Explorers have been searching on foot for Honduras’s mythical city for generations. Now, they seem to have found it from a tiny Cessna airplane, aided by million-dollar technology.
Is the fabled lost city of Honduras hiding beneath the dense jungle canopy?
The Mosquitia rain forests of Honduras and Nicaragua are, to put it mildly, thick jungle. As one travel guide notes, "While the edges of the Mosquitia can be reached by pickups driving along the beach, the vast majority of the region is accessible only by plane, boat, or foot, lending it the feel of a separate country, cut off from the rest of Honduras and the world."
The lushness of this biosphere -- at 32,000 square miles, "the largest remaining expanse of virgin tropical jungle in Central America" -- draws its share of adventurers and nature lovers each year, but that is not its most remarkable appeal. Over the past century, archaeologists have set their sights on that dense vegetation, hoping that beneath it they would find the ruins of Ciudad Blanca, a fabled ancient settlement seemingly swallowed by the Earth. In 1526, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes wrote to emperor Charles V, relaying word of a purported province, deep in Honduras, that "will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages."
Today, at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting in Cancun, scientists have released images of what they believe to be that lost city, discovered not by machete-hacking their way through the jungle, but from above, in a tiny Cessna plane, the bottom of which had been cut open to make room for a million-dollar LIDAR machine, which can see through the forest canopy and map the topography below.
"This whole adventure for the last couple years has been quite a wild ride," the expedition’s leader Steve Elkins told me on the phone from Cancun. "There were times I felt like if I didn’t find anything, everybody would say, ’What a fool you are. You spent all this money, all this effort. There’s nothing there.’" But maybe, just maybe, they would get lucky, and the LIDAR would see something -- walls, pyramids, symmetry, straight lines of any kind -- that was at odds with the natural contours of the jungle floor. Something, maybe, like this, the first ever visual confirmation of a lost civilization in the Mosquitia forest:
In some places, peeling back the layer of trees revealed symmetrical structures below.
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief 2015-05-23 7:58
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech" 2015-05-23 7:31 The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers 2015-05-23 7:36
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction 2015-05-23 7:13
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified' 2015-05-23 6:43
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...