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The Tollund Man's Appearance

The Tollund Man is unusually well-preserved
The Tollund Man is unusually well-preserved. Big picture

The examination of the Tollund Man at the National Museum of Denmark in 1950 revealed an unusually well-preserved body of an adult male who was approximately 30 to 40 years old when he died. The Tollund Man is probably the most well-preserved body from pre-historic times in the world.Only the side of the body which had been turned upwards in the excavation of the peat bog showed signs of decomposition. On his right side, which had been turned downwards in the grave, the skin was well-preserved whereas the body itself had shrunk, thus making folds in the skin. Different measurements showed that he measured 161 centimetres when he was discovered, but it is very likely that he shrank a little during his stay in the bog.

The Tollund Man as he appears today
The Tollund Man as he appears today.
Big picture
His arms and hands were almost skeletonized and partly ruined due to the peat-digging in the bog - only his feet and one finger were completely untouched.
The head was almost shockingly well-preserved. The eyes were closed and so was the mouth - the look on his face was calm and solemn as if he was just sleeping. His hairwas short - 1-2 centimetres long - the red colour of his hair is due to the influence of the bog water. We don't know his original hair colour.
The hair on his head was covered by a crafted, pointedleather cap made of sheepskin. It was secured with two thin leather straps attached near the temples and tied together under his chin. A loop made it easy to put the cap on and remove it again.
The belt was tied around the body's hips. The belt was 77 centimetres long and was made of thin pieces of leather. One end of the belt had an oblong cut through which the other end of the belt had been pulled through and secured with a loop which could easily be untied. The leather cap and the leather belt were the man's only remaining clothing but around his neck was a braided leather rope tightened in a noose. The leather rope gives us the answer to one of the most interesting questions in connection with the Tollund Man: How did he die?
The rope had left a clearly visible furrow in the skin on the sides of his neck and under his chin, whereas there were no marks on the back of his neck where the knot was placed. The rope was strong enough to hold the weight of a grown man. The loose end, which was approximately 1 metre long, was rolled up and placed under the Tollund Man and had clearly been cut in half with a knife. The forensic examiners had no doubts when they decided on the cause of death: The Tollund Man had beenhanged.
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The head was almost shockingly well-preserved...

 The head
The head was almost shockingly well-preserved...

 Hair and beard
The Tollund Man didn't have a special hairstyle...

 The body
Only the side of the body which had been turned upwards in the excavation in the peat bog showed signs of decomposition...

 The feet
The feet are big as if they belonged to a man...

 The hands
His arms and hands were almost skeletonized...

The Tollund Man before preservation
The Tollund Man before preservation. Big picture


Osthi Songs Free Download

Click here to download the songs : [link]


Rare Baby Sleeping For almost 50 years in Womb

Zahra Aboutalib, from Morocco, delivered a child she’d been carrying for almost half a century. This shocking yet fascinating story began in 1955 when Zahra went into labor. She was rushed to a hospital, but after watching a woman dying on the operation table during a Caesarean section, Zahra fled back in her small village outside Casablanca. After the pains were gone and the baby stopped kicking,Zahra considered him a “sleeping baby”. “Sleeping babies” are, according to Moroccan folk belief, babies that can live inside a woman’s womb to protect her honor.

When Zahra was 75, the excruciating pains occurred again. Doctors performed an ultrasound test and discovered that her “sleeping child” was actually an ectopic pregnancy. What is even more amazing is how Zahra survived and how the dead fetus was accepted by the body just like another organ. Generally, this doesn’t happen. If not discovered in time, the growing fetus will eventually strain and burst the organ that contains it. Under these circumstances, the mother has few surviving chances. After nearly five hours, the surgeons successfully removed Zahra’s calcified fetus.
Stone babies, lithopedions, are an extremely rare medical phenomenon. According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, only 290 cases of stone babies have been documented.


The First Centenarian to ever accomplish a Marathon

Turbaned Tornado, "Fauja Singh" 100 years old finished Toronto's waterfront marathon Sunday evening, securing his place in 'Guinness World Records' as the oldest person and the first centenarian to ever accomplish a run of that distance.

Singh, a British citizen, crossed the finish line just before 6 p.m. (ET) with a time of 8 hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds.
The 5-foot-8 Singh said he's hopeful his next project will be participating in the torch relay for the 2012 London Games. He carried the torch during the relay for the 2004 Athens Games.

Congratulations to Fauja Singh on this spectacular performance!


Shoichi Yokoi

Shoichi Yokoi was a soldier, conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and sent to Guam shortly thereafter. In 1944, as American forces reconquered theisland, Yokoi went into hiding.

On January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in a remote section of Guam by two of theisland's inhabitants. For 28 years he had been hiding in an underground jungle cave, fearing to come out of hiding even after finding leaflets declaring that World War II had ended. "It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive," he said upon his return to Japan, carrying his rusted rifle at his side.

Read more:

Courtesy : For the info'm


Apple never missed an opportunity

1981 full page newspaper ad.

