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Archaeoraptor: Dinosaur-Bird Hoax and Science's Mistake

Dubbed the "missing evolutionary link" between birds and dinosaurs, the _Archaeoraptor liaoningensis_ fossil was hailed as a groundbreaking discovery in the field of paleontology nearly three decades ago. However, it was later revealed to be a fake, created by combining two separate fossils and smuggled out of China for commercial gain. The scandal surrounding the forgery led to a reevaluation of the scientific community's practices, with experts emphasizing the importance of ethical collection and verification of specimens. Despite the controversy, the incident highlighted the need for stringent measures to ensure the authenticity of fossils and the integrity of scientific research. sources

Published:
May 10 2024, 10 pm

Why circles have 360 degrees instead of 100

The reason behind the 360 degrees in a circle can be traced back to the Ancient Babylonians, who split a circle into 360 equal degrees around 2400 BCE. This decision was likely influenced by the Babylonians' interest in astronomy, as the number 360 conveniently matched the movement of the sun in a year. Additionally, the Babylonians' base 60 counting system, which was highly divisible, further supported the choice of 360 as the number of degrees in a circle. This decision has had lasting implications, with 360 degrees providing a practical and versatile unit for various calculations, including dividing the world into time zones. While the concept of radians has since emerged as a more elegant unit for measuring angles, the enduring legacy of 360 degrees in a circle remains a testament to the ancient origins of mathematical concepts. sources

Published:
May 19 2024, 10 am

Japan's "Rock Ship of Masuda" purpose remains a mystery

In the hills of Japan lies the enigmatic "Rock Ship of Masuda," a massive stone structure with a mysterious origin dating back centuries. Despite its smooth surfaces and angular indents, the purpose of this unusual rock formation remains unknown. Located near an elementary school in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, the Rock Ship of Masuda is part of the Stoneworks of Asuka, a collection of carved granite stones from the 7th century CE. Speculations about its purpose range from astronomy to spiritual rituals, but the truth behind this ancient monument remains shrouded in mystery. The Rock Ship of Masuda stands out as the largest and most peculiar structure among the Stoneworks of Asuka, sparking curiosity and intrigue among visitors and researchers alike. sources

Published:
May 19 2024, 11 pm

Rare blooming of Sapphire Tower plant after 20 years

The sapphire tower plant, known for its spectacular and otherworldly-looking flowers, has bloomed for the first and last time in 20 years at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in the UK. The plant, a member of the bromeliad family from the Chilean Andes, relies on hummingbirds for pollination but is being assisted by botanists using paint brushes. The metallic turquoise flowers with vivid orange anthers only last a few days, providing a limited window to witness this rare sight. Despite being monocarpic and expected to die after flowering, the team is working on obtaining seeds to preserve the species for future generations. The plant's slow growth makes this blooming event both exciting and rare, with the team hoping to secure its presence in their collection. sources

Published:
May 19 2024, 11 pm

Dolphin Attack Caught on Camera Reveals Dark Side

A recent incident captured on camera by photographers Alister Kemp and Jamie Muny has shed light on the aggressive behavior of dolphins towards their cousin species, the harbor porpoise. The attack, which occurred in two separate incidents earlier this month, is considered rare by researchers at Sea Watch Foundation. The cause of such behavior is not fully understood, with theories ranging from competition over food resources to misdirected infanticide. While acts of "porpicide" are uncommon, previous instances have been reported, including intentional killings of porpoises by dolphins off the California coast. The changing testosterone levels in male dolphins have also been suggested as a possible influence on these attacks. Reporting sightings of such behaviors is crucial for organizations like Sea Watch to better understand the interactions between cetacean species in the UK waters. sources

Published:
May 18 2024, 10 pm

Two searches discover 60 possible "alien megastructures" in galaxy

Boyajian's Star, also known as KIC 8462852, sparked excitement in 2018 due to its unusual dimming patterns, leading to speculation about a potential Dyson Sphere built by aliens. However, recent studies have debunked this theory, attributing the dimming to dust. Despite this, astronomers continue to search for advanced alien civilizations by looking for excess infrared light emitted by potential megastructures. Two recent papers have identified candidates for Dyson Spheres, including stars with extreme debris disks, challenging current models of planet formation. While these findings are intriguing, further observations are needed to confirm the presence of alien megastructures. The search for extraterrestrial life remains ongoing, with hopes of one day finding concrete evidence. sources

