, it could be unlikely for life to be unable to exist anywhere else rather than Earth and this debate is personified in the Copernican principle stating that the Earth does not inhabit a unique place in the Universe and the Mediocrity principle suggesting that there is nothing unique about life on Earth.

Life could have occurred independently at several places all over the universe or alternatively it could have formed less seldom and spread by meteoroids, asteroids as well as other small bodies in the solar system between habitable planets, the process of which is known as panspermia. Some of the bodies in the solar system are considered to have the potential for an environment which could have extraterrestrial life especially those with a possibility of subsurface oceans.

extremophile microorganism
Lack of Habitable Environments – Extremophile Microorganisms

However due to lack of habitable environments further than the Earth if life is discovered elsewhere in the solar system, astrobiologists recommend that it could be more likely in the form of extremophile microorganisms. Some are of the opinion that planets Mars and Venus together with several natural satellites which circle Jupiter and Saturn as well as comets could possess slot environments where probably life could exist.

 A subsurface marine environment on Jupiter’s moon, Europa could be the ideal habitat in the solar system beyond the Earth for multicellular organisms. Panspermia recommends that life somewhere in the solar system could have some common origin and if extraterrestrial life could be found on elsewhere in the solar system, it could have been created from Earth like life on Earth could have been seeded from exogenesis.

Living Interplanetary Flight Experiments which was developed by the Planetary Society that was launched in 2011 was intended to test some aspects of these hypotheses though it was destroyed together with the carrier Fobos-Grunt mission.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Psilocybin Mushroom

Psilocybin Mushroom
Psilocybin Mushrooms – Psychedelic Mushrooms 

Psilocybin mushroom known as psychedelic mushrooms are those types of mushrooms which contain psychedelic mixtures of psilocybin and psilocin and the shared colloquial terms include magic mushrooms and shrooms. Its use is primarily as an entheogen as well as recreational drug, the effects of which includes euphoria, closed and open eye visuals, altered thinking processes, synaesthesia, and an altered sense of time together with spiritual experiences.

The Biological genera comprising psilocybin mushrooms are inclusive of Copelandia, Galerina, Gymnopilus, Inocybe Panaeolus, Mycena, Pluteus, Pholiotina and Psilocybe with over 100 species that are classified in the genus Psilocybe. These Psilocybin mushrooms have probably been used since prehistoric times and could have been portrayed in rock art as well as pre-Contact historical materials and several cultures have utilised these mushrooms in religious rites.

In the case of modern societies, they have been used for spiritual reasons and recreational purpose like mood lifting as well as psychedelic effects. The mushroom is considered to be one of the several over 100 species which are psychoactive causing hallucination and other trippy symptoms besides euphoria and these magic mushrooms have been used for long in Central American religious ceremonies which are now part of the black market in drugs in United States and several other countries and are considered as a controlled substance.

Psilocybin – Illegal in Several Countries 

Psilocybin is illegal in many countries and is considered a Schedule 1 drug with `high potential for abuse with no legitimate medical purpose in United States, according to the Department of Justice. The U.S. National Institute of Drug abuse states that long term negative effects like flashbacks, impaired memory and a risk of psychiatric illness have been defined in case reports and some individuals have been having frightening experiences when they are on psilocybin, experiencing terror reactions which could cause harm to others as well as to themselves.

According to David Nutt, profession of neuro-psychopharmacology who leads the Imperial College team and formerly drug adviser to the UK government, states that a number of mental illnesses like obsessive compulsive disorder – OCD and depression are linked with excessive connectivity of the brain and the default mode network tends to get over-connected.

The over-connectivity described by Nutt causes depressed individual to get immersed into reflexion and concentrate on negative thoughts about themselves and `by disrupting that network one can release them from the depression symptoms by showing a possibility to escape those thoughts. According to Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College, London, he states that only by losing the self, can one find the self. People tend to run away from things in order to forget but with psychedelic drugs, they are forced to confront and take a look at themselves’.

The drugs referred to by him are hallucinogens like magic mushrooms, especially the active chemicals in them, psilocybin. He states that they are in the process of identifying the biological basis of the reported mind expansion that is associated with psychedelic drugs.

Psilocybin is not Addictive 

Psilocybin is not addictive and seems interesting to researchers due to its ability to make individuals envisage the world in a different manner and the team at Imperial College have started to untangle the reason for the same.

Carhart-Harris scanned the brains of around 30 healthy volunteers and injected them with psilocybin and noticed the more primitive regions of the brains associated with emotional thinking in getting more active and the brain’s default mode network, associated with high level thinking, self-consciousness as well as introspection, which tend to get disjointed and less active.

The new research had only touched the surface of the brain and its consciousness where according to Nuttthe `brain is about organizing information as well as predicting the external world and that they think psilocybin disrupts that making it more chaotic.

People have hallucinations because instead of seeing the world as the brain expects it to be, they tend to see what the brain is doing’. This chaos could possibly treat depression as well as addiction like smoking and alcoholism which seems to be the topic of some of the earliest lessons on psychedelics in the 50s and 60s prior to the introduction of laws against drugs.

Professor Roland Griffiths from Johns Hopkins School of medicine explains that `with psilocybin, people tend to feel reorganized, after the therapy and the nature of the reorganization is that there are effects on attitudes towards addiction’.

The mechanism behind the change is not completely comprehended though the therapy is considered to increase the motivation as well as self-efficacy, instilling more confidence in the ability of the person to quit. Griffiths assumes that `the default-mode network connected to habitual pattern of behaviour, whereby decreasing activity in the system could free them to think differently and that people state that addiction is not compelling anymore’.

To Be Administered with Specialised Support as Medical Therapy 

Michael Bogenschutz of the University of New Mexico has similar small scale studies on alcoholism and has promising results with great improvements in people after they had received psilocybin instead of counselling session.

He stated that `the degree of improvement was correlated with the intensity of the subjective effects of psilocybin’. Psilocybin therapy is still way behind from being accepted on a wide scale and trails are needed to be conducted on a larger scale in controlled settings. Dr Owen Bowden-Jones of UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists comments that `the early research is promising but further research is needed’.

According to World Health Organization, depression is said to affect over 350 million people all across the world and the present pharmaceutical method of treatment is with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors – SSRIs like Prozac which tends to increase levels of serotonin in the brain thereby improving the moods, though SSRIs may not be effective in all cases or it could take time to show results and are generally prescribed for long periods of time to obtain the desired results.

Nutt is of the opinion that psilocybin could be a game-changer and could be used as a part of therapeutic package where mind altering and confronting nature of psychedelics could be a combination of therapy in treating people within one or two doses of treatment. He states that they had never had drugs earlier with instant effect and this could create an example in helping people in a different way of thinking which they can consider staying in.He stresses that psilocybin to be administered with specialised support as a part of medical therapy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Roswell UFO Incident

Rosewell Incident – Mysterious Debris

An incident took place in early July 1947 outside Roswell, New Mexico where a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture. Officials from the local Air Force base claimed it to be crashed weather balloon while several believed that it was the remnants of an extra-terrestrial flying saucer which were a series of dummy drops during 1950s in New Mexico.

Fifty years after the mysterious debris incident, the U.S. military then issued a report related to the incident to a top secret atomic espionage project known as Project Mogul. Several people still continue to believe the UFO theory and hundreds of curious seekers tend to visit the crash site of Roswell each year.

Another version of this incident state that on the evening of July 3, 1947, a respected business owner, Dan Wilmot together with his wife were seated on their porch in the front area when they envisaged a bright saucer shaped object having glowing light moving across the sky at a speed of 400-500 miles per hour. Wilmot had estimated the unidentified flying object to be about 20-25 feet away and the object seemed to appear from the Southeast which disappeared to the Northwest. He had reported this unusual sight to Roswell Daily Record.

Conventional Weather Balloon

Another source states that in early July, the Foreman of the J.B. Foster Ranch, W. W. Mac Brazel had been out checking his sheep after a night of intense thunderstorm when he discovered a huge amount of unusual debris all across the ranch’s pastures.

 He had taken some pieces to show them to some friend and neighbours and had got in touch with Chaves County Sheriff, George Wilcox. Suspecting the material found by Brazel to be connected with military operations, Wilcox had notified the authorities at Roswell Army Air Field for further action with regards to the issue.

After the initial point of interest, the report from the military claimed that the crash could have been of a conventional weather balloon and its interest died out till the late 1970s when ufologists started circulating a number of elaborate conspiracy theories stating that one or more alien spacecraft had crash landed and the extra-terrestrial occupants were recovered by the military.

Project Mogul Balloon 

The U.S military had published reports regarding the true nature of the crashed Project Mogul balloon in 1990s but the incident continues to be a popular media interest together with the conspiracy theories that surround the event and Roswell has been known as `the world’s most famous, exhaustively investigated as well as thoroughly debunked UFO claim’.

The events’ sequence was activated by the crash of the Project Mogul balloon. The Project Mogul team had invented a number of high tech materials for the balloon together with other equipment which included the ultra-lightweight as well as ultra-strong metals, fireproof fabrics and fibre-optic cables and could be part of the reason of their belief when they saw the debris and thought that they had come from outer space.

It was something which they had not seen before though most of these materials are being used till date. Several books and articles have related about Roswell and many who have read them have found the same quite confusing with different competing versions that have been conveyed with each being contradictory and the mystery is yet not unravelled.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crown Jewels of Ireland

Crown Jewels of Ireland
Credit: Historical Nonfiction
Crown Jewels – Used in Ceremony of Consecration/Formal Ensigns of Monarchy

Crown jewels is referred generally to the royal ornaments that were used in the ceremony of consecration and formal ensigns of monarchy which was worn or carried on the occasion of the state. The Order of St. Patrick seemed to be an order of knights which King George III had established in 1783 and members of the noble families and aristocratic deemed worthy had been granted knighthoods who became Knights of St. Patrick.

This was an Irish equivalent of the English Order of the Garter and the Scottish Order of the Thistle. As first monarch of Ireland and later of the United Kingdom, the British monarch was the Sovereign of Order and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had been the Grand Master in the absence of the Sovereign, the insignia of which was worn by the Sovereign.

This was worn at the investiture of new Knights being members of the Order as well as by the Grand Master of the occasion of other formal ceremonies. This granting of knighthoods was a way of rewarding them and ensuring loyalty which took place in St. Patrick’s hall where the reigning monarch presided over the events.

Stored in Bank Vaults 

The name – Irish Crown Jewels was given to the valuable jewelled objects that the monarch wore at the time of the ceremony which were decorated with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds together with other precious stones.

When not in use the Irish Crown Jewels were stored in bank vault and in 1903, it was decided to store them at Dublin Castle where a new strong room was installed but the safe prepared to store the jewel was too wide to fit through the doorway of the strong room.

 It was then decided that the safe together with its precious jewels should be stored in a room having seven locks accompanied with two locks on the safe. The seven latch keys to the door of the Office of Arms were held by the Vicars together with his staff while two keys of the safe with the insignia were in the custody of Vicars who were known to be regularly drunk on overnight duty, who once awoke finding the jewels around his neck.

Jewels Went Missing – Mystery Unknown

Four days later, the jewels were found missing before a visit by King Edward VII in 1907 who was furious since he had intentions of granting a Knighthood on Lord Castletown of Queen’s Country. Though many were blamed for its disappearance, the whereabouts of the Irish Crown Jewels is yet a mystery.

The insignia was worn last by Lord Aberdeen, the Lord Lieutenant on March 15, 1907 at a ceremony of Saint Patrick’s Day on 17 March and was last known to be in the safe on 11 June when it was shown to a visitor to the office by the Vicars.

