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Pharaoh's Gem Brighter Than a Thousand Suns 229

Tamas Feher from Hungary writes "An Italian archaeologist accidentally found that the central gem in Tutankhamun's regal necklace is not amber, but a mere piece of yellow glass. Kinda cheap for the famous Egyptian pharaoh, best known for his splendid golden mask. Except that piece of glass is much older than civilization. Where did it come from, StarGate? Kind of. Scientists now think a meteorite much larger than the Tunguska event fell from the sky and exploded over the Sahara in prehistoric times. The tremendous heat of the 1000 A-bomb sized fireball melted large chunks of desert sand into perfect glass. The memory of such an apocalyptic event may have made sand-glass gems a desirable symbol, meant to emphasize the pharaoh's heavenly powers."
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Pharaoh's Gem Brighter Than a Thousand Suns

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  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt&gmail,com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:41AM (#15749388) Homepage
    That suggests to me he dropped and broke it. :)
    • Or maybe he was testing what value it would have on the street so he could steal it and pawn it!

      Let the accusations fly!
    • Hmm.

      Ok, so glass was priceless until we figured out how to make it.

      Why isn't diamond cheap yet?
      • Can you say "cartel"?
      • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:30PM (#15751532) Journal
        Why isn't diamond cheap yet?
        Diamonds are cheap... for anything besides jewelry. And that's mostly oligopoly pricing + labor costs (it's expensive to mine diamonds & pay professionals to cut diamonds by hand).

        Industrial quality (mined) diamonds are cheap as shiat & are actually outnumbered by synthetic diamonds (around since the 1950's but not mass produced till later).

        Until recently, nobody had a viable way of creating gem quality 'synthetic' diamonds. There are currently three companies that can do this & their diamonds are vastly cheaper than mined diamonds.

        The various diamond importers don't care so much about the synthetic industrial grade diamonds, because those types of stones were too small/imperfect to be used for gems anyways. However, they are shitting bricks over man-made gem quality stones because the 'fakes' are cheaper to produce and are literally perfect.

        So, in summary: The price of gem quality diamonds will be coming down, no matter what the big mining cartels have to say about it.
        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:11PM (#15751840) Journal
          My wife wears one of those man-made gem-quality diamonds. She says she was never comfortable with really expensive jewelry, and said she'd rather us take a nice vacation or buy a car instead of me buying her a diamond, so that's what we did. The gem she wears really is perfect, and a jeweler friend of ours said it was "magnificent". I won't shed any tears for the diamond industry, bloody monsters that they are, nor for the diamond merchants who in the 20th century somehow convinced everyone that diamond rings were required to demonstrate love. Let them find honest income.
        • One word.. (Score:5, Informative)

          by novus ordo ( 843883 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#15752092) Journal
          DeBeers. They have the world's monopoly on diamonds and are quick to buyoff any new mines and ventures to control the supply. They are shitting bricks(diamonds?) and spending millions into detecting the ever more sophisticated [pbs.org] synthetic diamonds. With all the effort they force on you to make the "perfect" diamond it will cost more than just buying one from them.
          • Re:One word.. (Score:3, Informative)

            by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
            I read/skimmed through that & learned a few new things.

            I guess man-made diamonds aren't exactly perfect.

            The (soon to be overcome) stumbling block is that synthetics have a mix of 8 (which is normal) and 4 (which is not) sided internal structures.

            Because of the 4-sided structures, synthetic diamonds are UV reactive under "very intense short-wave ultraviolet" and will phosphoresce for a bit in the dark.

            Anyways, I still dispute your assertion that the search for the perfect man-made diamond will cause synt
            • Re:One word.. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ottothecow ( 600101 )
              "Because of the 4-sided structures, synthetic diamonds are UV reactive under "very intense short-wave ultraviolet" and will phosphoresce for a bit in the dark."

              That makes synthetic diamonds sound cooler than natural diamonds...I'd love to avoid the dirty cartels AND have a stone that phosphoresces (granted only with specific light that is probobly dangerous to skin).

              They were having a discussion on synthetic diamonds on npr today somewhere around early afternoon and it reminded me of the fantastic wired [wired.com]

      • I was going to talk about how the top of the Washington Monument was made of aluminum because at the time it was nearly as valuable as gold, but it turns out that that's somewhat of an urban myth. Here's a really interesting article about the Monument [tms.org] and the lightning-suppression system they designed for it.

