Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate a scienza ed arte. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Superconductivity from nowhere

"In just over a week scientists will celebrate the centenary of superconductivity: the discovery, in 1911, that some materials cooled towards absolute zero allow electric charge to flow without resistance. But now one physicist believes superconductivity can appear when there is no material at all. According to Maxim Chernodub ... superconductivity can appear – provided there is a very strong magnetic field – in the vacuum of empty space. If Chernodub is correct, the phenomenon could explain the origin of the extensive magnetic-field patterns seen in the cosmos."
Superconductivity from nowhere - physicsworld.com

The candy floss of rocks

"The earliest rocks in the solar system, from which the terrestrial planets were born, were more like candy floss than hard rock, according to a new analysis carried out by a team including researchers in the UK and Australia. This is the first geological evidence to support the idea that the first solid material in the solar system was extremely porous before it was subsequently compacted into larger bodies, which become the planets we know today."
Earth grew from 'candy floss' rocks - physicsworld.com

Physicists put a new twist on graphene

"Physicists in the US and UK have worked out why different samples of multilayer graphene can have very different electronic properties. The answer, according to the team, lies in the relative rotation between layers and the discovery could lead to a new way of controlling the electronic properties of the material."
Physicists put a new twist on graphene - physicsworld.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Europa, Ganymede, Callisto

PIA01656: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto: Surface comparison at high spatial resolution, NASA, JPL
"These images show a comparison of the surfaces of the three icy Galilean satellites, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, scaled to a common resolution of 150 meters per picture element (pixel). Despite the similar distance of 0.8 billion kilometers to the sun, their surfaces show dramatic differences."Catalog Page for PIA01656

Friday, March 25, 2011

Undergraduates build power system for moon orbiter

Final-year engineering undergraduates from Warwick University are building the power system for a micro-satellite that will orbit the moon in 2014.Undergraduates build power system for moon orbiter | News | The Engineer

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ethanol made from corn

ENERGY, Ethanol Blamed for Record Food Prices
A more flexible policy could ease the impact of ethanol mandates on worldwide markets.
"Earlier this month, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization reported that global food prices had risen for eight consecutive months, reaching the highest levels since the agency started tracking prices in 1990. The prices are high in large part because of steadily growing worldwide demand for food, and because of natural disasters that have hurt harvests, but they're also affected by government policies."

Monday, March 21, 2011


From Wiki
A CubeSat is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that usually has a volume of exactly one liter (10 cm cube). Beginning in 1999, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) and Stanford University developed the CubeSat specifications to help universities worldwide to perform space science and exploration. The majority of development comes from academia, however several companies have built CubeSats, including large-satellite-maker Boeing.

The effect of space weather

The first experiment to investigate the effects of plasmasphere disturbances on satellite communications will be launched aboard the UK Space Agency’s maiden CubeSat mission.
Team explores effect of space weather on communications | News | The Engineer

Instrument able to detect individual nanoparticles

The device detects the tiny particles, suspended in fluid, as they flow one by one through the instrument at rates estimated to be as high as half a million particles per second.
Instrument is able to detect individual nanoparticles | News | The Engineer

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Legno scolpito e policromia
Giappone, inizi del periodo Edo, XVII sec.
Museo Arte Orientale

Tamon-Ten, guardiano del Nord, è il capo dei Re Celesti che sono preposti ai quattro punti cardinali e abitano il Monte Meru come protettori del Mondo e della Legge buddhista. A partire dal IX secolo divenne oggetto di un culto popolare in Giappone che lo rese quasi indipendente dagli altri tre Re Guardiani. Fu venerato in particolare come dio della prosperità. Ha il volto di un guerriero, è rivestito da una armatura  e siede su rocce stilizzate che simbolizzano il Monte Meru.

Libya's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Libya  are:
Archaeological Site of Cyrene
Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna
Archaeological Site of Sabratha
Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus
Old Town of Ghadamès
 Libya's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Settimio Severo

« Sono diventato tutto quel che ho voluto. E mi accorgo che non ne valeva la pena »
questo disse Settimio Severo, a un suo luogotenente, come riporta Wiki.
Lucio Settimio Severo era nato a Leptis Magna, in Libia nel 146. Morì a York nel 211. Da generale divenne imperatore romano, iniziando la dinastia severa. Prima della sua morte, l'impero su estendeva sull'isola britannica fino al vallo di Adriano.

Map of the Roman Empire with the provinces of 210 AD.
Map created by Mandrak, Wikipedia, on public domain.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shitennō and the four directions

The Shitennō are  protectors of the four directions. They ward off evil, guard the nation, and protect the world from malicious spirits, hence the Japanese term Gose Shitennō 護世四天王, literally “four world-protecting deva kings.” Each represents a direction, season, color, virtue, and element. They originated in India but were later adopted into the Buddhist pantheon in China and Japan. They are venerated as temple guardians and protectors of the nation. In China, statues of the four are often placed near temple entrances, but in Japan, effigies of the four are more commonly placed around the central deity on the main altar. The four are commanded by Taishakuten, Lord of the Center. They are nearly always dressed in armor (yoroi 鎧), looking ferocious (funnusō 忿怒相), and carrying weapons or objects. They are also typically shown standing atop evil spirits (known as Jaki in Japan).
Shitennō iconography is related to the Four Celestial Emblems (dragon, red bird, tiger, turtle) of China, who also guard the four cardinal directions. In Japanese statuary, the Shitennō are almost always portrayed in animated warrior poses rather than static postures of ease or meditation...
Adapted from http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shitenno.shtml
See also http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/buddhism.shtml

Tenno - Fujiwara Period

Tenno, Uno dei Re Protettori
Legno di cipresso (hinoki), h. 119 cm
Giappone, periodo Fujiwara, XII secolo
Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

Il museo possiede una coppia di statue (Ni-tenno, due tenno) dall’atteggiamento fiero che, calpestando figure mostruose, levano il braccio originariamente dotato di un’arma oggi perduta. Questa coppia è tratta dal gruppo dei Quattro Grandi Re degli Orienti (Shi-tenno) che la cosmologia buddhista colloca ai lati del Monte Meru.
Come protettori, in Giappone gli Shi-tenno furono posti ai quattro angoli intorno all’immagine principale del tempio. Le due statue del MAO sono scolpite nella tecnica ichiboku zukuri in un singolo blocco di legno, salvo le braccia.

Croce Rossa per il Giappone

A seguito del terribile terremoto che ha devastato il Giappone, la Croce Rossa Italiana ha avviato una raccolta fondi in sostegno delle popolazioni colpite dal sisma e dallo tsunami. Per donare 2 euro alla Croce Rossa Italiana "Pro Emergenza Giappone" è possibile inviare un SMS da cellulari TIM, Vodafone, Wind, 3, CoopVoce, Tiscali o da telefono fisso Telecom, Infostrada, Fastweb, Teletu e Tiscali al  numero 45500.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Injectable polymer implants stimulate rebuilding of bones

"The need for artificial joint replacements in people with osteoarthritis could soon be bypassed with injectable polymer implants that stimulate rebuilding of bone structures.
The research is being headed by Bristol University’s team of stem cell and tissue engineering experts in collaboration with researchers from Qatar and Canada. Speaking to The Engineer, lead investigator Dr Wael Kafienah of Bristol explained the rationale behind the project."
Injectable polymer implants stimulate rebuilding of bones | News | The Engineer

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Via Lagrange - Torino

La bandiera di tre colori sempre è stata la più bella!

