Archive for October, 2015

Hanging Temple

Posted in The World’s Magnificent Pagodas, Temples, Palaces etc with tags on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4871

Hanging Temple

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hanging Temple, also Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Temple (simplified Chinese: 悬空寺; traditional Chinese: 懸空寺; pinyin:Xuánkōng Sì) is a temple built into a cliff (75 m or 246 ft above the ground) near Mount Heng in Hunyuan County,Datong City, Shanxiprovince, China. The closest city is Datong, 64.23 kilometers to the northwest. Along with the Yungang Grottoes, the Hanging Temple is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area. Built more than 1,500 years ago, this temple is notable not only for its location on a sheer precipicebut also because it is the only existing temple with the combination of three Chinese traditional religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The structure is kept in place with oak crossbeams fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs. The main supportive structure is hidden inside the bedrock. The monastery is located in the small canyon basin, and the body of the building hangs from the middle of the cliff under the prominent summit, protecting the temple from rain erosion and sunlight. Coupled with the repair of the dynasties, the color tattoo in the temple is relatively well preserved. On December 2010, it was listed in the “Time” magazine as the world’s top ten most odd dangerous buildings.

According to legend, construction of the temple was started at the end of theNorthern Wei dynasty by only one man, a monk named Liao Ran (了然). Over the next 1,400 years, many repairs and extensions have led to its present-day scale.

“壯觀” means “spectacular”

Thunder Hall

Mahavira Hall

———————————————————————–….. Below … :

The Hanging Monastery of Mount Heng

The Precariously Hanging Monastery of Mount Heng

Hengshan, or Mount Heng, which is located in Shanxi province, is one of China’s Five Great Mountains. Pinned to the side of its cliff face is the Xuan Kong Si, also known as the Hanging Monastery.  Despite its precarious position, the monastery has been ‘hanging’ in its original position for more than 1,500 years, a testament to the ingenuity of its builders.

The Hanging Monastery is said to have been built in 491 AD, during the late Northern Wei Dynasty. It is commonly believed that the building of the monastery was initiated by a single individual, a monk by the name of Liao Ran. In time, however, Liao Ran received help from Taoist builders, who were drawn to the site due to its peaceful and serene atmosphere. The site was perfect for those engaged in meditation, as noises from the ground did not reach such lofty heights. In addition, its height ensured that the monastery was safe from floods. The Hanging Monastery is also protected from rain, snow and sun as it is sheltered by the mountain’s peak. This is one of the reasons for the monastery’s continual existence over the centuries.

Xuan Kong Si, The Hanging Monastery

Xuan Kong Si, The Hanging Monastery (Wikimedia Commons)

In order to provide support for the monastery, holes were first drilled into the side of the cliff. Wooden pillars were then half inserted into the rock as the foundation. The monastery was then built on top of these pillars, with additional support from the rock at the back of the building. Some have claimed that the wooden pillars were not present when the monastery was being built, and that the building would be able to support itself should the pillars be taken away. The pillars, it is further claimed, were added later on, as visitors did not dare climb up to the monastery for fear that it would fall. It was subsequently enlarged over the centuries, and was also restored in 1900 during the Qing Dynasty.

The wooden pillars supporting the monastery

The wooden pillars supporting the monastery (Wikimedia Commons)

Apart from being an architectural marvel, the Hanging Monastery is also a unique structure from a religious point of view. The monastery is dedicated to three religious systems – Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, all of which co-exist harmoniously in the building. In the San Jiao Hall, for instance, the statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha is enshrined together with that of Lao Zi and Confucius. These are the founders of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism respectively, their existence side-by-side showing the harmony between the three systems in this sacred space.

Statues inside the hanging monastery reflect different religious traditions

Statues inside the hanging monastery reflect different religious traditions (Wikimedia Commons)

It has been claimed that the Hanging Monastery once served as a sort of ‘transit station’ for travellers who passed through the area, due to the remote nature of the Hengshan area. It was at this place that weary traveller could get a meal and some rest before setting out again. Due to the prevalence of religion at the time, it is said that people were reluctant to enter the places of worship of religions other than their own. To ease these travellers’ anxiety, the three major religions of China were enshrined in the Hanging Monastery. In this way, more travellers could stay at the monastery for a while before resuming their journey.

