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Believe It or Not

Tree Of 40 Fruit: ‘Frankenstein’ Hybrid Plant !

23 July 2015

If you think this tree looks amazing, you should know it is also a scientific marvel. Using a “chip grafting” technique, art professor Sam Van Aken has created a series of ‘Frankenstein’ trees which are capable of producing 40 different types of stone fruit at once including peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds – and this month they’ll be ripe and ready to eat. Van Aken explained his method during a TEDx Manhattan talk.

He said: “I take a sliver off one of the trees that includes the bud, I insert it into a like-size incision in the working tree, tape it, let it sit and heal in all winter, then I prune it back and hope that it grows.” Van Aken’s experiments began in 2008 when he came across a neglected orchard on the verge of bankruptcy. He promptly bought the property and began splicing. The Tree of 40 Fruit project sees each tree take around five years to create, and has yielded 16 trees so far. They are planted in these locations around the United States. Speaking in a new video for National Geographic, Van Aken said: “Part of the idea behind the Tree of 40 Fruit was to plant them in locations that people would stumble upon them.

“And once they happened upon one of these trees, they would start to question ‘Why are the leaves shaped differently?’ ‘Why are they different colours?’”Explaining his inspiration to Huffington Post, he added: “I was able to see the grafting process while growing up on a farm and have always been fascinated by how one living thing cut could be cut inserted into another living thing and continue to grow.

“As this fascination evolved I came to see grafting used as a metaphor for sexuality such as in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the modern man such as Frankenstein. Like the forms in these books I wanted the tree to be the beginning of a narrative. A form that when seen causes one to create narrative.”And guess what? The 16 trees involved in the project are currently entering harvest season and should soon be heavy with 40 different varieties of fruit…


UNEXPLAINED ‘Fairy Circles’, in the Namib Desert !

23 July 2015

The bizarre grass-ringed patches of barren land cover more than 1,000 miles of the Namib desert in Southern Africa. Astonishingly, each ring can measure between two and 20 metres in diameter. Images of the mysterious craters, known as Fairy Circles were caught by professional photographer Thomas Dressler, 58, between 2010 to 2014.

Theories of how the Fairy Circles got there have ranged over the years – some suggest that termites or radioactive soil are to blame, while others believe something more sinister like meteorites or UFOs. Dressler, who is fascinated with the phenomenon said:

“I regularly travel to this location because the Namib Desert, including the pre-Namib, for me, belong to the most stunning landscapes on earth. It was very exciting to fly over the area for the first time. He added: “Scientists have not found a definite explanation for the Fairy Circles yet. Termites seem to be the most popular theory. But people talk about fungi, Gods, spirits and even dragons. It’s difficult to form an opinion about something which is still a mystery – even for those who studied and investigated these circles extensively for years.”

Pluto mystery: Four huge identical ‘holes’ found !

23 July 2015

Tyler Glockner, who runs the Secureteam YouTube UFO channel, has released a video entitled: “Mysterious Pluto Anomalies…Alien Ship or Dwarf Planet?” Over recent images of Pluto released by Nasa, he says: “What is going on with Pluto? “I ask this after seeing the Nasa new New Horizons images. “I am literally questioning whether this thing is actually a planet or something else. “You can immediately make out anomalies – lines and structures.” He pointed out four dark circular areas towards the bottom of the dwarf planet, which Nasa says are 300 miles each across.

Even Nasa’s own experts are baffled by the astonishing regularity of the holes. Glockner goes further adding: “These are four perfect holes, sitting side by side. What other moon, plant or dwarf planet has such anomalies? “What is Nasa’s explanation. I can’t wait to hear it. “They call it a dwarf planet, but I am not sure. This thing is very mysterious. I don’t think something is right here.” Secureteam was behind the recent video appearing to show a code-shaped UFO descending to earth through the clouds, as revealed by Several other UFO investigators have branded the channel’s videos as hoaxes, while Mr Spence insists he is carrying out genuine research.

Aside from Secureteam’s wild speculation, the “dark spots” have puzzled many traditional star-gazers, including Nasa experts. Just days ago the US Space Agency released the latest images of the spots, saying: “Three billion miles from Earth and just two and a half million miles from Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has taken its best image of four dark spots that continue to captivate. “The spots appear on the side of Pluto that always faces its largest moon, Charon.” Unfortunately, we are not going to get any closer views than those released on Saturday, as it was the face that was invisible to New Horizons as it passed Pluto at the closest point yesterday. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, described the image as “the last, best look that anyone will have of Pluto’s far side for decades to come.” The spots are connected to a dark belt that circles Pluto’s equatorial region.

What continues to pique the interest of scientists is their similar size and even spacing. “It’s weird that they’re spaced so regularly,” said New Horizons program scientist Curt Niebur at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, added: “We can’t tell whether they’re plateaus or plains, or whether they’re brightness variations on a completely smooth surface. “The large dark areas are now estimated to be 300 miles across, an area roughly the size of the state of Missouri. In comparison with earlier images, we now see that the dark areas are more complex than they initially appeared, while the boundaries between the dark and bright terrains are irregular and sharply defined.”

Massless particles, they could Revolutionize Electronics 1

23 July 2015

After 85 years of searching, researchers have confirmed the existence of a massless particle called the Weyl fermion for the first time ever. With the unique ability to behave as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, this strange particle can create electrons that have no mass. The discovery is huge, not just because we finally have proof that these elusive particles exist, but because it paves the way for far more efficient electronics, and new types of quantum computing. “Weyl fermions could be used to solve the traffic jams that you get with electrons in electronics – they can move in a much more efficient, ordered way than electrons,” lead researcher and physicist M. Zahid Hasan from Princeton University in the US told Anthony Cuthbertson over at IBTimes. “They could lead to a new type of electronics we call ‘Weyltronics’.”

So what exactly is a Weyl fermion? Although we’re often taught in high school science that the Universe is made up of atoms, from a particle physics point of view, everything is actually made up of fermions and bosons. Put very simply, fermions are the building blocks that make up all matter, such as electrons, and bosons are the things that carry force, such as photons. Electrons are the backbone of today’s electronics, and while they carry charge pretty well, they also have the tendency to bounce into each other and scatter, losing energy and producing heat. But back in 1929, a German physicist called Hermann Weyl theorised that a massless fermion must exist, that could carry charge far more efficiently than regular electrons.

And now the team at Princeton has shown that they do indeed exist. In fact, they’ve shown that in a test medium, Weyl electrons can carry charge at least 1,000 times faster than electrons in ordinary semiconductors, and twice as fast as inside wonder-material graphene. They’re also far more efficient than electrons, the team reports in Science, because the particle’s spin is both in the same direction as its motion (which physicists call ‘right-handed) and opposite its direction (‘left-handed’) at the same time. This means that all the fermions move in exactly the same way and can traverse through and around obstacles that scatter normal electrons. “It’s like they have their own GPS and steer themselves without scattering,” Hasan said in a press release. “They will move and move only in one direction since they are either right-handed or left-handed and never come to an end because they just tunnel through. These are very fast electrons that behave like unidirectional light beams and can be used for new types of quantum computing.”

What’s particularly cool about the discovery is that the researchers found the Weyl fermion in a synthetic crystal in the lab, unlike most other particle discoveries, such as the famous Higgs boson, which are only observed in the aftermath of particle collisions. This means that the research is easily reproducible, and scientists will be able to immediately begin figuring out how to use the Weyl fermion in electronics. The team found the particle after specially formulating a semi-metal crystal called tantalum arsenide, which had previously been flagged by researchers in China as a potential ‘home’ for the Weyl fermion. After finding traces of the elusive particle in their lab, they took the crystals to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, where they fired high-energy photon beams through them. The signature of the beams on the other side confirmed that the crystals did indeed contain the Weyl fermion.

Weyl fermions are what’s known as quasiparticles, which means they can only exist in a solid such as a crystal, and not as standalone particles. But further research will help scientists work out just how useful they could be.