        In any case, the price of aluminum and titanium (and for that matter, beryllium, lithium, and other exotic metals) has plummetted as better production systems have come into use.

        I've read several essay
  • Lightning? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kninja ( 121603 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:48AM (#15749441)
    Doesn't lightning strike the desert? I know it doesn't rain that often in the Sahara, but still, I find that at least as plausible as a huge meteorite.

    • Re:Lightning? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Valthan ( 977851 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:51AM (#15749456)
      I'm sure there has been lightning strikes, but this glass was formed over an enormous area of land, and a lightning strike wouldn't make glass of this magnitude in depth and area, it would have to be something that would be much hotter and a hell of a lot bigger than lightning.
  • by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:49AM (#15749445)

    Looks like Naquadah to me...

  • by wwest4 ( 183559 ) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:50AM (#15749454)
    If the explosion happened "before civilization" then it might be hard for there to be any memory of the "apocalyptic event" that created the glass. We're talking 800,000 years here... even before the advent of oral legend (Mmmmmmm.... oral legend).

    • The event in SE asia was 800,000 years ago, presumably the even in Egypt was more recent.

      As you implied, before civilization doesn't necessarily mean that an apocolyptic event would not be repeated and mythologized for centuries.
    • I agree. The idea that the jewel (if it is such?) had some attached legend about the original explosion seems a little far fetched for quite a few reasons.

      Personally, I don't see why it needs a legend even if it is "just glass" to us. Back then glass had never been heard of, so a rock that is almost transparent with a yellow tint would probably have seemed amazing.

      One thing I do no understand though, if large areas of land were 'glassified', than why were bigger items or even structures not created or coate
    • We're talking 800,000 years here... even before the advent of oral legend

      The event 800,000 years ago was over Southeast Asia, and was "even more powerful and damaging than the one in the Egyptian desert". The article doesn't provide any indication of when the Egyptian event might have occurred. If it happened just a few thousand years ago, it might have been within the memory of Egyptians. Of course, the article doesn't give any information suggesting that it was that recent, either.

      • Re:Not 800,000 years (Score:5, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman@ g m ail.com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:36AM (#15749779) Homepage Journal
        From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

        The color of "natural glass" is green to bluish green. This colour is caused by naturally occurring iron impurities in the sand. Common glass today usually has a slight green or blue tint, arising from these same impurities. Glassmakers learned to make coloured glass by adding metallic compounds and mineral oxides to produce brilliant hues of red, green, and blue - the colours of gemstones. When gem-cutters learned to cut glass, they found clear glass was an excellent refractor of light. The earliest known beads from Egypt were made during the New Kingdom, about 1500 BC and came in a variety of colours. They were made by winding molten glass around a metal bar and were highly prized as a trading commodity, especially blue ones because they were reported to have magical powers.

        The Egyptians also made small jars and bottles using the core-formed method. Glass threads were wound around a bag of sand tied to a rod and the glass was continually reheated to fuse the threads together. The glass had to be kept in motion until the required shape and thickness was achieved. The final step was to allow the rod to cool then to puncture the bag and remove the rod. The Egyptians also formed the first coloured glass rods which they used to create colourful beads and decorations, they also worked with cast glass. [2]. By the 5th century BCE this technology had spread to at least Greece. In the first century BC there were many glass centres located around the Mediterranean and at the eastern end of the Mediterranean glass blowing, both free-blowing and mould-blowing, was discovered.


        Considering that the Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to master glassworks, it seems somewhat unlikely that the Pharaoh's prized gem would be mere glass. Unless, that is, there were other legends or sources of value attributed to the gem. Given the unusual color of the glass (for the period), it seems quite reasonable that it being formed by "the light of a thousand suns" was the source of its value.
        • So what is it, BC or BCE?

          Even if they want to use the "politcally correct" way of saying it, they should atleast keep it consistent.
        • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @12:32PM (#15750694) Homepage

          Given the unusual color of the glass (for the period), it seems quite reasonable that it being formed by "the light of a thousand suns" was the source of its value.

          Well, that's assuming that someone saw the meteor strike, wasn't killed by it, and the legend was passed down through the generations. That's quite a lot to swallow with their being no evidence for any of it.