The Hanging Monastery near Mount Heng, China

The Hanging Monastery near Mount Heng, China (Wikimedia Commons)

Throughout the monastery, there are about 80 sculptures of important Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian individuals. These figures are made of various materials, including copper, bronze, iron, terracotta and stone, and are carved vividly. In the San Sheng Hall, for example, there is a seated statue of the Buddha. At his sides are a number of his disciples, portrayed as standing submissively to their master. There are six main halls and 34 lesser halls, making a total of 40 halls, in the monastery. These halls are linked by a maze of passageways.

Today, the Hanging Monastery is probably not the best site for meditation due to its transformation into a tourist attraction. Its seemingly impossible engineering alone has attracted numerous people to see the Hanging Monastery for themselves. Others are perhaps inspired by the co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Nevertheless, the precarious position of the structure is certain to cause some to think twice before visiting the Hanging Monastery, and a trip there is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Featured image: The Hanging Monastery of China. (Wikimedia Commons)

By Ḏḥwty


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Travelmail Reporter, 2014. Defying gravity: The spectacular Hanging Temple in China that has been suspended 246-feet above ground for 1,500 years. [Online]
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Marble Medusa Head Unearthed in Ancient Roman Ruins

Posted in ARCHAEOLOGY, EDUCATION, BOOK, MOVIE,MUSIC & SPORT CORNER with tags on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4870

Marble Medusa Head Unearthed in Ancient Roman Ruins


Hurricane Patricia: How Big Can Tropical Cyclones Get?

Posted in SCIENCE with tags on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4869

Hurricane Patricia: How Big Can Tropical Cyclones Get?

Hurricane Patricia is currently churning in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and weather forecasters are calling it the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. Communities in southern Mexico, where the hurricane is expected to make landfall later today (Oct. 23), are already preparing for a “potentially catastrophic” storm. But with the right ingredients, more of these tempests could become monsters, experts say.

Hurricane Patricia is a Category 5 storm — the highest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale that is used to gauge a storm’s intensity — and is expected to have winds of nearly 200 miles per hour (325 km/h) with even higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). After making landfall, the massive storm is expected to weaken and fall apart in the ensuing 36 hours.

According to the NHC, Category 5 hurricanes produce “catastrophic damage” that will destroy roofs and walls in framed homes. “Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” NHC officials wrote on the agency’s website. [Hurricanes from Above: See Photos of Nature’s Biggest Storms]

Category 5 storms typically have winds of at least 157 mph (252 km/h), but Patricia is special; earlier today, the NHC said Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane on record in the area the center monitors, which includes the Atlantic. (Before Patricia, the strongest hurricane measured in the Western Hemisphere was Wilma in 2005, with top wind speeds of 175 mph, or 282 km/h.)

But there is mounting evidence that climate change is contributing to more intense hurricanes, due to warming oceans. A study published in July 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that this century could see a 40 percent global increase in tropical cyclones that are Category 3 and higher.


Fly in the Eye

Credit: NOAA Photo Library
NOAA P-3 flying in eye of Hurricane Caroline. Note the circular eye pictured just below the aircraft.

So, with climate change fueling more monster hurricanes, how big can these storms get?

Hurricanes convert the energy of warm ocean air into powerful winds and waves. As such, warm water is the primary fuel for a hurricane, but the laws of physics dictate that hurricanes can’t simply grow forever.

A 1998 calculation by Kerry Emanuel, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggested an upper limit of 190 mph (306 km/h) for hurricane winds. Emanuel and other hurricane researchers have predicted that wind speeds could increase about 5 percent for every 1 degree Celsius increase in tropical ocean temperatures, but there is still considerable debate. Some say it’s unlikely that hurricane winds will exceed 200 mph (322 km/h).

Still, there have been other recorded non-hurricane wind records: One measurement, on April 12, 1934, atop Mount Washington pegged gusts at 231 mph (372 km/h). And in May 1999, Oklahoma scientists caught a tornado with winds of 318 mph (512 km/h).

Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.


Organs on Demand? 3D Printers Could Build Hearts, Arteries

Posted in SCIENCE with tags , on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4868

Organs on Demand? 3D Printers Could Build Hearts, Arteries

Off-the-shelf 3D printers could one day help create living organs to aid in repairing the human body, researchers say.

