Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for October 26th, 2010

The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

Looks like a test attack from a big tunnel boring machine. Has someone repelled down there? I’d love to see pictures.  Here is a link to a high res image… still can’t see much more. There are rumors of great underground empires.

Image of The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole located in Guatemala City, Guatemala | The Great Guatemalan SinkholeImage of The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole located in Guatemala City, Guatemala | The Great Guatemalan SinkholeImage of The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole located in Guatemala City, Guatemala | The Great Guatemalan SinkholeSinkhole

Guatemala City has had experience with sinkholes before: In 2007, three people and a dozen homes here suddenly disappeared into the earth. But no one was prepared for anything like this.

On Sunday, May 30, 2010, an enormous hole, 60 feet wide and 30 stories deep, opened up in the middle of Guatemala City, swallowing a three-story building, a home, and at least 100 people.

Generally, sinkholes are caused by underground rivers or stores of water which erode bedrock and cause the ground above to collapse. Guatemala City is largely built on weak materials such as volcano pumice, however, and as such its sinkholes open extraordinarily quickly, leaving little time for escape.

Most geologists are chalking the new sinkhole’s opening up to Tropical Storm Agatha. At least one specialist thinks the sinkhole may have been caused by broken underground pipes gushing water underneath the building, and Guatemalan officials are rushing to find the pipe, stop the leak, and fill in the hole, or else risk the hole widening. But getting construction crews to fill in a hole this large could take years, especially in the slums of Guatemala, where transportation is slow at best.

via atlasobscura


… 2010 Guatemala Sinkhole Could Grow

A ruptured sewer line is thought to have caused the sinkhole that appeared in Guatemala City in 2007.

The 2010 Guatemala sinkhole could have formed in a similar fashion, Currens said. A burst sanitary or storm sewer may have been slowly saturating the surrounding soil for a long time before tropical storm Agatha added to the inundation.

“The tropical storm came along and would have dumped even more water in there, and that could have been the final trigger that precipitated the collapse,” Currens said.

(See Guatemala pictures from National Geographic Traveler magazine.)

Depending on the makeup of the subsurface layer, the Guatemala sinkhole “could eventually enlarge and take in more buildings,” he said.

Typically, officials fill in sinkholes with large rocks and other debris. But the 2010 Guatemala sinkhole “is so huge that it’s going to take a lot of fill material to fill it,” Currens said.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

via NatGeo

This is a previous sinkhole in Guatemala. A 30-story-deep sinkhole appeared in Guatemala City on February 23:

A giant sinkhole.After rumbling for weeks, part of a poor Guatemala City neighborhood plummeted some 30 stories into the Earth on Friday.

The reportedly 330-foot-deep (100-meter-deep) sinkhole swallowed about a dozen homes and is so far blamed in the deaths of three people—two teenagers, found floating in torrent of sewage, and their father, who was pulled from the chasm.

Rainstorms and a ruptured sewer main may have caused the sinkhole, officials in Guatemala told the Associated Press. After the collapse, the seemingly bottomless depths gave off tremors, sounds of flowing water, and the scent of sewage.

Sinkholes can occur when underground rocks that can be dissolved by water—such as salt, gypsum, and limestone—are inundated. The removal of groundwater can also leave gaps underground that can lead to sinkholes.

While the cause of the Guatemala City abyss remains uncertain, it’s effects are undeniable.

Police established a 500-yard (457-meter) no-go zone around the sinkhole, and nearly a thousand people were forced to evacuate—some perhaps forever.

via Photo in the News: Giant Sinkhole Swallows Guatemala Homes.https://xenophilius.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=27341&action=edit&message=1

Thursday, June 03, 2010 1:32:09 AM by ANI – Washington, June 03 (ANI): The giant sinkhole in Guatemala City that has caught attention of the world shouldn’t be called a sinkhole, according to an expert.Geologist Sam Bonis claims “sinkholes” mean areas where bedrock is solid but has been eaten away by groundwater.

However, the situation beneath the Republic of Guatemala’s capital, according to Bonis, is far different, and more dangerous.

“Sure, it looks a lot like a sinkhole. And a whale looks a lot like a fish, but calling it one would be very misleading,” Discovery News quoted him, as saying.

He said the term “piping feature” is more appropriate for the 100-foot deep, 66-foot side circular chasm.

Bonis was part of a team of geologists who investigated similar hole that had opened after a sewage pipe broke just a few blocks from the current spot, in 2007.

