Showing posts with label Interesting facts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interesting facts. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Asian Highways in India You Probably Do not Know About

Asian Highway

Asian Highway – 1 - Asian Highway Network – Longest Route

One of Asian Highway Network longest route is the Asian Highway 1- AH1 which tends to run 20,557 km from Tokyo, Japan through Korea, China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran towards the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, west of Istanbul, joining end on with the European route E80.

Also known as the Great Asian Highway, the Asian Highway is said to be a cooperative project between countries in Asia and Europe together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific – ESCAP, for improvement of the highway systems in Asia. It is also one of the three pillars of the Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development – ALTID project, endorsed by the ESCAP commission in 1992, of its 48th session, including Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway – TAR as well as facilitation of land transport projects.

Thirty-two countries had signed the contracts enabling the highway to cross the continent as well as to reach Europe wherein some of the countries who had been part of the highway project comprised of India, Sri Lanka Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bangladesh. Several of the finance had been from higher, advanced Asian nations such as Japan, India and Chine together with international agencies like Asian Development Bank.

Asian Highway_India


Maximum Use of Prevailing Highways

The intentions of the project is to make the maximum use of the prevailing highways of the continent in order to prevent the construction of new ones unless in instances where missing routes would be essential for construction. An Asian infrastructure news website – Project Monitor has remarked that `early beneficiaries of the Asian Highway project are the planners within the national land transport department of the participating countries, since it assists them in planning the most cost-effective and efficient routes in promoting domestic as well as international trade. Non-coastal areas that have often been negligible are the other beneficiaries’.

But towards the mid-2000s, some of the transportation experts had been sceptical regarding the possibility of the project considering the economic and the political climate in South as well as South-East Asia. The Asian Highway Network would be taking over two projects where one would be the AH 45 while the other would be the new AH 45A. The AH 45A will be the new highway all across Asia from Tonghua to Sana’a

Promoting Development of International Road Transport

The AH project had been introduced in 1959 by the United Nations with the intention of promoting the development of the international road transport in the state, During 1960-1970, the first phase of the project extensive progress had taken place though it slowed down in 1975, when the financial support had been suspended.

A number of projects had been conducted by ESCAP in 1992, in collaboration with AH member countries in details after the endorsement of ALTID. Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network- IGA had been implemented on 18 November 2003 by the Intergovernmental Meeting.

The IGA comprises of Annexe I tends to classify 55 AH routes between 32 member countries amounting to around 140,000 km and Annex II - `Classification and Design Standards’. In April 2004, the IGA treaty was contracted by 23 countries during the 60th session of the ESCAP Commission at Shanghai, China and 29 countries had approved the agreement by 2013.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hidden Portrait 'Found Under Mona Lisa', says French Scientist

Second PortraitBeneath the Top Layer of Famous Painting

According to BBC reports, the art world is bustling with claims made by a French scientist who has discovered a portrait of another woman beneath the top layer of the most famous painting of the world, the Mona Lisa. According to Newsweek, a Paris-based company, Lumiere Technology, working closely with galleries and museums, co-founded by Pascal Cotte, digitised in fine art pieces, had been researching Da Vinci’s signature piece for 10 years utilising a technology known as the Layer amplification Method – LAM.

It involves shining `intense’ light to a painting and then measuring the bounced back reflection to scale what is beneath it. Its website claims to have digitized works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Claude Renoir and Vincent Van Gogh. BBC which is airing a documentary regarding the discovery reports thatCotte had gained access by the Louvre to the Mona Lisa in 2004.Cotte states that underneath the surface of the Mona Lisa is an image of a woman looking off to the side and not straight ahead with various physical characteristics than the model which tends to smile down on the crowds at the Louvre.

Image Lacks Famed Direct Gaze & Smile

Cotte informs that the hidden image lacks both the famed direct gaze and the smile of Mona Lisa which was observed by projecting it to intense light. A camera which measured the light’s reflection enabled Cotte to reconstruct what had been created with each layer of paint.

The Telegraph notes that the hidden portrait, for instance displays a woman who has a bigger head, nose, hands and smaller lips. BBC informed an Oxford University art history professor that the newly discovered model was probably not the beginning of a completely different painting but an evolution of the final Mona Lisa wherein Da Vinci had kept the painting over the previous version till he received the result he desired. He has commented that he is convinced that the Mona Lisa is Lisa.

According to BBC, that analysed the painting, the Louvre on its part, had refrained from commenting since it was not part of the scientific team. The theory seems to be controversial and not without its critics It is claimed that the hidden portrait represents the original `Lisa’ and what we see is believed to be Lisa Gherardine, the wife of a Florentine merchant and is a different being altogether.

Mona Lisa – Topic of Various Scientific Examinations

However, emeritus professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford, Martin Kemp, who is quoted by the BBC, had informed that though the images shown by Cotte, portrays Da Vinci’s artistic process, they tend to represent an evolution in the creation of the Mona Lisa instead of separate paintings. The Mona Lisa has been the topic of various scientific examinations for more than half a century.