The boldest ad campaign ever in the history of Computer Industry..

This was how Apple greeted IBM, when the latter decided to finally enter the Personal Computer industry in early 1980s.
The biggies like IBM/HP had always unestimated the potential of PC industry and missed several opportunities to capitalize on it.

Here is a nice incident which happened at HP. Steve Wozniak (Co-founder of Apple), who was working for HP showed his prototype of a PC to his VP, and the VP frowned upon the idea questioning why a common man would need a PC (And this was the response Wozniak wanted so that he could use the prototype to build the first Apple computer)

Budding entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had identified the potential of PC and had the guts to dive into it. Success was an instant phoenomenon, they made millions and they began appearing on cover pages of TIME in early 80s.

Steve Jobs on TIME cover in 1982:

Bill Gates on TIME cover in 1984

Apple never missed an opportunity to mock at IBM (which was popularly called big blue). Afterall, it was in Apple's DNA to bring down IBM from its monopoly. 
Throughout the early 1980s, Apple challenged IBM's big brother attitude by making several impacting ads.

But the most impactful ad was the one made in 1984 during the launch of Macintosh and it was aired only once (during Super Bowl) and has won several awards for its concept and impact. 
It tries to show how IBM has brainwashed the whole kingdom into using its products, while Apple tries to rescue the kingdom. Like a David & Goliath story.
Watch the ad here:

Now, 35 years later, Apple has monopolised the tablet industry. So, Motorola recently tried to use the same concept in making its ad to show people how they are brainwashed by Apple and Moto is going to rescue them by offering them the Xoom tablet.

But the ad turned out to be a disaster for Moto because the context in 1984 was completely different from what it is today..

Source : Click Here


The original Apple iPhone?

This is going to give goosebumps to geeks and tech lovers..
Apple had applied for a phone design patent way back in 1982 itself!!
Since Motorola already had the popular DynaTac cellphone in 1980s and looked like a brick, Steve Jobs might have thought of entering the market with something "different" and ornamental for the niche segment.
The patent was approved in 1985, but Steve was fired by then. Maybe that's the reason this never got materalized..

Means, Apple had been mulling over a phone even 30 years ago!!
Wonder how technology would have progressed if Steve was not fired in 1985..

Here is the official reference for the patent:

Source : Click Here


The Word "India" 6000 years ago

This was the world map taught in European Schools 2,200 years ago. (Around 200 BC)

Enlarged version:

Notice how India is shown at the lower right corner as a square country with a slight peninsular extension.
Yes, its surprising to see India being labelled "India" even 2,200 years ago.
In fact, it was called "India" even 6000 years ago.

No wonder Africa is the dark continent because only 20% of it was explored. Another interesting thing is that it shows an island named Taprobane (Adjacent to India and below it) which is actually the ancient name for Sri Lanka

America? What is that? :)
If not for Christopher Columbus, America would still be anonymous..

This version of the map was created by a Greek named Eratosthenes using inputs from Alexander the Great.

So, what is thought provoking in this pic?
One should always have the quest for truth. If they had never explored, they would still be studying the same maps even now. One should have an open mind to accept more facts as and when they come from reliable sources, accommodate these facts and continue evolving. Nothing is perfect, nothing is final. Everything is evolutionary in all aspects of life.

Source:Click here


How the Taj Mahal was protected from bomber jets

This was how the Taj Mahal was protected from bomber jets in 1942 during world war.
It was covered with huge scaffold, to make it look like a stockpile of bamboo and misguide bombers.
I think the covering is still incomplete in this photo. It seems the whole of Taj Mahal was covered but this picture shows only the main dome covered. Maybe the govt didnt allow any photographers later to shoot the final scaffold cover.

During the India-Pakistan war in 1971, it was protected by covering it with a green cloth and making it almost invisible i.e camouflaged within the greenery around it.
Even in 2001, after the Sep 11 attack, Archaeological Survey of India took up the precautionary measure to cover it with cloth and it took them more than 20 days to do that!!

Isn't it strange? You work hard and develop a beautiful asset. You get praises from everyone around the world. Later you work hard to safeguard this asset from getting destroyed by the same ppl who praised it. :)

Source : Click Here


Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Ernesto "Che" Guevara
June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture

As a young medic
al student, Guevara traveled throughout Latin America and was radically transformed by the endemic poverty and alienation he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region's ingrained economic inequalities were an intrinsic result of capitalism, monopolism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Arbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara's political ideology. Later, while living in Mexico City, he met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime

Read more about early life:

Motorcycle Journey :

His "hunger to explore the world" led him to intersperse his collegiate pursuits with two long introspective journeys that would fundamentally change the way he viewed himself and the contemporary economic conditions in Latin America. The first expedition in 1950 was a 4,500 kilometer (2,800 mi) solo trip through the rural provinces of northern Argentina on a bicycle on which he installed a small motor.[35] This was followed in 1951 by a nine month 8,000 kilometer (5,000 mi) continental motorcycle trek through most of South America. For the latter, he took a year off from studies to embark with his friend Alberto Granado, with the final goal of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru, on the banks of the Amazon River.