Search Engines for the Human Body

A Search Engine for the Human Body: Microsoft software recognizes organs and other structures in medical images, FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011, by TOM SIMONITE
"A new search tool developed by researchers at Microsoft indexes medical images of the human body, rather than the Web. On CT scans, it automatically finds organs and other structures, to help doctors navigate in and work with 3-D medical imagery.
CT scans use X-rays to capture many slices through the body that can be combined to create a 3-D representation. This is a powerful tool for diagnosis, but it's far from easy to navigate, says Antonio Criminisi, who leads a group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, U.K., that is attempting to change that. "It is very difficult even for someone very trained to get to the place they need to be to examine the source of a problem," he says."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

150° anniversario dell'Unità d'Italia

Soffermàti sull’arida sponda,
Vòlti i guardi al varcato Ticino,
Tutti assorti nel novo destino,
Certi in cor dell’antica virtù,
Han giurato: Non fia che quest’onda
Scorra più tra due rive straniere;
Non fia loco ove sorgan barriere
Tra l’Italia e l’Italia, mai più!

dall'Ode "Marzo 1821" di Alessandro Manzoni
Buon compleanno, Italia!

Laser-scan system to have a virtual view of Stonehenge

"Experts at English Heritage are using laser scanning and high-resolution digital imaging to create a virtual rendering of Stonehenge that will show it in detail and hopefully reveal new features.
The survey will map the standing and fallen stones of Stonehenge, as well as the top of the horizontal lintels.
Despite the vast amount of archaeological activity and academic study into Stonehenge and its landscape over the centuries, relatively little is known about the lichen-covered surfaces."
Read more: Laser-scan system has virtual view of Stonehenge details | News | The Engineer

Engineers strive to keep Japan's reactors under control | News | The Engineer

Engineers strive to keep Japan's reactors under control | News | The Engineer

Emperor Akihito's Address

Japan's emperor urges victims not to 'abandon hope'
"Japanese Emperor Akihito made an unprecedented televised address to his disaster-stricken nation Wednesday, saying he was "deeply worried" by the crisis at damaged nuclear reactors and urging people to help each other in difficult times."
"I am deeply hurt by the grievous situation in the affected areas. The number of deceased and missing increases by the day we cannot know how many victims there will be. My hope is that as many people possible are found safe," Akihito said.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revelations of a golden age

"For roughly 700 years, many of the greatest scientists lived in the Islamic world. The Western narrative, however, has often neglected the contributions of major figures such as the chemist al-Jabir, the mathematician al-Khwarizmi and the medic al-Razi, preferring instead to jump directly from Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes and Ptolemy to Copernicus and Galileo in reporting scientific development over the ages. Yet the fact is that between the eighth and 15th centuries AD, the scientists of the Islamic world developed original theories in mathematics, astronomy, physics, medicine and engineering – frequently with the help of works translated into Arabic from Greek, Sanskrit, Pahlavi and Syriac sources." by George Gheverghese Joseph, Revelations of a golden age - physicsworld.com
On the book "Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science",  by Jim Al-Khalili

Japan earthquake, nuclear crisis: Japan fears a nuclear disaster after reactor breach - latimes.com

Japan earthquake, nuclear crisis: Japan fears a nuclear disaster after reactor breach - latimes.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

Questi tremendi eventi

Il Papa esprime la sua vicinanza alle popolazioni del Giappone colpite dal terremoto e dallo tsunami. Un telegramma, a firma del segretario di Stato, cardinale Tarcisio Bertone, è stato inviato dal Papa a monsignor Leo Jun Ikenaga, arcivescovo di Osaka e presidente della Conferenza episcopale giapponese. Nel messaggio, Benedetto XVI esprime il proprio cordoglio per le vittime del cataclisma e per le loro famiglie e si dice vicino ai soccorritori.

Nuremberg Maps - Peru

Part of the Nuremberg Map of 1599, Showing Pincos and the Andes Mountains

Speculum Orbis Terrarum - Peru

From the “Speculum Orbis Terrarum,” Antwerp, 1578.

