Archive for November, 2013

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 29, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2682

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

VINCZE MIKLÓS on IO9

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

And you thought your last move was difficult. The process of moving a large building, from a mansion to a railway station, from one location to another is a major engineering challenge. Here are some eye-popping photos of massive structures in transit.

Top image: Don Bowers/Island Free Press.

House Moving Day in Winfield, Kansas, 1870s

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Ausbcomp)

This 1890s picture shows Dr. J. Francis Chapman’s house being hauled from the old to the new town of Katonah, NY.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

The city was moved to higher ground to escape the damming of the Croton River.

(AP Photo/Katonah Village Library)

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Cribbing beneath a house in Seattle, Washington, 1917

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Moving a building with two-horse team, photo by Leslie Jones, between 1917 and 1934

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Boston Public Library)

Canadian construction workers moving a church at Calgary, Canada, September 1926

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(Photo by W. J. Oliver/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Alice Young Bear’s house and shed being moved to new site after flood, 1952

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons)

The relocation of the Abu Simbel temples between 1964 and 1968 in Nubia, Egypt, before the rising waters of the Nile destroyed the whole complex.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

December 1964:

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

A large interior pillar is lifted by crane, after it had been cut free during the operation in December 1965.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

A large stone block from the Great Temple being hoisted on to a transporter, January 1966

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

Ramses’s face is lifted into place in 1967. It weighs 19.6 tonnes.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons 1 – 2 and Engineering and Technology Magazine)

Group of men moving a house on wheels across railroad tracks, 1960s

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The original Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington, D.C, originally built in 1876, moved in December 1968. Now it’s known as the Lilian & Albert Small Jewish Museum.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Wikimedia Commons)

A Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane carrying a house

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Elizabethan manor house Ballingdon Hall moves slowly toward its new location in Sudbury, Suffolk, on a massive trailer. Industrial development and tree growth have obscured the owners’ view of the River Stour Valley, so they are simply moving uphill to a better locale, January 1972.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(Photo by Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

The Bashford House begins its journey six blocks down Gurley Street to the museum grounds on April 19, 1974.

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Sharlot)

The First Baptist Church, built in 1806 is being moved to make way for a new courthouse, January 2009, Salem, Massachusetts

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Cunningham Hall, University of Washington, 2009

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via University of Washington)

The 125-year-old Buchanan Mansion rolling down the road in Tipton, Iowa, 2009

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Jeremy Patterson House Moving)

The 45 feet high and 35 feet Serendipity, which became famous as the inn from Nights In Rodanthe (2008), moved from its original site in January 2010

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Island Free Press)

Relocation of the 122-year-old Oerlikon building, Zürich, Switzerland, 2011-2012

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

The building was moved with 200 ft (60 m) in two days.The physical work freeing the foundations of the old factory and putting it on rolling tracks started on the Summer of 2011, but the actual operation started on May 22 2012. With the use of 500 rollers and two hydraulic pressers the 6,200 ton-heavy building was pushed with the speed of 10-16 ft per hour to 200 ft (60 m) from its original place.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Transport of buildings in Kingston, 2012

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Mobile Building in 2000, a drawing from Hildenbrand Factory chocolate boxes, 1899-1901, Germany

Unbelievable Photos of the Most Challenging Structural Relocations Ever

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These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 29, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2681

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

 VINCZE MIKLÓS on IO9

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

Teahouse Tetsu, designed by Terunobu Fujimori to the Kiyharu Shirakaba Museum, Japan

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

It stands on a cypress trunk, among cherry blossom trees.

(via RMIT)

The Naha Harbor Diner in Okinawa, Japan, 20 ft (6 m) above the ground on a Gajumaru tree.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

It’s accessible by both a spiral stairway and an elevator built inside the trunk.