Additionally, on the way to Machu Picchu high in the Andes, he was struck by the crushing poverty of the remote rural areas, where peasant farmers worked small plots of land owned by wealthy landlords. Later on his journey, Guevara was especially impressed by the camaraderie among those living in a Leper Colony, stating "The highest forms of human solidarity and loyalty arise among such lonely and desperate people." Guevara used notes taken during this trip to write an account entitled The Motorcycle Diaries, which later became a New York Times best-seller, and was adapted into a 2004 award-winning film of the same name

Invasion, warfare and Santa Clara :

The first step in Castro's revolutionary plan was an assault on Cuba from Mexico via the Granma, an old, leaky cabin cruiser. They set out for Cuba on November 25, 1956. Attacked by Batista's military soon after landing, many of the 82 men were either killed in the attack or executed upon capture; only 22 found each other afterwards. Guevara wrote that it was during this bloody confrontation that he laid down his medical supplies and picked up a box of ammunition dropped by a fleeing comrade, finalizing his symbolic transition from physician to combatant.

Few Facts About him:
Che Guevara. He is loved and he is hated. He is one of the biggest commercial successes and one of the most brutal murderers in recent history. It is no wonder that a man so passionately loved and hated is familiar to most people. This list looks at some of the less familiar aspects of his life. If you have other little known facts about Che Guevara, be sure to tell us in the comments.

1.Not so Glamorous Name

The name “Che Guevara” either incites love or hate. The name is synonymous with freedom fighting to some, and butchery to others. What most people don’t know is that Che’s real name was not quite so romantic; he was born Ernesto Lynch. That’s right – Che Guevara was actually plain old Mr Lynch. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it does it? His surname comes from the fact that his family was half Irish. Ernesto Lynch is pictured above at the age of 22.

2.Stinky Che

Che Guevara as a youth was nicknamed “Chancho” (pig) because of his bathing habits (or lack thereof) and the fact that he proudly wore a “weekly shirt” – ie, a shirt he changed once a week. All through his life people commented on his smelliness (though obviously not to his face once he had the power to execute people on a whim).

3.Ernesto The Geek

Contrary to the image we all have of Guevara, in his youth he was quite the geek. He loved playing Chess and even entered local tournaments. In between hanging out with his chess buddies, Ernesto would read poetry which he loved with a passion. His favorite subjects at school were mathematics and engineering. I think we could safely say that if he were a teenager today, he would be EMO. Pictured above is an artist’s impression of EMO Ernesto Lynch (AKA Che Guevara).

4.Cuban or not?

While Guevara is best remembered for his actions in Cuba, he was actually born in Argentina to wealthy parents and he never became a Cuban citizen. When he was born, his father said “the first thing to note is that in my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels.”

5.Doctor of Medicine

There seems to be some dispute about this fact around the Internet, but in June 1953, Guevara completed his medical studies and graduated as Doctor Ernesto Guevara. While studying he was particularly interested in the disease Leprosy.

6.American Trip

In 1964, Guevara travelled to the United States to give a speech to the United Nations in New York. You can watch a portion of it in the video clip above. Whilst there he condemned the US for their racial segregation policies: “Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?”

7.Five Children

We tend not to see Guevara as a family man, but in fact he had one child with his first wife, Hilda Gadea, a daughter who was born in Mexico City on February 15, 1956, and he had four children with his second wife, the revolutionary Aleida March. Pictured above is Camilo – Che’s son.

8.No Hands

After hie execution, a military doctor amputated Che’s hands. Bolivian army officers transferred Guevara’s body to an undisclosed location and refused to reveal whether his remains had been buried or cremated. The hands were preserved in formaldehyde to be sent to Buenos Aires for fingerprint identification. (His fingerprints were on file with the Argentine police.) They were later sent to Cuba.

9.Ironic Icon

The high-contrast monochrome graphic of his face has become one of the world’s most universally merchandized and objectified images, found on an endless array of items, including t-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and even bikinis, ironically contributing to the consumer culture he despised. The original image was snapped at a memorial service by newspaper photographer Alberto Korda. At the time, only Korda thought highly of the shot, and hung the picture on his wall, where it stayed until an Italian journalist saw it, asked if he could have it, and Korda obliged.

10.Saint Ernesto

Guevara remains a beloved national hero to many in Cuba, where his image adorns the $3 Cuban Peso and school children begin each morning by pledging “We will be like Che.” In his native homeland of Argentina, where high schools bear his name, numerous Che museums dot the country, and in 2008 a 12 foot bronze statue of him was unveiled in his birth city of Rosario. Additionally, Guevara has been sanctified by some Bolivian farm workers as “Saint Ernesto”, to whom they pray for assistance. Needless to say, the Catholic Church does not consider Guevara to be a saint and strongly opposes the adulation of him.

if you are intersted to read more about him here is the link :

Video footage:!


