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Mysterious Skeletons Bearing Horrific Injuries Show Early Ritual Violence in the Andes
Josh Lowe  October 17, 2017

A team of archaeologists has uncovered early evidence of  ritual violence in Peru’s northern highlands, providing new clues to what lay behind the development of bloody ceremonial mutilation in ancient Andean civilisation.

According to an article published in the journal  Plos One, archaeologists examined the remains of 104 individuals from a site called Pacopampa, a place home to “impressively large, ceremonial architecture,” that may have played host to “a complex society founded on ritual activity.”

Seven of the people showed signs of trauma; and while those buried at Pacopampa were from both elite and commoner classes, all those with evidence of trauma were probably from lower castes.

Analysis of their injuries showed a large proportion of the trauma was sustained by blows to the head and face, rather than the hands and feet. So while the mountainous environment would have been a potentially dangerous place to live, the researchers argue, it is likely that many of the injuries were intentional.

What’s more, while many of the injuries were severe—some so severe they could have caused debilitating lifelong health problems—they healed over and were probably experienced before death.

It’s not certain what the reason for this ritual violence would have been. But the researchers put forward some possible explanations.

For example, the archaeologists posit, there may have been too much demand for limited food resources in the mountains around the area. “Signs of violence are possible evidence of increasing social tensions caused by this,” the researchers said.

But, they added, the bodies studied were well-fed and had adequate nutrition. The violence may be the result of “rituals associated with food and water productions,” the researchers wrote. “The controlled practice of violence,” they add, “seems to have an affinity with the cult of predatory animals” present in society at the time: The elite may have exercised damage on others to embody powerful predators.

The remains dated from the Middle to Late Formative Periods, between 1200 and 500 BC.
NASA says the evidence for a ‘Planet Nine’ is mounting
BGR News
Mike Wehner  October 16, 2017

We might not actually know how many planets are in our Solar System — and no, this isn’t a trick regarding Pluto’s status. For years, scientists have wondered if there might be a larger, planet-sized body lurking in or around the thick layer of debris called the Kuiper Belt, and now NASA is saying the evidence is hard to ignore.

The would-be planet, which would likely be a frigid place thanks to its position on the very outer edge of the system, hasn’t been directly spotted, but measurements of other known objects in the Kuiper Belt heavily suggest something is there. The only thing left to do is actually spot it, or verify that it doesn’t actually exist at all.

“There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine,” Konstantin Batygin, a Caltech planetary astrophysicist, explains. “If you were to remove this explanation and imagine Planet Nine does not exist, then you generate more problems than you solve. All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you must come up with five different theories to explain them.”

Simply put, the observations that have already been made all point to the existence of a planet that we don’t yet know about. The mythical Planet Nine is pulling on other objects in the Kuiper Belt, and causing them to behave in ways that match with the theory that an unknown planet is doing the pulling.

Now, scientists are doing their best to actually spot the planet, but it won’t be easy. Tucked away on the edge of our Solar System, it won’t exactly be the brightest object in the sky, and the only hope of capturing a glimpse of it will be to find its faint glow. If a new world is indeed discovered, it will undoubtedly be a huge deal for the scientific community, not to mention rewriting textbooks and changing the way we view our own cosmic back yard.

Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold
The Associated Press
By Seth Borenstein, ap science writer ·WASHINGTON — Oct 16, 2017, 4:47 PM ET

This illustration provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science depicts the collision of two neutron stars detected on Aug. 17, 2017. The explosion threw matter, light, radiation and gravitational waves into space. The discovery was reported on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. (Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science via AP)

It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Astronomers around the world reacted to the signal quickly, focusing telescopes located on every continent and even in orbit to a distant spot in the sky.

What they witnessed in mid-August and revealed Monday was the long-ago collision of two neutron stars — a phenomenon California Institute of Technology's David H. Reitze called "the most spectacular fireworks in the universe."

"When these things collide, all hell breaks loose," he said.

Measurements of the light and other energy emanating from the crash have helped scientists explain how planet-killing gamma ray bursts are born, how fast the universe is expanding, and where heavy elements like platinum and gold come from.

"This is getting everything you wish for," said Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown, one of more than 4,000 scientists involved in the blitz of science that the crash kicked off. "This is our fantasy observation."

