The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks says it is releasing more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and corporations.
“Ground-breaking” news stories derived from the “Syria files” will be published over the next two months, Wikileaks said.
Its founder Julian Assange was quoted as saying the material was embarrassing – not only to Syria but its opponents.
The emails are said to date from August 2006 to March 2012.
Syrian authorities have been fighting an internal rebellion for some 16 months. Some 15,800 people have died, activists say.
… Some of the 2,434,899 emails would reveal, Wikileaks promises, “how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another”.
News stories based on the emails will be published by news providers including US news agency Associated Press, Spain’s Publico.es and Egypt’s al-Masry al-Youm.
Some stories which have already appeared seem to concern communications between Syrian representatives and Western suppliers of equipment that could be used for military purposes.
Archive for July 5th, 2012
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
A fake cigarette prompted armed police to swoop on a coach on the M6 Toll road and close the motorway for more than four hours.
Forty eight passengers on the Megabus Preston to London service were led off the coach and forced to sit apart in a cordon on the opposite carriageway.
The road was closed near Lichfield before police said they were no longer treating the incident as suspicious.
Police said they received a “genuine report” of vapour escaping from a bag.
Armed officers, troops, firefighters and bomb disposal experts all went to the scene.
Jenny Lister, who was on the coach, said when she got off “there were armed police aiming at us”.
She said: “We… were told to sit in rows and not talk to each other.”
A force spokeswoman said, given the credibility of the information received, officers “responded swiftly and proportionately”. But police found no crime had been committed.
The M6 Toll road was shut from about 08:20 BST and fully reopened by 14:00 BST northbound and by 15:00 BST southbound.
Staffordshire Police received a report from someone who saw vapour coming from the man’s bag while the coach was near the M6 Toll plaza at Weeford, near Lichfield.
The force said on investigation they found the passenger had an electronic cigarette which produces a visible vapour.
The passengers, including at least one young boy, were taken to a cordoned-off area of the motorway and surrounded by police.
A decontamination unit was set up and officers searched the coach passengers one by one.
Military personnel, police dog handlers, firefighters and other specialist units were at the scene.
No-one was injured, there was no danger to passengers and no-one was being treated as a suspect after armed officers evacuated the Megabus coach, police said.
The spokeswoman said: “We can now confirm that, whilst this was a genuine security alert, the significant concerns reported to us were unfounded.
“It’s important to state that no criminal offence has been committed and no passenger or any other member of the public is being treated as a suspect.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and hope that the public understand that we have our duty to safeguard public safety.” …
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Peter Higgs joined three of the six theoreticians who first predicted the Higgs at the conferenceCern scientists reporting from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have claimed the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson.
The particle has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains its mass.
Both of the Higgs boson-hunting experiments at the LHC see a level of certainty in their data worthy of a “discovery”.
More work will be needed to be certain that what they see is a Higgs, however.
The results announced at Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research), home of the LHC in Geneva, were met with loud applause and cheering.
Prof Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, wiped a tear from his eye as the teams finished their presentations in the Cern auditorium.
“I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved in this achievement,” he added later.
“It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime.”
Prof Stephen Hawking joined in with an opinion on a topic often discussed in hushed tones.
“This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize,” he told BBC News.
“But it is a pity in a way because the great advances in physics have come from experiments that gave results we didn’t expect.”
The CMS team claimed they had seen a “bump” in their data corresponding to a particle weighing in at 125.3 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) – about 133 times heavier than the protons that lie at the heart of every atom. …
They claimed that by combining two data sets, they had attained a confidence level just at the “five-sigma” point – about a one-in-3.5 million chance that the signal they see would appear if there were no Higgs particle.
However, a full combination of the CMS data brings that number just back to 4.9 sigma – a one-in-two million chance.
Prof Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS, was unequivocal: “The results are preliminary but the five-sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle,” he told the Geneva meeting.