A Microwave-Powered Rocket Engine !

22 jULY 2015

Putting objects into space is really really difficult, it’s also hugely expensive which is why companies are constantly looking for new and cheaper ways to keep the space race moving.

One such company is Escape Dynamics which claims to have created a revolutionary new propulsion system that lifts the rocket off the ground using nothing but….microwaves. The system works by firing a directed beam of microwaves at the underside of the spacecraft where a heat exchanger sparks a small quantity of liquid hydrogen fuel. A large array of emitters would track the spacecraft as it makes its ascent into space, providing the little spacecraft with a constant source of energy. Ok so that sounds a little far-fetched and indeed it certainly doesn’t sound like the easiest way to get something into space over say, piggy-backing or conventional rockets.

It does come with some pretty major plus points though, the first of which is cost. If managed effectively this would be significantly cheaper as a form of travel, while also freeing up a lot of space on the ship that would normally be reserved for the rocket itself. The team claim to have actually built a working prototype which they say is already showing promising results. Where this idea will make or break itself though is in the scale. At present the system hasn’t tried to lift anything near the size of a spacecraft and while patience will be needed, it’s something that the space industry is having increasingly less of.

The Futuristic TF-X Flying Car, Is Sure To Blow Your Mind !

22 jULY 2015

Could cars fly? Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia has proved, time and again, they can. The Terrafugia Transition, a roadable aircraft and the firm’s original flying car model, completed its first public flight back in 2013. While the vehicle is still under development, the company is already in the process of building an improved version of the Transition. A stunning piece of innovation, the TF-X is an incredibly futuristic, vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) electric car. Recently, the developers have unveiled photos of the vehicle’s new, and more advanced, design.

An upgraded version of the Transition, the TF-X boasts a number of improvements, including the ability to take off as well as land vertically. Unlike the former, which requires an actual runway to get airborne, the new model can lift-off from a field, no more than 30.5 meters (around 100 feet) in diameter. Additionally, the four-seat car features two retractable wings, each of which contains a powerful 600-hp electric motor pod affixed to its end. During take off, the wings fold out from the sides, and specially-designed propellers extend from the twin motor pods. When sufficiently airborne, the propellers withdraw to their original position, while a ducted fan provides the necessary thrust to keep the vehicle at a cruising speed of around 200 mph (nearly 322 km/h).

Powered by a 300-hp engine, it can fly up to 500 miles (about 805 km), before it has to be refueled. While on the ground, however, the TF-X drives like a normal car, with the wings folded back into their former position. According to the developers, it is far easier to operate than a helicopter, so much so that the user can learn to fly the vehicle in less than five hours. This is mainly because it offers an automatic flight option, needing only the destination information from the user. In this mode, the TF-X can automatically predict air traffic and restricted airspace, as well as bad weather conditions. What is more, if the technology malfunctions mid-air, the pilot can actuate an emergency parachute system.

The recently-unveiled photos show off a sleeker and more futuristic design. According to Terrafugia’s press release, a prototype, one-tenth the size of the actual TF-X flying car, has already been developed and it currently on display at Wisconsin’s EAA AirVenture. It will soon undergo testing at MIT’s Wright Brothers wind tunnel. The technology, however, is still 8 to 12 years away from being commercial viable.


22 July 2015

A collaborative effort from the United States Army and Boeing’s defense and security division entails a brand new Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) that is capable of emitting a highly focused beam of energy. In other words, it is a big laser cannon with a bad-ass name of High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). So what exactly are the merits of an advanced photon cannon? Well, according to the engineers, the HEL MD has the capacity to emanate a 10-kilowatt energy laser from the mobile vehicle – which is enough to take out incoming missiles and mortar shells (see video below). Furthermore, the Boeing scientists are in talks to develop an even more potent version that could fire up 50 to 60-kilowatt laser shots that can easily dismantle (or at least disperse) high-range missiles and UAVs.

