Archive for November, 2015

1,700-Year-Old Ring Depicts Nude Cupid, the Homewrecking God

Posted in ARCHAEOLOGY with tags , , on November 25, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4914

1,700-Year-Old Ring Depicts Nude Cupid, the Homewrecking God



This Jaw-Dropping Visualization Shows the Extent to Which Diseases Spread Among Species

Posted in HEALTH with tags on November 25, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4913

George Dvorsky

This Jaw-Dropping Visualization Shows the Extent to Which Diseases Spread Among Species

This Jaw-Dropping Visualization Shows the Extent to Which Diseases Spread Among Species

Around 60% of all human diseases and some 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they spread from species to species. This remarkable visualization shows how these problematic pathogens proliferate among the animals.

A research team from the UK collected data from 1950 to 2012 to create a database of host-pathogen and related species interactions, along with their global distribution. Their resulting visualization maps the overlapping relationships between infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and the hosts they infect.

This Jaw-Dropping Visualization Shows the Extent to Which Diseases Spread Among Species

Each node, shown as a dot, represents a vertebrate species—such as chickens, rats, and rabbits—and the size of each node depends on the number of unique pathogens that tend to infect a particular species. So that big red dot labeled “human” means we’re the species cursed with the most unique pathogens. Dogs, pigs, and cattle aren’t too far behind.

All animals are color-coded into nine distinct groups, including humans, mammals, domestics, reptiles, fish, and so on. Interestingly, rodents, as a subset of mammals, get their own group.

Lines strewn between two nodes mean they both share at least one possible pathogen species. The thickness of each connection is proportional to the number of possible pathogen species shared between the species.

Clearly, humans and their mammalian domestics share diseases on the regular. We also seem to have some rather serious linkages to both the rodents group and lizards group, the latter probably indicating the spread of Salmonella and other related pathogens.

Read the entire study at Nature: “Database of host-pathogen and related species interactions, and their global distribution”.

H/t Wired!

Email the author at and follow him at @dvorsky. Top image by Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

Posted in GEOLOGY with tags on November 25, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4912

George Dvorsky

What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

A stretch of Vasquez Canyon Road in Santa Clarita has inexplicably lifted upwards over the course of just a few hours. Geologists are stumped.

As CBS Los Angeles reports, it all started last Thursday, November 19, when motorists starting calling the California Highway Patrol about the road lifting and warping. Over the course of the next three days, the road kept rising along a 200-foot (60 meter) stretch. In some places the road lifted as much as 15 feet (4.6 meters), and some sections were practically vertical.

As noted in the Santa Clarita Valley News, some people thought it was triggered by an earthquake, while others joked that it was caused by the worm-like creatures featured in the Tremors movies.

But what’s particularly strange about this event is that it wasn’t precipitated by any obvious geological phenomenon (or mythical subterranean creature, for that matter), be it an earthquake or rainstorm. Even weirder is the fact that it happened over the span of a few hours.

What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

(Credit: CBS LA)

UCLA professor Jeremy Boyce recently visited the site with his students. Here’s what he told CBS News:

When we think about geology, we think about processes that happen over millions and billions of years, so the opportunity to bring students out and see something happening over a scale of hours gives them the idea that not only does geology take forever, it can also happen almost instantaneously.

Over at the AGU Landslide Blog, geologist Dave Petley makes the case that it was caused by a progressive landslide, though one without an obvious trigger. This photo, taken from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, offers a revealing perspective:

What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

(Credit: Santa Clarita Valley Signal)

Petley admits that media reports of the road rising up appear to be accurate.

A spokesperson for the LA County Department of Public Works described it as some “really extraordinary soil movement” that turned the road into “essentially catastrophic failure.” Indeed, it appears as though the soil moved underneath the road, and then lifted it up. Which is quite odd. Normally, a landslide would just wipe the road away.

Before-and-after pics of the site show that the road is situated on a box cut, and that the unloading of material from the slope likely contributed to the landslide.

What the Hell Caused This California Road to Suddenly Rise Up and Crumble?

(Credit: YouTube via AGU Landslide Blog)

Footage of the road from a few years back show signs of extensive cracking, though nothing quite on the current scale.

A geology professor at College of the Canyons referred to it as a “massive wasting event,” adding that “some sort of water event saturated the rock” causing it to act as a lubricant, thus facilitating the layers above it to move along a curved surface.

Here’s some drone footage of the site:

Needless to say, the stretch of Vasquez Canyon Road between Lost Creek Road and Vasquez Way is closed until further notice. Geologists will continue to investigate.

[CBS News | CBS Los Angeles | AGU Landslide Blog | Santa Clarita Valley Signal]

Email the author at and follow him at @dvorsky. Top image by KTLA5

Skeleton of Burnt ‘Witch Girl’ Found in Italy

Posted in ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on November 23, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4911

Skeleton of Burnt ‘Witch Girl’ Found in Italy


A Magic Moment: The Milky Way from Yellowstone National Park (Photo)

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags on November 23, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4910

A Magic Moment: The Milky Way from Yellowstone National Park (Photo)

View full size image

Before twilight and shortly after the moon set in Yellowstone National Park, astrophotographer A. Garrett Evans found the perfect moment to capture this stunning image.