(via Where is it and Prafulla)

When a treehouse meets an old Boeing 727: The Hotel Costa Verde in Costa Rica

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

An 1965 Boeing is standing on a 50-foot pedestal in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle and serving as a luxurious hotel with hand-carved furniture items and air-conditioned bedrooms. It looks really unique, but there are some other buildings made out of old airplanes.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Costa Verde)

An amazing three-story house somewhere in British Columbia, Canada

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via imgur)

Mt. Crested Butte Residence, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado, designed in 1985, completed in 1987

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

From the front door one could ski down to the ski lift, take the lift and ski back down to the house. A central shaft that runs vertically through the house supports the house. In the interior the central shaft is a fireplace for each of the house’s three floors. The house is designed with two garages on each of the entry floors. One enters the house on a split-level. A half level up has two master bedroom suites separated by the central shaft with a fireplace and whirlpool in it. A half level down from the entry is the community family areas, living, kitchen, etc. The lowest level is the children’s playroom/ dormitory. – as it stands on the architect’s homepage.

(via Oshatz)

The Free Spirit Spheres, wood and fiberglass spherical tree houses in Vancouver Island, Canada

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Futuregiraffes)

The Mirrorcube, a 13x13x13 (4x4x4 m) ft mirrored glass box, designed by Tham & Videgard Architekter, opened in 2010

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Dezeen)

The HemLoft Treehouse, designed and constructed by Joel Allen in Whistler, Canada, 2008-2011

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Joel Allen)

Bird-apartment by Nendo at the Momofuku Ando nature centre in Komoro, Japan.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

The place has 78 entrances for birds and a big round hole for humans. The treehouse was built for observing birds.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Dezeen)

The Bird’s Nest, a hotel in the trees by Inrednin Gsgruppen, 2010

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Nordic Design)

Wilkinson Residence, Portland, Oregon, designed in 1997 by Robet Harvey Oshatz, completed in 2004.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Oshatz)

Too-High Teahouse, built by a Japanese professor of architecture named Terunobu Fujimori, completed in 2004 in Takasugi-an, Japan, in his father’s garden.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Dezeen)

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, by Pacific Environments in Auckland, New Zealand, 2008-2009.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

The building stands on a more than 130 ft (40 m) high Redwood tree.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses EverThese Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via ArchDaily)

The Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee, built by Minister Horace Burgess for fourteen years from only $12,000. The building is 97 ft (29.5 m) tall, has five stories, a church and a bell tower. The bells are repurposed oxygen acetylene bottles.

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

These Are The Most Amazing Tree Houses Ever

(via Frank KehrenRoger Smith and Elaine Marschik)

================================================================================

Tree House Of  The Pines

Of  Taman Dayu – Pandaan – Pasuruan – East Java – Indonesia

Tree Houses Of “The Pines” Of The Outbound & Camping Ground At Taman Dayu – Pandaan – Pasuruan  East Java – Indonesia 

The 7 Tree Houses was built 2004 in The Pines Forest up hill of The Taman Dayu Estate & Golf Course., the high from the ground floor 3 – 4 and 5 meters.

No nails, screws or bolts to the trees, the tree house use the Clamp system, and hang it self to the two trees by the clamps with the distance 3 meteres length.Both trees goes through the floor and the roof, so inside the room size 4 m x 4 m  you will see the 2 trees, with some branches.6 peoples could sleep comfortable in every tree house, and after 6 years still strong enough.

I remember before it was launching, the storm stroke around the hill, some trees fell dawn… but the Tree Houses stand still.

I knew all the details of the Tree Houses because I was the one who pointed by The General Manager when I worked there for 7 years as Maintenance/Service Manager (1997 – 2004) to build it.

During The Meeting The General Manager asked the Managers to give  ideas what should be built specific in The Out Bound/ camping ground area in the Pines Forest of The Taman Dayu Estate & Golf Course (350 Ha) Pandaan _ Pasuruan – East Java, and I mentioned why don’t we build Tree Houses ?

End of the meeting The General Manager said : because you the one gave the idea of the Tree House… so you will be the one should build it.

Please go to www.thetamandayu.com for more detail about TAMAN DAYU

That is the story of the 7 Tree Houses.

