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Chris Blagden

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Chris is an avid news writer and produces some of the feature articles here at TheWeeklyObserver.com

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

Earlier this month the renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art revealed that over 375,000 pictures are to be released for public consumption and enjoyment. These art rarities  that can be found in gallery’s online Internet Collection are to be made available to the general public by way of Creative Commons. This means that the artworks can be used free of charge for personal non commercial ventures reports DesignBump.com.

Creative Common is the charitable institute that makes available artworks such as these from the MET to the general public. They license use of some 1.1 billion electronic artworks such as these from other museums, collections and galleries from around the world.

Over 375,000 Artworks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Released to General Public

This news which will satisfy art lovers everywhere is a major enhancement to the Met’s earlier 2014 campaign to add many thousands of artworks into the public domain. Artworks such as Victorian Interior I. Horace Pippin, 1945. Oil on canvas to name but a few select examples.

The Open Access plan that enables access to these amazing historical artworks restricts any kind of business or commercial use.

The large collection of rare artworks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes numerous valuable paintings along with many historic items of significance, and prints that can currently be used anywhere for any kind of purpose. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Director and also CEO Thomas P. Campbell was excited to share in the new news that will excite art lovers everywhere.

We have actually been gearing towards the objective of sharing our artworks and pictures with the public for a number of years. Our extensive art portfolio as well as our varied gallery collection extends across 5,000 years of human society and culture. Also our core goal is to be open to all as well as easily be accessible for all that desire to study our rare art collection.

Of Great Benefit to Galleries and Private Collectors

These artworks should be of great value to many galleries, independent artists and keen collectors everywhere in the world. Now the general public can behold these rare art and print exhibits as well as delight in the new rare artworks that are on display to the general public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These incredible artworks and private collections are made available for public consumption via way of the Public Domain Artworks ( Creative Commons ) policy now in force at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Read more about this art story on DesignBump.com

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Crocodile Eyes are Designed for Lurking and Hunting

Crocodile eyes are watching you. The thought of being stalked by a crocodile is enough to make anyone sweat profusely. In some parts of the world nipping to the waters edge for a quick drink is not good advice. Crocodiles aren’t just scary to most people simply because they have huge teeth and a fierce bite, though. Crocodiles lurk and pounce on their prey in a violent attack appears to come from out of the blue. The crocs you see will lurk just beneath the water, with only their devious mean looking eyes keeping a lookout for something delicious — like one of us for example.

In a recent study it has been shown that a crocs eyesight is pretty decent indeed. The new research shows that, while a crocodile may not have as good eyesight as you or I for example, it’s vision is well adapted for craftily lying in wait at the water’s surface for the perfect moment to strike and lunge at it’s unsuspecting prey.

Crocodile Eyes are Designed for Lurking and Hunting

Nicolas Nagloo and his academic colleagues from the University of Western Australia in Crawley recently investigated the eyes that were taken from three young saltwater crocodiles and also two young freshwater crocodiles.

“Both Australian species of crocodile possess a bright yellow iris, a slit pupil and a relatively large lens,” the team notes. Such features in the crocodiles eyes, that were known before this study, are useful for seeing prey and other objects in low light. (The animals, though, don’t have great vision underwater.) Crocodiles also possess a “mobile slit retina” which assists the crocs in controlling just how much light reaches the eye during the day time.

A study of the cells and dissections of the crocodile eyes revealed three types of single cones. This suggest that the crocodiles can see colors in their field of vision pretty well. However the freshwater crocs appear to be a bit more sensitive to the color red than their saltwater cousins. These crocs which are known as salties in Australia may help the freshies see better in streams and rivers.

Each species of crocodile further have a horizontal streak of high spatial acuity. This acuity is what enables the crocs to search for their prey without ever having to move their heads. Meaning that they do not have to make any movement that might give the game away.

That the two species of crocodile have eyes that are so strikingly  similar is somewhat interesting given that these are crocodiles and reptiles separated by some 12 million years of independent evolution. They live in different habitats and prefer to hunt for different prey. for example the freshwater crocs prefer smaller animals and more marine life. Yet each species of crocodile have developed a similar style of hunting their prey.

