Friday, 19 September 2014

Rare Golden Coins

A 1610 Saxon 20 ducat Prince-Elector Christian II gold coin sold for $ 324,000. The very rare and well preserved gold coin has broken the record for the Most Expensive Czech Republic coin.

A Yuan Shi-kai proof gold 1914 Giorgi dollar. It displays Chinese leader Yuan Shi-kai (1859-1916), a pivotal figure in the nation's history who led the transition from monarchy to republic. Estimated at $300,000-500,000.

The first purely Islamic coin ever created. The Umayyad 77h dinar was created in AD 696 under 'Abd al-Malik, who abandoned all iconography from coins and focused solely on religious text. $ 308,000

A Gold Ku'ping pattern tael. Coin was struck in 1906 under the Guangxu emperor and is one of only a handful of Chinese imperial coins produced at the official Mint. $ 85,000

Edward III gold coin, minted in 1343, is one of 3 known -$ 6.8m

A gold aurei medallion of ancient Rome. One of two known. It depicts Roman emperor Maxentius and sold for $1,407,550 U.S.

The 1933 Double Eagle. Nearly half a million of the 20-dollar gold coins were minted in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression but only 13 are known to exist today.

The rest were melted down before they left the United States Mint, sacrificed as part of a strategy to remove the United States from the gold standard and stabilize the American economy. $ 7.6m

Monday, 15 September 2014

Shrinking dinosaurs became modern birds - Study

It is known that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs, but a new study published in the journal Science shows that the key to this transformation was, for one particular group of giant lizards called theropods, to continually get smaller and smaller over a 50-million-year time span.
Researchers present a detailed family tree of these dinosaurs and their bird descendants which maps out this transformation.
They showed that the branch of theropod dinosaurs which gave rise to modern birds were the only dinosaurs that kept getting smaller. These bird ancestors also evolved new adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs.

"Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturisation in dinosaurs," says lead author Associate Professor Michael Lee, from the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum."
"Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly.
Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins."

The study examined over 1500 anatomical traits of dinosaurs to reconstruct their family tree. The researchers used sophisticated mathematical modelling to trace evolving adaptions and changing body size over time and across dinosaur branches.
Paleontologists looking at fossils of meat-eating dinosaurs, particularly those that were small bipedal like the Veloceraptors, have pointed out years ago how they share an uncanny number of traits with modern birds: everything from wishbones, light hollow skeletons and three-fingered hands that folded like bird wings to an array of bright, complex feathers. Many of them also had some ability to glide, perhaps even fly.

See ----->
See ----->
See ----->

Friday, 12 September 2014

Ancient Gold found at Kingsmead Quarry

Investigations at Kingsmead Quarry, Horton, Berkshire, have revealed a complex archaeological landscape and evidence that people had used the area since the end of the last Ice Age, a period of over 12,000 years.

Some of the oldest gold ever discovered in Britain along with a 4,300-year-old woman were found buried at a quarry with Ice Age origins.

Flint blades from 12,000 years ago and the strongest evidence of Neolithic housing in Britain – including two “exceptional” homes from the period and three thought to have had upper storeys – have been among the finds. A selection of the artefacts are being displayed at the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum.

'Beaker' burials date to at least the 'Copper Age' (2500-2200 BC). Found within the grave were gold ornaments (five tubular beads), along with 29 bead fragments of amber and 30 beads of black lignite.
Beaker using communities lived across Europe around 2,500 BC around about the time of Stonehenge.

In more Western regions, such as Britain, they were the first people to use copper and gold. (giving rise to the term Copper Age or Chalcolithic). They buried their people in special ways, characteristically with a distinctive type of pot, known to archaeologists as a beaker. They were also buried with other fine objects such as metal, stone and bone.

Polished and decorated handle from a shuttle tip or gouge, made from the lower limb bone of a sheep or goat (700-1 BC)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Amazing Discoveries in 2013

By studying a newfound pathway in mice, scientists identified the first major mechanical reason we need to sleep: to clean the brain.