 Recent techniques comprised of infrared inspections together with multi-spectral scanning. Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art historian has made a BBC documentary known as The Secrets of the Mona Lisa, researching historical documents connected to the painting together with Cotte’s scientific discoveries. He informs that he has no doubts that this is definitely one of the stories of the century and there would possibly be some reluctance on the authorities at the Louvers in changing the title of the painting since that is what all have been talking about and it will be goodbye Mona Lisa, she is somebody else’.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Patomskiy Crater

Patomskiy Crater – Discovered by Vadim Kolpakov, 1949

Patomskiy crater was discovered by Vadim Kolpakov in 1949 and is one of the most scientific mysterious ever discovered. The site is in Irkutsk, Siberia with a huge convex cone having a funnel shaped recess with rounded hill in the middle that looks like an eagle’s nest with an egg nestled in it.

It resembles a lunar crater by size and appearance and at first sight it seems like an artificial mound of waste rock which has been formed usually by underground mining of coal or some other mineral. Its height is 40 meters and when viewed from above it seems to be a perfectly round top of volcano though volcanoes did not appear in these regions during the few millions of year. The crater has a semi-circular dome at its centre with a diameter of 12 meters.

 For many years, scientists have been overwhelmed by the origin of the Patomskiy crater which has been named after a nearby river and the theories of its existence has varied from a nuclear blast to a secret gulag mine and a meteorite strike. Scientists have various presumptions like the trail of a large meteorite fall, the consequence of deep gas discovery or that the crater has volcanic origin.

Presence of High Water at Site 

The presence of high water at the site have been found from the samples taken by astronomers and geologists bringing in new theory that it is cryovolcano that erupts water, methane and ammonia compounds, which rose from the release of ice under the rock, both in liquid as well as in the gaseous state.

The first cryovolvano was discovered on Titan ice moon of Saturn. As per the UK MailOnline, it is presumed that the site could have been created by a meteorite strike though no evidence is available to support the theory. Vadim, responsible in the discovery of the crater, tried though failed to arrange a scientific trip to examine the site.

However, numerous expeditions have taken place since then and samples collected in 2013. According to UK MailOnline, it was reported that `last year, half a ton of sample was taken from the site and removed by helicopter and the samples led scientists to discard ideas of a uranium ore explosion since the background radiation at the site was low with no uranium found in the nearby area’.

Options of Two Main Theories – Volcano/Meteorite

This left them to the presumptions of two main theories, one of a volcano and the other of a meteorite. However according to UK MailOnline report, it was stated that the site had no indication of any meteoritic material and the area was not thought to be a volcanic area.

There were no volcanoes within thousands of kilometres of the Patomskiy crater and more over it seemed to be quite new. UK MailOnline had reported that `scientists presumed that the crater were only 100 to 500 years old and could have been the cause of the Tunguska meteorite that had fallen in the Krasnoyarsk region in 1908. However the crater was never discovered.

It is believed that the meteorite was seen just 70 km away from the `eagle’s nest, the distance of which is around 10 to 15 seconds of flight’.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Chickasaw Indians: The Spartans Of Mississippi

When thinking of brave native Americans struggling for survival on the Great Plains of North America, most Americans think of individuals like Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, because he once danced at a Little Big Horn Sun Dance ceremony for 36 hours straight without water and later embarrassed the American government by defeating the famous General George Armstrong Custer in battle. However, as a tribe, the Chickasaw can perhaps be called some of the bravest warriors in North America.

At an early age, boys were trained in combat skills and learned to cope with pain and deprivation without complaining. Raised on an ethos of courage, these warriors were so formidable that they never lost a major military war until the American Civil War.

Originally, the Chickasaw tribe lived in the southeast in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, but they were forced to move to Oklahoma, where their descendants still live today.

Considered the Spartans of Mississippi, the Chickasaws lived in town sites with its own sophisticated ruling system, religions and legal traditions. They traded with other tribes, as well as with the English and French. Although engaged in an agrarian life, they were willing to go to battle if the need arose. During the French and Indian War, they became allies of the English. Without their help, the United States might have become a French-speaking nation.

During what the Chickasaw referred to as the "Trail of Tears," but that the American government called the "Great Removal," the tribe was forced to relocate to Indian Territory, along with other tribes, referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes” like the Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole.

In 1837, the Chickasaws were forced by the Treaty of Doaksville to resettle with the Choctaws in Indian Territory, but were able to restore their own form government 19 years later when they broke away from the Choctaw tribe.

At Tishomingo, tribal leaders framed a constitution and created a government with executive, legislative, and judicial functions. People were elected for office through a popular vote.

The only time the Chickasaws lost a major military engagement was during the Civil War when the tribe allied with the South, raised a native army, and fought against the Confederacy, waging war all the way up to the last battles of that conflict.

Humiliated by this colossal defeat, the Chickasaws overcame conditions of extreme poverty and hardship by becoming ranchers and farmers. Later, they began building businesses, banks, and schools in Indian Territory. Slowly, the tribe prospered again.

In 1907, the Chickasaw Nation’s principal officers were appointed by the President of the United States.

In 1970, Congress legislated permission for the Five Civilized Tribes to elect their own principal officers.

In 1983, the Chickasaws adopted a new constitution.

