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Ultima Thule Asteroid Gets a New Politically Correct Non-Nazi Name

If you name your baby “Hitler,” you can’t escape the fact that you’ve doomed him (or her, if you’re really strange) to a life of derision at best, hate or violence at worst. However, if you name it Wernher, you may be hoping they associate him with the Wernher von Braun who pioneered rocket technology for NASA, not the same Wernher von Braun who developed the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany. That may have been the idea behind NASA choosing to name a faraway, snowman-shaped, Kuiper Belt asteroid discovered by the New Horizons spacecraft Ultima Thule.

This composite image of the primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 (officially named Arrokoth) was compiled from data obtained by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it flew by the object on Jan. 1, 2019. The image combines enhanced color data (close to what the human eye would see) with detailed high-resolution panchromatic pictures. (Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute//Roman Tkachenko)

Pronounced ‘ultima thoo-lee’, the announcement press release explained that: “Thule was a mythical, far-northern island in medieval literature and cartography. Ultima Thule means “beyond Thule”– beyond the borders of the known world.” However, it didn’t take long for the media and neo-Nazis to point out that Thule is believed by some to be the ancient birthplace of the “Aryan race” – a concept first revealed in the Oera Linda Book, which was allegedly discovered in the 1800s and inspired the occultist and racist Thule Society and Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, the main architect of the Holocaust. Is it any wonder that modern Neo-Nazis adopted this Ultima Thule asteroid as their own?

“Most people don’t hear the word Ultima Thule and think Nazis, Aryan myths, and strange ghostly white people living at the pole.”

Benjamin Teitelbaum, an ethnomusicologist who researched a Scandinavian band called Ultima Thule that taps into this racially charged definition, defended the nickname to Newsweek after it was announced in early 2018. However, he points out (as you may have already discovered for yourself), a quick Google search says otherwise. 20th century philosopher Julius Evola, whom Steve Bannon and other alt-right leaders like to cite, used the term frequently. At the time, Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute and investigator on the New Horizons mission who led the naming process, said the new name for 2014 MU69 was accepted because:

“We’re very, very tired of talking about 2014 MU69. Any name is better than 2014 MU69.”

Well, almost any name. On November 12th, NASA decided enough was enough and gave 214 MU69 a new moniker.

“In a fitting tribute to the farthest flyby ever conducted by spacecraft, the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 has been officially named Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning “sky” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language.

With consent from Powhatan Tribal elders and representatives, NASA’s New Horizons team – whose spacecraft performed the record-breaking reconnaissance of Arrokoth four billion miles from Earth – proposed the name to the International Astronomical Union and Minor Planet Center, the international authority for naming Kuiper Belt objects.”

To link Arrokoth to the asteroid, the announcement points out that the Hubble Space Telescope (at the Space Telescope Science Institute) and the New Horizons mission (at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory) are operated out of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, region to the Powhatan people.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by the distant Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) on Jan. 1, 2019. The object, the most distant ever visited by a spacecraft, is now called Arrokoth.
(Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

The team used this connection to associate the culture of the native peoples who lived in the region where the object was discovered; in this case, both the Hubble Space Telescope (at the Space Telescope Science Institute) and the New Horizons mission (at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory) are operated out of Maryland — a tie to the significance of the Chesapeake Bay region where descendants of the indigenous Powhatan people still reside.

Naming an asteroid Arrokoth shouldn’t be controversial to many people, other than those who preferred the Nazi-connected name. Naming your child Arrokoth shouldn’t doom them to a life of therapy either. Naming your band Arrokoth sounds pretty cool. This looks like a good choice all around.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Bizzare & Odd

China announces the completion of its Artificial Sun and expect it to become operational in 2020

One of the biggest problems facing the world today is the issue of energy. Finding a renewable energy source that does not destroy that planet is a complex task that has intrigued many countries for many years.

However, China may have found a solution. Chinese scientists are working on collecting energy from the Sun, but not in the traditional sense of solar energy, but in fusion energy. The “artificial sun” that has developed is actually a nuclear fusion device that is believed to be the future of clean energy.

Fusion reactor

On Tuesday, China announced the completion of its reactor device and declared that they expect it to come into operation as soon as 2020. The real name of China’s artificial sun is HL-2M, which doesn’t make it sound so special. The reactor is located in Leshan, Sichuan Province, where it was built to investigate fusion technology by the National Nuclear Corporation of China and the Institute of Physics of the Southwest. In reality, it has become much more and is potentially the future of the world’s energy.

% name China announces the completion of its artificial Sun and expect it to become operational in 2020

China announces the completion of its artificial Sun and expect it to become operational in 2020

How does it work?

This is essentially a giant nuclear fusion device, which basically forces atoms to bind, which releases heat, which can then be harvested for energy. While the device is known as an artificial sun, it can actually reach temperatures 13 times higher than the real star. The HL-2M can reach 200 million degrees Celsius (360 million degrees Fahrenheit, compared to just 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit) in the core of the Sun. The resulting energy is not only cheaper, but also much cleaner than current nuclear options, which means that the Earth would not be damaged.

That said, it is not as simple as it seems. Of course, there are a number of problems when dealing with such high temperatures, the main one being that they are difficult to achieve. Completing reactions like this can be complicated and must be done correctly so they don’t go wrong. The consequences could be dire. Therefore, there are a number of problems that must be resolved before this sun can get to work.

While it is not yet functional, it will be soon, and the artificial sun could possibly revolutionize the world’s energy sources and the way we use it.

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Bizzare & Odd

Encounters with giant squid

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In the late 19th century, there are several instances where near the rocky island of Newfoundland, in northeastern Canada, have seen huge squid.

