Ceramic Pottery Reveals an Ancient Geomagnetic Field Spike

The magnetic field surrounding Earth is constantly fluctuating in strength.

Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

More than 2,500 years ago in the ancient Near East, the Earth’s geomagnetic field was going gangbusters. During the late eighth century B.C., a new study finds, the magnetic field that surrounds the planet was temporarily 2.5 times stronger than it is today.

Researchers know about these fluctuations thanks to the bureaucracy of Judah, an ancient kingdom situated around what is now Jerusalem. Pottery jugs from between the eighth and second centuries B.C. bear administrative stamps that changed with the political situation. Unbeknown to the people firing these jugs, the act of heating locked information about the Earth’s geomagnetic field into minerals present in the clay. Because the stamps provide precise information about when the pots were fired, the study allows a detailed look at geomagnetic changes over 600 years.

“This was the system of the king in Jerusalem to be able to collect tax efficiently,” study author Erez Ben-Yosef, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, said of the stamps. “We are actually benefiting from a good bureaucratic system, the ancient IRS.” [7 Ways the Earth Changes in the Blink of an Eye]

The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that arises from the motion of iron in the liquid outer core. Direct observation of the field has been possible for only about 180 years, Ben-Yosef told Live Science. In that time, the field has weakened by about 10 percent, he said. Some researchers think the field might be in the process of flipping, so that magnetic north becomes magnetic south and vice versa.

The new study reveals much faster changes in intensity. There was a spike in intensity during the late eighth century B.C., culminating in a rapid decline after about 732 B.C., Ben-Yosef and his colleagues reported today (Feb. 13) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. In a mere 31 years beginning in the year 732 B.C., there was a 27 percent decrease in the strength of the magnetic field, the researchers found. From the sixth century B.C. to the second century B.C., the field was generally stable, with a slight gradual decline.

“Our research shows that the field is very fluctuating,” Ben-Yosef said. “It fluctuates quite rapidly, so there is nothing to worry about,” as far as the current decline, he said. (This doesn’t mean that the magnetic field isn’t going to flip in the near future; the new study looked at only strength of the field, not directionality. The findings do suggest that there’s no reason to worry that a 10 percent decline in the field strength over more than a century is abnormal, Ben-Yosef said.)

At least in the Levant, that is. All of the pottery in the study came from this region, which encompasses what is now Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and nearby areas. That means researchers can’t be sure whether the same fluctuations were happening elsewhere. Because the scientists also don’t know for sure the precise locations within the Levant where the pottery was fired, they can’t say anything about the direction of the geomagnetic field at the time, only its strength. [Photos: Ancient Burial and Metal Tool from Southern Levant]

The clays in ceramic pots contain ferromagnetic minerals, or minerals containing iron. When the clays are heated, the electrons in these minerals align according to the Earth’s magnetic field — imagine a series of iron filings lining up in arcs around a bar magnet. Once cooled, the magnetic patterns are locked in for good. The same process occurs when lava cools, so researchers can also detect changes in the magnetic field by studying volcanic rocks.

A stamped pottery handle from the Israel settlement called Ramat Rahel. The magnetic minerals used in the pottery were sealed in during heating and are revealing the history of Earth's magnetic field.

A stamped pottery handle from the Israel settlement called Ramat Rahel. The magnetic minerals used in the pottery were sealed in during heating and are revealing the history of Earth’s magnetic field.

Credit: Courtesy of Oded Lipschits

Understanding the ancient magnetic field has implications for many fields of research, Ben-Yosef said. Archaeologists would like to develop a new system so they could look at the magnetic properties of heated materials and date them according to what the magnetic field was doing at the time. Earth scientists want to better understand the deep structures in the core that create the magnetic field. Atmospheric scientists want to understand the interactions of the magnetic field with cosmic radiation. Biologists are interested in cosmic radiation, too: Because the magnetic field protects the planet from damaging cosmic rays, Earth owes its flourishing life to the existence of the geomagnetic field.