The jewels were found missing on 6 July 1907, four days prior to the start of a visit to the Irish International Exhibition by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at a planned investiture of Bernard FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown in the Order. Though the visit materialised, the investiture ceremony had to be cancelled. The jewels stolen were said to be of value of £1,050.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Grauballe Man

The Grauballe Man – Excellent State of Preservation

The Grauballe Man is considered to be a bog body which was discovered in 1952 from a peat bog near a village of Grauballe in Jutland in Denmark. The body is said to be in excellent state of preservation so much so that the red-haired man was believed at first to be a local who had disappeared on his way back from a local pub.

It is said that the body was that of a man which dates back to the late 3rd century BC at the time of the early Germanic Iron Age who was identified as much older and named Grauballe from the nearest town,From the evidence gathered with regards to the wounds on his body it is likely that his throat was slit open and his body was then deposited in the bog where it was naturally preserved for over two millennia.

Besides him there were other notable examples found in the peat bog of Jutland such as Tollund Man and the Elling Woman. The Grauballe Man portrayed an established tradition during that time which was commonly presumed that these killing could have been examples of human sacrifice, probably some important rite during the Iron Age Germanic paganism.

Spectacular Discoveries

The Grauballe Man has also been described as one of the most spectacular discoveries from Denmark’s prehistory since it seems to be one of the most amazing preserved bog bodies which have ever been recorded. On excavation in 1952, it was shifted to the Prehistoric Museum in Aarhus where it was researched and preserved.

Towards 1955, the body was placed on display at the Moesgaard Museum near Aarhus and is still on display till date. His fingerprints were taken successfully since his feet and hands were well preserved. He was determined to be around 30 years of age when he had died and on physical examination it indicated that the throat had been slit from behind. Recent close inspection of his intestine revealed that plant roots had penetrated there after his death and burial in the peat.

The man who had been buried in an old excavation in the peat bog like the other bog bodies pointing north-south and had his face well preserved though distorted which could have been due to the fact of being killed with his throat being cut.

His left crus seemed to be broken which happens after a person dies and probably the weight of the peat that covered him could have caused the leg to break while his hands and feet were well preserved

Placed in Peat Bog – Cold Season

On studying the excavation in the peat bog which was full of water at the time he was placed in it, it is presumed that he sank to the bottom of it within a short period of time which indicates that he was placed in the bog during cold season.

The Graubelle man when discovered was found naked which was also the case with the Tollund man who was only wearing a cap and a leather belt when discovered, In both these cases, the clothes could have been kept nearby which is always the case with other bog bodies.

Besides, the clothes could have later on dissolved and disappeared due to peat digging or could have also been of flax and or nettle which will not be preserved in the bog.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine - Treasure Tale in the History of America West

A treasure tale in the history of American West, is of the Lost Dutchman Mine that is shrouded in mystery and is said to be not only rich in gold but also has a curse on it which has led many to strange death as well as mysterious disappearance of people who have made attempts to locate the old mine.

For over 120 years, this legend has been narrated again and again which has grown in proportion to an extent that some have claimed that the legend is nothing but a myth though for some others, the mine with its legend are very real, hidden in the forbidding peaks of the Superstition Mountains.

Somewhere in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix, Arizona, a 3,000 foot high monolith stands guard over the rest of its territory, a gold mine which is said to be so rich that if the walls are tapped with a hammer, one would get nuggets of gold tumbling down.

Long before gold was discovered in these cliffs, the area had been covered in mystery and in 1540, when the Spanish had arrived the region had been inhabited by the Apache who considered the Superstition Mountain as a sacred ground.

Discovered by the Apache

The mine it is said was discovered by the Apache who had kept it heavily guarded till it was eventually revealed to a few of the first Spanish monks who had reached Arizona from the colonies in Mexico.

It was locally known as `The Dutchman’s Mine’, since two of the several 19th century applicants were presumed to be from Holland.Jacob Waltz and Jacob Weiser, the two German explorers rescued a Don Miguel Peralta from a clash in the Mexican town of Arizpe and Don Miguel had informed his rescuers about the secret family mine which one of his relative had staked claim in 1748.