Hiram Bingham

Hiram Bingham, formally Hiram Bingham III, (1875–1956) was an academic, explorer, treasure hunter and politician from the United States. He made public the existence of the Quechua citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911 with the guidance of local Indigenous farmers. Later, Bingham served as a member of the United States Senate.
More Wiki
Bingham used the Raimondi's maps of Peru for exploring the country. In the book "Inca Land, Explorations in the Highlands of Peru", Bingham is telling "Raimondi's marvelous energy led him to penetrate to more out-of-the-way Peruvian villages than any one had ever done before or is likely to do again. He stopped at nothing in the way of natural obstacles."

Antonio Raimondi

"Antonio Raimondi (1826 – 1890) was a prominent Italian-born Peruvian geographer and scientist. Born in Milan, Raimondi emigrated to Peru, arriving on July 28, 1850 at the port of Callao. In 1851 he became a professor of natural history. ...Throughout his career, Raimondi displayed a passion for all things Peruvian. He undertook no less than 18 extensive journeys to all regions of the country, studying the nation's geography, geology, botany, zoology, ethnography, and archaeology. In 1875, he collected his findings in the massive tome El Perú, ...".
More Wiki

The Hindu : News / International : Meltdown threat after hydrogen blast at Japanese nuclear plant

The Hindu : News / International : Meltdown threat after hydrogen blast at Japanese nuclear plant

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yashima Gakutei

Yashima Gakutei (1786-1868)
Dea con drago e sol nascente, Periodo Edo, c.1825
Xilografia su carta, nishiki-e con pigmenti metallici e gauffrage
Goddess with dragon and rising sun, Edo period, c.1825
Xylography on paper, nishili-e with metal pigments and gauffrage
Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

Nishiki-e (lit. "brocade picture") refers to Japanese multi-colored woodblock printing. It was invented in the 1760s, and perfected and popularized by the printmaker Suzuki Harunobu, who produced a great many nishiki-e prints between 1765 and his death five years later. Previously, most prints had been in black-and-white, colored by hand, or colored with the  addition of one or two color ink blocks. A nishiki-e print is created by carving a separate woodblock for every color, and using them in a stepwise fashion. An engraver by the name of Kinroku is credited with the technical innovations that allowed the blocks of separate colors to fit perfectly onto the page, relative to others, in order to have the complete image.

Folding furrows

Folds on the surface of soft materials are shown to be a consequence of a nonlinear instability.
"Even as we probe physics on ever-smaller scales, materials that can be held and manipulated with our hands often still resist our understanding. Elastic materials, in particular, still confound because of the nonlinear relationship between strain and the displacement of the material needed to maintain the rotational invariance of the elastic energy. The effects of these nonlinearities are often more pronounced at free surfaces, where strain can be alleviated by a large rotation of the surface. When a slab of an elastic material such as rubber is compressed, it develops a sulcus—a sharp furrow in its surface that plunges into the material. First reported for photographic gelatin films over one hundred years ago, they are not just a laboratory curiosity. Sulci create large strains that can lead to material failure. They are also a common motif in the morphogenesis of many organs, most famously in the characteristic folds on the surface of the human brain or, say, the arm of an infant ..."
Physics - Folding furrows, Physics 4, 19 (2011), DOI: 10.1103/Physics.4.19, Folding furrows, Christian D. Santangelo, a viewpoint on: Unfolding the Sulcus, by Evan Hohlfeld and L. Mahadevan, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 105702 (2011) – Published March 07, 2011, Download PDF

Surface boosts conductivity of nanocrystals

Surface states boost conductivity of Ge nanocrystals
"Ge nanocrystals are promising materials for developing nanoscale optoelectronic devices, such as band-gap engineered tandem solar cells, thanks to low processing temperatures and full compatibility with large-scale integrated circuit fabrication. Many groups have successfully developed technologies to synthesize Ge nanocrystals embedded in SiO2 thin films and to control the structural and optical properties of the nanocomposite. Nevertheless, implementation in practical devices has rarely been demonstrated. This can be partially attributed to the difficulty in making electrically conductive thin films."


