Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Submerged ancient Egyptian treasures

More than 200 objects are showcased at a new exhibition of Egyptian artifacts discovered in a sunken ancient city. Dating back some 2,300 years they were found over a decade ago near what is now the city of Alexandria.

In ancient times, the port city of Thonis-Heracleion was the main port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world.
The city was founded around the 8th century BC, underwent natural catastrophes, and eventually sunk entirely into the depths of the Mediterranean in the 8th century AD.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Star Ruby - Star Sapphire

Other gemstones that may display asterism are rose quartz, garnet, diopside, moonstone, spinel and opal.
Star rubies and star sapphires display a six-ray star that seems to glide across the surface of the gem when moved. This six-ray star is caused due to an optical phenomena known as "asterism".

The term is derived from the Greek word "aster", which means star. Fine star rubies and sapphire come mainly from Mogok and Sri Lanka. The best stones will have just enough silk to create the star effect, but not so much as to harm the transparency and color. These stones are rare and valuable.
Black Star Sapphires with golden stars are one of the most fascinating forms of sapphire. The most valuable of the golden-star black stars come from Chanthaburi, Thailand.

Black star sapphires differ from other colours of star sapphires because the star is formed not due to rutile silk but due to hematite plates.
The Delong Star Ruby resides in the Natural History Museum in New York. Weighing 100.32 carats, it is a deep purplish red, from Burma, it has an extremely sharp 6-rayed star effect.

The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby; a fine-quality star ruby of 138.70 carats from Sri Lanka.
Star of Asia A round six-ray star sapphire weighing 329.7 carats. The stone's origin is Burma, and it's also part of the Smithsonian Museum's collection.

Weighing 27.62 carats, the Star of Bharany Ruby is one of the world’s finest star rubies.
A star ruby is considered potent protection against magic. Star rubies were worn by knights in battle to protect themselves from the enemy. Tales in Karnataka (India) say that if it is worn as a visible pendant or as a headgear then anyone who faces you as an enemy loses half their valour.

The power of star ruby is said to be the highest during full moon.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

H. mephisto a pussy cat

Goldfield's Beatrix gold mine lies a few hours outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, in one of the richest gold fields in the world. It extends more than two kilometres underground. The mine has a workforce of about 10,500 employees and produces 400k oz of gold per year. But recently, something living came up with the gold, a creature that has been named after Mephisto, the Devil from the Faust legend.

This seems like something from a tale, where miners dig 'too deep' and release an unspeakable evil.
Fortunately, the creature that lurks in the Beatrix mine – Halicephalobus mephisto – is barely half a millimetre long.

In the classic German Faustian legend, Mephistopheles promises Faust that he will give him everything that he desires, but in exchange, Faust will then have to serve the devil in Hell.
It’s no demon, but it is a surprising find. It’s an animal that lives where no other animals were thought to exist, in the rocky underworld known as the 'deep subsurface'. To H.mephisto and the other nematodes, the subterranean world is an all you can eat buffet.

They feed on bacteria and other microbes that grow in rich mats on the rocky surface. There are up to a trillion such cells for every one nematode, a feast that could keep H.mephisto going for around 30,000 years. There’s no risk of starving in the deep subsurface.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Famous Jewels

The Hortensia Diamond. Named after the Queen of Holland, the rock glittered on Napoleon's epaulette braid fastening and, later, on Empress Eugenie's comb. After the French Revolution, the diamond was snatched and later found in a bag of treasures in the attic of an old house in Paris. According to lore, the man who stole the gems disclosed the secret location just before his execution. Today, it's held in the Louvre's Gallerie d'Apollon.

The Cora Sun-Drop Diamond. The Cora, at 110 carats, is the largest yellow pear-shaped diamond. It auctioned for $11 million in 2011, setting Sotheby’s new record for a yellow diamond.
The Hope Diamond. The Hope is believed to be cursed. Evalyn Walsh McLean, one of its former owners, referred to the rock as her "lucky charm." Soon after acquiring it, though, McLean's son died in a car accident, her husband divorced her and died insane, and her daughter committed suicide. She herself became a morphine addict. In 1959, the 45.52-carat rock was donated to the Smithsonian. It was sent by regular mail.

La Peregrina Pearl. - After passing from the hands of Spanish, French, and English kings and queens (Bloody Mary included), the pearl eventually wound up perched on the bosom of an American royal, Elizabeth Taylor, in 1969. Richard Burton purchased the pearl for her, outbidding a prince. Taylor then misplaced La Peregrina in a Las Vegas hotel, only to find it in her dog's mouth.
The Star of India. - The world's largest star sapphire, weighs 563-carats and is roughly the size of a golf ball. On Halloween eve in 1964, it was stolen in a heist at the Museum of Natural History, only to be found a few days later in a Miami bus terminal locker.

The Cullinan Diamond. - Discovered in South Africa, the Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found. It was cut into more than 100 smaller pieces, the nine largest of which belong to the British Royal Family. Pictured is a brooch made out of Cullinan III and IV.
The Tiffany Diamond. In 1877, Tiffany & Co.'s iconic 128-carat yellow diamond was found in South Africa. It adorned Audrey Hepburn's neck while she was doing publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany's and, today, it’s on permanent display in the New York Fifth Avenue store.

The Logan Sapphire. - Originally from Sri Lanka, this 423-carat violet blue sapphire is roughly the size of an egg. It belonged to a Washington, D.C., socialite, Mrs. Polly Logan, who donated the stone to the Smithsonian’s collection in 1960.

The Tutti Frutti Necklace by Cartier. One of Cartier’s most famous pieces, the “Hindu necklace” was commissioned by Vogue-honored socialite and Singer sewing machine heiress Daisy Fellowes in 1936. It's made of dozens of rubies, emeralds, and diamond beads set in platinum and thirteen sapphires.

The Emerald and Diamond Pendant Brooch is made from a Mughal emerald that hails from the mid-seventeenth century. The stone from India weighs 55.8 carats and is carved with tulips, and was sold at a Christie's auction in 2003.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top American Muscle Cars

The 1964 Pontiac GTO was considered the pioneer in muscle cars. "GTO" stood for Gran Turismo Omologato. The first generation of GTOs (until 1973) was based on the Pontiac Tempest and LeMans.
The name GTO was coined by Pontiac’s Chief Engineer John DeLorean, who was motivated by Ferrari 250 GTO.
1967 Pontiac GTO. 1967 marked the first availability of ram air through a hood scoop on the GTO. It was a 400-cubic-inch V-8, delivering 360 horsepower and 438 lb·ft. The high output engine produced the most power for that year.
1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi was pure brawn with a 425-horsepower, 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine.

Plymouth licensed the Road Runner name and likeness from Warner Brothers.

It went a step further by developing a horn sound imitating the cartoon bird's "beep-beep,"
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. Fewer than 1,400 were built between 1969 and 1970. Its 429-cubic-inch V-8 engine delivered 375-horsepower. It was basically hand-built. Ford farmed out its assembly to Michigan-based Kar Kraft. Very little distinguished the Boss 429 other than a hood scoop and trunk-mounted spoiler.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. With fewer than 70 ever built, the '69 ZL1 had the most powerful Chevrolet engine offered to the public for decades. It's the rarest production car Chevrolet ever made.

Based on Chevrolet's iconic 427 V-8 engine, the ZL power plant had an aluminum block.
1970 Buick GSX Stage 1. Of the 687 GSXs built, 488 were ordered with the Stage 1 upgrade. By 1970, a 455-cubic-inch V-8 engine powered the Gran Sport.
1970 Plymouth Barracuda 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, the big dog, was armed with the dual-carburetor, 426-cubic-inch Hemi with 425 hp. The Hemi 'Cuda could go toe to toe with the era's top-tier muscle cars.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454. Chevrolet offered two versions of the 454-cubic-inch V-8. The LS5 generated 360 horsepower, while the LS6 punched out 450.

It's the LS6 version, with its Holley four-barrel carburetor, that put the SS 454 on the map. No other muscle car would equal the wallop of the 1970 SS 454.