Recapturing History

It’s possible to get a taste of the story of the Chickasaw tribe by visiting Chickasaw Country in Oklahoma. At an autumn campfire, you can listen to tales that date back centuries. If the sun hasn't set, you might catch a glimpse of a pellucid lake set against an azure sky.

You can explore ancient hills and beautiful lakes in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, water ski on Lake Texoma, and watch live performances at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. All these experiences will recapture a sense of a world that has faded into antiquity. You’ll get a feel for their tradition and their ancient culture.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Otokichi Long Trip Home

Sakoku- Locking the Country/Kaikin- Sea Restriction 

During the 17th, 18th and 19th century, when most of the major powers of western Europe spend time around the world making out empires for themselves, Japan were threatened by foreigners which led them to spend that period as one of the most reclusive nations at that time.

Towards 1630, several proclamations forced the country to close its borders which marked the beginning of a period presently known as sakoku or locking the country or at times known as kaikin – sea-restriction.

Non-Japanese were not allowed on Japanese soil and the citizen of Japan was not permitted to leave the country.

 Those violating this were warned of capital punishment. Only a certain amount of trade with Korea, China and Netherlands was allowed, The Dutch were restricted to Dejima which was an artificial island in the harbour at Nagasaki.

The construction of long range ships were considered illegal and these measures continue to exist right through the 19th century. But at times groups of Japanese citizen did leave the county by mistake since smaller ships were permitted under sakoku since they operated in the transportation of goods and people and at time due to unpredictable forces of nature would drag the vessel away from the coast of Japan.

Cargo Ship Hojunmaru Lost at Sea & left to Drift

In 1832, one autumn, a cargo ship Hojunmaru was sailing with rice and porcelain to Edo, presently Tokyo, when it ran into a storm and got blown off-course. The ship which was 15 metres long was left away from the shore, far out in the Pacific Ocean without a mast or a rudder with no way to steer the ship.

The crew were unable to do anything rather than drift on the ocean till they came across a ship of some land in sight. Yamamoto Otokichi, a 14 year old along with 13 other crew mates was left to drift on the ship. Most of his mates had been sailors since their younger days but their skills could not help them to nudge the vessel to a proper destination.

Several months passed and the sailors’ survivalwas enhanced by a makeshift seawater desalination facility which probably adapted from sake-brewing equipment which the ship was carrying. Since they had a great amount of rice to eat and with an occasional catch of a fish or a sea bird, they managed to survive.

A year had passed though most of them died of scurvy with only three of them surviving which included 16 years old Kyukichi, 29 years old Iwakichi and now a 15 year old Otokichi and after a long period of fourteen months of being tossed around by ocean currents the Hojunmaru finally sighted some land.

Reached the North Pacific/Washington State

Having no idea of their bearings, the three went ashore and were greeted by people who appeared to be Native Americans from the Makah group. They had unknowingly crossed the North Pacific which is presently Washington State.

The Makah had not encountered Japanese sailors before and were curious on seeing them. They also examined their ship with its contents before leading them to their own settlement and took care of them just in time to save them from the threat of scurvy. Many got to know about them and Dr, John McLaughlin, a British official at Fort Vancouver, on examining the descriptions of the three castaways suspected them to be Chinese but soon realised that they were Japanese.

Realising the potential value of having citizens of a closed country on hand, who were Japanese sailors provided an opportunity to instigate trade talk which they were looking forward to. He then put them on board the Eagle, a Hudson’s Bay Company ship which sailed in November 1834 on a seven month journey to England through Hawaii, then south as far as Antarctica to sidestep South America.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jardin des Tuileries with a History Behind it

Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most visited gardens in Paris due to its central location between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, bordered by the Seine.

It is also a part of a grand central axis which leads from the Louvre all the way to La Defense which is the city’s business centre.

Tuileries Palace encloses the western area of the Louvre and the seventeenth century gardens which makes up the centre most parks in Paris.

These tranquil gardens have a bloody history behind it, where Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette, the famous personalities were held captive in the palace during the French Revolution after they were routed from Versailles and the siege at the Tuileries by the Parisian mob.

This was at the close of the revolution in 1893 which left many of the people dead. Moreover the palace was looted and also burned during the Paris Commune.

Recent renovation of the gardens has however incorporated them into the extended Louvre and Grand Axis vista.

Garden Re-designed by Andre Le Notre

Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries Garden got its name from the tile factories which had previously stood at the site when in the year 1954; Queen Catherine de Medici had built the Palais des Tuileries.

The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, Andre Le Notre, had re-designed the garden in 1564 giving it its current French formal style garden which separates the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde which is best known for the design of the gardens at the Versailles Palace.

He built a terrace along the riverbank which opened at a central axis. Three years later, he extended it with the creation of the Champs-Elysees.

Jardin des Tuileries
It also has a cultural walking area for Parisian as well as tourists where one will find Maillol statues standing along with Rodin or Giacometti while the two ponds in the garden are a perfect spot for relaxing.

Tourist can have the opportunity of admiring the works of Monet, the Musee de l’Orangerie, which is located south-west of Tuileries. Free tours are organized in French from March to December and for couples in love, rides, thrills and candyfloss can be enjoyed at the Fete des Tuileries from June to August.

