Monthly Archives: December 2014

1795 time capsule found in Boston capitol

A time capsule buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was unearthed at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston. It is possibly the oldest such U.S. artifact ever uncovered. VPC
A time capsule buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was unearthed Thursday in Boston at the Massachusetts Statehouse, possibly the oldest such U.S. artifact ever uncovered.

About the size of a cigar box, the copper container — green from oxidation and caked in plaster — was found in the cornerstone of the “new” statehouse on Beacon Hill, which was completed in 1798.

As Boston Museum of Fine Arts Conservator Pam Hatchfield chiseled away for hours to free the box, five silver coins spilled from the stone block — measures of good luck tossed in when the capsule was entombed by the revolutionary heroes 219 years ago, officials told the Boston Globe. At the time, Adams was known as the governor, not a beer.

The world will have to wait a little longer to learn what’s inside. The museum will X-ray the box over the weekend and reveal its contents next week.

It’s the second time the time capsule has seen the light of day. It was dug out in 1855 during emergency repairs to the building, which houses the legislature and governor’s offices, and replaced when the cornerstone was reset.

Another bit of hidden history was uncovered in September in the city that practically invented American history. A 113-year-old time capsule was found in the golden lion atop the original state capitol.

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Oldest tool ever found in Turkey alters European history

The quartzite flake, described in Quaternary Science Reviews, is “the earliest securely-dated artifact from Turkey ever recorded,” and its discovery pushes back the presumed date of human migration into Europe, researcher Danielle Schreve says, per EurekAlert.

Her eye just happened to be “drawn to a pinkish stone on the surface” while studying a sediment deposit in an ancient river bend near Gediz.

“When I turned it over for a better look, the features of a humanly-struck artifact were immediately apparent,” Schreve says. Other hominin fossils were found in Turkey in 2007, but experts aren’t confident about their age.

Some say an ancient skull shows humans were in Turkey as far back as 1.3 million years ago, but others date it to about 500,000 years ago, LiveSciencereports.

In the case of the flake, researchers used high-precision radioisotopic dating on the ancient river deposit in which the artifact was found. They also used magnetic minerals within the regions’ rocks to gauge the position of the magnetic poles around the time it was left.

The data revealed a “secure chronology,” showing humans were in the area between 1.24 million and 1.17 million years ago, experts say. (Find out why modern humans’ bones are weaker than those of their ancestors.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Turkey’s Oldest Tool Alters European History

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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

Some cuddly critters to brighten the beginning of the work week…

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1878: Henri Giffard’s Captive Balloon, Paris

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Does ‘Blue Hole’ hold secret to Mayan collapse?

Does 'Blue Hole' hold secret to Mayan collapse?

This undated image provided by the Belize Tourist Board shows an aerial view of the Great Blue Hole, a popular diving site that’s part of Belize���s barrier reef. (AP Photo/Belize Tourist Board)

Everything from overhunting and a peasant uprising to deforestation and an alien invasion has been proposed to explain why the Mayan civilization collapsed,Smithsonian notes. But one theory has been gaining ground in recent years: extreme drought.

Now more evidence has surfaced to support the drought postulation—and the proof may just lie in Belize’s most famous underwater cave. Rice University professor Andre Droxler’s team analyzed sediment found in the “Great Blue Hole,” a 410-foot-deep sinkhole in the middle of Lighthouse Reef, LiveSciencereports.

Not only did the chemical composition of the silt indicate periods of sparse rainfall during the Mayan decline (likely between AD800 and AD1000): It also showed that a second huge drought probably occurred between AD1000 and AD1100—right around the time the Mayans’ relocation site of Chichen Itza is said to have fallen.

Over thousands of years, runoff from rivers and streams during periods of ample rainfall deposited layers of sediment in the Blue Hole’s lagoon, offering scientists a geological timeline to examine.

“It’s like a big bucket,” Droxler tells LiveScience. “It’s a sediment trap.” Excessive rain also erodes volcanic rock, which contains titanium. Droxler’s team found that the sediment’s mineral composition—specifically, the low ratio of titanium to aluminum—in the lagoon indicated periods of low rainfall during the times when the Mayas, for the most part, disappeared.

Scientists surmise that due to a climate glitch, monsoons may have skipped over the Yucatan Peninsula during these periods, leading to eventual catastrophe all around. “When you have major droughts, you start to get famines and unrest,” Droxler explains.

(A “lost” Mayan city with 15 pyramids was discovered in Mexico last year.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: ‘Blue Hole’ May Hold Secret to Mayan Collapse

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Cosplay Pictures for Your Saturday

Thank you to all the many people who send me cosplay pictures.  Enjoy!

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Christmas Dog Edition for Your Monday Blues!

I know my post is late, but it is all Christmas dogs, so I hope it makes up for it…

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