Rare woolly dog hair found in blanket

A tear in an ancient blanket has revealed a rare piece of local history.

Researchers with Seattle’s Burke Museum recently discovered a museum blanket containing extinct woolly dog fur.

Woolly dogs were raised by the endemic Coast Salish people for more than a thousand years. The Salish people raised the small, long-haired dogs as a source of hair for textile production. The dogs were raised in pens and kept from breeding with other dogs.

100-YEAR-OLD SHIPWRECK OF FOUND OFF CALIFORNIA COAST

The woolly dog’s hair was thick, and spun into yarn in a sophisticated practice, researchers with the Burke Museum said.

The dogs became extinct less than 150 years after the first European explorers landed on the Northwest Coast due to inbreeding, and the prevalence of easier weaving material.

Most objects containing the rare fur were lost or destroyed, researchers with the museum said. The blanket containing the fur would have remained obscure, researchers said, if not for a tear that revealed some of the hair.

“As soon as I saw the warp yarns exposed by the tear, I knew this was an unusual blanket,” said Liz Hammond-Kaarremaa, a Coast Salish spinning expert.

The blanket is made of multiple different materials, including woolly dog hair. It is the only object known in a Northwest museum confirmed to be made with the hair, researchers said.

This article first appeared in Q13Fox.

Lightning is more powerful over oceans

A new study shows lightning over the ocean--such as this strike in 2015 in California--can be much more powerful than that over land.

A new study shows lightning over the ocean–such as this strike in 2015 in California–can be much more powerful than that over land.  (Vern Fisher/The Monterey County Herald via AP)

It’s a popular myth that golfers account for most deaths from lightning strikes. In fact, the Palm Beach Post reports more than three times as many fishermen die from lightning strikes than golfers.

A study published in Geophysical Research Letters in February and recently getting some attention may explain why. Researchers from the Florida Institute of Technology found that lightning strikes over the ocean can be much more powerful than strikes over land.

It’s the first independent study to show what others have long believed, according to a press release. Researchers studied lightning over Florida and its coasts from 2013 to 2015, measuring the peak currents of the strikes.

They found strikes over the ocean carried more charge than those over land. In fact, they estimated that lightning with peak currents of more than 50 kilo amperes is more than twice as likely to occur over the ocean.

This could mean people living on or near the ocean may be at greater risk from lightning. Worth noting: Deaths from lightning strikes in Florida—a state with a whole lot of coastline—regularly outpace those in the rest of the country.

SpaceX’s Mars colony plan: How Elon Musk plans to build a million-person Martian city

Artist's illustration of a SpaceX colony ship arriving at Mars. The company aims to help establish a million-person city on the Red Planet.

Artist’s illustration of a SpaceX colony ship arriving at Mars. The company aims to help establish a million-person city on the Red Planet.  (SpaceX)

Elon Musk has put his Mars-colonization vision to paper, and you can read it for free.

SpaceX’s billionaire founder and CEO just published the plan, which he unveiled at a conference in Mexico in September 2016, in the journal New Space. Musk’s commentary, titled “Making Humanity a Multi-Planetary Species,” is available for free on New Space’s website through July 5.

“In my view, publishing this paper provides not only an opportunity for the spacefaring community to read the SpaceX vision in print with all the charts in context, but also serves as a valuable archival reference for future studies and planning,” New Space editor-in-chief (and former NASA “Mars czar”) Scott Hubbard wrote in a statement. [ SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport for Mars in Images ]

Musk’s Mars vision centers on a reusable rocket-and-spaceship combo that he’s dubbed the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). Both the booster and the spaceship will be powered by SpaceX’s Raptor engine, still in development, which Musk said will be about three times stronger than the Merlin engines that power the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

The booster, with its 42 Raptors, will be the most powerful rocket in history, by far. It will be capable of launching 300 metric tons (330 tons) to low Earth orbit (LEO), or 550 metric tons (600 tons) in an expendable variant, Musk said. For comparison, NASA’s famous Saturn V moon rocket, the current record holder, could loft “just” 135 metric tons (150 tons).

ITS rockets will launch the spaceships to Earth orbit, then come back down for a pinpoint landing about 20 minutes later. And “pinpoint” is not hyperbole: “With the addition of maneuvering thrusters, we think we can actually put the booster right back on the launch stand,” Musk wrote in his New Space paper, citing SpaceX’s increasingly precise Falcon 9 first-stage landings .

The ITS boosters will launch many spaceships and fuel tankers (which will top up the spaceships’ tanks) to orbit over the course of their operational lives; the rockets will be designed to fly about 1,000 times each, Musk wrote. The spaceships, meanwhile, will hang out in orbit, and then depart en masse when Earth and Mars align favorably. This happens once every 26 months.