A World Heritage List of UNESCO

The Jardin des Tuileris was one of the first parks to be opened to the public and soon became a place to be visited.

Even in the 18th century, the park seemed to feature amenities like the cafes, deck chairs, public toilets and kiosks.

Since 1991, the site of Jardin des Tuileries has become a part of the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

 Tuileries cover an area of around twenty five hectares of land where the entire garden has been carefully arranged to enhance important element to the park with bedhautiful terraces and several artificial ponds which are well maintained.

 Most of them are hidden by the shadows of the old elm and chestnut tree, making it a perfect blend of serenity and peace.

In addition to the smaller ponds, the park also has two larger lakes, namely Bassin Octogonal and the Bassin Rond.

Most of the tourists visit this site every year from all locations of the world and though the garden area is small, it is amazingly decorated with fountains and sculptures which has an historical importance.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Derinkuyu – Ancient Multi-Level Underground City

Deriinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city of the Median Empire in Derinkuyu district in Nevsehir Province in the Central Anatolia region Turkey.

As per the census of 2010, the population of the district was 22,114 out of which 10,679 lived in the town of Derinkuyu.

 The district covers an area of 445 km2 and the average elevation of the district is 1,300 metres, the highest point being Mt. Ertas at 1,988 metres.

The historical region of Cappadocia where Derinkuyu is placed, comprises of various historical underground cities which have been carved out of a unique geological formation that were not generally occupied and is now a major tourist attraction.

It extends to a depth of approximately 60 metres and was huge enough to shelter around 20,000 people with their food stores and livestock and is also one of the largest excavated ground city in Turkey.

More than 200 underground cities of at least two levels deep have been discovered in the areas between Kayseri and Nevsehir with 40 of which have been of at least three levels and the troglodyte cites at Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are the two best examples of the underground cities.

Carved out of Unique Geological Formation 

The underground cities and structures which have been carved out of unique geological formation may have been used as hiding places at the time of raids.

There are around 600 outside doors to the city which are hidden in the courtyards of surface dwellings and the underground city is 85 meters deep containing the usual rooms which is normally found in an underground city, with cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, stables and lot more.

Besides these, a large room with barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor was a missionary school while the room to the left was used as the study room.

From the third and the fourth floors onwards the descent of vertical staircases lead to cruciform plan church to the lowest floor.

A ventilation shaft of 55 meters deep was also used in these underground dwellings and at least 15,000 ventilation ducts to provide fresh air deep within the underground cities were discovered.

Most of the floors were not provided with water wells up to the surface in order to guard them from being poisoned at the time of raids.

Protection for Attacks

The large network of passages, stepped pits, tunnels and corridors linking family rooms and communal places lead to places to meet, work and worship.

These underground dwellings were complete with chimneys for air circulation, niches for oil lamps, wells, water tanks, as well as areas to place the dead temporarily till a suitable place for burial was found.

They also had carefully balanced moving stone doors; resembling mill stones that were constructed to quickly block the corridors in case of any incidents of attacks which only operated from one side.

From observation, it is unlikely that these underground cities could have been intended for permanent dwelling or long stays but built to safeguard from attacks which could accommodate large numbers of people with their livestock for a long period of time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gateway of Hades

Gateway of Hades – Ancient Legend

Gateway of Hell
Gateway to Hades is an ancient legend which is located in various areas of the Earth openings, gates and doorways according to Daniel Schowalter, professor of religion and classics at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

According to him, he states that even if rituals were carried on at the site associated with the underworld, people probably knew that it was only a cave. Much has been written about some mysterious and menacing dark world of the dead which has brought about a lot of speculation about it and most of the people are unable to comprehend the difference between the terms hell and Hades.

According to him, it is called the realm of Hades, where Hades is considered to be the king. In Roman and Greek conceptions, there is a different conception than what the Christians developed later with regards to hell as a place of final punishment.

Hades - World of the Dead

Hades was considered as the world of the dead and was a place where the dead finally lived which was expected when one died and passed into a different form of life. Schowalter is also the co-director of an excavation site of a Roman temple in northern Israel where he goes on to explain that the early belief of when one died, they would live in the place of the dead which was the underworld.

It was a shadowy place which did not involve punishment and one was not sent there because one had not led a good life but was a place where dead people went.

Famous Twin Caves

Gateway of Hell 2
Researchers who have explored the famous Twins Cave on the outskirts of Jerusalem have discovered evidence of some pagan rituals which dates back to the Roman Empire suggesting that most of the people believed that the cave was some sort of a gateway to the underworld.

The archaeologist of Bar Ilan University found around 42 lamps of clay which dates back to the late Roman era in a 70 foot long vertical shaft in the interior of the cave and is presumed that the lamps could have been used in ancient rituals during the second to the fourth century CE. This could have been to guide the Greek goddess Demeter into Hades in search of her missing daughter.

Site of Pagan Rituals 

Gateway of hell 3
There are various versions to the Gateway of Hell, where some Italian archaeologist claims to have uncovered the gateway to Hades, the underworld from classical Greek mythology in southern western Turkey.

A cave in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis which is presently Pamukkale was considered to be the site of pagan rituals where sacrifice of bulls was done by the priests, to the gods of the underworld, Hades, also known as Pluto to the Romans.

