Monday, 5 June 2017

The Black Eggs of Owakudani

Owakudani or “the Great Boiling Valley” in Hakone, Japan, is barely the perfect tourist spot. However it’s a large volcanic caldera formed almost three thousand years ago following a large eruption of Mount Hakone. It was also known as "Jigokudani" (the Valley of Hell) by locals some time ago. Once you step foot on its wondrous soil, it will surely will take your breath away.  Owakudani is still active with boiling pools of sulphur-rich water and huge vents spewing forth steam and volcanic fumes of hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide. Because the whole area has a robust smell of rotten eggs, but it’s the eggs the tourists who visit the Great Boiling Valley are seeking for.

The Owakudani black eggs or “Kuro-tamago” are regular chicken eggs that are tough in the naturally hot water pools. The sulphur in the water renders the eggs’ shell black while also imparting a particular smell to it. Thus the local peoples say that taking one can prolong one’s life by 7 years. If you take two, and you’ll get 14 extra years added to your life. Therefore, the eggs are boiled on top of a hill which peoples can reach by a kilometer long hike or by taking the Hakone Ropeway. Here from this vantage point one can have a superb view of Mt. Fuji that lies next door. This area is prone to landslides due to the continuous volcanic activity. In potentially dangerous conditions, the walkways to the egg boiling springs may be closed.

The eggs are continually cooked in large batches in the waters of a spring located on top of a hill. They’re loaded onto large metal crates and plunged into the 80˚C spring water for about an hour. Then they are steamed at 100˚C for 15 minutes. They come out perfectly black, with the insides still white and yellow like a regular boiled egg. The eggs are eaten right there, also the spring where they are boiled and sold. So, small wooden tables are laid out in the open for guests to peel the blackened shells and enjoy the soft sulphur tinged flesh inside. The black eggs are so popular throughout Hakone and one need not always visit Owakudani to eat them. They’re sold in numerous shops around the town in small bags of six for 500 Yen. There is nothing wrong about eating sulphur boiled eggs, actually. If you think they are gross, you should sense how the Chinese like their eggs.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Smiling Gecko

This Gecko can’t stop smiling when he’s around his toy Gecko. The stunning images will make your day special having a hard day at work. Stop what you’re doing and take a moment to look at this smiling gecko. This Gecko has first brought to public attention by Youtuber Taylor Nicole Dean. This gorgeous little gecko and his toy are extremely BFF goals. They look so joyful in every pic; simply looking at them will make your day! See for yourselves below and be sure to follow this ray of sunshine on Instagram! Geckos are neat animals, having very chill and laid back. To all you naysayers,  he's still adorable​. Let a little light into your jaded souls.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Researchers Find The Cells At The Root Of Balding & Gray Hair?

PG Wodehouse once wrote about cure of gray hair, called Guillotine, but now scientists have found another way. Now they’ve recognized the cells that let our hair to grow, so long as further insight into the mechanisms that causes hair to turn gray and bald. Scientists say this could be used to make treatments for graying hair and balding in the near future. These new findings are published in the journal Genes & Development.

Thus, researchers explored stem cells deep in the hair follicles identified as hair progenitor cells, along with two proteins called KROX20 and stem cell factor (SCF). They’ve found that KROX20 “turned on" in skin cells that became the hair shaft; however hair progenitor cells then produced SCF, which is vital for hair pigmentation. Thus, if cells with both KROX20 and SCF are existing they move up from the follicle, interact with pigment-producing melanocyte cells, and grow into pigmented hairs.

Therefore, once the team “deleted” the KROX20-producing cells in mice, they didn’t grow any hair and became bald. Moreover, when they deleted the SCF gene in the hair progenitor cells in mice, their hair turned white. Thus, this new discovery was stumbled upon by coincidental, as KROX20 is naturally associated with nerve development. The scientists found the cells though studying a disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1, a rare genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerves.