It started in a galaxy called NGC 4993, seen from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Two neutron stars, collapsed cores of stars so dense that a teaspoon of their matter would weigh 1 billion tons, danced ever faster and closer together until they collided, said Carnegie Institution astronomer Maria Drout.

The crash, called a kilonova, generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Albert Einstein.

"This is like a cosmic atom smasher at a scale far beyond humans would be capable of building," said Andy Howell, a staff scientist at the Las Cumbres Observatory. "We finally now know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object and it's a kilonova."

The crash happened 130 million years ago, while dinosaurs still roamed on Earth, but the signal didn't arrive on Earth until Aug. 17 after traveling 130 million light-years. A light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.

Signals were picked up within 1.7 seconds of each other, by NASA's Fermi telescope, which detects gamma rays, and gravity wave detectors in Louisiana and Washington state that are a part of the LIGO Laboratory , whose founders won a Nobel Prize earlier this month. A worldwide alert went out to focus telescopes on what became the most well-observed astronomical event in history.

Before August, the only other gravity waves detected by LIGO were generated by colliding black holes. But black holes let no light escape, so astronomers could see nothing.

This time there was plenty to see, measure and analyze: matter, light, and other radiation. The Hubble Space Telescope even got a snapshot of the afterglow.

Finding where the crash happened wasn't easy. Eventually scientists narrowed the location down to 100 galaxies, began a closer search of those, and found it in the ninth galaxy they looked at.

It is like "the classic challenge of finding a needle in the haystack with the added challenge that the needle is fading away and the haystack is moving," said Marcelle Soares-Santos, an astrophysicist at Brandeis University.

"The completeness of this picture from the beginning to the end is unprecedented," said Columbia University physics professor Szabolcs Marka. "There are many, many extraordinary discoveries within the discovery."

The colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium. Scientists had suspected neutron star collisions had enough power to create heavier elements, but weren't certain until they witnessed it.

"We see the gold being formed," said Syracuse's Brown.

Calculations from a telescope measuring ultraviolet light showed that the combined mass of the heavy elements from this explosion is 1,300 times the mass of Earth. And all that stuff — including lighter elements — was thrown out in all different directions and is now speeding across the universe.

Perhaps one day the material will clump together into planets the way ours was formed, Reitze said — maybe ones with rich veins of precious metals.

"We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars," said University of California Santa Cruz's Ryan Foley.

The crash also helped explain the origins of one of the most dangerous forces of the cosmos — short gamma ray bursts, focused beams of radiation that could erase life on any planet that happened to get in the way. These bursts shoot out in two different directions perpendicular to where the two neutron stars first crash, Reitze said.

Luckily for us, the beams of gamma rays were not focused on Earth and were generated too far away to be a threat, he said.

Scientists knew that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. By using LIGO to measure gravitational waves while watching this event unfold, researchers came up with a new estimate for how fast that is happening, the so-called Hubble Constant. Before this, scientists came up with two slightly different answers using different techniques. The rough figure that came out of this event is between the original two, Reitze said.

The first optical images showed a bright blue dot that was very hot, which was likely the start of the heavy element creation process amid the neutron star debris, Drout said. After a day or two that blue faded, becoming much fainter and redder. And after three weeks it was completely gone, she said.

This almost didn't happen. Eight days after the signal came through, the LIGO gravitational waves were shut down for a year's worth of planned upgrades. A month later the whole area where the crash happened would have been blocked from astronomers' prying eyes by the sun.

Scientists involved with the search for gravitational waves said this was the event they had prepared for over more than 20 years.

The findings are "of spectacular importance," said Penn State physicist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn't part of the research. "This is really brand new."

Almost all of the discoveries confirmed existing theories, but had not been proven — an encouraging result for theorists who have been trying to explain what is happening in the cosmos, said France Cordova, an astrophysicist who directs the National Science Foundation.

"We so far have been unable to prove Einstein wrong," said Georgia Tech physics professor Laura Cadonati. "But we're going to keep trying."
I really Thankful to you for this amazing site.
Recreation Commons / Re: Astronomy/cosmology questions...
« Last post by Rusty Edge on Today at 01:59:50 AM »
That is so cool....especially since I'm not in school and don't have to solve those kinds of story problems! Thanks, Lorizael! I should have known, the interconnectedness of all things. Gravity as Zen.