And quite interestingly, the HEL MD cannon can be operated with the help of the familiar Xbox controller. This is how it works – while one of the men drives the truck (along which the HEL MD is mounted), the other person sits snugly with his laptop and an Xbox controller. This simple connected system is used to lock on to targets, and presumably take it out.

Kazakhstan villagers are mysteriously falling asleep !

22 July 2015

Since 2013, a mysterious sleeping sickness has been affecting two isolated villages in northern Kazakhstan. Over the past two years, more than 140 people in Kalachi and Krasnogorsk have fallen asleep suddenly, sometimes while walking or riding their bikes, and occasionally becoming unconscious for up to six days at a time, waking up with memory loss, headaches and grogginess. Others suffered more temporary blackouts, as well as vivid hallucinations.

“The sick person appears to be conscious and can even walk,” the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravdareported in 2014. “But all the same he then falls into a deep sleep and snores, and when they wake him up … the person remembers absolutely nothing.”

No one seemed immune to what doctors diagnosed as “encephalopathy of an unknown origin”, with everyone, including the elderly and school children, suffering from symptoms. Even a villager’s cat was reportedly affected. It sounds like some kind of Body Snatchers-esque horror plot, and in the beginning, the primary suspect for the illness was counterfeit vodka. But when it became more widely spread, many started to suspect that nearby uranium mines – closed after the fall of the Soviet Union – were to blame. They just couldn’t figure out why.

Now scientists think they might have solved the mystery, with the Kazakstani government announcing this week that the sleeping sickness experienced in the villages is effectively a form of carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by large amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons being released into the air by the defunct uranium mines.

“The uranium mines were closed at some point, and at times a concentration of carbon monoxide occurs there,” Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbaev told the press. “The oxygen in the air is reduced accordingly, which is the real reason for the sleeping sickness in these villages.” The conclusion makes sense, as carbon monoxide binds to human blood 200 times more strongly than oxygen, which means that just a small amount of it is enough to cut off the oxygen to someone’s brain. But not everyone is convinced. “The symptoms fit,” Claude Piantadosi, a lung specialist at Duke University Medical Centre in the US, told Sarah Zhang over at Wired. “But the symptoms are not specific … and that’s the problem.”

Zhang also adds that it seems improbable that closed uranium mines would be releasing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which is a byproduct of combustion. While the mystery may not be solved just yet, the government is currently in the process of evacuating the remaining residents in the villages to prevent further sickness.

NASA cuts live video transmission as 3 UFOs fly past Earth !

21 July 2015

NASA was reportedly forced to end a live stream from the International Space Station as THREE UFOs blasted out of Earth’s atmosphere. This shocking footage is causing quite a stir online. Some have already branded the clip definitive PROOF of alien lifeforms. The video – which is reportedly shot from the International Space Station – shows three unidentified flying objects blast out of Earth’s atmosphere. The lights leave our planet seconds before the live video feed is cut by NASA due to a reported “loss of signal”.

Conspiracy theorists have already labeled the YouTube clip – which has been watched more than 15,000 times – proof of alien life. “BINGO Caught them red handed leaving earths orbit,” one viewer wrote on Youtube, “Thats the kind of proof that is needed.” Another posted on the video sharing website: “Cut the cameras more that just confirms its true.” The NASA footage – entitled “UFO Mysteries: UFOs, Angels Or Biological Creatures Seen Leaving The Earth?” – appeared online earlier this week.

NASA has not yet commented on the flashing lights captured during its live broadcast. Of course, its possible the YouTube video has been doctored, or the unexplained objects are simply a trick of the light. But this is not the first time conspiracy theorists claim NASA has inadvertently captured extra terrestrial activity. Live streams from the International Space Station have triggered hundreds of viral videos claiming to show proof of alien crafts. One such clip – posted on YouTube by user Streetcap1 – reportedly shows a small white disc flying near to the space station. Critics claim the alleged UFO sightings on the live feed are simply down to NASA’s poor camera and this latest sighting is likely to be a distorted view of the Moon.

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