Interesting Things…Open Thread

19069998392490675_gAMNEfzx_cGood Evening

Look at these pictures of Hilary in action, nice.  I have to admit, I was looking forward to watching Hilary kick ass today…but this PAD I’m suffering from is a lot stronger than I thought.  For what seems like weeks now, it’s been so difficult to even browse or scan over news items that deal with anything involving politics.

So, with that in mind, here are your non-news links.

The two major earthquakes from the last decade, being in 2004 Indonesia and in 2011 Japan, were surprises to seismologist. They occurred in areas where earthquakes greater than 8.4 usually take place. Scientists underestimated potential for Tohoku earthquake: Now what?

Now earthquake scientists are going back to the proverbial drawing board and admitting that existing predictive models looking at maximum earthquake size are no longer valid.

In a new analysis published in the journal Seismological Research Letters, a team of scientists led by Oregon State University’s Chris Goldfinger describes how past global estimates of earthquake potential were constrained by short historical records and even shorter instrumental records. To gain a better appreciation for earthquake potential, he says, scientists need to investigate longer paleoseismic records.

“Once you start examining the paleoseismic and geodetic records, it becomes apparent that there had been the kind of long-term plate deformation required by a giant earthquake such as the one that struck Japan in 2011,” Goldfinger said. “Paleoseismic work has confirmed several likely predecessors to Tohoku, at about 1,000-year intervals.”

It seems to me that study those prehistoric records would be key in predicting earthquakes of this size.

Next up, two articles on ancient archaeology.

A grave that was discovered back in 2010 is finally giving up some of it’s secrets. Large Celtic Grave Excavated in Germany

Archaeologists have been painstakingly excavating the 2,600-year-old grave of a Celtic woman and child that was discovered in 2010 and removed from the ground in a large block. The burial chamber had been fitted with oak beams that were preserved by water from a nearby stream. Artifacts recovered so far from the tomb include gold and amber jewelry and objects made of bronze and jet, in addition to organic materials. “We call her a princess, but we actually know very little about the social organization of the time because we don’t have any written sources,” explained Nicole Ebinger-Rist, director of the project. She hopes to identify the woman as the research progresses.

Check out that link.

This next story is fascinating to me, because it deals with ancient weaving. Loom Weights Discovered in Ancient Cattle Town

Loom weights made of pottery have been uncovered in Turkey’s ancient city of Assoss. “Some of them are round and some of them are cubic. People used even broken ceramic pieces in this period by making a hole in the center of them. There are seals, names, or descriptions on some of these weights. They date back to 2,500 years ago,” said Nurettin Arslan of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University. The weights were found near the city’s theater, and may have come from a small weaver’s shop.

On to something even older than this grave and weave shop, Taking the temperature of the universe. To take the universe’s temp we need to go back to the beginning of time.

Astronomers using a CSIRO radio telescope have taken the Universe’s temperature, and have found that it has cooled down just the way the Big Bang theory predicts.

Radio waves from a distant quasar pass through another galaxy on their way to Earth. Changes in the radio waves indicate the temperature of the gas. Image Credit: Onsala Space Observatory

Using the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, New South Wales, an international team from Sweden, France, Germany and Australia has measured how warm the Universe was when it was half its current age.

“This is the most precise measurement ever made of how the Universe has cooled down during its 13.77 billion year history,” said Dr Robert Braun, Chief Scientist at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science.

Because light takes time to travel, when we look out into space we see the Universe as it was in the past — as it was when light left the galaxies we are looking at. So to look back half-way into the Universe’s history, we need to look half-way across the Universe.

Our last link is closer to Earth….pictures from ISS, International Space Station. Best photos of night-shining clouds seen from ISS

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) sometimes see what are called polar mesospheric clouds by scientists – noctilucent or night-shining clouds by the rest of us. As seen from Earth’s surface, these clouds have a short season when they are most often seen: that is, late spring to early summer. They shine at full intensity over a period of no more than five to 10 days. From Earth’s surface, they are only seen at high latitudes, in the Arctic or Antarctic. And they are most often seen either before sunrise or after sunset. The images below, however, are taken from space and know no such limitations. Astronauts aboard ISS see these clouds at all times of year, and sometimes far into the night. The first image is very recent, taken on January 5, 2013.

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured this image of noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds on January 5, 2013, when the ISS was over the Pacific Ocean south of French Polynesia. Image via NASA. View larger.

Hope you enjoy these links, and have a wonderful evening.

This is an open thread.