Archive for March 2014

Newly Found Megalithic Ruins In Russia Contain The Largest Blocks Of Stone Ever Discovered

An incredible discovery that was recently made in Russia threatens to shatter conventional theories about the history of the planet. On Mount Shoria in southern Siberia, researchers have found an absolutely massive wall of granite stones. Some of these gigantic granite stones are estimated to weigh more than 3,000 tons, and as you will see below, many of them were cut “with flat surfaces, right angles, and sharp corners”. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been discovered before.

The largest stone found at the megalithic ruins at Baalbek, Lebanon is less than 1,500 tons. So how in the world did someone cut 3,000 ton granite stones with extreme precision, transport them up the side of a mountain and stack them 40 meters high? According to the commonly accepted version of history, it would be impossible for ancient humans with very limited technology to accomplish such a thing. Could it be possible that there is much more to the history of this planet than we are being taught?

For years, historians and archaeologists have absolutely marveled at the incredibly huge stones found at Baalbek. But some of these stones in Russia are reportedly more than twice the size. Needless to say, a lot of people are getting very excited about this discovery.

Another very unusual thing about these stones is that they caused the compasses of the researchers to start behaving very strangely.

The following is an excerpt from a story on a Russian news source

Some events that were happening during the autumn expedition could probably be called mystical. The compasses of the geologists behaved very strangely, for some unknown reason their arrows were deviating from the megaliths. What could this mean? All that was clear was that they came across an inexplicable phenomenon of the negative geomagnetic field. Could this be a remnant of ancient antigravity technologies?

Of course much more research needs to be done on this site.

Nobody knows who cut these stones or how old they are.

via Newly Found Megalithic Ruins In Russia Contain The Largest Blocks Of Stone Ever Discovered | The Daily Sheeple.

Surveillance by Algorithm

PatriotGames_blackop

Increasingly, we are watched not by people but by algorithms. Amazon and Netflix track the books we buy and the movies we stream, and suggest other books and movies based on our habits. Google and Facebook watch what we do and what we say, and show us advertisements based on our behavior. Google even modifies our web search results based on our previous behavior. Smartphone navigation apps watch us as we drive, and update suggested route information based on traffic congestion. And the National Security Agency, of course, monitors our phone calls, emails and locations, then uses that information to try to identify terrorists.

Documents provided by Edward Snowden and revealed by the Guardian today show that the UK spy agency GHCQ, with help from the NSA, has been collecting millions of webcam images from innocent Yahoo users. And that speaks to a key distinction in the age of algorithmic surveillance: is it really okay for a computer to monitor you online, and for that data collection and analysis only to count as a potential privacy invasion when a person sees it? I say it’s not, and the latest Snowden leaks only make more clear how important this distinction is.

The robots-vs-spies divide is especially important as we decide what to do about NSA and GCHQ surveillance. The spy community and the Justice Department have reported back early on President Obama’s request for changing how the NSA “collects” your data, but the potential reforms — FBI monitoring, holding on to your phone records and more — still largely depend on what the meaning of “collects” is.

Indeed, ever since Snowden provided reporters with a trove of top secret documents, we’ve been subjected to all sorts of NSA word games. And the word “collect” has a very special definition, according to the Department of Defense (DoD). A 1982 procedures manual (pdf; page 15) says: “information shall be considered as ‘collected’ only when it has been received for use by an employee of a DoD intelligence component in the course of his official duties.” And “data acquired by electronic means is ‘collected’ only when it has been processed into intelligible form.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper likened the NSA’s accumulation of data to a library. All those books are stored on the shelves, but very few are actually read. “So the task for us in the interest of preserving security and preserving civil liberties and privacy,” says Clapper, “is to be as precise as we possibly can be when we go in that library and look for the books that we need to open up and actually read.” Only when an individual book is read does it count as “collection,” in government parlance.

So, think of that friend of yours who has thousands of books in his house. According to the NSA, he’s not actually “collecting” books. He’s doing something else with them, and the only books he can claim to have “collected” are the ones he’s actually read.

This is why Clapper claims — to this day — that he didn’t lie in a Senate hearing when he replied “no” to this question: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

via Schneier on Security: Surveillance by Algorithm.

Magnetic materials could make future computers 1,000 times more efficient

Anyone who has ever taken the term “laptop” seriously can attest to the extraordinary amount of heat they produce when the processor is cranking away. Despite years of advances in processor design, there is still a lot of heat produced as a by-product of running a CPU. This is all wasted energy that could be used for more productive purposes, but first we need a new approach to microprocessor design. A team of UCLA engineers might have figured out a way to make integrated circuits far more efficient by using a class of magnetic materials called multiferroics.

The standard processors in your computer, phone, and even your TV rely on millions or billions of transistors packaged as an integrated circuit. A transistor is essentially a tiny electronic switch that, when chained together, act as logic gates (AND, OR, etc.) Directing current through a transistor involves a certain amount of inefficiency, resulting in heat generation and the loss of electrons. There’s really no way around that as long as you’re moving electrons from one place to another, and the problem only gets worse as more transistors are packed into smaller spaces. A multiferroic material sidesteps the issue using a phenomenon known as spin waves.

A multiferroic material can be switched on and off at will simply by applying alternating voltage. Doing so allows it to carry power from one point to another through the cascading spins of electrons rather than by actually moving them. This complex magnetic effect is called a spin wave bus, but you can think of it a bit like an ocean wave. The energy of the wave moves in toward shore, but individual water molecules don’t have to go anywhere — they just move up and down as the wave passes.

via Magnetic materials could make future computers 1,000 times more efficient | ExtremeTech.