Scientists have developed a way to 3D print models of various anatomical structures, including hearts, brains, arteries and bones. In the future, this process could be used to create 3D-printed soft implants in which living tissue can grow to form organs. Another application for this innovative technology could be food printers, reminiscent of the replicators seen on the TV show “Star Trek,” the scientists added.

A 3D printer is a machine that creates items from a wide variety of materials: plastic, ceramic, glass, metal and even more unusual ingredients, such as living cells. The device works by depositing layers of material, just as ordinary printers lay down ink, except 3D printers can also lay down flat layers on top of each other to build 3D objects. [7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine]

Conventional 3D printers manufacture objects from rigid materials, with each layer receiving a sturdy foundation from the layers below. However, printing soft materials has proven to be difficult, akin to building an object out of Jell-O.

“Metals, ceramics and stiff polymers have been 3D printed for many, many years, but soft materials, those that can deform under their own weight, have been more challenging to support during the print process,” said Adam Feinberg, a biomedical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University and senior author of the new study.

Researchers have used 3D printers to create rigid medical devices customized for individual patients; those devices include hearing aids, dental implants andprosthetic hands. However, using 3D printers to create soft implants, a process known as bioprinting, could provide alternatives to traditional transplants for repairing or replacing damaged organs, Feinberg said.

“The potential applications we envision are in the area of tissue engineering — essentially, 3D printing scaffolds and cells to regrow tissues and organs,” Feinberg told Live Science.

The scientists have developed a way of 3D printing soft materials inside a bath of supportive fluid that contains gelatin powder, similar to the type that can be found in a supermarket.

“We print one gel inside of another gel, which allows us to accurately position the soft material as it’s being printed, layer by layer,” Feinberg said in a statement.

Using medical imaging data, the researchers used their new technique, called FRESH, or “Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels,” to print simplified, proof-of-concept anatomical structures. These were made of a variety of biological materials, such as the collagen found in tendons and ligaments. The test structures included a human femur, a human coronary artery, a five-day embryonic chick heart and the external folds of a human brain. [5 Crazy Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech]

The models were printed with a resolution of about 200 microns, the researchers said. (In comparison, the average human hair is about 100 microns wide.)

“We can take materials like collagen, fibrin and alginate, which are the types of materials the body uses to build itself, and 3D print them,” Feinberg said. “We can now build tissue-engineering scaffolds using these materials in incredibly complex structures that more closely match those of real tissues and organs in the body.” (Fibrin helps make up blood clots, while alginate is found in many seaweeds.)

In this new technique, the support gel around the 3D structures can be easily melted away and removed by heating it to body temperature. Such temperatures would not damage any delicate biological molecules or living cells printed out in the method, the scientists said.

The researchers cautioned that they have not yet bioprinted organs. “This work is an important step in that direction by enabling us to use biological materials that we believe are necessary to do this,” Feinberg said. “However, years of research are still required.”

In the future, the researchers plan to incorporate real heart cells into their work, they said. The 3D-printed structures will serve as scaffolds in which the cells can grow and form heart muscle.

Bioprinting living cells is a growing field, but, until now, most 3D bioprinters retailed for more than $100,000, or required specialized expertise to operate (or both), limiting the possibilities for the technique’s widespread adoption. However, this new method can be done with consumer-level 3D printers that cost less than $1,000. It also uses open-source software that the researchers say they invite others to hack and improve.

“Our vision is that other research groups can take this technology and apply it broadly to other tissue-engineering and soft-materials 3D-printing challenges,” Feinberg said.

The scientists detailed their findings online today (Oct. 23) in the journal Science Advances.

Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.


Magnets Might ‘Unlock’ Paralyzed Arm After Stroke

Posted in SCIENCE with tags on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4867

Magnets Might ‘Unlock’ Paralyzed Arm After Stroke

This Breathtaking New Footage Of The B-2 Stealth Bomber Is The Best Ever

Posted in World Military Corner with tags on October 26, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4866

Tyler Rogoway

This Breathtaking New Footage Of The B-2 Stealth Bomber Is The Best Ever

This Breathtaking New Footage Of The B-2 Stealth Bomber Is The Best Ever

With the announcement of who will build the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) seemingly imminent, it is interesting that Northrop Grumman, the builder of the famed B-2 Stealth Bomber, just released this incredible high-definition footage oftheir legendary flying wing design weaving through the skies gracefully.