(Written by Rama Yappy Kawitarka who built it)

 

Archaeologists Find Sunken Nazi Sub in Indonesia with 17 Skeletons

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 29, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2676

Archaeologists Find Sunken Nazi Sub in Indonesia with 17 Skeletons

GEORGE DVORSKY on IO9

Archaeologists Find Sunken Nazi Sub in Indonesia with 17 Skeletons

Indonesian researchers have just discovered the remnants of a torpedoed Nazi sub off the main island of Java just west of Indonesia. It’s the first time a German submarine has been found in the area — a discovery that’s giving historians new clues about what went on in the region during the war.

The sub, which could be either the U-168 or U-183, was discovered by a team of Indonesian archaeologists in the Java Sea after receiving information from local fisherman. The exact type of submarine is still not known because the hull number could not be found. It’s thought that the sub was torpedoed late in the war.

Archaeologists Find Sunken Nazi Sub in Indonesia with 17 Skeletons

But what the diving archaeologists did find was extraordinary, including tableware with Nazi insignias, batteries, binoculars, a bottle of hair oil — and 17 skeletons. The researchers are now hoping to get assistance from the German government to help identify the sub and, potentially, the names of her crew.

Archaeologists Find Sunken Nazi Sub in Indonesia with 17 Skeletons

“This is the first time we have found a foreign submarine from the war in our waters,” said Bambang Budi Utomo, head of the research team at the National Archaeology Centre that found the vessel. “This is an extraordinary find that will certainly provide useful information about what took place in the Java Sea during World War II.”

So what was the sub doing there? There are some possible explanations.

First, Japan occupied Indonesia during World War II, which back then went by its colonial name, the Dutch East Indies. Seeing as Japan and Germany were allies, it’s not completely unreasonable that Nazi wolfpacks would be patrolling the area.

Indeed, many German submarines were part of an effort to cut logistical supplies, including raw materials, from Asia to Britain — a force called the Monsun Gruppe, or Monsoon Group. These U-boats, operating out of Penang, patrolled the Pacific and Indian Oceans during World War II. Interestingly, the Indian Ocean was the only place where German and Japanese forces fought in the same theatre. In total, some 41 U-boats may have been involved in the region.

And as Spiegel Online reports, historians may be able to trace the sub back to archived reports:

The researchers believe the wreck is that of the U-168, which German naval forces used to successfully sink several allied ships. The U-boat was eventually torpedoed by a Dutch submarine while en route to Australia. According to a report by German newspaper Die Welt, the Dutch vessel fired six torpedoes from 900 meters, but only one of the explosives detonated. Twenty-three German sailors reportedly died in the attack, and the captain and 26 crew members survived.

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the wreck could also be that of the U-183, which was sunk on April 23, 1945 in the Java Sea. That attack had only one survivor of 55 men on board.

Related: A ‘submarine graveyard’ has been found off the coast of England | Sunken Nazi Submarine Found Just Off the Coast of Nantucket | Nazi U-486 wreck off Norway

news.com.au | Channel NewsAsia | Spiegel Online | Images: AFP/National Archaeology Center]

Follow me on Twitter: @dvorsky

 

The Earth Is a Machine

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2679

The Earth Is a Machine

ANNALEE NEWITZ on IO9

The Earth Is a Machine

The more we learn about ecosystems, the more obvious it becomes that we won’t save the Earth until we admit that our planet is a giant, incredibly complex machine that can be programmed. And, with enough study, it can be reprogrammed, too.

Image via NASA

One of the things I find irritating about some environmentalist rhetoric is the oft-repeated idea that nature is the opposite of a machine. On the contrary, our natural environments seem to behave very much like devices with interchangeable parts, whose inputs result in predictable outputs.

Take, for example, the story of the monarch butterfly. This is a beautiful orange and black insect whose wings fold into gently curved triangles when they alight. Native to the West and Midwest of the Americas, monarchs travel on an annual migration through Canada, California and Mexico, pausing along the way to gather in enormous flocks of tens of thousands of butterflies. They gather in such incredible numbers that trees appear to be draped in orange-and-black leaves, which upon closer examination resolve themselves into fluttering wings.

The Earth Is a Machine

Photo by Alex Wild

This season, however, the great monarch migration to Mexico has become a shadow of its former self. Hundreds of thousands of butterflies used to descend on the cool mountains of central Mexico, but last year only 60,000 came. This year only 3000 arrived, a week late. Environmental scientists are warning that the insects may be headed rapidly for extinction. What happened?

