Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ringing Rocks


Ringing Rocks – Peculiar Ringing Properties

Ringing Rocks Park is a 128 acre park which is nestled in the woods in Upper Black Eddy wherein located in the park, one will come across field of boulders of around 7 to 8 acres in size that have an unusual property. The area is lacking of any vegetation but for some lichens that tend to grow on the rocks.

In such an area within the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s forested Bucks County seems to be an unusual place, which is a property of rocks that makes the location so strange. Stones usually do not ring but when these particular stones seem to be struck lightly with a hammer or another rock, they tend to vibrate making a sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a familiar sound like that of a metal pipe being struck.

Moreover,this park also tends to have Bucks’ Country biggest waterfall. Besides the peculiar ringing properties of the stones, there seems to be other mysterious adjoining the park which is that most of the boulder fields are the outcome of an avalanche from a mountainside collapse, where the boulder field is towards the top of the hill and not the bottom. This could mean that it did not result from a rock slide.

Boulders with High Content of Aluminium & Iron

There seems to be no evidence to indicate that these could be dropped there by a glacier but glaciers do not come this far to the south.

How the boulder field got there seem to be a mystery.The boulders seem to be made of substance known as diabase, which is of the same type of rock that makes up most of the earth’s crust thatis mostly volcanic basalt. This one is the largest diabase boulder fields in the Eastern United States where the boulders have a high content of aluminium and iron.

 They are presumed to have been broken apart at the time of the Pleistocene Epoch around 12,000 years back. Another amazing fact is while all the rocks tend to be made of the same material, mostly of iron and hard minerals, only one-third of them seem to produce the ringing sound when they were hit. Rocks which ring are called `live’ rocks and those which do not tend to ring are called `dead’ rocks.

Developed through years of Freeze-Thaw Cycles

The boulders were developed through several years of freeze-thaw cycles which broke the diabase into single pieces, a process which is known as `frost-wedging’. The rocks could then have been collected in one area as the water soaked soil provided lubrication for the stones to move downhill to their present location which is a process known as solifluction.

The same could have occurred prior to the ice age when overlying moist soil trickled over the frozen permafrost below taking the boulders with it.Others have more imaginary explanations like radioactivity, meteorites, comets or some strange magnetic fields could be responsible while still others have suggested supernatural possibilities and the area has been researched by those interested in the supernatural.

 Dr J.J. Ott had gathered adequate rocks in June 1890, with different pitches in order to play some tunes accompanied by the Pleasant Valley Band which took place at Stony Garden at the time of the Buckwampun meeting. It was probably the first ever rock concert that took place.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Warp Drive


Warp Drive – Hypothetical FTL

Warp Drive is a hypothetical faster than light FTL, an impulsion system which helps one to travel several times faster than light on manipulating the fabric of time as well as space It is something which enabled the Starship Enterprise to courageously go where no man has ever gone before.

A spacecraft equipped with warp drive could travel at apparent speeds which can be greater than that of light by several orders of magnitude. When compared to other hypothetical FTL technologies like jump drive or hyper drive, warp drive does not seem toallow instant travel between two points but comprises of a measurable passage of time.

Spacecraft at warp velocity tend to interact with objects in normal space. A NASA research team, in 2012 had revealed that they are operating on a Star Trek style warp drive. They in fact have several ideas already as to how they would eventually be capable of making warp drives to function.

The most projecting possibility presently depends on a 1994 theory by Miguel Alcubierre wherein the idea is based on `expanding’ the fabric of space beyond the ship and retracting the space ahead that would make the ship move forward as if it were riding a huge conveyor belt.

Several Images of Interstellar Travel

Since sound barrier had been broken, many have turned their focus on how to break the light speed barrier. However, Warp Drive or any other term with regards to faster-than-light travel seems to stay at a level of assumption. Majority of scientific knowledge determines that it is impossible while considering Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and there are some reliable concepts in scientific literature though it is too early to know if they are practical.

Several writers of science fiction have given many images of interstellar travel; though travelling at the speed of light is presently only imaginary. Meanwhile, science has been making headway and while NASA is not trailing interstellar flight, scientists have continued to advance ion propulsion for missions to deep space and beyond it, utilising solar electric power. This method of propulsion seems to be the fastest and the most efficient as of date.

System Depends on Electromagnetic Drive/EMDrive

NASA is said to have been silently testing an innovative new method of space travel which would someday enable humans to travel at speeds much faster than light. Researchers are of the belief that the new drive would be carrying passengers together with their equipment to the moon in as little as four hours.

A trip to Alpha Centauri which would take tens of thousands of years would now be reached in just 100 years. The system depends on electromagnetic drive or EMDrive that converts electrical energy into thrust without the use of any rocket fuel.

Over the years of scientific theory, several strange theories which have become reality have come up. To know more on the theories of interstellar flight, one could visit the Tau Zero Foundation. A former NASA Glenn physicist, Marc Millis, had founded the organization to consider revolutionary advancements in propulsion. Warp drive which enables humans to go around other galaxies may now no longer be purely in the dominion of science fiction.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gambler’s Fallacy


Maladaptive Decisions – Random Incidents – Gambler’s Fallacy - GF

Humans often tend to make maladaptive decisions with regards to random incidents, one of which is the gambler’s fallacy – Gambler’s Fallacy, which is a certainty that incidence of a particular random event is probably after a series of the same incident. The Gambler’s Fallacy is observed to prejudice individuals’ conclusion as well as decisions in several situations like gambling, stock investment, lottery play and several other tasks.

 A characteristic pattern of the decisions directed by the Gambler’s Fallacy  is that people seem to be more probable in predicting the break of a line when it tends to get longer. Traditionally the GF is considered as an experimental bias regarded by the law of small numbers – 5,6, which could be a section of a random sequence that could reflect the general distribution.

Though the experimental bias hypothesis recommends that the Gambler’s Fallacy  is supported by fast, emotional as well as instinctive system, it can be overcome by planned reasoning, emerging evidence mostly from neuroscience studies which indicates that Gambler’s Fallacy  could be the outcome of imbalanced cognitive as well as emotional decision making appliances.However from the data received from a huge sample of college students, it was found that individuals’ utilization of the Gambler’s Fallacy  strategy seemed to be positively correlated with their general intelligence as well as decision-making functions.

Working Memory & Conflict Resolution

These could be working memory and conflict resolution though adversely correlated with their affective decisions making potentials, measured by the Iowa Gambling Task. Results have provided fresh awareness in the mechanisms underlying the Gambler’s Fallacy  which enhances the important role of affective mechanisms in adaptive decision making function.

The hypothesis has been formulated that the Gambler’s Fallacy  is connected with weak function in the effective decision making method and strong functions in the reasoning structure supported by the lateral prefrontal cortex – LPFC.

With regards to decision making, the LPFC has an important role in constructing and detecting patterns as well as updating decision making policies as per the context which are two element processes essential in implementing the GF strategy. The Gambler’s Fallacy  decisions for instance, more risk taking conduct after losses rather than wins, was connected with left prefrontal cortex activity.

Brain Responses to Left LPFC

Recent research utilised a mixture of functional magnetic resonance imaging – MRI and trancranial direct current stimulation –tDCS technologies in an effort to establish underlying relationship between activities in the prefrontal cortex as well as the use of the Gambler’s Fallacy  strategy.

The outcome indicated that the brain responses in the left lateral prefrontal cortex to the current result preceded the use of the GF approach followed by 10 seconds thereafter. Moreover, the anodal tDCS over the left LPFC that improved the LPFC function increased the use of the GF approach. While on the other hand, the GF could also be increased further by a weak affective decision making mechanism.

Individuals with impaired affective decision making owing to lesions in the mesial OFC/ventromedial prefrontal cortex as well as the amygdala displayed behavioural patterns which gather the Gambler’s Fallacy. For instance, in the case of the Iowa gambling task – IGT, which stimulates daily life decision making and healthy participants slowly tend to shift to advantageous decks by creating predictive somatic responses to disadvantageous decks while patients with focal brain damages in the ventromedial PFC tend to keep choosing the disadvantageous decks after experiencing severe losses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mystery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Missing Treasure


One of India’s Earliest Scandal Revealed

In the vaults of South Block, protected by Official Secrets Act, locked for more than half a century, one of India’s earliest scandals has been revealed. Hundreds of old documents which has created suspicions with regards to cash, gold as well as jewellery which were collected by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to finance his armed struggle for Independence are being drawn away.