Interesting Stories Of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s wife often suggested that he dress more professionally,
when he headed off to work.
“Why should I?” he would invariably argue.
Everyone knows me there.”
When the time came for Einstein to attend his first major conference,
she begged him to dress up a bit.
“Why should I?” said Einstein.
“No one knows me there

Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity.
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour,”
he once declared.
“Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
That’s relativity!”

When Albert Einstein was working in Princeton university,
one day he was going back home he forgot his home address.
The driver of the cab did not recognize him.
Einstein asked the driver if he knows Einstein’s home.
The driver said “Who does not know Einstein’s address?
Everyone in Princeton knows.
Do you want to meet him?”.
Einstein replied “I am Einstein.
I forgot my home address, can you take me there? ”
The driver reached him to his home and did not even collect his fare from him .

Einstein was once travelling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle,
punching the tickets of every passenger.
When he came to Einstein,
Einstein reached in his vest pocket.
He couldn’t find his ticket,
so he reached in his trouser pockets.
It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it.
Then he looked in the seat beside him.
He still couldn’t find it.
The conductor said,
‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are.
We all know who you are.
I’m sure you bought a ticket.
Don’t worry about it.’
Einstein nodded appreciatively.
The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets.
As he was ready to move to the next car,
he turned around and saw the great physicist
down on his hands and knees
looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said,
‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry,
I know who you are. No problem.
You don’t need a ticket.
I’m sure you bought one.’
Einstein looked at him and said,
‘Young man, I too, know who I am.
"what i dont know is where i m going. Thats why i m searching my ticket"

And 10 Strange Facts About Einstein.

1. Einstein Was a Fat Baby with Large Head

When Albert’s mother, Pauline Einstein gave birth to him, she thought that Einstein’s head was so big and misshapen that he was deformed!

As the back of the head seemed much too big, the family initially considered a monstrosity. The physician, however, was able to calm them down and some weeks later the shape of the head was normal. When Albert’s grandmother saw him for the first time she is reported to have muttered continuously "Much too fat, much too fat!" Contrasting all apprehensions Albert grew and developed normally except that he seemed a bit slow.


2. Einstein Had Speech Difficulty as a Child
As a child, Einstein seldom spoke. When he did, he spoke very slowly – indeed, he tried out entire sentences in his head (or muttered them under his breath) until he got them right before he spoke aloud. According to accounts, Einstein did this until he was nine years old. Einstein’s parents were fearful that he was retarded – of course, their fear was completely unfounded!

One interesting anecdote, told by Otto Neugebauer, a historian of science, goes like this:

As he was a late talker, his parents were worried. At last, at the supper table one night, he broke his silence to say, "The soup is too hot."
Greatly relieved, his parents asked why he had never said a word before.
Albert replied, "Because up to now everything was in order."


3. Einstein was Inspired by a Compass

When Einstein was five years old and sick in bed, his father showed him something that sparked his interest in science: a compass.

When Einstein was five years old and ill in bed one day, his father showed him a simple pocket compass. What interested young Einstein was whichever the case was turned, the needle always pointed in the same direction. He thought there must be some force in what was presumed empty space that acted on the compass. This incident, common in many "famous childhoods," was reported persistently in many of the accounts of his life once he gained fame.


4. Einstein Failed his University Entrance Exam

In 1895, at the age of 17, Albert Einstein applied for early admission into the Swiss Federal Polytechnical School (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule or ETH). He passed the math and science sections of the entrance exam, but failed the rest (history, languages, geography, etc.)! Einstein had to go to a trade school before he retook the exam and was finally admitted to ETH a year later.


5. Einstein had an Illegitimate Child

In the 1980s, Einstein’s private letters revealed something new about the genius: he had an illegitimate daughter with a fellow former student Mileva Maric (whom Einstein later married).

In 1902, a year before their marriage, Mileva gave birth to a daughter named Lieserl, whom Einstein never saw and whose fate remained unknown:

Mileva gave birth to a daughter at her parents’ home in Novi Sad. This was at the end of January, 1902 when Einstein was in Berne. It can be assumed from the content of the letters that birth was difficult. The girl was probably christianised. Her official first name is unknown. In the letters received only the name “Lieserl” can be found.

The further life of Lieserl is even today not totally clear. Michele Zackheim concludes in her book “Einstein’s daughter” that Lieserl was mentally challenged when she was born and lived with Mileva’s family. Furthermore she is convinced that Lieserl died as a result of an infection with scarlet fever in September 1903. From the letters mentioned above it can also be assumed that Lieserl was put up for adoption after her birth.

In a letter from Einstein to Mileva from September 19, 1903, Lieserl was mentioned for the last time. After that nobody knows anything about Lieserl Einstein-Maric.


6. Einstein Became Estranged From His First Wife, then Proposed a Strange "Contract"

After Einstein and Mileva married, they had two sons: Hans Albert and Eduard. Einstein’s academic successes and world travel, however, came at a price – he became estranged from his wife. For a while, the couple tried to work out their problems – Einstein even proposed a strange "contract" for living together with Mileva:

The relationship progressed. Einstein became estranged from his wife. The biography reprints a chilling letter from Einstein to his wife, a proposed "contract" in which they could continue to live together under certain conditions. Indeed that was the heading: "Conditions."