One would find birds lying on the ground which were dead from the poisonous gases the came from the entrance of Pluto’s gate. As reported to Discovery News, by excavation leader Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento, he states that people would watch the sacred rites from the steps though they could not get near the entrance of the opening during these rituals where only the priest would stand in front of the opening.

Plutonium/Pluto’s Gate

A temple was also found among the ancient ruins with a pool and steps above the cave which corresponds with the description of the gateways from ancient text. Besides this, they also found columns with inscriptions to Hades and Persephone – Kore to the Romans who was the queen of the underworld.

gate way of hell 4
According to Book VI of the Aeneid, the priestess Sibyl escorted the Trojan hero Aeneas to the underworld. The opening which is known as Plutonium or Pluto’s Gate is known to have lethal vapours with noxious odour and pilgrims it is said would expose birds to the mysterious portal to test the deadly gas emanating from this opening.

The area here is full of vapour and misty that one can hardly see the floor and it is said that if any animal strays in this area is instantly dead, as stated by Strobo, a Greek geographer and historian. The entrance to the grotto of Pluto was covered with the wall of Ionic columns.

Mysterious Noxious Gas – Carbon Dioxide

Gate way of hell 5
Modern belief reveals that the mysterious presence of noxious gas is merely carbon dioxide. During D’Andria’s excavation, he discovered the cave’s lethal properties and believed that the birds died when they tried to get near the warm opening which would kill them instantly by the carbon dioxide fumes.

The Plutonium was destroyed by the Christians during the sixth century and whatever was left of it was completely destroyed by earthquake.

Presently D’Andria together with his team is working on reconstructing this historic site digitally as reported by Discovery News. Historian Alister Filippini states that this seems to be an exceptional discovery since it confirms as well as clarifies the information found from the ancient literary and historic sources.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Atacama Alien

Atacama Alien - Tiny Alien Close to Human than Chimpanzee

Atacama Alien 1
The tiny `alien’, humanoid of a creature found in Chile’s Atacama Desert which looks like a shrunken version of a monster has been confirmed as a human after extensive testing by the Stanford University scientists. It is close to human than chimpanzees and is believed to have lived to the age of six to eight according to Garry Nolan, director of stem cell biology at Sanford University’s School of Medicine in California as per the Daily Mail.

Atacama Alien 2
It could have been breathing, eating or metabolizing and the question is how big it would have been when it was born. This six inch skeleton, which has been nicknamed `Ata’, and found in Atacama Desert in 2003, has been a source of great speculation since then and while some have claimed that the odd skeleton could be that of a primate or aborted foetus, conspiracy theorists focus on to its elongated skull as evidence that it is an alien which could have crash landed on the planet.

Researchers though have conducted DNA test which indicated that the skeleton had earthly origin and testers believe that the tiny creature could have be around six to eight years old before its demise as reported by Discovery News.

Atacama Humanoid/Ata

Atacama Alien 3
This was discovered over ten years ago by a local in the Atacama Desert, who had been looking for objects of historical value in the Chilean ghost town of La Noria. The six inch long Atacama Humanoid, has hard teeth, dark, scaly skin with bulging head that had a lump on the top and nine ribs.

Its huge head and rib count has been associated with extra-terrestrial beings leading many to hypothesize that this alien had more in relation to E.T. than humans. Nolan states that it is an interesting medical mystery of an unfortunate human with series of birth defects where currently the genetics of which are not very clear.

Atacama Alien 4
There seems to be a lot of discrepancy regarding the Atacama alien. According to Paola Viscardi, a natural history curator at the Horiman Museum in London, it seems impossible that this skeleton could have come from a child between the age of six and eight.

Atacama Specimen – Mummified 

He had found it amazing since he had dealt with skeleton foetus specimens which were similar to this in museum collection, as mentioned in his blog, Zygoma. He further states that the Ata specimen could probably be an aborted foetus of 14 to 16 weeks which could have been ceremoniously neglected in the desert where it went through a natural mummification process.

Atacama Alien 5
According to him, the difference he had concluded on discerning the high quality photos, x-ray and CT scan was that the Atacama specimen came from a slightly earlier stage foetus, mummified soft tissue which had shrunk tight pulling the rib cage into a more narrow configuration while the head had been distorted as a result of an illegal abortion where a hook could have been used to extract the foetus thereby causing damage to the back of the skull and stretching the pliable head.

He also admits that the hole could probably have occurred during the examination by the scientist that could have been consistent with other images which shows a skull without a hole

Friday, March 7, 2014

Intriguing Findings of Nag Hammadi Library

Nag Hammadi Library
A town known as Nag Hammadi in northern Egypt had a collection of ancient writing which was discovered in 1945 and these collections have been titled as the Nag Hammadi library, the vast findings of which represented the writings known as Christian Gnosticism. Nag Hammadi also known as Chenoboskion and in classical antiquity meaning geese grazing grounds, was located on the west bank of the Nile in Qena Governorate around 80 kilometers, North West of Luxor. It had a population of about 30,000 inhabitants most of whom were farmers and they produced sugar and aluminum. The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of ancient Gnostic text containing over fifty text discovered in Upper Egypt. It is often considered as an example of the lost books of the Bible and according to some theory; the early Christians had made attempts to destroy these scripts since they contained the secret teaching about Jesus and Christianity.