          The distinguishing feature of the glass is that it isn't man made. Given that glass beads were common in Egypt in 1500 BC, and Tut ruled around 1300 BC, I'd say they must have known this wasn't just normal man-made glass. Perhaps they found it in the desert, but knew of glass as only a man-made substance. Finding something in the middle of nowhere in large chunks that couldn't possibly be made by a person, but which you've only seen before as being made by a person is pretty amazing. It'd be like finding big chunks of pure iron in the middle of knowhere. You've seen Iron before, but it's something that's created by people. I could easily see that such a find would make this glass special.

          In fact, the earliest known uses of Iron around 4000 BCE come from meteorites. From wikipedia:

          The first signs of use of iron come from the Sumerians and the Egyptians, where around 4000 BCE, a few items, such as the tips of spears, daggers and ornaments, were being fashioned from iron recovered from meteorites.

          Which brings up the possibility that this glass was found before glassmaking became common, so it had a special value assigned to it. The point I'm trying to make is that no one had to see the actual meteor impact to know that this was special glass.
  • Volcanoes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tx ( 96709 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:50AM (#15749455) Journal
    Just thinking of possible alternate sources of prehistoric yellow glass, I know volcanic glass is usually black (obsidian), but surely there are some situations in which molten lava melts sand of various compositions that happen to be in its path, and therefore could conceivably result in other colors of glass? And I know there are no volcanoes in Egypt, but it could have been brought from elsewhere, the Egyptians were known to do a bit of trading now and again. Since they don't actually seem to have any actual evidence for the meteorite theory, it seems just as plausible.
  • Or.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:52AM (#15749476)
    The actual gem was replaced with a piece of yellow glass by grave robbers who did a very good job of concealing their tracks.
    • Re:Or.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:01AM (#15749537) Homepage Journal
      Graverobbers did indeed conceal their tracks -- to hide caches of treasure from competitors.

      Inside the tombs, they didn't waste time. They smashed open sarcophogi and ripped mummies apart looking for jewels and amulets. Anybody visiting subsequently would have found the fact of the robbery clear enough -- by the absence of any scrap of economic value.
    • Re:Or.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Don_dumb ( 927108 )
      But they decided to keep the rest of the tomb with all its gold and other valuble items, completely untouched.

      I applaud you for thinking of plausible alternatives, but I just dont think grave robbers would find a tomb and then only take one item. Or bother to conceal their tracks.
  • The value of gems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YetAnotherBob ( 988800 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:01AM (#15749544)
    is in thier rarety. Glass was a gemstone before it could be made in quantity. This necklace may be OLD. Glass, Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby, it's all the same. The jewlery industry is trying very hard right now to find some way to discount the value of man made stones, or we may soon see the value of all gems erode as the value of glass did once.
    • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:38AM (#15749794)
      When you go to the jewlrey story, you'll find that the prettiest gems with the deepest color are the man-made gems. The natural gems look faded and washed-out in contrast to the "laboratory" made versions. The man-made emeralds are the deepest green, the man-made rubies are the deepest red, and man-made saphires are the brightest blue.

      For some people the value might be in the scarcity of the natural gems, but for me the value is in the aesthetic decorative value of gem (with the lab gems being usually of better color).
      • by random coward ( 527722 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:58AM (#15749914)
        I agree with you. However in 200 years when synthetic pure white diamond is used commercially in very large crystals, when corundums(i.e. saphires) are used for windows, our great grandchildren will wonder about us wearing what is to them just glass. I wonder what jewelry will be like when our physical scarcity matches our current digital scarcity. How will we adapt to such abundance?
        • They'll probably wear Duke Nukem Forever CD's around their necks. There will even be a single DVD version called "The Heart of the Nukem".
        • "I wonder what jewelry will be like when our physical scarcity matches our current digital scarcity"

          Heres hoping its the encased souls of my enemies!

        • My guess would be that the process of making whatever could be made in abundance be patented to create an artificial shortage so the price stays up.
        • How will we adapt to such abundance?

          With violence.