Eventually, Musk wrote, he envisions 1,000 or more ITS spaceships, each carrying 100 or more people, leaving Earth orbit during each of these Mars windows. The architecture could conceivably get 1 million people to Mars within the next 50 to 100 years, he has said.

The ships would also fly back from Mars, using their nine Raptor engines and methane-based propellant that was manufactured on the Red Planet. Each ITS ship would probably be able to make 12 to 15 deep-space journeys during its operational life, Musk wrote, and each fuel tanker could likely fly to Earth orbit 100 or so times.

The ITS’ reusability is key to making Mars colonization affordable . This reusability — combined with other measures, such as fueling the spaceships in Earth orbit and making propellant on Mars — could bring the price of a Red Planet trip down to $200,000 or so per person, from an estimated $10 billion using conventional spaceflight systems, Musk said.

ITS spaceships could begin flying to Mars about 10 years from now, if everything goes well, Musk added. But he acknowledged that success is far from guaranteed.

“There is a huge amount of risk. It is going to cost a lot,” Musk wrote. “There is a good chance we will not succeed, but we are going to do our best and try to make as much progress as possible.”

And SpaceX has a history of overcoming long odds. When Musk founded the company in 2002, he wrote, “I thought we had maybe a 10 percent chance of doing anything — of even getting a rocket to orbit, let alone getting beyond that and taking Mars seriously.”

You can download a free copy of Musk’s Mars paper here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/space.2017.29009.emu

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+ . Follow us@Spacedotcom , Facebook or Google+ . Originally published on Space.com.

Ancient Aztec temple and ball court uncovered in Mexico City

Archaeologists have uncovered the remnants of a Aztec temple and ceremonial ball court in the heart of Mexico City, according to media reports.

According to Reuters, the discoveries were made on a side street behind a Roman Catholic cathedral off the Zocalo plaza. Included in the discovery was the foundation of a circular temple, which was dedicated to the Aztecian wind god Ehecatl, as well as a ball court, which confirmed the existenced of Spanhish conquerors.

EXPERTS DISCOVER CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ ANCHOR AT CARIBBEAN SHIPWRECK SITE

“Due to finds like these, we can show actual locations, the positioning and dimensions of each one of the structures first described in the chronicles,” said Diego Prieto, head of Mexico’s main anthropology and history institute told Reuters.

In addition, there were human remains found, as archaeologists uncovered 32 severed male neck vertebrae. Archaeologist Raul Barrer said that the remains came from victims “who were sacrificed or decapitated.”

The temple was built between 1486 and 1502, when Aztec Emperor Ahuizotl, the predecessor of Moctezuma, ruled the ancient civilization.

Once the excavation is completed, a museum will be built on the site.

Rare alligator gar caught in Indiana

An Indiana angler was surprised to reel in a prehistoric fish more than five feet long earlier this month.

One glance at the thick-scaled alligator gar in question could easily lead many to believe gators have moved beyond their storied home of Florida. But while an alligator gar is something entirely different than the reptile of the same name, it carries its own legend.

MASSACHUSETTS FISHERMAN REELS IN PURSE STOLEN 18 YEARS AGO

So-called because of its toothy mouth and broad snout, the alligator gar is a fish that bears a   remarkable resemblance to four-legged alligators. According to National Geographic, they can grow to a length of up to 10 feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds. The fish captured was just over 5 feet and weighed 55 pounds.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says the fish aren’t normally found in Indiana waters. More common to the state are shortnose, longnose and spotted gar.

The rare catch is the first alligator gar verified by Indiana biologists in recent history. Indiana is at the northern edge of the fish’s historic range which includes much of the coastal U.S Southeast.

FRUSTRATED MICHIGAN MAN ATTEMPTS TO PAY $270 FINE WITH PENNIES

A National Geographic profile states alligator gar “inhabit waters as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, as far north as the Mississippi River Basin and the lower Ohio and Missouri river systems, and southern drainages well into Mexico.”

The DNR is examining the fish to determine its age and source—nearby states Illinois and Kentucky have current alligator gar stocking programs. Indiana does not currently have a restoration program in place.

Despite the unusual catch, the bowfisherman who seized the alligator gar faces no legal action since Indiana has “no regulations on take of alligator gar.”

Who first saw the Ring Nebula? 238-year-old mystery is solved

A composite image of the Ring Nebula captured using data from the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 and the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona.

A composite image of the Ring Nebula captured using data from the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 and the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona.  (C. Robert O’Dell (Vanderbilt University)/David Thompson (LBTO)/NASA/ESA)

It turns out the iconic Ring Nebula was actually discovered by 18th century comet-hunter Charles Messier, a new study shows.