Researcher Henry Lee has collected several similar reports. One of them was published in March 1875 in the journal American Journal of Science and Arts.

According to this information, Professor Veril personally reports that since 1870, several huge squid, measuring 30 to 52 feet (9-15 meters) in size, have been observed near Newfoundland.

In particular, one of the squid was found floating dead on the surface of the water near the Grand Bank. Captain Campbell, with schooner BD Hoskins, spotted it in October 1871.

This squid was raised aboard the schooner and parts of it’s body were used as bait for fish. It’s body was 15 feet (4.5 meters) plus tentacles 10 feet (3 meters) long. The beak was cut and sent for testing at the Smithsonian Institution.

Another squid described in the same article was found still alive but stuck in the shallow waters of Fortuna Bay in 1872. It was extracted ashore, and when the researchers began to make their measurements, the creature died.

The body of this squid was 10 feet (3 meters) long, and the tentacles had a colossal length of 42 feet (12 meters). The suction cups on the tentacles were firm and had “serrated” edges.

Another huge squid was also caught in Bonavista Bay. Its length is not stated, but it is reported that its large beak and a few tentacles have been sent for study at the Smithsonian.

On September 22, 1877, another giant squid was spotted in the shallow waters of Catalina, on the north shore of Trinity Bay, near Newfoundland. It was still alive when the fishermen saw it, but when the tide came, the squid found itself on the shore and died soon after.

Two fishermen dragged the squid into the village. All the inhabitants were amazed at its appearance and its enormous size. It was first decided to cut it into pieces and feed the dogs, but a man advised the fishermen to take the creature to the nearest town of St. John’s.

The fishermen did this and the squid’s body was covered with ice and brought into the city. At first, they wanted to sell it to the same Professor Veril, but the deal fell through. After all, squid was auctioned off at the New York Aquarium.

On October 7, 1877, the squid’s body was transferred to New York City and placed in a large glass tank filled with special liquid to preserve it from decomposing. There, it was finally measured for the first time: the squid’s body was 3 meters long, plus the length of the tentacles – 9 meters. One of the tentacles was counting 250 suction pumps.

Henry Lee was very excited about this unusual series of events when, for 7 years, these rare marine animals were caught several times in the same area of ​​Canada. He suggested that the squid may have been attracted by the remains of small fish caught in the nets of cod fishermen.

This version has not been confirmed. Lee realized that giant squid, during those same years, were often seen elsewhere on the planet. Including Japan, in 1873, a huge squid was caught and sold on the Edo fish market.

In 1874, a giant squid was dumped on a beach on St. Paul’s Island, Alaska. Together with the tentacles, it reached a length of 23 feet (7 meters).

In April 1875, a huge squid was seen in the water off the west coast of Ireland. The squid seemed dead and lying still, swaying in the waves. But when the fishermen swam to him and cut off one of his tentacles, the squid trembled and then quickly sailed out to sea.

The fishermen tried to catch it but had to chase it for sbout 5 miles before finally reaching it and killing it. The remains of it’s tentacles can be seen in the Dublin Museum.

Why in those years there were so many cases of giant squid in shallow waters or near the shore, no one has understood.

Nowadays, such large squids are extremely rare.

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Bizzare & Odd

Mysterious interferences at Earth’s poles are being investigated

Something unusual is interfering with technology at the Earth’s poles, and scientists are now determined to find out what is behind this mysterious phenomenon.

Mysterious interferences at Earth's poles are being investigated
Solar wind flowing around the Earth’s magnetosphere, channeled at the poles. Credit: NASA

Why are devices using radio or satellite connections malfunctioning above the north and south poles?

NASA wants to launch three missions to investigate the North Polar Cusp, a space funnel that can give a clue to explain the strange phenomenon.

The three missions are part of the Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp, a series of nine rocket missions exploring the polar cusp.

Every second, 1.5 million tons of solar material is launched from the sun into space, traveling at hundreds of kilometers per second. Known as the solar wind, this incessant flow of plasma or electrified gas has hit the earth for over 4 billion years. Thanks to the magnetic field of our planet, it is diverted away. But go north, and you will find the exception.

Mark Conde, space physicist at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, said:

Most of the earth is protected from the solar wind. But very close to the poles, in the midday sector, our magnetic field becomes a funnel where the solar wind can reach the atmosphere.

Are the polar cusps or something else responsible for the phenomenon?

These funnels, known as polar cusps, can cause some problems. The influx of solar wind disturbs the atmosphere, disrupting satellites and radio and GPS signals.

The northern polar cusp also has a dense atmosphere, and this can be a real problem for our spaceship.

Earl, the mission’s principal investigator at Cusp Region Experiment-2, or CREX-2, reported:

A small extra mass 320 kilometers away may seem like a big problem. But the change in pressure associated with this increase in mass density, if it occurred at ground level, would cause a stronger continuous hurricane than anything seen in the weather records.

This additional mass creates problems for ships flying through it, such as the many satellites that follow a polar orbit. Passing through the dense region can shake their trajectories, making close encounters with other spacecraft or orbital debris more risky.

A small change of a few hundred meters can make the difference between having to do an evasive or not.

Norwegian space physicist Jøran Moen, who leads the Cusp Irregularities-5, intended to measure turbulence and distinguish it from electric waves.

He said:

Turbulence is one of the most difficult questions of classical physics. We really don’t know what it is because we don’t have direct measurements yet

Moen compares the turbulence to the whirlwinds that form when rivers run around rocks. When the atmosphere gets turbulent, the GPS and communication signals that pass through it can be distorted, sending unreliable signals to the airplanes and ships that depend on them.

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