          You don't expect our future corporate masters to go quietly into the night, do you? They'll get their governmental thugs to enforce their right to profit, and failing that, they'll build their own "security forces" to ensure the safety of their business models.
      • by tinkerghost ( 944862 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:34AM (#15750176) Homepage
        Remember though, Kay Jewelers sells only Created gemstones not synthetic ones.
        Yes I was actually told this looking for a Vday present.
  • wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:02AM (#15749549)
    Don't you mean the FAARGATE!?!??

    We don't vant to get sued. Just be sure it has a mohawk and a wheelchair.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:03AM (#15749556)
    From the Slashdot summary:

    that piece of glass is much older than civilization

    From TFA:

    intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation

    Compare and contrast.
  • by jamie ( 78724 ) <jamie@slashdot.org> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:05AM (#15749571) Journal

    The other day I was skimming through a book I very much enjoyed as a boy: Asimov on Astronomy [isbn.nu].

    Chapter 2 is about asteroids and comets that may impact the Earth, and how much damage they would do. He concludes with:

    In the future, perhaps, things may be different. The men in the space stations that will eventually be set up about the Earth may find themselves, among other things, on the watch for the Earth-grazers, something like the iceberg watch conducted in northern waters since the sinking of the Titanic (but much more difficult of course).

    The rocks, boulders, and mountains of space may be painstakingly tagged and numbered. Their changing orbits may be kept under steady watch. Then, a hundred years from now, perhaps, or a thousand, some computer on such a station will sound the alarm: "Collision orbit!"

    Then a counterattack, kept in waiting for all that time would be set in motion. The dangerous rock would be met with an H-bomb (or, by that time, something more appropriate) designer to trigger off on collision. The rock would glow and vaporize and change from a boulder to a conglomeration of pebbles.

    Even if they continued on course, the threat would be lifted. Earth would merely be treated to a spectacular (and harmless) shower of shooting stars.

    Asimov was writing in 1966 but still should have known better. The kinetic energy of a shattered object is the same as the intact object. The only difference is that the energy will all be shed in the atmosphere instead of mostly in the lithosphere. Human suffering might be ameliorated somewhat but unless the trajectory of the pebbles is changed, the atmosphere is still getting superheated with disasterous local, and possibly global, effects. If you're standing under the shooting-star display, then like any nearby sand, you're getting cooked.

    Yes, this ruined the ending of Deep Impact [imdb.com] for me. Yes, I'm a geek.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think the point Asimov, and others, were getting to - local "superheating" of the atmosphere, while certainly uncomfortable, is far less likely to bring on particulate/nuclear winter, wildfires, destruction of infrastructure, Tsunami, etc. than a lithosphere impact - because it's happening locl to the ionosphere. "Disastrous" is relative - presuming some of it reaches the ground, is it the end of higher life in an area the size of New England - or is it the end of human civilisation globally period? Beyon
    • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:42AM (#15749818) Journal
      While it is true that the kinetic energy of the components of a shattered object will be the same as the inital whole object there are several things you have neglected.
      1. Because the resulting pieces will be of varying size and shape, some will be below the size to successfully reach the surface before burning up.
      2. Not all the resulting component pieces will have the same tragectory, thus
        1. some pieces will miss the target
        2. the kinetic energy will be spread out over a larger area.
      3. Because the resulting pieces will be smaller and spread over a larger area, the resulting damage will be less pronounced. Think of the damage caused by getting a large tattoo. If those thousands of small pin pricks were converted into a single strike the damage would be much greater. Which would create more damage to you: three handfulls of pebbles dropped on your head, or a single rock of equivelent mass of those same three handfulls?

      Not to mention that in your own post you show that Asmiov states "or, by that time, something more appropriate". This indicates to me that the best tool available at the time was a nuke and Asimov understood that it may not be the best tool but was the only one available and that in the future there may be better tools.
      • Because the resulting pieces will be of varying size and shape, some will be below the size to successfully reach the surface before burning up.

        Again, this doesn't provide much in the way of salvation. Take the mass of a big meteor, take its approach speed, figure the kinetic energy. If it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if it stays in one piece and impacts the surface, it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if you pulverize the entire thing down to dust and let it burn up as it enters t
        • Possible solution to the problem of kinetic energy:

          Once you've sufficiently shattered a rock, detonate a series of warheads, using their released energy to divert and/or slow down the resulting debris cloud.