Moreover it was considered to be the result of the dedicated efforts of the Gnostic monks to save the truth about Jesus Christ from the persecution of non Gnostic Christians. The Nag Hammadi script was written on papyrus in the form of codex, which could be opened flat and written from front as well as the back page and was not rolled into a scroll. This important discovery was found in the form of twelve leather bound papyrus codices which were buried in a sealed jar and found by a local farmer by the name Mohammed al-Samman. It included a vast number of primary Gnostic Gospels scripts which were once thought to be destroyed during the struggle of the early Christians to define orthodoxy scriptures like the Gospel of Thomas, Philip and the Gospel of Truth. The text in these codices contained fifty two major Gnostic treatises though they also included three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum with partial translation alteration of Plato’s Republic.

Nag Hammadi
The codices were written in Coptic language and the works were translated from Greek and the best known is probably the Gospel of Thomas where the Nag Hammadi codices have the complete text. Presently, the Nag Hammadi codices are in the custody of the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. The discovery of Nag Hammadi library has been narrated as an exciting expedition as the contents itself. In the same year in December, two Egyptian brothers found several papyri in large earthenware vessels while digging around the Jabal al-Tarif caves near modern Hamra Dom in Upper Egypt. Their discovery was not reported immediately since they were keen on selling the manuscripts individually at intervals and make some money but their mother worried over this issue and thinking that these manuscripts would have dangerous effect, burned several of them. The knowledge of the Nag Hammadi library became gradually known and its significance was only acknowledged sometime after its initial discovery.

Towards the year 1946, the brothers got involved in some disagreement and left the manuscripts with a Coptic priest where his brother-in-law, sold a codes to the Coptic Museum in October. The significance of the artifact drew the attention of the resident Coptologist and the religious historian, Jean Doresse and they got the first reference published in 1948. All through the years, majority of the tracts got transferred by the priest to a Cypriot antiques dealer in Cairo after which it was retained by the Department of Antiquities, to safeguard them from being sold out of the country. The scripts, was then handed over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo after the revolution in 1952 and was then declared as national property. Moreover, the director of the Coptic Museum, Pahor Labib, was also very keen in keeping the manuscripts in the country of its origin.

Nag Hammadi 2
A single codex in the meanwhile had been sold to a Belgian antique dealer in Cairo after which an attempt was made to sell the same in New York as well as Paris and finally in 1951, the same was in the custody of Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich through the mediation of Gilles Quispel and was intended as a birthday present to the psychologist and hence the codex was known as the Jung Codex, named Codex I in the collection. In 1961, after Jung’s death, a quarrel took place over the ownership of the Jung Codex and the pages were not handed over to the Coptic Museum in Cairo, till 1975 after the first edition of the text was published. The discoveries of these papyri were finally brought together in Cairo, with eleven complete books and fragments of two others, all amounting to over 1000 written pages which are preserved there. While the Nag Hammadi library was an interesting discovery, its scripts have given us some insight about the early heretic which were taught and practiced during that period.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

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.

Friday, January 3, 2014

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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

History mystery: Codex Borgia

Codex Borgia-1
One of the most beautiful surviving pre Columbian painted manuscripts is the Codex Borgia. Though the exact place of its origin is not known it is presumed to originate from the Central Mexican highlands probably near Puebla or the Tehuacan Valley which was an area under the Aztec rule at the time of conquest. The codex which was beautifully painted before the arrival of the Spanish does not indicate any European influence and dates around the 15th century. Towards the 16th century it was sent to Spain from Mexico and then to Italy. In 1805, the great German scholar, Alexander von Humboldt saw it in Rome among the possessions of Cardinal Stefano Borgia who died the previous year and the same is in the custody of the Apostolic Library of the Vatican.

Codex Borgia-2
From its sample sized Mesoamerican manuscripts, it is presumed that the manuscript had been handmade as a single unique piece of art though sequences of earlier manuscripts have been copied. These Mesoamerican codices which are screen fold books have long strips of amate paper, or animal skin which are folded in an accordion style and covered with white lime plaster coating, enabling the scribal priest to paint the manuscript with both mineral as well as organic pigments and the Mayan codices are prepared of amate paper obtained from bark of the ficus cotinifolia or the wild fig tree.

Codex Borgia-3
The original Codex Borgia was made of folded animal skin where the strips of skin were attached at both ends folded into a screen fold with each page measuring 27 x 7 cm containing 39 pages, where 37 of them painted on both sides. Two pages were painted on just one side, where the back side was used to affix them to the end pieces made of wood totaling to around 76 painted pages with a length of over 11 meters. While the Mayan codices read from left to right, this manuscript was read from right to left.

Codex Borgia-4
The Codex Borgia was more like a religious book made by specialized scribal priests and since there were no indication of any type of making device, no huge production was possible. These manuscripts were intended not just for storing information or reading for amusement but the stories were related in an oral tradition. The intention of the Mesoamerican books was to take hold of time and the realm of religion and history where images were more important than words with the Central Mexican and Aztecs people. They were intended to be used in an active manner for religious ceremonies where the priest would make public readings, prophecies or even use them during consultation in order to predict the lives of those intending to marry or those interested in learning about the future of their child and other information.