A. You will make sure
1. that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
2. that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
3. that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
B. You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons…

There’s more, including "you will stop talking to me if I request it." She accepted the conditions. He later wrote to her again to make sure she grasped that this was going to be all-business in the future, and that the "personal aspects must be reduced to a tiny remnant." And he vowed, "In return, I assure you of proper comportment on my part, such as I would exercise to any woman as a stranger."


7. Einstein Didn’t Get Along with His Oldest Son
After the divorce, Einstein’s relationship with his oldest son, Hans Albert, turned rocky. Hans blamed his father for leaving Mileva, and after Einstein won the Nobel Prize and money, for giving Mileva access only to the interest rather than the principal sum of the award – thus making her life that much harder financially.

The row between the father and son was amplified when Einstein strongly objected to Hans Albert marrying Frieda Knecht:

In fact, Einstein opposed Hans’s bride in such a brutal way that it far surpassed the scene that Einstein’s own mother had made about Mileva. It was 1927, and Hans, at age 23, fell in love with an older and – to Einstein – unattractive woman. He damned the union, swearing that Hans’s bride was a scheming woman preying on his son. When all else failed, Einstein begged Hans to not have children, as it would only make the inevitable divorce harder. … (Source: Einstein A to Z by Karen C. Fox and Aries Keck, 2004)

Later, Hans Albert immigrated to the United States became a professor of Hydraulic Engineering at UC Berkeley. Even in the new country, the father and son were apart. When Einstein died, he left very little inheritance to Hans Albert.

8. Einstein was a Ladies’ Man
After Einstein divorced Mileva (his infidelity was listed as one of the reasons for the split), he soon married his cousin Elsa Lowenthal. Actually, Einstein also considered marrying Elsa’s daughter (from her first marriage) Ilse, but she demurred:

Before marrying Elsa, he had considered marrying her daughter, Ilse, instead. According to Overbye, “She (Ilse, who was 18 years younger than Einstein) was not attracted to Albert, she loved him as a father, and she had the good sense not to get involved. But it was Albert’s Woody Allen moment.”

9. Einstein, the War Pacifist, Urged FDR to Build the Atom Bomb

In 1939, alarmed by the rise of Nazi Germany, physicist Leó Szilárd [wiki] convinced Einstein to write a letter to president Franklin Delano Roosevelt warning that Nazi Germany might be conducting research into developing an atomic bomb and urging the United States to develop its own.

The Einstein and Szilárd’s letter was often cited as one of the reasons Roosevelt started the secret Manhattan Project [wiki] to develop the atom bomb, although later it was revealed that the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 probably did much more than the letter to spur the government.

Although Einstein was a brilliant physicist, the army considered Einstein a security risk and (to Einstein’s relief) did not invite him to help in the project.

10. The Saga of Einstein’s Brain: Pickled in a Jar for 43 Years and Driven Cross Country in a Trunk of a Buick!

After his death in 1955, Einstein’s brain [wiki] was removed – without permission from his family – by Thomas Stoltz Harvey [wiki], the Princeton Hospital pathologist who conducted the autopsy. Harvey took the brain home and kept it in a jar. He was later fired from his job for refusing to relinquish the organ.

Many years later, Harvey, who by then had gotten permission from Hans Albert to study Einstein’s brain, sent slices of Einstein’s brain to various scientists throughout the world. One of these scientists was Marian Diamond of UC Berkeley, who discovered that compared to a normal person, Einstein had significantly more glial cells in the region of the brain that is responsible for synthesizing information.

In another study, Sandra Witelson of McMaster University found that Einstein’s brain lacked a particular "wrinkle" in the brain called the Sylvian fissure. Witelson speculated that this unusual anatomy allowed neurons in Einstein’s brain to communicate better with each other. Other studies had suggested that Einstein’s brain was denser, and that the inferior parietal lobe, which is often associated with mathematical ability, was larger than normal brains.

The saga of Einsteins brain can be quite strange at times: in the early 1990s, Harvey went with freelance writer Michael Paterniti on a cross-country trip to California to meet Einstein’s granddaughter. They drove off from New Jersey in Harvey’s Buick Skylark with Einstein’s brain sloshing inside a jar in the trunk! Paterniti later wrote his experience in the book Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain


Historic First Launch Of Russia's Soyuz Rocket From French Guiana

International space cooperation will be highlighted in a historic event on 20 October: the launch of Europe’s first Galileo navigation satellites on Russia’s first Soyuz rocket to depart from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Credits: ESA - D. Ducros
Liftoff is scheduled for Thursday, 20 October at 12:34 CEST (11:34 GMT, 07:34 local time).

The launch will be the first time that Russia’s venerable Soyuz vehicle has ascended from European territory, adding a trusted workhorse to Europe’s launchers family.