This incredible imagery that looks to be shot over the deserts of the America’s Southwest, shows all the different angles of the B-2, an aircraft that seemingly changes its look totally depending on what aspect you view it from. Even the back of the jet, an area that the USAF has been very sensitive about photographing as of late, is showcased brilliantly.

The timing of the video is extremely interesting. Maybe Northrop Grumman,who has used its marketing abilities to the max during this high-stakes bomber contractcompetition, is just reminding us one more time who has actually built and maintained the world’s only known combat-proven stealth bomber and manned flying-wing aircraft.

In comparison, Nothrop Grumman’s opponents, a consortium of Boeing andLockheed Martin, have been much quieter when it comes to publicly winning support for their ability to build America’s next bomber.

Regardless of this intense but shadowy competition, it is amazing to think that in the not so distant future, the B-2 Spirit, even though it will remain in service for decades to come, will be America’s “old stealth bomber.”

This will very well be a true statement, but boy does the design still look amazingly otherworldly.

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What Is Mitosis?

Posted in SCIENCE with tags on October 19, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4865

What Is Mitosis?

What Is Meiosis?

Posted in SCIENCE with tags on October 19, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4864


What Is Meiosis?

Meiosis is a specialized form of cell division that produces reproductive cells, such as plant and fungal spores, sperm and egg cells.

All cells originate from other cells. The primary mechanism by which this occurs is through cell division. In general, this process involves a “parent” cell splitting into two or more “daughter” cells. In this way, the parent cell is able to pass on its genetic material from generation to generation.

Cell structure

Based on the relative complexity of their cells, all living organisms are broadly classified as either prokaryotes or eukaryotes. Prokaryotes, such as bacteria, consist of a single cell with a simple internal structure. Their DNA floats freely within the cell in a twisted thread-like mass called the nucleoid.

Eukaryotes, on the other hand, are organisms whose DNA is packed within a central compartment called the nucleus. Animals, plants and fungi are eukaryotes. Eukaryotic cells also usually have specialized components called organelles, such as mitochondria, chloroplasts, the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus and lysosomes. Each performs a specific function.

Mitochondria (red) from the heart muscle cell of a rat. Nearly all our cells have these structures.
Credit: Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research

Eukaryotic cell division

Eukaryotes are capable of two types of cell division. Mitosis allows for cells to produce identical copies of themselves. Thus, the genetic material is duplicated between parent and daughter cells. Single-celled eukaryotes, such as amoeba and yeast, use mitosis to reproduce asexually and increase their population numbers. Multicellular eukaryotes use mitosis to grow or heal injured tissues.

The second type of cell division, meiosis, is a specialized form of cell division that occurs in organisms that reproduce sexually (that is, by combining the unique genetic information of two parents). Meiosis produces reproductive cells, such as sperm cells, egg cells and spores from plants and fungi.

Meiosis and chromosomes

Eukaryotic DNA is compartmentalized into the nucleus within the cell. The long double-helical strands of DNA are wrapped tightly around proteins called histones to form a rod-like structure:the chromosome. For example, cells in the human body have 46 chromosomes in total (this includes two sex chromosomes; XX for women and XY for men).

However, human sperm and egg cells produced through meiosis only have 23 chromosomes.

“Meiosis is reductional,” said M. Andrew Hoyt, a professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University. Meiosis produces daughter cells that have half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell. Thus, when fertilization occurs, the chromosome number is restored. For example, when the human sperm and egg combine during fertilization, they produce a zygote, a cell with 46 chromosomes. Since sexually reproducing organisms receive a set of chromosomes from each parent, each chromosome has a corresponding pair, or homolog.

The daughter cells produced during meiosis are genetically diverse. Homologous chromosomes (that is, chromosome pairs from the mother and the father) exchange bits of DNA to create genetically unique, hybrid chromosomes destined for each daughter cell.

A closer look at meiosis

Meiosis begins with chromosome duplication. Then the cell goes through two consecutive rounds of nuclear divisions, termed meiosis I and meiosis II, according to the journal Nature. As a result, the overall process of meiosis produces four daughter cells from one single parent cell. Each daughter cell has half the number of chromosomes as the original parent cell. The mechanisms of mitosis and meiosis are very similar.

Meiosis I

Prior to meiosis I, the duplicated chromosomes, also known as sister chromatids, fuse together. The point at which they are joined is called the centromere, and the complex resembles the shape of the letter “X.” The chromosomes become compacted, dense structures during each nuclear division, and are visible under the microscope.