Paravento - Wind wall - Museo Arte Orientale - Torino

The tiger is revered not just in Japan but in the entire Asian adjoining societies. In Japan, the tiger (tora) is the emblem of the great aristocratic warriors, known as the samurai.
The tiger represents the virtue of courage. 

Messaggio Quirinale a S.M. Akihito

"La notizia delle gravissime conseguenze del sisma che ha colpito il nord-est del Giappone, provocando vittime e grandi distruzioni materiali, mi ha profondamente addolorato". Lo ha scritto il Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano nel messaggio inviato all'Imperatore del Giappone, S.M. Akihito.
"In questo momento così drammatico - ha sottolineato il Capo dello Stato - l'Italia, unita al Suo Paese da saldi vincoli di profonda amicizia, si stringe al popolo giapponese.
Con questi sentimenti, desidero trasmetterLe a nome mio personale e di tutto il popolo italiano il più sentito cordoglio e le espressioni di umana solidarietà per le vittime".

Radiation risk

Japan earthquake shuts nuclear facilities but radiation risk unlikely | News | The Engineer
"The massive earthquake that struck off Japan’s northeast coast today has triggered the automatic shutdown of four nuclear power stations, with reports of a non-reactor fire in one and problems with the cooling system in another.
However, there has been no reported leakage of radiation from any of the reactors and based on previous experience of earthquakes at nuclear power plants experts say there is unlikely to be any."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Paesaggio invernale

Paravento, Periodo Edo
Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

Dedica al Giappone

A un paese che vive le ore peggiori della sua storia moderna dopo lo tsunami che ha causato distruzione e morte.

Gyokusen - Schizzo
Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

U.S. Geological Survey

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility. http://www.usgs.gov/

Northern Honshu devastated

"Rescuers struggled to reach survivors on Saturday morning as Japan reeled after an earthquake and a tsunami struck in deadly tandem. The 8.9-magnitude earthquake set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water washing over coastal cities in the north. Concerns mounted over possible radiation leaks from two nuclear plants near the earthquake zone."

Friday, March 11, 2011


Just hours after the earthquake stuck Japan, triggering a powerful tsunami, a volcano has erupted in Indonesia. This is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanos, Mount Karangetang
Volcán Karangetang erupciona en Indonesia
"Horas después del terremoto de 8.9 grados que golpeó a Japón, un volcán entró en erupción en Indonesia, sin que haya todavía datos precisos sobre daños o víctimas."

NOAA-DART forecasting

DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) is a service for real-time monitoring the ocean waves. The network has sites positioned at strategic locations throughout the ocean and play a critical role in tsunami forecasting. http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/Dart/
"Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves."http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/tsunami.html

INGV - Istituto Geofisica Vulcanologia

Segnalo il sito dell'istituto INGV

Tsunamis hit Japan

Massive 8.9 quake, tsunamis hit Japan, By the CNN Wire Staff

March 11, 2011 -- Updated 0902 GMT (1702 HKT)

Simon van der Meer

Simon van der Meer: 1925–2011 - physicsworld.com

Distant galaxy helped relight the universe

"The discovery of a small but distant galaxy 12.8 billion light years from Earth is providing important clues about the earliest years of the universe's life. By measuring the age of the galaxy's stars, astronomers in Europe and the US say the galaxy began to shine when the universe was just 150–300 million years old. The work suggests that such galaxies were responsible for dispersing the atomic fog that once cloaked the cosmos, during a period in the history of the universe that astronomers know very little about." by Ken Croswell
Distant galaxy helped relight the universe - physicsworld.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SuperMoon, ovvero la SuperLuna

