Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Massive Wall Discovered in Jerusalem - Archaeologists
in Jerusalem have dug up a 3,700-year-old stone wall that
is the largest and oldest of its kind found in the area.
The wall is 26 feet (8meters) high and composed of boulders
weighing 4 or 5 tons each. "To build straight walls up 8
meters ... I don't know how to do it today without mechanical
equipment," said the site's director, Ronny Reich. "I don't
think that any engineer today without electrical power [could]
do it." The exposed section of the wall is 79 feet (24 meters)
long, but continues an undetermined length underground.
The wall was apparently built by the Canaanites, an ancient
pagan people who the Bible says inhabited Jerusalem and
other parts of the Middle East, before the Hebrews took
over the region. The wall was part of fortifications designed
to protect a spring. According to archaeologists its discovery
marks the first time "that such massive construction that
predates the Herodian period has been discovered in Jerusalem."
The discovery gives hope to scientists that other unfound
structures might be found in the area.
Rat as Big as Cat - Measuring 32 inches from
nose to tail and weighing over 3 pounds, a newly discovered
rat from the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea
is among the largest of these type of animals in the world.
"This is one of the world's largest rats. It's a true rat,
the same kind you find in the city sewers," stated Kristofer
Helgen, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural
History. The find was made inside the crater of the extinct
volcano, Mount Bosavi . "The animals inside this crater
were unafraid of humans, pretty much because they hadn't
seen them very much," observed a researcher. Most local
inhabitants, says the scientist, hunt outside the crater.
"They don't really go into the crater to hunt because it's
such a trek up and back down from it." The team from the
BBC also found, according to another scientist, "sixteen
new frog species, one new bat species and at least three
new fish, and this giant bloody rat -- the size of a cat.
Rat Eating Plant Found - Scientists have discovered
a new carnivorous planet which is large enough to eat a
rat. Nepenthes attenboroughii, named in honor of
the world-renowned natural history presenter Sir David Attenborough,
has a pitcher that is almost a foot in diameter making it
the second largest known meat-eating plant. According to
botanist Stewart McPherson, "around the mouth of the pitcher
are secretions of nectar which attracts insects and small
animals. The rim has lots of waxy downward-pointing ridges
which help prey fall directly into the pitcher. The pitchers
are half full of a liquid consisting of acids and enzymes
which help break down its prey." This helps the plant thrive
in areas with poor soil which are scare in necessary nutrients.
The plant was among a number that McPherson and his partners,
Alastair Robinson and Volker Heinrich, have discovered during
recent expeditions to Southeast Asia.
Super Subs will Open Ocean Floor to Amateur Explorers
- Submarine designer Graham Hawkes company, Hawkes Ocean
Technologies, is working on new designs of submarines that
would let amateur explorers check out the sea bottom 37,000
ft below the surface. These new submarines differ from the
ones used by entities like the U.S. Navy in that they are
light enough to launch from a yacht. One of Hawkes' customers
was the late billionaire Steve Fossett. He bought an experimental
prototype, "Deep Flight Challenger," which could dive to
37,000 ft.. Unfortunately, when the craft was only four
weeks away from delivery Fossett died in a plane crash.
Unlike conventional subs which must get heavier than water
to submerge, Hawkes' new designs have to "fly" down into
the depths like an "airplane in reverse." This is a safety
feature as the sub will simply float back up to the surface
should the power fail. The subs have life support good for
24 hours and a range of 10-20 miles.
Tiny T-Rex. Startles Scientists - Paleontologists
discovered a fossil they believe was a miniature version
of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The animal, nicknamed Raptorex, stood
about 9 feet tall, weighed about 143 pounds and lived China
some 125 million years ago. Scientists are surprised to
see the same features that are found in the full sized T-rex,
in such a small animal. The jumbo version of Tyrannosaurus
rex, which would not appear in the fossil record for another
about 60 million years, weighed over 5 tons. The discovery
shows that "these features did not evolve as a consequence
of large body size but rather evolved as an efficient set
of predatory weapons in an animal that was 1/100th the size
of Tyrannosaurus rex and that lived 60 million years before
Tyrannosaurus rex" said Stephen Brusatte, one of the authors
of the article about the creature in last month's Science.