Evans took the image from near the edge of the Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone on June 27 and recently shared it (You can see more of Evans’ amazing night sky photos here.)

“I had less then an hour to complete the shots I wanted from this location after the moon set and before twilight started to brighten the scene,” Evans wrote in an email to [See More Stunning Photos of the Milky Way]

Made up of dust, gas and roughly 400 billion stars, the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy  stretching between 100,000 to 120,000 light-years in diameter. It is visible as a dazzling band of light in the night sky.

The steam from the spring can be seen center right in the frame. The lines in the foreground created by the silica and the colors created by the microbial mats that grow around the edge of the spring.

“All the sights in the park are amazing some maybe even more so at night!” Evans added.


Concussions: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Posted in HEALTH with tags , on November 23, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4909

Concussions: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

  • Being involved in a motor vehicle collision
  • Being involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident
  • Being a soldier involved in combat
  • Being a victim of physical abuse
  • Falling, especially in young children and older adults
  • Participating in a high-risk sport, such as football, hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing or other contact sport; the risk is further increased if there’s a lack of proper safety equipment and supervision
  • Having had a previous concussion


Many of the symptoms of a concussion are hard to notice. Common symptoms are headache, loss of memory (the person may not remember recent events or what caused the injury) and confusion. According to the Mayo Clinic symptoms of a concussion may also include:

  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Ringing in the ears

Symptoms may be apparent immediately or they may be delayed by hours or days after injury. Some symptoms that may take time to appear, according to the Mayo Clinic, are irritability or other personality changes, problems with concentration and memory, sensitivity to light and noise, problems sleeping, depression and sensory problems such as the inability to taste or smell.

Symptoms in children can be different than in adults and even harder to diagnose since it is difficult for young children to express how they feel. Parents and caretakers should look for strange behavior like listlessness, appearing dazed, easily becoming tired, crankiness, unusual clumsiness or unsteady walking, excessive crying or changes in eating or sleeping.

Contrary to popular belief, most concussions do not cause a person to pass out. Many do not seek medical help because of this.


In the United States, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related TBIs occur each year, according to the CDC. A TBI kills brain cells and creates chemical changes in the brain.

Dr. Kory Gill, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and team physician for Texas A&M University Athletics, told Live Science that the most important thing people should know about concussions is that they are not like other sports injuries where it is okay to “play hurt” or “play through the pain.”

“Playing when you have not completely recovered from a concussion is dangerous and could be deadly,” said Gill. “Become familiar with the signs/symptoms of concussions and if you think you or a teammate has a concussion speak up. It’s actually a law (Zackery Lystedt Law) now that players, coaches, staff and parents be educated on concussions pre-participation.”

Zackery Lystedt was a 13-year-old football player in the Seattle, Washington, area who was permanently disabled after sustaining a concussion in 2006. He was prematurely returned to the game, according to the CDC. After the game, Lystedt collapsed on the field. He underwent emergency surgery to remove the left and right sides of his skull to relieve the pressure from his swelling brain. He experienced numerous strokes, seven days on a ventilator and three months in a coma.

After he awoke, Lystedt spent four weeks in a nursing home and two months in a children’s hospital for rehabilitation. It was nine months before he spoke his first word, 13 months before he moved a leg or an arm, and 20 months on a feeding tube, according to the CDC. It would be nearly three years before he would stand, with assistance, on his own two feet. The Washington legislature passed the Lystedt Law in 2009, and other states have passed similar laws to help protect young athletes.

Older athletes need protection too. A recent study found thatprofessional football players who have lost consciousness due to a concussion may have an increased risk of changes in the brain and decline in their memory later in life.


CT scans and blood tests can be used to diagnose concussions. Rest is usually the most common treatment for concussions. The brain shouldn’t be idle for too long, though. “While a short period of rest is important to allow the brain some time to heal, extended rest and sensory reduction (no TV or electronics) actually prolongs symptoms rather than helping,” said Dr. Kenneth Podell, a neuropsychologist at Houston Methodist Hospital. When in doubt, consult with a medical professional.

A single concussion usually recovers well and the person affected usually isn’t bothered with long-term problems. Rarely, if a second concussion occurs before the brain has healed from the first concussion, it can lead to rapid and severe brain swelling and even death. This condition is also called the second impact syndrome and occurs in people under the age of 21.

“It’s critical to protect children from head injuries because their brains are still developing and the tissue isn’t fully formed,” Dr. Joseph Rempson, co-director of the Center for Concussion Care and Physical Rehabilitation at Overlook Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute in Summit, New Jersey, told Live Science. “According to research, the brain continues to evolve until an individual is 20 to 25 years old. If a childinjures his or her brain, they may not reach their full developmental potential from a memory or cognitive standpoint.”

Dr. Vani Rao, a neuropsychiatrist and co-author of “The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior After Brain Injury” (Johns Hopkins Press, 2015), noted that the majority of people who sustain a single concussion recover without any long-lasting consequences. However, multiple concussions can increase risk for developing chronic neuropsychiatric problems such as depression, aggression and cognitive problems.

Additional resources

Giant Bling: World’s Second-Largest Diamond Unearthed

Posted in GEOLOGY with tags on November 21, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 7222

Giant Bling: World’s Second-Largest Diamond Unearthed