History, News, Offbeat

The Great Wall of China is Slowly Wasting Away

Great Wall of China near Jinshanling. Image via Wikimedia.

The Great Wall of China, one of the most marvelous constructions on Earth is slowly fading away due to the reckless behavior of humans. The effects of travel and recycling of the stones for other constructions is taking a monumental toll on the Great Wall, and almost 30 percent of the structure is now gone.

Feature Post, History

Skeletons with lavish jewelry found in Roman catacombs

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They call them the Catacomb Saints – ancient Roman corpses that were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome, given fictitious names and sent abroad as relics of saints from the 16th century to the 19th century. They were decorated with extreme lavishness, as you can see below. But why – why would they be decorated with such luxury? Were they actually

History, Other

Tanktastic: a brief overview of the modern-day knight in shining armour

A Challanger 2 Main Battle Tank from the Royal Dragoon Guards.
Image via: wikimedia.org

We here at ZME Science aren’t very fond of war. We much rather prefer to drink beer in the shade and solve our differences with rock-paper-scissors. But we (meaning I) also think that tanks are really awesome. They embody so much of what humanity has learned over the millennia. From fire and mining used to forge the hulls of these behemoths, to gunpowder that sends a shell kilometers away to a point that we can calculate with equations that some of the brightest minds have made possible. We spent centuries learning how to build their beating hearts.

History, Science, Space

Spacewalking in the 60’s: Edward White’s EVA mission.

Edward White, in the EVA over a cloud-covered Pacific Ocean, the maneuvering gun is visible in White’s right hand. The visor of his helmet is gold-plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.
Image via: wikipedia.org

Fifty years ago today, on June 3rd, 1965, 19:46, astronaut Edward White pushed away from the Gemini 4 capsule and into history as the first American to walk in space. Although a Russian had been the first to float in space, Ed White was determined to be the first to use jet propulsion to actually maneuver himself in space. With millions of

Great Pics, History, Science

4000 years of human civilizations charted, the Histomap

histomapwider

Created by John B. Sparks and first printed by Rand McNally, the Histomap started selling in 1931 for the price of US$1. Folded in a green cover that advertised it as “clear, vivid, and shorn of elaboration,” and promising to “hold you enthralled”, the 5-foot-long work of historic awesomeness aims to deliver big.

Feature Post, History

Early SciFi: A 2nd century AD novel about traveling to outer space, meeting aliens and Homer

Lucian of Samosata’s ship getting swept up to the moon by a tempest.

Some argue that the first genuine science fiction novel is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where technology bordering necromancy is used to reanimate the dead. But labeling what falls under science fiction can be troublesome. Christopher McKitterick says that in the strict etymological sense, it’s literature about scientific discovery or technological change, but then argues that this definition misses the mark; instead Mckiterrick believes “SF is about how we have changed, how external change affects us, how things we do change the world around us, and how we will continue to change over time.” What about works of fiction written in a time when science wasn’t even considered a distinct field, separate from natural philosophy, or study of religious truth, etc? Depending on how you class what makes science fiction, Lucian of Samosata’s “True Stories” might be the first science fiction novel. The characters venture to distant realms including the moon, the sun, and strange planets and islands. The star protagonist is Lucian himself who happens to stumble upon aliens on the moon and finds himself in the midst of a war between the lunar and sun empires.

Archaeology, History, News

Skeletons found in Leicestershire, holding hands after 700 years

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Some relationships last a lifetime – but some last even more than that. University of Leicester archaeologists uncover a trove of relics and remains at Chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire, including two skeletons who have been holding hands underground for the past 700 years. The archaeological excavations uncovered not only the couple, but also fragments of stone masonry, wall plaster, tiles

Archaeology, History, News

3300 years ago, Egyptian women were using extensions and dyeing their hair

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An ancient Egyptian woman who lived 3300 years ago was found to have no less than 70 hair extensions. This incredibly elaborate hairstyle was probably made especially for her resting place. Interestingly enough, she wasn’t mummified, her body was simply wrapped in a mat, said Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project. “Whether or not the woman had her

Geology, History, Science

World’s first earthquake detector was invented 2000 years ago in China

seismometer ancient

A seismometer or seismoscope is an instrument that detects and measures the motions of the ground as a result of seismic waves gushing from an earthquake, volcanic eruption or powerful explosion. Today, there are thousands of such instruments dispersed in key places around the world that constantly keep watch, gather data and help seismologists better their understanding of how earthquakes

Archaeology, History, News

Ancient throwing: archaeologists find a contract to “fix” a wrestling match in Ancient Greece

contract

Prostitution may or may not be the oldest job in the world, but rigging goes a long way too. Researchers have recently deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed.  The document, which was dated from the year 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final of a very prestigious tournament in Egypt. This