Science Quote of the Month - "Science
may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to
imagination." - Bertrand Russell
New at the Museum:
The Science of Ghosts - They are called phantasms,
specters or spirits. Most people just call
them ghosts and are either fascinated by them, or are terrified
of them, or sometimes both. >Full
Please how old is the Earth? Biblically it is
accurately about 6042 to 7000 years and scientifically it
counts on millions. Should we believe in God's wisdom or
mere knowledge of man? - Cheta A
There has been
a dispute going on in some circles between some biblical
fundamentalists, who argue that science is wrong about the
age of the planet because the Bible says that the Earth
is only 10,000 years old; and some scientists who claim
that the Bible must be inaccurate because clearly the Earth
is millions of years old. There are, however, a number of
people who hold the views that these differences are not
irreconcilable. Though I am not a theologian, I will endeavor
to give you the highlights of some of these ideas.
- One of the major reasons that science doesn't seem
to match up with the Bible is the creation story in Genesis
that seems make the universe and the earth appear in only
6 literal days. This view says that the days mentioned in
Genesis are not 24 hour days, but "ages." These "ages" might
have lasted millions of years or even billions of years
and may have also overlapped. Though some critics argue
that a "day" in this context in the Bible must only be 24-hours
long, others argue that this alternate interpretation is
not really inconsistent with some Biblical understandings
of the word "day."
At least one
author, Israeli physicist and Genesis scholar Gerald L.
Schroeder, argues that depending how you define "time" these
days could be both 24 hours and millions or billions of
years long. For more information on this idea check out
his book The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific
and Biblical Wisdom.
- Another view is that the Earth and Universe were created
in seven days 10,000 years ago, but they have been given
a whole consistent history of billions of years. This idea
isn't really inconsistent with other parts of the Bible.
For example, Adam is created as an adult man without the
usual 20 years or so need to grow from baby to mature human
under the usual laws of nature. Perhaps the earth and universe
were also created in a relatively short amount of time without
the 15 billion years that might normally be needed for such
If you accept
this view then for theological reasons the world is 10,000
years old, but for purposes of science the world is some
4.5 billion years.
Some argue that
this seems somewhat disingenuous of God to create a false
history. However, it isn't any more dishonest then creating
Atom, calling him a man, though he never went through the
normal human creation process. Indeed in our own poor attempts
to create worlds and universes inside computers (i.e. video
games like "The Sims") we always apply this method and it
never seems dishonest to us within that context.
This isn't meant
to be a complete discussion on the subject - just a starting
point. Debates over this subject have already filled thousands
of web pages, so I recommend you take a look at what has
already been written about these ideas across the internet.
Book Review - North Amereican Primates
by Shane Durgee- Red Weaver Press.
New author Shane
Durgee takes the reader into the fictional adventure of
Clay Sturgeon as he encounters a mysterious beast while
camping in the Adirondack Mountains. It is it bigfoot or
something else? Clay dives into the world of cryptozoology
meeting a host of unusual characters. In the end, though,
Clay finds that to prove the creatures exists, and keep
its kind from going into extinction, he may have to kill
it. Does the end justify the means? A great read for people
looking for some sasquatch fiction!
The Stork Study - No, this was not a study about
birds with long legs. The Stork Study was analysis of UFO
reports handled by the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue book
in the 1950's. The results were surprising: Based on the
statistics there was no possibility that "unknown" (unexplained
sighting) was the same as "known" (explained) sighting.
That is, "unknowns" were not just simply the same as "knowns"
for which there was not enough data. In fact, some "unknowns"
had some of the greatest amounts of data available for them.
