Archive for 2010

Seven rock-solid careers from the Stone Age

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: August 7, 2010   View Article

If nuclear war, the Great Recession or some other calamity turns the economy back to the Stone Age, what kind of jobs and industries will pay the bills?

Archaeologists, for reasons more to do with academic curiosity than preparing for doomsday, have been hard at work looking for an answer.

Moon Not So Watery After All, Lunar-Rock Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 5, 2010   View Article

The inside of the moon isn’t as watery as previously reported, according to a new study that found a high variety of chlorine atoms in Apollo moon rocks.

For decades scientists had thought the moon is bone dry inside and out. But recent moon-impact missions found water ice on the lunar surface, and reanalysis of rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts found evidence for significant amounts of water inside the moon in the form of hydroxyl (-OH), a hydrogen compound formed by the breakdown of water (H2O).

In a new study of Apollo moon rocks, geochemist Zachary Sharp of the University of New Mexico and colleagues measured the moon rocks’ chlorine isotopes, or different forms of the chlorine atom.

Universe’s Existence May Be Explained by New Material

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 3, 2010   View Article

About 13.7 billion years ago, the big bang created a big mess of matter that eventually gave rise to life, the universe, and everything. Now a new material may help scientists understand why.

The material was designed to detect a theorized but unproven property of electrons, subatomic particles with a negative charge that orbit the centers of atoms.

If this “new” property of electrons exists, scientists say, it would help explain the current imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe.

Pictures: Human Sacrifice Chamber Discovered in Peru

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 30, 2010   View Article

Found in Peru within a chamber used for an ancient human-sacrifice rite called the presentation, this woman was likely an offering to the site, archaeologists say.

Announced last week, the 197-foot-long (60-meter-long) sacrificial chamber or passageway at the Huaca Bandera archaeological site belonged to the Moche culture, a pre-Columbian agricultural civilization that flourished on the north coast of Peru from about 100 B.C. to AD 800.

The several burials found in the sacrifice chamber “are from a time apparently after the site had been abandoned but nevertheless continued to receive offerings to maintain the status of the elite sanctuary,” archaeologist Carlos Wester La Torre, leader of the excavation, said in an email translated from Spanish.

How science measures up cats and dogs

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 29, 2010   View Article

As “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” hits the big screen, find out what science has to say about the intelligence and abilities of our favorite household pets.

Bowl of Fingers, Baby Victims, More Found in Maya Tomb

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2010   View Article

Reeking of decay and packed with bowls of human fingers, a partly burned baby, and gem-studded teeth—among other artifacts—a newfound Maya king’s tomb sounds like an overripe episode of Tales From the Crypt.

But the tightly sealed, 1,600-year-old burial chamber, found under a jungle-covered Guatemalan pyramid, is as rich with archaeological gold as it is with oddities, say researchers who announced the discovery Friday.

The real science of dream research

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 16, 2010   View Article

Movie director Chris Nolan is famous for his unorthodox spin on thrillers ranging from “Memento” and “The Prestige” to “The Dark Knight.” Nolan’s latest movie, “Inception,” takes viewers on a sci-fi trip to a novel frontier: the visions of the sleeping mind.

The cerebral adventure introduces the concept of “extraction,” where corporate thieves enter people’s dreams and steal their ideas. Master extractor Dom Cobb – played by Leonardo DiCaprio, – is given the task of planting a dream instead.

Are our dreams really vulnerable to manipulation? Click ahead for a reality check on these ideas and more in the world of dream research

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach