2000 Year Old Extinct Tree is No Longer Extinct

By Anupum Pant

At Herod the Great’s palace in Masada, Israel, from the year 1963 to 1965 an excavation was carried out. It was an excavation which blew everyone’s mind. As a result of this archaeological endeavour, an ancient jar containing date palm (Judean Palm) seeds was unearthed. The radio dating of these seeds confirmed that they were about 2000 years old. Like all other excavated material, the seeds too were sent into a safe storage at the  Bar-Ilan University. For the next 40 years, these seeds remained in the storage.

The seeds which were unearthed belonged to a plant which in its time had flourished for thousands of years. Around 150 AD the tree went extinct. None of them remained. However, the seeds did…

In the year 2005, a researcher, Elaine Solowey, decided to plant the seed. Elaine was pretty sure that a 2000 year old seed would be totally dead by now, and there’s a little chance it would even sprout. She went ahead anyway.

Elaine did a deep research on how to revive old seeds. Then, she first soaked them in hot water. And then in a nutrient rich solution. Finally they were put in contact with an enzymatic fertilizer.

To her surprise the seed did germinate. But when it did come out, Elaine was pretty sure that the sapling would die out. It didn’t. Although there were claims of a 32,000 year old germinated seed later in the year 2012, in its time, the Judean palm’s name had gone into the record books as the oldest seed to have ever sprouted

The tree has been named Methuselah after the oldest person named in the Old Testament of the Bible. Today the plant still continues to grow and has even made its first flowers.

[More about it]

Stop Trusting Everything You See

By Anupum Pant


Everyone who comes on this blog often knows that I’m a huge fan of Prof. Rischard Wiseman. If you don’t know that, well, I urge you to check out every other post where I’ve mentioned him (Yes, he’s the same man who makes videos for the YouTube channel 59 seconds). The man certainly knows how to play with your brain. And once again he has blown my mind with this amazing optical illusion that he shared on his blog.

This is probably the best optical illusion I have ever seen. That is because, it’s somewhat like the Mc Gurk effect (do check it out too) – in a way that, it is one of those illusion where even after you learn about it, you still can’t see through it. I mean, it will continue to fool your brains, even when you know the trick. It’s an eternal magic trick. Enough of the build up. Now, let’s see what this illusion really is…

Wash your eyes if you have to

In the image below, you’ll see a pinkish swirling image and inside it you’ll see that there are green swirls and blue swirls embedded. What if I tell you the green and the blue you see are the same colors? Just because I’ve written something that’s completely opposite to what you see with your own eyes, you’ll probably laugh on my face and call me mad. I did that. I trusted my eyes more than any one else’s word. So I had to verify it…

most amazing optical illusion

The Proof

greenblue2Ok, if you take my word for it, fine. If you don’t believe me, you could use a simple image editor, pick colours and check. Both the colours you see here, green and blue, have the same hexadecimal value: #00ff96.

Another thing you could do is, download the image, zoom it to a great extent, such that both the colours that you see are in the same frame and you’ll see that the colours are actually same. Here’s a picture of that zoomed part…

optical illusion proofHere’s an image I created where we have the #00ff96 coloured square overlapping the seemingly blue and green parts. If you, cover everything except the topmost corner first, look at it carefully, and compare it with the bottom-most corner, you’ll see that the colour of the square block perfectly matches that of both the “blue” colour and the “green” colour in both areas. And it is the same block.

The several other blocks in the middle are for you to remain sure that the colour of the block doesn’t change in between.

There’s another image in which it works…
Even here the blue and green colours are actually the same colours…



A Miniature Planet Inside a Planet

By Anupum Pant

A couple of months back I wrote about a miniature sealed self-sustaining ecosystem that an old man has been running successfully for more than 53 years now. The whole ecosystem surviving out of itself in a completely closed system for such a long time is really fascinating. It’s like a little planet.

What if I tell you, there’s a much larger version of this completely sealed biosphere in Arizona. Much larger than the bottle, but way too smaller than our planet, and yet it works like a little planet inside a planet.

They call it the Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 is the plane earth’s biosphere). It is a completely closed 3-acre facility, currently owned by the University of Arizona, which doesn’t allow any matter to go in or out. There’s just energy moving in and out of this little planet that is the size of 3 football fields. Exactly like a miniature version of our pale blue dot.

Think about it this way. If you had to make a pizza in a place like that, it could take you two months or more, assuming you had everything needed to make a pizza (goats/cows for the cheese etc…). Just thinking about it makes you appreciate the fact that we’ve come so far. So far, that we’re able to get a pizza right on our door step in under 30 minutes.

The Biosphere 2 was designed to get a deeper understanding on how the earth’s biosphere actually works. Also, its aim was to try and create a prototype space base for Mars – Something like a little planet earth where we could live in and could carry it with us on a trip to other planets.

In the Biosphere 2 are areas that are meant for humans to live. Besides that there is a miniature rainforest, a savannah, a desert, a marsh, and a little mini-ocean in there!

Jane Poynter, with her team, walked into this biosphere when she was 29 years old. She lived in there for about 2 years and then came out. The world felt like a completely different place to her. It is really interesting to hear her talk in this TEDx talk…