          If we can bust up a planet-killing asteroid, we should have ample power to redirect its leftovers.

          Oh, and it most certainly would lose energy and mass, as far as the threat to earth is concerned.

          If you detonated a nuke inside it that shattered it, then the radial nature of the explosion would push signif
          • using their released energy to divert and/or slow down the resulting debris cloud.

            If you can do that, why not just use their released energy to divert or slow down the impactor in the first place, causing it to miss altogether? Why spend all that energy breaking it up if you just have to steer it away anyway?

            If we can bust up a planet-killing asteroid, we should have ample power to redirect its leftovers.

            It also follows that if you can bust up a planet-killing asteroid, you should have ample power to simpl
            • Picture a stick of dynamite under a large rock, and another under a pile of sand with mass equal to that of the rock. Which do you think will move more...the rock or the sand?

              Let's say we drill a hole into the asteroid and manage to break it up with a really big nuke. Then we have a lot of smaller rocks heading our way, and a lot more smaller rocks thrown out of collision course. As the debris cloud approaches earth, we detonate another nuke or two just ask the cloud reaches the warhead. More debris is redi
            • Sure. Problem is, applying that power tends to break up the asteroid. Especially when the thing is really just a big pile of flying gravel to start with.

              Ever noticed how nuclear bombs are way smaller than nuclear power stations? That's because it's a lot easier to release the energy destructively all at the same time than it is to be subtle about it.
        • There is little you could do to a trillion ton impactor (It's #$@*ing 10 miles wide). But look at your numbers for a ~10 billion ton ~mile wide impactor over the ocean.

          1000 billion 10 lb rocks would dump more energy into the upper atmosphere and they will flash boil a lot of ocean. But they are going to cause a much smaller wave. Because the wave is what would cause most of the devastation from such an impact it's vary usefull.

          It's not going to fix everything but ~70% of the time your going to hit the ocea
        • Again, this doesn't provide much in the way of salvation. Take the mass of a big meteor, take its approach speed, figure the kinetic energy. If it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if it stays in one piece and impacts the surface, it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if you pulverize the entire thing down to dust and let it burn up as it enters the atmosphere.

          Nobody is disagreeing that the effect wouldn't be catastrophic, however there are degrees of catastrophy. Huricane Andrew was a cat

        • what? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by way2trivial ( 601132 )
          throw a 10 pound bowling ball off the empire state building
          throw 20 pounds of BB's off the empire state building..

          same effect? I don't think so.
        • Take the mass of a big meteor, take its approach speed, figure the kinetic energy. If it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if it stays in one piece and impacts the surface, it's big enough to cause catastrophic effects if you pulverize the entire thing down to dust and let it burn up as it enters the atmosphere.

          Prove this. I expect it should be difficult because much more meteor dust rains down in a single day than most would believe.

          A single big impactor "wastes" a lot of energy throwing chunks of

      • While it is true that the kinetic energy of the components of a shattered object will be the same as the inital whole object there are several things you have neglected.

        There are several *huge* things you have neglected. (or alternatively; you've posted what seems to be the 'common sense' version. However, as often happens in science, 'common sense' is wrong.)

        1. Because the resulting pieces will be of varying size and shape, some will be below the size to successfully reach the surface

        • That's the real trick - we aren't comparing a handful of pebbles to one rock. We are comparing a .45 to the chest to a OO buckshot shotgun blast to the chest. The kinetic energy of the two is (roughly) on the same order - and despite the visual differences in damage, both are going to leave you in a deep world of hurt.

          Hmm, if I have the choice, please shoot me in the chest with the shotgun. That way the impact is distributed over the surface of my bullet proof vest (atmosphere) and causes significantly les

        • Ok, time to burst your little ego bubble. It looks to me like you are using a false analogy, mostly because you are a dumbass.

          A 12ga 00 buckshot round is made up of the equivalent of 9 54 grain .33 caliber rounds. That would make a single 12ga 00 buckshot round about the equivalent of 6 .45 ACP rounds in mass. The kinetic energy of a .45 round is about 340 ft-lbs. For 9 pellet 12 ga 00 buckshot it is about 1,810 ft-lbs. Not a fair comparison. We can however compare a 450 grain SABOT round for a 12ga shotgun
      • Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy: SPOILERS: Review: Deep Impact [badastronomy.com]

        Bad: Minutes before final impact, the astronauts blow up the second comet, and we are treated to a spectacular light show.

        Good: Aaaaarrgg! This was the Biggest Baddest Astronomy in the movie. Blowing up a comet does no good at all, and might even make matters worse. Just because the pieces are smaller doesn't mean you have changed anything. If every piece still impacts the Earth (by that I mean actually is stopped by the Earth or its atmosphere)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, assuming that the energy is evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere* and that no part of the body impacts the earth directly, even a 10 million megaton impact would only increase the temperature of the atmosphere by a little less than 8 Kelvin by my figures. That would be bad, but the time to dissapeate that extra energy is not long in the grand scheme of things, and doesn't make anyplace on the surface much less livable than it is right now.

      *I realize that during the impact the energy would
    • The rock would glow and vaporize and change from a boulder to a conglomeration of pebbles.
      Sure a conglomeration of pebbles would still have inertia and all that jazz, but Asimov is talking vapor, man! Small rocks still sink in water, but vapor--no way!
    • Before I ask my question, one point:

      Yes, this ruined the ending of Deep Impact for me.

      Actually, I don't think any Deep Impact needed any help ruining itself.

      But, back to Asimov, wouldn't the effects you describe depend upon the distance the object is from Earth when our flyboys detonate it? If we shattered the object close to Earth, presumabably the debris would not have the chance to disperse and the scenario you describe would occur. But, if you hit it far enough out (an AU? more?) then wouldn't the

      • That's true. I'd hope the "men" in the space stations would be able to shatter the asteroid a very long ways from Earth. In that case the pebble-sized chunks would be widely dispersed by the time their expanding orbits intersected Earth's orbit, and perhaps only a small percentage of the asteroid's original mass would burn up in our atmosphere. One could be generous and assume Asimov meant this when he wrote "even if [the pebbles] continued on course..."

        Hey, I'm glad I helped inspire you and your kid. I t

    • You're assuming Asimov was talking about a really big asteroid. Blowing up something smaller would indeed be useful.

      Suppose you had an asteroid big enough to destroy New York, heading for New York (or better yet, the middle of the Atlantic). Perhaps we don't want New York destroyed. The asteroid doesn't carry enough kinetic energy to to anything all that spectacular to the atmosphere as a whole but if all that energy is concentrated in one place it does a lot of damage. Spread it out in the form of litt
  • It has been already published by New Scientist [newscientist.com] on 10 july 1999!
  • by Intangion ( 816356 ) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:58AM (#15749911) Homepage
    i wonder if they are aware of this HUUUUGE 19 mile wide impact crator nearby ;)

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060303_big_c rater.html [space.com]

    i mean this crater is sooo damn big that it wasnt even noticed till it was seen by satalites

    theres on in europe like that too
    its sooooo damn huge, an entire town is built in it, and an entire cathedral was built using a special rock that only forms from extreeeme compression and no one even knew it was a crater until some scientists realized the cathedral was built from that rock

    when they are tooo big its hard to notice

    like when you capture a lizard and it escapes and crawls onto the back of your arm, and thinks its safe cause it cant see your face ;)

    your so big compared to him that it doesnt even realize its still on you ;)

  • It turns out that while Tut's sarcophagus initially appeared to be ordinary gold, it is in fact solid fucking gold. "Yeah, I couldn't believe it", Dr. Packenwood said, "but when we finished running all the scientific experiments on the coffin, it turned out to be 200 lbs of solid fucking gold!"
  • The Old Switcheroo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by airship ( 242862 )
    It could be that Tut's successor really didn't want to put any more valuable geegahs in his tomb, and arranged for an impressive-looking but cheap amulet to save costs. Or, even more likely, a preist or other worker involved in Tut's burial preparations took it upon himself to replace the valuable gem with yellow glass, knowing it wouldn't be noticed among all the other bright, shiny things. Since the evidence was buried beneath the sands, this might just be an argument for one of the earliest 'perfect' cri
    • Well, ya know that Ra and Seth and their buddies can see what you're doing, right? And if you watched your Stargate, you know just how pissed they can be when you double cross them.

