Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nazis stolen statue's cosmic link...


The thousand year-old ancient Buddhist statue was thought to be carved by a rare class of iron meteorite. Photo / AFP
The thousand year-old ancient Buddhist statue was thought to be carved by a rare class of iron meteorite. Photo / AFP
A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler’s Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists have reported.
In a paper published in an academic journal, German and Austrian researchers recount an extraordinary tale where archaeology, the Third Reich and cosmic treasure are intertwined like an Indiana Jones movie.
Called the Iron Man because of the high content of iron in its rock, the 24-centimetre-high statue was brought to Germany by an expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist.
Backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler and heading a team whose members are all believed to have been SS, Schaefer roamed Tibet in 1938-9 to search for the origins of Aryanism, the notion of racial superiority that underpinned Nazism.
Weighing 10.6 kilos, the statue features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards.
Chemical analysis shows that the rock from which it was carved came from a meteorite.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

How did that eel get there?


    A man showed up at an Auckland hospital emergency room last week with an unusual dilemma — an eel was stuck in his bottom.
    The patient informed staff at Auckland City Hospital of his problem and X-rays confirmed his story.
    "The eel was about the size of a sprig of asparagus and the incident is the talk of the place," a hospital source told the New Zealand Herald.
    "Doctors and nurses have come across people with strange objects that they have got stuck where they shouldn't be before, but an eel has to be a first."
    It is unclear how the eel became stuck inside the man but it is believed it was successfully removed.
    Auckland District Health Board spokesman Matt Rogers confirmed the incident had occurred.
    "We can confirm that an adult male presented at Auckland City Hospital this week with an eel inside him," he said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The ancient relatives of the modern elephants - Mastodons and Mammoths...

Mastodon vs. Mammoth

The Mastodon was a relative of the prehistoric Mammoth, although similar in appearance there was a numerous amount of difference between the two.


The mammoth and mastodon are often misconceived to be much larger than what they really are. They are, in fact, very similar in size to the modern day Asian elephant, which grows up to 3 meters high at the shoulder. The coat of a mammoth was similar to that of musk oxen, growing up to 90 centimeters in length. Other physical characteristics of the mammoth included a high-peaked forehead, and a high hump that resulted from their long spines and neck vertebrae and possibly accentuated by fat deposits and thick hair. They had a shorter trunk than the modern day Asian or African elephants that we are used to seeing today.

The Mammoth and The Mastodon

There is a number of different Mammoths and Mastodon species that diverged from the Asian elephant after the latter group split from the African elephant. They are all mammals and belong to a species called Proboscideans. From the Mastodon two Asian and African elephants evolved. Probably the most recognized/symbolic species of the four would be the woolly mammoth, or mammuthus primigenius, this is because of their broad geographic distribution, adaptation to cold environments, and relative abundance during the last ice age.

The mastodon roamed the open spruce woodlands, usually in areas such as valleys and swamps. They inhabited almost all the world living in every continent except for Antarctica and Australia. The oldest known mastodon fossil is about twenty-eight millions years old and are they are thought to have gone extinct eight thousand years ago.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New research offers clue to Internet addiction...


If your thoughts constantly revolve around surfing the web and you get anxious or depressed when you don’t have access to the online world, you may be suffering from Internet addiction. And new research shows that Internet addiction is tied to a genetic mutation.
Christian Montag and colleagues from the University of Bonn in Germany and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim compared DNA samples from individuals who had troublesome relationships with the Internet to that of healthy individuals. They found that people with problematic relationships were more often carriers of a genetic mutation that plays a role in nicotine addiction.
“Internet addiction is not a figment of our imagination,” Montag says in a statement. ”Researchers and therapists are increasingly closing in on it. The current data already shows that there are clear indications for genetic causes of Internet addiction.”
Researchers interviewed 843 people about their online habits and found that 132 of the participants showed signs of “problematic behavior in how they handle the online medium.” Using DNA samples, scientists compared the genetic makeup of the two groups and found that the individuals in the problematic group were more likely to carry a mutation on the CHRNA4 gene, which is linked to nicotine addiction.
The study also found that the genetic mutation occurred more frequently in women who displayed problematic Internet behavior.
Researchers think that a mutation on the CHRNA4 gene activates the reward center in the brains of Internet addicts, similar to the way it promotes addictive behavior in nicotine addicts.
The study is in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
It is important to discuss how to handle possible consequences of Internet use as more and more of our lives revolve around computer electronics and information that is created and managed on the web.
To date, Internet addiction has not been clearly defined in medical terms because it is not as well understood as addiction to other things such as alcohol or sex. The researchers note that more research needs to be done before they can make any conclusions or work on solutions to the problem. Montag says, “If such connections are better understood, this will also result in important indications for better therapies.”
Photo via flickr/Marcin Wichary
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Sunday, September 2, 2012