Tag Archives: sun

Archaeologist uncover hidden Mayan temple, deep in the jungle, to find terrifying giant masks

Does this sound like an Indiana Jones adventure or what!

Two archaeologists deep in the jungles of Guatemala are searching the lost empire of El Zotz, an ancient Maya city-state. First, they discover Diablo’s Pyramid, a 45-foot tall royal palace that is 1600 years old.

Then, they spot another building but it’s buried deep in the jungle. Two years later they have it uncovered (ok, that is not-so adventurous but realistic archaeological work), and find beyond the overgrowth some devilish faces, from the National Geographic article:

The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day.

One mask is sharklike, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean in the east, Houston said.

The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.

 

Screenshots:

Imagine making your way through the jungle to find this entrance…

 

To find this guy staring down at you!

 

The Mayans sure were fascinated with power, death, and the sun.

Continue reading

Astronomers discover black hole with 140 trillion times more water than Earth

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.

“The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water,” said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”

A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that steadily consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. As it eats, the quasar spews out huge amounts of energy. Both groups of astronomers studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as a thousand trillion suns.

Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There’s water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice.

 

And, the instruments they used:

Bradford’s team made their observations starting in 2008, using an instrument called “Z-Spec” at the California Institute of Technology’s Submillimeter Observatory, a 33-foot (10-meter) telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Follow-up observations were made with the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), an array of radio dishes in the Inyo Mountains of Southern California.

The second group, led by Dariusz Lis, senior research associate in physics at Caltech and deputy director of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, used the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps to find water.

 

Source: NASA - Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water

 

 

Continue reading

Scientists figure out why sun overexposure makes our skin sore (a sunburn!)

A group of scientists have figured out (at least in part) why overexposure to UV light makes our skin get sore, red and swollen.

It goes like this:

  • You sit out in the sun too long. (As if you haven’t been told.)
  • Inside your skin cells, that little RNA molecule is damaged by UV-B — and its shape gets altered.
  • Damaged skin cells release altered pieces of RNA.
  • The altered RNA can bind to a receptor in undamaged skin cells and immune cells called peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
  • These cells, as a result, start pumping out chemicals called cytokines that induce inflammation.
  • Redness and swelling follow.

That’s not the end of it, though. Even though there’s a short term ramp-up in immune activity during sunburn, later on the immune system is suppressed for a period of time.

 

Learn more: L.A. Times - Ow, sunburn: Scientists figure out what’s going on in our skin

 

Continue reading

The best beach & sports sunscreens

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals for the skin to absorb, no questions about whether the product works, no bogus claims like “sunblock.” (No conventional product blocks out all rays. That’s why the FDA is trying to ban the term. )

But when you can’t avoid exposing your skin to the sun, use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin.

***

The list has narrowed down over 1800 sunscreens to 188 of the best beach/sport options.

Each one contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choices for people who want the best UVA protection without any chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A, and none are sprayed or powdered.

See if your sunscreen is on the list, or find one to buyEWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide 2012

Continue reading

Voyager I – about to leave our Solar System

Last week, in the corners of the Internet devoted to outer space, things started to get a little, well, hot. Voyager 1, the man-made object farthest away from Earth, was encountering a sharp uptick in the number of a certain kind of energetic particles around it. Had the spacecraft become the first human creation to “officially” leave the solar system?

It’s hard to overstate how wild an accomplishment this would be: A machine, built here on Earth by the brain- and handiwork of humans, has sailed from Florida, out of Earth’s orbit, beyond Mars, beyond the gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn, and may now have left the heliosphere — tiny dot in the universe beholden to our sun. Had it really happened? How would we know?

We’re not quite there yet, Voyager’s project scientist and former head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Edward Stone, told me. The spacecraft is on its way out — “it’s leaving the solar system” — but we don’t know how far it has to go or what that transition to interstellar space will look like.