"The moon will be at its closest to earth since 1993 on March 19th next.
The “Lunar Perigee”, or ‘SuperMoon’ as some astrologers refer to it as, is the opposite of the “Lunar Apogee”, when the Moon is furthest from Earth. Generally, the Moon looks about 12-14% larger at its perigee compared to its apogee. Full moon (19 March) will occur during Lunar Perigee meaning it will look much larger than normal especially when it rises on the eastern horizon at sunset, or given the right atmospheric conditions."
"La "superluna” el 19 de marzo alimenta especulaciones. El anuncio de una “superluna” para el 19 de marzo comienza a levantar una serie de especulaciones sobre los efectos apocalípticos que ésta tendrá sobre la Tierra. Para este 19 de marzo nuestro satélite alcanzará su distancia más cercana a la Tierra en 19 años, acercándose a 356,578 kilómetros.."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Measure for measure

Measure for measure, 9 March 2011, by Stuart Nathan
"There’s a new gadget in my flat. It’s small and unflashy, it’s sitting on the corner of a worktop in my kitchen, and it tells me, from second to second, how much carbon dioxide the electricity I use is generating. And already it’s proving strangely fascinating....So for the past couple of days, everytime I or my partner switches on anything electrical, we’ve been dashing into the kitchen to see what’s happened ...
Having this little chunk of plastic handy has really pointed out what physicists always knew and engineers have been saying since the industrial revolution: if you can’t measure something, you can’t control it. Just knowing, vaguely, in the back of your mind that a certain appliance is a bit juice-hungry is no substitute for seeing the hard numbers when you switch the thing on. Knowledge is power; or, in this case, cutting the amount of power."
 Read more: Measure for measure | Opinion | The Engineer

The Sixth Extinction (ActionBioscience)

The Sixth Extinction, by Niles Eldredge
"There is little doubt left in the minds of professional biologists that Earth is currently faced with a mounting loss of species that threatens to rival the five great mass extinctions of the geological past. As long ago as 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year — which breaks down to the even more daunting statistic of some three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that this biodiversity crisis — this “Sixth Extinction” — is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had supposed."

Life from Space: An Emerging Paradigm

Life from Space: An Emerging Paradigm (ActionBioscience)
"This article summarizes Evolution of Life: A Cosmic Perspective, an original paper by Chandra Wickramasinghe and Sir Fred Hoyle posted on this site (click on above title to read their paper). There, readers will also find a link to the commentary by the peer reviewer of that paper, which provides counterpoint views to the authors’ controversial ideas. The hypothesis, called cosmic ancestry/panspermia, posited by the authors is not widely accepted by the mainstream scientific community. It is published on this site in consideration of the authors’ distinguished contributions to science to date and to provide an opportunity for both scientists and the public to evaluate ideas presented in their paper."
More http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/wickramasinghe.html

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Archaeoastronomy in Ancient India

The Journal of Cosmology, 2010, Vol 9, 2063-2077. JournalofCosmology.com, July, 2010
is publishing the paper "Visions of the Cosmos: Archaeoastronomy in Ancient India" by Subhash Kak, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA
Abstract This paper is an overview of archaeoastronomy in ancient India. It describes the Vedic conception of the cosmos and the representation of the knowledge of the motions of the sun and the moon in the design of fire altars. Sites of archaeoastronomical interest described include Neolithic and Megalithic sites and the Sanchi Stupa.
"In the Indian view, the cosmos is seen as being tripartite and recursive (see Kak, 2000a and Kak, 2008 for review and additional references). The universe is viewed as three regions of earth, space, and sky (Dumézil, 1988) which in the human being are mirrored in the physical body, the breath (prāna), and mind. The processes in the sky, on earth, and within the mind are taken to be connected."

Life from space

"Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at the US space agency's Marshall space flight centre in Alabama, said filaments and other structures in rare meteorites appear to be microscopic fossils of extraterrestrial beings that resemble algae known as cyanobacteria. Some of the features look similar to a giant bacterium called Titanospirillum velox, which has been collected from the Ebro delta waterway in Spain, according to a report on the findings.... Hoover, an expert on life in extreme environments, has reported similar structures in meteorites several times before. So far, none has been confirmed as the ancient remains of alien life.
But writing in the Journal of Cosmology, Hoover claims that the lack of nitrogen in the samples, which is essential for life on Earth, indicates they are the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth's atmosphere."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Image processing?