Atlas results were even more promising, at a slightly higher mass: “We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of five sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV,” said Dr Fabiola Gianotti, spokeswoman for the Atlas experiment at the LHC.
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Volkswagen says it has agreed a deal to buy the remaining 50.1% stake in Porsche it doesn’t already own by the start of next month.
VW will pay 4.46bn euros ($5.6bn; £3.6bn) plus one VW common share to acquire the stake.
The two firms had agreed in 2009 to merge by the end of 2011, but have since faced legal obstacles.
The deal is likely to reduce costs and boost VW’s earnings as it seeks to become the world’s biggest carmaker.
“The accelerated integration will allow us to start implementing a joint strategy for Porsche’s automotive business more quickly and to realise key joint projects more rapidly,” said Hans Dieter Poetsch, chief financial officer of Volkswagen….
It’s a great deal for Volkswagen, both financially and in operative terms” …
Both the firms had been seeking to accelerate the merger. However, one of the stumbling blocks for the deal was the likelihood of a big tax bill for both the firms.
Volkswagen had acquired a 49.9% stake in Porsche in 2009.
According to various reports, if it bought the remaining stake before 2014, the two companies may have had to pay more than 1bn euros in taxes, making the move less attractive.
Analysts said that by structuring the deal as one which involved the payment of one VW common share to Porsche, the firms may be able to avoid that bill.
They said that such a move means that the deal may see it being classified as a restructuring of the company rather than a takeover.
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
A mysterious wave of sickness has affected a number of schools in Afghanistan. Hundreds of schoolgirls have been taken to hospital, and many teachers and officials suspect poisoners are to blame. But no poison has yet been found.
At the Bibi Hajera School in northern Afghanistan’s Takhar province, the day begins differently now.
The girls arrive in their clean white headscarves, but before they enter the classroom, their teachers search them. Each girl is patted down, even the smallest, and their schoolbags are opened and inspected.
On 23 May, class after class fell ill. By the end of the week, more than 40 were sick, and the school closed. Deliberate poisoning of the school water pump was suspected.
“First one or two of the girls was sick, then more,” said Naziah, who hasn’t reached her teens and wants to become a doctor one day.
“One of my classmates was in the school garden and she fell down and they took her to hospital. Some were sick on the street, some were sick at home.”
The school principal, Abdul Hai, has no doubt that an attack was to blame.
“Outside interference was responsible, the Afghan Taliban aren’t sophisticated enough to develop poisons. This was caused by the enemies of Afghanistan and our government,” he said.
The school had received no threats, no warnings that it would be targeted, he added.
All summer long, local and international television channels have broadcast updates of the suspected attacks. Girls fell sick in other provinces too – Khost, Bamiyan and Nangarhar.
The pictures are disturbing – young girls in hospital beds with drips attached, some wailing, others fainting.
At times local officials have given conflicting information – that the sickness was caused by poisons, then blaming mass hysteria. The girls usually left hospital within hours. None has died. …
- 3 July 2012: More than 250 girls taken to hospital in Sheberghan province with symptoms of poisoning
- 29 May: About 50 schoolgirls in Takhar province taken to hospital complaining of nausea
- 23 May: More than 120 girls taken to hospital in Takhar
- 15 May: Several hundred pupils taken ill in suspected attack on boys’ school in Khost province
- 9 May: About 100 schoolgirls and eight teachers taken to hospital in Balkh province
- 18 April: More than 100 schoolgirls fall ill in a suspected attack in Takhar
- 12 May 2009: About 90 girls fall ill in one of the first reported poisoning attacks, in Kapisa province
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
King Pig was worshipped as a god in his native China as one of the country’s most famous animals.
After passing away this week, the King was honoured with a full funeral service conducted by Buddhist priests at the Fenglian Temple in Ruixing, Zhejiang province.
Wrapped in burial robes and surrounded by flowers, the famous pig was given a send-off fit for a king.