A style in which the crocs lurk menacingly just beneath the water line and scan the immediate surroundings for a suitable tasty meal. The crocodiles, this research demonstrates have eyes that are specialized to aid in such attacks. Beware the next time you head down to the waters edge. You never know what might be there just under the surface of the water.

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Heavy Rain Can Trigger Earthquakes

Earthquakes are an unpleasant fact of life, they occur worldwide and there are several quakes, some serious each year. Most quakes occur with an ocean floor epicenter, some will occur across land in proximity to population centers and with differing levels of severity. Where it rains, it apparently rumbles underground. New research in New Zealand suggests that intense rainwater and melting snow actually encourage earthquakes along a New Zealand tectonic fault known as the Alpine Fault.

If this is proven to be true then it establishes a link between heavy rainfall and the likelihood of earthquake or tremor as the ground moves.

Heavy Rain Can Help Trigger Earthquakes

New Zealand’s Alpine Fault water flow shows that more than 99 percent of the water flowing through the New Zealand Alpine Fault fault came from direct rainfall, as reported by researchers in the April 19 edition of  Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Previously scientists were always aware that that underground fluids help trigger quakes. Yet in many cases it was never clear where these underground waters actually came from. For example these fluids could originate from lakes, rivers, underground caves or rainwater. The possibilities as to the origin of these waters were always varied.

In this case in New Zealand, the nearby Southern Alps direct heavy rainfall and melting snow on top of the Alpine Fault. Within the fault the water is trapped and it permeates into the ground. The fault “essentially [is] promoting its own large fluid pressures that can lead to earthquakes,” says study coauthor and academic Catriona Menzies, a researcher and geologist at the University of Southampton in England.

Identifying source of all this flowing water into the fault will help scientists better predict the fault’s seismic cycle, she says. This could be a powerful tool in predicting earthquakes in other areas of the world and in protecting valuable cities and their population; cities such as San Francisco which lives under the constant threat of serious earthquake.

New Zealand of course is a country that sits on the boundary where the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates collide. As the plates move against each other the collision of energy and friction generates a powerful earthquake along the Alpine Fault. The quake hits here around once every 330 years. The most recent serious quake caused by the Alpine Fault in New Zealand was in 1717. This plate movement also gradually formed the Southern Alps as the two tectonic plates forced the landmass upward.

It is here that moist air condenses when rising over the mountains, which causes heavy rainfall that typically exceeds 10 meters each year. The researchers Menzies and colleagues naturally pondered on just how much rainwater enters the Alpine Fault zone. Fluids within a fault help encourage quakes by altering the composition of rock and soil and by interfering with the natural forces that hold two sides of a fault together. In essence the rainwater destabilizes the rock within the fault lines making it more prone to movement and therefore generate a resulting earthquake or tremor.

 

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Explorers searching the sea bed believe they may have located the wreckage of Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour in a shallow channel.

Marine archaeologists have been searching for the lost wreck of Captain Cook, the HMS Endeavour for many years but may finally have found his famous ship sunken in shallow waters off the coast of Providence, Rhode Island. Explorers searching the sea bed believe they may have located the wreckage of Captain James Cook’s ship Endeavour in a shallow channel.

Scientists have been actively trawling the ocean floor around the coast of Providence for many decades looking for the ship and other naval vessels of it’s era.

Archaeologists always knew that Cook’s ship Endeavour was more than likely to be one of 13 ships that were scuttled in 1778 by the British navy. They ships were scuttled in order to blockade a channel preventing the movement of shipping and troops during the American War of Independence.

It was only after they uncovered new documents and literature from the National Archives back in the United Kingdom that the marine research team were able to narrow down the final resting place of the Endeavour to within just a tight two square mile area of ocean sea floor off the coast of Newport harbor near Rhode Island.

Marine archaeologists and explorers now say they believe the three masted vessel is among a cluster of similar sunken wrecks. These ships were scuttled off Newport Harbor in the year of 1778.

The HMS Endeavour Might Have Been There all Along

The marine archaeologists responsible for heading up the search for Cook’s ship believe there are actually five ships lying wrecked on the sea bed in the shallow channel, four of these old naval vessels they have already identified.