This Soyuz-2 version is the latest in the renowned family of Russian rockets that began the space race more than 50 years ago by carrying both the first satellite, Sputnik, and the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

Riding Soyuz will be the first two operational satellites in the Galileo constellation that will provide Europe with an independent global satellite navigation system.

The twin Galileo satellites were glimpsed for the very last time by human eyes yesterday as they were enclosed within their upper stage Soyuz launch fairing in preparation for their 20 October launch.

Galileo IOV satellites attached to their launch dispenser and encapsulated beneath the fairing of their Soyuz ST-B launcher 

Credits: © ESA - P. Carril 

The previous week saw the pair of Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites attached to their supporting dispenser. On Monday, the combined satellites plus dispenser were mated to the Fregat-MT upper stage that will transport them into their final 23 222 km orbit.

The mating complete, the halves of the Soyuz fairing were closed around the stack on Wednesday to form the ‘Upper Composite’.

The Galileo launch team watched intently as Russian technicians completed the encapsulation.

The satellites are now out of sight but hardly out of mind: they are monitored continuously via the data and power umbilicals that connect them to the outside world.

Two days before launch they will be subjected to a full launch dress rehearsal along with their Fregat.
On Friday the Upper Composite is due to be moved from the Upper Composite Integration Stand of building S3B to the Soyuz launch site, where it will be mated vertically to its three-stage Soyuz ST-B rocket, using the mobile tower. 

The two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites depicted under their Soyuz launch fairing, put in place on 12 October 2011. The satellites are secured for launch using a custom-built dispenser atop their Fregat-MT upper stage. The entire 'Upper Composite' will then be mated with the three-stage Soyuz ST-B launcher. 
Credits: © ESA - P. Carril 

These first two Galileo satellites will be followed next year by two more. This quartet, built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium Germany, will form the operational nucleus of the full Galileo satnav constellation.

They combine the best atomic clock ever flown for navigation – accurate to one second in three million years – with a powerful transmitter to broadcast precise navigation signals.

The two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites are protected during their launch by Soyuz by a launch fairing. Once the Soyuz has passed most of the way through the atmosphere, this fairing can then be ejected. 
Fairing ejection
Credits: ESA -. P. Carril, 2011
Media can follow this important event live at one of the many launch events being organised around Europe, via satellite for broadcasters or on the web.

Information on covering the launch


Mars500, Welcome Back To Earth

Mars500, Welcome Back To Earth, Full Duration Simulation Of Mars Mission Ends Nov. 4

Since June last year, the six crewmembers of a simulated mission to Mars have been isolated in a special facility near Moscow. They will ‘arrive back on Earth’ on 4 November and go into quarantine for four days for medical checks.

Mars500's official 'One-year-in-isolation' photo. 
Credits: ESA 

Mars500 is the first full-duration simulation of a human mission to Mars, in a space infrastructure mock-up faithfully replicating almost all aspects of real spaceflight – except for weightlessness, radiation and actual interplanetary spaceflight.

During the almost 1.5-year duration, the international crew comprising two Europeans, three Russians and one Chinese have ‘flown’ to Mars, ‘landed’ on their destination planet and made several spacewalks on the look-a-like martian terrain. They have been faced with monotony, delayed communications and complete lack of daylight in their windowless habitat

During the Mars500 simulated mission, Diego Urbina used tools that were designed originally for the Russian manned Lunar missions in 1960's and 1970's. The missions were cancelled, but much of the hardware is remaining. Here he is using some of these tools during the 'Marswalk'.
Diego using tool designed for Russian Lunar mission
Credit: ESA

The crew consists of ESA-selected Diego Urbina (Italian/Colombian) and Romain Charles (French); Sukhrob Kamolov, Alexei Sitev and Alexandr Smoleevski from Russia; and Wang Yue from China.

Authentic human endeavour

Before humankind will be able to travel beyond low Earth orbit in the not-too-distant future, many challenges have to be met and technical problems have to be solved.

Apart from challenging vehicle technology, one of the biggest unknowns is human behaviour, and how interactions between the crewmembers are affected during a long stay in a confined space and under stress. This was the main focus of the Mars500 experiment.

The crew has been conducting dozens of experiments, producing data that help scientists, engineers and operators to evaluate what the space travellers of the future will go through.

During the period, the crew performed as a unified and stable team. There were no significant conflicts, and the difficult 'journey' was completed as a real crew would conduct a live mission to Mars.

ESA is inviting together with Roscosmos and Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) members of media to a press conference with the crew and to meet scientists responsible for the experiment.

Source: ESA


First Comet Found With Ocean-Like Water

New evidence supports the theory that comets delivered a significant portion of Earth's oceans, which scientists believe formed about 8 million years after the planet itself.

The findings, which involve a University of Michigan astronomer, are published Oct. 5 online in Nature.

This is the comet Hartley, as imaged by NASA's EPOXI spacecraft.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

"Life would not exist on Earth without liquid water, and so the questions of how and when the oceans got here is a fundamental one," said U-M astronomy professor Ted Bergin, "It's a big puzzle and these new findings are an important piece."