Think of the monarch butterflies’ population as the output of a machine process that has gone wrong. To understand that process, scientists have had to observe the butterflies and their environments for decades. It was only in the 1970s when Canadian entomologists Fred and Nora Urquhart discovered something incredible about these butterflies. Their migration spans 3 to 4 generations, with each new generation completing only part of the circuit between Canada and Mexico.

The butterflies who begin this incredible cross-continental migration in Canada will never make it back – only their great-grandchildren will.

 

 

Along the migration route, each generation settles in a preferred egg-laying area full of milkweed, which is the only kind of plant their larvae can eat. In a sense, these animals are living out the scenario that so many science fiction writers have imagined in stories of generation ships. Each cohort goes on a journey from which they will never return home. But their offspring will eventually complete this dramatic quest.

 

What anchors this epic flight is the environment. Specifically, the butterflies require milkweed, without which they cannot return to their ancestral homes because they can’t reproduce. Unfortunately, as its name implies, milkweed is a weed. As farms grow and humans take over formerly wild habitats, they destroy the milkweed that is part of the monarch’s lifecycle.

 

Now, with very little milkweed, the monarch migration grows thin. These animals are suffering from a famine. Put another way, the process that produces their population has been perturbed. Milkweed is an input into this process; humans are an input; and all of the plants that make up agriculture are an input.

 

This year, the ancient process that produced large populations of monarchs has many new inputs. Not surprisingly, the output is different from what we saw historically.

 

The Earth Is a Machine

 

Photo via US Fish and Wildlife Service

 

The beautiful and frustrating part about the machine that is our planet is that every output is also an input. Monarchs help fertilize plants, and when there are very few monarchs, those plants cannot reproduce. Monarchs also provide food for birds, which means that the monarch famine becomes a bird famine. Eventually this famine will get passed along to humans – especially when you consider that monarchs are just one of many insects whose populations are under threat. Bees, which pollinate a number of plants humans eat for food, are also suffering low population numbers.

 

This input/output model of understanding the environment also applies to climate. If you input carbon to our environmental system, temperatures go up and oceans become more acidic. Here, the carbon is the input while temperatures and ocean acidity are outputs.

 

The Earth Is a Machine

 

Those outputs are inputs too, because temperature and acidity affect how many animals and plants develop. Shellfish, for example, have a difficult time finding the calcium necessary to build their shells in a highly acidic environment.

 

Once you realize that nature behaves like a machine, it becomes obvious that even small changes to an ecosystem can have dramatic downstream effects. It’s sort of like changing one line of code in a computer program – maybe that line of code does nothing; but maybe it causes your process to crash. Maybe it leaves your entire application vulnerable to being infected by a virus.

 

The good news is that we are understanding how to program our planet better and better every day. Field biologists, botanists, and even paleontologists are breaking ecosystems down into their component processes, trying to understand the relationships between inputs and outputs. Microbiologists are trying to figure out how bacteria contribute to wetlands health, while forestry experts are figuring out how trees affect carbon loading in the atmosphere.

 

But the big question is when we should start trying to reprogram the Earth, to avoid disasters like famine and unwanted climate change.

 

When I say “reprogram,” I don’t mean building giant geo-engineering machines that suck in carbon and poop out oxygen — though that would be nice. I mean doing things like planting milkweed at the edge of your farm, so that the monarchs can survive. Or, to reduce carbon inputs, we might use a system called enhanced weathering, where we harness the planet’s natural geological processes to increase the alkalinity of the ocean.

 

As I said earlier, nature is not the opposite of a machine. In fact, our best hope may be learning how this machine works so that we can be its very best mechanics.

 

Annalee Newitz is the editor-in-chief of io9, and the author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.