Codex Borgia-5
Though there is no survivor who could read and interpret the codex in a way it was done by ancient Aztec priest, there is plenty of speculation on the exact content of the manuscript but the known fact is that it was a ritual book. The longest sequence of the Codex Borgia is a mysterious one which shows a story which is unique and probably an account of historical events with reference to Tula and Teotihuacan who were linked to many rituals like sacrifices and ball games. The codex contained plates used as prediction tools for successful marriages while the last pages indicated beautiful image of the sun god accompanied with 12 birds, a butterfly which symbolized the thirteen levels of heaven.

5 amazing facts about magnets

5 awesome facts that make magnets slightly more interesting!

Magnets, despite their amazing applications and interesting nature, can be perceived as being quite a dull subject; a lump of metal that can stick to another lump of metal. Hardly shaking-at-the-bones science but their application, uses and overall nature can make this quite a fun subject.

I'm Mark and I write all the content material for Rotary, the UKs leading magnet specialists. I also enjoy writing educational material and I've compiled my favourite facts about magnets.

Whether you’re looking for 5 top facts to entertain the kids, or on your lunch break looking for something interesting to read, we have put together our favourite facts about magnets!

  1. The Chinese invented the first magnetic compasses during the Qin Dynasty, around 221 to 206 B.C, for use by fortunetellers. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that the Chinese developed compasses for navigational purposes.
  2. The phrases opposites attract because of the way magnets work. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole. It’s only possible for a magnet to fuse with another magnet if their opposite poles are touching.
  3. If you find a strong magnet, be careful not to put it anywhere near computer hard drives, credit cards or video and audiotapes. Why? Magnets that are strong enough have the ability to completely erase the data that is stored on these devices. It’s considered good practice, however, that if you want to throw away a hard drive, then firstly format it, run strong magnets over it then smash it to bits!
  4. Heated iron can’t be magnetized! The thermal energy from heating it up makes the atoms in the material jiggle. When atoms jiggle, it’s difficult for them to line up properly, so heated iron actually loses it’s magnetism. The point at which this occurs is the Curie Point, named after Pierre Curie. Who’s he? A physicist that discovered this.
  5. Feeding or inserting magnets into cattle might sound extremely horrendous but it’s actually common practice. When cows graze, they might ingest bits of wire and nails left in fields by careless workers. These shards of metal can cause huge health problems if they become lodged into the lining of the stomach. Not only that, but the cow can’t eat properly and stops producing milk. To prevent this, magnets are carefully placed in cows stomach to attract any pieces of metal. Crazy, eh?

Magnets are incredibly useful and range from simply play things right through to being the very crux of expensive medical machinery. But how was this simple and effective bit of metal found? Legend has it that a chap named Magnes, some 4,000 years ago, got his foot stuck to a rock because of the nails in his shoes. Named after him, they called this rock Magnetite. As legend and folklore grew, many thought magnetite contained magical powers; heal and frighten evil spirits. It was also believed to dissolve ships made of iron!

So the next time you see a magnet jut lying around, remember how extremely simply it is but how extraordinarily useful it can be!

Mark is the Head of Content at Rotary, Sheffields leading engineering company. Mark writes beautiful copy and wonderful flowing scripts to ensure that Rotary convey the message they strive hard to achieve. Following Mark over at

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Short History of the umbrella

Short History of the umbrella

Ever Wonder Where the Umbrella Came From? Keep Reading

Photo by Molly DG / Flickr

While the umbrella is a simple tool created by man, it's been very useful since it was first created to shield humans from the sun and rain.

Invention of the Umbrella

The umbrella is thought to have been invented over 4,000 years ago. While no one knows the person who originally came up with the idea the first time, evidence of them has been found in Assyria, Egypt, Greece, and China. At first they were simple devices meant to shield people from the sun. This would change, however, when the Chinese waterproofed them to also protect from rain.

The first umbrellas were really simple, but also large and bulky. Compared to the collapsible umbrellas of today, the ancient ones were hard to handle and reserved for the very rich - people who had money to create them and also money to pay people to hold them. This would change over the years, however, as technology improved and new methods of making umbrellas were used.

Asian Umbrellas

One of the first recorded uses of an umbrella was by Wang Mang in 21 A.D. when he had one created for one of his carriages. The umbrella was actually collapsible, which made it very high-tech for the time period. While the contraption was written about in the history books of the time, an actual example was found in the tomb of Wang Mang. This is probably one of the earlier umbrellas of all time.

This wasn't the actual first umbrella in use, however. In fact, some writings have the technology going back 2,400 years or more. Over the years, the Chinese and other Asian cultures were able to improve the initial designs to come up with the collapsible umbrella we know and love today. This is a good thing because now people are able to stay dry without having to worry about staying indoors all the time!

The Modern Umbrella

The first store dedicated to nothing but umbrellas was James Smith and Sons which first opened in 1830 in  London, England. Somewhat surprisingly, the shop is still there today! The umbrellas sold in the shop were crude by today's standards. They used whale bones and waterproof canvas. In 1852, the first umbrella with metal ribs was created by Samuel Fox.