The worshipped beast had lived a charmed life having avoided slaughter as a youngster by seeking refuge with a group of Buddhist priests who adopted him.
‘Instead he was adopted by the priests and no-one would touch him then,’ explained his grief-stricken keeper Cai Weijia.
‘He was a lovely beast who had a very gentle manner. People would consult him about their problems or worries and always went away happy.’
Villagers now want to keep the animal’s body as permanent shrine to the King Pig.
‘He should be stuffed and mounted to people can pay their respects forever,’ his keeper added.
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Lillie Leonardi sits in her living room and shows some copies of her book “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir,” on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, in Arnold, Pa. Leonardi, a former police officer who retired from the FBI due to post-traumatic stress disorder from her time as a liaison between law enforcement and the victims of United Airlines Flight 93 has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the site where the hijacked airliner crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
A former police officer who retired from the FBI due to post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed.
Lillie Leonardi served as a liaison between law enforcement and the families of the passengers and crew members killed in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash. She arrived on the scene about three hours after the crash.
Although Leonardi’s book, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir,” centers on her vision of angels, she argues her life has been changed more by what she didn’t see that day.
“The biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies,” she said.
Leonardi, 56, remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board.
“I’m used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up” the plane, Leonardi said.
“That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights … and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said. “And I didn’t say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, ‘I just saw angels on the crash site,’ they’d have called the office and they’d have said, ‘She lost her mind and tell her to go home.’”
Instead, Leonardi kept it to herself for the better part of two years. As emotional and physical ailments surfaced that she would later learn were post-traumatic stress disorder-related, she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw, including Kenneth McCabe, her former supervisor.
McCabe, 59, now retired near Cocoa Beach, Fla., was chief of the FBI’s operational response section, which sent laboratory teams to gather evidence from each of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror sites. A year or so later, he became the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office, making him Leonardi’s boss until he retired from the bureau in 2004.
“I believe her. I read the whole book,” McCabe told The Associated Press. “I know she believes 100 percent that’s what she saw. I know she’s a sane person so I’m not going to discount what she says she saw.”
McCabe said he also understands why the Flight 93 crash site was different than the other attack scenes.
“I was there one day when they brought a busload of family members to overlook the site … and I teared up,” McCabe said. “Just because these people had the thousand-yard stare. They didn’t have any closure. They didn’t have any bodies to look at. They didn’t have anything to look at. At least in New York and Washington, there was the devastation (of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon) but here, except for seeing someone off in the distance, in the woods, looking for things, there was nothing.”
It is difficult for honest people to lie. They usually mix up their words when they try. I’m not saying she is lying but listen to her actual wording. On video, she did not say she saw angels, she says you did.
“… we pulled up, and got out, and walked just a short distance, like up this, this, little, like bluff, I guess you would call it … and there it was. There was the hole, there was stuff everywhere. And then the smells and you couldn;t hear any animals, it was like dead silence. And so you looked down and you could see like where the plane had gone down in. [you looked, she didn't?] … into this landfill. And then up in front where they’d just put out the fire, were all these trees that were singed, and then All of a sudden, I kept seeing like this flicker of light [Makes a circular motion with hand] … you saw all these, like all these angels, like, manifest? [Slight inflection as if she is asking a question] … One in particular in front that I knew [Shakes her head "no". Knows she is bluffing?] … It was [Archangel] Michael, he knew I was there to do something… I just didn’t know what it was at that moment.” -
She also shakes her head “no” when she says it’s people’s choice to decide what to do with the information she is providing. Her body language seems to say she feels people do not have a choice, or possibly she was coerced into saying what she is saying? Lillie Leonardi was the Community Affairs Coordinator with the FBI (Pittsburgh Division). She was there at the crash site to do something, she just didn’t know what it was at that moment. This is what she would have seen on the scene:
They do look like angels in those white and yellow suits…. Who is the archangel Michael?