Until now, history has credited the discovery of this well-known nebula, also known as Messier 57 or NGC 6720, to 18th-century French astronomer Antoine Darquier. However, astronomers Donald Olson, a physics professor at Texas State University, and Giovanni Maria Caglieris of Italy re-evaluated the observation notes taken by Messier and Darquier, revealing a small discrepancy 238 years later.

The researchers found that Messier’s observation notes from Jan. 31, 1779, said that he spotted a “small patch of light” near the path of Bode’s comet, according to a statement from Texas State. [50 Amazing Deep-Space Nebulas (Photos)]

“In comparing the comet to β Lyrae on this morning, I observed in the telescope a small patch of light … this patch of light was round and was located between γ & β Lyrae,” Messier wrote in his notes, according to the statement. This patch of light was the same nebula Darquier later observed in February 1779.

Although Messier was the first to detect the Ring Nebula, history has credited Darquier as the founder, since Messier’s Catalogue states, “Darquier in Toulouse discovered this nebula, while observing the same comet,” in the description of M57, according to the statement. This description is what caused the discrepancy over who first discovered the Ring Nebula, researchers said.

“The confusion stems from language creep and lack of context,” Texas State representatives said in the statement. “Messier’s statement appears to be an endorsement of Darquier being the first person to spot the Ring Nebula. In the 18th century, however, ‘discover’ more commonly meant to simply discern something, a use that is almost obsolete today.”

“Alternatively, Messier could have used ‘discover’ to qualify Darquier’s observations as a later, independent discovery,” they added.

Darquier’s observation notes, along with a letter sent to Messier in September 1779, confirm that he was not the first to observe and record M57, as he wrote to Messier saying “he did not begin to observe the sky near the path of Bode’s comet until the second week of February,” according to the statement. Darquier began observing the region between stars β & γ Lyrae only after reading about Messier’s comet observations, the statement said.

The Ring Nebula is among Messier’s list of 110 deep-sky objects, which at the time was used to provide a list of objects for 18th century comet hunters to avoid. This nebula is located just over 2,000 light-years from Earth in the Lyra constellation and measures 1 light-year (about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers) across.

The researchers were able to determine who exactly discovered the iconic Ring Nebula using historical documents that only recently became widely available online. Their findings were published in the June 2017 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13 . Follow us @Spacedotcom , Facebook and Google+ . Original article on Space.com .

Great white shark spotted lurking near popular California beach

NOW PLAYINGGreat white shark spotted off coast of San Diego beach

Just a day after a shark attack left a San Diego County woman fighting for her life, a drone pilot captured video of a juvenile great white shark swimming less than a quarter of a mile  from where dozens of people were swimming in the surf.

William Steele, a surfboard maker from Capistrano Beach, was surfing at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point Monday morning. He was thinking about sharks after the weekend shark attack at San Onofre State Beach, several miles to the south. While surfing, he noticed dozens of stingrays in the shallows.

“I said, ‘I’ll bet you (sharks) are out here eating stingrays,'” Steele told FOX 5.

More from FOX 5 San Diego

  • North County woman ‘fighting for her life’ after shark attack

  • Surfers return to the ocean despite shark warnings following attack

  • Woman bitten by shark near San Onofre State Beach

Steele, who lives near the beach, rode his bicycle back to his house and brought his drone down to the beach. Sure enough, within five minutes of launching the drone, he located a shark swimming less than 100 yards offshore. He said it was clearly a juvenile great white.

“They’re around for sure. They’ve been around forever,” he said. “They are out here hunting stingrays and seals. When they hit a person, it’s an accident.”

Steele believes Sunday’s attack on Leeanne Ericson, a mother of three from Vista, was just such a case of mistaken identity. Accident or not, the result was tragic, he said.

More from FOX 5 San Diego.

Experts discover ‘Christopher Columbus’ anchor at Caribbean shipwreck site

NOW PLAYINGChristopher Columbus’ anchor believed to be discovered

EXCLUSIVE: Experts have used a “space treasure map” to make a remarkable discovery in the Caribbean — a centuries-old anchor believed to be from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Analysis of the anchor, which was found off the Turks and Caicos islands, reveals that it dates to between 1492 and 1550. The overall size of the anchor and its estimated weight of between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds indicates that it was a “bower” anchor from a 300-ton vessel, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship.

The discovery will be revealed in the next episode of the Discovery Channel docuseries “Cooper’s Treasure,” which airs at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday. “That anchor is from Christopher Columbus,” says historical shipwreck discovery specialist Darrell Miklos, who led the Caribbean expedition, in a clip from Tuesday’s show. “I am telling you, stick around, this is just the beginning of an amazing story.”

