Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 Most Mysterious Ancient Discoveries


Some of the most fascinating ancient discoveries in our history were found by complete chance. These accidental findings have left researchers puzzled for years and many of them remain shrouded in complete mystery. It is this mystery surrounding them though that makes them so fascinating. Here we’ll take a look at five of the most mysterious ancient discoveries that will leave you as baffled as those who discovered them and those who have tried studying their backgrounds.

1. Horned Human Skulls

Image source - mysteriousworld

In the 1880s very strange human skulls were found in a burial mound in Sayre, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. What makes them so strange of course were those horns protruding two inches above the eye sockets. To me personally the skull looks like it belongs to Donnie Darko’s giant bunny friend, Frank. It is believed the skulls, found along with seven foot tall skeletons, were buried around AD 1200. The discoveries were made by respectable men: the state librarian, a dignitary of the Presbyterian Church, and two professors. Little else is known about the skulls or skeletons because after they were sent to the American Investigating Museum in Philadelphia they were stolen and never seen again.

2. The Dropa Stones

Image source - Cosmic Conspiracies

Archaeologists in 1938 were investigating an area of the Baian-Kara-Ula Mountains on the border that divides China and Tibet when they came across a series of caves in the mountains. Inside the caves were graves that contained three feet tall skeletons with abnormally large skulls. The walls of the caves were decorated with drawings of the sun, moon, stars…and beings with elongated heads. Further to their strange discoveries were these 12 inche discs, which became known as the Dropa Stones.716 of them were recovered from the caves. Professor Tsum Um Nui of the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies studied these weird objects and later revealed that the discs were covered in a secret alien language. He translated the language and claimed that an alien spacecraft crashed in the Bayan Har Shan region 12,000 years ago. The occupants were aliens called Dropa or Dzopa. The Dropa could not repair their craft, so they tried to adapt to the conditions on Earth. Meanwhile, the local Ham tribesmen hunted down and killed most of the aliens. Supposedly, the aliens had intermarried with the locals, making identification of the origins of the skeletons more difficult. Under extreme objections the professor was forced to resign, yet whether he was right or simply just crazy remains as much a mystery as the stones, skeletons and caves themselves.

3. Giants of North America

Image source - boingboing

A twelve foot tall human skeleton was unearthed in at Lompock Rancho, California, in 1833 by soldiers digging a pit for a powder magazine. The skeleton had a double row of teeth and was surrounded by stone axes, carved shells, and porphyry blocks with abstruse symbols. In 1856 another giant human skeleton was found, this one measuring at 10 feet 9 inches. Labourers found this skeleton when they were plowing a vineyard in what is now West Virginia. In 1895 in Toledo, Ohio 20 giant skeletons were found seated with jaws and teeth twice as large as a normal skeleton’s. Yet another giant skeleton was unearthed in 1928 by a farmer in Louisiana. This skeleton was 9 feet 11 inches. Many claims have been made about these abnormal skeletons, the majority of people claiming they belong to the mysterious Sasquatch. Decide for yourselves…

4. Piri Reis Map

Image source - Wikipedia

A pre-modern world map that was put together by the Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis. This much we know. The mystery surrounding the half of the map that has survived though is the accuracy in detail that shows the western coasts of Europe, North Africa, and the coast of Brazil. Various Atlantic islands, including the Azores and Canary Islands are shown, as is the mythical island of Antillia and possibly Japan. More puzzling yet though is the inclusion of Antarctica. History books say that Antarctica was not discovered until 1820 by the Russian expedition of Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. Piri Reis’ map was drawn up in 1513. Drawn up on gazelle skin, the map was found in 1929 while Topkapı Palace , in Istanbul, was being converted into a museum.