Bergin is a co-investigator on HiFi, the Heterodyne Instrument for the Infrared on the Hershel Space Observatory. With measurements from HiFi, the researchers found that the ice on a comet called Hartley 2 has the same chemical composition as our oceans. Both have similar D/H ratios. The D/H ratio is the proportion of deuterium, or heavy hydrogen, in the water. A deuterium atom is a hydrogen with an extra neutron in its nucleus.

This was the first time ocean-like water was detected in a comet.

"We were all surprised," Bergin said.

Six other comets HiFi measured in recent years had a much different D/H ratio than our oceans, meaning similar comets could not have been responsible for more than 10 percent of Earth's water.

The astronomers hypothesize that Hartley 2 was born in a different part of the solar system than the other six. Hartley most likely formed in the Kuiper belt, which starts near Pluto at about 30 times farther from the sun than the Earth is. The other six hail from the Oort Cloud more than 5,000 times farther out.

The source of earth's oceans has been a subject for debate among astronomers for decades. Until now, asteroids were thought to have provided most of the water. Now, however, Herschel has shown that at least one comet does have ocean-like water.

"The results show that the amount of material out there that could have contributed to Earth's oceans is perhaps larger than we thought," Bergin said.

Herschel, a European Space Agency mission with NASA participation, is an orbiting telescope that allows astronomers to observe at the far-infrared wavelengths where organic molecules and water emit their chemical signatures.

The paper is called "Ocean-like water in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2."
Contacts and sources:
Nicole Casal Moore
University of Michigan


Team Discovers Ancient White Road At Maya Village Buried By Volcanic Ash 1,400 Years Ago

A University of Colorado Boulder-led team excavating a Maya village in El Salvador buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has unexpectedly hit an ancient white road that appears to lead to and from the town, which was frozen in time by a blanket of ash.

An ancient Maya white road known as a sacbe has been discovered buried under roughly 17 feet of volcanic ash at the archaeological village of Ceren in El Salvador by a University of Colorado Boulder team. The sacbe, shown here with a drainage canal on the left and several corn plants preserved by ash on the right, is roughly 1,400 years old and is the only sacbe ever discovered constructed without stone linings.
Credit: Image courtesy of Payson Sheets, University of Colorado

The road, known as a "sacbe," is roughly 6 feet across and is made from white volcanic ash from a previous eruption that was packed down and shored up along its edges by residents living there in roughly A.D. 600, said CU-Boulder Professor Payson Sheets, who discovered the buried village known as Ceren near the city of San Salvador in 1978. In Yucatan Maya, the word "sacbe" (SOCK'-bay) literally means "white way" or "white road" and is used to describe elevated ancient roads typically lined with stone and paved with white lime plaster and that sometimes connected temples, plazas and towns.

The sacbe at the buried village of Ceren -- which had canals of water running on each side -- is the first ever discovered at a Maya archaeology site that was built without bordering paving stones, said Sheets. The road was serendipitously discovered by the team while digging a test pit through 17 feet of volcanic ash in July to analyze agricultural activity on the edges of Ceren, considered the best preserved Maya village in Central America.

"Until our discovery, these roads were only known from the Yucatan area in Mexico and all were built with stone linings, which generally preserved well," said Sheets of CU's anthropology department. "It took the unusual preservation at Ceren to tell us the Maya also made them without stone. I'd like to say we saw some anomaly in the ground-penetrating radar data that guided us to the Ceren sacbe, but that was not the case. This was a complete surprise."

The sacbe was struck almost dead-on by the excavators of the 3-meter by 3-meter test pit, said Sheets, with the full width of road visible. In order to follow the sacbe, two subsequent test pits were excavated to the north and confirmed the sacbe had a minimum length of at least 148 feet long -- about half the length of a football field.

The sacbe appears to be headed toward two Ceren ceremonial structures less than 100 feet away -- buildings that were unearthed in Ceren by Sheets and his team in 1991. One structure is believed to have been used by a female shaman. The adjacent community ceremonial structure contained evidence -- including the bones of butchered deer, a deer headdress painted red and blue and a large alligator-shaped pot -- that large quantities of food and drink were being prepared and dispensed to villagers in the town plaza during what Sheets believes was a crop-harvesting ceremony.

CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Payson Sheets and his team uncovered a manioc field one-third the size of football field buried under 10 feet of ash by the eruption of a volcano about 1,400 years ago that blanketed the Mayan farming village of Ceren in El Salvador. 
Image courtesy University of Colorado.
"We know there was a celebration going on when the eruption hit," said Sheets. "And we've found no evidence of anyone going back to their houses, gathering up valuables, and fleeing, because all the household doors were tied shut. We think people may have left the plaza and run south, possibly on the sacbe, because the danger was to the north."

Radiocarbon dates from Ceren indicate the eruption occurred in roughly A.D. 630, and CU researchers have even pinpointed the month and time of day the fiery mass of ash and debris from the Loma Caldera volcano rained down on the town from less than a third of a mile away. Sheets believes the eruption hit at roughly 7 p.m. on an August evening because of the mature corn stalks preserved in ash casts, the fact that the farming implements had been brought inside, the sleeping mats had not yet been rolled out, meals had been served but the dishes were not yet washed, and corn was set into pots to soak in water overnight.

