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News Kid Didn't Discover Lost Mayan City via Astronomy After All

  1. May 11, 2016 #1

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    IMPORTANT EDIT: Mayan researchers declare story to be untrue. The Maya didn't follow astronomy to layout their cities and the 15 yr old actually discovered an old corn field.

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/15-year-old-didnt-discover-mayan-city-after-all-160511.htm

    and here's some backstory to go with it:

    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/1...ery-of-ancient-mayan-city-using-star-maps.htm

    A 15 year old science enthusiast has discovered a lost Mayan city after noticing a connection between the constellations and the Mayan city layouts on a map. Analysis of 117 cities confirmed his hypothesis and as he continued forward discovered an anomaly in the analysis with a star but no city to match it.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-36259047
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2016 #2

    Borg

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    Wow. That is unbelievable.
     
  4. May 11, 2016 #3

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yeah, what's cool about today is that kids can do some really neat stuff with the access to powerful technology:
    - find a lost city va Google Earth
    - find odd astronomical objects via Hubble pics or JPL feeds
    - use a weather balloon and smart phone to get pictures of the earth, track the balloon
    - build more intelligent robotics via a smart phone and some motors (sensors in the phone) using IOIO card
    - build mobile apps and games to make extra money
    - build a supercomputer using Raspberry-pi and lego
    ...

    When I was a kid the big thing was Estes rocketry and computers were teletypes that you got to play with once a week at Explorer Scouts and no internet just local station 3 channel color TV.
     
  5. May 11, 2016 #4
    We need more of this!
     
  6. May 11, 2016 #5

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Maybe we could have an online version of an annual summer science fair where members could post their projects and be 15 or pretend to be 15.
     
  7. May 11, 2016 #6
    Me too, I put a cam corder on a remote controlled boat once and I felt like an explorer.

    "Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future; with the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded." - Stephen Hawking
     
  8. May 11, 2016 #7

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Have you seen the OpenROV project where you use a smart phone in a small submarine drone to explore underwater structures at 50ft depth or so?

    http://www.openrov.com/

    Revisit your youth, go and explore...
     
  9. May 11, 2016 #8

    1oldman2

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    Same here, but with a Heathkit electronics catalogue added to the list.
     
  10. May 11, 2016 #9

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes and Geniac. I couldnt afford either so i got an ESR Digicomp 1 from Edmund Science catalog.
     
  11. May 12, 2016 #10

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

  12. May 12, 2016 #11

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, I'm totally shocked the story was wrong... o0)
     
  13. May 12, 2016 #12

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    @Borg in hind sight your comment was so clever that it could cover both cases of this story.
     
  14. May 12, 2016 #13

    micromass

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  15. May 12, 2016 #14

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Here's more on the backstory which is equally interesting:

    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/1...ery-of-ancient-mayan-city-using-star-maps.htm

    What would be really funny if they do find something unique there after all?

    This story is like the Michael Caine/Ben Kingsley Sherlock Holmes movie Without A Clue where Holmes is an out of work actor hired by Watson who is the real brains behind solving the crime. Watson gets kidnapped and Holmes follows the clues a cryptic number on a piece of paper and eventually finds and rescues Watson. He details his logic only to discover the number was actually related to the address of where Watson was being held and not some elaborate piece of a puzzle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Without_a_Clue
     
  16. May 12, 2016 #15
    The online version of one of the lower quality (but very popular nevertheless) newspapers in Belgium was also quick to post the article yesterday. However, they did publish an updated article which said that it may not be true after all.

    Oh boy. The site allows people to write comments... Many of the comments were about how handsomly paid scientists probably can't handle the fact that they were beaten by a 15 year old and now want to discredit him. (Yes, if you want to get rich, becoming a researcher on Maya history seems the best way to go)
    Or how scientists should stop seeking so much media attention, not realising it's mainly the media that are making a big fuss out of fringe theories.

    More anti-scienctist opinions than I expected. Why are they so distrustful of educated people? Education is probably useless and is just used to get rich by inventing theories to get funding, or what are they thinking?

    And instances like this don't seem to help. Some can't seem to differentiate between (bad) articles about (bad) science and science itself and minimise the impact the journalist has on the message that is presented.
    Some time ago there was another article about astronomy. I think it was one scientist's opinion about how to explain some weird measurements, but articles rarely point out that this is a single interpretation and leave out worlds as 'maybe'. And the next day they post another interpretation as if the entire scientific community had changed their minds overnight. One of the comments then was: These scientists don't really know anything, they're just guessing all the time.

    The same happend with this story. I saw a couple of headlines with 'Possible discovery of city', but many of them were not so cautious with their wording.
     
  17. May 12, 2016 #16

    micromass

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    Haha, is this Het Laatste Nieuws?
     
  18. May 12, 2016 #17

    Samy_A

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    That's one superfluous question mark, micromass. :oldbiggrin:
     
  19. May 12, 2016 #18

    micromass

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    I don't know. There are a few online newspaper sites where I can see this happening, but hln is definitely the worst of them all. I love the comments though. So funny.
     
  20. May 12, 2016 #19
    How could you guess :)
    The comments are indeed funny, up to a certain point, after which it sometimes actually becomes scary.
    The articles about the average income levels are always hilarious though, half of the reactions are 'this is rubbish, I don't earn that much'.
     
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