The sphinx is 800.000 years old

One of the most mysterious and enigmatic monuments on the surface of the planet is without a doubt the Great Sphinx at the Giza plateau in Egypt. It is an ancient construction that has baffled researchers ever since its discovery and until today, no one has been able to accurately date the Sphinx, since there are no written records or mentions in the past about it. Now, two Ukrainian researchers have proposed a new provocative theory where the two scientists propose that the Great Sphinx of Egypt is around 800,000 years old. A Revolutionary theory that is backed up by science.

The study was presented at the International Conference of Geoarchaeology and Archaeomineralogy held in Sofia titled: GEOLOGICAL ASPECT OF THE PROBLEM OF DATING THE GREAT EGYPTIAN SPHINX CONSTRUCTION.

The authors of this paper are scientists Manichev Vjacheslav I. (Institute of Environmental Geochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) and Alexander G. Parkhomenko (Institute of Geography of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine).

The starting point of these two experts is the paradigm shift initiated by West and Schoch, a ‘debate’ intended to overcome the orthodox view of Egyptology referring to the possible remote origins of the Egyptian civilization and, on the other, physical evidence of water erosion present at the monuments of the Giza Plateau.

According to Manichev and Parkhomenko:

“The problem of dating the Great Egyptian Sphinx construction is still valid, despite of the long-term history of its research. Geological approach in connection to other scientific-natural methods permits to answer the question about the relative age of the Sphinx. The conducted visual investigation of the Sphinx allowed the conclusion about the important role of water from large water bodies which partially flooded the monument with formation of wave-cut hollows on its vertical walls.”

“The morphology of these formations has an analogy with similar such hollows formed by the sea in the coastal zones. Genetic resemblance of the compared erosion forms and the geological structure and petrographic composition of sedimentary rock complexes lead to a conclusion that the decisive factor of destruction of the historic monument is the wave energy rather than sand abrasion in Eolian process. Voluminous geological literature confirms the fact of existence of long-living fresh-water lakes in various periods of the Quaternary from the Lower Pleistocene to the Holocene. These lakes were distributed in the territories adjacent to the Nile. The absolute mark of the upper large erosion hollow of the Sphinx corresponds to the level of water surface which took place in the Early Pleistocene. The Great Egyptian Sphinx had already stood on the Giza Plateau by that geological (historical) time.”

A strong argument was made by Ukrainian scientists in regards of the Sphinx, arguments based upon geological studies which support Schoch’s view regarding the Sphinx and its age. Manichev and Parkhomenko focus on the deteriorated aspect of the body of the Sphinx, leaving aside the erosive features where the Sphinx is located, which had been studied previously by Schoch. Ukrainian scholars focused on the undulating terrain of the Sphinx which displays the mysterious pattern.

Mainstream scientists offer explanations for this sharp feature and state that it is based on the abrasive effect of the wind and sand, the undulations were formed because the harder layers of rock are better at withstanding the erosions while the softer layers would have been more affected, forming voids.

However, as noted Manichev and Parkhomenko, this argument does not explain why the front of the head of the Sphinx lacks such features. In regards to the argument made by Schoch about the heavy rain period which occurred around 13,000 BC, the Ukrainian scientists recognized Schoch hypothesis partially suggesting that the erosive features of the Sphinx go further back than 13.000 BC. Manichev and Parkhomenko argue is that the mountainous and coastal areas of the Caucasus and Crimea, which they know well, have a type of wind erosion that differs morphologically to the erosive features noted on the Sphinx. Essentially, they argue that such wind erosion has a very soft effect, regardless of the geological composition of the rocks.

“In our geological field expeditions in different mountains and littoral zones of the Crimea and Caucasus we could often observe the forms of Eolian weathering which morphology differs considerably from the weathering taking place on the GES. Most natural forms of weathering are of smoothed character, independent of lithological composition of the rocks.”

They continue further and explain:

“Our personal experience in scientific investigation of geology of the sea coasts gives reasons to draw an analogy with the GES and to suggest another mechanism of its destruction. Specialists-geologists, who work in the field of sea-coast geomorphology, know such forms of relief as wave-cut hollows (Morskaya Geomorfologiya, 1980). They can be one- and multi-storey. They are arranged horizontally to the sea water surface, if the coast makes a vertical wall (cliff). Especially deep wave-cut hollows are formed in precipitous cliffs built by the strata of carbonaceous rocks. Such forms of the coast relief are well-known and studied in detail on the Black-Sea coast of the Caucasus and Crimea (Popov, 1953; Zenkovich, 1960). General model of formation of the wave-cut hollows in the rocks of the Caucasian flysch is given by Popov (1953, 162; Fig. 3). In dynamics of the process of wave-cut hollows formation one can notice such a characteristic feature that the wave energy is directed to the rock stratum at the level of water surface. Besides, both saline and fresh water can dissolve the rocks.”

Manichev and Parkhomenko propose a new natural mechanism that may explain the undulations and mysterious features of the Sphinx. This mechanism is the impact of waves on the rocks of the coast. Basically, this could produce, in a period of thousands of years the formation of one or more layers of ripples, a fact that is clearly visible, for example, on the shores of the Black Sea. This process, which acts horizontally (that is, when the waves hit the rock up to the surface), will produce a wear or dissolution of the rock.

The fact is that the observation of these cavities in the Great Sphinx made the Ukranian scientists think that this great monument could have been affected by above said process in the context of immersion in large bodies of water, not the regular flooding of the Nile.

Manichev and Parkhomenko suggest that the geological composition of the body of the Sphinx is a sequence of layers composed of limestone with small interlayers of clays. Manichev and Parkhomenko explain that these rocks possess different degree of resistance to the water effect and say that if the hollows formation were due to sand abrasion only, the hollows had to correspond to the strata of a certain lithological composition. They suggest that the Great Sphinx hollows are formed in fact within several strata, or occupy some part of the stratum of homogeneous composition.

Manichev and Parkhomenko firmly believe that the Sphinx had to be submerged for a long time under water and, to support this hypothesis, they point towards existing literature of geological studies of the Giza Plateau. According to these studies at the end of the Pliocene geologic period (between 5.2 and 1.6 million years ago), sea water entered the Nile valley and gradually creating flooding in the area. This led to formation of lacustrine deposits which are at the mark of 180 m above the present level of the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Manichev and Parkhomenko, it is the sea level during the Calabrian phase which is the closest to the present mark with the highest GES hollow at its level. High level of sea water also caused the Nile overflowing and created long-living water-bodies. As to time it corresponds to 800000 years.

What we have here is evidence which contradicts the conventional theory of deterioration caused by Sand and Water, a theory already criticized by West and Schoch, who recalled that during many centuries, the body of the Sphinx was buried by the sands of the desert, so Wind and Sand erosion would not have done any damage to the enigmatic Sphinx.

However, where Schoch clearly saw the action of streams of water caused by continuous rains, Ukrainian geologists see the effect of erosion caused by the direct contact of the waters of the lakes formed in the Pleistocene on the body Sphinx. This means that the Great Sphinx of Egypt is one of the oldest monuments on the surface of the Earth, pushing back drastically the origin of mankind and civilization.

Some might say that the theory proposed by Manichev and Parkhomenko is very extreme because it places the Great Sphinx in an era where there were no humans, according to currently accepted evolutionary patterns. Furthermore, as it has been demonstrated, the two megalithic temples, located adjacent to the Great Sphinx were built by the same stone which means that the new dating of the Sphinx drags these monuments with the Sphinx back 800,000 years. In other words, this means that ancient civilizations inhabited our planet much longer than mainstream scientists are willing to accept.


Infamous prizes for 2015

One again here are the best prizes ever. This is what “intelligent” scientists do, and they are awarded. Here are the main facts, if you are interested (no joke) you can click on the link at the bottom of the page.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE —  for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.

PHYSICS PRIZE — for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

LITERATURE PRIZE — for discovering that the word “huh?” (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language — and for not being quite sure why.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE — for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that — for them — had no dire personal consequences.

ECONOMICS PRIZE — To the Bangkok Metropolitan Police [THAILAND], for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes.

MEDICINE PRIZE —  for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).

MATHEMATICS PRIZE —  for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.

BIOLOGY PRIZE — for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.

DIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE PRIZE — for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.

PHYSIOLOGY and ENTOMOLOGY PRIZE — Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith [USA, UK, THE NETHERLANDS], for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft)


Why sicker in Winter?

It begins as surely as the leaves dropping off the trees. As the mercury drops and the sunlight fades, the sniffles set in. At best, it’s just a cold that leaves us with the strange feeling that we’ve swallowed a cheese grater; if we’re unlucky, our body is wracked with a high fever and aching limbs for up a week or longer. We have flu.

The flu season arrives so predictably, and affects so many of us, that it’s hard to believe that scientists have had very little idea why cold weather helps germs to spread. Over the last five years, however, they have finally come up with an answer that might just offer a way to stem the tide of infection – and it revolves around a rather grim fact about the ways that your sneezes linger in the air. 

The fact that it is simply colder in winter can’t explain the yearly flu season

A new understanding of influenza couldn’t come quickly enough; worldwide, up to five million people catch the illness each flu season, and around a quarter of a million die from it. Part of its potency comes from the fact that the virus changes so quickly that the body is rarely prepared for the next season’s strain. “The antibodies we’ve built up no longer recognise the virus – so we lose our immunity,” says Jane Metz at the University of Bristol. It also makes it harder to develop effective vaccines, and although you can engineer a new jab for each strain, governments often fail to persuade enough people to take it up.

Germs can linger for a long time on an underground train (Credit: Getty Images)

The hope is that by understanding better why flu spreads in winter, but naturally fades in summer, doctors could find simple measures to stop its spread. Previous theories had centred on our behaviour. We spend more time indoors in the winter, meaning that we’re in closer contact with other people who may be carrying germs. We’re more likely to take public transport, for instance – and as we’re pressed against spluttering commuters, misting up the windows with their coughs and sneezes, it’s easy to see how this could send us over a tipping point that allows flu to spread through a population.

Without much sunlight, we may run low on Vitamin D, weakening the immune system

Another popular idea concerned our physiology: the cold weather wears down your body’s defences against infection. In the short days of winter, without much sunlight, we may run low on Vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection. What’s more, when we breathe in cold air, the blood vessels in our nose may constrict to stop us losing heat. This may prevent white blood cells (the warriors that fight germs) from reaching our mucus membranes and killing any viruses that we inhale, allowing them to slip past our defences unnoticed. (It could be for this reason that we tend to catch a cold if we go outside with wet hair.)

While such factors will both play some role in transmission, analyses suggested that they couldn’t completely explain the yearly emergence of flu season. Instead, the answer may have been lying invisible in the air that we breathe. Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, cold air can carry less water vapour before it reaches the “dew point” and falls as rain. So while the weather outside may seem wetter, the air itself is drier as it loses the moisture. And a steady stream of research over the past few years has shown that these dry conditions seem to offer the perfect environment for the flu virus to flourish.

In winter, we’re more likely to take public transport, pressed against wet windows and spluttering commuters. Lab experiments, for instance, have looked at the way flu spreads among groups of guinea pigs. In moister air, the epidemic struggles to build momentum, whereas in drier conditions it spreads like wildfire. And comparing 30 years’ worth of climate records with health records, Jeffrey Shaman at Columbia University and colleagues found that flu epidemics almost always followed a drop in air humidity. In fact, the overlap of the graphs was so close, “you could pretty much put one on top of each other,” says Metz, who together with Adam Finn, recently reviewed all the evidence for the Journal of Infection. The finding has now been replicated many times including analyses of the 2009 Swine flu pandemic.

In winter, you are breathing a cocktail of dead cells, mucus and viruses from everyone who has visited the room recently

Should I wear a facemask?

What studies say

Anytime you walk into a public place, you are breathing in a fine mist of other people’s coughs and sneezes – which can hang around in the air for days. Face masks are a common precaution to stop you breathing in the germs – but do they work?

To find out, one Australian study targeted the families of people turning up at hospital with influenza. Relatives who wore surgical masks were 80% less likely to become infected themselves.

Although later papers have mostly confirmed the results, it seems that it is only effective alongside hand-washing and generally good hygiene. Otherwise, it’s a little like locking all your windows while leaving the front door wide open – you are missing the most obvious line of defence.

That’s counter-intuitive – we normally think that the damp makes us ill, rather than protects us from disease. But to understand why, you need to grasp the peculiar dynamics of our coughs and sneezes. Any time we splutter with a cold, we expel a mist of particles from our nose and mouths. In moist air, these particles may remain relatively large, and drop to the floor. But in dry air, they break up into smaller pieces – eventually becoming so small that they can stay aloft for hours or days. (It’s a bit like the mist you get when you turn a hose pipe to its finest spray.)  The result is that in winter, you are breathing a cocktail of dead cells, mucus and viruses from anyone and everyone who has visited the room recently.

What’s more, water vapour in the air seems to be toxic to the virus itself. Perhaps by changing the acidity or salt concentration in the packet of mucus, moist air may deform the virus’s surface, meaning that it loses the weaponry that normally allows us to attack our cells. In contrast, viruses in drier air can float around and stay active for hours – until it is inhaled or ingested, and can lodge in the cells in your throat.

There are some exceptions to the general rule. Although the air on aeroplanes is generally dry, it does not seem to increase the risk of catching influenza – perhaps because the air conditioning itself filters out any germs before they have a chance to circulate. And although the dry air seems to fuel the spread of flu in the temperate regions of Europe and North America, some contradictory results suggest the germs may act somewhat differently in more tropical areas.

In particularly warm and wet conditions, the virus may end up sticking to more surfaces within a room

One explanation is that in particularly warm and wet conditions of a tropical climate, the virus may end up sticking to more surfaces within a room. So although it can’t survive in the air so well, the flu virus could instead be thriving on everything that you touch, making it more likely to pass from hand to mouth.

To understand why dry air makes us ill, you need to understand the peculiar dynamics of our coughs and sneezes (Credit: Getty Images)

But in the northern hemisphere at least, these findings could offer a simple way to kill the germs while they are still hanging in the air. Tyler Koep, then at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has estimated that simply running an air humidifier in a school for one hour could kill around 30% of the viruses flying around the air. Similar measures could (almost literally) pour cold water on other disease hotspots – such as hospital waiting rooms or public transport. “It would be a way of curbing the large outbreaks that occur every few years as the flu virus changes,” he says. “The potential impact in the cost of work days missed, schools days missed, and healthcare, would be substantial.”

Can wearing a surgical mask help prevent a cold? Not always 

Shaman is now working on further trials, though he thinks that it will involve a tricky balancing act. “Though higher humidity is associated with lower survival rates for influenza, there are other pathogens, such as pathogenic mould, that thrive at higher humidity,” he says.  “So care must be taken with humidification – it’s not solely beneficial.”

The scientists are keen to emphasise that measures like vaccines and good personal hygiene are still the best ways to protect yourself; using water vapour to kill the germs would just offer an additional line of attack. But when you are dealing with an enemy as mercurial and pervasive as the flu virus, you need to use every possible weapon in your arsenal.

Well, in case this is not enought, here is a sneeze with some music. Spoiler alert: it is disgusting!


The return-trip effect

You may have noticed it the last time you went on a long journey — by foot, by car or by plane: the outbound portion of your trip seemed to take a lifetime, while the (more or less identical) leg that brought you home felt like it flew by.

Scientists have noticed this “return trip effect” too, and are beginning to hone their understanding of why we experience it.

In past years, researchers have suggested that it has to do with the way our bodies experience and measure time as it passes, or the way we remember the trips we take after the fact, or perhaps a bit of both. On Wednesday, a team in Japan released a new report in the journal PLOS ONE detailing the latest effort to solve the mystery. This group’s take? That the return trip effect is created by travelers’ memories of their journeys — and those memories alone.

“The return trip effect is not a matter of measuring time itself. Rather, it depends on time judgment based on memory,” said Ryosuke Ozawa of the Dynamic Brain Network Laboratory at the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences at Osaka University.

To test out what is going on when the trip home seems shorter, Ozawa and colleagues, then at Kyoto University, created an experiment in which 20 healthy men, between 20 and 30 years of age, watched varying combinations of movies filmed by an experimenter who held a camera in front of the chest while walking two different routes. Half of the group viewed an outbound and return roundtrip on a single route; the other half, walking videos of two different routes in separate locations.

The videos were all approximately 26 minutes long, and the participants viewed them in individual sessions, seated in a chair. Researchers asked test subjects, who were not allowed to have access to clocks, to tell them each time they thought three minutes had passed, and monitored subjects’ heart activity electrocardiograms to assess whether the autonomic nervous system plays a role in the effect. The team also administered a questionnaire at the end of the two movies to see if participants perceived that one trip took longer than the other.

In the end, only that last test — the after-the-fact questionnaire — revealed strong evidence of the return trip effect.

“During the initial and return trip, [participants] do not seem to experience the passing time any differently, but when asked afterwards, they have a strong feeling that the return trip felt shorter than the initial trip did,” explained psychologist Niels van de Ven, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who has studied the return trip effect in the past but was not involved in Ozawa’s research.

In an email, Van de Ven told the Los Angeles Times that he thought the new study supported his own finding that the return trip effect originates from “a violation of expectations.”

“People are often too optimistic about an initial trip after which it [feels] quite long,” he said. “When heading back we think, ‘It’s going to take a long time again,’ after which it feels not as bad.”

Or perhaps the return trip effect exists simply because people believe it does and respond in kind, he speculated.

Ozawa said he would like to examine the effect in further detail — analyzing what happens when a filmed traveler returns to his original station via a different route, for instance. He said he had experienced the phenomenon himself during daily activities and had wanted to know more about it for many years.

Clear as water right? :-O


Every US president is related

Yes, every President is related, except one, and it is not who most people guess.

How the Work of a 12-Year-Old Girl Uncovered a Historical Oddity

It started with an American 12-year-old girl’s desire to trace her own heritage back to France. Along the way, she discovered that every single US President (except Martin Van Buren) are relatively closely related to just one man.

Meet BridgeAnne d’Avignon a gifted seventh grade student at Monte Vista School in Watsonville California. Prior to her work, genealogists only marginally associated about 19 US presidents as “distantly” related. She has created an amazing poster available at her website:

Her work started when she was just 10 years old when she discovered her Grandfather’s genealogy software and challenged herself with a simple question: “How many US Presidents are related?” The answer was an astounding coincidence.

Academic genealogists were more than shocked to discover that this association was in the historical record and overlooked by thousands of researchers. One of the secrets to BridgeAnne’s work was to trace the genealogy of both parents. She was not sure where the journey would lead her to, but pushed on for over two years of research.

Every US President Is Part of One Bloodline

The distant grandfather to all US presidents (except Van Buren) is King John “Lackland” Plantagenet. The very same King John that was the antagonist to the Robin Hood story.

Not Part of Robin Hood’s Family

Born in December 24, 1166, King John has indirectly supplied all US presidents (again, except Van Buren). King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, however, he never complied with its conditions and was known for his pettiness, spitefulness, and cruelty that helped give rise to the Robin Hood legends.

Beyond the work of now expert genealogy researcher BridgeAnne, dig just a little deeper and we find that Emperor Charlemagne is the root of just about all the leaders in Europe and the Middle East.

Data Is Useless Without Wisdom

The age of the Internet yields a great deal of information democratically to everyone connected. Data is useless without insights. Clearly we are awash with endless data and profoundly less empirical insights. It takes the work of great researchers, doing amazing work drawing perhaps unexpected insights to make sense of data.

This is the basis of wisdom and sometimes wisdom comes from unexpected places and can be found in a 12-year-old girl.

Optimal exercising

Researchers looked at 5,048 healthy participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study and questioned them about their activity. They identified and tracked 1,098 healthy joggers and 413 healthy but sedentary non-joggers for 12 years.

The study, which tracked hours of jogging, frequency, and the individual’s perception of pace, found that over the 12-year study strenuous joggers were as likely to die as sedentary non-joggers, while light joggers had the lowest rates of death.
Jogging from 1 to 2.4 hours per week was associated with the lowest mortality and the optimal frequency of jogging was no more than three times per week. Overall, significantly lower mortality rates were found in those with a slow or moderate jogging pace, while the fast-paced joggers had almost the same mortality risk as the sedentary non-joggers.

Researchers registered 28 deaths among joggers and 128 among sedentary non-joggers. In general, the joggers were younger, had lower blood pressure and body mass index, and had a lower prevalence of smoking and diabetes.

“It is important to emphasize that the pace of the slow joggers corresponds to vigorous exercise and strenuous jogging corresponds to very vigorous exercise,” said Peter Schnohr, MD, DMSc, a researcher from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark. “When performed for decades, this activity level could pose health risks, especially to the cardiovascular system.”

These findings show similar results to past studies where researchers have found that more than moderate exercise may cause more harm than good.

“The U-shaped association between jogging and mortality suggests there may be an upper limit for exercise dosing that is optimal for health benefits,” Schnohr said. “If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful.”