NASA ASTRONAUT’S SPACE TREASURE MAP SPARKS HUNT FOR CARIBBEAN WRECKS

Miklos used a space treasure map created by his late friend, NASA Astronaut Gordon Cooper, to find a series of Caribbean shipwreck sites. Cooper, who died from Parkinson’s disease in 2004, created the map following his Mercury 9 Faith 7 flight. At the time, he was possibly on a mission to identify Cold War nuclear threats.

Armed with Cooper’s detailed map and archival research, Miklos and a crew of experts identified five “colonial period” wreck sites. The team used a magnetometer to identify shipwreck areas and then dived down for a closer inspection using a metal detector.

The Turks and Caicos discovery is believed to be linked to Vicente Yanez Pinzon — a Spanish sailor, who, along with his brother Martin Alonso Pinzon, was part of the Columbus expeditions.

VIKING DISCOVERY: EXPERTS USE TECH TO REVEAL SETTLEMENT BENEATH SAINT-KING’S CHURCH

Martin and Vicente were captains, respectively, of the Pinta and Nina on Columbus’ first voyage in 1492. Six years later, around the time of Columbus’ third voyage, Vicente Pinzon set off from Spain with four Caravels, or small sailing ships, including the Pinta, in what is known as one of the expedition’s “Minor Voyages.”

In 1499 and 1500 Vicente Pinzon discovered Brazil and the Amazon River. In the spring of 1500 the captain met with Columbus in Haiti to discuss the Brazilian discovery before leading his four ships back to Spain. However, in July of that year Vicente Pinzon’s fleet was caught in a hurricane while anchored near the Turks and Caicos islands and two of his ships were wrecked. In 1502 Vicente Pinzon returned to the area in an attempt to salvage cargo from the two vessels.

In addition to the anchor, Miklos’ team found a trove of other artifacts at the shipwreck site, including three grappling hooks that date back to the Columbus era. The grappling hooks, or anchors, were used for salvaging treasure from sunken ships.

GLADIATOR GAMES: EXPERTS HARNESS TECH TO REVEAL ROMAN CITY’S SECRETS

Archaeologists also found broken pieces of pottery and an olive jar painted with indigo paint, which indicates Spanish origin. A pot from the Spanish island of Majorca was also found, which also dates the wreck to the period between 1492 and the early 1500s.

Additionally, several iron and bronze spikes, possibly the last remnants of the sunken ships, were found, as well as a broken section of anchor’s ring was found. The broken anchor ring could indicate that the anchor came from a third ship in Pinzon’s fleet that was torn from its anchor during the hurricane.

The discoveries mark a major breakthrough for the expedition. “It means that we now have one of the most valuable maps in history,” explained a spokeswoman for the show, in an email sent to Fox News. “The way that ships wreck is that they leave a trail so the anchor is pointing to more artifacts/treasure to be found.”

Fox News’ Lindsay Carlton contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Chinese firm unveils giant ‘Monkey King’ gladiator robot

Visitors look at a giant robot named The Monkey King at the G Festival, part of the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Saturday, April 29, 2017. The GMIC features current and future trends in the mobile Internet industry by some major foreign and Chinese internet companies. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Visitors look at a giant robot named The Monkey King at the G Festival, part of the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Saturday, April 29, 2017. The GMIC features current and future trends in the mobile Internet industry by some major foreign and Chinese internet companies. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The battle of the megabots just got a little more mega. What the world needs now is gladiator robots, so make room for Monkey King.

For a couple of years, the geek world has been salivating over a potential battle to the death between a couple of metal monsters — California-based MegaBots’ Mark III and a Japanese contender named Kuratas, from Suidobashi Heavy Industries.

But wouldn’t you know it? Just as the mean, not-so-lean fighting machines are gearing up for their last-bot-standing melee in August (date, time and location still to be determined), there’s a new bot in town. And this town ain’t big enough for the three of us, pardner.

JAPAN AND THE US ARE HAVING A GIANT ROBOT DUEL

Enter Monkey King, from the Chinese firm Greatmetal. As reported in Digital Trends, not a lot is known about it, but a promo video shows it isn’t monkeying around. This big baby would make any rival quake with fear, if megabots only had feelings and could actually quake.

But it will have to wait at least until fall. Right now, Mark III, which weighs 12 tons and stands 16 feet tall, and Kuratas are getting fine-tuned and greased up for August. Their makers, meanwhile, are doing what they can to make sure their human operators don’t get killed in the fight.