5. The Shroud of Turin

Image sourcee - Wikipedia

A life-size linen cloth that bears the bears the image of Jesus Christ at rest. There is so much mystery surrounding this shroud that it has been at the centre of debate between scientists, theologians, historians and researchers for years. Some argue that it was the actual cloth that was placed over the dead body of Jesus while others state that it was created in the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church has sat on the fence over this one for years, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. In 1988 samples of the cloth were tested in three different universities: the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. All drew the same conclusion that the artifact came from the Middle Ages. Since then though even the testings have come under scrutiny by those who still believe. Since 1578 the shroud has been wrapped in red silk and kept in a silver chest in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Make up your own minds on this one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You can buy a 3DS Printer Now!

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic

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  • MakerBot Thing-O-Matic

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® Kit (3 week lead time)

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Availability: In stock.


Quick Overview

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D Printer kit you assemble to create the latest in cutting edge personal manufacturing technology. Includes the new StepStruder® MK6 Plus Complete Upgrade!

Product Description

***User Assembled Kit***Availability: Ships with a 3 week lead time when listed as "In stock".***

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. We've named it the Thing-O-Matic® because it is an automatic 3D printer. All other 3D printers can only do one thing at a time while the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer prints thing after thing! Buy it, assemble it, and enjoy being the first on your block to live in the cutting-edge personal manufacturing future of tomorrow!

Fully Automatic

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer comes with a new larger MakerBot® Automated Build Platform v2.0 that will keep printing and printing... Automatically!

The MakerBot® Automated Build Platform is truly a revolution in 3D printing. Updated to be larger for the Thing-O-Matic®, it allows you to have a print queue where your machine will clear the build surface between builds by printing, then ejecting. It prints objects one after another, turning your MakerBot® into a little high-production factory that sits on your desktop. Best of all, this is completely automated: you hit print, and the machine does all the work. Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem. Want to start a business selling printed things that you've designed? Awesome. Have the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer do all the work while you design new things.

Extremely Reliable Extrusion System

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer comes with the upgraded MakerBot StepStruder® MK6 Plus which will give you thousands of hours of trouble-free printing. We've invested many hours into designing, testing, and tweaking the StepStruder® MK6 Plus. The result is an extruder that is extremely reliable, and very simple to maintain. The hot end on this extruder is essentially unbreakable and the filament drive system is one of the strongest on the market. We've updated the kit to include our new high-torque NEMA 17 stepper motor to power the Thing-O-Matic® extruder. This change substantially improves print quality and reduces post-processing of your builds. The hot end has been updated as well, and now includes a redesigned Aluminum Thermal Core, 40W Cartridge Heater, and Safety Cutoff Switch. Changing the filament is a breeze with the filament pressure thumb screw. You can even hot-swap the filament mid-print!

Higher Quality

We've completely overhauled the drive system to give the optimum positioning accuracy. The entire system has been upgraded to sturdy 3/8" diameter linear shafting, which is overkill, but you can trust that the axes will be sturdy and straight. We've also switched to self-aligning, sintered brass bearings. These are very forgiving to DIY assembly and provide a nice, smooth motion on the steel shafts. Last, but not least we've completely replaced the Z axis with a stepper driven, cantilevered stage. Guided by two of the linear shafts, this completely eliminates any Z wobble and results in nicely aligned layers. Using a high-angle lead screw, we were able to increase the speed of the Z axis from 150mm/minute to 1000mm/minute. That's more than 6 times the speed! This means the layer changes are almost completely imperceptible and blobbing is significantly reduced for smoother prints.

Easier to Use

Connect to the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer over USB and hit print—the machine will self-detect its position and start printing!

The new MakerBot® Gen4 Electronics have been designed to make the printing experience easier than ever. The motherboard now sports an integrated USB port, so you simply plug the MakerBot® in with a standard USB cable. We've also added full endstop support so that you never need to touch the XYZ axes ever again. When you hit print, the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer will automatically home itself, heat up, and begin printing. All you have to do is sit back and relax while your MakerBot® does all the work. Living in the future is awesome. Oh yeah, and the electronics are all inside, so you don't have wires dangling everywhere. This also makes traveling on the subway with your MakerBot® stress-free.

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer kit is available for $1299 and has a 4 week lead time. Order a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® 3D printer and get the latest in personal manufacturing technology!