There are four stages in meiosis I, according to the authors of “Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th Ed” (Garland Science, 2002):

Prophase I: During this stage, sister chromatids from the maternal set of chromosomes pair together with their homologs from the paternal set of chromosomes. Together, they resemble two X’s sitting next to each other. The maternal chromatids exchange bits of their DNA with the paternal chromatids and recombine to create genetic variation. Even though the sex chromosomes in a male human (X and Y) are not homologs, they can still pair together and exchange DNA. Recombination only occurs within a small region of the two chromosomes where there is homology.

By the end of prophase I the nuclear membrane breaks down.

Metaphase I: The meiotic spindle, a network of protein filaments, emerges from a structure called the centriole, positioned at either end of the cell. The meiotic spindle latches onto the fused sister chromatids. By the end of metaphase I, all the fused sister chromatids are tethered at their centromeres, and line up in the middle of the cell. The homologs still look like two X’s sitting close together.

Anaphase I: The spindle fibers start to contract, pulling the fused sister chromatids with them. That is to say, each X-shaped complex moves away from the other, toward opposite ends of the cell.

Telophase I: The fused sister chromatids reach either end of the cell. The cell body splits into two.

Meiosis I results in two daughter cells, each of which contains a set of fused sister chromatids. Furthermore, the genetic makeup of each daughter cell is distinct because of the DNA exchange between homologs.

The two daughter cells from meiosis I move into meiosis II without any further chromosome duplication.

Meiosis II

“Meiosis II looks like mitosis,” Hoyt told LiveScience. “It’s an equational division.” That means that by the end of the process, the chromosome number is unchanged between the cells that enter meiosis II and the resulting daughter cells.

The four stages of meiosis II are as follows:

Prophase II: The nuclear membrane disintegrates, and meiotic spindles begin to form once again.

Metaphase II: The meiotic spindles latch onto the centromere of the sister chromatids, and they all line up at the center of the cell.

Anaphase II: The spindle fibers begin to contract and the sister chromatids are pulled apart. Each individual chromosome now begins to move to either end of the cell.

Telophase II: The chromosomes reach opposite ends of the cell. The nuclear membrane forms again and the cell body splits into two

Meiosis II results in four daughter cells, each with the same number of chromosomes. However, each chromosome is unique and contains a mix of genetic information from the maternal and paternal chromosomes contained in the original parent cell.

In the case of humans, special cells called germ cells undergo meiosis and ultimately give rise to sperm or eggs. Germ cells contain a complete set of 46 chromosomes (23 maternal chromosomes and 23 paternal chromosomes). By the end of meiosis, the resulting reproductive cells, or gametes, each have 23 genetically unique chromosomes.

The importance of meiosis

Proper segregation of chromosomes during meiosis I and II is essential to generate healthy sperm and egg cells, and by extension, healthy embryos. Failed chromosomal segregation is called nondisjunction, and can result in gametes with missing chromosomes or extra chromosomes, according to the authors of “Molecular Biology of the Cell.”

When gametes with abnormal chromosome numbers fertilize, most resulting embryos do not survive and are destroyed through spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). However, not all chromosomal abnormalities are fatal, according to “Molecular Biology of the Cell.” For example, Down syndrome is a result of having an extra copy of chromosome 21. People with Klinefelter syndrome are male, but have an extra X chromosome. The occurrence of such segregation errors during meiosis increases with the age of the mother.

One of the most significant impacts of meiosis is that it generates genetic diversity through the recombination of homologous chromosomes. “We are re-assorting the genetic information into new combinations, and that has great benefit,” Hoyt told LiveScience. “Heredity works best when you’re not just making exact duplicates. Shuffling the genetic information allows you to find new combinations which will perhaps be more fit in the real world.”

Additional resources


9 Cool Facts About Magnets

Posted in SCIENCE with tags on October 19, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4863

9 Cool Facts About Magnets

Giant ‘Hole’ in Sun Is 50 Earths Wide

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags on October 19, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Giant ‘Hole’ in Sun Is 50 Earths Wide

Three Mid-Level Solar Flares March 7-9, 2015

Credit: NASA/SDO
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory obtained images of three mid-level solar flares that erupted on March 7-9, 2015, all from the same active region on thesurface of the sun. Image released March 10, 2015. Read the Full Story Here.