Dr Lu Le, the lead researcher from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said in a statement, that this project was begin in an effort to comprehend how certain kinds of tumors form, as it ended up learning why hair turns gray and discovering the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair.  Hence, with this knowledge, we are confidence in the future to make a topical compound or to safely deliver the essential gene to hair follicles to precise these cosmetic problems and next step is to find out how both the KROX20 in cells and the SCF gene stop working correctly as people age, as well as their role in male pattern baldness. In the meantime, it’s time to start accept that gray streak or rocking the bald look.

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Life Changer Butte Nugget

If you have larceny in your heart, you are out of luck, a dream by its nature is usually etherial and vaporous, but that is not the case for an unknown person of Paradise. The “Butte Nugget” was found by a prospector in California in 2014 by using a metal detector. He dig up a piece of iron rubbish, but unearthed lifetime of this monster nugget. It is believed to be one of the largest gold discoveries in California in the past century, weighing more than five pounds of solid gold. The Butte Nugget confirmed weight was 75 troy ounces, it has no quartz inclusions and gold from this area is generally very high purity. Somehow the place of discovery was not revealed, but it was found somewhere in Butte County, which has always been a major producer of gold in the state. Many millions of ounces in gold have been found here since the early days of the gold rush. The Butte Nugget is the second largest extant placer gold nugget in California. The biggest nugget is the 100 troy ounces "Mojave Nugget." The estimates value put this as going for between $250,000 and $400,000.

Some of the primary mining districts in Butte County when it comes to producing gold are Magalia in Yankee Hill and Oroville District. The Yankee Hill district had the largest lode production between 1929 till 1959; approximately 30,000 ounces of gold were produced. Although substantial production took place during the 1800’s but very poor production records exist during that time. The Oroville District the southern part of Butte County production records 1964130 ounces of gold between 1903 and 1959. This impressive amount of gold that was found within the Oroville district made it the largest producer of gold in Butte County, primarily obtained because of bucket line dredge operations that worked the river gravels.

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Walking Palm Tree

There is a palm tree that has allegedly developed a rather unique ability unbecoming of a plant “the ability to walk”. The palm tree is “Socratea exorrhiza”, also nicknamed the “Walking Palm”. The scientists are incapable of elaborate the tree’s strange stilt-like roots. This palm tree can found in tropical rainforests of Central and South America, develops long and sturdy roots, grow outwards from the base of the tree, several feet off the ground, and take root in the soil around, giving it the appearance of multiple legs. It wasn’t long before people started to observe that palm tree roots actually act like legs enabling him to literally walk in the forest. This unbelievable story of the walking palm tree has been told by rainforest guides to visitors for many years, and appears in many sources both in social media and print. It is believed, tree “walks” from shade to sunlight by growing roots in the direction it wants to travel, and then letting the old roots to gradually lift into the air and die. This allows the tree to sluggishly move towards the side where the new roots are growing. This process takes couple of years, however, one palaeobiologist signifying the tree moves two or three centimeters per day. It’s such a fascinating story that many tend to believe it, like our palaeobiologist friend, unluckily; the walking tree is a myth. In 1980, John H. Bodley first present the idea of the walking tree, who thought this ability lets the palm to “walk away” from the point of germination if another tree falls on the seedling and knocks it over. Hence, this way the tree can move away from obstacles that are major hazards for immature palms. S. exorrhiza flowers mostly during the dry season and is considered to be beetle pollinated, seeds weigh around 3.5 g and are around 2 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, only around 45% of them germinate and around one quarter of these die. The palm tree trunk is used in the construction of houses and other structures, as well as hunting spears. It is usually split lengthwise before it is used, but it can also be hollowed out and used as a tube.