Here’s what lurks inside the world’s deepest pits

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2678

Here’s what lurks inside the world’s deepest pits

VINCZE MIKLÓS on IO9   http://io9.com/heres-what-lurks-inside-the-worlds-deepest-pits-1471758150

In our quest for natural resources, humans have dug very, very deep into the Earth. We haven’t raised a Balrog yet, but we’ve accidentally lit pit fires that burn for decades, and we’ve caused earthquakes. Here are some insane pictures of the deepest pits we’ve ever dug.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole in the Pechengsky District, Kola Peninsula, Russia, the result of a Soviet scientific drilling project between 1970 and 2005. The deepest borehole, named SG-3, reached in 1989 is 40,230 ft (12,262 metres) deep.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

The drilling was stopped in 1992 due to higher-than-expected temperatures (180 °C/356 °F instead of 100 °C/212 °F). The project was closed in 2005 because of lack of funding. All of the equipment was scrapped and the site is abandoned since 2008.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The world’s deepest mine, the TauTona gold mine in Carletonville, South Africa with its maximum depth of 2.4 mi (3.9 km), reached in 2008

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

 

The KTB super deep borehole, the result of the German Continental Deep Drilling Program near Windischeschenbach, Germany. The 9,101 m (29859 ft or 5.655 mi) deep hole was drilled between 1990 and 1994, and the temperature was more than 500 °F (260 °C) down there.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Earthscrust and Wikimedia Commons)

The Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. The now 107-year-old mine has a 0.6 miles (970 m) deep, 2.5 miles (4 km) wide pit.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Google Maps and aibob)

The 570 m (1870 ft) deep Fimiston Open Pit (or Super Pit), a gold mine off the Goldfields Highway, Western Australia

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via SuperPit)

The Tiber Oil Field in the Gulf of Mexico, a deepwater offshore oil field with a 10,685 m (25,056) deep well under 1,260 m (4,130 ft) of water, drilled in 2009. Its total depth is 11,945 m (39190 ft).

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(Illustration by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Chuquicamata (or Chuqui), outside of Calama, Chile. Its 850 metres (2,790 ft) deep pit is the second deepest after Bingham Canyon Mine.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pitsHere's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Google Maps, Robin Nystrom and Codelco)

The Door To Hell, or Darvaza, in the middle of the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

A drilling rig was set up here by Soviet geologists in 1971 and started operations, but the ground collapsed into a wide crater and the rig disappeared. A huge amount of methane gases was released, so the scientists decided to burn it off. They thought it would only take a few days, but the methane has been burning since then.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TEjoga1yrn0

 

 

 

(via Wikimedia Commons/Tormod Sandtorv)

The Berkeley Pit, a former open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana. It’s filled to a depth of 900 ft (270m) with acidic water and contains some dangerous chemicals like arsenic, sulfuric acid and cadmium, among others.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pitsHere's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Wikimedia Commons and PitWatch)

The Big Hole (or the Kimberley Diamond Mine) in Kimberley, South Africa, excavated by hand between 1871 and 1914. It has a surface of 17 hectares (42 acres) and a width of 1519 ft (463 m). It had a depth of 787 ft (240 m), but partially infilled with debris, so it’s 705 ft (215 m) deep now.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Mir mine, a former diamond mine (1957-2011) in Mirny, Eastern Siberia, Russia. The airspace above the 1,722 ft (525 m) deep pit is closed for helicopter because some of them were sucked in by the air flow.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Wikimedia Commons and Galaktika)

Nevada National Security Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Nuclear testing began in January 1951.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

The site contains more than 1,100 buildings, 400 miles (640 km) of paved and 300 miles (480 km) unpaved roads.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Google Maps)

The deepest hand-dug well in the world, in Woodingdean, East Sussex, England.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

It was dug between 1858 and 1862, and its depth is 1,285 ft (392 m).

(Illustration via Wikimedia Commons)

Bonus: The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, the world’s deepest physics laboratory, 6,800 feet (2,07 km) underground in the still operating Creighton Mine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It was used between 1999 and 2006 to detect solar neutrinos through their interactions with a tank of heavy water.

Here's what lurks inside the world's deepest pits

(via Wikimedia Commons and SNO)

 

he science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags , on November 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2677

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

GEORGE DVORSKY on IO9  http://io9.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-makes-you-feel-b-470030863

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

Meditation yields a surprising number of health benefits, including stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. But how can something as simple as focusing on a single object produce such dramatic results? Here’s what the growing body of scientific evidence is telling us about meditation and how it can change the way our brains function.