He said: “Our recommendation was that this could happen again. When you have water flowing from storm water runoff, a sewage pipe, or any kind of strong flow, it eats away at the loose material. We don’t know how long it has to go on before it collapses. But once it starts collapsing, God help us.” (ANI) -

via Thaindian

Posted in Earth, Strange | 2 Comments »

Hormone research suggests rich live longer

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

Longer life link to naturally produced hormoneAndy Bloxham -

… DHEAS – or dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate – is produced by the brain, adrenal glands and sexual organs and is a guide to life expectancy.

Researchers from University College London, working on the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, found evidence that biological ageing is slower among people with better socio-economic circumstances.

It found that the wealthier people were, the higher their levels of DHEAS.

The discovery raises the possibility that the hormone could be artificially produced and used to make people live longer.

The scientists also found that those with higher levels of it tended to do greater amounts of exercise, lead a more active life with lots of pastimes, and have more friends and family.

Production of it is greatest during childhood and the teenage years, before it gradually declines through adult life – by the age of 80 it could be just 10 per cent of the peak level of teenagers.

Having more DHEAS in the body is linked to a better memory and ability to cope with mental tasks, particularly in men.

The research also found higher levels of a second hormone – growth factor I (IGF-I) – in those who are wealthier. … Less wealthy people were also likely to have higher levels of obesity, were more likely to smoke, while they took less exercise and ate less fruit and vegetables than those who were better off. They were also more likely to suffer from hypertension and diabetes. …

via Hormone research suggests rich live longer – Telegraph.

Posted in Money, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Are there no universal laws?

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010


QUOTE from an editorial on the New Scientist website:

“It looks like physics works differently in different places. If so, everything we think we know about the cosmos may be wrong.”
Astronomer John Webb says that, according to his team’s analysis of the light from distant galaxies, the way physics works may depend on the direction you’re facing.

The .pdf article on which that editorial was derived was originally printed in 2003 in Physics World. The original article can be found here:

via UFO Evolution

New Scientist has an article about this, but they’ve moved their content behind a registration system. Good luck with that. The story is always available elsewhere. Related:

In a paper just submitted to Physical Review Letters, a team led by John Webb and Julian King from the University of New South Wales in Australia present evidence that the fine-structure constant may not actually be constant after all. Rather, it seems to vary from place to place within the universe. If their results hold up to the scrutiny, and can be replicated, they will have profound implications—for they suggest that the universe stretches far beyond what telescopes can observe, and that the laws of physics vary within it. Instead of the whole universe being fine-tuned for life, then, humanity finds itself in a corner of space where, Goldilocks-like, the values of the fundamental constants happen to be just right for it.

via ThinkAtheist

Us­ing two ma­jor ob­ser­va­to­ries, the Keck Tel­e­scope in Ha­waii and the Eu­ro­pe­an South­ern Ob­ser­va­to­ry’s Very Large Tel­e­scope in Chil­e, Webb and his team ob­served the light from qua­sars, the most lu­mi­nous ob­jects in the known uni­verse. Al­though qua­sars are in­credibly far away, we can de­tect them due to the sheer quan­tity of light that they emit. The light is thought to come from ma­te­ri­al that heats up as it plunges in­to the cent­ral, “su­per­mas­sive” black holes. Be­cause the light that reaches us from these ob­jects ac­tu­ally left them bil­lions of years ago, the im­ages we re­ceive of­fer a rec­ord of the way they would have looked back then.

“The in­ter­ac­tion of the light from the quasars with the gas clouds pro­vides an im­pres­sive op­por­tun­ity to in­ves­t­i­gate the phys­i­cal con­di­tions when the Uni­verse was just a frac­tion of its cur­rent age,” said PhD stu­dent Jul­ian King, al­so of the uni­vers­ity, who played a ma­jor role in the re­search. It’s “ex­cit­ing that we have the tech­nol­o­gy to be able to meas­ure the laws of phys­ics in the early Uni­verse so pre­cise­ly,” he added.

The new re­sults can be ex­plained if our Uni­verse is ex­cep­tion­ally or even in­fi­nitely large, the re­search­ers said. This would al­low fun­da­men­tal quan­ti­ties and “con­stants” to have dif­fer­ent val­ues in diff­erent areas. In such a sce­nar­i­o, we would ex­ist in just a ti­ny patch of the cos­mos, with cor­re­spond­ingly small changes in the phys­i­cal con­stants.