“This is related to various different phenomena, from biology, Earth sciences, geophysics, atmospheric sciences and archaeology,” Ben-Yosef said.

The researchers are now trying to expand their study of this time period to see if the fluctuations they observed were a regional phenomenon, or more widespread.

More about 9/11 RELEASED

It has been over 15 years since the tragic day of 9/11 and many who have survived that horrendous day are still having a hard time coping with everything that happened. One of those people affected is Ricki, a survivor who lived through the worst of that day and is still suffering physically and mentally from the trauma.

He has explained to us the shell shock and post traumatic stress he goes through almost everyday that made him close off and not develop the photos that he took that day. In an exclusive interview he gave WeAreChange, Ricki has entrusted us with those photos and told us to publish them.

We are releasing all the photos that we were given for you, 14 years later that no one else has seen. Ricki still has other photos that have not been released, these are the photos that we are given and we are letting you make up your own mind about them. Please also note Ricki is not a professional photographer and grabbed what he could to take these photos.


Physicists Forge Impossible Molecule That Chemists Failed To Make


There’s a bunch of physicists out there that are feeling a little bit pleased with themselves right now, and no wonder – they may have just made all of chemistry redundant. Okay, that’s not really true, but they’ve certainly beat chemistry researchers at their own game.

You see, a team of IBM physicists have managed to forge a new type of molecule, named “triangulene”, that chemistry researchers have been long hoping to synthesize themselves. This suggests that physical processes can be used to make molecules that are essentially impossible to make any other way.

This particular molecule is, unsurprisingly, triangular shaped. Triangular-shaped molecules are fairly rare due to a phenomenon known as “ring strain.” The tight angles of their molecular bonds mean that they are unstable and highly reactive, and don’t last long in a wide range of environments.

Triangulene has been hypothesized to exist by chemistry acolytes for several years now, as a single-atom layer of carbon with the triangular shape being formed from smaller hexagon forms – but no conventional chemical process seemed to be able to create a stable version of it.

Enter IBM, who decided to use a device that could manipulate atoms on an electron scale. First, as reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, they nabbed a precursor molecule from chemists in the UK. This molecule looks a lot like triangulene, but it came with two additional hydrogen atoms.

A sketch of triangulene imposed onto the image of the real deal. IBM Research

They placed this precursor on a range of copper and insulating plates, and used a combination of carbon monoxide and gold to probe the molecule – on the smallest of scales – using a unique atomic imaging device.

This device had previously been used to look at weird molecules like olympicene, one that’s shaped like the official logo of the Olympics. Although the images are blurry, individual atomic bonds can be seen.

The device uses changing voltages to “poke” around the molecule by interacting directly with its electrons. The interaction allows the researchers to view its intricate structure, but the team wondered if they could also use it to actually change the chemistry of the molecule itself.

Using some precisely-aimed, set-voltage “bolts,” they managed to remove the two additional hydrogen atoms, and the precursor molecule transformed into the fabled triangulene. It lasted for four days before reverting back to a more stable form – long enough to prove its existence.

“Triangulene is the first molecule that we’ve made that chemists have tried hard, and failed, to make already,” Leo Gross, who led the IBM team at the firm’s laboratories in Zurich, told Nature.

Far from just trouncing cutting-edge chemistry, the team noted that the two free electrons left over from the physical manipulation could “spin” in two separate directions. This is a key feature of molecules used in quantum computing, in that this type of molecule could have one segment of it representing a “0” and the other a “1”.

By being able to represent both states at the same time, more digital information could be stored on a system made of these molecules than ever before. That, of course, explains why IBM is so interested in the forging of triangulene.

So they didn’t just score a victory over chemistry, but one for the future of quantum computing. That’s pretty damn impressive.

These new molecules could be a vital component of future quantum computers. Jurik Peter/Shutterstock

If you want to be a modern day alchemist, then, forget Breaking Bad – have a look at Cosmos instead.