"An interdisciplinary group of researchers is calling for the help of other scientists to help them to understand how some of the key features of human vision have evolved. The team, led by Gasper Tkačik, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, has compiled a database of roughly 5000 images of the Okavango Delta region in Botswana. This tropical savannah habitat is believed to be similar to the conditions that existed in Africa around 20–30 million years ago, at the time of the origins of Old World monkeys, when the basic adaptations in our visual system are thought to have evolved."
Snapping the birthplace of the human eye - physicsworld.com
by James Dacey Snapping the birthplace of the human eye - physicsworld.com

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Die bunten Buddhas

Afghanistan - Die bunten Buddhas von Bamiyan – für immer verloren?
"Seit dem 6. Jahrhundert blickten zwei riesige Buddha- Statuen auf das Tal von Bamiyan in Afghanistan – ehe die Taliban die Standbilder 2001 in wenigen Tagen zerstörten. Erst nach dem Sturz des Regimes hatten Forscher die Möglichkeit, die Statuen mit modernen Methoden zu untersuchen. Anhand der Bruchstücke will man nun Bautechnik und Farbgebung rekonstruieren und die Möglichkeiten eines Wiederaufbaus beurteilen."

Geoglyph near Titicaca

A geoglyph of Titicaca - As seen by Google Maps

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Frigatebird and heron - Nazca

Google Maps show geoglyphs of Nazca: a very very long beak!

Horse and dog - Tang Dinasty - China

An animal sits on a pad behind the saddle.
Hunters can have a dog or a cheetah with them.


Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

More on mounted hunter: Sport in the Golden Age of China, Lingyu Xie, Palmer Higgs Pty Ltd, Dec 3, 2013

Tiny antennas for radio telescopes

"Tiny antennas form vast radio telescope array.
A grassroots telescope array is taking aim at a wide range of astronomy questions, with projects in geophysics and agriculture piggybacking on its infrastructure.
Dipole antennas dotting the Netherlands and several nearby countries together form a radio telescope that is sensitive in the relatively unexplored wavelength range of 1–10 m (roughly 10–250 MHz) and has an enormous field of view. About three-fourths of the telescope’s 44 stations are functioning, and the rest are set to be completed by the end of the year."
by Toni Feder, Physics Today March 2011
Tiny antennas form vast radio telescope array - Physics Today March 2011
It is the International LOFAR Telescope
It is a radio interferometric array, consisting of many low-cost antennas. There are two distinct antenna types: the Low Band Antenna (LBA) between 10 and 90 MHz and the High Band Antenna (HBA) between 110 and 250 MHz. These "sensors" are organised many stations, distributed over an area about one hundred kilometres in diameter, located in the North-East of the Netherlands. This infrastructure will give rise to new resources for non-radio astronomers. In the geosciences field, it should be possible, for example, to extend the understanding of natural and induced seismicity, subsidence, and water management. The agricultural application of LOFAR is in the measurement of the micro-climate. 

Acoustics of free-reed instruments

Documents dating back to before 1000 BC describe a wind instrument whose reed vibrates back and forth across the frame that houses it. Nowadays, free-reed instruments inspire both scholarly study and musical innovation. James Cottingham , Acoustic of free-reed instruments, Physics Today, March 2011, Vol.63, pp. 44-48.
A free reed? What is it? More http://www.patmissin.com/history/whatis.html

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


"The Nasca culture was the archaeological culture that flourished from 100 to 800 AD beside the dry southern coast of Peru in the river valleys of the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage and the Ica Valley (Silverman and Proulx, 2002). Having been heavily influenced by the preceding Paracas culture, which was known for extremely complex textiles, the Nasca produced an array of beautiful crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs (most commonly known as the Nazca lines)."
More Wiki