Before we get started it’s worth doing a quick review of what is actually meant by meditation. The practice can take on many different forms, but the one technique that appears most beneficial, and which also happens to be among the most traditional, is called mindfulness meditation, or focused attention.

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

By mindfulness, practitioners are asked to focus their thoughts on one thought and one thought alone. An overarching goal is to be firmly affixed to the present moment. This typically means concentrating on the breath — observing each inhalation and exhalation — and without consideration to other thoughts. When a “stray” thought arises, the practitioner must be quick to recognize it, and then turn back to the focus of their attention. And it doesn’t just have to be the breath; any single thought, like a mantra, will do.

Now, if you’ve ever tried it, you know how unbelievably difficult this is — particularly in this day in age when our attention spans are taxed to the limit. Our minds are notorious at wandering and moving from thought-to-thought; it’s hard sometimes to string just a few seconds of focused attention together.

And indeed, notions that meditation is simply about relaxation or cleansing the mind of allthoughts are common misconceptions. Meditation is hard work and it takes a lot of practice to get better. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to stay focused. Progress can be measured by how long a single thought can be focused upon without straying.

Remarkably, for something so exceedingly simple, it can produce an astounding number of health benefits. Eager to learn more, a growing number of scientists are looking into the cognitive effects of meditation, including studies on Buddhist monks. And they’re learning that meditation is a very powerful tool indeed.

As a quick aside, most of the studies cited here consider the benefits of focused attention. That’s not to suggest that other practices, like open attention, can’t yield positive results as well.

Changes to the Brain

Buddhists have meditated for literally thousands of years. They’re familiar with its positive effects, including the way it works to instill the inner strength and insight required for the overarching spiritual practice; meditation, or “sitting,” is to Buddhist monks what prayer is to Christians. But instead of trying to hack into the mind of God, Buddhists are trying to hack into their own mind to harness it under control.

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

Image: “Theologue” by Alex Grey.

But it has only been in recent times that neuroscientists have been able to peer directly into the brain to see what’s going on. The advent of fMRIs and other brain scanning techniques have largely paved the way.

For example, neuroscientists observing MRI scans have learned that meditation strengthens the brain by reinforcing the connections between brain cells. A 2012 study showed that people who meditate exhibit higher levels of gyrification — the “folding” of the cerebral cortex as a result of growth, which in turn may allow the brain to process information faster. Though the research did not prove this directly, scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories, and improving attention.

Indeed, as much of the research is showing, meditation causes the brain to undergo physical changes, many of which are beneficial. Other studies, for example, have shown that meditation is linked to cortical thickness, which can result in decreased sensitivity to pain.

Or take the 2009 study with the descriptive title, “Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem.” Neuroscientists used MRIs to compare the brains of meditators with non-meditators. The structural differences observed led the scientists to speculate that certain benefits, like improved cognitive, emotional, and immune responses, can be tied to this growth and its positive effects on breathing and heart rate (cardiorespiratory control).

The integrity of gray matter, which is a major player in the central nervous system, certainly appears to benefit. Meditation has been linked to larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter, resulting in more positive emotions, the retention of emotional stability, and more mindful behavior (heightened focus during day-to-day living). Meditation has also been shown to have neuroprotective attributes; it can diminish age-related effects on gray matter and reduce cognitive decline.

study from earlier this year showed that meditators have a different expression of brain metabolites than healthy non-meditators, specifically those metabolites linked to anxiety and depression.

But it’s not just the physical and chemical components of the brain that’s affected by meditation. Neuroscientists have documented the way it impacts on brain activity itself. For example, meditation has been associated with decreased activity in default mode network activity and connectivity — those undesirable brain functions responsible for lapses of attention and disorders such as anxiety, ADHD — and even the buildup of beta amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease.

And finally, meditation has been linked to dramatic changes in electrical brain activity, namely increased Theta and Alpha EEG activity, which is associated with wakeful and relaxed attention.

Health Benefits

While most of the studies listed above addressed the neuro-cognitive aspects of meditation, other studies have correlated meditation with many of the health benefits already described.