Click here for more information
on Project Blue Book.
Orionid Meteors - This October brings the Orionid
meteor shower. The shower will peak at about 25 meteors
per hour before dawn on October 21, but for those who would
rather view them after sunset, try the day before, October
20. The constellation Orion, from which meteors appear to
come isn't visible until the late evening. The Orionid meteors
are the debris left left in the wake of comet Halley.
Teenagers Kill Alien-like Animal - Four teenagers
claim they encountered a strange, hairless creature near
a cave in in the city of Cerro Azul, Panama . In fear, when
the creature approached, they beat it to death with stones
and a stick. Pictures of the animal show a bloated animal
which vaguely resembles an alien from Steven Spielberg's
movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Zoologists are
trying to determine if the animal is an unknown species,
or just a misshapen, hairless sloth.
check local listing for area outside of North America.
NOVA: Lizard Kings - Meet
the monitors, the largest, fiercest, and craftiest lizards
on Earth. On PBS. Tuesday, October 20 at 8 pm ET/PT.
MythBusters: NASA Moon Landing - On this encore episode of MythBusters, the team tackles the tallest
tale of all in Moon Landing Hoax Hour. Did NASA pull off
the greatest cover-up in human history? On The Discovery
Channel. Oct 11, 6:00 pm; Oct 11, 11:00 pm; ET/PT.
Atlas: Egypt Reveal - Egypt Revealed is a journey from the land of the Pharaohs into the living
soul of modern Egypt; from the Sahara, to the Nile, to the
Islamic heart of a nation where the roots of Christianity
run deep, to the streets of Cairo - Africa's largest city
On The Discovery Channel. Oct 01, 10:00 pm; Oct 02, 1:00
On The Science Channel
America's Lost H-Bomb - A deadly threat lurks just a few miles off the coast of Savannah, Georgia.
A thermo-nuclear weapon is ejected and lost during a war
game between U.S. bombers and fighters. Can U.S. military
experts retrieve the weapon before someone else tries to?
. Oct 07, 8:00 pm; Oct 07, 11:00 pm; Oct 08, 3:00 pm; Oct 09, 3:00 am;
On The Science Channel
Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real - Imagine dragons as real life creatures! Stunning computer-generated
imagery, along with true biological science help to bring
the story of one of humankind's oldest legends to life in
a way that's never been done before! You will Believe.
. Oct 04, 9:00 pm Oct 05, 12:00 am; Oct 06, 4:00 am; ET/PT.
On The Science Channel
The Big Bang Machine - As experiments go, the Large Hadron Collider at Cern is one of the biggest.
Its circular tunnel is 17 miles long, and the most expensive
at a cost of six billion dollars. Presenter Brian Cox tackles
the question: what exactly is it going to tell us?
. Oct 13, 9:00 pm; ET/PT.
On The History Channel
Ancient Aliens- What if life on Earth began in outer space? Millions of people accept
the theory that intelligent life forms visited Earth thousands
of years ago and were worshiped as gods by primitive man.
Are monuments like Stonehenge and Easter Island the last
remains of an ancient alien visitation? From unexplainable
super structures, to knowledge of the solar system, mathematics,
and even the ability to make electricity, this special explores
evidence of super-human influences on ancient man and embarks
on an around-the-world search for answers. It's an investigation
into a theory some believe cannot be true, but many agree
cannot be ignored.
. Tuesday, Monday, October 05 08:00 PM; Tuesday, October 06 12:00 AM;
Clash of the Gods: Monsters of Middle Earth - The story behind the world's most renowned modern myth. Enter creator
J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical world of hobbits, orcs and
wizards, and uncover the real life influences that shaped
his epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings. On The History
Channel. Monday, October 05 10:00 PM; Tuesday, October 06
02:00 AM ; ET/PT.
Archive 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,
Copyright Lee Krystek 2009. All Rights Reserved.