One of the 37 secret `Netaji files’ in the Prime Minister’s Office – PMO and Ministry of External Affairs – MEA has dealings with the `INA Treasure’. Put together over the years, it deals with story of suspected rank greed and opportunism which overpowered Indian freedom fighters while they looted the treasury of the malformed Provisional Government of Azad Hind - PGAH.

The suspected loot had taken place immediately after the demise of Bose in a plane crash in 1945. However it is not about the missing Indian National Army – INA treasure worth several hundred crores of rupees but that the government of the day knew about it and had done nothing about it. It was revealed from the classified papers obtained by India Today that the Nehru government had ignored repeated warnings from three mission heads in Tokyo between 1947 and 1953.

Treasure Disposed of By Suspected Accomplices

An undersecretary and later foreign secretary, R.D. Sathe, in the MEA, had written a blunt warning to the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who was also the foreign minister in 1951, that bulk of the treasure, namely gold ornaments as well as precious stones were left behind by Bose in Saigon, presently Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Sathe concluded that this treasure had already been disposed of by the suspected accomplices. All warnings seemed to be ignored and no inquiry was ever made. Moreover, one of the former INA men, whom the diplomats suspected of fraud, was rewarded with a government sinecure.

These explosive revelations are included in 37 odd files that the PMO has refrained from declassifying for over a decade. The government line that no public interest was served by declassification now strains trust. The declassified papers in the National Archives indicate that the Nehru government began snooping on the Bose family which lasted for two decades from 1947 to 1968

April 1945 – Netaji Withdrew to Bangkok with all Treasury

Indian residents of Rangoon, the capital of Japanese, occupied Burma, had held a grand week long ceremony on January 29, 1945. It was the 48th birthday of Netaji, the head of the provisional government of the Azad Hind.

It was said that Netaji was weighted against gold, something which was disliked by him. Hugh Toye notes in his biography -The Springing Tiger, The Indian National Army and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The same week, donations worth over Rs 2 crore was collected which included over 80 kg of gold and Netaji had raised the biggest war chest by any Indian leader during the 20th century.

However by 1945, this was to no avail since the Japanese army together with the INA had crumpled due to increasing Allied thrust in Burma. On April 24, 1945, Netaji withdrew to Bangkok carrying all the treasury of the provisional government with him.

There have been conflicting accounts on how much gold had been taken by him. Chairman of the Azad Hind Bank, Dinanath when interrogated by British intelligence immediately after the war, had stated that Netaji had left with 63.5 kg of gold.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Archaeologists Discover Heart-Breaking Remains of Mum Who Died Protecting Her Baby Boy from an Earthquake


Archaeologist Discover Skeletal Remains of Mother/Child – China

Archaeologists have found the skeletal remains of a mother who had died protecting her child Anthropologist who had been researching the Lajia archaeological site in Minhe County in North West China’s Qinghai Province, have discovered the mother and her son while excavating a huge scale burial caused by an overwhelming earthquake around 4,000 years back.

It is said that the well-preserved bones, which seems to belong to people from China’s Qujia culture that probably existed between 2,200 – 1,600 BC portrayed the larger bones of a mother kneeling while shielding the smaller child whom the archaeologist presume it to be that of a boy.

Discovered first in the 1920, the Qijia culture was said to be an early Bronze Age culture which lived around the upper Yellow River region spreading across the northern and the north-western provinces of China including the areas of Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.The exploration of the culture has been of great importance in the discovery of the original as well as the early development of Chinese civilisation.

Whole Settlement Wiped out By Calamity

Park Pai, a researcher, has informed that the excavation can tell a lot about people from that time but on a personal level, this is a story which seems to be of a tragic death, thousands of years back. Experts are of the belief that the site was affected by an earthquake and flooding of the Yellow river, though they are still to comprehend the actual cause of the tragedy.

Nonetheless, the calamity is believed to have wiped out the whole settlement. In comparison with Pompeii, the site known as Lajia is over 2,000 years older than the ancient Roman city. Images of the findings portray the mother looking up above as she kneels on the floor having her arms around her young child.

They came across another pair of skeletons locked in an embrace at the same site; together with a number of other remains also found huddled together. The postures of the bodies tell how they died, some who had been trapped in buildings, while others sheltering with family members.