Published:
May 16 2024, 3 pm

Cuban Crocodile: Athletic, Speedy, Heavily Armored

The critically endangered Cuban crocodile, known for its athleticism, speed, and heavy armor, is facing multiple threats in its restricted habitat in Cuba's Zapata Swamp. With only around 2,600 individuals left in the wild, the species is at risk due to hybridization with American crocodiles, hunting for skins and food, and climate change-related issues like rising temperatures affecting the sex of their eggs. Cuban crocodiles, which can reach speeds of up to 35 kilometers per hour on land, are the most heavily armored of all crocodilian species, with horned squamosals on the back of their heads. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect this unique and endangered species from extinction. sources

Published:
May 15 2024, 5 am

Fastest ocean animal?

In the competitive world of ocean predators, billfish, particularly sailfish, are often considered the fastest swimmers. With their sleek bodies and impressive dorsal fins, sailfish are built for speed, capable of reaching up to 36 kilometers per hour. However, recent research suggests that their top speeds may not be as high as previously thought. While sailfish can accelerate at impressive rates, they are likely only able to maintain these speeds for short bursts while hunting prey. Bluefin tuna, on the other hand, may surpass sailfish in terms of acceleration, but like their counterparts, their sustained speeds remain uncertain. On land, the cheetah holds the title for the fastest land animal, with recorded speeds of up to 98 kilometers per hour. sources

Published:
May 15 2024, 10 pm

Is There Anything Beyond the Observable Universe?

The observable universe, limited by the time it takes for light to reach us, is expanding at a rate of 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec. As the universe grows, the distance between us and other stars increases, shrinking our observable universe. While we have only observed around 43 percent of the galaxies we will eventually see, the rest remains unobservable. The cosmic microwave background radiation suggests we are either in a typical part of a larger universe or at the center of a universe the size of our observable universe. Speculation about the universe being bigger than what we can observe has led to controversial claims of detecting gravitational influences from objects beyond our observable universe. Despite the possibility of detecting such influences in the future, the expansion of the universe and the speed limit prevent us from ever seeing or influencing what lies beyond our observable universe. sources

Published:
May 15 2024, 5 pm

New Study Predicts Collapse of Atlantic Circulation Current

A recent study suggests that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a crucial ocean current system, is nearing collapse, with potential profound impacts on global climate. The AMOC, known as the "conveyor belt of the ocean," transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic, influencing weather patterns in Northwest Europe. Climate change is believed to be weakening the AMOC, with models predicting further slowdown. Scientists at Utrecht University have identified a potential early warning signal for AMOC collapse, based on the movement of freshwater in the Atlantic. While the exact timing of the tipping point remains uncertain, the consequences of an AMOC collapse would disrupt heat distribution in the world's oceans. The study is published in Science Advances. sources

Published:
May 19 2024, 3 am

Flying Over an Earthquake: What Could Happen?

Flying over an earthquake may seem like a terrifying scenario, but in reality, passengers on a commercial flight at 30,000 feet are unlikely to feel any effects of the seismic activity below. While earthquakes can cause atmospheric disturbances, the seismic waves that travel through the air are typically too weak by the time they reach a plane to have any impact. However, there are still potential risks for aircraft during earthquakes, such as interference with navigation and communication systems. In a rare case recounted by a United States Air Force pilot, an earthquake caused a power outage at an air traffic control base, leading to temporary issues for a flight. Despite this, air traffic control stations are well-prepared for system-wide events, including earthquakes, ensuring the safety of flights even during seismic activity. So, while the idea of flying over an earthquake may sound alarming, in reality, passengers have little to worry about as they soar above the ground. sources

Published:
May 15 2024, 1 am

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