The Socratea exorrhiza, detailed study observed that the walking tree can't walk because its roots don't move. A few roots on one side or another may die off, but the trunk itself remains rooted to the spot. Some people want to see the Socratea exorrhiza walking. Also, no such time lapse movie exists. Hence, the belief of the walking palm is just a myth. The palm tree could actually track canopy light changes by moving slowly over the forest floor is a myth that tourist guides find diverting to tell visitors to the rainforest. This myth was also debunked in the December 2009 when no one is around trees walk the rainforest floor, it is a mere myth. However, researchers are still uncertain what role these exclusive stilt roots play. Some suggest that the multiple roots let the tree to be more stable in swampy areas, or when there is too much debris in the ground as they can avoid it by moving their roots. Moreover, it has been suggested that stilt roots let the palm to grow taller to reach light without having to increase the diameter of the stem, thus investing in less biomass in underground roots than other palms. Of course, none of these theories have ever been confirmed. Thus, the noteworthy point is that, nobody has seen these palm trees walk.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Mysterious Fukang Meteorite

When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside, because cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight. Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron. In China in 2000, the mysterious fukang meteorite, unearthed believed to be some 4.5 billion years old, which is as ancient as Earth itself. It is a pallasite, a type of meteorite with translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine embedded in a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron. It’s a dazzling meteorite, and maybe the most spectacular extraterrestrial piece of rock man has ever seen. This majestic Fukang meteorite was found by a hiker, who had often stopped and had lunch on this giant rock, and he always questioned what the metal and crystals were. Eventually he decided and took a hammer and chisel and broke some pieces off, which he sent to the USA to confirm that it was a meteorite.

The original meteorite weighted just over a 1,000 kilogram, but the rock was so dazzling that everybody wanted a piece of it. Since then it has been divided into dozens of thin slices and auctioned or distributed around the world. Therefore, a total of 31 kilograms of specimen is on deposit at University of Arizona. Marvin Kilgore of the University of Arizona's Southwest Meteorite Centre holds the largest portion weighing at 420 Kg. In Feb 2005 saw the Chinese space rock transported all the way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, in Tucson, Arizona. The U.S. lab claims their polished slice of the original meteorite is the world's biggest pallasite cross section, measuring 36in by 19in.

In 2008, this piece was expected to fetch $2 million at an auction at Bonham's in New York, but unluckily, the likely bidders were more impressed with a couple of pieces of 130-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur’s dung that day, which sold at more than twice the estimate. According to Bonhams, pallasites are composed of approximately 50 % olivine and peridot crystals and 50 cent nickel-iron, and believed to be the relics of forming planets. They actually make up less than one per cent of meteorites, and believed to originate from deep inside intact meteors formed during the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and very few specimens are thought to have survived their descent through Earth's atmosphere.

Giant Tunnels Dug by Massive Sloths

Deep inside Brazil, there are tunnels large enough for an individual to walk through. The tunnels are very neat symmetrical too have been caused by any known geologic process, may be lined with claw marks. These mammoth tunnels are perhaps the craft of giant ground sloths humongous "paleoburrows" that no longer walk the Earth. The largest tunnel measured 2,000 feet long, 6 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. An estimated 4,000 metric tons of dirt and rock were dug out of the hillside to create the burrow. It was evidently the work of not one or two individuals but several generations.

However tens of thousands of years after these megafauna did their digging, those tunnels still dot this part of South America. This discovery has a great feature up about it and up until the 2000s; little was known or written about this bounty of holes. But since he came upon his first one near Novo Hamburgo, Brazilian scientist Heinrich Frank has found more than 1,500 tunnels, found burrows that measure hundreds of feet long. Researchers have exposed one with branching tunnels that. It had to have been dug by numerous creatures over generations, not by one or two giant sloths. However, the big open question comes in mind, why?

The tunnels appear to be much larger than any burrowing animal would need to get away from bad weather or hungry predators. Some believes the burrows were dug by a genus of giant ground sloths, as large as modern elephants, that once lived in South America. Because they were some of the biggest land mammals on earth exceeded in size only by the mammoth. However, others believe that extinct armadillos, which were smaller than the giant sloths, were responsible for the burrows. Courtsey: CP