Cahuachi - pyramids

"Hablar de Cahuachi es hablar de una ciudad perdida en la noche de los tiempos. Cahuachi fue la capital teocrática de la Cultura Nasca gobernada por sacerdotes". More http://www.peruecologico.com.pe/esp_cahuachinasca_1.htm
Cahuachi was the major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture from 1 CE to about 500 CE. The "ciudad perdida" contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. The permanent population was quite small. The town was apparently a pilgrimage center that grew its population during the ceremonial events. These events probably involved the Nazca lines.
"Cahuachi's most famous monument is the Great Pyramid, which hogs the skyline and casts an eye over the Nazca Lines, the geoglyphs which have made the culture so famous. As with most buildings in the city, the pyramid looks like a giant maze thanks to the winding ceremonial staircases which lead to its summit.... Many ceramics and other ceremonial items, such as fabrics and paintings, have been found in Cahuachi. ... Like many pre-Columbian American cities, Cahuachi was mysteriously abandoned, around 500 AD."

Thanks to Wikipedia and Ed88!

Flying on Andes

"Birds were precious resources in the economy of Andean societies. Merchants traded brilliantly colored parrot and macaw feathers in long-distance networks connecting the Amazonian rainforest, the Cordillera, and the remote Pacific coast, where they adorned the sumptuous garments of rulers and kings. Coastal agriculturalists used guano to enrich their fields. Sailors collected the valuable fertilizer offshore on sacred islands, where they left prestigious offerings. On the coast, domesticated muscovy ducks may have been part of the subsistence."
Birds of the Andes, by Hélène Bernier, Source: Birds of the Andes | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Colibri of Nazca

Amazon Earthworks

Ancient Amazon Earthworks Seen by Satellite
"Amazonia is not the “wilderness” many assume it to be. For thousands of years human beings have been residing in and cultivating  lowland and upland areas across the Amazon basin and beyond.
A recent article in National Geographic News provides a glimpse of earthworks built long before Columbus. Rediscoveries of the ancient croplands and city sites force us to re-evaluate notions of wilderness and to consider the long-standing, organized, cultural interactions and influences of humanity upon western landscapes."

Hidden simplicity

Hidden simplicity
"Casey and Anderson’s idea is based on the ansatz that the strange metal phase of the cuprates is described by an ordinary, well-understood Fermi-liquid theory that exists, but which is hidden in an unphysical Hilbert space (an analog of a Platonic world). In this picture, projecting the familiar Fermi liquid back into the physical world (i.e., making a measurement) converts the Fermi liquid into the experimentally observed strangeness. If Casey and Anderson’s theory withstands further experimental scrutiny, it will surely be a leap forward in our understanding of the cuprates. "– Alex Klironomos, Hidden simplicity

Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 097002 (2011)
Hidden Fermi Liquid: Self-Consistent Theory for the Normal State of High-TcSuperconductors
Philip A. Casey and Philip W. Anderson

Hidden Fermi liquid theory explicitly accounts for the effects of Gutzwiller projection in the t-J Hamiltonian, widely believed to contain the essential physics of the high-Tcsuperconductors. We derive expressions for the entire “strange metal,” normal state relating angle-resolved photoemission, resistivity, Hall angle, and by generalizing the formalism to include the Fermi surface topology—angle-dependent magnetoresistance. We show this theory to be the first self-consistent description for the normal state of the cuprates based on transparent, fundamental assumptions. Our well-defined formalism also serves as a guide for further experimental confirmation.

One-way sound

One-way sound
" Xue-Feng Li and colleagues at Nanjing University and California Institute of Technology report on a new acoustic diode design that manipulates the sonic crystal itself to achieve nonreciprocal propagation of sound. The device consists of a two-dimensional sonic crystal arranged in a mesh of square steel rods. By rotating the steel rods, Li et al.are able to manipulate the unit cell of the sonic crystal element to turn the diode on (sound waves only propagate one way) and off (sound waves can move back and forth). Li et al. make their device entirely from linear acoustic materials, which allows them to control sound propagation with a simpler and more efficient process". – Daniel Ucko, One-way sound