“We have about 3,000 wires on the robot, around 300 hydraulic hoses, 26 of the fastest hydraulic valves in the world, and a 430 horsepower gas engine that wants to be in a car and not a robot,” MegaBots co-founder and CEO Gui Cavalcanti told Digital Trends in April.

MAN ATTACKS SECURITY ROBOT IN SILICON VALLEY, POLICE SAY

Pshaw, says Suidobashi’s Kurodo Kurata. “Just building something huge and sticking guns on it — it’s Super American…. “If we’re going to win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.”

Them’s fightin’ words. Monkey King will just have to wait.

Walking dead? Medieval villagers zombie-proofed their corpses

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.  (Historic England)

Zombies are hardly a modern preoccupation. For centuries, people have been worried about corpses rising from their graves to torment the living. Now, archaeologists in England think they’ve found evidence of medieval methods to prevent the dead from walking.

The researchers revisited a pit of human remains that had been dug up at Wharram Percy, an abandoned village in North Yorkshire that dates back to nearly 1,000 years ago. The corpses had been burned and mutilated after death, and the archaeologists offered two possible explanations: either the condition of the corpses was due to cannibalism, or the bodies were dismembered to ensure they wouldn’t walk from their graves, according to the study published April 2 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Study leader Simon Mays, a human-skeletal biologist at Historic England, said the idea that the bones “are the remains of corpses burnt and dismembered to stop them walking from their graves seems to fit the evidence best.” [See Photos of the ‘Zombie’ Burial at Wharram Percy]

People at the time believed that reanimation could occur when individuals who had a strong life force committed evil deeds before death, or when individuals experienced a sudden or violent death, Mays and his colleagues wrote. To stop these corpses from haunting the living, English medieval texts suggest that bodies would be dug up and subjected to mutilation and burning.

When the jumbled bones were first excavated in the 1960s, they were originally interpreted as dating from earlier, perhaps Roman-era, burials that were inadvertently disturbed and reburied by villagers in the late Middle Ages. The bones were buried in unconsecrated ground, after all —near a house and not in the official cemetery.

However, radiocarbon dating showed that the bones were contemporary with the medieval town, and chemical analyses revealed that the bones came from people who were local to the region.

What happened to the corpses after death could rival scenes from a gory zombie movie.

The bones from Wharram Percy came from at least 10 people between the ages of 2 and 50, according to the new study. Burning patterns from experiments with cadavers suggest that the bodies were set ablaze when the bones still had flesh on them. (A fleshed corpse was thought to be more threatening than a bare skeleton.) The scientists also found cut marks consistent with dismemberment, and chop marks that suggest the skeletons were decapitated after death.

“If we are right, then this is the first good archaeological evidence we have for this practice,” Mays said in a statement , referring to the zombie-safety precautions. “It shows us a dark side of medieval beliefs and provides a graphic reminder of how different the medieval view of the world was from our own.”

Stephen Gordon , a scholar of medieval and early-modern supernatural belief, who was not involved in the study, said he found the interpretation plausible. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]

“Although, of course, one cannot discount the possibility that cannibalism was indeed a cause, I do think the evidence veers toward a local belief in the dangerous dead,” Gordon told Live Science in an email.

Gordon noted that several examples of revenants, or reanimated corpses , come from 12th-century northern English sources, so archaeological evidence from Yorkshire from around 1100 to 1300 is certainly to be expected.

There are still some mysteries concerning the bones, the authors of the study noted, such as how the human remains ended up together in this particular pit, especially since they span the 11th to 13th centuries. It’s also unclear why, if the corpses were feared, they would be reburied in a domestic context.

What’s more, revenants, at least according to written English sources, were commonly associated with males, but skeletons from both sexes and children were found in the pit. Gordon, however, doesn’t think this should invalidate the walking-dead argument.

“The written evidence in English chronicles and saints’ lives, which focus on male revenants, represents just a small (and highly constructed) snapshot of the realities of everyday belief,” Gordon said in the email.

A bishop of the Holy Roman Empire, Burchard of Worms, writing around A.D. 1000, “alludes to the fact that children who died before baptism, or women who died in childbirth, were believed to walk after death and needed to be ‘transfixed,'” Gordon said. He pointed to another case, from the 14th-century Bohemian chronicler Neplach of Opatovice, in which a female walking corpse had to be cremated. “As such, it is possible that female corpses were indeed believed to walk after death in England.”

The bones from Wharram Percy might not represent the very first revenant burial found in Europe. In several so-called ” vampire burials ” in a 17th-century Polish cemetery, the corpses have sickles around their necks. One interpretation is that the blades were meant to keep the dead from rising.

Original article on Live Science.