      I kinda doubt that in those times people would've dared to double cross their Gods (and, after all, the Pharao was one). Baaaaaad Karma.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:33AM (#15750175) Homepage Journal
    I cant believe how scientists create complete scenarios with details for things that happened aeons ago and they do not have even the little of sufficient evidence to justify sufficient crap :

    Scientists now think a meteorite much larger than the Tunguska event fell from the sky and exploded over the Sahara in prehistoric times. The tremendous heat of the 1000 A-bomb sized fireball melted large chunks of desert sand into perfect glass. The memory of such an apocalyptic event may have made sand-glass gems a desirable symbol, meant to emphasize the pharaoh's heavenly powers.

    And then the fish were living in trees, and people had 3 legs. Ah, the meteorite brought to you by courtesy of benign aliens.
    • Don't confuse science journalism with science. Not that this is really science anyway, it's a combination of archeology and history.

      Archeologists take the artefacts, documents and physical evidence they find and tie it together into theories. That's what they do.
  • Although the desert itself is millions of years old, between 8000 and 2500BC (end of last ice age until the final retreat of the monsoons) the Sahara area was very fertile, which is what led to civilizations forming there. Such an air burst would have had to happen probably around 10000 - 11000 BC or earlier, and was likely found because the area was mostly grasslands, not desert. It's possible it happened between 2500BC and 1300BC (around when Tutankhamen died), but such an event likely would be document
  • "Hi, I'm a famous researcher, can I see that ancient, impossibly valuable gem for a second?"
    "Thanks, let me put it into my closed 'examination device'."
    (Waits a moment)
    "Ok, it's done." Hands chunk of yellow glass back to curator, "Yeah, it was just glass all along. Funny, huh?"

    Walks quickly away with 'examination device', whistling happily.

    My expectation is that this fellow will probably also find that the Hope Diamond, the British Crown Jewels, and pretty much any other gem he examines to have been glass
    • Well, considing that the guy is specifically a mineralogist, and you're apparently completely baffled as to how one might test it, I'll give him the nod. Hardness (Moh amber=2-2.5, glass=5-6) or refraction index (amber=1.517, glass=1.546) would be two ways for starters. For that matter, even the average high school science student would know that you could just rub it - amber becomes statically charged and will then attract small bits of paper.
      • LOL, I seriously doubt they allowed a hardness test to be done on the gem. It requires indentations be made and then measured, unless I am mistaken. And while the latest greatest tools might make very small indents the risk would seem to great for a treasure of King Tut. On the other hand, the refraction index and the static charge are more believable tests.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockwell_scale [wikipedia.org]

        Often scientific curiousity takes a backseat to preservation, as well it should.
  • Keep an open mind... Some new information (Esoteric and academically/Scientific), I recently saw spoke about ancient civilizations, +10 000 years and more (example, Lumeria and Atlantis, to name only two.) (To take a part), from a very long and complicated history/story The ancients had wars with very powerful nuclear weapons which resulted in to creation of all known desserts. Egypt was very important had first pyramid.(the one with no markings) (This is important as it was always fought over repeated
    • Don't be ridiculous, the Ancients had much more powerful weapons than mere nukes thanks to their mastery of Zero Point Module technology. We know this because we've seen Goa'uld mothership shields take Naquita-boosted nukes with no damage, while Ancient drones cut right through them like butter.

      Any society that can create artificial stable wormholes can do much better than nuclear weapons.

      =p
      • Oh don't be ridiculous. The Goa'uld and "stargate" are pure fiction. If you don't stop mocking Eion for trying to bring some enlightenment to the history "establishment", Xenu will come and nuke you over a volcano.
  • "he memory of such an apocalyptic event may have made sand-glass gems a desirable symbol, meant to emphasize the Pharaoh's heavenly powers."
    Alright, it takes modern technology to figure out where this came from and how it was made. It also appears that anyone directly witnessing this event would be fried to a crisp.

    So then how would the Pharaoh know how significant the piece of glass was?
  • We all know that the Tunguska event was caused by Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower [wikipedia.org], which somehow was able to channel immense amounts of energy half-way around the globe. Apparently he was able to channel energy several thousand years into the past as well, creating the prehistoric glass for the Egyptians to find. Crazy guy, that Tesla. Crazy like a fox.

"But what we need to know is, do people want nasally-insertable computers?"

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