Ancient Greek Fortress Found in Jerusalem; Could Solve Archaeological Mystery

Archaeologists told Reuters that they believe they have found the remains of an ancient Greek fortress after a century of searching. The fortress was once a center of power in Jerusalem and a stronghold that held off a Jewish rebellion celebrated in the Book of the Maccabees.

The fortress was built more than 2,000 years ago by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of the Hellenised Seleucid empire. The location of the Acra has been long debated by researchers and archaeologists and has been one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries.

“It has been an open question in the archaeology of Jerusalem,” Excavation Director Doron Ben-Ami told “For hundreds of years scholars, archaeologists and historians have been looking for the location of this Acra and many, many different locations have been suggested.”

Many believed it was located behind now Jerusalem’s walled Old City or by the hilltop where two Jewish temples once stood but is now the Al Aqsa mosque compound. However, the Israel Antiquities Authority unearthed the fortress under an old parking lot located outside the walls overlooking a valley to the south. Archaeologists say the area was a place of construction for Jerusalem under King David from the Bible. Ben-Ami told Reuters that the spot was chosen for Acra in order to monitor the Jewish temple and control the city.

One area of the fortress held artifacts like coins and handles for wine jugs that suggest the fortress was present in the period of Antiochus. Bronze arrowheads and lead sling stones were also found at the dig site and were possibly used when Jewish rebels tried to take over the fortress from pro-Greek forces.

“This is a rare example of how rocks, coins and dirt can come together in a single archaeological story that addresses specific historical realities from the city of Jerusalem,” Ben-Ami said.

UK Testing Roads to Recharge Electric Cars while Driven

The British government is looking to invest millions into a test highway system that would recharge electric cars as they drive.

The roadways, if successful, would allow drivers of electric cars to avoid the current problems of large charging times and inaccessibility of charging stations.

“The government is already committing £500 million ($779 million U.S.) over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector. As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses.” UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones stated in a press release.

The proposed system would create a series of coils under the roadway that would emit electricity through the air to a receiver coil inside the car.  The coil would then charge the batteries inside the car.  The system would be located completely under the roadway, so there would be no risk of electrical shock to the general public.

The method is similar to that of wireless charging stations for cell phones.

“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways and major A roads,” Highways England chief highways engineer, Mike Wilson, said in a press statement. “The off-road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country.”

South Korea is already working on a similar system in a part of the town of Gumi.  The 7.5 mile road charges specially modified electric buses.

FDA Approves First 3D Printed Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug that is created using a 3D printer.

The drug, Spritam, is designed for the treatment of epilepsy according to a statement from the manufacturer Aprecia Pharmaceuticals.

The printed pills were created by what the company calls “ZipDose.”  The printer creates a pre-measured dose that dissolves in the mouth when you consume a liquid.  Tests showed the pill dissolves significantly faster than “fast melt” drugs because the pill is powdered medication bound together by the printer.

“As a result, Spritam enhances the patient experience — administration of even the largest strengths of levetiracetam with just a sip of liquid,” Aprecia said in a statement on Monday. “In addition, with Spritam there is no measuring required as each dose is individually packaged, making it easy to carry this treatment on the go.”

Scientists are hailing the decision by the FDA, saying that the use of 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way medication is given to patients.

The technology could allow doctors to put all of a patient’s medication into a single pill with precise monitoring of the dosages of each medication.  If the doctor needs to make a change, they just change the amount in the printing program for that patient.

Spirtam is the first 3D printed drug approved by the FDA.

Inscription Found From King David Times

The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of an inscription that was traced to the time of King David.

One of the researchers called it a “once in a lifetime” find.

A large clay storage jar was found at Khirbet Qeiyafa that was dated to the Iron Age between 980 and 1020 BC.  On the jar is the name os Ishba’al son of Beda according to the research published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

“It is interesting to note that the name Ishbaʽal appears in the Bible, and now also in the archaeological record, only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE. This name was not used later in the First Temple period,” Professor Yosef Garfinkel of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority said in an IAA statement Tuesday.

The researchers said it was unlikely the Ishba’al mentioned on the jar was the same as the rival to King David.

Garfinkel said that just five years ago there were no known Judean inscriptions from that period.

“Minimalists would say that writing only started in Judah in the 7th century BCE,” he said. With the discovery of a second inscription at Khirbet Qeiyafa, “you can see that it existed; before this we didn’t even have any evidence that writing or literacy existed at all.”

“Researching any culture we would like to know if the people knew to read and write,” he said. “In this specific case study it’s even more important because it’s the beginning of the biblical tradition, and then it’s not just of interest to 40 archaeologists but to billions of people.”

Part of “Ape-Man” Skeleton Actually From Baboon

A team of scientists has announced that one of the bones in the “Lucy” skeleton, the “ape-man” that proves evolution, is actually from a baboon.