 

Keep readingGet Ready, Because Voyager I Is *This Close* to Leaving Our Solar System

Continue reading

The nation’s original Surf Dog competition – June 16, San Diego, CA

See Spot surf at the Loews Dog Surfing Competition – the nation’s original surfing competition for man’s best friend. Dozens of dogs take to the waves in the small dog, large dog and tandem categories. The only event of its kind when first launched, it has grown incredibly with the 2011 contest drawing 65 competitors and thousands of spectators to Coronado’s Silver Strand State Beach.

This event is family-friendly and appeals to animal lovers of all kinds. It also draws expert surfers who participate in the tandem event and perform amazing tricks on the waves.

New this year, the winner of the Ultimate Champion Round will become the 2012 “poster dog” for Loews Hotels! The star treatment includes a professional photo shoot and lunch. The featured photos will be showcased on Loews Hotels’ official website as well as the 2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition website, t-shirts and fliers!

This popular competition is an extension of Loews Hotels’ award-winning Loews Loves Pets program and has become a hugely successful fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Loews Coronado Bay Resort, with the help of its surf dog heroes, has set a personal goal to raise $10,000 this year.

This event is free to attend and watch. To enter: $50 for Divisions One or Two, $55 for Division Three. Fees also include a competition medal and a great goody bag filled with treats. All proceeds benefit the resort’s non-profit partner.

Dunes Park/Beach
700 Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

 

via SanDiego.org

Continue reading

MESSENGER sends first data back to Earth – uncovers ice on Mercury

For several years scientists have been begging to test their theories about Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. You see, the radar signals come back showing ice exists on the planet, but how could ice exist on a planet so incredibly hot?

NASA sent the spacecraft MESSENGER to orbit the planet and figure the mystery out (among other things). It turns out that ice exists at the planet north and south poles and possibly underneath some “dirt-shielding”.

All of this was uncovered by Professor David Paige, who has previous experience with Mars and the Moon, as he explains in his own words:

 

“I was able to use the Mercury laser altimeter in conjunction with a three-dimensional ray-tracing thermal model that I built to study ice on the moon, Paige said. “Using these models, I calculated the average temperature on the surface of the planet and concluded that the surface temperatures were too warm to permit the long-term stability of ice. The only possibility was some sort of thin layer of cover that allowed the ice to survive.”

This thin, dark layer is called a regolith and is probably made of organic substances like the Earth’s soil, rich in hydrocarbon compounds that may have come from the comets and meteorites that struck the planet over time. The comets and meteorites may have also contributed the water that seeped under the soil cover to form the icy patches.

***

MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Its goal is to collect better data about the composition and atmosphere of the planet, and it just completed its first year of information gathering.

***

While the mix of water and organic compounds on another planet may raise the possibility of extraterrestrial life for some scientists, this is not what excites Paige. For him, the discovery of ice on Mercury is the triumph of science.

“We’re getting a good agreement between models and observations,” Paige said. “What we thought was true is true. The most exciting part of this? We may not know lot of things, but on Mercury we have things under control.”

via UCLA Today

Continue reading

Music Video: Days by The Drums (at the Handplane Hoedown)

On Saturday, May 5th, 2012, a gathering of fine individuals came together to play in the sun and shorebreak. A plethora of handplanes littered the beach and everyone was smiling and having fun. The video is a short view into what went down and some of the reasons why bodysurfing is so stoke heavy.

Beach Report Card – iPhone app – monitor the water quality at your beach

Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card app puts the only comprehensive, weekly analysis of coastline water quality for the West Coast at your fingertips. Now, any time and anywhere, you can get access to A to F grades for the health risks of swimming, surfing or playing at more than 650 beach locations in California, Oregon and Washington.

Use the Beach Report Card to find out which beaches are safe and unsafe for you and your family; check the weather; look up water quality history for any beach during dry or rainy seasons; keep your own list of Favorites; view comments, photos or videos from other beach goers; and share your own tips and feedback.

Remember, a day at the beach should never make you sick. Before you dive in, find out if there’s an increased risk of getting a rash, ear infection or even diarrhea at that beach. The lower the beach’s letter grade, the higher your risk of getting sick!

Download Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card, because you can’t tell if your favorite beach is safe just by looking at it.

Continue reading