I imagined the actual earth shape was relatively smoother, but with more of an apparent belly bulge than that. A little less spherical.

So this has me wondering, what factors create a rugby planetoid, rather than the more familiar spherical ones?

For example, is this more likely to happen when the denser core of a moon/planet does an amoeba style complete separation while still travelling in the same orbit, resulting in a faster and slower Rugby? Or is it the lack of rotation, or rotation perpendicular to the axis of orbit that is the key factor?   Or is it something else, more like a ball of playdough in orbit, collecting gravel and dust in it's path? Or maybe more of a giant teardrop of liquid gas gathering droplets of other gasses on it's leading bulbous end?

Again, no hurry on this one.
Recreation Commons / Re: Masks and other Art
« Last post by Unorthodox on Yesterday at 09:04:50 PM »
That white/black/red one to the left is lovely, but it's really hard to top that creepy doll. 
Recreation Commons / Re: The Film Corner
« Last post by Unorthodox on Yesterday at 05:00:19 PM »

French horror film which had taken on a kind of mythical hype around horror circles.

Folks fleeing the theater in disgust and terror mythical hype. 

Don't know how much of it is due to culture, but the plot really had a lot of suspension of disbelief required to get into.  Wasn't the language barrier, just a 'people wouldn't act that way in that situation' barrier. 

Outside of that, the story is well told and gleefully non-traditional. 

And while the gore is certainly amplified, it's mostly in that 80s too red and semi-silly style.

With one particular scene being an exception.  I'd have to go view it again to verify whether it was digital or physical effect, but either way, it was clearly done with an eye for anatomy which is typically lacking in such things. 
Recreation Commons / Re: The Film Corner
« Last post by Spacy on October 15, 2017, 08:26:26 PM »
Blade Runner 2049

Recreation Commons / Re: Masks and other Art
« Last post by BUncle on October 15, 2017, 07:32:10 PM »
-Speaking of which, I've fallen about a week behind posting progress pics, but alas, that's only three sessions...

Our researchers have made a breakthrough! / Study reveals secrets of planet formation
« Last post by BUncle on October 15, 2017, 06:05:39 PM »
Study reveals secrets of planet formation
"The exquisite resolution of ALMA allowed us to study the intricate structure of such a dust-trapping vortex for the first time," Exeter scientist Stefan Kraus said.
By Brooks Hays   |   Oct. 13, 2017 at 3:38 PM    

Researchers believe the gaps in the disk surrounding V1247 Orionis was carved by a newborn planet. Photo by Stefan Kraus/Exeter University

Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new explanation for how young stars and their newborn planets avoid "radial drift," a phenomenon that can rob stellar systems of their planet-forming material.

Most planets form as material coalesces in a star's circumstellar disk of dust and debris. But debris disks can also diffuse or be eaten up by their host star, and researchers have struggled to figure out why this doesn't happen more often.

Gas in a circumstellar disk should exert a drag force on debris, pulling the dust inward where it is consumed by the host star. The process, called radial drift, can deplete the material a young stellar system needs to form and grow planets.

But new images of the debris disk surrounding the star V1247 Orionis has offered scientists insights into how young stars avoid radial drift.

ALMA observations revealed a thick inner disk of material and a separate outer crescent. Researchers at the University of Exeter in England believe the gap between the two concentrations of debris was carved by a newborn planet. Their analysis also suggests the planet has created a pair of high-pressure regions as it moves through the disk -- like the bow of ship creates a wake as it plows through the water.

Scientists hypothesize that these high-pressure zones can trap dust and debris for millions of years, ensuring the young planet has a reservoir of materials from which to accumulate and grow.

"The exquisite resolution of ALMA allowed us to study the intricate structure of such a dust-trapping vortex for the first time," Exeter scientist Stefan Kraus said in a news release. "The crescent in the image constitutes a dust trap that formed at the outer edge of the dark strip."

Kraus and his colleagues published their findings this week in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"It also reveals regions of excess dust within the ring, possibly indicating a second dust trap that formed inside of the putative planet's orbit," Kraus said. "This confirms earlier computer simulations that predicted that dust traps should form both at the outer edge and inner edge of disc gaps."

The discovery offers a new solution to the problem of radial drift predicted by most planet-formation models.
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