On the island of Crete, not far from the coast of modern Greece, was a successful but mysterious Bronze Age civilization known as the Minoan (after the mythical
King Minos). The Minoan civilization faded into the annals of time, but not before recording a number of texts, in an undecipherable writing system known as
Why should there be so much interest in a dead, old language? Until the discovery of
The Rosetta Stone, Egyptian hieroglyphics were undecipherable. The resulting
study of Egyptian writings allowed us to translate Egyptian text and lead to
centuries of discoveries, enriching fields such as history and archaeology.
Though there are few surviving Mayan texts, the extant ones that have been
translated revealed sophisticated Mayan astronomical knowledge and a complex
There are a number of other undeciphered writing systems, such as the
Indian Harrapan texts and the Mesoamerican Olmec. What knowledge do these
unknown writings possess? Tomes of scientific knowledge? Mythological epics?
A Metal Planet. The Metal City. What possibilities come to mind?
Ever since the first Neanderthal skull was discovered (in the Neander valley, Germany) the mysterious species has been the subject of everything from crude
cartoons to speculation on their nature.
Like humans they were hominids. Like humans they walked upright. Like humans they used tools, hunted, and might have even had complex languages. One of the most interesting facts is that at one point humans and Neanderthals existed at the same time and have interacted.
One of the most contentious postulations suggest that the two species interbred
(approximately 1-4% of European and Asian DNA is shared between the two
Speculative fiction like Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear depicts archaic humans and Neanderthals interacting, but what if our genetic cousins never went extinct? What if they somehow survived through hybridization, creating a species somewhere in between? How would that society compare to ours?
During the Hellenistic era, one of the quickest ways of earning renown and prestige among your fellow Greeks was by conquering a city, preferably a powerful one allied with your rivals. Enter Demetrius I Poliorcetes (“The Besieger”). During the infamous ancient debacle known as the Siege of Rhodes, he ordered the construction of a number of large and impressive siege weapons (including a battering ram almost two hundred feet long and operated by a thousand men).
Perhaps the greatest of them was a great siege tower known as the Helepolis (“The Taker of Cities”). If the numbers alluded to by ancient authors are accurate, the dimensions of the brooding siege tower were a hundred and thirty feet tall by sixty five feet wide. The hundred and sixty ton beast was bristling with catapults and had a whopping crew of three thousand four hundred. That would have made the Helepolis the largest siege tower in history and a true nightmare for the city defenders. If you are writing a fantasy tale with an ancient city you may enjoy a terrifying siege weapon to terrify your city defenders…and readers.
When, Jeanne de Clisson's husband was beheaded by King Philip VI, she did what any loving wife would do. She became a freaking pirate. That's right a pirate, and a nasty one too, painting her ships black and beheading any nobles she got her hands on. She's awesome sauce with a black flagged cherry on top. Use her as a template for your own adventure.
The icy moon Enceladus of Saturn has some mysteries. When NASA’s Cassini probe did a flyby in March 2008 it discovered immense plumes jetting from its southern pole.
The probe flew close enough to get a sample of the surprisingly hot plume and found water vapor and organic chemical compounds.
Scientists are excited because organic compounds, warmth, and liquid water (which is believed to be beneath the icy surface) are all ingredients for life.
This one is subtle. Meditation, in this case, mindfulness meditation, has long been studied for its medicinal benefits. But this is something new. What if you could turn genes on and off with the power of your mind? Goodbye cancer. Good by hereditary diseases. But don't stop there. Super powers anyone (remember the kid from China who could see in the dark?)
What would you do?
Alright, kids! It's time for everybody's favorite game, WHAT'S EATING ME NOW?
Today's carnivorous guest is a brain eating amoeba named Naegleria fowleri.
Now I know it sounds like something out of a Lovecraft bestiary, but this gelatinous monster can be found in warm bodies of fresh water; lakes, ponds, etc.. It swims up the nose looking for tasty bacteria to nosh. Finding none, it goes on to sloppy seconds. YOUR BRAINS. With the globe getting warmer and warmer, could Naegleria mutate into something more...fun? Show us in your next story.
When most of us think of black holes, we think of a scary place where gravity is so intense that not even light can escape it. Hence the name…black hole.
According to Vyacheslav Dokuchaev (at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) it is possible for particles and even planets to orbit inside a singularity without ever getting sucked in.
So, what’s the trick? For one, it has to be a certain kind of black hole (charged, rotating). As objects enter such black holes they can eventually reach an area called the Cauchy horizon, where they can enter a safe and stable orbit. There would still be tidal forces and intense radiation, but those might be minor obstacles for a sufficiently advanced civilization.
A hypothetical planet inside such a black hole, immune to detection by cosmic snoopers (like us via the SETI project). What would life be like on a planet inside a black hole? Has a civilization set up shop in there to hide from something (or someone)? From what?
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