It wouldn't be until a hundred years later in the mid 20th century that the modern collapsible umbrella that's compact in size was invented. Since that time not a lot of improvements have been made. When you consider all the changes over the last 4,000+ years however, this simple invention is rather spectacular.

If you have any personal stories about umbrellas, please leave a comment below and let us know - especially if they are funny stories. While this article has given you a little peek into the history of the umbrella, there's definitely a lot more to learn about this invention that keeps on helping humanity - one rainstorm at a time.


Ben knows a lot about gutter mesh because he's been working in home construction for some time now. When not working on houses, he likes to write guest posts to publish online.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

History mystery: Castrati Singers

Castrati Singers
Singing is not only ancient and universal, but in primitive cultures, it was considered as an important factor with regards to entertainment or service and was important to individuals, social groups or religion. Singing as the vocal production of musical tones, is so basic to man that its origins are lost in the antiquity and predates the development of spoken language and the voice is presumed as the original musical instrument and there are no instances where human culture however isolated or otherwise that does not sing. In the mid 16th century, which lasted for around 300 years, the musical castrati was a craze in Europe where male soprano singers, originally from Italy, were castrated before puberty in order to preserve their high voices and singers having angelic and soaring voices were used for important role in singing.

This coincided with the development in the popularity of opera where the castrati were considered as featured performers. The castrati, the plural form of castrato, an Italian word for one who is castrated, were male singers castrated before puberty in order to enable them to develop a powerful voice in soprano or contralto range and the usual age for castration was between the age of 7 and 12 years. It became necessary for boys between this age group to sign a contract wishing to be castrated; the vast majority was still ignorant about the implication of the entire procedure. Some were led to believe that it was necessary for boys between this age group to sign a contract wishing to be castrated, while the vast majority was still ignorant about the implication of the entire procedure.

Castrati Singers
Some were under the misconception that the operation was the result of medical necessity rather than the economic benefit of those involved in this procedure. It was believed that when a boy was castrated before puberty, his voice would always remain high pitched and they would be great singers. Such singers were employed mainly in Italian churches during the 17th and 18th century who become prominent performers for operas. The practice of castration for the purpose of music was peculiar in Italy and to a certain extent in Germany. Evidence show that castrati were often employed as chapel singers in the early 1500s in these countries where the church for centuries had banned women from singing during services and had to depend on boy sopranos or men singing in high vocal tones. This practice was important in Baroque music which preceded the development of music in modern classical era and was a way of preserving the beautiful voices of male singers.

Castrati Singers
These castrated singers performed when women were not allowed to do so and the men could sing much better than women in many ways. Having beautiful voices of women with strong powerful lungs and chest muscles of men, composers began to write music which could demonstrate their abilities and for Baroque composers, excellent music meant more difficult with an elaborate ornamental melodious lines. This music of high Baroque era was tailored to the demands of the castrati and the prima donnas where the melodies and harmonies were simpler, clear-cut and the bass remaining iterated and static.

Castrati Singers
The reason for pre pubertal castration was to preserve the male unbroken voice into adult life and from pre puberty to adulthood there is an increase in the anteroposterior length of the thyroid cartilage which is three times greater in the male than in female, giving rise to the prominent `Adam’s apple’, where there is a greater chance of increase in weight of the thyroid, cricoids and arytenoids cartilages. Some specific receptors for dihydrotestosterone are identified in most tissues of male larynx and oestrogen receptors have also been found in non human primate larynx though it is uncertain whether oestradiol is responsible in the smaller growth of the human female larynx. In both the genders, the increased somatic growth which occurs at the time of puberty is brought about by growth hormone and other factors as well as the genetic influence of the X and Y chromosomes and this generalized growth leads to enlargement of the pharynx, oral cavity, thoracic cavity, skull sinuses resulting in the characteristic resonance and power of the adult voice when compared to that of a child. For Baroque music, the castrati was an important element and there were several major factors responsible for the development of Baroque music, resulting in large amount of money together with attention that was given to musicians and artist at that time. The style of the Baroque music spread from simple form of ornamenting the vocal line of the castratos’ singers to display their dynamic range and abilities and it was the church which played an important role in introducing the castrati to western music where they were at an advantage to sing naturally in the range of a boy soprano with the stamina and power of a man.

With regards to career, singers as young of twelve years of age were introduced in minor roles in the operas while the older newcomers were at times used in female roles until they were well established and could fit into the roles of main characters. Exceptional good singers who rose up in fame and well known had opera houses offering them the choicest roles in their productions. The salaries of these castrato singers increased with the rise in demand surprising their contemporaries at the rapid rise in their salaries. As opera seasons were normally of short duration, singers were often uncertain about the revenue during the times when there were no opera performances. Some of the castratos’ singers on their part with fame and fortune would behave like celebrity and many a times would be demanding. Most of the fact related to the rise and development of the castrati, remains a mystery since castration was by no means a new practice though it had been performed in various cultures and for several reasons in ancient times. The practice of castrating young boys virtually declined by the 19th century but the musical tradition did not immediately disappear in the conservative church.