Sheets said it is logical that the villagers in the plaza might have used the white sacbe as an emergency route to flee the destruction of the volcano in the dark of night. "How far they might have gotten, I don't know," said Sheets. "It would have been a footrace. I think it is very likely we will find bodies as we follow the sacbe southward in future excavations." To date, no human remains have been found at the village.

Sacbeob, the plural of sacbe, had strong practical, political and spiritual connotations in the Pre-Columbian Yucatan, said Sheets. Some were fairly long -- up to 40 miles -- while others stretched less than 50 feet. Because of the high level of preservation at Ceren, the researchers can see hand marks of farmers who were repairing the edges of the sacbe.

While there is speculation the Ceren sacbe may have led to the Maya center of San Andres roughly three miles to the south, there is no evidence of that yet, Sheets said.

While some refer to Ceren as "The New World Pompeii," Sheets is quick to point out the differences. Pompeii was an affluent Roman resort community with multi-story concrete houses, stone streets and marble statues, while Ceren was a modest farming community. Because tiny particles of hot, moist ash blanketed Ceren and packed the thatch-roofed structures, gardens and agricultural fields, the preservation of organic materials is greater than at Pompeii, where dry, pea-sized particles rained down in the Mount Vesuvius eruption of A.D. 79.

Sheets has visited Pompeii, and researchers from Pompeii have visited Ceren, analyzing the similarities and differences at the sites. "When they tell me they wish they had this kind of preservation level at Pompeii, I tell them I wouldn't mind finding a marble statue or two at Ceren," said Sheets.

The Ceren preservation is so great that researchers have found marks of finger swipes in ceramic bowls, human footprints in gardens hosting ash casts of plants like corn and manioc, thatched roofs, woven baskets and pots filled with beans. Researchers have found the remains of mice that lived in the thatched roofs of kitchen areas, and entomologists have even been able to discern that two species of ants inhabited the village, Sheets said.

An ancient Maya white road known as a sacbe has been discovered buried under roughly 17 feet of volcanic ash at the archaeological village of Ceren in El Salvador by a University of Colorado Boulder team. The sacbe, shown here with a drainage canal on the left and several corn plants preserved by ash on the right, is roughly 1,400 years old and is the only one ever discovered constructed without stone linings. 
Photo courtesy Payson Sheets, University of Colorado
Thus far 12 buildings at Ceren -- which is believed to have been home to about 200 people -- have been excavated, including living quarters, storehouses, workshops, kitchens, religious buildings and a community sauna. There are dozens of unexcavated structures and there may even be another undiscovered settlement or two under the ash, which covers an area of roughly two square miles.

While much of the Maya archaeological record points to rigid, top-down societies where the elite made most political and economic decisions, there is evidence of some autonomy at Ceren, including divergent choices by farmers regarding crop cultivation techniques that were discovered this summer, said Sheets. He believes a community building with two large benches in the front room may have hosted village elders when it came time to make community decisions at Ceren.

In addition to Sheets, the 2011 team included CU-Boulder graduate students Christine Dixon, Alexandria Halmbacher and Theresa Heindel, University of Cincinnati Professor David Lentz, University of Cincinnati graduate student Christine Hoffer, Celine Lamb from the Sorbonne in Paris and 23 local Salvadoran workers. The 2011 field season was funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Students on the project are essential," said Sheets. "They put up with less than ideal living conditions and they do valuable work, sometimes pursuing their own research paths based on discoveries they make at the site." Since 1978, more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students have worked under Sheets at Ceren, including 14 who have received or are pursuing master's or doctoral degrees.

"When I first heard about Ceren, I immediately wanted to know more," said master's degree candidate Theresa Heindel, who came to CU-Boulder after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and who spent the 2011 field season assessing crop cultivation in Ceren's agricultural fields that were frozen in time by ash. "We don't see this type of cultivation anywhere in Central America, and we don't see this level of preservation anywhere in the world."

In 2009 Sheets and his team discovered a previously unknown Maya agriculture system at Ceren -- intensively cultivated manioc fields that yielded at least 10 tons of manioc shortly before the eruption 1,400 years ago. It was the first and only evidence of intense manioc cultivation at any New World archaeology site and Sheets and others believe such large manioc crops could have played a vital role in feeding indigenous societies living throughout tropical Latin America, he said.

Sheets has collaborated with the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty Conservation Institute and a number of universities since 1978. The 10-acre Joya de Ceren Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

"When the radiocarbon dates on the thatched roofs came back in 1978, I saw the rest of my professional life. I knew I did not need to look for any more new archaeological sites," said Sheets. "There is well over a century of research still to be done at Ceren -- in some ways we've only scratched the surface.".

A video news story on Ceren is available by going to and clicking on the story headline.

Images of the site are available by entering the keyword "Ceren" at


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