The scientific team reported in New Scientist that one of the vertebra was significantly smaller than the vertebra for a human being.  The scientists said after they noticed “something odd’ they investigated further.

“Baboons were a close match, both in shape and size,” researcher Scott Williams of New York University explained. “So we think we’ve solved this mystery. It seems that a fossil gelada baboon thoracic vertebra washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains.”

The researchers also released the report at a Paleoanthropology Society meeting in San Francisco last week.

“Even though Lucy is fairly complete for a mammal fossil (47 of 207 bones found), the bones are mostly small fragments with many pieces missing,” Doug Henderson wrote of the fossil in 2013. “Other specimens have been found, but they are far more fragmentary. No matter how complete, all fossils must be interpreted. Some interpretation is always left to the imagination of the person doing the reconstruction.”

Jewelry Converts Blood Flow Into Cell Phone Charger

Your blood flow could charge your cell phone.

It’s not science fiction any longer.

A graduate student in Jerusalem has developed a series of jewelry that can be used to charge electronics like cell phones.

The project by Naomi Kizhner is called “Energy Addicts.”  There are three pieces of jewelry: the Blinker, the E-pulse and the Blood Bridge.  The Blinker would extract energy by using the movement of the eyelids.  The Blood Bridge is connected to the veins in the lower arm.

Kizhner says there is no current plans to market the products worldwide but were designed to show that it’s possible to use the body’s ordinary functions for biometric electronics.

“I wanted to provoke the thought about how far will we go to in order to ‘feed’ our addiction in the world of declining resources,” she told Cosmo.

A Korean research unit earlier this year released a thermoelectric bracelet that could turn body heat into electricity, similar to the movie The Matrix.

China Plans Global Network of Surveillance Satellites

Chinese officials have confirmed they are looking at a proposal to create a network of satellites that would allow them to spy on any part of the planet.

The system is reportedly gaining a boost because of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight that has eluded any search efforts.  Several members of the Chinese leadership say a Chinese operated worldwide surveillance network would have found the aircraft.

“If we had a global monitoring network today, we wouldn’t be searching in the dark,” a source told Australia’s News Limited.  “We would have a much greater chance to find the plane and trace it to its final position.”

The current Chinese satellite system reportedly only allows the country to spy on their nation and surrounding countries.  However, the proposed system would be so detailed and significantly upgraded in technology to current systems that it would place China ahead of the United States in global surveillance.

If the government goes ahead with funding the plan, the network could be in place and operational within two years.

NSA Recording System Can Catch 100% Of Nation’s Phone Calls

The National Security Agency has a program that is so powerful it can record all the phone calls coming out of a nation and provide them the chance to play them back over the course of a month.

A manager for the NSA compared the program to a “time machine” and said that any individual recorded by the machine can be listened to without that person’s permission or a warrant from a court.

The program is called MYSTIC and started in 2009.  The program has a component called RETRO, which stands for “retrospective retrieval”, which allows the user to search and play back phone calls from the previous month.

The program was initially proposed as a one-off operation but according to last year’s intelligence budget, five countries have come under the MYSTIC program and a sixth country was scheduled to be put in place by the end of 2013.

The program was disclosed by the Washington Post who withheld the names of the country confirmed to be under surveillance at the request of the government who claimed national security issues.

British Intelligence Service Spied Using Webcams

A new document from the trove of NSA leaker Edward Snowden shows that the British intelligence services used webcams of Yahoo users to spy on them including taking nude pictures of users.

The GCHQ ran a program called Optic Nerve between 2008 and 2010 that collected images from Yahoo webcam chats and stored them even if the users in the chats were not considered targets of intelligence operations.

In one six month period over 1.8 million Yahoo users were spied on worldwide.

When the Guardian newspaper contacted Yahoo, officials were furious to find out they had been targeted by intelligence services.  The company termed the action “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.”

There are no restrictions in British law that would keep them from tracking Americans and storing information about them without an individual warrant.

New LED Light System Can Spy On Citizens

The next time you walk into a building that is lit by an LED lighting system, you might not be simply walking into the light.

Newark Liberty International Airport’s new LED lighting system is actually spying on the passengers that come through the airport before they reach the gates.  The lights include computer chips, cameras, sensors and Wi-Fi antennas.  They collect data that police can scan in real time to look for possible problems.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, said the special spy lights are currently only in the ticketing area of the airport but they could soon spread to the rest of the complex.  The Port Authority claimed the lights were installed as part of a plan to cut energy use within the complex.

The company behind the “NetSense” system says that while the idea of putting cameras on light poles isn’t new, the system they’ve developed is unique in that it is turnkey.  Anyone can install the lights, plug them in and then observe through a computer.