The three of them then left for Arizona with the Peralta family map and located the Peralta family mine thereafter and picked up $60,000 worth of gold. It was said that Don Miguel had sold the map with the title of the mine to the Germans for half of the proceeds and the two Germans continued to work in the mine for the next two decades when one day disaster finally struck there.

Mining Forbidden

One evening Waltz had come back to the camp after camping near the mine and found that Weiser had disappeared and on the ground he found blood stained shirt with Apaches’ arrows. The mine was once again discovered by chance in 1880 and the discoverers were two young US soldiers who had appeared in the town of Pinal and had their saddlebags full of gold.

They had stated that the ore had come from a funnel shaped mine in a canyon near a sharp pinnacle of rock. When they did not appear after their second venture to the mine, a rescue team was sent who found their bodies that were presumably shot dead. Over a period of time the stories regarding the mine gave way to legend with several exaggerations and variation to it.

Presently the area is a State park, Lost Dutchman State Park. Mining here is forbidden though that does not stop many of them who come each year, to search for the lost gold.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Bioluminescence – Emission of Light by Living Organisms

Bioluminescence is the outcome of emission of light by living organism and is a form of chemiluminescene. Bioluminescence means light produced through chemical reaction in an organism where some of them use it to attract mates while other to attract its prey and still others have no apparent purpose.

Bioluminescent art comprises of naturally glowing bacteria which create intricate formation which are visible only when the lights are out. Several; organisms tend to create their own lights which include fireflies, fungi, algae and jellyfish. It occurs extensively in marine vertebrates and invertebrates besides fungi and fireflies and in some animals the light is created by symbiotic organism like Vibrio bacteria.

The main chemical reaction which occurs in bioluminescence contains light emitting pigment luciferin as well as the enzyme luciferase which is assisted by other proteins known as aequorin in some of the species. The enzyme causes the oxidation of luciferin ions and in certain species the kind of luciferin needs cofactors like calcium or magnesium ions and at times energy carrying molecule adenosine triphosphate – ATP

Strong Flash of Bioluminescence – Scare off Looming Killer

The fireflies produce their light with the help of a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process which is known as bioluminescence. Seascapes too glow and glitter due to the light producing abilities of several marine organisms. While some fishes seem to dangle a lighted lure before their mouth in order to attract prey, some other squid shoot out bioluminescent liquid to confuse their killers.

Often a strong flash of bioluminescence is used by the animals to scare off a looming killer and the bright signal could distract or startle the killer causing confusion on the whereabouts of its target and this tactic could be useful in deep sea for small copepods to larger vampire squid. Besides, worms as well as tiny crustaceans use bioluminescence in order to attract their mates.

Humans tend to see bioluminescence activated through physical disturbance like waves or moving boat hull which could get the animal to portray their light though most of the time, animals light up in response to an attack or to attract a mate. Bioluminescent organisms live in water column, from the surface to the seabed, near the coast to the open ocean. Bioluminescent is often common in deep sea since the deep sea is vast and bioluminescence could be the most common type of communication on the planet.

Light Travels in Wavelengths – Determines Colour of Light

Light tends to travel in different shapes in waves known as wavelengths and this determines the colour of light and when the waves hit our eyes, it gets translated into colours by our brain based on their wavelength. This is known as the visible light spectrum and we see the colours on this spectrum as they travel from the air above land.

Since light travels underwater differently and longer wavelengths cannot travel far, most of the bioluminescence that is produced in the water is in the form of blue green light. This occurs since these colours are of short wavelengths of light which travel through shallow as well as deep water and light travelling from the sun of longer wavelength like red light does not reach the deep sea.

 For animals that tend to bioluminescence, it could communicate or protect itself from being hurt or eaten by other animals. For humans the beautiful colours with light which are created through bioluminescence could be works of art.