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

Perhaps the most significant benefit of meditation is its ability to improve attention. In 2010, researchers looked at participants who practiced focused attention meditation for about five hours each day over the course of three months (which is a lot!). After conducting concentration tests, the participants were shown to have an easier time sustaining voluntary attention. Which makes sense; if you can concentrate for extended periods of time during meditation, it should carry over to daily life. Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise.

As an aside, five hours of meditation per day is a bit excessive. Other studies show that 20 minutes a day is all that’s required to get beneficial results, like stress reduction.

Indeed, other research has shown that even a little bit of meditation can help. Studies indicate that, after 10 intensive days of meditation (pdf), people can experience significant improvements in mindfulness and contemplative thoughts, the alleviation of depressive symptoms, and boosts to working memory and sustained attention.

A not-so-surprising study from last year showed that meditation can significantly reduce stress after just eight weeks of training (pdf; more here). Participants who meditated, as compared to those who did not, performed better on stressful multitasking tests. This may have something to do with reduced levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. And interestingly, meditatingbefore a stressful situation may help reduce feelings of stress during the event.

For you creative types, open-monitoring (OM) meditation can promote idea generation. OM meditation is basically the polar opposite of focused attention meditation, requiring practitioners to non-reactively monitor the content of experience from moment to moment.

And lastly, meditation has also been shown to increase levels of empathy, but it has to come from a specific practice known as loving-kindness-compassion meditation. It’s a kind of focused attention meditation, but the practitioner is asked to concentrate on feelings of love, compassion, and understanding. By comparing fMRI scans of novices to those of expert Buddhist monks (each with more than 10,000 hours of practice), researchers watched as emotional stimuli (sounds of people in distress) caused those areas of the brain linked to empathy light up; the monks exhibited greater degrees of empathetic response than the novices. In turn, the scientists speculate that compassion meditation can make a person more empathetic.

So what are you waiting for? Start sitting, and transform your brain!

Additional reporting by Joseph Bennington-Castro.

Images: brickrena/Shutterstock, Frank Merfort/Shutterstock; Twonix Studio/Shutterstock.

Neurosurgeons Use Water to Map Connections in the Brain

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on November 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Neurosurgeons Use Water to Map Connections in the Brain

GEORGE DVORSKY on IO9   http://io9.com/neurosurgeons-use-water-to-map-connections-in-the-brain-1471932056

Neurosurgeons Use Water to Map Connections in the Brain

See that walnut-like object in this brain scan? It’s a tumor that needs to be removed. But to avoid damaging critical functions like speech and vision, surgeons have to see the brain’s tangled web of connections. The solution? Just add water.

This brain scanning technique, called tractography or diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), has been around for a while now and is used by neuroscientists to investigate and diagnose strokes and conditions like Alzheimer’s. But a surgical team from the UC San Diego Health System is the first to use the technique in preparation for surgery.

“The brain can be mapped by tracking the movement of its water molecules,” noted neurosurgeon Clark Chen in a UCSD News statement. “Water molecules in brain nerves move in an oriented manner. However, outside the nerves, the molecules move randomly.”

The surgeons can use these distinct properties to locate important connections and to guide where surgery should occur — and just as importantly, where they should not occur.

These scans reveal the tiny open paths between nerve fibers to reach brain tumors, and they’re color coded to display the intricate neural connections. No other imaging technique — not computed tomography (CT), not magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — can do this.

Indeed, when it comes to brain surgery, there’s practically no margin for error. Every centimeter of brain tissue contains millions of neural connections. But with tractography, the surgeons can visualize the most important of these connections to avoid injury and preserve the quality of life of brain cancer patients.

In this case, it’s recovering patient Anthony Chetti. He recently developed a tumor in his occipital lobe, the region responsible for processing visual information. Surgeons successfully removed the tumor without damaging his vision.

“When I woke up from surgery, I asked for my glasses immediately and began running systems checks. I could see the clock. I could read the words on a sign. It was immediately evident that there were no problems,” said Chetti.

I love how they call it “systems checks.” Yup, brain’s back online and functioning within normal parameters…

[Via UCSD News]

Image: UC San Diego.
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