Skeletons on Display at Lajia Ruins Museum

This unbelievably well persevered site portrays a heart-breaking picture of people making attempts to protect their families in a petrifying earthquake. At almost 40,000 square feet, the Lajia site is one of the largest disaster excavation sites in China which was first discovered in the early 2000s.

The excavation site is said to be of a particular historical importance since it contains evidences to an early Bronze Age civilisation which had lived in the upper Yellow River region. Earlier this month, the team of archaeologists had presented their discoveries at an academic conference in Gansu province. The skeletons are now kept on display at the Lajia Ruins Museum.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Radioactive Boy Scout


David Hahn – Radioactive Boy Scout

In Golf Manor, Michigan, around 40 kilometres from Detroit, a boy named David Hahn who was also called the `Radioactive Boy Scout’ or `the Nuclear Boy Scout’, was very much fascinated with chemistry. He seemed to be a normal boy in most respect, playing sports and was a member of the Boy Scouts.

He attempted to construct a homemade breeder nuclear reactor in 1994 at the age of 17. David seemed to be interested in chemistry right from the age of 10 and began reading his father’s college textbooks on chemistry and conducted his experiments in secret in his father’s basement.

After a particular incident in the basement of his father, David was compelled to move his operation to his mother’s backyard shed in Clinton Township, Michiganthough it did not stop there. He decided to take his interest still further and started developing cover stories, forming faked identity, claiming to be a high school instructor of physics.

He wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission –NRC using his identity and received a reply by the agency’s director of isotope production and distribution. He was told about isolating and obtaining radioactive elements and some isotopes which could sustain a chain reaction when bombarded with neutrons, by the director.

Received Merit Badge in Atomic Energy

Being fascinated by chemistry, he had spent years conducting amateur chemistry experiments which at times resulted in explosions as well as other mishaps. He was motivated on reading `The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments’ and collected samples of all elements which included the radioactive ones.

Later on he had received a merit badge in Atomic energy and was fascinated with the idea of creating a breeder reactor in his home. He carefully accumulated radioactive material by collecting small quantity from household products like americium from smoke detectors, thorium from camping lanterns mantles, radium from clocks and tritium from gunsights.

A bored out block of lead was his reactor and he had used lithium from $1,000 worth of purchased batteries in order to purify the thorium ash utilising a Bunsen burner. Hahn observed that small amount of radioactive isotope, americium 241, was used in smoke detectors. He got in touch with smoke detector companies and one of them sold about 100 broken detectors for $1 each to him.

Radioactive Equipment Impounded

Most of the components which David used for his nuclear reactor were from several common items he had collected. On August 31, 1994, after an encounter with the police, he was found with a toolbox which according to him was radioactive and the police feared that the toolbox bound with a padlock and duct tape could be a nuclear bomb.

 The Federal Radiological Emergency response plan was put into action and the EPA as well as the NRC also got involved. The EPA moved in on David’s radioactive shed on June 26, 1995 and impounded all his radioactive equipment together with the materials.

He had exposed his neighbours to almost 1,000 times, normal amount of background radiation. In 2007, David was arrested for stealing smoke detectors from an apartment complex where he had lived. His face seemed to be covered in sores perhaps due to the radiation contact.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Aqueduct of Segovia


Aqueduct de Segovia – Important & Well Preserved Roman Aqueduct

The Aqueduct de Segovia or the aqueduct bridge is a Roman aqueduct and also one of the most important and best preserved ancient monuments remaining on the Iberian Peninsula. It is situated in Spain and is the primary symbol of Segovia with its presence on the city’s emblem. This ancient Roman aqueduct in Segovia is not considered as a religious site but it is an amazing monument to miss seeing it.

Segovia aqueduct is called as the most impressive Roman structure in Spain, by author architecture of Spain, Alejandro Lapunzina, due to its long span, architectural beauty as well as dramatic presence in the centre of a dense urban fabric. The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia was probably built in c. AD 50 and is well preserved. Its impressive construction with two tiers of archers tends to form part of the setting of the outstanding historic city of Segovia.

It is a massive construction of masonry, of 813 m in length comprising of four straight segments with two superimposed arcades borne by 128 pillars.Towards the lowest point of the valley, the aqueduct is at a height of 28.5 m above the ground. The other significant monuments comprise of the Alcazar which had begun around the 11th century and the Gothic cathedral during the 16th century.

Best Known Civil Engineering Achievements

In the centre of Spain lies the Old Town of Segovia, in the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon while the centre is crowded together on the rocky bluff defined by the confluence of the Eresma as well as the Clamores rivers.

The 221 enormous pillars is a witness to the greatness of the Aqueae Atilianae in the province of Zaragoza while in other areas of Spain the only fragments of the Roman aqueduct of Sevilla, Toledo and Calahorra seems to have survived. Impressive monuments which survived in Merida, Tarragona and Segovia indicate the political determination that had followed the steps of the victorious armies and significantly increased the number of aqueducts which was described by Frontinus as `the most solemn testimony of the Empire’.

It is the best known civil engineering achievements due to its monumentality, together with its excellent state of conservation especially its amazing location in relation to the urban site. It stands as a symbol of the city and cannot be separated from Segovia as a whole.

Maintained the Structures of Authenticity

Due to its early lawful security, the property had maintained the structures of authenticity especially with regards to location, design and form which is applicable not only to the highlighted monuments like the Roman Aqueduct but also to the other monuments as well as architectural groups in the city.

Indications of the medieval city with historic locations such as the Jewish Quarter is seen in the present layout of the town with its narrow streets, the kind of paving as well as the decorated rendering of the buildings among other structures.

Since the urban communal is constantly being developed, the property has been affected by modification though it has always been under strict administrative controls from the municipality as well as the regional government to avoid negative impact on the attributes which convey Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Saturday, August 1, 2015



Qanat – Sloping Underground Channel

A qanat is considered to be a gently sloping underground channel with various vertical access shafts which is used to send water from an aquifer under a hill. Qanats tends in creating a reliable supply of water for human settlements as well as irrigation in hot, arid and semi-aridatmospheres. Qanat, an ancient type of water supply system have been developed and still in use in arid regions of the world.

 A qanat tends to tap underground mountain water source which could be trapped in and under the upper reaches of alluvial fans and channels the water resource downhill through various sloping tunnels. These often tend to be several kilometres long, to the places of irrigation as well as domestic use. Development of qanats began around 2,500 or 3,000 years back in Iran and this technology has been spreading eastward towards Afghanistan and westward to Egypt.

Several old qanatas are still in use in Afghanistan and Iran for the purpose of irrigation and new qanats are rarely built currently. The qanat technology is considered to have been established by the Persian people during the early first millennium BC and through the fourth millennium BC spreading from there slowly westward as well as eastward.

Value Related to Volume/Quality/Regularity of Flow of Water

Value of the qanat is related directly to the volume, quality as well as the regularity of the flow of the water. Most of Iran’s population and the other arid countries of Asia and North Africa depend on the water from qanats and the areas of population tend to correspond closely to those areas where qanats exist.

Though qanat were expensive to build, it had a long term value to the community and hence to the group that contributed in building and maintaining it, was said to be substantial. The qanats were created as series of vertical shafts similar to wells and connected by gently sloping tunnels and taps into subterranean water in such a way as to efficiently deliver huge quantities of water to the surface without the need for pumping it.

The water then tends to drain by gravity to the destination lower than the source that is an upland aquifer thus enabling water to be transported over long distance in hot arid climates without loss of water due to evaporation.

Water Source Below Ground at Foothill of Mountains

In the construction of a qanat, it is very common for the water source to be below ground at the foot of a range of foothills of mountains where the water table seems to be nearest to the surface. From this junction, the slope of the ganat is conserved closer to the level than the surface above till the water tends to finally flow out of the qanat above the ground. Qanats often tends to extends for long distances, to reach an aquifer. It is also at times split into an underground distribution network of small canals known as kariz.

These smaller canals, like the qanats are beneath the ground in order to avoid contamination. In some cases, water from a qanat is stored in a reservoir, naturally with night flow stored for daytime usage. An example of a traditional qanat fed reservoir for drinking water in Persian antiquity is an Ab Anbar.Moreover, the qanat system also has the advantage of being unaffected by natural disasters like earthquakes and floods and deliberate destruction in war.