A Jewish Reporter Got to Ask Trump a Question. It Didn’t Go Well.

Jake Turx, an Orthodox Jewish reporter for Ami Magazine, a weekly published in Brooklyn, began to ask President Trump a question regarding bomb threats at Jewish centers. Mr. Trump, apparently believing he was being accused of anti-Semitism, reprimanded the reporter.

Jake Turx is a newly minted White House correspondent for a publication that has never before had a seat in the White House press corps: Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly based in Brooklyn. He is a singular presence in the briefing room: a young Hasidic Jew with side curls tucked behind his ears and a skullcap embroidered with his Twitter handle.

Dear @PressSec @seanspicer,
Please call on me at the next press briefing. I’m the guy w/ the words “Jake Turx” on my kippa.
(RT this y’all!)

When President Trump called on him at a news conference on Thursday, saying he was looking for a “friendly reporter,” Mr. Turx was prepared. He had spent an hour crafting a question about a recent surge of anti-Semitism, with a preamble that he hoped would convey his supportive disposition toward Mr. Trump.

But the exchange did not go the way he expected. A few hours later, with the clip replaying on social media and Jewish groups issuing news releases, Mr. Turx, 30, was still reeling. He said in a telephone interview, “Regretfully, today was a day I wish we could have done over.”

His editor, Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, watched aghast from the magazine’s offices as his young correspondent received a tongue-lashing from the president: “It was a very disheartening moment for us, to watch him being berated.”

Continue reading the main story

The exchange began with Mr. Turx standing up from his third-row seat and gesturing slightly toward his fellow reporters:

“Despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren. You are their zayde,” which is Yiddish for “grandfather” and often a word of great affection.

At that Mr. Trump nodded slightly, and said, “thank you.”

“However,” Mr. Turx continued, “what we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——”

At that, Mr. Trump interrupted, saying it was “not a fair question.”

“Sit down,” the president commanded. “I understand the rest of your question.”

As Mr. Turx took his seat, Mr. Trump said, “So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person.”

Mr. Turx tried to interject, realizing how the encounter had turned. He said he had wanted to clarify that he in no way meant to accuse Mr. Trump of anti-Semitism but instead intended to ask what his administration could do to stop the anti-Semitic incidents.

But Mr. Trump would not let him speak again, saying, “Quiet, quiet, quiet.” As Mr. Turx shook his head with an incredulous look on his face, Mr. Trump accused him of having lied that his question would be straight and simple.

Mr. Trump said, “I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me. …”

He went on to say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, during his visit to the United States on Wednesday, had vouched for Mr. Trump as a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people and no anti-Semite.

Mr. Trump concluded that Mr. Turx should have relied on Mr. Netanyahu’s endorsement, “instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”

“Just shows you about the press, but that’s the way the press is,” Mr. Trump said.

At the news conference, Mr. Turx was referring to a rash of incidents that have shaken many American Jews since Mr. Trump was elected. On three separate days in January, Jewish synagogues, community centers and schools across the country received what seemed to be a coordinated wave of telephone bomb threats that led to evacuations and F.B.I. investigations. Other Jewish institutions have seen an uptick in vandalism and graffiti in the last few months.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Thursday that said, “It is mind-boggling why President Trump prefers to shout down a reporter or brush this off as a political distraction.”

David Harris, chief executive of the American Jewish Committee, said, “Respectfully, Mr. President, please use your bully pulpit not to bully reporters asking questions potentially affecting millions of fellow Americans, but rather to help solve a problem that, for many, is real and menacing.”

Surveys show that Mr. Trump was not the choice of the majority of American Jews, who tend to vote for Democrats and came out in force for Hillary Clinton. Many Jews have been critical of Mr. Trump for not more forcefully denouncing anti-Semites and racists like David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who endorsed Mr. Trump during the campaign. Many Jewish leaders are also wary of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s White House strategist, because of the close affinity between Breitbart News, which he once ran, and the white supremacists in the movement known as the alt-right.