Did Astronomers Find the Oldest Spiral Galaxy in the Cosmos?

oldest-spiral

In July of 2012, astronomers observed a spiral galaxy in the early universe, billions of years before many other spiral galaxies formed while using the Hubble Space Telescope. They were taking pictures of about 300 very distant galaxies in the early universe to study their properties. This distant object existed roughly three billion years after the Big Bang, and light from this part of the universe has been traveling to Earth for about 10.7 billion years.

“The fact that this galaxy exists is astounding,” said David Law, lead author of the study a fellow at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. “Current wisdom holds that such ‘grand-design’ spiral galaxies simply didn’t exist at such an early time in the history of the universe.” A ‘grand design’ galaxy has prominent, well-formed spiral arms.

“As you go back in time to the early universe, galaxies look really strange, clumpy and irregular, not symmetric,” said Alice Shapley, a UCLA associate professor of physics and astronomy, and co-author of the study. “The vast majority of old galaxies look like train wrecks. Our first thought was, why is this one so different, and so beautiful?”

“BX442 looks like a nearby galaxy, but in the early universe, galaxies were colliding together much more frequently,” she said. “Gas was raining in from the intergalactic medium and feeding stars that were being formed at a much more rapid rate than they are today; black holes grew at a much more rapid rate as well. The universe today is boring compared to this early time.”

Galaxies in today’s universe divide into various types, including spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way, which are rotating disks of stars and gas in which new stars form, and elliptical galaxies, which include older, redder stars moving in random directions. The mix of galaxy structures in the early universe is quite different, with a much greater diversity and larger fraction of irregular galaxies, Shapley said.

The galaxy, which goes by the not very glamorous name of BX442, is quite large compared with other galaxies from this early time in the universe; only about 30 of the galaxies that Law and Shapley analyzed are as massive as this galaxy.

via Did Astronomers Find the Oldest Spiral Galaxy in the Cosmos?.

State Department Announces New Stance on Encryption and Surveillance

Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby acknowledged “support for encryption protocols,” which are “critical for an Internet that that is truly open to all.” According to Busby, the U.S. government will gather and use data based on six principles: “rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, competent authority, oversight, and transparency and democratic accountability.”

When questioned on its support, Busby explained that the principles were approved government-wide, including Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is headed by James Clapper. Clapper has been criticized for giving deceptive testimony before congress about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) practices.

His statements were not without immediate criticism. A legislator from Hong Kong responded that the U.S. government actively “undermin[es] exactly the kind of things [Busby] talked about,” and that his government was “attacked and criticized” by the U.S. after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong.

Nevertheless, a representative from the human rights organization Access, which hosts RightsCon, explained at a press conference that the statement from the government is significant, because it is not only “a strong statement on support for cybersecurity and encryption,” but an affirmation of “human rights law which historically they’ve been loath to acknowledge,” and “the first time they recognize international norms and laws as they apply when conducting surveillance.”

As Jon Brodkin of ArsTechnica highlighted last year, the National Security Agency has previously worked to actively undermine encryption.

via State Department Announces New Stance on Encryption and Surveillance – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Brazilian Scientist: Ayahuasca/DMT Can Effectively Treat Cancer

Eduardo Schenberg, of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently published a piece in Sage Journals, detailing his belief that Ayahuasca has cancer-fighting abilities, essentially encouraging the legalization of research in the field.

He says, “There is enough available evidence that Ayahuasca’s active principles, especially DMT and harmine, have positive effects in some cell cultures used to study cancer, and in biochemical processes important in cancer treatment, both in vitro and in vivo,” and “Therefore, the few available reports of people benefiting from Ayahuasca in their cancer treatment experiences should be taken seriously, and the hypothesis presented here, fully testable by rigorous scientific experimentation, helps to understand the available cases and pave the way for new experiments.”

“In summary, it is hypothesized that the combined actions of β-carbolines and DMT present in Ayahuasca may diminish tumor blood supply, activate apoptotic pathways, diminish cell proliferation, and change the energetic metabolic imbalance of cancer cells, which is known as the Warburg effect,” Schenberg wrote. “Therefore, Ayahuasca may act on cancer hallmarks such as angiogenesis, apoptosis, and cell metabolism.”

“If Ayahuasca is scientifically proven to have the healing potentials long recorded by anthropologists, explorers, and ethnobotanists, outlawing Ayahuasca or its medical use and denying people adequate access to its curative effects could be perceived as an infringement on human rights, a serious issue that demands careful and thorough discussion.”

Similar to the way cancer has been successfully treated with cannabis oil, or vitamin B-17 from the apricot pit, it is emerging as a viable possibility that Ayahuasca is another herbal, ancient cure to disease found in abundance in the new world of synthetic consumption.

via Brazilian Scientist: Ayahuasca/DMT Can Effectively Treat Cancer | The Mind Unleashed.

The Hibernating Stellar Magnet

Astronomers have discovered a possible magnetar that emitted 40 visible-light flashes before disappearing again.

Magnetars are young neutron stars with an ultra-strong magnetic field a billion times stronger than that of the Earth.

The twisting of magnetic field lines in magnetars give rise to ”starquakes”, which will eventually lead to an intense soft gamma-ray burst.

In the case of the SWIFT source, the optical flares that reached the Earth were probably due to ions ripped out from the surface of the magnetar and gyrating around the field lines.

via The Hibernating Stellar Magnet (artist’s impression) | ESO.