This view, the sci­ent­ists said, raises ques­tions as to why a whole range of these “con­stants” hap­pen to be just right—in our area—for de­vel­op­ing life, along with phys­ics and chem­is­try as we know them. …

via World-Science

Posted in Space | 1 Comment »

Australian Border Officials Check Honeymooners for Porn

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

A travel tip for tourists to Australia: Delete any racy honeymoon photographs from your phone or computer.

Under a new law, the Australian government is demanding visitors Down Under declare to border officials any “illegal” pornography they are bringing into the country.

But the move has confused travelers to such an extent that airport arrival cards have had to be reworded.

Afraid of breaking the law, an Australian couple returning home from an overseas honeymoon felt obliged to show customs officials naked photos of themselves.

“[The couple were] on the beach, they were nude, they’d taken a photo of themselves on their iPhone having an embrace,” said Robbie Swan, spokesman for the Australian Sex Party. “It wasn’t full on or anything, but when they’d gone through customs they’d asked what ‘pornography’ meant and the customs officer had said: ‘Well, anything explicit.’ “

“They were made to display a nude photo of themselves in a line with all these other people,” Swan said. “They were so embarrassed.”

The Sex Party, a libertarian political organization and lobby group, says it has received complaints from angry citizens over the law, which was introduced late last year.

The government has told travelers to show their photographs to customs officers if they are in doubt about the content. …

via Australian Border Officials Check Honeymooners for Porn.

Posted in Strange, Travel | Leave a Comment »

Live ‘Gong Show’ Gives Break to Yodeling Goat-Milkers and Other Quirky Talents

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

David MoyeShowbiz is a hard career, but it’s even more difficult if you’re trying to make it big by singing “Silent Night” like a pigeon, yodeling while milking a cardboard goat or imitating Ralph Kramden doing Shakespeare.

But New York radio personality Leslie Gold is doing a sort of showbiz stimulus package for people whose talents are, shall we say, less easily marketable — such as the 60-year-old who wears a pigeon suit and coos like a bird sitting on a telephone wire.And she’s doing it by bringing back “The Gong Show” in a live setting on, appropriately enough, Halloween.

On Oct. 31, Gold will present “Gong Show Live” at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square. It’s a talent show modeled after the cheesy game show hosted by Chuck Barris in the late 1970s, where contestants compete for a measly sum $543.32, to be exact while trying to avoid being “gonged” by the three judges.

For Gold, who will be one of the judges, bringing back a TV show in a live setting is something of a demented dream come true.

“To me, this hits the entertainment sweet spot,” she told AOL News. “The best parts of shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘America’s Got Talent’ are the bad acts. “Gold is a devoted fan of “The Gong Show” and got the idea to do her version after interviewing show creator Barris on radio.

“I’m an admirer of his. I think he’s some kind of kooky genius,” she said. “I wanted to do it as a live event.” …

via Live ‘Gong Show’ Gives Break to Yodeling Goat-Milkers and Other Quirky Talents.

Posted in Art, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Christopher Columbus cleared of importing syphilis from the Americas to Europe

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

Christopher Columbus has been blamed for bringing syphilis back from the Americas Niall Firth – Christopher Columbus and his crew have long been blamed for syphilis back from the Americas to Europe after their historic first voyage.

In 1493 they returned to Spain bringing news of lands across the Atlantic and the first cases of the potentially deadly disease thanks to their exploits abroad, it was believed.

But now scientists have found evidence that the disease existed in Europe long before Columbus was even born.

Skeletons unearthed in a cemetery at a church in East London show signs of the disease up to two centuries before the explorer first set sail.

Archaelogists excavating bones from St Mary Spital in East London found rough patches on skulls and limbs of some of the skeletons, telling evidence of syphilis.

Brian Connell, an expert from the Museum of London who studied the bones, said he had no doubt that the skeletons were buried before Columbus’ voyage. Radiocarbon dating of the samples is estimated to be 95 percent accurate. …

via Christopher Columbus cleared of importing syphilis from the Americas to Europe | Mail Online.

Posted in Health, History | Leave a Comment »

Fake diploma spam

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

If you get this scam, “Diploma of world famous universities can be bought here.”

Report it to:


The phone number below is in New York.

—– spam scam below —-

On Oct 25, 2010, at 10:11 PM,

Want to have a highly paid job but level of your education doesn’t let you have it?
Or you maybe you want to realize yourself, but your diploma can’t help you with that?
Now you have a chance to get whatever you want with a new diploma.
Our service can help you get diploma of any university worldwide and become a valuable employee for any employer.
All you need is to call us through one of the following telephones, depending on your location:
1-718-989-5740 (Inside USA)
or +1-718-989-5740
(don’t forget to leave your first and last name, as well as country of your living),
one of our professional specialists will call you soon after.


This number, 718-989-5740, is still active as of 7:00 PM Oct, 26, 2010.

Posted in Crime, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

New road vs historic site with 3 million 40,000 year old Aboriginal artifacts

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

Ancient Aboriginal Rock Art in AustraliaKathy Marks in Sydney, Australia – It was an extraordinary find: three million Aboriginal artefacts dating back more than 40,000 years, uncovered beneath a nondescript and overlooked grassy floodplain by a Tasmanian river.

Archaeologists believe the treasure trove, found at what was obviously an important meeting-place for local tribes, is the oldest evidence of human habitation in the southern hemisphere. It offers, says one eminent expert, Rob Paton, “a glimpse into an unknown part of world history”.

But the site, by the Jordan River, on the outskirts of Hobart, is under threat from a bridge due to be built as part of a new highway. The state government is resisting calls to re-route the road, and – despite protests from conservationists and Aboriginal groups – is expected to grant approval for the bridge.

The state government claims the project will not disturb the site, described in a recent report as of “extremely high scientific significance”. But opponents hope the federal government will step in to protect the site.

Archaeologists say that the tools, stones and spear tips found during a dig – ordered after concerns were raised about the bridge – could rewrite Aboriginal history in Tasmania and Australia. …

via Aborigines fear new road is a bridge too far for historic site – Herald Scotland | News | World News.

Image from this related story:

The world’s oldest crayon? The discovery of a stick of red ochre, a kind of mineral, in Australia has been dated to 70,000 years ago. If this date is confirmed by more testing, it would show people were living in Australia at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought. It is not known if the ochre was used to make wall pictures, of if it was used to decorate the human body, but it must have had some artistic purpose.

The oldest battle: a rock painting in Australia, dated to between 12,000 to 11,000 years ago, according to some theories, shows a fight between two organized groups of warriors. If this is correct, this would make the painting the oldest record of organized warfare found in the world so far. …

via edunetconnect

Posted in Archaeology | 1 Comment »

The Dawn of Writing

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

GERALDINE FABRIKANT – One of the stars of the Oriental Institute’s new show, “Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond,” is a clay tablet that dates from around 3200 B.C. On it, written in cuneiform, the script language of ancient Sumer in Mesopotamia, is a list of professions, described in small, repetitive impressed characters that look more like wedge-shape footprints than what we recognize as writing.

In fact “it is among the earliest examples of writings that we know of so far,” according to the institute’s director, Gil J. Stein, and it provides insights into the life of one of the world’s oldest cultures.

The new exhibition by the institute, part of the University of Chicago, is the first in the United States in 26 years to focus on comparative writing. It relies on advances in archaeologists’ knowledge to shed new light on the invention of scripted language and its subsequent evolution.

The show demonstrates that, contrary to the long-held belief that writing spread from east to west, Sumerian cuneiform and its derivatives and Egyptian hieroglyphics evolved separately from each another. And those writing systems were but two of the ancient forms of writing that evolved independently. Over a span of two millenniums, two other powerful civilizations — the Chinese and Mayans — also identified and met a need for written communication. Writing came to China as early as around 1200 B.C. and to the Maya in Mesoamerica long before A.D. 500.

“It was the first true information revolution,” Mr. Stein said. “By putting spoken language into material form, people could for the first time store and transmit it across time and space.” …

via The Dawn of Writing at Oriental Institute in Chicago – NYTimes.com.

Posted in Archaeology, History | Leave a Comment »

Butterflies and moths mimic snakes and foxes to fool predators, claims researcher

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2010

The tip of the Atlas moth's wing (main picture) is camouflaged to look like a cobra (inset)Richard Gray – … The dazzling colours and patterns on their wings make butterflies and moths some of the most eye catching creatures in the animal kingdom, but a new book suggests these dramatic designs also help turn the insects into master illusionists capable of fooling potential predators.

Professor Philip Howse, a retired entomologist from Southampton University, claims that many species of butterfly and moth are capable of using their wing patterns to trick predators into thinking they are much larger and even more dangerous animals.

One species of butterfly has patterns on its wings that when viewed from the right angle take on the appearance of a snake’s head. When disturbed, it falls to the ground and writhes around to complete the illusion.

Another species uses its wing patterns to take on the appearance of a small rodent peaking out from foliage, while another looks like the face of a fox. …

via Butterflies and moths mimic snakes and foxes to fool predators, claims researcher – Telegraph.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »


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