But Mr. Trump was popular among many Orthodox Jews. They were reassured to see the Orthodox Jews in his family and attracted to his hawkish line on Israel, his support of vouchers for religious schools and his promise to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

Rechy Frankfurter and her husband, Rabbi Frankfurter, founded Ami Magazine more than six years ago to serve a conservative Jewish audience. It circulates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia and is one of several English-language news publications serving the ultra-Orthodox community. Ami Magazine comes out weekly and has three sister publications: one for women, one for teens and a cooking magazine called Whisk.

The magazine interviewed Mr. Trump before he declared he was running for president and did so again during the campaign.

“We didn’t do a political endorsement of him, but I really wanted the president to be elected, and I do want him to succeed,” said Rabbi Frankfurter, the editor in chief.

Mrs. Frankfurter, the magazine’s senior editor, said it was clear that Mr. Trump was not an anti-Semite and that Mr. Trump “must have misheard the question” from the magazine’s reporter. “The president is very sensitive to such an accusation, and we find the fact that he’s sensitive to it reassuring,” she said, because it means he understands how awful it is to be thought of as an anti-Semite.

Rabbi Frankfurter, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said, “Perhaps the president should speak out more vigorously than he has. He’s got a bully pulpit, and he should use it for good reasons.”

After the news conference, Mr. Turx, a pen name, said that he had had conversations on Thursday evening with White House staff members and that he and members of the Orthodox Jewish community were “extremely confident” that the White House would give “the proper help, guidance and collaboration” on anti-Semitism.


American Jewish Leaders Call Trump’s Ideas on Israel ‘Terrifying’ and ‘Bizarre’

The ZOA’s Klein says Trump and Netanyahu might be discussing the possibility of a confederation with partial Jordanian rule over West Bank Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.

US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN/AFP
After Trump meeting, Netanyahu says willing to examine reining in settlement construction
Analysis Despite Trump’s statements, Abbas and Palestinians get another reprieve
Former U.S. ambassadors urge Senate not to confirm Friedman as Trump’s Israel envoy
NEW YORK – Liberal American Jewish leaders responded with concern Thursday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting, calling the president’s willingness to drop the two-state solution “terrifying” and even “bizarre”.
>> Get all updates on Israel and the U.S.: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
However, others like the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein, struck a different tone and found it cause for optimism.
Netanyahu said at the press conference, “For the first time in my lifetime and in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy but increasingly as an ally,” the prime minister said. “This change creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen security and reach peace.”
What he meant, claimed Klein, is “the possibility of having some sort of confederation of Jordan with the Palestinian Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria.”
“With other Arab states deeply worried about Iran, it’s a potential opportunity to have other Arab states support this type of federation,” Klein told Haaretz. “Especially when you heard President Trump say ‘we don’t have to be committed to a Palestinian state, we’re committed to peace.’ You never heard any other president say that.”
Trump said he is not wedded to a two state resolution and is happy to go with whatever the parties themselves prefer. “I’m looking at two states and one,” he said. “I am very happy with the one both parties like. I thought for a while that two states were the way to go. But honestly if Bibi and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy.”
>> Trump Did His Homework on One Touchy Issue Before Meeting Netanyahu // Explained: Two-state Solution – What Exactly Did Trump Say? // Trump Blew the Chance to Denounce anti-Semitism. Netanyahu Bailed Him Out With a Kosher Stamp // A Wounded Trump Hurts a Wounded Netanyahu. And the Israeli Right Smells Blood
Reaction to the joint press conference came swift and strong from other American Jewish organizational leaders. And far less positive than the ZOA’s Klein was.
“I’m not sure Trump understands the implications” of a one state solution, said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “It is a very dangerous suggestion.”
Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir called the press conference “terrifying” and “a squandered opportunity” to “signal to Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and the world a clear commitment to peace.”
It was a chance to “chart a constructive way forward for U.S.-Israel relations and for Israel’s future, for its security and its wellbeing as a democracy and a Jewish state,” Nir said.  Instead, “the two leaders are not only depriving Israel of the very possibility of reaching peace but also undermining Israel’s own future as a democracy and a Jewish state” when they discuss a one-state possibility. He added, “they are delivering a huge victory to extremists on both sides.”
The Reform Movement’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs said he views Trump’s statements as “an abdication of the longtime, bipartisan support for a two-state solution.” The one state possibility discussed “is potentially devastating to the prospects for peace and Israel’s Jewish, democratic future. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of such a policy change is no less ill-advised,” wrote Jacobs in a statement from the Union for Reform Judaism, which he heads.
Still, Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back” on settlements. The URJ wrote, “we welcome that statement, and note that it shows just how broad the consensus against new settlement in the West Bank is.”
What about anti-Semitism?
When an Israeli reporter asked Trump directly about his administration’s role in the spike in anti-Semitic incidents since his presidential campaign, the president evaded a direct answer, instead meandering through discussion of his margin of victory in the electoral college vote, pointing out that his daughter and her husband and children are Jewish, and saying that the U.S. will “see a lot of love” over the next four or eight years.
“His response was baffling,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told Haaretz.  The issue “is not electoral votes. It’s about the wave of hate crimes since the election and the spike in anti-Semitism across the country,” he said. “President Trump seemed uninformed about this issue and missed an opportunity to decry the rhetoric of hate that seems to be surging online and in the real world.  Intentional or not, this emboldens anti-Semites.”
T’ruah’s Jacobs called his response “so bizarre.”
“Over and over he has empowered white supremacists and he did the same thing today,”  she said. “He’s never said straight up one word that anti-Semitism is not acceptable. Even when he was straight out asked. How hard would it have been for him to say ‘I’m really disturbed about the uptick of anti-Semitism and any of my supporters should cease any anti-Semitic behavior,’” asked Jacobs.

Steve Bannon, chief strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a news conference with Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli’s prime minister, not pictured, in the East Room of the WhitPete Marovich/Bloomberg
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in Congress, noted that Breitbart News – which he called “the flagship publication of the alt-right” – was given a front row seat at the press conference. That “should be a terrifying signal of the associations being made by this Administration and questions must be asked of the policies and directions coming from this White House.  Mr. Trump’s silence earlier today in the face of these questions shows a sickening disregard for the safety and rights of not just Jews, but all minority groups across America.”
ZOA’s Klein interpreted Trump’s response far more benignly.
It was “a newly formed politician’s way of avoiding a question he didn’t want to answer. That’s my speculation but people have told me that they are concerned about it,”  said Klein, referring to anti-Semitism. “I would assume that they’re talking behind the scenes about what can be done about this, and assume he didn’t feel it appropriate to talk about actions they’re thinking of taking.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat who represents areas just north of New York City that include Hasidic municipalities like New Square, said “a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only means to ensure Israel’s long-term security and enable Palestinian aspirations for their own state.
Lowey, who is Jewish, wrote in a statement, “that is why presidents from both parties, the vast majorities of the House and Senate, and the American people have consistently supported this objective, and why President Trump must as well.”
Asked if she believes the regional paradigm briefly presented at the press conference could lead to peace, Jacobs said, “I don’t see any way that this team will attain peace. Neither of them wants it. Netanyahu clearly wants a continuation of the status quo forever, and we don’t now to what extent Trump understands the issues involved. He says on the fly that he is open to one or two states, but it’s not clear that he understands the implications of either.”
What’s more, added Jacobs, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who he has said will steer the Israel-Palestine peace process, “no matter how many years Jared spent at Jewish summer camp, there’s no evidence that he has knowledge about how to broker a deal.”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.772061

You Can Now Read The Whole Talmud Online – For Free

Given that it’s is one if not the most essential Jewish texts, the Talmud can be surprisingly hard to come by. But not anymore: The Jewish start-up Sefaria just released a free digital version into the public domain.

The William Davidson Talmud is an edition of the Babylonian Talmud with parallel translations into English and Modern Hebrew.

The interactive online version of the text is also interlinked to major commentaries, biblical citations, Midrash, Kabbalah, Halakhah, and an ever-growing library of Jewish texts.

And you can also use it beyond Sefaria’s website. The Talmud was published with a Creative Commons non-commercial license, which means that it is part of the public domain and everyone can use and re-use it, as long as you don’t make money from it.

“The Talmud will now belong to, and be freely accessible by, all people in the two languages spoken by 90% of world Jewry,” Sefaria co-founder Joshua Foer told the Forward.

“Experts we’ve talked to believe this is the most significant work of intellectual property ever transferred into the creative commons philanthropically,” he added.

The whole project was years in the making.

Sefaria is a non profit that was started in 2011 by author, Joshua Foer, and Google alum Brett Lockspeiser, with a mission of putting the entire Jewish canon online. (The name Sefaria is a play on the Hebrew word for library, sifria.)

The two childhood friends had lost touch for many years, but reconnected over a “shared frustration” that the Talmud and other important Jewish texts were not accessible online.

“At that point, if you were to google the English Talmud, you would find pdfs from the Soncino edition published in England, you would get an anti-Semitic website and you would get a partial 1918 translation,” Foer told the Forward. “That by itself was kind off pathetic.”

So they quickly got to work, and have since amassed almost 1,600 Jewish texts and commentaries that are all available online.

“But we always knew the linchpin of the whole project would be whether we could get an English translation of the Talmud,” Foer said.

Currently, there exist only three English translations in the world. After years of negotiations Sefaria (with a grant from the William Davidson Foundation) bought the rights to one of them – from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.

Steinsaltz, a rabbi from Israel, spent 45 years of his life translating the Talmud from Ancient Aramaic to modern Hebrew and English.

He was only 27 when the project began, and finished in 2010, after releasing a new section of the translation approximately once per year.

“I did it because it is necessary,” Steinsaltz told Israel’s Army Radio in 2010. “The Talmud is the spine of our culture … I wanted to restore to the Jewish people their heritage.”

As of now, Sefaria published 22 Talmud tractates in English (Berakhot to Bava Batra) online. The Modern Hebrew translations will start appearing online later this year, and the remaining English tractates will follow as soon as their are finished.

“We think that the Talmud is not just the life blood of the Jewish people, but one of the great works of Western civilization that has basically been inaccessible to a large number of people,” Foer told the Forward.

His co-founder, Brett Lockspeiser, who runs Sefaria’s technological operations, called the online release “fantastic.”

“It’s a real accomplishment for us, and the Jewish people in the world to now be able to access this,” Lockspeiser told the Forward.

All the texts on Sefaria are not only texts, they are also interconnected data with lots of fancy features and visualization tools.

“The Jewish canon is not really a collection of books on a book shelf, it’s like this gigantic un-ending conversation,” Foer told the Forward. “We wanted to return that text to the original modality of being fully interconnected and in conversation with each other.”

“And in doing in way, that you can take the conversation form text to text to text, from commentator to commentator to commentator,” Foer said.

A team of 15 engineers works daily to create new ways to create these interconnections – for example to show the connections between Tanakh and Talmud or to highlight all the times that text is being repeated in the Jewish canon.

Users can create their own source sheets to collect and connect texts, sort of like a Torah mixtape. So far 60,000 users created sheets – many of them students.

If possible, all the texts on Sefaria have a public domain license.

“For the Jewish people, our texts are our collective inheritance,” said Sefaria CEO Daniel Septimus. “They belong to everyone and Sefaria wants them to be available to everyone,”


Your Electricity Company Fears This Man


As we documented in a previous article, electricity is the key to unleash world democracy and freedom,

“It’s well known that many wars are fought over resources, many times oil and other energy bases. Electricity is arguably the most essential staple for human survival; because with enough electricity, water can literally be extracted from thin air, which can then be used to plant and water crops.

With enough electricity, nearly all of humanity’s needs can be met.

Centralized energy, like most of us have now, is inherently dangerous to a free society. It can fluctuate, prices can be raised, and grids can be shut down or get damaged by natural disasters. The move toward localized production of electricity, then, is a move towards freedom, security, and democracy. Autonomous energy production is the precursor to an autonomous free society. The secondary effect of increased use of renewable energy is, of course, cleaner air and less pollution. We have all the reasons in the world to support this exciting new development.”

Our previous article pointed out the strides that some countries are taking to make the move toward solar and other sustainable energies. Now, an even more exciting development has been made in the most unlikely of places: an obscure home work shop in Virginia known privately as the “box full of creative chaos”.

Doug Coulter of Floyd, Virginia, lives in the woods in what he calls a “libertarian communism”community where he spends much of his life inventing and innovation in his home work shop.

What Doug has developed can be a game changer when it comes to providing the world’s electricity. He claims that,

“If this works, I’m about to anger several trillion dollar a year businesses.”

These businesses include gas and electric utilities and Big Oil companies.

Doug claims to be on the verge of cracking what has stumped scientists for decades: nuclear fusion. Doug runs an open source forum for scientists and engineers, where he got much of the research needed to crack this priceless problem. He says that once his nuclear fusion reactor is complete, it too will be open source so that anyone living anywhere will have access to the technology. Watch this video to see what he is up to:


A Strange Green Comet Is Heading Our Way

An unusual green comet reaches maximum brightness on Saturday, providing a sweet treat for early-morning risers.

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (named after three astronomers who discovered it in 1948) travels into the inner solar system every 5.25 years. On Saturday, 45P will pass just 7.4 million miles from Earth, a stone’s throw by celestial yardsticks.

With binoculars or a small telescope, comet-watchers should be able to spot 45P in the pre-dawn skies between Thursday and Sunday. “The comet will be racing through the constellation Hercules high in the eastern sky,” notes SpaceWeather.com.

Comet 45P will look like fuzzy bluish-green ball with a fan-shaped tail. Its distinctive color comes from vaporizing diatomic carbon, a gas which glows green in the near-vacuum of space.

RELATED: Flyby Comet Was WAY Bigger Than Thought

The Minor Planet Center reports 45P’s upcoming pass as the eighth closest comet since modern tracking technologies began around 1950. It made an even closer approach during its last visit in 2011, pictured above, but it won’t be as near to Earth again this century.

“Proximity makes the comet bright despite its small size,” said SpaceWeather.com. “Forecasters say 45P could be on the verge of naked eye visibility… when it emerges into the pre-dawn sky later this week.”

WATCH VIDEO: Could Life On Earth Have Come From A Comet?

Originally published on Seeker.

Elon Musk has started digging a giant underground tunnel in LA

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been moving quickly on the development of what he calls the Boring Company. In January of last year, he presented a proposal at the Hyperloop Pod Competition for a company that would lighten traffic through the use of underground tunnels.

One year later, Musk mentioned that construction of a tunnel could begin in Los Angeles by the end of February. Musk hasn’t fallen short of his promise – his new boring machine began to dig a tunnel as part of a demonstration at SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition last weekend.

Although the machine has only created a mere hole, his team plans to eventually construct a full-fledged tunnel.

Musk hasn’t been too clear about how the tunnel will function, but the Hyperloop could be involved – after, it is supposed to be able to work above or below ground. Musk has, at the very least, not denied the connection:

So Mr. Musk, are you thinking to combine Hyperloop and Tunnels to make transportation revolution.

For those that are curious enough to see what Musks’ boring machine looks like, he released a photo of it on Twitter recently.

This might be only one part of a massive machine without the cutting head attached:

Although tunnelling machines already exist, Musk’s company would be unique, because the machines would make tunnelling faster, speeding up the digging process almost tenfold compared to conventional methods.

If Musk’s boring machine can make tunnelling quicker and easier, underground transit could also become more popular.

Tunnels would be a solution to heavy traffic, especially in urban areas, as well as a potential way to bring transportation into buildings.

Musk isn’t exactly serious about creating a separate entity called the Boring Company.

Thankfully, the project fits into Tesla’s mission to alleviate traffic which, in turn, will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

His boring machine is also in line with SpaceX’s mission to eventually settle a colony on Mars.

It could be used to test the viability of tunnel construction on the Red Planet, creating underground habitats that would protect people from extreme cold, low pressure, and high radiation.

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

Astronomers have spotted a black hole so ravenous, it’s pushing the limits of physics

The Universe’s hungriest black hole.


Astronomers have discovered a giant black hole that’s so hungry, it’s been gorging on a star for more than a decade – more than 10 times longer than any stellar meal detected before.

Not only is this by far the largest meal a black hole has been seen consuming, but the feast has been going on so long that scientists aren’t quite sure how it’s been sustained without bending the laws of physics. And the answer could tell us how black holes in the early days of the Universe grew more massive than we’ve been able to explain.

When a star gets too close to a black hole, the black hole’s immense gravitational force can rip the star apart – an event known as a tidal disruption event (TDE).

We’ve seen plenty of these TDE’s in the past, thanks to the distinct X-ray flare they produce. After the black hole destroys a star, it flings some of its contents into space at high speeds, and devours the rest, growing larger and blasting out a super hot flare of X-ray radiation in the process.

But most TDEs are short-lived affairs, which is why the new observation is so surprising.

“We have witnessed a star’s spectacular and prolonged demise,” said lead researcher Dacheng Lin from the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

“Dozens of tidal disruption events have been detected since the 1990s, but none that remained bright for nearly as long as this one.”

In fact, that feast has been going on for so long, it’s pushing the limits of physics – the star being consumed has consistently surpassed something called the Eddington limit, which is the maximum luminosity a star can achieve before it’s no longer stable.

The idea is that if a star is pushing out enough radiation to get this bright, then gravity should barely be able to hold it together. And for that reason we’ve never really been able to understand how supermassive black holes at the centre of many galaxies, including our Milky Way, grew as big as they are.

This record-breaking hungry black hole is nicknamed XJ1500+0154, and exists at the core of a small galaxy about 1.8 billion light-years away.

It was spotted by a trio of satellites – NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory and Swift satellite, as well as the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton.

The satellites were hunting for TDEs when they stumbled across the incredibly bright flare emitted by XJ1500+0154 back in 2005.

They’ve been observing it ever since, and although it appears the meal is now winding up, the team’s evidence suggests that the black hole was consuming the star’s material for well over 10 years.

That means this is either the most massive star we’ve ever seen get caught up in a TDE, or it’s the first time we’ve seen a smaller star get completely torn apart.

“For most of the time we’ve been looking at this object, it has been growing rapidly,” said one of the researchers, James Guillochon from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

“This tells us something unusual – like a star twice as heavy as our Sun – is being fed into the black hole.”

The fact that we now have early evidence that black holes can eat something so massive – and grow so ginormous as a result – opens up a while new world of possibilities when it comes to black holes.

We need to keep in mind that the research has only been published on the pre-print site arXiv.org for the physics community to pore over before it’s submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, so we need to wait for independent validation of the results before we get too carried away.

Importantly, if confirmed, this observation could help explain how supermassive black holes were able to get about a billion times more massive than our Sun in the early days of the Universe – something researchers have struggled to explain.

“This event shows that black holes really can grow at extraordinarily high rates,” said team member Stefanie Komossa of China’s QianNan Normal University for Nationalities.

“This may help understand how precocious black holes came to be.”

The team predicts that XJ1500+0154’s feeding supply should be greatly reduced in the next decade, causing the black hole to fade in X-ray brightness and disappear from the satellites’ view.

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but astronomers will be watching the black hole closely.

You can read the full paper here.