You'll get:
* Makerbot StepStruder® MK6 Plus Complete (standard with 0.4mm teflon-coated nozzle)
* MakerBot® Automated Build Platform v.2.0
* The lasercut parts to assemble a Thing-O-Matic® CNC machine.
* 3 x NEMA 17 motors
* 1 High Torque NEMA 17
* The hardware to assemble it.
* Belts and pulleys
* Smooth Rods and Drive system components
* Pre-assembled 4th Generation Electronics
* a USB cable to talk to it
* cat5e and rainbow cables to wire things up
* a standard ATX power supply
* a tools kit with all the hex keys, wrenches, and other bits you need to construct it.
* SD card to buffer your prints
* 1lb of 3mm MakerBot ABS Plastic to print with

Full documentation and assembly instructions are available here

Some tech specs on the Thing-O-Matic®:

* Interface: Print through USB or print from SD card
* Size: 300 x 300 x 410 mm (12″ W x 12″ D x 16″ H)
* Build Area: 96 x 108 mm
* Build Height: 115 mm
* Generation 4 Electronics
* Supports up to 5 stepper drivers (XYZ + A/B)
* Connect over USB (no more FTDI cable)
* Optional LCD interface support (Not included)
* Full mechanical endstop support
* High current mosfets to drive heated build platform and extruder heater
* Thermocouple support for more accurate temperature sensing
* Upgraded, extra strength ATX power supply
* Works with both 110v and 220v power
* Theoretical XY Positioning resolution of 0.02mm (20 microns or 0.0008″)
* Theoretical XY Maximum Feedrate of up to 5000mm/minute (roughly 200 IPM)
* Theoretical Z Positioning resolution of 0.005mm (5 microns / or 0.0002″)
* Theoretical Z Positioning Feedrate of up to 1000mm/minutes (roughly 40 IPM)
* Capable of printing with ABS and PLA

***Availability: Ships with a 3 week lead time***User Assembled Kit***
The Thing-O-Matic® is currently in stock, and ships up to 3 weeks after receipt of a fully-paid order. You will be charged immediately when you submit your payment information. -MakerBot® Industries


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Plants on Thin Films


Growing Plants on Thin Films
Filmed on August 11, 2011

Growing Plants on Thin Films

- 15 AUGUST 2011

Mebiol has developed Imec, a technology for growing plants on special films just tens of microns thick, called hydro-membranes.

Hydro-membranes make it possible for plants to take up only water and nutrients, without letting harmful bacteria, nematodes, or viruses through.

"As you can see here, roots grow directly on the film surface, and they absorb the water and fertilizer in the film, so they grow large. No soil is needed, as the film plays the role of soil. The only problem is, it's hard for plants to take up the water in the film, so they don't grow very big. The plants are subjected to stress, so they have very high quality, but they don't become large. If you give them some liquid nutrients from above the film, then they do grow very large. So with this technology, plants are grown by applying liquid fertilizer from above and below the film."

Hydro-membranes are made from water-absorbent hydro-gel, which is used in diapers. They prevent water leaking to the outside. This characteristic is also used in research by NASA on plant cultivation in space.

Currently, Mebiol has succeeded in cultivating tomatoes, musk melons, and cucumbers using Imec. In the future, the company wants to make the film stronger, so the film can be used to grow plants with stronger roots, such as trees.

"Right now, it's essential to increase food production, to cope with population growth and global warming, but water shortages and poor soils make it impossible for production to keep up with population growth. So in agriculture, we must grow plants more efficiently, using fewer resources and less energy. In industry, such technologies are becoming very advanced. So if we apply technologies from industry to agriculture, we may obtain advantages from industrial production. For about a decade, we've been working to utilize advanced technology from Japan, to increase plant production and obtain high-quality plants efficiently. And this product arose from that work."

An Imec model plant will be installed at Miyagi JA in mid-August. Mebiol is planning further R&D, with a view to enabling this technology to be used in areas suffering from soil contamination and water shortages.

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