“In the Hebrew Bible Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a “great prince who stands up for the children of your people”. The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy.
In the New Testament Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as an “archangel”. Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations.” – wikipedia
Recall George W Bush’s slip that this war on terror is a Crusade, by which many assume he meant a religious Crusade. Recall that the Anthrax attacker, a scientist who was part of the 9/11 investigation team, tried to frame Muslims by writing “Allah is Great” on the letters included with the deadly anthrax spores. According to USA today, Ivins was “deeply involved” with Operation Noble Eagle, the government’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Lillie Leonardi, you were a former police officer trained by the FBI. How many police reports have you filed as an officer? Where are your sketches of what you saw, the ones you should have made right away … assuming you had no camera? Where is your report written the same day? Did you immediately ask another officer to confirm what you were seeing right when you saw it? How many did you see? For how long? How did they leave? How did they move? Did anyone else seem to notice them? Where is your map of where you were in relation to where you saw the “angels”? Did you have a doctor examine you that day? I have so many questions!! Your description of what you saw that is available on video is the most detail lacking description I’ve ever heard from any police officer. Hopefully there is more in your book which I will browse in the store but not buy … unless you provide an official report in it, with the kind of detail I’d expect from a trained observer.
Either some Christian supernatural event occurred, or the bodies were quickly removed, or some secret weapon that evaporates bodies was used … or Flight 93 was a drone without passengers and the official story is BS to cover the black op that provided the public reason for war profiteering in Iraq and Afghanistan. DNA from passengers in the Pentagon crash on the same day was supposedly used to identify the bodies, but some think this is part of the cover up. (See discussion on Democratic Underground ).
We are so gullible. How many of these things do you think are true?
- Alabama redefined the value of pi to 3 to bring it in line with Biblical precepts
- Scientists drilling in Siberia punch through to Hell.
- A group known as ‘The Second Coming Project’ is seeking to clone Jesus from the DNA of holy relics.
- You must sign a petition to stop Jesus from being portrayed as a homosexual in an upcoming film.
- Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair is circulating a petition to have religious broadcasting banned from American airwaves.
- John Wayne was brought to Jesus thanks to a note from an evangelist’s injured teenage daughter.
- The red dot on a Hindu woman’s forehead is nothing more than an indicator of her marital status.
- Woman dies leaping through her car’s sunroof when events conspire to convince her Jesus has returned.
- Orthodox Jews have marital relations through a hole in a sheet.
- Certain symbols displayed on the packaging of a variety of grocery items signify that their manufacturers have paid a secret tax to the Jews.
- Teen dies in car crash with dashboard-mounted plastic Jesus in her heart.
- Quranic verse speaks of the “wrath of the Eagle cleansing the lands of Allah.”
- While a student, Albert Einstein humiliated an atheist professor by using the “Evil is the absence of God” argument on him.
- Not permitted to celebrate Christmas in Meulaboh, Christians gathered on a high hill nearby and thus were spared when the tsunami wiped out the city.
- Airlines will not pair Christian pilots and co-pilots out of fear that The Rapture will snatch away both crewmembers capable of landing the flight.
- The exclamation ‘Holy Smoke‘ derives from the burning of the ballots used to elect a Pope.
- Darwin renounced evolution on his deathbed.
- The Cardiff Giant was evidence that the biblical passage concerning the existence of giants once living on the earth (Genesis 6:4) was true.
- A document that surfaced in Russia in 1905 entitled the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that outlined the “super secret” Jewish plan for world domination.
- The Black Panthers were a violent group who created a coloring book to teach black kids they should kill white cops.
- During the war, the Italians found and turned over to the Nazis the body of a dead British agent with secret plans the allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia rather than Sicily.
- As the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Iraqi civilians happy to see the US Marines spontaneously and joyously toppled an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein.
Wait, I’m wrong. There are angels. One was caught on a security video here:
Seeing is believing, right?
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
Quinn Norton for Wired – No one but Hector Xavier Monsegur can know why or when he became Sabu, joining the strange and chaotic Internet collective known as Anonymous. But we know the moment he gave Sabu up. On June 7, 2011, federal agents came to his apartment on New York’s Lower East Side and threatened the 28-year-old with an array of charges that could add up to 124 years in prison. So Hector Monsegur, who as Sabu had become a mentor and icon to fellow members of Anonymous, surrendered his online identity to a new, equally faceless and secretive master: the FBI.
For the next eight months, Sabu continued to rage across the Internet as a core member of AntiSec, a blackhat hacking group within Anonymous. He helped to deface government and corporate websites and even helped bring down the private intelligence firm Stratfor—all, apparently, with the FBI’s blessing as it quietly gathered logs on Monsegur’s fellow “anons.” Law enforcement officials later told Fox News that Monsegur was working out of the FBI offices “almost daily” in the weeks after he pleaded guilty in August and then from his own home thereafter, with an agent watching his activity 24 hours a day. Sometimes agents were even posing as Sabu directly. On Christmas, just after the Stratfor hack, Sabu and I happened to be logged into the same channel on IRC, the chatting protocol that serves as the medium through which most Anonymous members planned large-scale operations. I asked the AntiSec members if they were worried about a law enforcement response to Stratfor. Sabu shot back:
we’re used to that heat
we survived the first rounds of the raids
He was referring to a series of arrests that past summer that had scooped up, worldwide, at least 80 alleged participants in the group. At the time, it was hard to fault his reasoning, since those arrests seemed to have done nothing to slow the group’s terrifying onslaught in 2011. It was a year in which Anonymous burst into the geopolitical consciousness of the world, assisting Arab Spring activists and attacking the security industry, bedeviling law enforcement and intelligence agencies, carrying out countless hacks against Sony and other large corporations. As protest movements spread to the West, Anonymous provided them with crucial logistics (not to mention a great deal of media attention), from the BART protests in San Francisco to the Occupy actions across the US and overseas. Anonymous had figured out how to infiltrate anything, how to mobilize not just machines but physical bodies, all around the globe.
But Sabu hadn’t survived the first rounds of the raids, and thanks to the evidence he helped the Feds gather, more anons wouldn’t survive the next round. In February, Interpol rounded up 25 more alleged participants worldwide, and a few days later the FBI revealed Monsegur’s cooperation to the news media. Soon five more arrests were made, one from AntiSec and four from LulzSec, another hacker arm of the collective. The mood on the IRC channels, which at Christmas had been cocky and defiant, modulated to a genuine sadness. One anon wrote plaintively about getting programming advice from Sabu.
Another summed up the general feeling among the anons about Sabu’s cooperation with the FBI:
In 2011, Anonymous figured out how to infiltrate anything, to mobilize not just machines but bodies. It was merely a speed bump for the collective but a massive emotional bitchslap for individuals
Was it really just a speed bump? It was impossible to say for sure, because Sabu’s arrest cut to the heart of what Anonymous claimed to be, of how it claimed to organize itself. Or, more accurately: its claim that it did not organize itself, that it had no leaders and yet boasted participants so innumerable (“We are Legion,” as one of its popular slogans blares) that no ten or hundred or thousand arrests could ever stop it. But in Sabu the FBI had nabbed an anon who was not easy to replace. No one could deny he had served as a crucial force in many of 2011′s most spectacular hacking campaigns. Presumably the anons arrested on the evidence he helped gather were talented hackers, too. For years, when anyone tried to claim they had uncovered the leader, or leaders, of Anonymous, the group’s members would belittle them online and then sometimes hack them for good measure. Now, with these arrests, Anonymous’ whole self-conception was being put to the test.
The possibility that Anonymous might be telling the truth—that it couldn’t be shut down by jailing or flipping or bribing key participants—was why it became such a terrifying force to powerful institutions worldwide, from governments to corporations to nonprofits. Its wild string of brilliant hacks and protests seemed impossible in the absence of some kind of defined organization. To hear the group and its defenders talk, the leaderless nature of Anonymous makes it a mystical, almost supernatural force, impossible not just to stop but to even comprehend. Anons were, they liked to claim, united as one and divided by zero—undefined and indefinable.
In fact, the success of Anonymous without leaders is pretty easy to understand—if you forget everything you think you know about how organizations work. Anonymous is a classic “do-ocracy,” to use a phrase that’s popular in the open source movement. As the term implies, that means rule by sheer doing: Individuals propose actions, others join in (or not), and then the Anonymous flag is flown over the result. There’s no one to grant permission, no promise of praise or credit, so every action must be its own reward.
What’s harder to comprehend—but just as important, if you want to grasp the future of Anonymous after the arrests—is the radical political consciousness that seized this innumerable throng of Internet misfits. Anonymous became dangerous to governments and corporations not just because of its skills (lots of hackers have those) or its scale but because of the fury of its convictions. In the beginning, Anonymous was just about self-amusement, the “lulz,” but somehow, over the course of the past few years, it grew up to become a sort of self-appointed immune system for the Internet, striking back at anyone the hive mind perceived as an enemy of freedom, online or offline. It started as a gang of nihilists but somehow evolved into a fervent group of believers. To understand that unlikely transformation, and Anonymous’ peculiar method of (non)organization, it is necessary to start at the very beginning. …
Posted by Xeno on July 5, 2012
A study published in the July 5 edition of the journal Nature is challenging scientists’ understanding of planet formation, suggesting that planets might form much faster than previously thought or, alternatively, that stars harboring planets could be far more numerous.
The study—a collaboration between scientists at the University of Georgia; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Los Angeles; California State Polytechnic University and the Australian National University—began with a curious and unexpected finding: Within three years, the cloud of dust circling a young star in the Scorpius-Centaurus stellar nursery simply disappeared.
“The most commonly accepted time scale for the removal of this much dust is in the hundreds of thousands of years, sometimes millions,” said study co-author Inseok Song, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “What we saw was far more rapid and has never been observed or even predicted. It tells us that we have a lot more to learn about planet formation.”
Lead author Carl Melis, a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego, said, “It’s like the classic magician’s trick: Now you see it, now you don’t. Only in this case we’re talking about enough dust to fill an inner solar system, and it really is gone.”
The scientists first identified their star of interest by examining data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, which surveyed more than 96 percent of the sky in 1983. The star, known as TYC 8241 2652 1, was surrounded by a cloud of dust that was identifiable by its distinctive radiation of infrared energy. Like a skillet absorbing heat and then radiating it, the dust cloud was absorbing energy from the central star and radiating it in the infrared range. This warm dust is thought to be the raw material from which planets form, but scientists don’t have a clear understanding of how long the process takes.
The scientists observed the same star in 2008 using a mid-infrared imager at the Gemini South Observatory in Chile and again with the same ground-based telescope in 2009. The 2008 observation revealed an infrared emission pattern similar to the 1983 measurement, but something surprising happened in 2009: The infrared emission dropped by nearly two-thirds. NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, looked at the same star again in 2010, and the scientists found that the dust had mostly disappeared. The scientists confirmed their findings using two additional telescopes, the Japanese AKARI telescope and the European Space Agency’s Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer, or PACS, at the Herschel Space Observatory, and the pattern held.
“It’s as if you took a conventional picture of the planet Saturn today and then came back two years later and found that its rings had disappeared,” said co-author Ben Zuckerman of UC Los Angeles, who has been investigating circumstellar disks since the 1980s.
The researchers explored several different explanations for how such a large quantity of dust could disappear so rapidly, and each of their explanations challenges conventional thinking about planet formation. …
… Or some advanced alien civilization harvested the dust for some purpose.