The hunt is now urgently on to locate Cook’s ship which could well be the fifth wreck, although it could also be one of the other four ships. Hence extensive analysis of the underwater wrecks will be needed to prove which of the five ships is Captain Cook’s vessel, the Endeavour.

Lead investigator and marine researcher Dr Kathy Abbass told The Weekly Observer: “We may have been looking right at her without even knowing it.

The marine research group from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project is inspired to have located and properly explored the fifth wreck by this summer 2016.

Captain Cook’s ship the HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval and marine time history.

Captain James Cook sailed his ship, the Endeavour acros the globe to Australia and New Zealand in the year 1768.

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Astronomers say that three potentially Earth like and habitable planets orbiting another star have been discovered using the technique that detects wobbles in light. In this instance the three planets are orbiting an ultra cool dwarf star much smaller than our own sun. The trio of new worlds are located about 39 light years from Earth. Their exciting discovery have opened up a new “hunting ground” in the search for alien life outside our home solar system.

The trio of Earth-like planets are very similar in size to our home planet of Earth. Each of these new worlds are close enough for their atmospheres to be analysed with existing technology we already have, scientists said. Furthermore their relatively close distance to our home world, although a prohibitive distance for travel with current technology means that they are close enough for future generations of space explorers to reach.

Perhaps within several generations. In other words future exploration by mankind maybe feasible if reasonable advances in technology come to pass and certain assumptions about human capability are met.

“This is the first opportunity to find chemical traces of life outside our solar system,” Michael Gillon, an astrophysicist at the University of Liege in Belgium, said.

How the Trio of New Worlds Were Discovered

Using a unique 60cm telescope based in Chile, the telescope is known as TRAPPIST, scientists and astronomers tracked several dozen dwarf stars not visible with optical ground based telescopes.

The telescope works by identifying the most promising candidate star. In this case the star is about one-eight of the size of the Sun. The next phase in the discovery programme is to observe the star for several months. After this time had elapsed scientists noticed its infrared signal faded or dipped slightly at regular intervals. This light phasing and dipping is a process of discovery that suggests it had local objects orbiting it such as planets.

The astronomical study concluded the size of these worlds and their proximity to the star. This gathered data meant all three planets could have surface regions at temperatures within a range suitable for sustaining liquid water and life. For example in the temperature range of Earth and Venus. More data will likely become known as these trio of new worlds garner focussed attention in the coming months and years.

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Turn Beer Bellies Into Six-packs With Invisibility Cloak

Invisibility cloaks, once thought to be completely within the realm of science fiction are now one step closer to being realized as science fact. Ultra-thin skin created by US scientists can be laid over complex 3D shapes to make them look totally flat using thousands of nanoscale dots to reflect passing light.

The ultra thin skin has been developed by scientists in California, the skin can be laid over a 3D shape to make it look like a flat surface, or even a surface with very different contours to the real surface that is concealed behind, Harry Potter eat your heart out as the invisibility cloak is now an enticing possibility with the backing of genuine scientific research.

Xiang Zhang who built the device at the University of California, Berkeley had this to say about the new invisibility cloak. “It’s the first time we’ve done arbitrary shape cloaking, If you want to cloak people, that is possible with this new work.”

At Imperial College London, Sir John Pendry, a researcher in the field of invisibility further adds that old types of invisibility cloaks are more like a big shed than a wizard’s magical cloak like those seen in the popular movies.

Zhang’s cloak is in contrast completely microscopic in size and has succeeded so far in concealing only tiny objects. The real challenge will be in making the invisibility cloaking much bigger in scale but he believes the skin can be scaled up to form sizeable sheets that can the cloak and hide much larger objects such as people for instance.

Were this to be the case the the concept of the invisibility cloak may in fact become a reality, the effects of which for intelligence gathering and other practical uses can not be overstated.

However Zhang further believes that future incarnations of the invisibility cloak – which is constructed and made on thin, flexible sheets – could also help to cover up serious facial injuries and scarring from accidents, hence there are real world medical advantages for the invisibility device also. Details of the cloak are reported in the journal Science.

Source: The Guardian