When the brain is sleeping, channels between cells grow. This allows cerebrospinal fluid into the depths of the brain tissues to flush out toxic proteins that build up during the day, including the kind that are responsible for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

A new solar cell material called perovskite showed great promise this year as a low-cost, more efficient alternative to traditional silicon-based cells. Within four years of development, perovskite cells reached efficiency levels that took more than a decade for technologies used today to reach.

Researchers were able to make embryonic stem cells by cloning human skin cells, a feat that has been in the works for more than a decade. Since stem cells can turn into any tissue in the body — and in this case are an exact genetic match to the cloned cell — the technique may one day be used to develop replacement tissues and organs to treat diseases.

The cloning technique is essentially the same one used to clone animals, including Dolly the sheep 17 years ago. After years of failed attempts, scientists realized that adding a bit of caffeine enabled them to produce stems cells from cloned human embryos.

CLARITY allows scientists to see through the entire intact brain without slicing it up, which was problematic because it severed connections between cells."Studying intact systems with this sort of molecular resolution and global scope — to be able to see the fine detail and the big picture at the same time — has been a major unmet goal in biology.
Up close, Eunectes beniensis may look like your average boa, yet it's actually the first new anaconda species identified since 1936, according to the WWF. The nonvenomous snake, believed to be a hybridization between green and yellow anacondas, may have been spotted in 2002 but was officially discovered at the end of last year in the floodplains of Bolivia.
Floating off the coast of the Florida Keys is this "pink meanie" jellyfish, nicknamed for its hundreds of stinging tentacles and, as scientists have found, taste for other jellies. Known since the late 1800s and observed steadily since 2000, this pink jellyfish was found to be an entirely new species. Unlike other jellyfish, which are known to dine on plankton and small crustaceans, the pink meanie enjoys other jellyfish.

Using GPS and a keen ear for monkey calls, three scientists found Callicebus caquetensis in a remote area near the Ecuador/Peru border last summer. About the size of a cat, the bushy-bearded, greyish-brown titi monkey is critically endangered due to deforestation and its small population.
Gwawinapterus beardi. Discovered: Vancouver Island, Canada

A remarkable Canadian addition to the annuls of palaeontology, the jaw of this flying reptile was found fossilized in a rock on the beach on Hornby Island, near the east coast of Vancouver Island. It took more than half a decade and several scientists to identify the new species: the flying reptile, which lived some 70 million years ago, is only the second pterosaur to be found on Canadian soil.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Corvair

1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza convertible
The Corvair was a compact automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1960–1969 model years. It was the only American designed, mass-produced passenger car to feature a rear-mounted air-cooled engine.

The Corvair line-up included a two-door coupe, convertible, four-door sedan, and four-door station wagon body styles, as well as in passenger van, commercial van, and pickup truck derivatives.
Chevrolet had planned on ending Corvair production after the 1966 model year. Development and engineering changes were halted in 1966 on the year-old, redesigned second-generation cars with mainly federally mandated emissions and safety changes made thereafter.

Ralph Nader, attorney and consumer advocate, highlighted the Corvair's handling in his 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed. 1966 Corvair sales subsequently fell to half from the sales of 1965. Controversy followed Nader's book. GM had over 100 lawsuits pending in connection with crashes involving the Corvair, which subsequently became the initial material for Nader's investigations.
The book highlighted crashes related to the Corvair's suspension and identified the Chevrolet suspension engineer who had fought management's decision to remove — for cost reasons — the front anti-sway bar installed on later models. Nader said during subsequent Congressional hearings, the Corvair is "the leading candidate for the un-safest-car title". Subsequently, Corvair sales fell from 220,000 in 1965 to 109,880 in 1966. By 1968 production fell to 14,800.
A 1972 safety commission report concluded that the 1960–1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control than its contemporary competitors. A review panel concluded that "the 1960–63 Corvair compares favorably with contemporary vehicles."
The Corvair spawned a number of innovative concept vehicles including the Corvair SS, Monza GT, Monza SS, Astro I.

(click to enlarge)

Corvair Monza Spyder, 1965

See ----->
See ----->