Scientists Solve the Mystery on Moving Death Valley Rocks

No matter how advanced we get, there still are dozens of unsolved mysteries everywhere. One of them is, or rather was, about the rocks that moved in strange patterns and seaminly by themselves through the death valley. And we aint talking small pebbles here, these stones weigh up 700 pounds each.

This however is one of the mysteries that was possible to solve definitive using our modern technology, and it was just a matter of time before someone with the right equipment found interest in it. A group of scientist led by paleobiologist Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have published a study in the journal PLOS One last week, showing just how it actually happens.

I was taught in high-school that the reason was enormous ice layers and heavy wind that made this possible, but shortly after I left school I learned that this was just one of many theories. Another was that it simply was the wind that moved the stones across the flat area. Other theories have involved sudden tilting of the earth as explanation, as well as magnetic influences.

The stones however didn’t seem to move in any logic pattern and could suddenly change direction completely while at other times they would lay still and not move for decades. Using motion activated cameras and GPS sensors embedded in some of the rocks, it was possible to figure out this mystery.

The theory I learned in school wasn’t entirely wrong though, as ice is involved. But not thick layers, but rather very thin. This unusual combination of ice and slow winds in an otherwise extremely hot area is the cause for the phenomena.

That happens when the dry lake bed they are in freezes over with a thin layer of ice which then breaks apart in a light wind, sending large sheets of ice against the rocks with enough force to move them a few yards per minute, Norris said.

Because of the ability of the large ice sheets to catch the wind, and aided by the underlying flow of water, the rocks, which weigh as much as 700 pounds (318 kg), are pushed along in a way that could not occur from the force of the wind alone, he said.

Norris went on to say that he thinks it will have a massive popular appeal, because it is one of these things that’s very widely known about but kind of marveled at. He went on to say that other people undoubtedly have witnessed the phenomenon before, but didn’t understand what was going on.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of imgur.

MythBusters Officially Release Co-Hosts Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci

Last Thursday on Discovery Channel, the ever popular ‘MythBusters‘ hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman announced that their co-hosts Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci will no longer be a part of the show.

In the video, Hyneman stated:

“This next season we’re going back to our origins with just Adam and me”

This ends a 10 year tirade with Mythbusters for these popular co-hosts. Savage paid his respects to his former comrades-in-science:

“You’ve given literally your blood, sweat, and tears in the name of science and it has been a total pleasure not only to work with you but to call you our friends”

The three ex-Mythbusters replied on their respective twitters to this saddening news. Imahara tweeted:

“Thanks MythBusters for allowing us to teach science in a whole new way.” and “Also, explosions. Now, on to the next adventure!”

Byron also reached out on Twitter:

“Thank you to all the fans who have supported us. The show is taking a new direction. It was an amazing run. I learned so much about myself and the world. I love you all. I am sad for an ending but there will be exciting new adventures for us.”

Belleci added:

“We couldn’t have done it without you guys. You’re the best fans anyone could wish for. Thank you. We are going to miss you guys! So much love & support. If it wasn’t for you guys, MythBusters wouldn’t have been possible.”

All three stars have commented on  how they are excited for future endeavors, but unfortunately none have specifically stated what is going to happen next. What we do know is, the 10 year partnership between these three sidekicks and the main duo of Savage and Hyneman brought many hours of enjoyment to it’s viewers, young and old.

To honor their departing co-workers, the MythBusters official website has released a special dedication page recapping some of the best over the last 10 years.

Image courtesy of Discovery Channel

Halo and Destiny Developer Forced to Pay Former Destiny Composer $95,000

Bungie, Halo and Destiny’s developer, is stated to be forced to pay $95,019 / £56,000 to a former composer by the name of Marty O’Donnell. This is what an US court has decided after Bungie lost a court case with the composer.

It is said that O’Donnell sued Bungie after he has been kicked out from the company back in May, where he responded through a tweet that he had been “terminated… without a cause”. His work can be heard in the Halo series, early Bungie titles such as Myth and Myth 2, as well as in the most recent titles, namely Destiny.

The 14-years old Bungie veteran is said to have been paid-out a sum to “cover unpaid work, outstanding vacation time and a substantial amount of damages”, according to VentureBeat. Bungie is said to have stated that during his ‘departure’, he and the studio parted as ‘friends’, even though his departure raised a lot of questions since it was during the final six months of Destiny’s development stage.

“At Bungie we don’t take that kind of thing lightly,” chief operating officer Pete Parsons previously told Eurogamer. “We don’t make those decisions lightly. We’re a team that’s committed to making an amazing game set in an amazing universe. At this time we won’t be commenting any further on it.”

O’Donnell stated that he has filed the court order due to the fact that he has not received an explanation for his ‘early retirement’ from the company. The court appears to have decided in his favor due to Bungie’s employment rules on honoring unused vacation time, paid time off and other benefits.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer